Monday, October 16, 2017

Will exercise for Christmas decor

 Happy Monday! With a busy week ahead, it's nice to take a few moments to stop and take everything in from the weekend. We had a semi-restful weekend, which was definitely needed.

Friday evening we went to a dinner party hosted by husband's VP and his wife. It's an annual event that is awarded to a select number of people who hit above their target numbers. We went last year and were so happy to be there again this year. One of the waiters (because yes, they totally hire waiters) told us that he was shocked to see us back again, because they never see the same faces year after year. It's such a great evening - lots of good conversations and amazing food. Plus hotel stays for the night are comped which is always a bonus :)
We stayed overnight downtown and went to breakfast at a nice little place in Toronto called Lola's - tons of gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options. It was a bit expensive, but nothing out of the ordinary. I loved being able to have gluten free toast with my breakfast because it's such a rarity unless I'm at home. We both got the "Lola's breakfast" and enjoyed it immensely. Their home fries were also out of this world! Then we headed home, did some cleaning and the photographer came and did the proper photos of our home. We saw the posting now that it's been updated and it looks 1000x better. Here's hoping our place sells soon!

Sunday was pretty much a day of relaxation  -- our power went out for about 2 hours in the afternoon from the crazy storm that blew through. All of a sudden it just got super windy and the rain was pouring down like mad in these huge sheets of rain, our power flickered on and off about ten times and then just shut off completely. Luckily it was still daylight so with the curtains open wide, we were able to avoid having to light candles just to see things. It really only infringed on my plan to wash our bedding after the clothing laundry was done, so I'll have to do that today instead. For dinner we had the autumn skillet hash that I posted a few weeks ago from Speedy Spatula's instagram -- I added some different veggies this time around and it was delicious as usual. Can't go wrong with that meal!

I finished my stepbet on Saturday. Those last two days were definitely down to the wire. I made $9.19, which is exciting (no one joins a stepbet to get rich, haha), so I reinvested my $40 into the next stepbet, Anything that keeps me motivated to move can't be a bad thing. I don't know why fitness motivation has been such a struggle lately, but what I do know is that I need to get into a routine again. Working these randomly late days isn't helping either. So with a new week and some new goals in mind, we reset. Husband has given me some motivation (a Christmas decoration that I've literally been eyeing for three years from Costco) -- so we'll see how things go. I've got a good man, I'll tell you that!  This week calls for 1xrun and 1xgym. Sounds easy, but easier said than done! For someone who used to organize their life around fitness, things sure have changed! I'd like to get into a happy medium and stay there.

This is what I'm working for!

Anyways, that's a quick rundown of the weekend -- always so fleeting. Another busy week ahead, and next week is Winnipeg.

Wishing you all the best Monday yet!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Favourites!


TGIF! Short weeks sometimes feel the longest. This week however seemed to just speed by with a higher than usual level of exhaustion attached. I'm ready to relax!
This will be short and sweet and is pretty much fueled by my mom's harassment because this is her favourite post (Thanks mom!) So, as usual, I'm linking up with the ladies in the FF pic to bring you my favourites this week!

1. Kelly's Bake Shoppe

I could write an ode to this place -- for real. They are a local bakery that is fairly close to my work (closer than to my home anyways) and they have gluten free, vegan, nut free treats. Everything falls under the same guideline, so you don't go in there, see something you want and find out it's only vegan OR gluten free OR nut free. It's always all of the above. This is one of favourite things about them. I love my dairy in baked goods, but they make it something you won't miss. They recently developed their own coffee blend. Not sure what they use but holy moly. I'm not usually a fan of a straight cup of coffee. I tend to prefer plain lattes or tea, but a few weeks ago I stopped in and they were giving away free cups of coffee to show people their new blend. I had a cup and now I'm hooked! With a splash of coconut milk -- divine! So this week I had a meeting near there and stopped in for a mini powdered doughnut and a coffee. Perfect mid-morning treat!

