Thursday, January 31, 2013

sisterhood everlasting

I just finished listening to the audiobook version of this book. I had borrowed it from the library once before but couldn't remember why I didn't listen to it. I think someone had it reserved and it was due back so I just decided to return it early. I grabbed it off the shelf for a second time because for anyone who followed the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants gang, I was curious to see where these young ladies ended up. This is their story as women - the teenage years are long behind them.

SPOILER ALERT! I couldn't really get into this story at all at the beginning. I felt that the author just used a lot of huge words for no reason maybe because she used to write to a younger audience? I have no clue as to why but it was hard to follow, way to flowery for no reason and extremely slow. Then - one of the girls dies. It really isn't a spoiler because you learn this very quickly at the beginning of the story and the whole book is based around this revelation. 

I kept listening because I just had to know WHY and HOW. I really enjoyed how the story wrapped up and for anyone who followed the series as a teenage girl, you will be happy to see where these ladies ended up. All in all - look past the grandiose prose and you will enjoy this roller coaster ride of emotions and intertwining story lines of growth and friendship.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

cheers to my health! part 6: bye bye anxiety!?

My mind is officially blown!

If you have been following my blog you will know that I was very sick twice with the flu - once in November and once at the beginning of January. I missed work both times and basically my whole world had to come to a complete stop. It was horrible, I was miserable and I felt so bad for my husband who had to put up with me :)

An old friend suggested I look into Thieves Oil. She has a messy toddler and no one in her family ever gets sick so I thought "what the heck" and gave it a try. I rub it on my feet each night before bed. I started using it before I got sick the second time so I was really frustrated but continued using it. You might also know that my husband and I have slowly started eliminating gluten from our diet. I have also been journaling a lot, and doing some other self-improvement activities to improve my state of being.

The great news is that it is working. The bad news is that I wasn't sure what the it is because I started everything all at once ... until today. I spent the day Saturday shopping with my girlfriend and she was asking me a bunch of questions about my process because most people who are close to me have noticed a difference. I have noticed that my sinuses are so much clearer (I have a chronic drippy nose, suffer from cold weather asthma and had to have ear surgery as a child due to ear infections) and that it feels amazing to be able to breathe so much better. I thought that this was due to the gluten free changes we have made in our diet but it turns out that it is most likely due to the Thieves oil.

Now - it gets better! For as long as I can remember I have suffered from GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) with a twist of OCD and SAD in there for good measure (self-diagnosed and I am probably more anal than OCD). I have noticed that I have started feeling incredibly happy, relaxed, alert and healthier lately. All in all - life is great. I couldn't quite put my finger on it and was really just hoping that this feeling wouldn't go away ... and then I did a bit of random research this morning and learned that sinus problems can lead to anxiety and that Thieves oil can help eliminate sinus problems and therefore ... a natural cure to my anxiety!!??

I am not 100% sure if this conclusion is true - more of a hunch until more time passes. And I am by no means a doctor but I am feeling better than I have in a long time and if an essential oil is the reason - bring it on!

PS - I didn't post any of the articles I found about sinuses and anxiety because they weren't accredited and most comments came in the form of message boards. But knowing that others out there feel the same was as I do and deal with the same things I do is so refreshing and helpful. I don't advocate for doing your own Google research but peace of mind is worth millions in my books!

Monday, January 28, 2013

what i do when i have a challenging day

Today was a very challenging day for me. I started off feeling happy and strong but by the end of my work day, I had to take some deep breaths because I was about to lose it. These days happen and I used to tackle them with anxiety, frustration and anger. I would even have physical reactions to the difficult people in my lives but this year I have said no more to that crap. Now, I take a deep breath, realize that these people really mean nothing to me in the long scheme of things and that I am better. I am kinder, I am more respectful and I am saner. I try not to let my ego get the most of me but really - anyone who goes about their day being rude and disrespectful to other people really just ... to put it bluntly ... suck. And instead of worrying about what they think or how they feel - honestly - I just don't give a crap anymore because they don't have the power to make me feel anything. I do and I am better.

When I face challenges I tend to do one or a combination of the following ...

  • Take deep breaths.
  • Take a moment to collect myself.
  • Focus on the things in my life that I am grateful for.
  • Have a nap (if possible).
  • I know it is hokey to some but I have The Secret Scrolls app on my iPhone and read it daily.
  • I write in my journal.
  • I blog.
  • I have a bath.
  • I read a book.
  • I do yoga.
  • I have a hot cup of tea or a cool glass of wine.
What gets you through those moments when you want to throw something? Thanks friends. xo

no fear

I have declared 2013 to be MY year and so far, so good :) I have been working on making a handful of changes in my life and I'm feeling really great about the direction I'm heading in. 

