Life Lately No. 1

Hey guys!

 

I wanted to start something new where I can kind of “round up” all of the little things from the past little while that maybe didn’t make it to the blog as a full post, but are fun none-the-less.

Last week I had Monday off (as part of an extended Canada Day break from work), and then I went back to work FULL TIME! I’ve been working part time and love my job, and as of last Tuesday, I’m a full time member of the team.

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It’s been swelteringly hot in Edmonton the past week or so, so I’ve been hiding in my parent’s basement and neglecting my own house. It needs cleaned and aired out! But, I’m taking care of a friend’s dog this week so we’ll see how much gets done! But the past week has been hiding out at mom and dad’s and enjoying the gazebo with the puppies.

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This weekend, my dad went full beast and between the four of us (but mostly him!) the garden was weeded. It looks SO good. I’ll be doing a “what’s in season” post soon with some ideas of items you can still grow in a container and enjoy this summer.

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I tried out another gel-like polish, a Real Girl Review will be coming soon… I have to say, this one was MUCH better!

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We tried roasting radishes this weekend, and they’re SO good! My mom put them in a foil packet on the BBQ with olive oil, salt and pepper.

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Also on the list of things being tried out, I’ve been trying to concoct a good jalapeno lime margarita. This version may look pretty, but it wasn’t the best. I’ll post the recipe when it’s perfected (such a hardship, doing these things… lol).

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For the first time ever… I wore shorts to work. On casual Friday I wore knee length bright khaki shorts with my favorite sandals. I can’t believe this is real life haha. I’m a long way from suit-jacket-or-bust these days!

What was last week like for you? I’d love to hear about your Monday!

Happy 150th Birthday, Canada!

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Beautiful Parliament Hill. I’ve been lucky enough to go many times.
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Confederation Bridge in PEI

Hey guys!

One day late, as I was celebrating my beautiful country with family,  but Happy Canada Day!

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Canada in the past while, dually brought on by our big birthday and my best friend being steps from a terrorist incident overseas.  I have always loved being a Canadian, but I think that the feeling solidifies with age as the exotic sheen of other countries fades away and you realize other places are great to visit, but this is home.

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A lighthouse on the west coast

As kids, our family did not take a lot of vacations.  We went camping a lot though on the weekends, and I can’t say how lucky I was to grow up a few hours from the Rockies in Alberta. Beautiful rivers, quiet lakes and majestic mountains are mostly what I remember about those trips.  I also remember driving past mines, oil derricks and logging operations and having my parent’s explain to me the many economic drivers of my province.

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This is Western Brook Pond in Newfoundland, which is actually not a pond, but an inland fjord.
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Another of the beautiful Western Brook Pond

Every 4-5 years we would go on a bigger trip, though, and always somewhere in Canada.  My parents believed that we’d have our whole lives to go outside our borders but that it was important for us to learn about and appreciate our own country first. And so, I’ve seen every province of this awesome country. I’ve been in the Arctic circle. Stood in places so remote you can see three distinct lines of mountains and not a road, settlement or even a utility line.  I’ve been to the tops of mountains and roasted in the heart of the Okanagan.

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Icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland

I’ve waved at icebergs and boated on inland fjords. I know that there is a Canadian Mediterranean where palm trees grow.  I’ve visited Peggy’s Cove and the far edge of Vancouver Island and endless places in between.

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This is Confederation House

There is no place I’d choose to have my roots rather than Canada. This country has many problems of its own that need to be worked on – like getting clean drinking water for all citizens, stopping the MMIW crisis, integrating refugees to our country so they can thrive and putting in place sustainable means of driving our economy.  Canada has it’s issues just like anywhere else.

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The Yukon
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Indian Head Cliff

That being said, we are a nation that came into its identity not through monarchist birthright nor through civil unrest, but by coming to the aid of the world when our help was needed.  We are the nation that brought peacekeeping to the world. Our flag is a symbol of love to those we’ve helped and hope to those who dream of a better life.

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Quebec City looks like a European City!

