Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Style: Dress season has arrived!

Spring dress with hat


Spring has sprung! And with it, my favourite season of the year: dress season. Mind you, I wear dresses all year round, thanks to boots and cozy tights, but there is something about putting a dress on without tights for the first time after the winter that feels extra special. Feeling the mild breeze on your bare legs is such a quintessential spring sensation, I love it!

This is the first item I ever got for free, and it has a special place in my heart. I still love it as much now as I did a year and a half ago!


White dress, flats and hat
Spring outfit
Dress detail

Dress: c/o eShakti (similar); shoes: Old Navy (similar); hat: Old Navy (similar) 

Daffodils


Happy spring!














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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

A post all about happy things



Do you ever wake up in the morning, happy to be alive? I sincerely hope you do, because it's the best. 
I'm having one of those mornings today, where the sun is shining, the coffee tastes particularly good, and I have something fun planned today that I will tell you all about soon (pinky-swear!). 

I thought I would share 8 things that make me happy right now. Maybe they make you happy, too?

Evening dog walks


I don't know where I would be without the dogs - on the couch and 20 pounds heavier, probably. As much as I love working all days with my new rotation, the one adjustment I still struggle with is working out after work. Your legs are sore, the couch and a glass of wine are beckoning, you tell yourself that you had enough exercise with running around all day ... But there is a corgi jumping around you, looking up with hopeful eyes, and pulling gently (yet persistently) on your sleeve as soon as you sit down - she wants a walk. Being the sucker I am, I usually give in, and boy oh boy, am I ever glad I do!
The evenings have been golden and breathtakingly beautiful lately, restoring my energy, peace, and happiness levels. And giving me views like these:

Sunsets
Can you see the two white peacock hens in the tree? Look to the left of the photo :)



Spring blossoms
Aren't they glorious?


Taking videos (of everything)

Even ants.

Dancing

I don't dance often, but when I do, I dance like nobody's watching.

Sweet old ladies
On the weekend, on a bad-hair and bad-face day (do you ever get those? Where your face just doesn't look right? They are the worst), an elderly patient looked at me, and exclaimed: "My god, you are beautiful!". I have the sneaking suspicion that she may be one of those people who says that to everyone, but it made me feel a million times better! I want to be like that when I'm older. 

Chocolate eggs
These harmless looking beauties are so bad, but SO good. 

Dreams coming true
Image source

My most favourite yogi out there, Kino MacGregor, is coming to Vancouver next month! She will be teaching a workshop, and I nabbed a spot in her Ashtanga Full Primary series class. I am so thrilled! This is a dream come true.

What is making you happy right now?







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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Not being yourself?


I read somewhere (and for the life of me I can't remember where, sorry) that part of the reason that depression is so rampant these days is that we are not ourselves. It stated that when you deny your true being, be it consciously because you want to fit in, or subconsciously because you adapt to the people around you, you will disconnect from yourself. That disconnection is what causes you to feel so unhappy, or numb, or worthless, or any number of the many unpleasant feelings caused by depression. 

I have thought about this a lot. Because if you follow that train of thought, wouldn't it mean that by finding yourself, your depression would be healed? That once you are comfortable with who you are, and you are true to YOU, you won't need any treatment or medication any more?

It sounds too simple, and too good to be true.
It also implies that if and when you finally are yourself, you will stay that way.
That, too, sounds too simple.
What if you lose yourself again?

Finding myself has been a quest I have been on for most of my adult life. I have made leaps and bounds over the last couple of years, feeling closer to it than ever. Yet, would I dare to stop taking my medication and trust that I have sufficiently become myself to have been freed of depression?

Never.

There are days where I still feel lost. I look around me, and ask myself if I am where I should be. Have I found my purpose yet? Have I become the person I am meant to be? It doesn't feel like it. Not quite yet. I am still on the journey, travelling towards my true meaning.

Having gone through years of feeling off-kilter, trying to fit in, yet feeling out of place, I know that I am close to being home. So close that I can see the windows of my home all lit up. Maybe I'm there already?

I am prone to making the mistake of thinking I have to have it all figured out. In order to be myself, I think I have to have my life mapped out in detail: The career, where to live, doing all the right things and avoiding all the wrong ones.

