Follow the Signs

At first I was craving a fresh start, a clean slate in a nicer, newer house with my new baby. It wasn’t until things started falling apart that I realized I can be perfectly happy in what we already have. It’s easy to want new things and a clean slate but sometimes life just doesn’t work out that way and it smacks you back to reality.

After weeks of packing up our house and going from house showing to house showing, endless rental applications, credit checks, sleepless nights (and I literally mean 3-4 hours every night) we were really discouraged that we weren’t finding places to suit our needs or that would even match up to what we already have. Why leave a place to move to another that’s smaller, more expensive, and in a horrible area of town? We promised ourselves throughout this process that we wouldn’t settle and we would only move if we could find something better. It was all about relocating to the other end of town because we both work there and we’d be a little closer to family. In the end we found that we were settling, we were settling to the point that we would have moved forward with any place that would taken us, even if it meant moving to the worst area of town.

With two more weeks left before we were supposed to be out (and seemingly homeless), it seemed like the universe attempted to throw a bunch of signs our way. Hubby got a full time job downtown and wouldn’t require to travel to the other end of town. Our landlord came in and fixed the initial issues in our current place, and with me going on maternity leave in only 2 months I wouldn’t need to travel far either from where we are. I started to realize all these factors that were influencing our move initially are no longer factors at all.

Now I have faith that the universe is pushing me in the right direction and I firmly believe this has all happened for a reason, which seemed disappointing at first but I realized that this is how it should be, and we will be just fine. Follow the signs, the universe is trying to tell you something. I was so determined to push through and move no matter what that I was letting that must all/be all goal cloud my judgement and inhibit me from seeing that we can be perfectly content with what we already have (maybe with a little TLC).

Literally to the second, since I had that big realization it felt like a huge weight was lifted from my chest. Weeks of stress and worry were just gone. Now I am in full blown nesting mode, getting the baby’s room ready, patching up and repainting walls, hell I even re-caulked the bathroom! Packing everything up was great because it forced us to go through everything and throw out or donate unused furniture. Now we only have what we use day to day and what we need.

Lesson learned: sometimes you have a plan but things don’t work out. Try to be accepting of the changes and understand that everything is as it should be and that you can be happy with what you have. I always find myself wanting or yearning for more, feeling discontent and restless. I have to teach myself everyday to value and appreciate what I have, the crave for change and my overall restlessness overpowered that. Everything we went through initially felt like a huge burden but it really turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Follow. The. Signs.

The Truth about my Marriage

We Learned How to Argue

Let’s face it, everyone argues differently. Some people want their space, some people want to deal with it right then and there. Realistically it just takes time to get to know someone well enough to know how to handle them or a rising issue. After 3 years together we learned how to argue. Arguing is inevitable, its going to happen if and when. Arguing is actually healthy in a relationship if you know how to do it properly. Bottling things up inside will only make the anger grow and soon there will be a crap load of resentment there. We try not to say things that are mean or that we know will purposefully upset each other and we try to voice our concerns without a tone. Let’s just say it takes a lot of thought and calm, but you get a much more rewarding end result from it. Sometimes when you’re mad, you’re mad and you just need your space; we can respect that too.

We Support Each Others Dreams

Sometimes he’s gone for weeks at a time, some nights he’s at the studio, some nights he’s at band practice or has a local gig. What can I say? He’s a busy guy, but I support his passions and dreams even when I may not be too happy about missing him for weeks. At the same time he supported me through the majority of my design schooling, crying fits, all-nighters, and even now to this day I have changed my career path and he’s continuously supporting me with that. In the end we know it’s what makes the other happy and we relish in that. All we want to do is see each other succeed.

We Have The Same Family Values

This really helps in any relationship. We believe in family time and doing things together. When it comes to raising our daughter we have the same views on how she should be brought up and what our family dynamic will be. Obviously being new parents a lot of things we will learn along the way but it’s nice not to worry about a difference of opinion when it comes to core family values.

