September 10, 2017

Reading, Listening, & Learning: August 2017

A while ago, I talked about how I wanted to share more of what I'm reading, listening to, or watching, because it's such a big part of my life. I'm always either purposefully looking for answers to my struggles and questions, or simply stumbling across words that inspire me in a big way. I'm constantly coming across words that influence me positively, and ones that make me think and, in the process, change my perspective on my own issues and life in general.

Well, it's been over a year since I first shared a list like this, and that still remains the only one I've shared so far - the second one, that I started putting together shortly after, still sits in my drafts, unfinished. With my growing desire and determination to share more in this space, right now feels like a good time to pick this series back up again, especially since I've been doing a better job of keeping track of all these pieces of wisdom lately. Without further ado, this is what caught my attention last month:

The Excuses We Make by Jenny Sansouci - Some interesting thoughts on the excuses we use to not do the things we want to do, and the difference that commitment can make. The post starts off with the topic of excuses in relation to writing, which resonates with me so much, and includes an excerpt of an eye-opening perspective on writer's block from Seth Godin.

7 Types of Content That Do The Networking + Community-Building For You by Sarah Von Bargen - Networking, especially in the online world, is one of the main topics on my mind right now, as I'm working to grow my business, and this post is such a gem. I already knew about all these different types of content, but Sarah is so thorough in her explanation of how each of them works and how to use them successfully, that I know I'll keep coming back to this post over and over in the next few months.

Overcoming That Failing Feeling by Julia Engel - Starting and growing my own business has been such a steep learning curve for me that I've had a "failing feeling" for most of this journey so far. Reading Julia's post and identifying so much with her words was a great reminder that our fears and doubts can show up regardless of how much or how little success we're experiencing, and that it's up to us how much power we give them.
"I’d say almost everyday I experience this panic. A panic that I’m failing at life and failing with my business. [...] And even when I’m feeling happy in the present, I’m normally forecasting my failures through self doubt, thinking I’m not good enough to do something in the future."

Farmacy: Eating Your Way by Almila Kakinc-Dodd - This guide about eating our way and listening to our bodies is chock full of so many simple yet valuable bits of advice. Many of them are things I would recommend to my own clients but the timing of the post itself was great. I stumbled on it at a time when I was experiencing some short-lived but uncomfortable digestive issues too, and being on the receiving side of these recommendations helped me to refocus on taking care of myself, and to resolve my issues.

How I Overcame Shyness and Made My Own Success by Bianca Bass - As someone who is both shy and introverted but, at the same time, has to put herself out there in order to grow her business, I'm constantly told that I have to get out of my comfort zone and go against my nature in order to be successful. This post, written from the perspective of someone who is also introverted, at its core, offers the same advice: you have to put yourself out there. The main distinction that it makes however, is that, us introverts can become successful because of the way we're wired, and not despite it. In other words, being shy and introverted is a strength, not a weakness - and this thought makes such a difference for me.

I'd love to know, what have you been reading lately that you particularly enjoyed?

August 30, 2017

Summer Hiking

Around here, it seems like summer is essentially over. I remember waking up a couple of weekends ago, and getting this feeling of autumn being in the air. The sky was covered with dark grey clouds, it was windy and crisp, and it really felt like a fall day. Since then, most mornings have been just as cool, and with school being back in session this week (there's an elementary school two streets away from us, so we can hear the bells ringing and the kids laughing and playing outside on their break again), it really feels like summer is over.

To be honest, I'm not too upset, at least not as much as I usually am, to see summer go. For one, we didn't really have much of a summer to begin with. It was mostly rainy and cool, with just a few bouts of heat and consistent sunshine in between.

Also, at the beginning of the month, when I felt that little knot in my throat realizing that my favourite season is once again almost gone, I decided to do something about it. Instead of wallowing in sadness, I started looking forward and planning for the season ahead. I have to say, it's worked quite well. I really am excited for fall now, and ready to get to work on my goals and enjoy all that the season has to offer. Before that though, I do want to take a moment to look back on summer, short as it may have been, and remember some of my favourite moments from it.

We weren't able to book a long vacation this year, so instead we decided to explore and enjoy the sights closer to home. We spent several weekends hiking through parks within driving distance of our house (ones that we could get to and come back from in the same day), so before I turn the leaf on this summer, I wanted to share a few pictures of the beautiful places we've adventured to this season.

Tell me, what are your favourite memories from this summer?

