Changing my world, one step at a time

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Suffice it to say that life hasn't been easy lately. There's been health stuff and family stuff, and going back to work (it's been over a year) stuff and well, LIFE stuff.

I didn't do any new projects in April. Adding something more to my plate was an impossibility. Sometimes that's just the way life is and we just have to accept that the best thing we can do is to maintain the status quo. 

I got another Christmas gift done. This is a cardigan for a special woman....I really hope that she enjoys it. I'm just finishing up a pair of Christmas socks for one of my sons. Then I'll be moving on to another shawl. I was going great guns for awhile but seem to have lost some steam. I'll have to ramp things up a bit and get back on track. 

I had my grandson for an overnight last Friday. So much fun to spend time with him. We ate ice cream, watched movies, he drew lots of pictures of different characters and I cut them out for him. and I made him french toast in the morning. Just like when he lived here. He's growing so fast and changing so much. He'll always be my little bear though! Grandchildren are so precious.

I saw a duck swimming in the creek near the house last week. And today I noticed that the trees are finally budding! And we've had a few bulbs bloom in the garden. Spring looks like it's finally, actually here. 

I cooked up a pork tenderloin Sunday night. I just drizzled it with olive oil and sprinkled it with a roasted garlic and pepper mix. Baked at 425 for 22 minutes and it was perfect! I served it with a salad of beet greens, kale, broccoli slaw. Drizzled with an avocado herb dressing and topped with feta, roasted quinoa and almonds. Probably the best meal I've made in the last month. Might even be one of the ONLY meals I've made in the past month! 

It took too long to recover from the surgery and the post-op infection that followed. Then there was the house painting to contend with (just the kitchen, bathroom and stairwell left!). The strained and swollen knee. Going back to work. Gastro. Crohn's flare up. Pain. Exhaustion. This has been my reality for the past month. But all's well that ends well.....and I've come through to the other side.

C   xo 

Thursday, March 23, 2017


I'm slowly recovering from my surgery on Monday. Still having some pain and serious lack of energy but every day it's getting a little better.

I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my parents after my surgery. They cheered me up immensely! I love cut flowers and haven't had any in the house for quite awhile so that made these extra special.

While I've been sitting here on pain medication and healing, I've gotten busy and finished this Beach Shawl. Another Christmas gift is done and in the bag! So glad that have the opportunity to finish so many Christmas projects ahead of time. It's such a I'm moving on to another pair of socks.

I know this post isn't very exciting but I just don't have the energy to write more. Hopefully, I'll be back to myself soon.

Friday, March 17, 2017

This and That

There's been a whole lot of this and that in the past week. My Buy Nothing project is going well. Staying out of stores is the single most helpful thing that I'm doing. The only store I've been in is when I've bought some groceries. And those groceries have been staples that can be used to make multiple meals.

I had the pleasure of seeing my youngest daughter in a lead role in a play last week. It was a dark comedy called "Criminal Genius". She did such a fantastic job. After three years studying theater in college she's really grown in her acting ability. Today she let me know that she'd gotten a job with a stage technician company. I'm really grateful that she's getting the opportunity to work in her chosen field. Theater is her love and her passion. I also got some news this week from my youngest son letting me know that he'd gotten a summer internship with the federal government. I'm really proud of him for going after what he wants and his perseverance in doing so! He's still got two years of university left and it's exciting watching his life unfold.

I spent a night at my oldest daughter's house this week and got to enjoy time with this wonderful little man. He's such a joy to be around...five year olds are absolutely great. And my daughter is doing a good job raising him on her own. It's not an easy job being a single mother. Something I know first hand.

The walls of the house are slowly getting painted. The dining room, living room and front hallway are finally done! Renovating a house and getting it ready to sell is such an exhausting undertaking! One I wouldn't want to repeat any time soon. I'm looking forward to being done with it and finding something small and cozy in the country. Or at least a small town. Somewhere that we could have a garden. And chickens. And room to breathe! Away from the hustle and bustle and traffic.

