Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Monday, 30 June 2014

June photos

It's the last day of June! I was looking through the photos I took throughout the month, and was struck by one realization: despite people always claiming that time flies, there were quite a few pictures that I felt I had taken months before, rather than weeks. Which is a very reassuring thought. 
The idea of time moving uncontrollably fast is an uncomfortable one - but it seems that taking life slower really does seem to slow it down! Gotta remember that. 

Fun purple and yellow flowers seen on my walk. 
Cheers to pretty sunsets and lime water at work!
Shake it, Corgi!
Peahen contemplating life.

Lea's graduation
Summer meadow. 
Vintage car. 
Daisies.

Went for a drive with my faithful sidekick (and Rich). 
Teenage ducks.
Nick resting. 
Fly love!

Pretty lilies. 
Dramatic sky photographed from my work window. Can you see the airplane?
Stef sent us this photo for Father's Day! I love it.
Not our dog.

Evening walks are so peaceful. 
Snowy from belowy.
Nick, running (for a change). If you want to see more pictures of happy horses, click here

Cherries are my favourite summer food!
Blue and pretty boy. 
We went road tripping. 
Richard's birthday!

Soaring eagle. 
Easy to care for tulips. (My kinda flowers!)
Guinea fowl.
Fire enjoying his favourite food.

Mille fleur chicken. 
My bountiful kitchen windowsill - I really love basil! It smells heavenly.

June was a good month. It was filled with sun, popsicles, cherries and lots more family time than usual.
Lily got her first period which allowed me to indulge in enough diaper experience to last a lifetime - I got that out of my system for good! (Yes, I diapered a dog. It was ridiculous.) As mentioned above, I took life slower, with reading more books, hanging out in the sun and simply enjoying the moment.
I also wrote my blog manifesto, got bangs again, and wrote one of my most vulnerable posts to date.

Now I'm off to do another scary thing: The Grouse Grind. It's also known as "nature's stairmaster", which gives you an idea of what's ahead: lots and lots of stairs. Wish me luck!

Did you have a good month? Any fun plans ahead? Tell me!

xoxo Miriam

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Saturday, 28 June 2014

School of Life v.8: Blog lessons

This past week was full of little "aha"-moments. And who provided these pockets of enlightenment?
You, my fellow bloggers! It seems to me that sometimes, I can be a slow learner, and things that should have been obvious just became clear to me now. But better late than never, right?

Lesson 1: I found the best definition of what an introvert is. 

Introvert vs extrovert. What are you? Do you know? Or do you think you know, like I did? There are lots of tests, the Myers-Briggs Personality Test being one of the best known ones. I took that test several times over the last year, because the first time I took it I got a result that seemed somewhat off: it put me into the extrovert group. 
What's so interesting about this is that I appear outgoing, and I am - but I'm definitely not an extrovert. So I must have answered some questions not as truthfully as I thought I did - it's hard to know yourself y'all!
The next few times I got the same result each time, which is INFJ, and makes much more sense. An introvert that's intuitive, feeling and judging - yep, that's me!
But the very best (and shortest!) definition of what an introvert is comes from a fellow INFJ, fellow Corgi mom and all-around awesome blogger: Melyssa from The Nectar Collective
She wrote last week in her post about the Alt Summit
"[...] but Alt reminded me what introversion really is - feeling re-energized by solitude."
Bam. You hit the nail on the head, Melyssa! That's it in a nutshell.

Lesson 2: About professional blogging and brands.

Blogging as a full-time job fascinates me. Like most (all?) bloggers, I sometimes fantasize what it would be like to do this gig as a real job. You know, getting paid for it, having thousands of followers, doing this for a living. Quite frankly, the thought terrifies me more than anything - I don't think I could handle the job insecurity, the internet haters, and the pressure of having to come up with quality content all.the.time. 
The sad truth is: I am one of those boring people who need the comforting knowledge that it is really, really hard to get fired; that I will get a pension one day; and that I can tell you exactly what days I will work for the rest of this year - or eternity. I'd like to be wild and free - but still with a leash on that tethers me firmly to a regular income. *sigh*
Those German values are deeply ingrained, dammit!

Fortunately, there are much braver people out there, and I admire them deeply. One of them is Amber from Forever Amber, who I have a bit of a crush on. She is so funny! And so stylish! And a full-time blogger, which to me is, and always will be, the coolest job ever. 
Her latest post is a real eye opener about some of the difficulties a professional blogger has to deal with. She describes some of the outrageous offers she gets: companies asking her to buy their product, write about it and advertise it for them - all for free. Huh? 
Read it, it's very informative! And something we "hobby bloggers" don't know much about. 