We Respect Alone Time

As much as we love each other and love spending all our time together we both know alone time is important too. It’s important not to completely envelope in each others lives and to focus on your own personal needs as well. We can be in the same house but be in completely different rooms doing our own thing and nothing will be taken personally. He knows he can always go out with his friends and he will always allow me to go have some girl time when I need it. We know we always have each other to come back to at home. Dinner has always been an important time for us so we generally make sure we are together for that when we can be. Devoted time to each other is important but space is equally important.

We Don’t Take Each Other for Granted

This pretty much goes hand in hand with appreciation and respect. We each bring our own qualities to the table. I value the small things he does for me everyday and it goes hand in hand with him. Saying “thank you” or just acknowledging little things goes a long way. When you feel appreciated you have no problem with continuing your effort.

We Balance Each Other

He’s the Ying to my Yang. I’m the introvert and he’s the extrovert. While we are similar in many ways and have the same interests when it comes to our personalities we are almost polar opposites. I always have believed this is for the better. He’s extremely social and has endless amounts of friends and acquaintances, while I prefer to be at home and have few but extremely strong friendships. We balance each other out in different ways as well. I tend to manage all the budgeting and business tasks while he tends to deal more with the social tasks (something that I usually dread doing). I found that he has a new appreciation to being at home with our family but at the same time he also completely pushes me to break out of my shell in public.

We Take Interest

We take interests in the others interests. I am always floored when I see how talented he is with music because I know that’s something I could never do (I’ve never been musically inclined). At the same time he was always so encouraging with my design work and loved showing it off to anyone that would see. I love seeing his face when I came home and he tells me he made another song and wants to show me. These are his passions just as when I get excited about something I have done the first thing I want to do is show him. If you don’t take interest in what your partner is doing then don’t expect them to take an interest in you.

We Work as a Team

We each take on chores, laundry, cleaning, cooking. If I am working late and he’s home he will make dinner. If he’s at work and I’m home I’ll do the laundry. When I have been sick and bed ridden in this pregnancy he took on more chores and cooking. We both try to pull our own weight and when the other needs help we are there whether it’s emotionally or physically. We really try not to have everything fall on one person.

We Trust Each Other

Do you know how nice it is to be in a relationship where there is complete trust? Considering this is the first relationship ever where I never have to worry. Trust was never just there at the beginning it took years to build and get to this point. It took mistakes and forgiveness along the way. In the end, we tell each other where we are all the time and we know we are always coming home to each other. We can pick up the others phone or see their social media account and be worry-free. This allows us to just be in our relationship and focus on more important things.

We Stay Open to New Things

You have to roll with the punches. Do you think we expected to get pregnant a week after our honeymoon? Nope! But hey, we rolled with it. We both understand that life happens and we have each other to lean on during stressful times. Life is always moving forward. If you aren’t open to new things or a new adventure then life will remain stagnant and unchanging. Where’s the fun in that?

We Acknowledge Our Mistakes

In the end, when we are having an argument or we know we are doing something that is upsetting the other, “sorry” goes a long way. Without acknowledging your mistakes you cant move forward and there’s no forgiveness. Eventually you just hold it all in and get bitter and resentful. We don’t say sorry unless we mean it and in the end we always make an effort to forgive and move on from it.

We Don’t “Expect” Things

Some things are expected. I expect that he will tell me where he goes and when we plans to come home or I expect that he won’t leave a huge mess at home for me to clean up. These are typical things that are expected out of respect for each other. BUT we don’t just start expecting the other to know what we want and how we feel. We voice it. As soon as you start to just expect your partner to  just know what you are feeling or what you want then you’re just going to get upset if he/she just doesn’t clue into your cues and you’ll be wondering why they don’t care. If you’re upset about something, say it. If you’re unhappy, voice it. Nothing can be changed if its not acknowledged.

