Friday, 31 May 2013

Favorite Thing Friday: Apple Cider Vinegar

If you’re not on the Apple Cider Vinegar train yet, you need to be.

This stuff is cheap to buy, natural, and has many health benefits. These are my recently-discovered favorite ways to use it:

- For your skin: Mix half apple cider and half water in a bottle for an all natural, effective face toner. I use this every night after I wash my face and love it – it removes access dirt and makeup, helping to clean my pores, and leaves me feeling refreshed. It also helps to fade age spots and scars. If you have sensitive skin or don’t love the smell, then just add a little more water.

- As a tea: I mix about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a lemon slice, seven drops of cinnamon essential oil and two drops of stevia into three cups of hot water. It gives me a natural energy boot, increases circulation and helps to get my blood flowing - warming up my hands and feet and helping to ease the discomfort of my Raynaud’s.

- Home cleaning: Apple cider vinegar can also be used to clean various things around the home – including the toilet bowl. Pour it in and let it sit overnight. It can also be made to clean windows and glass, mixing it with half water. It will leave your rooms smelling fresh and clean.

- I’ve yet to try it as a hair rinse instead of using conditioner, but it’s on my list of things to do. I’ve read that it helps to cleanse the hair, build body, and adds shine to your locks.

I would highly recommend adding pure, organic, raw apple cider vinegar to your beauty routine, home cleaning regime or diet.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Dreams can Change

This quote was read at the end of a hatha yoga class I attended last night. It really resonated with me, and I related it to my previous blog post: A New Normal: Why It's Ok When Your Dreams Change.

“Dreams can change,
if we all stuck with our first dreams there would be a lot of cowboys and princesses running around.”
― Stephen Colbert

My backyard. A storm is rolling in.

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Truth About the Truth

My sister Sandra is two years older than me. She is smart, responsible, empathic and my main confident. I highly value her opinion and always enjoy hearing what her perspectives on things are.

My sister and I on her wedding day.
Feb. 4, 2012.
The other day I was chatting with her on the phone. She lives in another city, about 4 ½ hours south of where I live, so we try to call each other regularly to keep in touch. I was having a bad day and voicing my concerns about a certain person in my life. I don’t want to admit that I was complaining, per-se, but let’s face it – I was.

“This person does this and this…it really bothers me…why does this person have to be this way…” Being the great listener that she is, she let me go on and on about what was bothering me. Finally, almost out of breath, I asked her: “So, what do you think?”

I was not expecting her to say what she did.

She told me that she’s heard me complain about this issue before with the same person. She said she wasn’t surprised to hear any of this, and asked me why I spend time with this person if the way they are bothers me so much.

I was a little shocked. “Well, I don’t know. I mean I care about them, but it’s just so frustrating…”

“Look,” Sandra said, “This seems to be a pattern in your behavior, not theirs. If you’re not happy, only you can change that.”


Pardon me? I’m not the one with the problem…I couldn’t believe she was saying this to me.

I took a deep breath and cleared my head. I didn’t want to argue with her or react on instinct. I wanted to be objective. After a couple quiet seconds – which seemed to have happened in slow motion – I realized that I was only reacting this way because she was not saying what I wanted to hear.

I knew there was a reason for this. She was right.

I think that more often than not, when someone reacts negatively to someone’s opinion or advice that they’ve asked for, then it’s obviously a sensitive issue and they are not actually looking for advice, but merely a smile and a nod.

I knew what Sandra was saying was true, and I admired the courage she had that it takes to be so honest. This is what I learned that day:

When someone tells you something that you don’t want to hear, listen anyway.

You may not ever necessarily agree with them, but you can learn a lot about yourself by being challenged, open minded, and respective of others.
Ackowledge the reasons why it’s not what you want to hear.

Are you being too close-minded? Stubborn? Were you really looking for advice or just wanting to say some things out loud?

Don’t ask for someone’s opinion if you don’t want it.

If you are looking to vent, then do just that. Don’t ask your friend what they think if you’re not going to listen to them, or if you’re going to get angry and defensive.

You cannot change others. You can only change the way you react to them.

