Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Time capsule


Have you ever buried a time capsule? I did it once, many years ago, in a period of my life where I was lost and confused. 
Except, instead of 'items from that time' you have to substitute 'angsty letter', and instead of 'sturdy container that will withstand the times' you have to substitute 'ziplock bag'. That was my poor excuse for a time capsule. I buried it somewhere in Wells Gray Provincial Park, and hope to God that nobody ever found it. 

So when I saw one of my favourite bloggers Amber put together a hypothetical time capsule for 2015, I thought that now is the time to redeem myself. 

Here are some items that represent 2015 for me:


1. My yoga mat 


2015 will always be the year for me where I fell in love with yoga. Having found an exercise that not only trains the body, but also the mind and soul, has become life-changing. It's been such a wild ride so far, and I can't wait to see where the yoga path will lead me. 

2. Our juicer

Introducing juicing into our life has been such a valuable and healthy lifestyle choice. I have never been the kind of person who whips up a smoothie in the morning, and never thought that we would stick to making fresh juice every single day. Alas, we have, for the past 8 months! I'm quite proud of (and surprised by) this achievement.
Rich lost 20 pounds through juicing, and I noticed a big difference in my skin and hair. I used to battle adult acne, and it has completely disappeared. My hair grew like a weed this year, resulting in the longest hair I've ever had! Juicing is definitely here to stay. For some recipe ideas, check out my juicing board on Pinterest

3. Nina

Good thing that my time capsule has air holes and provisions, because I also want to put our Blue Heeler Nina in it. 2015 will go down in family history as the year where we drove 2,500km for a new puppy, which turned out to be one of the best dogs we have ever had. She is 10.5 months old now, and as lively, loving and full of energy as you could ever ask for. Nina, you are a joy and a pleasure, and we love you!

4. Donald Duck

Remember Donald Duck? This year we adopted one of our ducklings and raised him as our own. We spent all summer with him, and saw him go from a fluffy, adorable little baby to awkward teenager, to a proud, grown-up duck - who turned out to be a woman. Donald Duck is a girl y'all! So it's really Donalda Duck. No worries Donalda, I have a mini-pond just for you in the time capsule, and told Nina not to eat you :)

5. This picture

The most memorable experience of the year was going to a dance temple on Salt Spring Island. It was so completely different from anything we have ever done before, I will never forget it. While I couldn't take any pictures of the actual event, this photo will always remind me of our crazy and unforgettable 26 hours in hippieville. 

6.  This outfit
  
We went to a few epic parties this year, and on two occasions I wore the above outfit. I am convinced that the dress has magic powers, because it manages to make me feel pretty and even - dare I say it? - sexy. The shoes have been my favourite clothing purchase of the year, because they are comfortable, awesome, and totally me.  

7. This book


Big Magic is a life-changing, incredible book that will literally change you. If you have always suspected that there are forces beyond our control out there, this book will turn you into a believer. I just started to read it for the second time, and I will keep reading it for the rest of my life. It is pure magic. 

8. Cirque du Soleil tickets

At the beginning of the month we went to see the Cirque du Soleil show Kooza. It was spectacular! One of my all-time favourite shows, I was completely enthralled. We don't go out to big events very often, so when we do it always feels very special.  The tickets definitely belong into the time capsule.


9. My scrapbook

For the first time in my life I completed a scrapbook for an entire year. I can hardly believe it! This (for me) incredible feat deserves a spot in the capsule.
About six months ago I decided that I wanted to free my poor photos from their phone and computer prisons and let them see the light of day. The obvious answer, of course, was a scrapbook. By keeping it extremely simple and un-fancy, I completed it just the other day, with a few slots left to fill up with a few Christmas photos.
I loved creating a tangible treasure chest for our memories, and will continue to scrapbook in 2016.

10. My book
2015 is the year where I published my first book. No matter if it succeeds or if it flops, the fact remains: I strung thousands of words together, figured out a way to make it look like a book, and put it on Amazon. It's crazy and scary and bewildering, just like life.

