Thursday, December 31, 2009

Eating Clean

Day 4 of clean eating. It's getting easier and almost enjoyable everyday. Before I go further into my post I will explain clean eating in a nutshell.

*Eat Fresh

*Eat Local and organic if you can

*If the label you are reading has more than 2 or 3 ingredients it's likely man made, and processed, processed foods are a no no.

*Drink heaps of water

*Stay away from saturated fats

*Don't touch fried or sugary foods (all the good stuff ;)

*Eat frequently, 3 meals plus 2 or 3 clean eats in between, to keep that metabolism burning

So after the first 2 days, all I wanted was something fried with a coating of sugar...I was thinking a donut would really hit the spot! I went to bed depressed on the 2nd night deciding it was hopeless because I just LOVE food too much to restrict myself. I woke up the next morning and looked down at the layers of fat covering my self and it reminded me that I deserve to take care of myself and be healthy. Eating better was not a punishment, it was a blessing. With a new found positive attitude for this journey, I took to the grocery store. I brought my little boy Jalen with me and we explored the produce aisles. Jalen helped me pick out beautiful pineapples and melons. We took our time in that section of the grocery store, because I knew that the middle aisles (mostly processed) would only take me a moment. I bought some delicious goat cheese and sprouted bread, fresh salsa, lemons, a butternut squash and peppers from every colour of the rainbow.

In a perfect world I could avoid the middle aisles at all costs but if you are label savvy you can find some good choices there too. I got some mineral water to go with my lemons. It's been said that a glass of red wine a day is good for you but I'm certain that the goblet I often consume is not the "glass" they are talking about. Last night I curled up on the couch with a great magazine and my lemon water and I have to admit felt luxurious somehow. I also got some beans, rice, canned tuna and salmon and some Kashi cereal.

For supper last night I made the most delicious spinach salad, with a fresh lemony vinaigrette, roasted fingerling potatoes and turkey meatloaf. The entire meal was made from scratch, with almost zero added fats but it was wonderful. And Jalen pretended to be a rabbit as he ate his spinach, and I thought: "Should I make him stop being silly at the table?.." but then I thought "Whatever gets him eating his fresh vegetables."I went to bed satisfied and feeling like I was a good mother for providing all this fresh fare for my babies.

I woke up this morning and toasted up this amazing bread I bought which is so hearty and nutty and it doesn't even need a spread of any type. The bread is made by a company called stonemill bakehouse and they have several varieties. This just reaffirmed my new feeling that eating clean is not torture.I'm sure it will be hard later on tonight (New Years Eve) when my friends are eating chicken wings, mini quiche, dips and mozzarella sticks as I nibble on my fresh salsa, veg and light swiss. But, at the end of the day, it feels good to eat good. When my head hits the pillow, instead of feelins of regret and anger because I have not taken care of myself, I am proud of myself and feel like I did my body a service. I'm pretty sure that feeling is much better than any donut tastes.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Joy Blog...Polka Dots

Click on the above image to see it larger.

I've expressed my love for polka dots on numerous occasions. There's something wonderfully fresh about an ordinary item sprinkled with colourful dots. Now I'm not saying to go overboard and have every item in your home splattered with polka dots, however, a few carefully selected pieces can add whimsy and charm to an otherwise dull space. There seems to be a trend at the moment where it's more acceptable to have polka dots in the kitchen, your closet, your bedroom or anywhere! However, for me, this isn't a trend thing...its a joy thing.

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Vision Map for 2010

Click to play this Smilebox collage: Vision Map 2010
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox collage

So the presents are all unwrapped, the pounds have been packed on and as life slowly returns to reality I consider 2010 and what I hope for the year ahead. Most new years resolutions go up in flames by mid January, however I truly believe in setting intentions, and visualizing the end result to attain success. I created the above vision map as a visual for what I intend to manifest in the coming year.