My husband made a great dinner one night. Pan fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans in an onion cream sauce. He even lit the candles! So nice to be spoilt.

Another night a friend brought over dinner. She made a delicious butternut squash soup and this fabulous wrap with lettuce, marinated chicken, tomato, cucumber, carrot and a wonderful homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. I so appreciate her doing this. And helping with painting on time of it! Carol you have no idea how much I appreciate you :)

I'm going to spend the weekend doing schoolwork (business plan....ugh) and getting ready for my surgery on Monday. I'm not looking forward to it to say the least!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! And thanks for reading....

C   xo

Monday, March 13, 2017

Living with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is unlike any other medical issue….it can’t be seen or measured (except subjectively) and there’s no one way to “make it better”. These complicated factors make it really difficult to communicate to others what you’re going through. Unlike other illnesses most people don’t understand chronic pain and its effects. And unless they’ve been through it themselves, those that think they do know are sometimes misinformed and often judgmental.

Living most of the day in chronic pain and exhaustion makes me not a lot of fun to be around sometimes. Trust me when I say, that I don’t want to be this way! I still want to enjoy my life. I wish I could do all the things that others do. I wish that I could just get up and get things done. But my life isn’t like that. There are days where the pain is so severe that I either end up spending most of the day crying and cringing or medicated to cope with it but too zoned out to function. If I’m having a good day, chances are that I will push myself to make up for what I’ve missed out on and pay for it later. It’s hard not to be depressed when it seems like the rest of the world is moving forward, making plans and living their dreams. I have been dealing with this for years. I try really hard to be happy within my own unique circumstances. It doesn’t mean that I’m not in pain or exhausted or am “getting better”. It means that I’m happy despite these things. The chronic pain is still there.

People tend to get upset when I say no to going shopping or going out for dinner or going for a walk. If standing for 5 minutes is exhausting and pain inducing there’s no way I can spend 2 hours walking around a mall. If I can’t sit without a heating pad how can I enjoy dinner? If pain kept me up all night I’m not going to be very sociable. I find myself making plans, then forcing myself to physically and emotionally go through with them so as not to disappoint others. Because people have a really hard time understanding when I have to cancel. One of the most frustrating things about chronic pain is not knowing from day to day how I’m going to feel. And if I go through with those plans anyway? Chances are I will pay later. So, I wish people would understand that and not take it personally if I’m unable to go through with something. I have to take care of myself first. Only I know what it’s like to live in my body. Chronic pain is such a variable thing. What I can do one day becomes impossible the next. This is maddening, I know. But that’s the way it is. If I tell you that I have to sit down or take something for pain, I really mean it. It means my body is screaming at me and I need to take care of it right away.

Chronic pain wreaks havoc on the body and the mind. It’s exhausting and frustrating. Learning to live life while dealing with it is hard. Quite often it just doesn’t get “fixed”. It continues despite a myriad of treatments. People need to understand that it’s real. Living with chronic pain is a lonely thing.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Clean Fifteen and the Dirty Dozen

We all know that as adults we should be eating 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. But if we stop and think about the amount a pesticide residue we could be consuming it can get a little scary. That's why paying attention to the yearly listing of the "clean fifteen" and the "dirty dozen" is so important. The "clean fifteen" lists those fruits and vegetables that we can eat without worrying so much about pesticide residue. The "dirty dozen" lists those that we should be buying organic.

Here's this year's lists:

The Clean Fifteen

1.   sweet corn
2.   avocados
3.   pineapples
4.   cabbage
5.   onions
6.   frozen sweet peas
7.   papayas
8.   asparagus
9.   mangoes
10. eggplant
11. honeydew melon
12. kiwi
13. cantaloupe
14. cauliflower
15. grapefruit

The Dirty Dozen

1.   strawberries
2.   spinach
3.   nectarines
4.   apples
5.   peaches
6.   pears
7.   cherries
8.   grapes
9.   celery
10. tomatoes
11. sweet bell peppers
12. potatoes

It would be nice to be able to always eat organic but when you can't afford to do so these lists provide a little guidance of what produce is lower in pesticides.