Lesson 3: Talent is overrated.

I have recently come across a fascinating lady: Penelope Trunk. Frankly, I'm not quite sure (yet) what to make of her. She is brutally honest (click here for an example). She is very unconventional: her career advice is contrary to what most people will tell you: Don't do what you lovedon't be the hardest worker in your jobget married first, then focus on your career. Intriguing, right? I have been clicking around on her (very extensive) website, reading articles here and there, learning a bit more about Asperger syndrome and being thoroughly entertained. She is outrageous, highly successful, and so very different - I love it. 

In one of her posts about blogging I came across this statement: Talent is overrated. She is quoting a book called Freakonomics, and what they say is this:
"What makes people stand out - concert pianists, Olympic athletes (and probably big-time bloggers) is that they love to practice. They love to do it day in and day out and so they get really good at it."
I like that! There are a couple things I would like to get really good at: photography and writing. What a comforting thought it is that with practising daily, I'm getting a tiny bit closer to my goal every day! 

Are there any aha-moments you would like to share? Link up below!

Happy Sunday!
xo Miriam

The School of Life
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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Style: Birthday boy, a great surprise and an outfit


Last Tuesday was my man's birthday. We went out to a truly spectacular dinner with friends at a Malaysian restaurant in Vancouver, the Banana Leaf. Omg, it was food heaven. I didn't take any pictures, there was no time! As soon as they brought the dishes out, I started stuffing my face and didn't stop until it was all gone. I did leave some food for my dinner companions, but they had to be quick! It was that good. 
Afterwards, we had a few drinks, laughs and good talks at home with two of the kids (we can drink with our children! So awesome!).  It was an all-around great birthday celebration. 

Now you may wonder what I got him for a gift. Despite him claiming he doesn't want gifts, I always got him something in the past. It was with varying success: I had some real doozies, but also some winners (like this photo book I made for him last year). 
This year, I was not on the ball. Not at all. A mixture of not knowing what to get him, laziness and a general air of  "aren't we getting too old/aren't we married too long now for gifts?" made me drag my feet. 

Until last weekend (aka 3 days before his actual birthday). We had vaguely talked about going on a cruise for his si...tieth- oops, I almost spilled the number there. Phew!
But we hadn't taken any steps towards this goal. So over the last weekend, I idly perused the internet, just to see how much something like that costs. When I saw the numbers, I sat up a bit straighter. Hey, that's not that bad! Quite reasonable, in fact. Oh, and lookie here, you can still book trips for next month! 
All of a sudden, a feverish determination overtook me. There was nothing more I wanted then going on a cruise with my love!

But here's the thing: I hadn't booked off any vacation for July. And getting time off in the middle of the summer, with such short notice, is unlikely to say the least - usually, it's impossible. Plus there is always the fact that we need to find a reliable and kind-hearted soul to look after the animals while we are gone. 

Long story short: My lovely, amazing, I'm-forever-in-her-debt boss made it possible!!
And our lovely, amazing, I'm-forever-in-her-debt (well, not really, we bought her trip to Germany, we are even) daughter will look after the farm!

Which means we will be cruising to Alaska next month!!! I am thrilled.

Oh, and in unrelated news: Germany beat the US today in soccer! Our boy Thomas Müller scored a spectacular goal. I am very excited about that as well! (I only feel German for one month every 4 years, and that's during the world cup. The other 47 months I'm happily Canadian.) 
Nothing is lost yet though, my American friends: The USA got into the next round. We will meet again... 



Top: Target; Midi skirt: thrifted, originally from The Gap; Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens

This summer is shaping up to be a great one, and I couldn't be more excited!

What are your summer plans? Do you watch soccer? How do we avoid gaining a bazillion pounds on our cruise? Do tell!

xoxo Miriam


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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Inside my head

To soar free like an eagle... I want to break out of my head sometimes - it's a gong show in there. 

Yesterday I made a rookie mistake. I asked my husband's opinion regarding a beauty product. I broke one of the cardinal girl rules: Never ask a man anything beauty-related! After almost 10 years of marriage, I should know better. In my defence, I was tired and hungry, and my normal girl instincts were way off. 
The product in question was an under eye dark circle remover, and the blogger who featured it swears it works. There were #nofilter photos and everything! 
I've been desperately trying to find the blog and name of the wonder elixir, but can't find either. Damn you, social media overload and marking stuff as read that I actually haven't read yet! 