2. Grey nail polish!
I had my nails done this week, and I won't bore you with the story of horror I endured, but it made me realize just how much I love my usual place. So my favourite is the colour. The downside was the crap it took to get it on.

3. This necklace

I got this in Utah but keep forgetting to post it. It's so pretty and sparkly and matches pretty much everything, especially because the colours change to reflect on whatever you're wearing. I love a good necklace!

4. Fresh Cleanser

Link found here

Seriously. Obsessed. Have you noticed yet? This cleanser is so gorgeous. It literally just melts the makeup off your face -- even waterproof mascara. It's so smooth that it just feels like you're rinsing the water off - you won't even notice that all of your makeup has been effortlessly removed. I like trying new brands too much to just stick to one brand, but I think that one day Fresh may just be the only thing my cupboard is full of.

5. Brown gel eyeliner.

Link found here

I recently got into brown eyeliner when I realized black was just too harsh. It was making me look like a gothic raccoon and I wasn't feeling it. I made the switch to brown a few months ago and I have really enjoyed the toned down look it provides. It still gives me what I'm looking for (the eye-accentuating), but we've lost the gothic raccoon. I just loved the Clinique one I tried first, but ended up trying out another one because I was lazy and feeling cheap. The Clinique one is about $20, and the one I just picked up is about $7. There are some differences in quality, but not enough for me to care right now. I can't even remember the brand of the current one I'm using, but it's just some drug store kind like rimmell or Maybelline. The point of this favourite is that brown eyeliner is the perfect colour to use if you have paler skin but still want to line your eyes. But I'll use a picture of the Clinique one since it is pretty bitchin'
I also prefer gel because you eliminate the whole 'eyeliner marks on the brow-line dilemma.

That's all for today. I hope next week I can spend a little more time putting together a post. I have SO many things to share, but no time and want to use real pictures instead of stock photos from online.

Have the very best weekend!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Workin' It Wednesdays - Cozy homes

 Today's link up is all about coziness and the home and I am someone who loves everything cozy! There are five things that I believe every home should have to appear and feel cozy.
1. Blankets
I love a good blanket - my linen closet full of blankets is proof of this. I have been given many knitted and crocheted blankets over the years and have made my own as well. I also love those soft blankets with the fluffy inside, and electric blankets? I can't even. They're just the best. There is nothing better than laying on the couch with a good blanket.
The blanket in this picture took me way longer than I'd like to admit to make. I had to take out and redo many parts and connecting the pieces was a pain in the ass, but the results were awesome! We call this the napping blanket, because if you pull it over you, you're sure to have a delicious nap ahead.
Blankets just make a room seem cozier. I also equate coziness with warmth, so it's a good blend :)
2. Fireplaces
Since we bought a condo, and most condos do not come with fireplaces, we purchased a standing faux fireplace as part of our tv stand. I love that I can turn it out with or without the heat because sometimes I want the warmth and other times I just like to have the effect of flickering flames on a cold day. One of the things our new home must have is a fireplace, preferably one in the bedroom. I wish wish wish we could have a real fireplace, but they don't build homes with those anymore and the houses that we are looking at are in relatively newer areas (probably no older than 20 years), so they don't have those amazing real fireplaces that need chimneys and firewood.
I don't have a picture of our fireplace turned on, so I'll leave you with this photo of it that I found online
Not bad for a fake fireplace amiright?!

3. Candles and Diffusers
Not a particularly good picture (at all, really), but I recall this evening as super cozy and the photo evokes those same feelings. Plus the smells are amazing. The middle one is custard!