Personal care products are another area where small choices can make a big difference in our toxic load. Handmade (by you or someone else) with little or no chemicals is definitely the way to go!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

This week

Hey there!
Well I’ve made it through the week. There’s been some yoga, some toning exercises and NO SPENDING…except for gas for the car and that’s on the necessities list so it doesn’t count.

I’ve finished my “happy shawl” and am pretty happy with how it turned out. Another Christmas gift is done! Now I’m working on some fingerless mitts and have the yarn for another pair of socks and another shawl. I’m determined to get the majority of my Christmas knitting done by summer. Then I can move on to some sewing projects. I haven’t sewn in over twenty years so that should be fun.

I’m in the midst of working on Business assignments for school. Not my forte. To say this is difficult for me is an understatement. I’ve managed to write the test dealing with the legalities of working as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and am now finishing up an assignment. Then I’ll be moving on to writing a business plan. Something I have absolutely zero experience with.

Despite this awful cold I managed to make it to church on Sunday. I went with my Dad and it was nice to spend some alone time with him as it doesn’t happen often.

I’m reading “All the Single Ladies” by Dorothea Benton Frank right now. I just love her books, they have such a great Southern, Lowcountry flavour. I adore everything southern! The food, the accents, the culture, the people. I made my first trip south back in 2004. A friend and I took a road trip with the intention of driving to Florida but the vehicle broke down in Myrtle Beach. Because of the time it took to fix it we decided to only go as far as Charleston, South Carolina. I fell in love with the magic of the place. All of Frank’s books are set in the Lowcountry and with every one that I read I’m whisked back to the south.

I’d love to return one day. And until then at least there are books and cookbooks that help me feel like I’m there. As long as I don’t look out the window and see all the snow!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Buy Nothing Project

So, this is the big one for March! I’ve been reading a couple of books and I’ve decided to bite the bullet. I’ll also continue to eat as unprocessed as I can and move daily (unless I’m coughing and wheezing like I am now, stupid cold!) whenever and however I can. The purpose of these projects is to incorporate positive change into my life. Hopefully, for the long haul. I’ve lost 8 pounds since January 1st. It might not seem like a lot but at least it is a step in the right direction…only 52 left to go!

For the Buy Nothing Project the main goal is to break the spending habit. Doing so will help me to pay down my debt, instead of frittering money away without thought. Filling our time with the wanting, searching and attaining of STUFF is not living! It’s not that I’m opposed to going for coffee or out for lunch. I just would like to break the habit of it and be more intentional with my spending. That means no buying books! I’ve got plenty to read so I surely won’t be lacking and it’ll feel good to see the “to be read” pile go down.

The two main books I’m using to base this project on are “The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living” by Anna Newell Jones and “31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero” by Ruth Soukup. Now I have to clarify what I mean by “buy nothing”. It doesn’t mean being unable to buy groceries of toilet paper. It doesn’t mean not being able to pay bills. It does mean buying only basic groceries and leaving the plushy toilet paper on the shelf. It means making a list of my needs and wants and leaving the wants on the shelf. There will be no prime rib this month but there will be healthy food. It also means buying paint for the house since we are slowly getting ready to sell. We do have a gift certificate to help with that however. We are planning the purchase ahead of time and since it needs to be done it’s going on the “needs” list. The other thing that I’m spending money on is a planned day pass to a great gym. It’ll come midway through the month (before a planned surgery) and after some of the painting gets done. Again this is planned so I’m not going to feel bad about it!

Needs list
cell phone (I’m cutting down on my internet data this month…that’ll save me $40)
food (from the grocery store, in season fruits and vegetables or non-brand name frozen, and only when I run out of items I already have on hand)
prescription meds and supplements that are necessary
credit card payments
bank fees

Now before wonder about the mortgage, utilities etc…, I need to clarify that I’m not working right now. I’m in school. So, my husband pays for the mortgage, condo fees, insurance, utilities, his cell phone and basic internet access at home.  If I was working these would go onto the needs list. We do try to keep expenses down as much as possible in these areas, especially utilities.