August 13, 2017

The Time Between

So much has happened since I last updated this space, I can't quite believe it. I start every week with the best of intentions to put more time and love into this blog, yet somehow it keeps slipping through the cracks. Often, it really does feel like time flies by, even though I don't like to say it or think of it that way (mostly because I think it's up to us how much we fill our days, and whether we take time to be present). So, to help "slow down" time a little bit, I thought I'd look back for a second, and take stock of some of the things that have happened since the end of May:
I turned 28 mid-June and enjoyed a wonderful, relaxing day to celebrate. The best part of it for me was, no doubt, sweating through the warmest day of the year until then. There's just something about sunshine and hot weather that makes me really happy.
This blog turned 7 years old (!!!) which might be the most incredible thing of all. My life has changed in so many ways during this time, and I kind of love that the blog has been a constant through it all. I admit that, looking back through the archives, I kind of wish I had documented more of what took place (both with and around me), which is a big reason why I'm still trying to show up here consistently.

I started working with a marketing and mindset coach who is helping me break through some of my limiting beliefs and take steps forward in my businessAs a coach myself, I can't believe it took me this long to recognize how valuable a (great) coach would be for my business. Thankfully, once I did realize it, I stumbled on the opportunity to work with my current coach within a few days.
I met one of my online friends in real life, which was easily one of the highlights of this summer for me.

I struggled with navigating tough times and keeping a positive mindset through it all, but eventually found several ways to focus on the good most of the time and not let the bad affect me as much. This doesn't mean that every day is sunshine and rainbows now, or that I no longer have bad days. It simply means that I've been consciously working every single day on myself to cultivate a positive mindset, with good results. 

I explored a few parks from our part of the world and really enjoyed hiking the trails with my family, including our pup Toby.

I've stayed inside, busy at my computer, for too many days, and forgot or neglected to take time to enjoy the sunshine. The good news is, there's still a bit of summer left, and a few more weeks to appreciate this favourite season of mine.

Tell me, what has your summer been like so far? What are you still looking forward to this season?

May 26, 2017

Kitchen Goodness

It's probably no surprise from a blogger, but one of the main ways I get inspiration for my meals is from....blogs! Of course, food blogs are great, but I also love looking through health and wellness blogs. One of my favourites from the latter category is JSHealth by Jessica Sepel. I've been following Jessica's work on and off for the last few years and during a recent weekend, after reading one of her new posts, I decided to click through the entire recipe section for some inspiration.

Right away, I found plenty of ideas that I liked, and started making a mental list of the ones I wanted to try out soon. Once I got to a 5- or 6-point mental list, I remembered that I rarely follow through on these things, so I figured I'd share my favourites here too, both to keep myself accountable and to perhaps help anyone else who might be in need of a bit of (healthy) cooking inspiration.

Photos via JSHealth: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Most times, I eat eggplants roasted and mixed into a dip/spread similar to baba ganoush, so I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate them into my meals

I'm thinking that these balls could easily be formed into patties instead and served as a great veggie burger option

I only started cooking with brussels sprouts regularly this past fall and winter, and this bowl seems like a lighter, springier option for this otherwise hearty vegetable - I'd love to try it out with quinoa

The colour of this mash is incredible, and I've been loving the flavour of cumin lately

Most of my dessert cravings involve chocolate or cacao, and making a chocolate bark (and getting creative with the toppings!) has been on my list forever

I usually love a savoury breakfast and I'm partial to breads, so this one looks like a perfect fit for me

Of course, there weren't only 6 recipes that caught my eye, so here are a few "honourable mentions" that I'd love to try as soon as I've had a taste of the ones above:

Banana & Dark Chocolate Blender Muffins
Healthy French Toast
Coconut & Banana Quinoa Porridge
Carrot Cake Muffins
Baked Sweet Potato with Spinach, Chickpeas and Lemon Tahini Drizzle
Cumin-Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea and Mint Tabouli
Tomato Onion Brussels
Creamy Thyme Mushrooms
Cauliflower Rice
Cumin Spiced Asparagus
Healthy Nutella Mousse
Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Sea Salt Teff Cookies

Please tell me, would you try any of these recipes out? Where else do you find cooking inspiration?

May 6, 2017

Life Currently // May 2017

It's been a while since I last shared regularly on this blog, but lately I've been thinking more and more about it, and itching to make it a bigger part of my life again. I do have some ideas for posts, but it seems that I've gotten so out of the habit of actually sharing those ideas that, every time I open a new blank post to start writing, my mind goes blank too. So, I thought I'd start simply for now, with a little snapshot of what life looks like these days:

cherishing all the short periods of sunshine in between the clouds and pouring rain

smiling every time I take a peek at the daffodils and hyacinths in our front yard (so happy that it's finally that time of the year again!)