 

I’m no relationship guru. I’m in no way trying to brag about how great my relationship is. The truth about my marriage is that it’s hard work, but it’s hard work you are willing to put in and that’s what we go out of our way to do everyday. It pays off in the end, you have someone who appreciates you, trusts you, respects you, and brings you joy. I am lucky I have found someone who cares enough to put the effort in and that it’s not a one way street. The truth is I couldn’t see myself doing life with anyone else and I only get excited thinking about our life with our daughter in the years to come.

 

The Art of doing Nothing: 20 Weeks of Pregnancy

Have you ever watched or read Eat Pray Love? One of my favorite scenes is when she’s in Italy and learns the phrase “la dolce far niente” in Italian which means “the art of doing nothing” or “the sweetness in doing nothing”. As I’ve been coming to the end of my time off work I feel as though I have mastered this very mind set. I’m going to be honest and say I had no idea how stressed and anxious I actually was until I was physically removed from my work environment and had a solid two months to focus on my health. Focusing on my health eventually lead to a realization that for the longest time I wasn’t truly loving myself. It was always go, go, go, be productive, don’t be lazy. What I was really doing was running myself into the ground. Stress headaches were an everyday occurrence, trouble sleeping. I’m sure like most people, I couldn’t shut my mind off at night.

After being diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum and going through 3 months of hell, not leaving my bed, and loosing 15 pounds my energy started to return. My Ah Ha! moment was when I was standing in my kitchen at 11:30 in the morning (drinking my 1 allotted cup of coffee a day) just leaning against the counter talking to my husband while he was making himself breakfast and I felt totally content. I was completely happy with just standing there soaking in and appreciating the moment when normally I would be planning the 50 things that I would need to do that day. The phrase “enjoy the little things” took on a whole new meaning in my life. Before when I was stressed I was just doing whatever I had to do to just get through the day and make it to tomorrow. Daily enjoyment was slowly slipping away with a stiff routine.

I learned there needs to be a balance between productivity and self-love. Its about making time for everyday chores and also time for yourself. This time to myself opened up my routine to things like meditation, yoga, reading more, even doing things like napping just because I can! (cause God knows I won’t be sleeping much when the babe comes). With my free time I was able to put more time into meal planning, exploring different healthier recipes, clean eating. Especially after finding out I was pregnant I wanted to eat the best I can and give my babe the best. I also wanted to make sure I didn’t gain an unreal amount of baby weight at the end of 9 months. Clean eating has actually been easy because most of my cravings have included mass amounts fresh fruits and vegetables, pancakes, and yogurt. And when I say mass amounts of fruits I’m not kidding…it gets eaten quick. When I’m craving something savory, which isn’t to often, its poutine or fries (specifically sweet potato fries). When I want something for that sweet tooth I made my own apple crisp with the bags (and I mean BAGS) of apples we buy. I’m really lucky that my husband is being so open to try new things and eat better along with me.

These meals here included stuffed peppers with quinoa and grilled vegetables, cabbage “steaks”, and healthy pancakes made with oats, greek yogurt, banana, and blueberries.

When it came to my 4th month of pregnancy I was finally in a place where I could start to enjoy it. I was noticing my nails were rock hard and growing like crazy, along with my hair. I was nesting hardcore but because we are in the process of moving I couldn’t nest! Nesting turned to packing, which isn’t horrible because we are now super prepared for when we do move in a month or so. I know once we are in the new place I will be right back into nesting and getting the nursery ready. It wasn’t until about week 17/18 that I started peeing like a race horse and feelings movements and kicks constantly.

OH HEY we also found out the gender

We were pretty certain for a long time because EVERY gender myth you’ve heard when it comes to a girl was my situation. Hyperemesis gravidarum, I am squeamish with meat, craving sugar, higher bpm during our doctor check ups. It all pointed to a bouncing baby girl and we were right!

I’m officially half way through my pregnancy and its crazy to think that in 20 more weeks we will have our little gremlin here. Sometimes it still randomly hits me like a ton of bricks that I’m creating a tiny human. My one goal with going back to work is to not allow myself to get into a stressed out routine similar to what I put myself in before. I don’t want to forget this content feeling.