Wants list
Coffee at Starbucks
Clothes (I have lots!)
Personal care products (I’ll be making my own if I run out of anything)
Eating out
Yoga videos
Wool for knitting (I’ll use up what I’ve got this month)
Home d├ęcor (not including paint)

Let’s see how this goes! More next week…

C   xo

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

He has my heart

and he holds it in his small hands. There is NOTHING like a grandchild's love!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Anxiety toolbox

I have pretty severe anxiety issues. This expresses itself in a myriad of ways. Lately my therapist and I have been discussing having a mental health “toolbox” of things to help me curb/cope with the anxiety.

Today I had to make two different list. The first has to do with dealing with people who create anxiety in me.

Boundaries list
I’ll talk to you if:                                    You act with loving kindness
                                                                You treat me with respect
                                                                We honestly communicate
                                                                You take NO for an answer
                                                                You honour my boundaries

I’ll hang up/walk away if:                      You ask for money when you know I have none
                                                                You demand I do something/anything
                                                                You try to manipulate me
                                                                You whine
                                                                Talking to you increases my anxiety/ sends me into a panic                                                                     attack

The second list is for those times when I’m spinning from anxiety and can’t seem to stop. This is a list to get me out of my head and into my body.

1.       Take an Ativan
2.       Go for a walk with headphones and music on
3.       Watch TV and knit
4.       Put on music and cook or clean
5.       Do yoga and diffuse essential oils
6.       Meditation app (especially good late at night)

Hopefully these tools will help. I’m very tired of constantly being struck down by things. I need a way to cope.

Anyway, on to other things. Like food! I was at a friend’s house this week and her daughter kindly made my favourite cookies….they are made with egg whites and ground hazelnuts and are absolutely delicious!

My husband cooked an amazing meal for a friend and I. He poached salmon and pan seared bacon wrapped scallops. Drizzled them with a lovely beurre blanc. And served it alongside a green salad with beets, feta, almonds, toasted quinoa and an avocado herb dressing that was to die for….heaven on a plate. He also made a beer batter bread to go with the meal.

I’ve been knitting along on my “happy” shawl and am almost at the halfway point. Really enjoying this project as it’s quite mindless and knits quickly. Daily movement is still happening. I’m doing Yoga with Adriene’s 30 days of yoga. I did day 5 today and although some days are harder than others and some poses quite challenging, on the whole I am enjoying it. Since the weather has been warmer I started walking but that’s gone by the wayside for the moment since I’ve developed a huge blister on my heel that makes walking any distance horribly painful.

Well that’s it for now. More next week!

C   xo

Monday, February 20, 2017

Just rambling on....

I’m sorry that I didn’t post last week. It was a tough one….working on case studies for school, having to go for a blood transfusion, fighting this cold that is never ending. It’s been one thing after another. But things are looking up and I’m feeling better than I was. Needless to say, my daily movement project took a hit last week too. I did manage 20 minute yoga sessions three times but that was it. I was too tired and too sick to move beyond my bed and my chair.

I have a really hard time accepting when these things happen. It comes from having an all or nothing mindset. And that’s not good! Life ebbs and flows for all of us and there are times when we have to shift priorities and our mindsets! I have to learn to roll with the punches without deciding that I’ve failed and giving up. Slow and steady WILL win this race.

I tried a new face mask…it’s Kiehl’s Turmeric and Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque. It goes on like a clay mask and dries like one too, I couldn’t crack a smile without cracking the mask. The results were great though. My skin felt soft and it was much brighter. Less dull and flaky. So it did live up to it’s name.