Oh how I love a good candle. We always have an abundance of candles and I burn them all day - usually in the fall and winter (summer doesn't really feel like candle-time) and always the fall scents with pumpkin and the winter scents of either apple cinnamon, or vanilla (vanilla Noel from bath and body works is forever my favourite). At night I diffuse lavender in the bedroom. There are conflicting views about the safety of essential oils for cats, so since our bedroom is largely off-limits to the felines, that's where I diffuse. If I'm resting in the bedroom, which is pretty rare, I'll diffuse frankincense. I love that scent and it just screams cozy to me, but it is so expensive that I don't want to use it, haha. I also love the sound that the diffuser makes. It's got this soft bubbling that reminds me of using a humidifier when I would have a cough/cold as a child. That sound always comforted me because it felt like healing. Doesn't really make sense but there we are. It's hard to control smells when you live in a condo, but we do our best to make sure our home always smells inviting and candles and diffusers help immensely!
I love how you can actually see it diffusing
4. Warm drinks

There's nothing cozier than curling up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea. Tea is always my preferred warm drink at home, but every now and then the husband and I will indulge in a hot chocolate (only in the winter) with marshmallows. There's something incredibly cozy about sitting on your coach with a warm drink while snow and wind blow around outside. I also love sitting in starbucks with a good friend and enjoying a chestnut praline latte in the winter. Warm drinks = cozy!

5. Seasonal decorations

This is something I've just recently gotten in to (aside from Christmas and Hanukkah) and am loving it! Husband is not loving the money spending aspect of it, but that's nothing new. I think there's really something warm and inviting about a home that is decorated for the season - tastefully. This is more specific to fall/winter, because spring and summer aren't really known for coziness. But I love having little accents of fall around the home. It brings a room together and makes it seem more welcoming, but also more comfortable. I think the idea of the colder seasons alone has something inherently cozy about it to most people, so those little extra bits just take it the extra mile. I definitely feel a little more love for our home when it's decorated for the holidays, so now I've extended it to the whole fall/winter season. Cozy cozy cozy!!

When it comes to cozy, I can't get enough. It's my favourite feeling and something I strive to achieve. I love sweaters, blankets, hot tea, Christmas movies, fluffy socks, and delicious scents. Check out the other blogs in this link up to see more posts about coziness!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Short weeks are the best weeks!

Hoping all of my Canadian friends had a great Thanksgiving and long weekend. I know I definitely needed this long weekend and a break from the craziness that life has been! Saturday started out relaxing, but around 1pm we found out that we had a viewing of the condo at 5 and from that point it was madness. We were cleaning like mad (a lot of cat hair accumulates in a week) and on top of that, I had an on-call volunteer shift that started at 4. Of course I was called at 4:45, just as we were trying to get the cats out of the unit, so I was juggling my phone and a terrified cat who was yowling while making my way to the basement. We ended up just waiting in the car - didn't make sense to go anywhere for an hour. The cats were not happy at all. We don't remove them from the condo often. Twice when we travelled we brought them to my parents house, but now my sister just comes and stays at our place when we're away. So they were both meowing loudly and angrily all the way down to the car and then snicker stared at me with hatred while ginger hid under the seats. Poor kitties will have to get used to it till we sell though!
You can see their fear and anger below.

Sunday was another busy day because we went to my parents house for thanksgiving. Dinner was delicious - we wait all year for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner! We had a great time and somehow, despite having a very sedentary morning, I was able to get my steps in.
Yesterday was looking to be a sleepy lazy day, but husband wanted kale pasta for dinner and I typically only buy kale the day I know we will eat it - I find it spoils quickly. So instead of driving, I walked to the mall (grocery stores were closed) and got the kale. Was able to hit my steps no problem! This is the last week of my step bet and I'm still trying to decide if I want to do another. You don't make much money - I think I've calculated about $6 US -- but it's more the motivation of the $40 you have to pay to be a part of it. I really don't want to lose that! So I've still got my rest day for this week and don't plan on using it until Friday. We have a work event for husband that evening, so I can't be sprinting around his boss's home in my heels trying to get my steps in. Plus, my heels are super painful (though beautiful!) so there won't be much walking at all.
One thing I am super happy we did, is we slept in every morning this long weekend. So all that sleep we were missing was recovered. I was super tired heading into Friday, so even with an earlier than usual wake up today, I still feel pretty awake.