But that's not true. Also impossible. And maybe - a bit predictable?
You see, what I tend to forget is that I am a seeker, and that I always will be. I enjoy imagining what could be, spending endless hours dreaming of what might be, and picturing myself in a hundred different scenarios. Does that mean I don't know who I am?
(I don't think so. I am simply a person who questions everything.)

What I want us all to remember is that we can have found ourselves, and still be full of questions. Still don't know 100% where we will go. How our life will unfold. What might be in 5 years time, or in 10.

A big part (huge!) of knowing yourself is knowing the whole you, the good stuff and the bad. And to accept it. To stop beating ourselves up for flaws we think we shouldn't have.
Whenever I feel a bout of the "you are not good enough"s coming on, I remember Augusten Burroughs's quote:

"I myself am made up entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions."

Exactly.

I AM myself. More now than ever before. And I am a woman with depression, who may always take medication for it. And that's okay. I am okay. So are you.

We don't have to have it all figured out. We can make mistakes (spoiler alert: we will!), try things that may be out of character, and still know who we are. To be yourself doesn't have to mean you can't change. You can grow, learn, expand, and still keep the essence of what makes you, you.

And that's wonderfully reassuring.





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Saturday, 26 March 2016

Bahamas video



I finished our vacation video! The quality isn't the best, because 90% of the video is filmed with my phone. Still haven't quite gotten the hang with my camera, but I'll keep practicing! Despite the quality, it's such a nice way to look back on the beautiful week we've had.

In case you're curious: I use Viva Video for all my videos, whether it's for Instagram or the yoga video I did for my one-year anniversary recently. It's easy to use, fun and free!



Happy Easter!





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Friday, 25 March 2016

Style: Trying to look sporty

Striped dress and sneakers

Last week was St.Paddy's day, and this week it's Easter? It's just wrong. Easter completely snuck up on me, despite the chocolate Easter eggs in the stores (and in our cupboard - and in my tummy). 
My plan of action is to ignore it this year, and be better prepared next year. 

In other news: I had my bangs trimmed 10 days ago, and instead of growing longer, I'm convinced they are getting shorter. Is that a thing? I swear, they hit just above my eyebrows in the hair salon, and now? Halfway up my forehead. Maybe that means that my forehead is growing? It's unsettling. 

Spring look

Well, let's move on to the outfit. I wore it on vacation (minus the jacket, because it was deliciously warm), and it made me feel sporty-chic. There's something about a body-hugging dress that boosts your confidence (on non-bloated days; it has the opposite effect on bloated ones), and paired with the runners it's also super comfy. I can't wait for the temperatures to rise again to wear it without the jacket!

Spring blossoms
Sporty spring look
A girl and her dog
 Trying to prevent Nina from jumping up on me.

Dress: H&M (lots of options available; how about this long-sleeved optionboat-neck dress, or super-cute midi dress?); shoes: Old Navy (these retro sneakers are amazing, and on sale for $24.99!); jacket: H&M (similar)

Funny .gif

I have to share this .gif with you. It's proof that dogs and their owners get more alike the longer they spent time together. Look at Lily and me, both trying to look sporty. Totally cracks me up!
(In case you're wondering what we are doing: I tried to include a jumping picture. Lily tried to look like a sleek greyhound. We both failed miserably.)


HAPPY EASTER!








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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Life scars


I have several scars. Some of them are unique; a lot of them aren't. One of my unique scars is on my left foot, and it's my favourite. 


I acquired that scar 10 years ago by cutting my foot on a piece of metal that was lying in our driveway. Instead of cleaning it properly and putting some Polysporin on, I half-heartedly rinsed my foot with water, slapped a band-aid on and called it a day. Obviously, that wasn't enough: it got infected, needed to be cut open and cleaned properly, which was the most painful experience I've ever had in my medically sheltered life.

The other scar is on my right thumb, and it dates all the way back to my childhood. I had warts as a child (so sexy), and that particular one was burned off. What has stayed vividly in my memory is that I fainted for the first time in my life. Also, after the ordeal was done, my dad bought me ice cream. :-)


The reason I like my scars is that they remind me of how I had to undergo unpleasant procedures, but survived to tell the tale. My scars are pretty insignificant compared to cancer survivors, war veterans, or the large scar on my daughter's chest from her open heart surgery when she was only two years old.
But they are what I've got, and I'm grateful for them. Both experiences taught me lessons that I still benefit from today: Compassion for my patients when they have to undergo something similar, and a healthy respect for cleaning and disinfecting wounds.
Also: To put on proper shoes when moving large pieces of metal (flip-flops ain't good enough, kids!).