My naturopath had mentioned to me that my thyroid was operating at a sub-optimal level. Although my lab values were within “normal” range as far as conventional medicine was concerned, I was exhibiting a lot of symptoms of hypothyroidism. I picked up a book called “The thyroid connection” by Amy Myers, MD and it’s confirmed what my Naturopathic Doctor has said. According to Myers there are things that a person can do beyond just taking medication. Diet, supplements and lifestyle changes can drive positive change in how well a person’s thyroid works. I had Grave’s Disease (an auto-immune form of hyperthyroidism) ten years ago, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that my thyroid is wonky again. This time in the opposite direction. So, I’ll keep reading and decide if her 28 day plan is something I should try. I’d like to have my ND have a look at it first too. I trust her judgement and want to make sure the plan would be a good fit for me. I’m having surgery on March 20th so it may be something I’ll look into doing in April.

I’ll be going for a walk today; this warmer weather and sunshine feels so good! I’m longing for spring…Even though I’ve used my “happy light” pretty consistently this winter and have upped my vitamin D level, I still struggle with seasonal depression. Getting outside more would help but I truly detest the cold! No more how warmly I’m dressed I still feel like I’m freezing….too bad I live in Canada! This is something I really need to work on next winter.

What’s for dinner
Monday-             gluten free spaghetti and meat sauce
Tuesday-             frittata made with red peppers, onion, spinach and goat cheese
Wednesday-      poached salmon, scallops, green beans and red peppers
Thursday-            sweet potato and chickpea curry made with kale, coconut milk and cilantro served over brown rice
Friday-                  roast beef dinner at mom and dad’s
Saturday-            chicken brochette, greek potatoes, greek salad and tzaziki

Well that’s it for now. I have you all have a great and wonderful week!
C  xo

Friday, February 10, 2017

Daily Movement update

I've been rolling out my mat this week! Besides my quick morning practice and core exercises, I've been mindful about adding movement to my day. I've been over to a friend's house 4 times in the past week to do yoga. It's felt so good! But, boy, am I ever out of shape....and it's easy to get discouraged. I get around this by reminding myself that things can be different a year from now OR I can continue doing nothing and things can remain exactly the same. The choice is mine. And that choice is made everyday.

Another thing that's helped is clarifying why I want to add daily movement to my life. The answer for me is for my health. As someone with fibromyalgia it's important for me to keep moving. The pain is so much worse when I don't. The worse the pain gets the less I want to move. It's a vicious cycle.
I want to be able to do all the things on my bucket list. I want to be able to move easily and without pain. I want the endurance to hike for four hours again and the strength to lift heavy things. Sure I want to lose weight but that's not the main reason for daily movement. My health and quality of life come first.

On days I haven't done the extra yoga I've walked and done the toning exercises mentioned in a previous post. I've managed every day but one since February started. And that's because I was sick and had zero energy or ability to get moving. This project is turning out to be a great one!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Happy reading

I solemnly resolve no to buy anymore books until I've actually made a dent in my "to be read" shelves. That includes kindle books (the list is long!) and no library books either. This has to be done, my shelves are overflowing!

There's bookcase full of books, a full shelf stuffed two books deep, 2 milk crates, a kindle and a kobo. 

At the moment I'm knee deep in schoolwork (studying Mind Body Spirit) and I just started reading "The Call of the Farm" by Rochelle Bilow. It seems like it'll be a fun read.

So what's on those "to be read" shelves? Here's a sampling:

Rare Objects by Kathleen Tessaro
Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling (late getting to this one!)
The World Before by Aislinn Hunter
Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
 The Signature of all Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Dreams of Joy by Lisa See\
China Dolls by Lisa See
The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith
Passionate Nutrition by Jennifer Adler
The Book of She by Sara Avant Stover
Whole 30 by Melissa Hartwig
Heart Fire by Shiva Rea
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
The Royal Nanny by Karen Harper
The Bookshop Corner by Jenny Colgan
A Change of Altitude by Anita Shreve
Arrowood by Laura McHugh
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Before Lunch by Angela Thirkell
Onions in the Stew by Betty McDonald

What's on your shelves?

Happy reading everyone!

C xo

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Daily movement

I've managed to keep my commitment of daily movement every day except Friday. Yesterday was just a horrible day. I had a meeting and got some crappy news. This set off a huge fibromyalgia flare up. Fever, every bit of me miserable. But I woke up this morning feeling better and have been able to tackle the day.