As a Canadian, I was born into some of the best luck imaginable by being born into a life here.  Canadians are quietly patriotic, but Canada’s birthday is often our excuse to show our love explicitly for this awesome country. The first 150 were great… I’m looking forward to what we’ll have seen and learned at 200.

If you’re Canadian, how did you celebrate? If you’re not, where’s somewhere in Canada that you’d like to visit?

About my Dad

Hey guys! And Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads and extra dads out there. Often unsung, overshadowed at times by the amazing contributions of our mums, I know my dad has always been there for me to ask for help with a challenge or advice. He’s taught me a lot about life and just like I shared a bit about my mum, I wanted to share a bit about my dad this Father’s Day. He’ll read this in six months and probably make fun of me!

It’s not very often that people have the opportunity to share something that they’re immensely proud of about one of their loved ones on a larger scale. When I was completing my degree, a friend of mine that I worked with as an editor for the Canadian University press asked if I’d be willing to work on a project with him. The project was profiling local volunteers, and one of them ended up being my dad.

My dad has been volunteering since his late teens. He’s always been pretty generous with his time, even now that he’s an incredibly busy business owner, husband, dad of two and dog-dad… he’s still volunteering. It’s often easiest to see those good parts of people, they’re public, often visual. The number of t-shirts he has from volunteering events is ridiculous.

What isn’t so easy to see at first glance is someone’s character. You often learn of it through watching their actions, and how they respond to challenges. How they treat others when life is tough and at times, overwhelming. When I struggle with motivation in life or feel like I can’t do something, I think of two things:

  1. My mother did not raise me to quit
  2. I am not following my father’s example

Simple. Where my mom instilled a steely nerve, my dad showed me what that looked like in practice in the workplace. Having owned their business since I can remember, my dad always had a regimented schedule when he was home (in the office by seven, thirty minute lunch, off at five- and always on call, day, night or weekend). He was away a lot when we were kids, and I remember him working at 8pm and later at night when he’d call to say goodnight. As I got older, I realized the longer he worked, the sooner he came home to us. As an adult, I now understand how little he enjoys being away. As a professional, that example taught me what it means to get the job done even when it’s not easy or comfortable.

My dad is one of very few people I know who loves his work and makes a good living doing it. It’s not his side job, it’s his livelihood and he (and my mum) built that from the ground up. When I need an example of what it really means to work hard and be successful, I look to him. And while he’s successful and a leader in his field, the worst thing I’ve ever heard him say about someone is that they were a buffoon. Yep. A buffoon.

Don’t worry, he said it with a lot of feeling. And they definitely deserved the title.

So when I think about what I wish people knew about my dad, it’s not the surface stuff that you could see from his volunteering t-shirts even though that’s great. It’s the guts of him I wish more people know- the persistence no matter what, the great example he sets in business, his love of our family, his soft heart and how he taught me what hard work really means through example.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you.

 

Ps. These photos are of one of my dad’s other talents… landscaping!

Life Update: Burns, Breaks and First Aid

Hey Guys!

If you follow me on social media (Twitter, Instagram or Facebook), you may have noticed that I have been rocking a new accessory:

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I mean… you may not have noticed my break from TBGB at all… but if you did, and you don’t follow me on social media… that is why. On May 9th I did a number on myself and grabbed a 345 degree Celcius skillet handle, straight out of the oven. If you’re wondering where my pot mitten was… it was on my left hand. Who knows why. Fast forward about an hour later, after I determined that my bubbling skin would in fact NOT go back to normal if I “just kept it under the cool water a bit longer”, a ridiculously attractive urgent care doctor informed me that I had sustained second degree burns.

There’s a reason why my personal directive (yes, I have one… you should, too) states that if I have sustained serious burns over a certain percentage of my body that I just want to be kept comfortable until I pass. Burns are no joke. I knew this from volunteering at the hospital, at times meeting patients who were being treated in burn units. Skin grafts, tissue debridement, the chance of infection, compression garments… it’s all been explained to me. I don’t even like lighting a barbecue.