It is not often that people change. They can work towards goals and making different decisions, but the fact is some people have a shorter temper than others; some are needier, insecure, rude, etc. No one is perfect, and no one will ever be. If someone is bothering you, don’t ask them to do something different, ask yourself what you can do to change or manage the way you are reacting to them.

And always remember:

A real friend will always tell you the truth, but in a loving and gentle way.
Truth should never be said in order to hurt another person.

Summer 2012.
Thanks Sandra, I love you.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Favorite thing Friday: New York

There’s something about this place.

I guess that’s why there are hundreds of songs written about it, movies made here and people flock to it.

I love the energy, the culture and the passion.

I love that no matter who are you or what you do, there is a place for you.

No one cares what you look like or what you wear – and if they do, you never have to see them again.

There is always someone better and someone worse, so who cares?

It’s beautiful - with the water and the bright lights and the collection of different people.

It’s loud and bustling and busy – it’s where the best of the best come, and where everything happens.

It inspires me to want to do more and be a better person.

To live a fuller, more exciting and challenging life.

I want to live every day like this: Not worrying about the little things and making my dreams come true.

I love this place. I heart NY.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Back on the wagon

About three weeks ago, I pulled a muscle in my lower back while doing strenuous exercise. Until then, I had never had a back injury before. It hurt like hell. Even just trying to make the bed brought me to tears. This injury occurred in the middle of my 10 week training for my second half marathon. With great disappointment, I had to accept that I would not be able to run as planned.

After my injury, I took it easy for a couple days but was getting really frustrated with not being able to do anything active. I decided to continue with some light yoga.

The physical calmness and peace of mind that came to me through yoga helped me to accept my injury.

I started doing yoga more and more often, and came to love it. It was also heeling my back injury nicely, but I was still a little crippled.

Not too long after I hurt back and was just getting into yoga, I had to get a skin biopsy done on my wrist. This was a lot more painful than I was anticipating and took me out of my yoga practice for two weeks.

It was very frustrating. I couldn’t run because of my back injury, and I couldn’t do yoga because of my wrist. I felt defeated and frustrated.

Finally, as of yesterday, my recovery is well underway and I was able to do both weight training and yoga. I have some catching up to do on my running.

It felt so good do something positive for myself and my body, and made me really realize how much I missed being active and releasing those ‘happy hormones.’ And while my injuries were very minor, they really helped me to appreciate my health, mobility and strength more than ever. It’s amazing how much of who we are a person is related what our bodies allow us to do.

Treat your body right, and value its worth:
·         Drink water.  
·         Move.
·         Eat your fruits and veggies.
·         Be thankful for what you have and know that you are beautiful.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A New Normal: Why It's Ok When Your Dreams Change

I was raised in a small town in northern Alberta called Grande Prairie. When I was 18, I couldn’t wait to move away. I wanted to go to the big city of Calgary (8 hours south), get a college education and live the big city life. I put myself through school by working in a pub, and earned an Applied Bachelors Degree in Communications, with a major in Public Relations and a minor in French from Mount Royal University.

When I graduated in 2009, I finally quit my serving job and worked full-time in Public Relations for a transmission company. I rented a cute apartment by myself downtown and was dating a fun, nice, guy. Life was good.

Then one day, after living in Calgary for a total of seven years, I woke up with an urge in my heart to move back to my hometown. I can’t explain it. I don’t really know why it happened.

Grande Prairie is a small city, with a lot of field jobs in oil and gas and agricultural opportunities. There are not very many Public Relations jobs. Somehow, the same week I decided I wanted to move home, there was a Public Relations position with our provincial health care organization accepting applications. I applied, and after three rounds of interviews, I was offered the job.

My fun, nice boyfriend moved to Grande Prairie with me. Being raised in a small town himself, he was looking forward to it. So here I was, back from Calgary in my hometown of Grande Prairie with my city boyfriend. This was a move that at one point in my life, I swore I’d never make.