A Fork in the Road

At one point in everyone’s life we come to a fork in the road. Do we go left or right? Or is it not so simple? Not everything can be classified into black or white, some decisions are a lot harder, especially when it comes to career choices. Lately its been something I have been thinking of a lot more since we know we have a baby on the way. I really want the best for my child and a solid career will definitely help that and get us to where we want to be with buying our first home and financial security.

Originally the plan was to go back to school after my maternity leave and pursue Kitchen and Bath Design as I have already done 3 years of an Interior Design course, but after realizing that it would 4-5 years until I am certified and really making money I started to consider other options. Not to mention the field is so competitive and usually requires a big move to a big city like Toronto. Realistically me and hubby want to eventually buy our first home and 4-5 years of certification and exams just seemed way to long when it comes to where we want to be in life.

Now, I am the type of person where I need to know what I am working towards…If I don’t have an understanding of that and my future goals then I feel totally lost and stressed out. I didn’t want to just “give up” on design after putting years of effort and money into my education but I knew I wanted to be out and making money QUICK and still dedicating myself to something I enjoy (I guess that’s everyone’s dream career, right?). I actually came across Event Management, its appealing because its a 1 year program, requires no certification, and there are tons of different avenues to go with it. Concerts, conferences, exhibits, weddings, recreational events, meetings, etc. There is always a demand and essentially the opportunity to eventually work for yourself.

I have also been considering getting certified as a Interior Decorator and Home Stager. Both are still in the “design” field and something I can handle or do freelance on the side. I would like to think that I am molding myself into a triple threat that dapples in everything I enjoy. The dream would be to one day work for myself! It sounds silly but I made pros and cons lists for both options (merely because that’s just how I organize my thoughts) and after long talks with my husband and parents I realized now is the time to make changes and prepare for the future. Okay, maybe not RIGHT now because I still have to have my baby and be a mommy, but there’s no harm in knowing what you are working towards. In the end I know I don’t want to work a minimum wage job for the rest of my life.

Changing a career path can be scary and completely out of your comfort zone but in the end you need to make the best decisions for yourself and family. When I was considering this new path I had an overwhelming calmness come over me, it just felt right in my gutt. Maybe I am naive thinking I can have my cake and eat it too when it comes to a career but I’d like to think that you should wake up everyday and enjoy your job, not dread doing it. I want to work to live not live to work. It really comes down to grabbing life by the horns and making the change to better yourself. There is nothing wrong with dedicating time to your own happiness.

So a fork in the road is a good thing. Take it for what it is and move forward. Feel good about your decisions and do whats best for yourself and family.

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My Journey to a Mala

What is a mala? If you’re asking that then you are where I was a few weeks ago. I honestly had no idea up until a good friend shared a post of one she made herself. I was interested and started doing some digging and was overwhelmed with information. A mala is essentially a Buddhist meditation bead necklace or bracelet that has the same principle as a rosary. It allows you to count or keep track of your mantras while you are meditating. It can essentially be worn as well as its generally made with crystals, precious stones, wooden beads…all materials that have specific meanings and are associated with different things. These materials can be tailored to you and you can essentially harvest their properties and energies.

An article I found described it as ” a ‘heavenly garland’ used for reflection, yoga practice, cleansing of the chakras and crystal healing”. When I really thought about it, it just made so much sense. Meditation has always been an issue for me. I could never concentrate or clear my mind enough to sit down and focus on one thought, my mind always just races with 15 thoughts and stresses at once. I decided to make my own as well to help me concentrate and possibly enable me to get the full benefits of meditation. Something I have never really able to fully do.

I am making my mala specifically related to energies and spiritual properties I want to “harvest” or attract. I also did it a little differently and picked a specific mantra to recite relating to that specific bead type. Because there are so many variations of malas in all different religions and practices, they all vary in certain aspects. This means all malas are different and made with different intentions in mind. This is why I love the idea of making one myself, it will be 100% unique and catered to me.