That only leaves me with my husband's helpful suggestion: "You should stop worrying all the time, then you wouldn't have such dark circles under your eyes." Hrumph, thanks for that. Even though it has to be said, those dark circles are a fact of life, and I can't be mad at him for pointing them out. They are there, large and in charge, for the world to see. 

While eating a Magnum Mini Almond Ice Cream Bar (in the bathtub no less - I was nothing but a real girl last night), I lazily let my mind wander. And you know what I realized? Holy smokes, my head is a mess. There are a million thoughts, lists, things-to-dos, worries, questions, stories, plans, ideas, doubts, etc. in there. No wonder my poor face shows the strain! I thought it would be cathartic/educational/funny - (not sure yet of the outcome) - to write some of these random thoughts down. 
Ladies, you are probably all very familiar with these items. Gentlemen, prepare yourself to be amazed/shocked/questioning my sanity.

Gotta answer my emails. Oh, I never got back to that lady from the UK! What was it about again? Have to make an appointment for Phoebe's grooming. Oh, also need to buy her a new collar. Can't find the old one. Change doctor's appointment! Don't forget to buy wedding gift! Did I fill out those forms for work? (No, I didn't.)
Do I have a blog topic for tomorrow? Hmm, when will I have time to write it?
Don't forget to buy lotion. Oh, and Rich's body wash! Gotta get Rich to prepare invoice so I can send it out. Argh, forgot to take pictures for selling chickens! Have to remember to do that.

What's that book called that Laura recommended? Oh, I have to get my Wi-Fi fixed. 
Did I put deodorant on this morning? (Takes sniff - nope, I didn't. Damn.)
(Scratches mosquito bite) - oh yeah, buy flea collars. What do we need from the grocery store?
Oh, do I have to return my audiobooks to the library?
Gotta do some ironing. 
Mom's birthday is next month. What should I get her? Oh, when is my mother-in-law's? Phew, not till the end of September, I have time. Good.

Do we need to book a place in Amsterdam?
Pay bills. Hmm, should I buy those ModCloth shirts?
Don't forget to turn on dishwasher before leaving for work. When did I talk to Oma last? Call her tomorrow.
Have to make an appointment to get the Corgster spayed.
Oh yes, get-together with the girls! Send out FB message. What's that dark circle remover eye cream called???
Take outfit pictures on Wednesday. Grouse grind Thursday? Hmm, really need to spend more time with Snowy, she feels neglected. Don't forget about the oil change!

Oh no, forgot Rich's birthday cake! Do I have time today after work? Call and order one.
Dentist next week. Tuesday. Or is it Wednesday? Check date. Make appointment for pap test.
Is that a new mole?

I should get back into yoga. Download yoga videos. Oh, need to get Wi-Fi fixed first. I hate when stuff doesn't work.
Did I comment on Amy's post? I meant to. Gotta check. Is Stef borrowing my car tomorrow? Text her and find out. If I give her money, could she do the oil change? (Getting an oil change is one of the most hated activities ever for me.)

Damn, look at the time! Gotta make a salad and get dressed for work.


... and that's on a slow day. How can I take a vacation from my brain?

Does that sound familiar? Moms, how do you do it? I would go completely over the edge. 

Anyway, happy Tuesday! I really have to get ready for work now.

xoxo, Crazy-Eyes

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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Welcome summer!


This past weekend was one for the books. It was utterly perfect. Did we do anything special? Nope. 
Not at all. 
In fact, some people may even go as far as calling it boring. 
But you know what? It was everything that I need in life. 

There were all the essentials: my hubby, sun, animals, cherries, sour candy, and cool drinks. We watched one of my favourite movies (Now You See Me).


There was some shopping. (Please disregard the dirty feet and mosquito bites.)
These two... they have my heart.

Some plans were made. 
If we manage to turn them into reality, you are the first to know, I promise!
And then there is our friend. 

I LOVE people that are a bit different. Secrets buried in the past, a colourful history, an eventful life - tell me! 
This particular friend has been in our life for a few years now. He doesn't take centre stage, but is a consistent player on the sidelines.
There are lots of things from his past that we don't know any details about, and that simply contributes to the mystery.
I love having him over, because we always have riveting conversations.

