Saturday, 29 April 2017

Rants, Ramblings & Links

 
(Stocking Image via Pexel.com)
Wow. I just realized that it’s been 4 months since I did my last true blog post. How time flies… Since then, I have actually managed to lose some weight! I’ve been going to the gym 3-6 times per week, plus eating healthy. As I have Celiac disease, I have to eat gluten free. Since March, I’ve also cut meat out of my diet. I just wasn’t feeling the greatest and thought that it was worth a try to cut it out. I have been feeling a million times better.

January 11 vs. April 6

Food Rant

A few weeks ago, I made this Pad Thai. I loved it, I had leftovers for a few days and I definitely would make it again. I also recently made this quiche and loved it! I really want to try this layered dip recipe and this pizza recipe soon.  

A few weeks ago, I came to realize how much I love Quest bars. I’m unsure if it’s because I’m getting healthier, or because they’re becoming more delicious. I especially love the Cookies & Cream ones. I’m also super loving these Crispy Minis for snacks.

When I’m in the mood to make a snack, my go-to has been strawberries or watermelon! I’ve also been cutting up an apple and a banana then drizzling it with a tablespoon of melted peanut butter and a teaspoon of chocolate sauce.

Fitness Rant

I hate classes. I hate cardio. I hate pilates. Therefore, I’ve been getting super into lifting weights and yoga.

I used to roll my eyes every time that someone even brought up yoga. However, more recently, I’ve been researching poses that work for me. Due to cracking my elbow in the winter, getting in a car accident last summer and pushing wheelchairs at work – I have developed muscle spasms in my trapezius muscle on the left side.  I have found poses that work for me, poses that I love. These poses have helped ease pain and stretch out muscles that are tight from lifting weights.

When it comes to weight lifting, it’s always been my workout of choice. I have started looking at pins on Pinterest for ideas. I really like the workouts from Fitness Food Diva. They work, they’re great and I can always feel it the next day.

Shopping Rant

I have noticed a significant change in my personal style over the last year. This time last year, I was still wearing crop tops and bodycon skirts. Now, I wear jeans and a nice shirt almost every day off. When I work, I wear my favourite dress pants and a blouse.

Right now, I’m really digging the high-neck relaxed tanks from Old Navy. I bought a solid one in March, and keep eyeing the printed ones! They’re so slimming and comfortable. Definitely worth the money.

I love tote bags in the spring and summer. I love that they’re so big, you can throw in whatever you need. I’m taking my mom away for Mother’s Day weekend and am desperately seeking a tote to take with us on our excursions on Saturday. I am currently obsessed with this bag in ivory for the spring! It would look so cute with just about anything.


Last, but certainly not least, I am obsessed with these flats. I bought a similar pair a few weeks ago. They’re so cute for spring with just about anything. I love them, and want them in every colour of the rainbow! 

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Hello, Again


Well, that was an unexpected three months off from blogging. I’m not entirely sure why I chose to take a break but I know my creative vibes are back again. Which is a good thing. In the last three months, a lot has happened. Starting with the #1: I’ve started working out 6 days a week again plus eating healthy. It’s incredible how incredible my body feels again after three months of living a healthy lifestyle.

My two fitness goals for 2017 are to run a 5 kilometre run and to be able to lift a tractor tire. I know, they’re silly goals but they’re goals that I never ever thought I’d be able to achieve. Right now, my daily routine starts at 6:45 am, the time my alarm is set for to go to the gym. As weird as it sounds, I hate going to the gym any later. Every time I try to go around 8:30 on my days off, the gym is packed with people who hog the equipment and are full of dirty looks when you’re trying to exercise. I’m hoping that I can continue this routine indefinitely, which makes it even easier for me to achieve those goals.

In addition, I went to my electrophysiologist two weeks ago. He told me that my heart’s in the best shape he’s seen it in. That’s a great sign for me, considering three years ago my resting heart rate was 220. Now it’s 95. Still a little high, but completely healthy.