 

Howlite (66 Beads – Crown Chakra): Peaceful and nurturing, relieves stress and anxiety. Calms an overactive mind and assists with meditation and spiritual connection. Eases sleep patterns. Increases understanding and patience. Boosts motivation and ambition. Assists goal realization

“I have a purpose in this life”

Moonstone (26 Beads – Crown Chakra): Uncovers parts of the self that we know least about. Personal growth. Encourages moving into the unknown with perception. Extremely protective stone, especially for travelers. Balances women’s hormones in line with the lunar cycle.

“I change my thoughts, I change my world”

Amazonite (12 Beads – Heart Chakra): Calms the soul. Facilitates personal growth and being true to ones self and others. Increases rationalism, and objectivity and balances the emotions.

“I am enough” or “Where I am right now is exactly where I need to be”

925 Sterling Silver (4 Beads – Counter Beads): Sacred metal of the moon, has a strong affinity for the tides of the ocean and water. Increases spirituality and intuition. Has powerful healing capabilities. Reflects light onto the soul.

“I am open to the abundance of the universe”

Grey Agate (1 Bead – Guru BeadCrown Chakra): Security, self-confidence and inner stability. Cleanses the aura. Stimulates creativity and intellect. Develops strength and resilience. Deepens spiritual connectivity, peace and calm.

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As I said there are many ways to make a mala, but I am sticking with the traditional 108 bead style. I’m also using larger silver beads for counter beads with a raised design so that its easier to feel them or take notice when I get to that point on the mala. Why 108? When I was doing research there were actually countless reasons all coming from different beliefs. I’m not going to sit here and name them all, but a few that I thought were interesting. There is said to be 108 Desires, Lies, and Delusions in humans. The chakra centers are where energy lines intersect, and there are said to be a 108 energy lines which meet to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, which is said to be the path to self-realization and enlightenment (This was part of the reason I used precious stones related to the heart and crown chakra in my own mala). If someone is able to reach a state of calmness & enlightenment during meditation they can have just 108 breaths in a day. There are 12 houses and 9 planets according to astrologers, 12 x 9 = 108. The average distance of the Earth from the Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon. The metal silver is said to represent the moon in astrology and silver has the atomic weight of 108. Honestly, there was tons more, creepy right?

When you use a mala in meditation, you aren’t supposed to pass over the guru bead. Once you finish your mantras then you simply just go back the way you came. The guru bead symbolizes a higher power beyond ourselves or your “teacher”. One does not skip over the guru bead when meditating as its seen as disrespectful or “stepping over” ones teacher. I figured with this principle that grey agate would be very suitable as a large guru stone because its said to deepen your spiritual connectivity.

I have ordered the beads and will make another blog post about how I made mine, the finished product and how its benefiting me! I love the idea of making one myself because its completely personalized to me and its something I put my own time and effort into doing. I will just have a better appreciation for it all around and a deeper emotional connection to something personal I have made for myself.

If you’re not setting goals, there’s nothing to work towards

I had a really bad week this week. I was out of my morning sickness medication and ended up being really sick and in bed for a few days. I had no energy therefore didn’t do any yoga. I also cheated on my clean eating and ate a big poutine (what can I say? pregnancy cravings!). Also after finally eating sushi after craving it for weeks I spent the night with my head in the toilet. Apparently baby isn’t fond of sushi yet (don’t worry it was fish-free). Lets just say I felt discouraged and like I was loosing all motivation, but feeling sick can really bring you down and make you not feel like your normal self.

In reality, it was just a bad week and I just went off course. I figured it was time to do a dream board. Listing goals and things I want to accomplish over a 5 year period. I’m a firm believer that if you don’t make goals for yourself then you aren’t going to work towards anything. This goes back to elementary school when teachers would sit you down and make you write out what you wanted to be when you grew up. Same idea. I feel like I just needed a kick in the butt and a reminder everyday as to what motivates me. I’m going to print my dream board and keep it posted in my room as a constant reminder of whats important and what I want to accomplish. Some of these are pretty big goals but I’m a very goal orientated person and I dream big. Even if I doesn’t happen over a 5 year period, it doesn’t matter. All good things comes with time and hard work.

dream-board

Now that my morning sickness medication is back in my system and I have my energy back, I feel like I can get back on track a bit. We are going grocery shopping again so we can stock up on fresh food. I also purchased cloth shopping bags and produce bags to help us continue to attempt to go zero-waste. Finally as a treat to myself I bought organic makeup (I went with elate cosmetics, see my other blog Switching to Natural Makeup Brands) for when I go back to work in a couple weeks. The goal is to also get our car on the road before I go back to work to make this pregnant lady’s life a lot easier!