One thing I've been doing every evening is a list of toning exercises. If I haven't moved much beyond my sun salutations and core exercises, at least these tip me over the edge. This is what I do:

10 squats
10 lunges on my right leg
10 lunges on my left leg
5 push ups
10 crunches
15 lying glute lifts
10 side leg lifts with right leg
10 side leg lifts with left leg
30 second plank
20 second right side plank
20 second left side plank

Today I headed over to my friend Carole's to do some yoga. We did one of the "Yoga by Adriene" you tube videos. They are just great! and there is a wide range of videos, some gentle and easy, some more intense. Today was gentle and easy. It felt really good after yesterday's miserable flare up. And it's always more fun to do these things with someone else.

After yoga we sat and talked for an hour over cups of Egyptian Chamomile tea. With Balance and Bergamot in the diffuser it was so nice and relaxing. Especially after the lovely yoga set. Tea with a friend is such a treat. Then I came home to eat half a chicken sandwich, cucumbers and an apple. I've lost another pound this week which brings the total to 5 pounds. Only 55 more to go lol. Hopefully I can start losing more than 1 pound a week! But really I'm happy that it's coming off. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Simple days....the book i'm reading and what I'm going for these days!

Much love
C    xoxo

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February project

Well it's the last day in January and I've made it through my first project of 2017! As mentioned in my last post,  it didn't all go as planned but on the whole I think I did pretty good. Life this past month has been challenging and where I once would have drowned my misery in cake, that hasn't been an option. If I'm being honest, I'm finding myself more and more depressed. The news that I have a uterine tumour hasn't helped. The doctor says the odds are 90% in my favour that it is benign but that doesn't seem good enough...I want 100%! I'm taking medication designed to shrink it (and give me constant headaches to boot) and have surgery scheduled for March 20th. Then I'll find out the biopsy results. Fingers and toes crossed!

As I mentioned in my last post, I plan on continuing to eat a wholly unprocessed diet. I expect that things may slide a bit since it will not be my focus for February but that's okay. As long as I can keep coming back to it, it will be of great benefit to me and my health.

On to my February project....daily movement. I commit to moving my body daily. By daily movement I mean doing more than my current few minutes of yoga and core exercises. I mean going to the gym, walking for at least half an hour, strength training at home, longer yoga sessions. This has to become a habit for me if I'm to get well. I want to increase my endurance and strength. This will help to decrease my depression and aid in weight loss. A win-win!

I'm gearing up and getting ready to go tomorrow!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Unprocessed week four

It was a pretty good week for my unprocessed eating project. Mind you, I did have some fails this month. Chocolate (77% but not made at home), crackers, a bagel and cream cheese. I didn't make crackers, I bought some "Mary's Gone Crackers" which are fine but when I ran out I switched to the regular Breton that I had in the cupboard. The  bagel was eaten on a day I was starving for lunch. At least the cream cheese on it was made from grass fed milk and was organic. Some of the vegetables and fruit that I ate weren't organic, but I ate plenty of them!

I ate out one day and chose to go to the "Green Door" on Main street in Ottawa. It's a vegetarian buffet made with organic and local ingredients as much as possible. So good! I filled half of my plate with salads. Broccoli salad with a tofu dressing, Celeriac salad, kale salad, marinated mushrooms, green bean salad. Mung bean thread salad. I also had mashed potatoes with kale and a piece of broccoli quiche. For dessert I ate a slice of lemon coconut cake. (Made with spelt flour and maple syrup). It was delicious!!

Another meal was a delicious vegetable tart (made with eggplant, mushrooms, zuchinni, yellow squash, tomatoes and goat cheese). With it we had steak smothered in mushrooms and grilled tomatoes.

One day I had broccoli soup for dinner. Along side the soup I made a fabulous quinoa salad with steamed beets, roasted mushrooms, dill and feta. There were a few steps involved but it was well worth it! I'll post the recipe next month.