What would you put into your time capsule?

Linking up with Lena B actually



 


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Sunday, 27 December 2015

Style: A winter day in the country



How was your Christmas? I hope you are all pleasantly stuffed, wear comfy clothes and get to enjoy some much-needed peace and quiet. At least that's what my day has been all about, and I absolutely love it. 

As you can see, it's snowing! We get snow rarely in the south of BC, and I for one am thrilled to see the pretty white flakes drifting down. The temperature is teetering right around 2-3°C, which means that the snow keeps changing into rain and back. I got lucky when I ventured outside and hit the snowy phase, which looks much nicer than grey wetness.  

The jacket was a Christmas gift from one of the kids, and I adore it! It reminds me of something a baroness in England would wear for her morning ride, which is why I paired it with riding boots and my new favourite hat. Imagine me on horseback, and you got the complete picture :)



Hat: Old Navy (on sale!); jacket: gift (similar); jeans: old (similar); boots: old (similar)


Tomorrow I have to go back to work, but until then I will soak up every last minute of our cozy house and the knowledge that I have to do absolutely nothing for the rest of the day!






Linking up with Fashion Should be Fun



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Saturday, 26 December 2015

Bringing out the best in each other


One of the best things about marriage is that you have someone to yell at when you're having a bad day.
Oh, that's not how it works? Huh, that explains SO MUCH... 

Joking aside, what I really meant to say is that when you have a good partner, then you have a support system that's always there. Someone in your corner who loves you despite, or maybe even because, all your faults and quirks. 
Case in point: My hermit tendencies. 

You might not guess it looking at me, but half the time when you see me out and about I was more or less dragged out of the house kicking and screaming. What can I say? I'm a homebody. 
An introverted homebody with a Netflix addiction and the need to have live animals in close proximity at all times. 

But I know that it's good to get out once in a while. Some of the best days of my life happened outside our farm! I know, I can barely believe it either. For that reason, and also to live life and not just watch it pass me by, I know that I need to go on little adventures regularly. 

But knowing it and doing it are two very different beasts, and without the gentle (or not so gentle) probing of my husband I wouldn't venture out nearly as much.  


A prime example is last night. 
In a series of interesting events, we were invited for dinner. By people who are not quite, but maybe will be, friends. They don't know us that well, but they invite us for Christmas dinner? I have to admit, I was slightly bewildered. Why would they do this? Did they feel sorry for us for not having plans on Christmas? Didn't they know this was by choice? (I'm sure they didn't, because as I said, they don't really know us.)
Anyway, Rich had agreed to go, and I was left to fret and wonder and overthink it, as is my nature. 

By the time we had to leave I was mentally in my pjs, bra off and glasses on. I longingly looked at my computer, where I had just watched the third episode of Nashville, eager to keep watching. You know the delicious feeling of starting a new series, knowing you have tons of episodes left, and it's so much fun to watch and pure bliss? Yep, exactly. 

But there I was, hair straightened and eyelashes mascaraed, having to go out because my s@#$%y husband was a social animal and actually wanted to do stuff with other people and have me with him. Hrumph. 

You know what happened?

IT WAS THE BEST NIGHT EVER. 

Omg, we had a brilliant time! There was another couple there, and we all got along like a house on fire. Their home was cozy and welcoming, the meal was delicious, the company was great. They even had a couple of dogs to satisfy my need for furry companionship!

Rarely have I been more grateful to my husband for dragging me out of the house. 

The lesson here is this: Sometimes you will find unexpected joy and friendship outside your comfort zone. 
And Netflix can wait. 

How was you Christmas?






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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Your favourite posts of 2015


Happy Christmas Eve's eve! Just like last year, I took a look at all my posts to find out which ones you liked the best over the last 12 months.
If I would be any sort of analyst, I would sit down and try to crack the code for why these particular posts were doing well; but since I'm not, I'm just pleasantly surprised and intrigued. 