Within weeks of moving home, I could tell it was going to be a big adjustment. Aside from the overall differences in culture and lifestyle that Calgary offered, my family life was on the rocks. I quickly realized that my Dad was mentally unstable. All of my relationships, including with my mother, my boyfriend, and people who I thought were my friends, were going through transitions. I didn’t know what was happening or who I was anymore.

Soon, my nice and fun boyfriend left me. Just like that. I came home one day and he told me had found another place to live and was leaving me. I was completely blindsided and devastated.

A month later, on my birthday, my Dad was diagnosed with an aggressive non-hodgins lymphona brain tumor. He was given three months to live.

What was happening? Who was I? Regardless of everything, I was thankful to be living in Grande Prairie so I could be with my family through this.

It’s now been a year and a year and three months since my Dad’s diagnosis. Thankfully, by the grace of God, he is still with us. But within the past year and half, my life, my dreams, and who I am as a person have grown and changed immensely.

I feel more at peace with who I am now, more than I have ever felt before, and who I was born to be. I’ve finally come to terms with being born and raised in Grande Prairie, and can appreciate a lot of things about it. I am not longer ashamed and confused of my family - I know my Dad was sick for a long, long time, and that affected who he was and how he behaved.

I realize now that my nice and fun boyfriend was just that - nice and fun. But not the one, and not good for me.

I’m thankful that ten months after he left, I met someone else. One who is what my downtown Calgary self never would have thought I would date: a Grande Prairie-born and raised farmer. He lives 20 minutes out of city limits, has a dog, a cat, tractors, and listens to country music.

It was not too long ago that I was living in downtown Calgary, working for a big company, with dreams of moving to New York and now someday, I could be living on a farm outside of Grande Prairie city limits.

Is this ok? Is this what I want? I struggle with it sometimes, because I know I am changing, and am scared that one day I’ll look in the mirror and not even recognize myself.

What I do know is that my life has changed drastically, and for the better, since my move back to Grande Prairie. I live a healthier lifestyle, and for the first time in my life I have a normal relationship with my father. I still have dreams and aspirations, but they are just different now. And I think that’s ok.

Some say that people don’t ever change. But I think they do. And I think change is hard. And everyone has to look deep inside themselves, brave the new day, and trust that we are exactly where we are supposed to be in life.

Trust yourself and trust God. Life is good. Be thankful, and accept the fact that your dreams can change and you will make the right decisions, no matter what.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Living with Raynaud's

In 2008, I was diagnosed with Raynaud’s Syndrome. Raynaud’s is a blood and circulation disorder that, in my case and generally in others, affects people’s fingers and toes (in rare cases I think it can affect a person’s ears).

Raynaud’s is when the small arteries that supply blood to your fingers and toes narrow, therefore limiting circulation to them. It is especially painful in cold conditions and when under stress, because they say that is when a person is most likely to have a Raynaud’s “attack,” meaning the arteries narrow more and more, cutting off more and more circulation.

So basically, my hands and feet are always cold, and when I’m not wearing gloves or when I’m really stressed out, they ache, are freezing, and turn color – first white, then blue - and when they finally warm up, beat-red.

It is very uncomfortable and embarrassing. I always have to wear gloves, even in the office - and obviously some people are going to look at me funny when I’m sitting in the office on a nice warm summer day, blasting my space heater and rocking fingerless arm gloves.

It’s also very confusing for the rest of my body. I feel like I am always cold, when in fact the rest of my body could be perfectly warm and sometimes event hot – so my hands could literally be freezing cold while sweat is glistening on my forehead.

I was teased a lot in high school for having "dead hands."

Everyone is shocked when I first meet them and shake their hand. I can tell they are surprised at how cold my hand is.

I can't hold new babies unless they are wrapped up, because my cold hands will scare them.

The specialist told me that if I don’t take care of my condition, it could eventually lead to amputation.

That sounds a little terrifying to me.

In efforts to manage my condition, I don’t drink coffee. I take extra vitamins and supplements – including Vitamin E, Coenzymes, garlic pills and cinnamon, to help increase circulation. I am an active person who exercises about 4 times a week, but no matter what, my hands ache and are always cold.