The centre photo is a capecod style home with a wraparound porch, my dream home! We intend to successfully sell our house in the spring and move into our BIG house. I look forward to space for my kids to grow, space for all of us to breathe and a house we can live in forever. Jalen and Ruby can grow into teenagers, we can host amazing parties and we will do all the things in this house that we haven't in our current home, knowing that it's not our forever home.

The left top photo of Ruby and I is a symbol of joy and motherhood. I intend to manifest more laughter and joy. I am also setting my intention to connect to my children fully and embrace motherhood and all the joys that it can bring. Its so easy to get caught up in "life" that you don't realize that somehow your newborn babies are almost on their way to school and you can never get this time back. Be present.

My next photo represents first of all my dream eat-in-retro kitchen that i hope to create this year. But it also represents family and cooking and homemaking. I am going to pull out my stacks of cook books and prepare recipes from these books. I'm going to teach my children that home cooking is not whatever frozen entree was pulled out of the freezer. I got a rice cooker for Christmas and I easily prepared brown rice, and steamed brocolli and carrots to go with it. I picked up some fresh rainbow trout from the local fish counter, and quickly marinated it in asian seasonings, it cooked in oven in no time at all. And delicious! The kids loved it.

Bottom left in my vision map is about inner peace. I got a book call 21-day consciousness cleanse by Debbie Ford and I am working my way through it right now. The book is supposed to be a "breakthrough program for connecting with your soul's deepest purpose." I want to stay connected to my soul, be aware of what the universe is saying, to live less by the drive of my ego. Now I am not far enough into the book to do any sort of recommending but I will keep you posted.

Next is the photo of the bright and cheerful craftroom. Yes...I would like to have my dream craft room however the craftroom photo represents creativity. I intend to get more intune with my ability to create and craft. I am always seeking inspiration for my creativity, yet don't make the time to bring my inspiration to fruition. Yes...that's it...from inspiration to fruition...that's the goal.

Finally...that hot bikini body! I have two weddings to attend this year and I have to wear a bikini to one of them. I intend to get this body in shape this year, so while I am at the tropical wedding I'm not the only one hiding inside the hotel with pants on! I am getting active and taking better care of myself because I deserve to look good and have self confidence.

So there you have vision for 2010...basically I am going to take care of my mind, body and soul because I am worthy of peace, joy, health and happiness. And you are too.

Monday, December 21, 2009


illustration: Stephen Doyle

With the 2009 year coming to a close, I've been thinking about the past year, how fast it went. Wondering what did I learn this year, how did I grow, what do I now know? I decided to compile a "What I know for sure" list like Oprah does in her magazine. So here goes...

*Sometimes we can't make the "right" choice, we just have to make a choice and then make it feel right after.

*Just as people change and evolve, so do relationships, and that's okay.

*It's never too say I love You
to say I'm Sorry
to say I Forgive You
to say You Matter to Me

*Every one deserves forgiveness. Doing so will release you of the burden of carrying that grudge.

*The greatest gifts are those given with love and thoughtfulness.

*Your parents probably did the best job they could with what they knew at the time, parents are human beings and make mistakes...some bigger than others.

*As much as you swear you won't, you will probably be just like your mother in a lot of ways and actually it turns out that some of her "stuff" is not that bad.

*Make sure that at the beginning and end of each day you practice loving acts towards your partner and usually the stuff in between will be good too. If you let the first and/or last words you say to each other be sour ones, it sets a tone for the whole day.

* Children really just want your connection and presence. All I have to do is lie on the floor while my kids are playing and they think they hit the jackpot! Especially if you are a working mom like me, when you are there, try to plug in, its easy to get caught up in all the house stuff, but kids need it and crave your attention...even 10 solid minutes will do.

*It feels pretty good to be 30 years old, the twenties were a rocky road.

*It's the little things that matter...spontaneous hugs, family dinner time, eye contact, listening, baking cookies, being silly, slow dancing, family movie night, having coffee ready in the morning...

*A thorough clean can make all the difference in how your house looks. Wiping walls, baseboards, light switches, windows. Its actually one of the best home decor tips. My friend Sunshine has taught me this, see her blog for more Suddenly you can see your things, but not through a a shadow of dirt and dust.