Okay, let's get started!

source


This was a psychological pop quiz about your path in life. WHICH IS WHAT MY BOOK IS ABOUT AND I DIDN'T REALIZE THAT UNTIL JUST NOW. Everything is connected. *Mind blown* 
Anyway, it told me that I hate to be bored and always question everything around me. Nailed it. 


It goes to show, money sells. This was basically the poor man's version of the popular game "what would you do with one million dollars?". Always a fun game to play!


Baring it all paid off! I showed my greasy roots, and you liked it. :-)


source


That was one of the articles I wrote for Thought Catalog. Having been in a relationship with a 25-years-older man for 13 years, I have a wealth of little stories how other people have reacted to us. A few of them I shared in this post. Thanks for liking it!


You guys love carbs as much as I do, don't ya!? I was thrilled to see that my beloved bread made it on the list. You are my people. 

source

I totally get why you guys were interested in this topic. Trying to figure out our path in life is one of the big questions we have to answer for ourselves, and one of the hardest ones. Even now, halfway through my thirties, I'm still struggling with this question. What I have learnt is that you will get completely overwhelmed if you try to create a plan for the entire rest of your life right now. Taking it one step and one day at a time is much easier. We are all in this together, and we will all find our way!

source
I have two theories why this post was popular: 
1) People like Downton Abbey (the new season is starting in 11 days!) or 
2) People like one-liners. It's anybody's guess which one pulled the page views in. 


yoga post made it into the top 3! You guys rock. Obviously it's all due to the dogs, because we know the real stars of the internet are cats and dogs. Whatever sells man, whatever sells. 

Gorillapod from Photojojo


This one surprised me a bit, until the thought crossed my mind that people googling photojojo (I'm on the first page on the bottom) may land on my page. Boom, it's true: The link to the post is on my Google+ page! A page I incidentally never update, which is something I should probably change. 


You guys made an outfit post your favourite! I love you so much for this, thank you! This was the second post of 2015, and it got the most hits. I did try to figure out why, despite lacking in the Sherlock Holmes-department, but I came up empty. So I'll stop questioning everything and simply enjoy it :)

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reading, commenting, and supporting this blog. You are all rock stars and I love you!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!




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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

My 10 most popular yoga photos on Instagram


Instagram is a big part of my life. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it's true. I've been a fan since I joined over three years ago, but ever since I became a part of the yoga community, Instagram has transformed my life. Since my very first yoga picture from March 1 (which isn't even a yoga pose, but a photo of me lifting a chair above my head), I have posted literally hundreds of them. 

My blog friend Liz did a round-up of the top 20 photos of her Instagram account (take a look, they are stunning!), and I liked the idea so much that I decided to share my 10 most popular yoga photos. 

Here they are, as decided by you


I'm really happy that our sweet friend Donald Duck made it into the Top 10. He was a big part of our summer, hanging out with us under the willow tree and around bonfires. He is fully grown now, still much tinier than the other ducks, and lives happily on the pond with his buddies.


For large parts of the year, I have been chasing the ever-elusive handstand. My original goal was to be able to do a solid handstand by the end of this year, which isn't looking promising unless I crack the secret code within the next 10 days.
Never mind, that gives me a goal for 2016! 


This wheel pose was part of the "OctoberYogaSpice" challenge, and proof that our October was warm enough to practice outside for the majority of the month.


This is a still photo of a video, one out of three for this round-up. Videos are great tools to see what you're doing. Unless you practice in front of a mirror, you have no idea if you're doing the postures correctly, and it's often a surprise to see what you actually look like.


In this case, I'm fairly sure that my butt and back are hanging through too much as I'm coming down in Chaturanga Dandasana, but it felt straight to me. 


#Yogawithdogs has been one of my most-used hashtags this year, because the dogs are with me every day and show up in a lot of pics. It's equally entertaining and annoying, but I can't bring myself to lock them away during practice.They are my biggest (and sloppiest) supporters!