The other "scars" are not really scars, but marks that life has given me.

There are the laugh lines around my eyes.


Oh, and these two spots on my cheek that have been there for months now. They just won't go away.

My stretch marks/lines on my neck from gaining weight when I was 18, and losing it five years later.


The cellulite on my thighs and bum, that come from, well, being a woman, I guess.

Similar shorts; similar statement tee 

The grey hair that's starting to sneak in.


I also have belly rolls, big thighs and a butt that won't quit, because I love bread, and chocolate, and wine.

I don't want to feel like I have to hide the marks that life has given me.
We all have them, yet so many of us believe they have to hide life's signs under make-up, clothing, botox-injections, or plastic surgery.

Make-up, hair dye, and clothes are fun and an expression of one's unique personality and creativity.
I think it's fabulous, and you should do your thing!

But I do believe that we should also feel comfortable in our skin without the help of these protective layers.
I wish our society would celebrate aging as the remarkable achievement it is: Anyone going through life has to weather storms, fight battles and get hurt. Those trials leave their mark.

Why should we feel that we have to hide them?
Aren't these scars to be worn with pride, reminding us of having faced adversity, and gotten stronger because of it?

I am in the second half of my thirties, with the big 4-0 less than four years away. My goal for aging is as simple as it is radical: Celebrate it. I want to look at the scars and marks on my body, remembering the stories behind it, and to be grateful to be healthy and alive.

Diane Von Furstenberg writes in her book The Woman I Wanted To Be:


"There is a saying that with age, you look outside what you are inside. If you are someone who never smiles your face gets saggy. If you’re a person who smiles a lot, you will have more smile lines. Your wrinkles reflect the roads you have taken; they form the map of your life. My face reflects the wind and sun and rain and dust from the trips I’ve taken. My face carries all my memories. Why should I erase them?"
Why, indeed.

Tell me: How do you feel about aging? Excited, dreading it, indifferent? let me know in the comments!






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Monday, 21 March 2016

Tiny houses



Have you heard of the tiny house movement? Basically, it describes people trading their normal-sized houses for tiny ones. Instead of living in a home that's on average 2,600 square feet, they choose to live in a tiny house that's between 100 and 400 square feet. The advantages are dramatically reduced costs, greener living, and cutting down hugely on buying "stuff". If you have no place to put it, you are much less likely to buy something just for the sake of going shopping.

While the idea of living small isn't new, the latest movement started less than 20 years ago, in 1997. Thanks to its presence on social media, I stumbled across it, and have been watching YouTube videos non-stop for the last few days. 
The idea has something deeply fascinating for me: It reminds me of my childhood fantasies of living in a tree house. Also, did you know that a lot of the tiny houses are on wheels? You just hook them onto your vehicle, and off you go. You could travel the world and always have your home with you! 
My head is spinning with all the amazing possibilities tiny houses could provide you with.

If you have a few hours (or days), take a look at this website that features hundreds of tiny houses: Tiny House Swoon. Let me warn you, it's addictive!

I have put together a list of my favourites for you. Enjoy!

The Lilypad


This is one of my favourites. The layout is beyond perfect, and I love how personal it is! Anita really managed to put her own unique stamp on every detail of her beautiful home.



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Friday, 18 March 2016

3 years of blogging



A few days ago, on March 15, my blog turned three years old. Depending on the day (and the mood I'm in), this feels either ancient or like nothing; it either makes me cringe at my lack of achievement, or proud at how far I've come. The comparison game can be tough, and there will always be many (or, in my case, most) bloggers with more followers, more exposure, more, more, more.

Luckily, and somewhat to my amazement, I have managed to extract myself from these black feelings of envy. Is it maturity? Having given up? Contentment? 
Maybe it's a mix of all of the above. Mostly, though, it's being happy with who I have become. 