Breakfasts have mostly been spelt bread, toasted with cashew butter and bananas. Or oatmeal with frozen berries, walnuts and coconut milk. Lunches are still difficult. If there are leftovers I eat those. Or a boiled egg and raw vegetables with hummus. Maybe I should have a smoothie on those days that I'm hungry but don't feel like eating...I think I'll give that a try.

I've been knitting away on a Christmas gift for next year. I was almost done of the main body of a sweater when I realized that I had made a noticeable mistake and had to take half of it apart! So frustrating. But I'll keep working on it. It'll feel pretty good to have the main part of my gifts done ahead of time.

Going back to the Unprocessed's gone pretty well. My failures had more to do with lack of planning than with anything else. I still crave processed food sometimes but feel a lot better for not eating it. And I've lost 4 pounds! Just a drop in the bucket compared to what I want to lose but it's a start and I have to say it was pretty painless! I'm going to continue eating this way as much as possible into the next month. along with another project I'm starting on February 1st. More on that later...

C    xxoo

Monday, January 23, 2017

Just tired

I’m tired this morning. I woke up at four and wasn’t able to get back to sleep. This has been happening more and more lately and it makes for some really long days. Days when your eyes feel full of grit and your nerves are jangled from too much coffee, taken in an effort to keep moving. Days when you feel like everything is too much effort. Normally, yoga is the first thing I do in the morning while a cup of herbal tea or hot water and lemon steep. Not today.

I finally hit the mat after being awake for four hours. Quickly got dizzy doing sun salutes so I dialed it back and eased into a bunch of twisting poses. Slowly, mindfully. Added some hip openers. Oh, it felt so good. Finished off in Savasana (or corpse pose) for 5 minutes. I almost fell asleep! I can’t say I’m an energizer bunny now but I feel calmer and not quite so tired.

Days like today are good days to putter around the house. Lighting candles and diffusing essential oils. Clearing some cobwebs and making cozy corners. Curling up with a blanket, cup of tea and a book. (I’m currently reading my way through “A Year Between Friends: 3191 miles apart” by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stepahnie Congdon Barnes) In other words, embracing hygge.

A good chai tea is always comforting and what I’ve got in my cupboard right now is an easy powdered blend that’s great to have on hand. It’s from one of my favourite herbal books called “The Healing Kitchen” by Holly Bellebuono. It aids both digestion and the nervous system. It also supports the immune and endocrine system.

Ashwagandha Chai
For the blend:
8 ounces ashwagandha powder
2 tablespoons ground cardamom
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
To make the blend, mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Transfer to a glass jar, cap and label. Store in cupboard.
For the beverage:
1 cup of milk (I use coconut or almond milk)
1 teaspoon Ashwagandha Chai Blend
A few drops of maple syrup
Warm the milk in a small saucepan, covered, over low heat. Add 1 teaspoon of chai blend and simmer gently over very low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into a mug and stir in maple syrup. Enjoy!

I’ll be making some chamomile body wash today. Chamomile is soothing when you’re feeling overly tired and at the same time, uplifting. This body wash is gentle on the skin, an important factor at this time of year.

Chamomile Body Wash
5 drops chamomile essential oil
1 teaspoon almond oil
1 16-ounce bottle of castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s unscented)
3 drops of citrus or peppermint essential oil or other (optional)
To make:
Add the chamomile essential oil and almond oil to the bottle of soap. Add an optional oil if desired. Shake it really well.
This is super easy to make. If you find castile soap drying, put the soap in a foaming pump bottle. Fill it 1/3 with soap and 2/3 full of water. Screw on the pump top and give it a good shake.

Chamomile essential is great if you’re feeling anxious, have a headache or insomnia. A few drops in your bath, a drop massaged on your temples or a sniff of the open bottle. It can all help. Chamomile is a great tool in your aromatherapy arsenal. It has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, anti-spasmodic, diuretic, calming and tonic properties. There’s lots to love! One caveat though: if you have a ragweed allergy, chamomile can cause a reaction.