One of the recent realizations I have had is that I make a lot of decisions in life based on fear. I have always had issues with anxiety and some things that have happened to me in the past have only increased those issues. Anxiety seems to rule my choices - I would but I won't, I should but then I don't. All based on my projected outcome of a situation. 

I had an AHA moment last week ... "What do I think I am - a physic?". I am constantly playing a potential outcome in my head and then I get myself so worked up that it keeps me from moving forward. Ridiculous because I have zero clue as to what is actually going to happen. You know what they say - when you ASSuME, you make an ass out of you and me. So, so true. 

So cheers to making decisions not based on fear but based on health, happiness and love. This year I will do what I want to do and put me first. Bring it world - I'm almost ready for you :) 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

a list

I borrowed this idea from ann-marie loves paper.

Tag - you're it! Mommy Bird and Vancity Voicebox - I would love to see your lists! xo

PS - Anyone who reads this should follow all three of the blogs listed above. Ann-Marie Loves Paper has no idea I exist but she is an inspiration, Mommy Bird gives amazing new mom, organizational and cooking tips, and Vancity Voicebox is an old friend who is fabulous - and so is her blog!

Digging: My life right now. I am in a really great place and hope to stay here as long as possible.
Drinking: Caramel Drizzle coffee. My favourite if I need a caffeine kick.
Eating: Anything gluten free these days.
Listening: To this audiobook in the car: Sisterhood Everlasting.
Wearing: New sweaters. I'm always cold so I wear sweaters even in the summer months (especially at work).
Reading: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas and the Wheat Belly Cookbook. Just joined a new book club so will have some new reads shortly.
Feeling: Amazing.
Weather: Cold, sunny, foggy and/or rainy - depending on the minute it seems.
Wanting: Absolutely nothing.
Needing: Absolutely nothing.
Wishing: That my California family didn't have to go home earlier than planned.
Thinking: About my future and the wonderful things that are going to happen to me and my husband.
Enjoying: Life.
Loving: Little kid and doggy cuddles and kisses. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

oh netflix

When my husband and I bought our home two years ago we knew we weren't going to get cable. I grew up in a house where the TV was always on. If we weren't watching it, it was on in the background. We enjoy music more than TV and find that when we do have the option to watch TV, we get sucked in and don't accomplish much. I started getting movies and TV series from the library that we would watch at night but we weren't wasting time flipping channels and trying to find something that we both wanted to watch.

That was all fine and dandy until Netlix entered our lives :) Our nephew was spending the weekend with us before the holidays and he hooked it up for us through the Wii. Now I can access whatever series or movie I'm into at the moment at work, on my laptop and even on my phone. I must say I do enjoy that freedom and I did enjoy it when I was off sick for a week at the beginning of the month. A lot. That being said - we still only watch it in the evenings and it really is no different than renting a DVD series from the library. The $8.00 a month does not break the bank and since we weren't a slave to the TV for years, there are a ton of series on there that we have never seen before.

So far so good with Netflix but we will see what happens when we have kids - I might just go back to the good old library. We like having the extra time to read, listen to music, work around the house and SLEEP (if I had cable, I know I would not sleep nearly as much as I do now) that having cable distracts us from.

My new favourite. Really looking forward to the next season ...

Watching in the background on my iPhone while I cook and get ready in the morning. I think I might be a goner if I ever got an iPad :)

I just finished watching this and I am SUPER bummed that there were only two seasons. I adore these women ...

Next up with the hubby (and yes - this was his choice) ...

Next up on my own ...

Do you have cable, Netflix, Apple TV or ??? What are your favourite shows, and what keeps you from being too distracted by the TV? Would love to hear your tips and suggestions. Thanks friends. xo

Friday, January 25, 2013

can't forget about these

Had one of these last night and fell head over heals in love. Most delicious thing I have had in a long time. Pure joy!

things that are making me smile today

How can you have a bad day if this is what you wake up to?

Joined a Book Club and this is our first read of many.

My best friend is becoming a Scentsy Independent Consultant and I couldn't be happier for her. She is so excited. Watch for some shameless promotion on her behalf coming soon!

It's Friday - yay!

What's making you smile today?

cheers to my health! part 5: yummy and healthy food - it can be done!

As mentioned previously, my husband and I are trying to eat healthier, eat less and eat gluten free when we have the choice. We've only been at it for about 2 weeks now but I can see and feel a difference. One of the main things I notice is that my sinus issues have cleared up somewhat. Feels amazing to not feel like I have to blow my nose every 30 seconds. Here are a few of my new favourites:

I am going to have to try and find some of Van's Natural Foods products because I am in love with these. They taste just like a delicious oatmeal cookie. I told my husband to try one and he said "ew, no, too healthy" but then when he finally tasted it, I had to grab it back because he would have eaten the whole thing! Gluten free and only 150 calories - can have one for breakfast and keeps full through the morning. Delicious!