*Touch will connect you to people. Give hugs to friends. When you speak to people touch their arm. I used to be a very anti-touchy person, but I realize what a difference it makes in your connection with people. I work with pre-adolescent children at my job, and it makes a HUGE difference in my relationship with them. When one of my 11 year old girls are crying from the depths of their soul because the latest boy broke her heart, it means everything to be hugged and have tears wiped away.

*Life goes by faster as you get older. Seasons will change faster than you can change your wreath on the door.

*The present moment is all there is.

*Daycare has not ruined my children like I believed would happen, my children have benefited from going to daycare, built relationships and have learned so much. It doesn't make me a bad mom to go to work. It makes me a better mom to have a life and to have relationships with other adults and have time outside of the four walls of our home.

*Listen to what the universe is trying to say to you, be open everyday to the possibility of inspiration, follow your bliss and use it to inspire others.

And that my friends, is what I know for sure.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Feeling Inspired By...Our Best Bites

So I've mentioned this site before because I just LOVE all of their great food ideas, the photography is great and there are some really wonderful gift ideas. This week I plan on doing a little baking and creating for gifts for my children's daycare teachers, as well as some other collegues, friends and acquaintances. Here are some great things I found on and I hope it inspires you as well.

These look delectable! They are called Easy Pretzel Turtles. Essentially you take a small pretzel and top it with a rolo, place them in a preheated 350 degree oven for around 3 mins. When the outside looks a bit melty, take them out and press a pecan half right in the middle!

I thought this was such a great idea for a gift, it's called fruity candied popcorn, which happens to be pretty easy as well. Using Jello powder as the secret ingredient! See for the tutorial on this.

Aren't these homemade marshmallows great !?! I thought it would be great, paired up with a nice gourmet hot chocolate mix and a beautiful mug for thoughtful Christmas present for teachers, or co-workers.

Okay, so this recipe is not as cut and dry as sticking a rolo on top of a pretzel but I thought they looked so pretty and delicious. ourbestbites, gives a recipe to make these brownies from scratch. I have to admit I was thinking about cheating and using a mix to make the brownie and then adding the pink peppermint frosting, chocolate and candycanes.

These darling little things are individual pies baked right in the mason jar! I thought this was a great gift idea for a hostess or a dessert idea if you happen to be hosting a holiday dinner of your own. There are a ton of great ideas on this site but these are just a few that I'm thinking about attempting in my holiday kitchen this week.

Love This Site!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Christmas State of Mind....

It's December 11, my Christmas spirit is in full swing. I woke up to a perfect light blanket of snow, popped my "Charlie Brown Christmas" cd in the player and scanned my Martha Stewart magazine collection for some of my favourite December issues to inspire me. The Christmas season, encompasses all that this simple abundance journey means to me. An excuse to browse my favourite shops for that "perfect" gift for everyone. A reason to add sparkles and beautiful things in every corner of my home. It stirs joy and creativity and bliss inside me as I decorate and bake and wrap presents up pretty. It's that time of year where you make time to see friends and family that you should have visited this year already, but were "just too busy". It's a time where you get to say "Thank-you" and "I really do love you" and "I miss you" and "You matter" wrapped up in pretty paper and a ribbon. It's a time when it's okay to sing carols out loud. Its okay to wear tacky Christmas sweaters.