I’m hoping to get back to posting regularly. I miss blogging. I miss sharing the stuff that I’ve become obsessed with. I miss building relationships. Please let me know if there’s any topics that you’d like to read about. I’m really looking forward to sharing some of my weight loss tips and tricks in the near future!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Top 5 Products from Sephora on my Wish List

I am slowly and steadily healing. I went to the gym this morning for the first time in a while, and I’m kind of feeling it this afternoon. I did my usual leg workout, plus went on the stationery bike (I figured the treadmill and stair climber would be too hard with my sling on), plus did some bicep curls with 5 lb. weights to get some strength back in my arms.
I have had some serious writer’s block for a while. However, I am always looking for some new makeup. So I figured that I would do a “Top 5 Products from Sephora on my Wish List” post. 



Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Exfoliating Powder to Clear Pores: Origin’s Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores is my holy grail face mask, it’s by far better than any other charcoal mask I’ve used. I have Keratosis Pilaris on my upper arms, and I find charcoal products are one of the few things that actually help treat it. This product is a powder that turns into a creamy cleanser when it comes in contact with water. I definitely want to give this a try in the very near future, plus it has a 5 star rating on the Sephora website.

Hello FAB Gym Bag Essentials Kit: First Aid Beauty will always be my number one skin care brand. Their face cleanser, self-tanner and moisturizer will be my all time favourites. I really love this kit. It coemes with a 2 oz. bottle of face cleaner, a tube of the ultra repair lip therapy, green face mist and coconut skin smoothie priming moisturizer. For $42, this is a fabulous deal.

Too Faced x Kat Von D Better Together Ultimate Eye Collection: I am dying at how perfect this palette is. I love Too Faced and Kat Von D’s eye products. Plus, it comes with Better Than Sex Mascara and Tattoo Liner? Ah. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a perfect palette. The Too Faced x Kat Von D collection also has the Tattoo Liner and Better Than Sex Mascara sold together as a duo, as well as a cheek & lip set.

Tarte Lifted Sweatproof Mascara: Honestly, I really don’t spend much money on mascara usually. However, this Tarte mascara has drawn me in. I’ve been trying to get back into the routine of going to the gym regularly. Now, I’m not one to wear makeup in the gym – but I would love a good mascara that won’t run the days that I do wear makeup!

Laura Mercier Translucent Pressed Setting Powder: I hate loose setting powders. I just find that they make such a mess, and I’m not one for messy makeup. I would love to try the pressed setting powder though. So many bloggers talk about how the Laura Mercier loose setting powder is their holy grail product, but I just can’t love it. However, I think I could definitely fall in love with a pressed setting powder!


What is your current Sephora wish list? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

10 Shows to Watch on (Canadian) Netflix Right Now!

Honestly, nothing excites me more than curling up to watch a great show. Unfortunately, 90% of the time, when I open a link about the Top 10 Netflix Shows it’s US based. Canadian Netflix is unlike US Netflix. Therefore, I can’t enjoy the greatness of New Girl or Parenthood.
I figured that I’d create my own list of my top ten favourite shows on Canadian Netflix today.

Image via Giphy
Gilmore Girls (and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)
Anybody who knows me, knows that I am obsessed with Gilmore Girls (a previous post I did about GG is here). It is about a single mother and her daughter, living in a fiction town called Stars Hollow. It’s a refreshing, wholesome show that teaches young girls about life. Unfortunately, some story lines are farfetched as are many shows.
In 2016, Netflix released the Gilmore Girls revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. I did love it a lot more than a lot of people. I was disappointed by ASP’s ode to Bunheads that lasted fifteen minutes, and by the ending. Overall though, it was kind of nice to see some of the character development, especially Emily Gilmore’s, Lorelai’s mom.

Image via Giphy
The Mindy Project
I became obsessed with The Mindy when it first premiered in 2012. It’s about a witty, Indian OB GYN trying to find love while balancing her work/personal life. It’s funny, it’s emotional and it has a ton of celebrity guests (including Seth Rogan, Seth Meyers, Ed Helms and Joseph Gordon-Levitt). If you’re looking for a light sitcom, it this definitely for you!