I am in love with Mediterranean Snack Foods Baked Lentil Chips in Cucumber Dill. They don't have a ton of flavour but my husband made a bowl of chicken salad so I used it as dip with the lentil chips and all the flavours jumped out at me. If you try them - have them with salsa or something. So good!

We love pasta in our house and usually have it about once a week because it is easy and I can make enough for lunch left-overs. We have changed from whole wheat pasta to brown rice pasta and I am so glad we did. It tastes like regular pasta (in my opinion) but doesn't make me feel bloated, or hurt my stomach. I am in love with almost everything at Trader Joe's but we tried this pasta and were sold! Ingredients: brown rice and water. Can't really get much simpler than that!

There are a few other products that I enjoy but these are definitely my favourite so far! Check them out if you get a chance. Delicious alternatives that won't break the bank!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

cheers to my health! part 4: face time

During my quest for chemical free beauty products at the drugstore I stumbled across this at Target across the line:

I was on the mission to find a toner so that I could start washing, toning and moisturizing on a regular basis. Since my 20's Clinique days, I haven't been toning on a regular basis and wanted to try some products and pick out a few reasonably priced ones and start my own beauty regime.

I will be 34 next month and my happy/smiling lines are noticeable so thought it was time to take care of myself a little bit more. I've only been using this product for a few weeks (and not regularly - I am so horrible when it comes to a beauty regime. I either just want to go to bed or I am too tired in the morning) and I definitely already notice a positive difference. The bottle basically says it will help with the oil (I have a dry nose,oily everything else and huge pores so it is a pain in the butt to find something that works) and it will reduce breakouts in 8 hours.

Without getting too graphic, I had this horrible pimple on the side of my chin. You know - those big, painful, under the skin ones that you were SO embarrassed about in high school (side note - Melissa if you are reading this - I am still scarred by Heavy D pointing out a zit on my cheek to the whole class that I thought I was so oh-so-cleverly hiding with my long hair in Mr. Sparks' Social Studies class. Bitch. Okay - I digress ...). Normally it takes weeks for these ones to go away and even though it is faintly there, the redness and soreness were both gone over night.

I'm not endorsed to say anything about any products but for the price (it was under $10.00) it is worth a try if you have any of the same skin troubles as me. If anything changes and something goes horribly wrong I will definitely let you know.

To all my 30-something girlfriends out there ... I would love to hear about your beauty regime and what works well for you! Thanks friends. xo

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

family weekend - good for my soul

This past weekend my whole family was in town to celebrate my Grandmother's 90th birthday. My Dad's family (from California), my Mom's family and the Husband's family - all in one place on Saturday for dinner at my parents' house. Then Sunday we spent the day at St. Michael's (where my Grandmother lives) and had tea and cake with our extended family (on my Dad's side). I haven't seen some of these people in probably 10 years (since my Dad passed away).

The weekend was filled with laughs, hugs, smiles and memories ... it was just what I needed at exactly the right time and I am so grateful that we all were in the same place at the same time for such a happy occasion.

A few of my favourite shots from Saturday's dinner at my parents' house ...
My niece Sidney and cousin Charles hanging out. She is all cheesy smiles and he can't figure her out. Typical girl vs boy behaviour!

My cousin Abbey taking charge. She is so going to be a school teacher one day.

Beautiful Abbey. Her parents are in trouble in a few years! xo

The twins getting in on the hair salon action.

Charles saying good-bye to Ainsley. And yes - they just met that night but he didn't want to let her go. Their good-bye lasted forever.

And a few of my favourites from Sunday's celebration at St. Michael's ...

Charles wanted "GG" to share her cake. He waited so patiently all day after all.

Me and the beautiful birthday gal. LOVE! xo

Just the Bower side ladies: My cousin Danielle, my mom Dixie, my grandmother Janet, me and my aunt Janice. Such a beautiful group of strong women.

Two of my favourite men with the birthday girl: Husband Chad and Cousin Mike.

Happy birthday Grandma, Grandmother, GG, Aunt, Cousin, Sister, Mother, Friend ... Janet! xoxo

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

recent projects part 2

In November my best friend married her other best friend :) It was a magical time for her so I wanted to make sure that I gave her something extra special as part of her gift instead of just good old cash (which is always a good wedding gift choice if you ask me). She made me the most beautiful "speech book" that included her MOH speech. I was so grateful for that token that I can keep with all my other wedding mementos - and I wanted to do something similar for her.

I really hope that she is okay with me sharing this - I love you girl! :) I took photos of the mini album I made for her because there were so many amazing memories wrapped up in those few pages. I wanted to have a record of it myself. For some reason the photos are in opposite order so you will have to see it from the back to the front. This was by far my favourite project that I worked on last year - there are so many people who I love throughout the pages. Thanks for the memories friends! xo