Blogging will never be my career; it's a much-loved hobby that gives me an inordinate amount of joy. It also continues to amaze me, and I love those unexpected moments of magic: The email from a reader who tells you how much a post has resonated with them; the surprise gift in the mail; the collaboration offer that is fun and actually pays.

It has become tradition for me to do a recap of the previous year, which is something I love to do. I don't analyze the trends like I probably should, but simply like to look back and reminisce. If you want to see the previous posts, you can check them out here: 2nd anniversary and 1st anniversary

If you're a numbers person, I have a few for you: 672 posts, 1824 followers, 5394 comments, and over 232370 page views. Thousands of hours spent writing, editing, commenting, replying, researching, and networking (not too many on networking, if we're being honest here). 
The joy and confidence I have found through blogging: priceless

Let's look at each individual month, shall we?


Three things come to mind when I think back to one year ago: The link-up I was still hosting, the free glasses I received completely out of the blue from Clearly (such a wonderful surprise), and the birth of my passion, yoga
Most popular post of the month: Lying down with dogs (810 page views). 
I'm really pleased about it because it tells me that the link-up worked (all the posts associated with it were more popular than ordinary ones), and that you appreciate my love for dogs and yoga. On the other hand, I may have accidentally used a magic SEO formula, but since I don't know what it is I will never be able to recreate it again. Which is a bit tragic, when you think about it ... so let's not think about it. 


In our personal life, the most exciting thing we did was drive 2,500km to pick up our puppy Nina
In my writing life, it was getting up the courage to submit an article to Thought Catalog and have it published: 10 Frustrating Reasons Why Writing Is Just Like Dieting
I also pondered the possibility of having a Third-Life crisis, and shared the dangers of farm life.
Most popular post of the month: Which door do you choose? (285 page views)


I wrote three posts that month that I'm proud of: 
The reason for my pride in these stories is that they all deal with fears and/or insecurities of mine. Like many writers, I started writing my thoughts down in order to figure them out. Little by little, I would post something that scared the hell out of me, and come out at the other end a little bit stronger.
Seeing it all laid out in front of you has unimaginable powers: It helps you sort through the mess, separating the noise from the real problem. Turns out, a lot of it is noise: Things other people say, things you think people might say, your inner pessimist taking over and trying to make you see the worst. Once you let go of the noise, there is often very little problem left. 
Most popular post of the month: You, 10 years from now (352 page views)


I dropped the link-up the month before, and it showed: My page views dropped as well. Despite that, I just didn't want to do it any more. It's a lot of work, even on a small scale: Making sure you have a post ready the day before, so you can post at the designated time; send out the reminder email; visit every blog and comment. I like doing these things, love doing them in fact - but not when they are enforced. Even when the enforcer is myself. It didn't work for me any more at that stage of my life, and had taken some of the fun of blogging out of it for me. 
The pleasure in blogging for me is sitting down every morning, coffee close by, and to write down whatever is on my mind. Some days it's ready for publishing an hour later; often it's not. But if it's your hobby, who cares? 
My two favourite posts to write were What would you do if you couldn't fail and A day in my life. The first one, because it's one of those philosophical questions I love to think and talk about; the second, because I really like where my life was at. Still do 
Most popular post of the month: Falling and flying (224 page views)


In July, I gave the blog a bit of a facelift. You will notice that it has since changed again, but only to make it cleaner and less fussy; I'm still really happy with the look it has now! I added a category that means a lot to me: You are not alone. It's still up there on the very top, and I created it in the hope that by sharing bits of my own struggles and insecurities, you would feel understood and, well, less alone. 
Other events worth mentioning: For the first time ever I scrapbooked the year, and shared some pages with you; and I wrote about the deceivingly simple, but in reality very difficult advice to Just do you.
Most popular post of the month: It is YOUR choice (247 page views)


August was a fun month. We had a crazy (yet awesome!) experience on Salt Spring Island, which I described here: A couple walks into a dance temple. I also brought outfits posts back, which I have since then done faithfully once a week.
My favourite post of the month was this one: Be secure in yourself and nobody can use it against you.
Most popular post of the month: Grey: yay or nay? (577 page views)