My new fall jacket is coming today and I am so excited. It took me forever to pick one, so I'm really hoping it fits nicely. It's a pea coat, but it has this gorgeous hood and I am in love. It also came in the most lovely shade of blush pink, but I had some concerns about matching so I went with black. I had my last pea coat for ten years so it's looking pretty tatty and sad this year. I'm happy to be able to move on :) The new one can be found here

I tend to keep coats for a long time, so they're a pretty good investment for me. I typically buy fairly expensive coats but that way they last for the whole time I have them. I think my other pea coat was probably ready to go 2 years ago, but I was in a crap job where I didn't care how I looked/dressed so I carried on with it. Three cheers for job happiness now!
My doTERRA is also coming this week -- I only ordered one oil for myself - Marjoram. I am trying to collect all of the oils I need for a blood pressure oil. I want to make one for myself and for my mom. I don't have high blood pressure on a steady basis, but it does tend to creep up now and again (genetically I'm screwed). Fingers crossed that it works. I currently have 2/5 oils so still a ways to go. I also ordered for two other people who wanted to try out some doTERRA before joining, which is a great idea for anyone on the fence.
They've come out with some special Christmas oils and other goodies that I'm super excited about!
I don't know if posting this will work, but I hope it will. Feel free to visit my page or send me a message if you want to learn more. Using oils has made a huge difference in my sleeping habits, how long illnesses last, getting rid of rashes/skin irritations and even in my digestion. I use peppermint for headaches instead of advil and 90% of the time, that's sufficient. It also has oils that promote weight loss, help reduce/eliminate acne and dry skin and open your chest for physical exertion. The benefits and possibilities with the different oils and blends are innumerable. I'm all about seeing what other options there are to modern medicine because I react quite badly to a lot of medications, so this has been a real eye-opener for me!

I can't manage to get an image up, so that link will have to do. It's worth a click, I promise you!
Anyways, went off on a bit of a tangent there!

I am volunteering tonight with my teen group and looking forward to seeing the other ladies. We have been off for the summer and I missed the first outing because of work, so tonight will be like the first day all over!

Enjoy your short week! I can't believe it's already Tuesday!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Friday Favourites

 Happy Friday! It's been another whirlwind of a week with too many late evenings and way too much lieu time accrued. But hey, who's complaining?! I actually enjoy my work, so aside from being tired, I don't mind the late evenings.
As with all busy weeks, I have completely neglected to take enough photos of my favourite things. Shame really, because I have many. So this will be a short but still worthwhile FF. Since I didn't have time last week, this week is really a compilation of two Fridays. I am linking up with some fabulous ladies who you can find in the Friday Favourites image above!
1. Hitting my steps everyday.
This has been tough. I don't have a whole lot of steps to accomplish for my stepbet, but working in an office is a very sedentary job. Getting steps is somewhat of a challenge. Last night I had to hit my stretch goal of 10k and it was too late to go for a run. I was able to convince husband to go for a walk with me and easily hit my goal! He hates walks and I love them, so it was lovely (once he stopped complaining). It was a crisp fall evening and just a bit chilly wearing only sweaters. It was nice to finally have it feel like fall, even without an appropriate coat to wear. Note to self: buy fall jacket
(last week). I still have two stretch goals to hit this week (I took my rest day on Monday), so this evening might call for a run! Hope the rain holds off!
2. My new panda mug
I have a serious mug obsession. Not even kidding. I buy them everywhere. When we travel, when a store has a new collection I like, whenever! My mug collection is currently taking up two shelves and I have no shame. they don't match, not even close, but that's how I like them.
I also love panda bears (I even have a tattoo of one!) so after my zoo run, we had to hit up the gift shop for some panda-themed goodies. I got a little stuffed panda and this delightful panda mug. Husband told me it's the last mug, but I'm pretty sure he's been saying that for the last two years.
(last week)
3. Fresh Sugar face polish
Image from here
Ah Fresh, how I love you. Everything they make is just the best! This sugar scrub is not at all rough and I usually use it once a week. If my skin is getting angry, one use makes it all go away. I have fairly sensitive skin and I don't get any redness at all! Plus, the smell is just divine! Seriously, if you're not already using Fresh products, what are you waiting for?!
4. My unanticipated new shirt
Morning elevator selfie. Not very clear but the bottom is peplum
I was getting in the car for work when I managed to slosh my smoothie all over my shirt. It was too late to go back up and change, so I thought I could clean it off while I drove. Well, the napkins and tissues basically just dissolved and made more of a mess. At lunchtime I had to go buy a new shirt (I had an evening meeting, so going through a 14 hour work day with a dirty shirt wasn't an option).
I went to winners, grabbed every decent looking shirt in my size in the work appropriate section and this is what I ended up with. Definitely not something I would buy on a regular day, but I actually really like it! I think it's the perfect fall shirt! Thankfully when I sloshed my smoothie all over myself again this week, I was able to clean it off with a sponge and soap since I was already at work. Clearly I need a smoothie cup that closes fully (mine has the starbucks type lid) and a washing machine beside my desk.
5. This sweater
Image from here
So soft, so comfortable, and so beautiful. I just love a good sweater! I am a cardigan-sweater-coziness junkie, so I have a billion cardigans and sweaters, but let's be real, can you ever really have enough? Plus, I needed a few thick ones for winter. Since I wear them all year 'round, new ones are necessary :)
6. Care packages
Image found here