Image via Giphy
The Office
I just recently fell in love with The Office, after being recommended due to my love of The Mindy Project. I love it, I’ve watched the first three seasons in two weeks; which is super unheard of for me! It’s about a mediocre paper company, Dunder-Mifflin, which is located in Scranton, PA. It’s a mockumentary that follows the everyday life of the branch manager (Steve Carrell) and his employees. The things that the employees encourage with Steve Carrell’s character are quite strange and usually rather humorous. It’s definitely a great show if you want a good laugh.

Image via Giphy
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Strange, another show starring a former cast member of The Office (note: Mindy Kaling was a writer/producer/actor for the show). I love Ellie Kemper’s role in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. She has a great chemistry with the rest of her cast members. It is about a 29 year old, Kimmy Schmidt, who has been rescued from a cult after 15 years. She decides that she wants to be more than a victim, so she moves to New York City. It is funny, emotional and overall, extremely well written. It’s definitely worth it to sit down for an afternoon (or two) and watch it. 

Image via Giphy
Fuller House
Here’s an unpopular opinion: I hate Full House. However, I decided to give Fuller House a chance and instantly fell in love. It reunites all the original cast members, with the exception of the Olsen twins. Honestly though, I don’t have even noticed them missing.
Fuller House follows D.J., who is recently widowed and the mother of three young boys. D.J.’s sister, Stephanie, good ol’ Kimmy Gibbler come to her rescue to help her raise her boys. I love this revival, it’s one of the better well written revivals/remakes in the last little bit. 

Image via Giphy
The Fosters
I have so much love for The Fosters. It’s wholesome, deep and has great messages for everyone. The show is about a young girl, Callie, who is put into a foster home with two lesbians after it is proven that she has an issue with males. She progresses throughout the seasons and has so much character development throughout the seasons. It is truly an incredible show, and I cannot wait for the new season to premiere on ABC Spark (Freeform in the US) on January 31st

Image via Giphy
Pretty Little Liars
I genuinely think that 99% of girls have watch PLL. It’s about four girls from the fictional town of Rosewood that are searching for their missing friend, Allison, while being taunted by anonymous texts. The final season premieres in April, and it’s probably not a terrible idea to re-watch it and see if there’s any little clues that we’ve missed. I know that’s definitely my plan (when I finish The Office, of course). 

Image via Giphy
Grey’s Anatomy
This is kind of the same as PLL, but I feel as though most people have watched Grey’s. If not, I’m not quite sure what you’re doing with your life. Grey’s Anatomy is great. It’s great to re-watch, too. There’s so many seasons, and so many story lines, that sometimes they’re forgotten. Plus, there’s so many great episodes that you can watch over and over again. Such as the season finales of seasons 5 and 6. They’re so sad, but two of my favourite episodes to watch. I love Grey’s, and I couldn’t imagine life without it in all honesty. 

Image via Giphy
Scandal
Holy moly. Scandal. Scandal. Scandal.
Honestly, I was super disappointed with the last season. I found it long and super dragged out. However, the first three seasons are phenomenal. Scandal is written by Shona Rhimes, creator of Grey’s and How to Get Away with Murder. It is about Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), her crisis firm and the staff that she manages. Olivia was a former media relations consultation for the president who spends her life dedicated to protecting the White House. Olivia opened her own crisis firm, but can’t seem to cut ties from her past. It’s a phenomenal show, well written, however, don’t waste your time with the fifth season (the sixth premieres on ABC on January 19th at 9 pm).  


How to Get Away With Murder
Last but certainly not least, I couldn’t forget about Shonda Rhimes show, How to Get Away with Murder. Honestly, this may be my favourite Shonda show. It stars Viola Davis as Annalise Keating, who leads a group of ambitious law students as a criminal defense professor. The students and Keating end up involved in a murder plot with twists and turns that impact their professional and personal lives forever.