September always puts me in a reflective mood, and last September was no different. I fell in love with a valley and indulged in some fantasies what it would be like to live there; I have since fallen out of love again, being in that mindset that I never want to move away from our home.
It's a recurring dance in my life ;-)
I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post called Netflix is saving my life about - you guessed it - the guilty pleasure that is Netflix.
Most popular post of the month: Getting ready for fall (208 page views)


The biggest event in my personal life was the test and interview in order to become a Canadian citizen. There was some hold-up because I needed to hand in even more papers, but it all worked out: last month I finally joined the country of my dreams as one of their own!
In my blog life, the post I received the most feedback on was Manic. A look into what havoc a little depression and being overly hyper can wreak once in a while.
I also shared my (not-so-) secret shame of wanting to be liked by everyone: Going through fire.
Most popular post of the month: Farmyogi secrets revealed (198 page views)


I bought my first blog template! It's the one you see now, and I LOVE it. Up until then I did all the layouts myself, and I'm proud of that. However, nothing like the magic touch of a professional to give your blog a more polished look. $40.00 well spent.
I shared my 10 secrets to a happy marriage, and did my favourite outfit post to date: Once upon a time.
Most popular post of the month: December goals (324 page views)


December was unreal. I discovered my new all-time favourite book, which in turn pushed me to publish my book. My word for 2016, BRAVE, came to me, and it's influencing everything I'm doing this year. My blogging mojo returned (I had lost my sparkle for a while), and I ended the year with a look back in form of a time capsule. 2015 was a great year, and I felt grateful and humbled.
Most popular post of the month: Your favourite posts of 2015 (264 page views)


Can we just stop for a second and look at the image above? That was taken on my way to work, in January, in Canada. No igloos or snow as far as the eye can see. Contrary to popular belief, we are not buried in snow everywhere in Canada, as this picture proves. Can't complain about a winter like that!
Posts I enjoyed writing in January were Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life (words I try to live by); Finding your passion; and Being a maker. Oh, and What growing my hair out has taught me, because life lessons can be found anywhere, even on top of your head.  
Most popular post of the month: A dress that shows off your undies and extroverted boots (277 page views)


One of the highlights of last month was collaborating with Sheila and four other ladies for Project Sister Act. Such a fun and empowering project!
I told you Why I put my life on the internet (a question some of you may have pondered; my family certainly has), and shared 10 things that keep me up at night (I really want to know the answer to #2). Another thing I started doing and haven't mentioned yet is that I submitted some of my photos to Pixabay. It's a site that provides you with free images for your website, blog, or wherever else you want to use them, no attribution required. I have downloaded several (the first image of this post is from Pixabay), and figured that I should give back in some way. If you are interested, you can find them here.
Most popular post of the month: Why I put my life on the internet (259 page views)


Here we are, three years into my blogging journey. This month has become significant to me not only because of the birthday of my blog, but also because I embarked on my yoga journey last year. March brings spring, new life and the awakening of nature, and has given me two of the greatest joys of my life. It's a special month indeed.
Today I can add another exciting first to the list: My first guest post! You can find me over at Helene's business blog Blog In Between, where I'm sharing my experience of self-publishing a book (if you have no idea what you are doing).
My goal for this year is to reach out more, collaborating with others, writing more articles and expanding my horizon.

Because as you know, this year is meant for living bravely!

I want to thank you all for reading, commenting, supporting me, and making this blog what it is. I couldn't do it without you!

Much love,






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Thursday, 17 March 2016

Style: Kiss me, I'm Irish


Happy St. Patrick's Day! Let's kick off the day with a really bad joke:

"What's long and hard on an Irish man?"
"Third grade."

Whomp, whomp, I know. It was told to us by our Irish friend, so it had to be done. Incidentally, he's the friend whose party we are going to tonight, to eat some Irish stew and drink beer, and where I will probably wear the outfit featured here. In years past I would dress green from head to toe, but this time I decided to tone it down a notch and just have some green accents.

I actually bought some green fishnets, and really wanted to wear them:

But the photos didn't turn out (except this one), and it's a casual affair anyway, so I have to see if I'm in the mood to be the only one that's overdressed. If not, skinnies and tee it is!

What were we looking at?
A leprechaun, of course.



Shoes: old (these ones are adorable!); skinnies: H&M; cardigan: old (this one is different, but super-cute); necklace: old (similar





Are you celebrating today? 





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