Its also a time where you start to feel sick as you pull out that bank card for the 50th time and you realize ANOTHER $100 has just been dropped towards this season. You gorge yourself with sugar cookies and dip into those tins of bonbons that are conveniently lying around everywhere at work and you say to yourself "That's it, I'm going on a diet before Christmas" so you can fit into your holiday outfit. It's that time of year when you wonder how you are going to fit everyone in and sqeak by another Christmas without causing a family rift. All of these emotions and feelings, some wonderful and some stressful ...all squeezed into one tiny month. Faster than you can say "Happy Holidays" you are taking those damn lights off the tree, cursing and wondering if you should just take the whole tree lights included to the depot and buy new lights next year. In a flash all those toys you spent a fortune on to create that perfect Christmas morning are in the bottom of the toy bin as they reach for their old faithful toys. Quicker than you can say "Season's Greetings" you are looking through your bank statements and your closet in January wondering was all of this was worth it? All the shortbread and sugar cookies you mindlessly stuffed in your mouth, going all out and buying gifts you couldn't really afford but couldn't admit it to your family and friends. Now January's here and you're muffin topping out of your jeans and you are on a budget of all budgets trying to balance out the mess you created by going "All out." You make excuses for yourself all season...because well "it's Christmas time." Is there a way to enjoy a more balanced Christmas season? Is there a way to delight in the sheer bliss that comes from this time of year without breaking the bank and causing ourselves unnecessary harm? For a such a short time of year it sure can do alot of damage! Let us remind ourselves of the simple pleasures of the season, and here are some of my ideas to help you find joy this year without falling apart this month.

Photo collage from top left going clockwise: 1. My family and I picking out our tree this year 2. My fresh wreath on the door 3. My glittery snowflakes hanging over the dining room table 4. The cranberry centrepiece in the hurricane vase that I created for next to nothing!

*As you can see above I created a centre piece for my table using a hurricane vase and some fresh cranberries with a pillar candle. I think it looks fabulously festive and it was very affordable. A bag of fresh cranberries was around $2.99 and the pillar candle you can likely find at your local dollarstore. I found the glass vase at winners on clearance! I've done pinecones in past year as well. The best part is...the hurricane vase can be used all year round...filled with other things.

*I found these big gold sparkly snowflakes at the dollarstore, I got some clear fishing wire and hung 3 them at staggered levels over my dining room table. The key is to buy them in odd numbers like 3 or 5. But essentially you are adding great flare and sparkle to your dining room for under $5.00

*No time to bake? I found the best idea this year to take oreo cookies and dip them in milk or white chocolate then jazz them up with crushed candy canes or red and green sprinkles. I made these at work with my kids for a holiday open house and they were so pretty all lined up on a Christmas platter...and they taste great! While you're at it, grab a bag of pretzels and dip those in chocolate too! You can create wonderful little bags of goodies for friends and family or co-workers for little money and time. The are also a pretty little cookie to put out for Santa with some milk :)

Photo credit: these chocolate covered oreos can actually be purchased online at

*My family and I have friday night movie nights with popcorn, grab a Christmas favourite and curl up with hot chocolate and whipped cream, turn the Christmas tree lights on. My family watched "Polar Express" tonight and had popcorn made the oldfashioned way. There is something magical about shaking the pot on the stove and watching those kernels pop up in the pot.

*Practice your assertion and say "No" this season. Set limits with people. Set limits with money. Set limits with food. You'll be glad you did.

*Create and buy gifts from your heart. I know it sounds cheesy but personal gifts really do mean alot. That extra effort to find something that is based on what you know someone would love rather than setting a dollar amount. My dad got a new blu- ray player this year so I bought him "Charlie Brown's Christmas" , it's his favourite childhood movie. It didn't cost me alot but it's something he will love. This year my husband gave me an early Christmas present of diamond earrings! Okay so the diamonds are spectacular, point is he gave me the earrings with the most beautiful poem that he wrote just for me. I'm not lying when I say that the poem touched me way more than the diamonds did.

photo credit: creature comforts blog

Be true to yourself(and your budget)...follow your bliss...enjoy this wonderful season for what it is but don't lose your money or your mind trying to create an image of what you think Christmas should look like. Christmas is not spending a certain amount of dollars, it's not pulling your hair out trying to bake cookies from scratch (unless you have time and you want to) Its a time of simple pleasures and being grateful for all the blessings you have. It's watching the joy in your children's eyes because they believe in the magic of Santa. When things start to feel tense gently remind yourself of the true meaning of Christmas. Just as Mary Ellen Chase has said:

Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. ~Mary Ellen Chase

Thursday, December 3, 2009

An Inspired Life

Photo: The silver pear that I found on one of my "creative excursions"