Another still shot from a video. This is from April, my second month into yoga. 



One of my fave moments of the year. I love that dog.



Fallen Angel pose. When I first saw this pose I thought it's the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It's tragic yet elegant, don't you think?


Still shot of a video of my beloved headstand. 





This was taken on the day before Halloween: Dancer's pose in my fairytale skirt


And now, drumroll please:

The moment you have all been waiting for (with bated breath, right?):

The most popular picture on Instagram with 97 likes!


Why that one?
I have no idea. My money is on the corgi bum. Nobody can resist those cute butt cheeks!

What are your favourite IG photos of the year? If I don't follow you yet, please leave your Instagram name and I will do so. I can't get enough of those delicious squares*. 

*Instagram will forever be square for me. In the best way possible. 






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Monday, 21 December 2015

The ghost of Christmas past



For a while there I thought I would escape this year. I boasted to everyone who would listen (i.e. my husband) that I had once and for all exorcised my demons, got rid of my old baggage, and was at peace and a-okay.

Yeah, right. 

It took a near-death experience to rudely jolt me out of this pleasant fantasy, and to make me realize:
My ghost did find me after all.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's backtrack and start at the beginning: I'm not the hugest Christmas fan. As a child I obviously loved it, but in my early adulthood it lost its magic, being replaced with stress and worry instead. It's a shitty trade-off, but life is like that sometimes.
Nevertheless, every year I'm determined to make the best of it, and not get caught up in the holiday frenzy.
Every year, I fail. This time around I got closer than ever: Until last Friday I was doing swimmingly, not having had a single meltdown or hissy-fit in all of December.

I realize now it was all going a little too well. There is a saying in German that goes something like this: "If the donkey feels too good, he goes out on ice." Which is an awkward translation, but the saying is awkward in German as well, which must mean I nailed it.
In case you're confused about what I'm trying to say here (I don't blame you), it's that when everything is going really great, we may be tempted to do something stupid just to shake things up.
My act of stupidity was feeling way too smug about having life figured out and having it all under control.
Especially my big nemesis: My personal ghost, depression.

It hadn't shown its ugly face in so long, I felt quite self-satisfied about how things were going. More than once I boasted to Richard about my new-found serenity and peace of mind.
Then three days ago, my so-called peace came crashing down around me.
I woke up in a slightly hyper, yet still somewhat normal mood.

[FORESHADOWING: It wouldn't stay that way for long.
Dum - dum - duuuuuuuumm.]

I did normal at-home things, like walking the dogs, yoga, getting my bangs trimmed, drinking lots of coffee, and feeling anxious.
Huh? Why did I feel anxious? I had been looking forward to that day, to getting dressed up and going out at night. This was supposed to be a happy day, filled with sparkle, laughter, and two parties.
I was a social butterfly! Life was good! What the hell was I anxious about?

But I couldn't help it: the more the day progressed, the more apprehensive I became. I felt edgy and restless, and got more and more worked up. What about? Something I could barely put into words, but if I would have been forced to, would be along the lines of  "I really want to have an EXCELLENT time and be NORMAL and RELAXED, but I start to feel like NOT GOING OUT AT ALL and I don't always want to be the weirdo who cancels everything last minute so I will have FUN, DAMMIT!"

A little piece of advice: That's not an ideal mindset to go out and have fun.

Nothing worked out according to my carefully laid plan: I thought we would leave by 5pm, stay one hour to 90 minutes at our first party, then drive to the second to be there right at 7pm.
Instead, we didn't get out of the house until almost 6:30pm, because my husband doesn't know the meaning of time and has no respect for my neurotic OCD-tendencies.

Here is the thing: The first party was great. The people were fun, the atmosphere was festive, and the dinner was turkey. What's better than turkey? Not much, my friend.
But I wasn't living in the moment, enjoying it for what it was; I kept glancing at the clock, worried about leaving on time. So stupid.
I blame it all on my ghost, depression/slight anxiety, whichever one was present at the time.