Image from here

Image from here

Image from here
I could kick myself for not getting a photo of this, so online photos are my only option. I really need to work on that! I have a lovely friend in the UK (who I have mentioned before) and we send each other care packages a few times a year. She primarily sends chocolate and tea - two of the many things that I think the UK does better than most other places! Husband and I usually battle it out over the fudge fingers, but thankfully he only has my tea once in a blue moon (he's more of a coffee guy). So as I sit here drinking a mug of earl grey and day-dreaming about my chocolate at home, I hope Hana is reading this and knows how much I appreciate her!
Well, that's all for today. Our house hunting has come to a standstill while we wait for ours to sell. Financially, this is the best option since we'll know what we are going in with and will be able to buy without imposing conditions of financing. Fingers crossed that we sell quickly, because I am ready to go. In the "everything happens for a reason" mindset, I know we didn't get that dream house for a reason and we will find our real dream house after ours sells. Keeping the faith! Condos don't take too long to sell in this market, so I don't think we will have to wait too long.
Happy Friday and Happy long weekend! Hope all my Canadian friends have a delightful thanksgiving weekend with their families and friends.
Don't forget to be thankful for everything that you have. Tis the season :)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

When no place feels like home

It feels like Tuesday to me, but I just realized it's Wednesday. I'm definitely looking forward to this weekend and having a long weekend with a short week next week. I could use a break! We went and saw two houses last night but neither of them felt like home. They were actually on the same street, both big corner houses and were essentially the same, but they had different areas where they had spent money. The second house was marginally more expensive, but had put a lot of detail into their home. Even the bedroom doors were beautiful. They both had massive kitchens, but the second home had this huge amount of pantry space (which is my dream) and nice potlights in the kitchen. Still, it didn't feel like home. There was enough that we liked, but having things we didn't like made it hard to imagine spending so much $$, when we'd have to turn around and put more in. For example, neither home had a finished basement, which would require several thousands of work. The cheaper homes we looked at on the weekend had finished basements. It's all such a mystery to me. Either way, the hunt continues. We are slowly closing in on not having our house for Christmas, but at least I know we will have it for next year. The important thing to me is just getting out of the condo (especially before the maintenance fees are jacked up again in January).