But accidents happen especially when you’re hungry and just want your damn chicken. I’m embarrassed to say that when this accident happened, I didn’t have a fully stocked first aid kit. I had about ten bandaids, hydrogen peroxide and expired Motrin and Polysporin. Not exactly batting 1000, and I know way better from the multiple advanced first aid courses I’ve taken. Accidents happen in life, yes, and the last thing you want to be is ill prepared to treat an injury that occurs in your home. So, here’s what you should have in your home first aid kit:

  • Bandaids of varying sizes
  • Butterfly style small wound closure strips (often called Steri-Strips)
  • Non-stick gauze pads in small, medium and large sizes
  • Standard gauze pads and rolled gauze (small and medium)
  • Iodine or Hydrogen Peroxide to sterilize
  • Sterile gloves
  • Instant cold compresses
  • Medical tape
  • Sharp scissors
  • Tweezers
  • A bottle of sterile saline (contact lens solution, for flushing/cleaning wounds)
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Anti-Inflammatory and/or pain relieving medication

As you can see… I didn’t have ANY of this stuff that I needed! Thankfully… my much more responsible parents did, and given that I still need help cutting my food and doing things, I basically have lived with them the past couple of weeks. I know not everyone has family nearby that they can turn to so easily, so if you want a quick takeaway from this, go purchase a premade first aid kit (it’ll cost you 17-50$, depending on how fancy you get) at Walmart or Superstore or stock up on the supplies you don’t have.

My hand is getting better, and I’m getting better at doing things with my left hand and changing my bandages myself. I’m now firmly entrenched in the part of the process where things aren’t fully healed but I have to start re-acclimatizing all of this new skin to air and water while simultaneously trying to not break the skin. It’s great. For the forseeable future, if you see me out and about, it’ll probably be with my hand wrapped to protect it. Try not to make fun of me.

 

Have you ever had a crazy mishap that landed you in the urgent care, or with an injury you’d rather not explain to everyone? Let me know in the comments!

About my mom…

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Hi guys! And a very Happy Mother’s Day to anyone reading this that is a mom! So many moms are amazing individuals, and there are so many women who step into mothering roles that are amazing individuals, too! I really believe that it takes a village to raise up awesome kids into happy, healthy adults and moms (and what I like to call “extra moms”) are so important to that. I hope you’re all being appropriately showered with love today!

I started contemplating what I’d like to say in what I jokingly referred to as “my ode to my mom” about a month ago. My mom is a bonafide badass. She’s done everything from being a political lobbyist, to working with the elderly, to being a solo parent, to holding down the fort while my dad was away (a lot, for work), running a successful business with my dad, and caring for a family. Not the least of which being caring for our family, which at times included extra people like our friends.

I know my mom is incredibly proud of my sister and I. With her steady influence, we grew up as fiercely independent, educated and motivated women. Both of us achieving degrees and then some (my sister is a chartered accountant, now a CPA!). Both of us transitioning into home ownership, without spouses, before thirty. Both of us pretty nice people (arguably my sister nicer than me, haha). Go Mom! While other moms from our social circle have shared stories of their kids getting married and having children of their own (which is awesome), despite totally wanting to be a grandma, my mom has proudly pumped our tires right back.

I would not be the person I am today without my mom. Not in a sappy, my mom built me kind of way but in a serious, my mom has held my hand through this life and continues to pick me up when I’m down kind of way. My mom encouraged me to pursue my education (despite my objections), she encouraged me to continue into home ownership (despite my objections AND my wanting to stay in her basement… maybe forever) and she encourages me all of the time to continue with this website and career goals. She has sat on the floor with me when times have been tough and I’m sobbing my eyeballs out and she has done flaming sambuca shots with me when times have been awesome.

My mom is a bonafide badass. That’s what I want the world to know about her. Not about the tears she’s wiped away, or the kids she’s raised, the husband she’s supported, the meals (oh so many meals) she’s made… But that she, as a person is a bonafide badass and the best cheerleader and mentor in life that I ever could have asked for. That anyone could have ever asked for.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you.