Last night, for example. We discussed some interesting topics: War, gay prostitutes, transvestites he encountered in the past. Parents and our (misguided) expectations of them.
And the best one: Harry Potter. Could Snape have been Harry's father? (A resounding "NO!" from me - but a interesting thought nonetheless.) 
We also had two home cooked meals on the weekend, which frankly, is a bit of a rarity these days.
Overall, the perfect beginning to the summer!  

What did you do this weekend? Any special celebrations you took part in to welcome summer?

xoxo Miriam

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Saturday, 21 June 2014

School of Life v.7: Man magnet

Phew, what a week it has been! It was a crazy roller coaster, but the good thing about that is that there were a ton of lessons to be learnt. 
Let's get right to it, shall we?

Lesson 1: Remember your age
Exhibit A
I was convinced my legs were straight. Still am, actually. Something's wrong with my camera.

On Thursday, I went outside to take pictures for next day's fashion post. As always, I had absolutely no idea what I should to do. (The surprise factor is what makes it so fun to me - or at least, that's what I'm telling myself.) So I did what I usually do: jumped around, skipped over the field, climbed in the apple tree. 
But then I was hit by a brilliant idea: Do some cartwheels! I ended up not using any of the cartwheel attempt photos, because they were pitiful (see exhibits A and B).
Exhibit B
Please pay attention to Lily's side eye, too funny!

But those photos are not the worst part. The worst part is that I am sore all.over! It started on Friday afternoon and at first I couldn't figure out why - but then I remembered my cartwheeling shenanigans. And after that, I remembered that I am 34 years old. And a half! Apparently, doing unusual physical activities will not go unnoticed by my body any more. Bugger. 

Lesson 2: My Corgi is a man-magnet
Which is unsurprising, of course. Just look at her! ;-)

Here is a sure-fire way to get attention, ladies: get yourself a Corgi. On Friday I met two girlfriends in town, and took Miss Lily with me. I usually don't do town - when I walk the dogs, I walk far away from most humans, in deserted neighbourhoods or somewhere in the wilderness. 
So it came as a surprise how popular my little fluff butt is. People love her! They would stop and smile, and ask me if they could pet her. Lily is a real flirt, so she made everybody feel extra-special.  
And you know what demographic she is most popular with? Gentlemen aged 60 and above. Tell your lonely grandmas!
I for one make sure to remember that valuable bit of information for the future. 

Lesson 3: Do what you love, and do it often
Walk, take pictures, repeat.

This past week was grey, cold and miserable. Work was busy, I was exhausted and felt unmotivated. So I didn't do my two favourite past times: no walks and almost no photography. 
Guys, I was miserable. Of course I had plenty of excuses why I didn't do it: I'm tired; it's so ugly outside; I don't wanna. On Friday, like I mentioned before, I finally went for a long walk with Lily and two girlfriends - and felt amazing during and after
In fact, I was so motivated and upbeat that I grabbed my camera and took a bunch of pictures of the horses frolicking about. (The weather turned nice again as well, which helped tremendously!)
Lesson learnt? Do what you love. Do it repeatedly. 

Lesson 4: Make chores more enjoyable with the help of wine
Lovely wine, how I adore thee

Rich and I have this long-standing - hmm, how shall I put it: disagreement? stand off? - regarding cleaning the horses' paddocks. It's repetitive, boring work - you may call it a shitty job. 
The flies beg to differ. They love this shit.

Sadly, Rich is much better at the stand-off, and I usually end up cleaning them. 
But I have finally found a way to make it much more enjoyable: Drink a couple of glasses of wine beforehand, and you will not only not mind doing the chores, but you will have a smile on your face the entire time!

Lesson 5: Be vulnerable
I can't finish this week's lessons without mentioning this post one more time. I will keep it short and sweet, just a couple of thoughts:
1. Honesty is the best policy, it really is.
2. Admitting your fears and doubts can be incredibly freeing. I learnt a few things this week - mainly, how awesome my stepkids are and how fantastic this community here is. Feeling loved.  
3. It is right what people always say: Kids on blogs are popular! This is the most viewed post on Facebook of all times. Who woulda thought?

What have you learnt this week? Link up with ShannonMariah and me!

Love, Miriam

The School of Life
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Unbridled joy

Wanna see pure, unbridled happiness?
There is nothing better than watching the horses run out to pasture. 
They kick with sheer exuberance, just because they can.

They dance.
They kick some more. 
They run like the wind.

They fly! 

But the best part? Eating, of course!

Horses are just like us.

Happy Saturday! Don't forget to link up with ShannonMariah and me for School of Life tomorrow!

xoxo Miriam 

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