I’ve got Godiva chocolate ready for later today and a friend coming over. Tired or not it’ll be a good day!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Self care toolbox

Self care is something that I’ve never been terribly good at. When I was a single parent of 5 children it seemed to be something that I never could take the time for. There weren’t enough hours in the day to take care of everyone else and myself too. And once out of any habit, it’s awfully hard to get yourself back into it.

In 2016, after my breakdown, it became apparent that the only way I was going to get well was if I started to look after myself. Not only physically. Not only mentally. But holistically, in every way possible.

The thing about self care is that it must be made up of things that you enjoy doing or that you enjoy the results of. I don’t really enjoy doing my nails, for example, but I love the way they look when they’re done. If I use colour I really enjoy and luscious hand cream then the process is made more enjoyable.

Other self care practices that I enjoy:

-sweating: By this I mean using a sauna or taking a hot restorative yoga class. Deep sweating may help remove waste products from the body. I like either a traditional sauna or infrared sauna. The infrared sauna does work differently in that it heats the body rather than the air. These saunas also boost circulation which increases the removal of toxins through the liver. Drink lots of water after!

-detox bath: I like taking a detox bath once a week, for at least 30 minutes. I run a nice warm bath and add 2 cups of Epsom salts and some essential oil to the water. I find lavender especially nice. It’s best if you can climb into bed and go to sleep right after.

-massage: I have pretty severe osteoarthritis of the spine and fibromyalgia. Adding massage to my self care toolbox helps with the pain associated with both of these conditions immensely. Massage therapy helps to increase detoxification and stimulates the lymphatic system as well. The manipulation of soft tissue increases circulation thus enhancing relaxation and pain relief. If you can’t get to a massage therapist once a month there are massage schools where you can get a great massage for a good price or enlist the aid of a partner or friend.

-meditation: When I take the time to meditate my day always goes better. Things run more smoothly and I’m more in tune with the world around me. Even five minutes a day is enough. It needn’t take long. There have been times when I’ve even locked myself in the bathroom to get the time alone to meditate for four or five minutes! You can use an app for guided meditation or set a timer or just count your inhales and exhales. Whatever works best for you. I tend to just set a timer and very occasionally use an app on my iPhone.

-pedicure: Our feet take a savage beating. Day in, day out we heap abuse upon them and rarely do we think about them unless they start to hurt. A once a month full on pedicure is what’s called for. From a peppermint foot scrub and soak to a foot massage and a great coat of colour, nothing makes a girl feel better than a pedicure.

-writing: Writing in my planner, journal, gratitude list, on this blog, brain dumping….any and all forms of writing are important to me. Using words to express myself (whether for anyone else to read or not) is important to me. It keeps me in touch with my feelings, keeps me organized and helps me make sense of the world and my life.

-extra skin care: Sometimes it’s a face mask or using my clarisonic. Other times it’s oil cleansing, exfoliation and face massage. A couple of times a week I do something fantastic for my skin. It feels like I’m pampering myself and gives my skin a nice glow. It’s the same with my body. Whether it’s dry skin brushing, a brown sugar body scrub or coconut oil to moisturize I try to do something extra when I can. At least a couple of times a week.

-creative Tuesdays: Or Thursdays or any day really. As long as it’s once every week or two. A day when I take out my sketchpad and paints, pencils and pens. An afternoon to create. In whatever way I please. It’s a way to give myself permission to play creatively. Sometimes I’m working on a project for a gift, other times I’m just messing about. But it’s always important.

-reading: Is reading really an act of self care? It is for me! It’s a way of transporting myself into another time, another place, another life. I’ve always have a non-fiction title going but that’s not what I reach for at bedtime. Bedtime means a fiction title and I try to read a couple of chapters each evening. Occasionally (especially with a biography) my non-fiction will spill over into my bedtime reading but not usually. My bedtime book at the moment is “The Preacher” by Camilla Lackberg, a Swedish crime writer. Which means I’m often reading more than a chapter or two and staying up later than I should.

What’s in your self-care toolbox?

C   xo