No-Buy Update

 

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Well, I made it around a month. Not my best but… there were 3$ pints of strawberries that I just couldn’t deny myself. I also really wanted fresh dairy. So after thirty days of not buying groceries, I bought a few things. This no-buy isn’t firmly over, I’m still trying to work out of the meals and proteins I have frozen and my shelf stable items, but I’m running out of things like eggs and in my house… that just won’t do.

March was a pretty easy month to not be buying groceries. I had a hospitality suite at work for three days and lots of invites out to my family’s place. I also did a cooking class that sent me home with three+ days’ worth of food.

I think as I go forward my “no buy” will just be modified- if I need eggs or a fresh item, I’ll buy it, but I’m still working through frozen items and enjoying them. Being that it’s spring (sort of… it’s been snowing for hours as I type this) I’m also not going to deny myself things like salad greens or fresh burratta if I can get my hands on them.

So what did I make and eat during this time?

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Freezer Mushroom Risotto

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Easy Ramen

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Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

White bean dip and focaccia (post coming soon!)

Cauliflower rice and shrimp (at Mom’s, but post still coming soon!)

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Chicken Pesto Burgers with Rice

Vegan Spaghetti and “Meat” Balls (post coming soon!)

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Italiano Breakfast Bowls

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (post coming soon!)

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Lentil Ragout with Isreali Cous Cous

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Butternut Squash Risotto Nourish Bowl (gifted, affordable re-make coming soon!)

Baked Rigatoni Bolognese (post coming soon!)

…and lots of eggs, guacamole toast and overnight oats!

 

Strawberries were the straw that broke the camel’s back for this no-buy. I really wanted them and life is short. I also wanted lettuce, ground meat and fennel. I have everything but the ground meat now! The spare time that eating pre-made meals gave me allowed me to work on other things in life, work items, visit family more and even start baking bread!

February 2017 Favorites!

Hey guys!

Another month has passed, and I had some super fun favorites! Not a whole bunch of things, but a few that I have really loved. As a side note, I had this video edited all nicely with titles and the like and… when it uploaded, they disappeared. I clearly need to start editing in a new program. Sorry! Instead you get random clips of me drinking and swearing. Not the worst, right?

Food:

Oikos Yogurt

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These snack sized “dessert” yogurts have been amazing! I often crave something sweet at night or am hungry after getting home from my periodic evening job. These greek yogurts fix both of those issues! And the portion control helps me not overeat.

Wholly Guacamole Minis

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Ok. These are amazing! I know loads of people would love these for a quick snack with chips dunked right in the package, and yes, I’ve done that too! But how I really love to use these is spread over toast with a hard boiled egg sliced on top. It’s a super easy breakfast that I can meal prep up a few days in advance in baggies and take to work with me. It’s just as delicious at home with a fried egg, too!

Clothes:

Dynamite pants

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These pants have been a major life saver this past month! They’re comfortable, made out of dress material, but cuffed at the ankle to avoid them getting dirty when I’m walking around campus. They look super cute with a sweater or a tucked-in button up.

No Champagne No Gain Sweater

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This sweater by Brunette the Label is a favorite of mine. Not only does it have a funny saying on it, but it’s cute, comfortable and designed by Canadians. Nobody needs anything else, right?

Makeup:

It’s been a minimal month for me on makeup, my skin is trying to peel from the cold and dry weather so it’s been a lot of days of concealer, light lipstick and mascara.

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Marc Jacobs Mascara

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Bare Minerals Lipstick

Book:

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The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime also check her out on her blog!:

Favorite People:

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Katey McFarlan over at Chronicles of Frivolity– I have SO been loving watching her journey from single girl, to engaged, to married and NOW a new mom! Katey has a way of brightening every morning for me, I read her posts on the bus on the way into work and she has the BEST attitude and a sunny disposition that helps me start my day off right.

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Casey Holmes of the Casey Holmes Youtube Channel (and she also has a blog!)- I love all of Casey’s videos (even though our makeup and skincare needs could not be further from similar) but especially how she is a great example of work ethic for young, entrepreneurial women. She recently had a collaboration come out with Smashbox and it seems like girl is allllways working. I really respect that and am always so happy when I see her excited about an accomplishment.

That is all! What did you love this month? Let me know in the comments!