What's your favourite Netflix show? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, 6 January 2017

links + loves


Two years ago today, my little Moose came into our lives! He was originally named Galileo, but became Moose very quickly. He is now the love of my life, and has so much personality. My cat, Angel, died in 2014 and I never thought she’d be replaced. However, Moose is starting to become so lovable.

Today, I went shopping with one of my girlfriends. I bought two pairs of jeans! Anyone who knows me knows that jeans are not really my thing. However, I fell in love with these boyfriend jeans and these skinny jeans, as soon as I tried them on. I can’t wait to wear them with booties and one of my boyfriend t-shirts from Old Navy.

Last night, I was wondering on my calendar for work. I was stumped, then stumbled upon the aging section of New York Times. This article really intrigued me. It’s definitely worth a read if you work with seniors or are caring for someone you love with dementia.  


I am a sucker for a good breakfast recipe. I have fallen in love with this banana berry smoothie bowl recipe. I may start meal prepping again next week! I miss the idea of preparing my meals, and have fantastic meals all week to eat.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Recent Purchases + Current Wish List


Recent Purchases


Anyone who knows me knows that I have become an absolute sucker for Reitmans. I think that I may have reached a point over Boxing Week that I purchased half of my wardrobe from Reitmans, while tossing out four bags of clothes. It’s 60% off clearance, so why not…right?

I bought these leggings in the colour prune. I love them with a neutral shirt, plus they’re possibly the most comfortable/thick leggings that I have purchased in a while. Prior to Christmas, I had bought these pants in red/navy, as well as these pants. I love both pairs and felt like sharing them!

During the post Christmas sales, I purchased this blouse in white; I had previously purchased it in blue. It fits so nice – it’s loose, but not too loose and thin, but not too thin! Definitely worth the money.

My parents had gifted me this adorable striped top from Reitmans in red for Christmas! It looks like your basic red striped long-sleeve t shirt, however, it laces up the sides! How cute is that! I can’t wait to wear it with my boyfriend jeans and sneakers, or my skinny dress pants to work.

I’m still debating whether or not I actually like it on me, but I purchased this cami in black. I have so many black camisoles, and I just can’t decide what my final opinion is on it. Until I decide, it’s hanging in my closet.

Another item that I purchased from Reitmans were these leggings. I am very, very picky about leggings and unfortunately, these did not meet my expectations. They slid down, were very uncomfortable and rather sheer.
(On a more positive note about leggings, I truly love my Garage leggings. I regret trying to find a pair that I liked more.)

I had purchased a lot more items from Reitmans, but unfortunately, those items are no longer on the website.

The next store that I went to on Boxing Day was Old Navy. They had an additional 50% off clearance. Unfortunately, those sales are no longer on. However, I did manage to get this blazer; which I love. It fits extremely big, but it’s so comfortable. As well, I got this long sleeve tee in dark steele. I have genuinely never worn a t shirt so comfortable. When I broke my elbow, I actually ended up where that t shirt with my Gap high rise leggings (another post-Christmas find) at the emergency room when I just wanted to be comfortable.

I didn’t purchase it, but I just wanted to share the beautiful Fossil watch that my sister and her family gave me for Christmas. I was so spoiled this year, I didn’t deserve it! But I’m so thankful and I’m so in love with it.

Lastly, I went to Aldo and got a pair of flats. They killed my heels. Honestly, I’d rate them a -5/5 if I could. I’m not even wasting my time linking them.

Current Wish List


I may have just bought a lot of clothing, but honestly, I almost always have something on my wish list that I want to purchase. Usually, it is items that are actually in my price range, but sometimes, it’s items that I’d consider splurging on.

I am an absolute sucker for a pair of good running shoes. I have always gone to Nike Free Runs, they’re just instantly my go-to. They’re so comfortable, and look so great on. I love the fly knit sneakers, and would love a black and white pair.

I have spent so much time recently looking at Madewell items and I’ve fallen in love with 99% of their products. I really like this oversized plaid shirt (which is on sale), which I had noticed on Nordstrom Rack yesterday! I also have fallen madly in love with the Transport Rucksack.