Sometimes when my attacks last for an extended amount of time, I get swelled bumps on my joints. Sometimes they've been so bad that I can’t even tie my shoelaces, my fingers hurt too much.

I don't know why I'm writing about this. Maybe because I just had a skin biopsy done this week to see if there is anything else, aside from Raynaud's, that is wrong with me. Maybe I just wanted to share it, put it in writing, and see if anyone else suffers from the same condition. Maybe there is someone out there who can share tips with me about how to increase circulation and blood flow, that doesn’t include drinking a glass of red wine.

When I get the results back from my skin biopsy, I will write again about this.



Friday, 3 May 2013

Favorite Thing Friday: The Best Broccoli of My Life

I’m not much of a chef. I hardly cook. I’ve tried, and I don’t know why, but I can’t really get into it.

I prefer simple, fast, delicious and nutritious recipes, and today I’m going to share one of my favorites that I found on Pinterst. I only modified the recipe a little bit.

I’ve made this about three times in the past week. It’s flavourful, healthy, easy to make, and can be eaten as a snack or as side dish. Everyone will love it, I promise.

What you need:

- About a head of Broccoli
- Coconut oil
- 3 Garlic cloves
- Pepper
- Lime juice
- Parmesan cheese

What to do:

· Take a cooking sheet and layer it with a little bit of coconut oil. You don’t need much, but it adds a nice flavour and is healthier than other oils.

· Fill it full of fresh, organic, broccoli florets. It looks like a lot of broccoli but it actually only feeds about two or three people’s side dishes.

· Crush up about three garlic gloves and sprinkle it throughout the broccoli.

· Sprinkle on some pepper.

· Cook at 425F for about 15 minutes. This makes it nice and crunchy - the way I like it - but you can cook it for less if you prefer it a bit soft. Check it out after 10 minutes and decide.

· After you pull it out of the oven, add a little bit of lime juice to the sheet (about 10 drops) and some parmesan cheese.

· Put it back in the oven for about three minutes or until the cheese it slightly baked and melted.

Mix it all together and serve. It’s so good!

I know this might seem like a funny thing to post since it wasn’t too long ago that I was writing about a raw foods course – but like I said, I was taking that course lightly and eating raw food in moderation :)

Enjoy the snack and thanks for reading!


Don’t Take It Personally

I’m a sensitive person. I used to attribute that partly to being a Pieces, or my hormones, but regardless of for whatever reasons (or un-reasons), I am a sensitive person.

I tend to over-think things. I’m hard on myself, and I’m the first one to put myself down. I hold on to things and have to watch my temper, sometimes my tears.

Sounds depressing, doesn’t it?

It can be, sometimes. I’ll text someone and not get the reply I was expecting. Or I won’t hear back from a certain friend and get bummed out about it. Maybe she doesn’t like me anymore. What did I do? Why isn’t she getting back to me? This is a vicious cycle that I get myself into more often than not.

I want to heal from this and be better at letting things go. I want to keep feeling, but I also want to gain confidence, take more control of my thoughts, and when I recognize that I need to move on, I want to be able to do so. To help achieve this, this is what I am practicing:

Don’t take anything personally - Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering
- The Second Agreement from Don Miguel’s book The Four Agreements

My sister bought me the book The Four Agreements a couple of years ago. The more I read it, the more I can relate to it. The more I grow, the more I find it applicable to my life.

I love the Second Agreement for many reasons.

Nothing others do is because of you.

This is true. Everyone is their own person. They all react in their own ways to certain things, whether it be because of the environment they currently live in, how they were raised, genetically wired, what they are going through in their life…they are the way they are because of their own being and who they are as a person.

I also like to this to serve as a reminder to not be vain. Do you really think someone is thinking or caring that much about you, that it affects what they do? The answer is: probably not. No one else thinks about you and your problems, or that silly message you sent to the wrong person by accident, as much as you do.

When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

They say “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere."

You can’t think too much about what other people think. What they say can’t hurt you. All that matters is that you are happy with yourself. Remember, what they are thinking and saying have nothing to do with you, and by worrying or hurting from what others have said is needless suffering.

Don’t take anything personally.

Photo retrieved from