Last night, with curtain steaming and house hunting taking up a considerable amount of time, we resorted to breakfast for dinner. Always easy, and always delicious! Tonight I'm working late again (the Fall is just packed with evening events), so husband is in charge of starting dinner. I also desperately need to grocery shop, but have no time to do so. I'm actually contemplating just ordering my groceries, produce and all, from grocery gateway. Otherwise we will have to manage until Friday. It's already so difficult to find time to grocery shop now, that I have no clue how I will find time once I have kids.

In other no-time news, I am slacking so badly on the gym and running and need to just accept that morning workouts will be what I need to do in order to get it done while we have the house hunting going on. My first goal is to get back to my 6am swim classes this week. They started two weeks ago, and the last two Fridays I knew it wouldn't be possible, but this week I am hoping to get enough sleep Thursday night so that I can swim Friday morning! Fingers crossed. At least now there's some accountability out there.

Well, that's it for now! Have the best Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Life needs to slow down!

Seriously, I'm the worst at blogging when I'm busy. Things have been nuts, as usual. We finally listed our place. We saw a dream house and were outbid on it (sigh), so back to the house-hunting drawing board. People think the market has cooled, but when you're actually in it, it doesn't seem that way. We sent 10 listings to our realtor to go and see, and only 4 were left by the time we got to the weekend.
We spent the entire weekend cleaning and clearing the place up. My dad came over to bring us a closet shelf that he made when we failed to find one that fit our closet (so he made a custom one within a few days), to do a few last minute fix-its, and helped me move some furniture since husband was fasting.
It's a relief to finally have our home listed - felt like it would never happen!
This house buying/selling is very time consuming, and is frying my nerves, but I'm trying to operate on the "everything happens for a reason" mantra, and remind myself that there was a reason that we didn't get that house we wanted so badly.
In other news, I am being sent to Winnipeg for a conference for work, so in a few weeks I'm off to the prairies!
Doesn't look too prairie-ish! Photo found here

 I've never been to any other provinces, despite travelling in many other parts of the world, so I'm excited to go. Even though it might be very cold. I should probably unpack my winter coat. Goodness knows how deep that box is buried in my parents basement. We were a little starry eyed and didn't think about closing dates while we were packing everything away. So at least it's just at my parents and not in a storage locker or something.
Even though it's only October 3rd, I feel like time is just flying past and October will be over before I know it. I'm looking forward to November and December (short trip to Miami, office closed for two weeks over Christmas, celebrating the holidays in general, etc). October just feels so busy.
Last nights dinner was quick, easy and super delicious. I used a recipe I found online at that and can be found here
and let me tell you - it was the best fish I've ever made (that wasn't deep fried and served with fries that is). We had a wild rice and quinoa blend with it and some broccoli on the side and I could have eaten 10 more pieces. I am not a seafood lover by any means, but we do try to incorporate white fish and shrimp into our meals because chicken and beef become boring very quickly.
Anyways, the recipe had very few ingredients and was ready in 20 minutes. it was super easy to coordinate everything to be ready around the same time too. I'd highly recommend giving it a shot. I gave up looking for gluten free recipes a long time ago for meals and now just search up what I want and modify it. For this meal I omitted the lime juice (because I hate the taste of lime) and used gluten free breadcrumbs. Easy peasy! While I am happy to see so many gluten free recipe websites around, they often require way too many ingredients or finicky cooking. For baked goods I think gluten free recipes are needed but for dinners, the substitutions are generally pretty easy. I have only had issues when I come across something that has to be made to be gluten free, like hoisin sauce. That can add a lot more time to cooking.

Today I have to bring our curtains in and exchange them for longer ones. Our ceilings and windows are such a ridiculously random height that nothing works. I think it's better to have too long than too short though, so back to bed bath and beyond yet again. The house we buy had better have good curtains because I don't want to deal with curtains for a long long time after this.

Well, I'm off. Wanted to check in for a random Tuesday post. I will hopefully be able to post more this week. I was especially bummed out to miss my Friday Favourites, because I love that post (and it gets a lot of traffic :)!)

Till next time!