Switching to Natural Makeup Brands

To completely dedicate myself to a natural and toxic-free lifestyle I knew I would have to eventually switch over to a more organic makeup brand. At first I was just jumping from different department brands trying to find that “perfect fit” with not luck. I actually slowly started switching everything over to Tarte after reading they get their pigments from natural sources like berries and flowers and they were easily accessible to me at Sephora. I was surprised to find out that they are actually not natural so I was on the hunt again. I found some fantastic resources online. This blog specifically gave a great overview on most natural and cruelty free brands; 18 Natural & Organic Makeup Brands.

Keep in mind brands like Arbonne, Kat Von D, Tarte, etc. while they are VEGAN and CRUELTY-FREE and do contain plant based materials and no animal by products still have a looooonnng list of ingredients, are NOT guaranteed GMO free, and are not using all certified organic ingredients. There is tons of loopholes in marketing and most of these come down to the term “Natural” or “Pure”. Do your research, ask for ingredient lists. The brands I have listed are actually proud to list their ingredients in their products and usually have a significant lesser amount.

The one downside to natural makeup is that its not so readily accessible. Most of these brands can only be bought online from US companies. Some are specifically from Australia and don’t ship to Canada. Also some brands are more focused towards skin & hair care rather than makeup. It took some digging and reading LOTS of reviews.

Out of the brands listed I found a few that seemed like they had the most potential as quality makeup brands. Variety, price, and shipping to Canada was also a big factor to me.

ILIA – Focus on Foundations and Lipsticks, Certified Organic Products, Fair Prices for decent sized products ($24-$44), Not much variety in skin tone variations and not a large spectrum of products. Amazing Reviews on the products.

RMS Beauty – Decent Variety from Face, Eyes, Lips, and Brushes but more expensive for smaller sized products ($25-$78). Certified Organic but not Vegan. Not many skin tone variations. Amazing Reviews on the products. (This brand contains a beauty oil)

Alima Pure – Better prices for full size products ($18-$42, with most products ranging around $24). Lots of variety in skin tone variations and a full spectrum of makeup products from Face, Eyes, Lips, Brushes, etc. Refillable Compacts. This brand offers a foundation sample kit for $24 to find your perfect colour.

Elate CosmeticsMade in Canada! Refillable Pallets and minimal plastics for the packaging. Good spectrum of products from Face, Eyes, and Lips. Good prices for full size products. So far the most inexpensive brand I’ve seen ($8-$28 with most products ranging around $20). Great Reviews and this brand also offers Face, Eye, and Lip sample kit for $8 to find your best match.

Vapour – Full size products but more expensive. ($25-$50) Decent spectrum of products from Face, Lips, & Skin Care (not much eye products). 100% natural. All products contain 70% organic ingredients and 30% mineral pigments and essential oils

So far Alima Pure and Elate are winning for me as they have the best prices, full size products, offer a cheap sample kit so I’m not shopping blind with my skin tone, and I’m even loving that elate is Canadian. I don’t wear a full face of makeup day to day as it is so I won’t need many products, mostly just a foundation (w/ contour/highlighter), blush, and mascara. When I get the products I’ll be a doing a full review on them! This is just what I’ve managed to find and my personal opinion when it comes to makeup (as we know everyone’s different) but switching over to an organic makeup brand is huge. You wear makeup day to day and it constantly get absorbed through your skin, mouth, and eyes. This is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself naturally.

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