"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and your discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”

My status on facebook the other day read like this "Needs to be inspired today." My friend Alison responded with totally empathy, she too is working mother. She made a comment that basically between the laundry, the errands, the diapers, the "stuff" that makes up our lives, how do we gain inspiration for our creativity and joy. Only a short ways into my blogging career, I am loving this as an outlet to be inspired and inspire others. However, this week, I struggle to find a spark of something to get excited about or to deem it worthy enough to share with the world. This is a normal part of the journey towards getting in touch with your authentic self I am sure. Especially since the journey takes a back seat to raising my children and working...sometimes real life just seems to get in the way. So it got me thinking: "How do we live an inspired life, despite all the "have to's?" The only thing that seemed to make sense to me as a racked my brain and a few of my favourite books for some answers is that only we can make the time for ourselves, to listen to what the universe is trying to tell us, what are daydreams are saying, to be aware enough to be inspired. Where does this magical thing called "time" come from? Well, I wish I had a better answer for everyone besides "you have to make time." Here are a few ideas of things I have personally used to open up my life to be more inspired everyday:

*Set your alarm 20 mins early to get up in the morning-yes it will be very tempting to hit snooze and catch that extra 20 mins shut eye but trust me, it will be worth it. I even do this on the weekends to sneak in a little extra time for me before the kids get up and the "busy"ness starts to consume my day. Make yourself a hot cup of coffee or tea, flip through a great self help or spiritual read to inspire you. Write a list of positive intentions for you your day. Spend a few moments on your favourite websites.

*Play hooky...take a well deserved mental health day. Go on a creative excursion to a thrift shop and browse through things that call out to you. Is it the shape of a glass pitcher, a great bright coloured pair of heels, or a great vintage cookbook (one of my personal favs)

*Read some great quotes

*Stop in at a great second hand bookstore. Take something home on a topic you've been thinking about lately. Or a fiction book that speaks to you.

*Buy yourself a new glossy magazine about anything that will stir joy within you, my personal choices are home decorating/food magazines like martha stewart or house and home. Pull out anything that jumps out at you. My friend Sunshine has the most glorious scrapbook in which she's compiled all of the things she finds in magazines that inspire her. I personally like to create collages or "vision boards" with all of these things that inspire me.(More on vision boards on another post)

*Treat yourself to a delicious lunch from a place you've always wanted to try and read your new magazine at the same time!

*Go to bed a half hour something uplifting, spend some quiet time with your own thoughts, write in your journal. Sometimes just taking the time to quiet your cluttered mind opens up some space for inspiration to find you.

*Search the web when you get a moment. Here are some of the sights that I have been inspired by lately: (mostly a wedding inspiration site but a beautiful site none the less) (love etsy!) Just purchased the most beautiful vintage glass bowls that inspired me instantly to head towards my dream of having a retro kitchen. (a classic go-to for inspiring creativity) a food blog with gorgeous pictures that make me want to get in the kitchen another food blog with great pictures and good for inspiring gift ideas from the kitchen (i just love that tiffany blue..oh and the diamonds aren't bad either) people post some really cool photos on this site
Those are just a few of my own personal websites saved on my "favourites." I encourage you to browse some topics you are interested in, and save any pictures that call out to you. I have files and files of things I have found in my web searches that I have been inspired by.

Its true that "real life" does sometimes get in the way and eats up all of our energy and time...but sometimes we need to just push "real life" aside. Only we can make a personal choice to make time for ourselves. Most likely your boss is not going to approach you and say..."'ve been working real hard and you seem frazzled...take a mental health day." Your kids arent' going to say "don't worry about us mom..just worry about YOU for an hour." We need to take the hour, heck-take 15 mins or 5. Schedule it in our "to do" list. My "to do" list usually includes the following columns: work, home, family and self. The truth is, the more we take time out for ourselves to seek inspiration and to be creative, the more passionate our lives will be and the more joy we will have, thus making us better at our jobs, better partners and better parents. To me an uninspired life, is not worth living...but perhaps that's just me?