Lately, I have been struggling to find clothing that I actually like that I can wear to work, plus is in my price range. Quite often, I spend hours looking at the Anthropologie website but know that a lot of the items are out of my price range. However, I have fallen in love with this camisole. It would look so adorable under a jean jacket or blazer!

The last thing that I wanted to share is this beautiful handbag that I had found on Etsy! Isn’t it great? I’m not really a handbag person, but I do like this one a lot.

 


 

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Strength Over Fear: Rants & Ramblings About Living with Congenital Heart Disease



Sometimes, I sit around and I think about everything that has led me to the moment I’m at now. I’m okay. I’m healthy. I’m strong.

I previously talked about my congenital heart disease in this post. Having a heart defect does not define who I am. Although, it has shaped and molded me into the person that I am.

Some mornings, I stand and look at myself in the mirror and think, I wonder what I would look like without all of my scars. Everyone sees my largest scar, my defining scar as I call it. It’s the scar that has been opened and closed repeatedly for my open heart surgeries. I also have a few scars on my neck from catheterizations, two from where chest tubes have been placed and a scar on my groin from when they had to rush me onto life support.
Sometimes, I think about life without my scars. Then I slowly realize that I wouldn’t be alive. I wouldn’t have stories to relate to people with heart disease. I wouldn’t be able to empathize with people that are scared because they’re having heart surgery.

When I feel like throwing in the towel, like my heart medication doesn’t matter, that I want to skip my cardiology appointments or that I want to simply ignore the palpitations that I’m feeling, I quite often turn to music. In recent years, I quite often find myself listening to Fight Song by Rachel Platten.  Music has always made me feel better when I feel like giving up.

More recently, a struggle that I’ve been facing has been a diagnosis of anxiety. I don’t have a generalized anxiety disorder, and it wasn’t because I was consistently having panic attacks. My diagnosis has been diagnosed with a correlation with my congenital heart disease. It’s not that the surgeries have given me anxiety, or I have severe trauma from an IV (although, I had a terrible experience with IVs when I was younger and I can’t cope with the idea of getting one). It’s because there’s so much fear of the unknown. For the first time ever, there’s more adults living with congenital heart disease than children. At this point, researchers don’t know what adulthood looks like for people with congenital heart disease, especially complex congenital heart disease. I don’t know if I’ll live a full life, if I’ll have a stroke at 50 that’ll kill me, if I’ll need more open heart surgeries. Nobody truly knows. The one thing that comforts me is knowing that I’m not alone. I know my parents and sister are there for me. I have my grandma. I have my aunts, uncles and cousins. I know my cardiologist is there. I know people in the heart community are there. I’m strong, I’ve overcome four open heart surgeries and I can survive just about anything (even if I need to sit down and cry for a few hours every once in a while).

I know that my strength will always triumph my fear. Recently, I went to the emergency room because I have a hairline fracture in my elbow. The RN that was caring for me has cared for me in the past when my heart has gone into shock. She jokingly brought my pain meds out without a med cup. She looked at me and said, “I normally don’t do this, but you’re my toughest patient” and winked. Moments like that make my day. Moments like that provide me with comfort. They make me realize that I’m not alone. They prove to me that I’m going to be alright, because I have strength. My strength will help me get through all the negative in my life.

There isn’t a day that I don’t think about how different my life would be if I hadn’t have had four open heart surgeries. I often get, “I don’t know how you do it”. I do it, because it’s my route of survival and the only thing that I’ve ever known. My life is what defines me. In all honesty, it’s the same thing as dealing with my grandpa having dementia or my dad having a stroke at a young age. You just kind of learn to adjust to your life changes. I’m used to my annual echo, my appointments with my cardiologist and electrophysiologist, taking medication before I see the dentist and taking the necessary precautions to avoid illness.

I’m okay. I’m healthy. I’m strong. I can, and I will survive just about anything that I’m handed.


In the words of Rachel Platten, “I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me”.