Anyway, by the time we left I was thoroughly flustered. I was the DD, stone-cold sober, but I was driving like I was drunk. After first heading into the right direction, I took a wrong turn. Richard, in a cheerful mood, opened his mouth to let me know that I was headed the wrong way, but I interrupted him testily and told him that I was the driver and he should let me drive, without constantly giving advice. He closed his mouth again.
After about two minutes, he asked me: "Where exactly are we going?" I told him.
"You know that you are driving in the opposite direction, don't you?" I didn't.

Angrily I slammed on the brakes and turned around. "Great, we are already late, now we'll be even later", I muttered. Reluctantly, I asked where to go, and he directed me towards the highway.

That's when it almost happened.

I completely neglected to see the big semi driving up beside me as I was pulling into the same lane. It wasn't until I was in the lane that I saw the blinding lights in the rear view mirror and swerved to the right to avoid being hit from behind. I had been literally blinded by my emotions mental disorder.

The rest of the sad tale is told quickly: We had a huge fight in the car because Richard objected to being almost killed, even though I pointed out that it was an accident. I was completely numb, all my emotions drained out of me. We arrived safely at our second destination, and tried - unsuccessfully - to act like nothing had happened.

I have taken several lessons from this experience:
Depression kills (luckily for us, not this time). Because I'm blaming my temporary blindness on it.
I have a strong suspicion that antibiotics mess with antidepressants.
Christmas will never be my friend, and I'm over it by now.
The importance of living (and driving) in the moment cannot be emphasized enough.

All is well again, but I'm appropriately chastised by my ghost and more humble than I was before.
Turns out, I haven't quite mastered all my demons just yet.

     

   
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Friday, 18 December 2015

Style: Thoughts and a sparkle dress


This has been the most bizarre week. I was sick and had to discuss some bedroom details with a doctor I work with (that was a fun experience). Then I released my first book, got the most wonderful feedback and encouragement (thanks you guys!!!), and have been in hiding ever since. 

In case you're wondering why, let me tell you that my emotions have been all over the place this week. They range from elated to quite gloomy, with everything in between. I have been happy, snappy, and sometimes quite crappy. 
(You see what I did there? Rhyming like a boss!)
I guess it comes with the territory. I'm far away from my comfort zone, and naturally it's uncomfortable out here. I'm winging this thing, figuring it out as I go along, as is my deal, and feel quite unsure of myself. 

But then I remind myself of my word of 2016, BRAVE, and that it would be way too easy to be brave when the waters are calm. They are not exactly choppy either, far from it - I would describe them as murky. I have no idea where this is going, so I'm a bit* scared. 

*With a bit I mean scared shitless. 


But let's move on. Just wanted to keep it real for a moment. And you are all amazing, so this is not a not-so-subtle-invitation to coddle me and tell me how great I am! Just wanted to share my thoughts, because it always makes me feel better. And you know what? It's working already. I feel better!

The other thing that is guaranteed to put a smile on my face is sparkle. Come on, how can you feel down when your dress is twinkling at you? That's right, you can't. I bought this beauty last year for my 35th birthday party, and have worn it several times since. It's sparkly and comfy, which makes it almost perfect - if it had pockets, I would never take it off! Sadly, no pockets, but we can't all be perfect.

I paired it with this amazingly soft cardigan that one of my kids gave me for my birthday this year, which ties the birthday theme together nicely. It's called the "super soft waterfall cardigan", and for once this is not false advertising. It really is super soft! And look at its waterfall-y movement:


Cardigan: Mark's; dress: Luulla; necklace: ModCloth (no longer available; check out all these cute options); shoes: Payless (old; similar)


So much to be grateful for, that's for sure. I wouldn't be me if I didn't freak out a little. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with Christmas cheer! We have three parties this weekend, which is highly unusual and slightly scary for this introvert. Thank god for alcohol. 

Love, 







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