getting back to daily morning walks around the neighbourhood with the pup

trying hard to get into the habit of working out regularly

working on two knitting projects at once: a pink scarf that keeps my hands busy on evenings when my mind is tired after a long day, and a set of placemats that is the perfect excuse to learn a new stitch

staying organized with the Bullet Journal system, and feeling thankful to have found a way to wrangle all the thoughts that are constantly swimming through my mind

making progress on the content I am planning and creating behind-the-scenes for my health coaching website, and looking forward to sharing it with everyone who is ready to start being proactive and taking charge of their health and wellness

feeling excited about new work projects, especially a potential new collaboration with a fellow coach I've really been enjoying connecting with over the last few months

watching loads of Instagram Stories and losing track of time a little too often

dreaming of seeing more of this world, in no small part thanks to all that time spent watching Instagram stories

Well, that about covers most of the things that I'm spending time on and thinking of right now. I'd love to know, what's going on in your life these days?

April 17, 2017

Roadtrip Sights

At the end of last month, I had the chance to go on a short, overnight roadtrip and, oh my goodness, was it so needed! I had been dreaming of going on a longer roadtrip for months (maybe even years at this point?!) and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I went to Toronto (for the second time ever) with my brother for a mix of business and pleasure, and I'm quite proud of how much we were able to fit into the short time we had there. I'll have more pictures and words about our adventures in Toronto later, but for now I just wanted to share a few snaps I took on the road, both getting there and back.

The views on the side of the road. It doesn't seem like much, especially because I'm generally a sunshine girl (and we had very little of it the whole trip) but at that point, we still had well over a foot of snow in our neighbourhood, so seeing this and not even a little bit of white around had me ridiculously happy. Not to mention, the whole way there and back, we saw gaggles of geese flying overhead constantly, which was just another much needed reminder that spring was not going to be far behind even at home. (Fast forward to today, just over two weeks later, thanks to much warmer temperatures and loads of rain, we now have barely any traces of snow left, the flowers in the front yard are popping up from under the ground at rapid speeds, and the tree buds are just about to burst - spring is in full swing!! But I digress.)

 Seriously, seeing the green of the trees against something other than snow made me so happy!

I kept seeing these signs on the side of the road every few kilometres, and it made me think that, in all of my years of life, I never actually saw any deer from the road. Well, as fate would have it, on our way back home, I saw no less than 4 of them (3 on one occasion, and another one later), so I had to take a picture of one of these signs as a happy reminder of this good fortune. :)

As we got closer to home, of course we started to see snow again.

I really enjoyed this trip. It was everything I hoped it would be: a nice break from the routine, a chance to explore and discover new things and places, and an opportunity to rest and recharge. Of course, as it always is, it's also been the reason for even more roadtrip daydreams ever since we got back...

February 6, 2017

Bright Spots

A box of beautiful citrus - lemons and clementines.

I am aware that we haven't had a long and hard winter so far, but I really do miss summer. In all of January, we've had no more than two total days of sunshine, one at the beginning and one at the end; the rest of it was entirely grey. Needless to say, it was starting to really affect me and, despite my efforts, my mood went way down. Thankfully, February has been a little brighter so far. Although it's still mostly grey, we've had peeks of sunshine that have really helped me out a lot: there have been a few sunny mornings already and there was also that one day last week with beautiful afternoon sunlight coming out from behind the clouds just in time to shine down on us for a little while before sundown. Even this morning, as I'm writing this, the sun is coming up into a bright blue sky, peeking out from behind the house on the other side of the street and giving me the energy and happy vibes I need to start this new week off on the right foot.

A brightly coloured cup for my next hot concoction.

I miss summer. I miss the warm weather, the mostly sunny days, and most of all, I miss the sights, sounds, and smells of the season - birds chirping, flowers blooming, grass growing... all the little things. I think one of the hardest parts of winter for me is the lack of colour. On a bad day during this end of January - beginning of February period, when winter has been here for long enough already but I know that it will still be here for quite a bit longer, I feel particularly discouraged. On these days, I make sure to do a couple of things that help me feel better: for one, I try to stay away from my Instagram feed, that every year seems to be filled with pictures of sunny and warm (sandal-wearing warm!) places that seem so far away from my current reality. Second, I do my best to fill my indoor life with as much colour as possible; it might seem silly, but it's incredible how much a little bit of colour - whether it's in the form of a cup, a piece of fruit, or a shirt - can do for my mood.

New drawer organization that's making me smile more than anything else right now.

For now, I'm thoroughly enjoying this sunshine that's now falling directly on my face and later on in the afternoon, when, according to the weather channel, we'll have some more snow falling (and, consequently, more grey skies), I'll hold on to the thought that last week, most groundhogs across Canada predicted an early spring.

I'd love to know, do you prefer summer or winter? How do you cope with all the grey winter days?
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