Blog

Everyday Tips For Busy Moms

This week we are featuring a Guest Post by Jessica, a self-employed Mother of five and Grandmother of two. Read on below as she shares her top 5 tips for navigating the busy and hectic life of Motherhood.

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Jessica and her husband Billy

When we enter the role of Motherhood the hopes and dreams of what we thought it would be like are soon replaced with worry, overwhelm, guilt, and exhaustion. Each of us evolve into the new role in our own way, leaving behind pieces of ourselves that gather dust in the background, while creating the “supermom” we all believe we should be.

As a Mother of five, and a Grandmother of two, I have spent many years trying to create a balance between who I was and who I have become, all while battling crazy schedules, time limits, daily tasks and everyday “holy shit” moments that come along with being a busy Mom.

I have discovered a few tips that I would love to share with my fellow busy Moms:

1. Start your day for you
It has taken me many years to learn to fit myself into the life I have with a large family. Going to the gym is something I love to do but working full time and caring for all these little humans has left the treadmill and weights in a untouchable space. I joined my favourite gym to once again try and make this work. The early mornings are not always pleasant but after that workout, I feel like the day can hit me with anything and I am good to go.

2. You are not alone
Married, divorced, or single from the start, we are never alone. Do not carry that dirty feeling of guilt because you ask for help. Just ask, someone is always there. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I rely on my village and praise them for every moment of breath they give me to get through the next day.

3. Leave it for tomorrow
The dishes, the sticky kitchen floor, the laundry that may or may not be clean (sniff test) will all be there tomorrow! I will admit, I am one who struggles with this daily, and I try and remind myself, it is OKAY if its not finished before I close my eyes hours after everyone else. It will get done!

4. Love on your partner
For those of us who have a partner, whatever shape that appears, love hard on them. When you are tired, can’t remember when the last shower happened, or if you have eaten that day, take a moment to connect with your partner. They will give you that extra boost you need to push on.

Lastly, for the time being –

5. Teach your children
A busy Mom tends to forget they have little humans that once at an appropriate age can help with all kinds of things! It can be as simple as making their beds or wiping down the kitchen table after meals. Not only are you teaching them real life skills, they are also easing the load you carry.

 

Blog

Delicious Summer Reads

Summer is the perfect time to lay out with a cold beverage and dive into a fantastic read!

Here are my Top 5 reads this season:

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On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

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He has a type: all his victims look the same. And they all look like you. Kate returns from a post break-up holiday with her girlfriends to news of a serial killer in her home town – and his victims all look like her. It could, of course, be a simple coincidence. Or maybe not.

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Anna is recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times and spying on her neighbors. But when Anna sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare. What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control?

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When an old friend gets in touch, Sarah Havenant discovers that there are two Facebook profiles in her name. One is hers. The other, she has never seen. But everything in it is accurate. Photos of her friends, her husband, her kids. Photos of her new kitchen. Photos taken inside her house. And this is just the beginning. Because whoever has set up the second profile has been waiting for Sarah to find it. And now that she has, her life will no longer be her own…

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When reclusive writer Leonora is invited to a hen party in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. But as the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new and a haunting realization creeps in—they are not alone in the woods.

Is there a book you think I would love to read this summer? Send me a message or leave a comment below!

Blog · Health & Beauty

Namaste B*tches

Happy Summer Everyone!

We are in the middle of a heatwave here in Niagara and temperatures continue to soar each day. You would think that the only place I want to be is in the central air and believe me that is definitely true but I have also found a place I am absolutely comfortable – it just happens to be 98 degrees F there.

Yoga has always been a great match for me, it requires me to slow down and focus and blocks out the noise of life. I have tried many different types of yoga and studios over the last decade but have never been able to stick to a particular type or location for more than an 8 week session.f109f707f3f27f230fb32e28cdb06c99

Regular gym memberships just weren’t my thing and I could never get past how physically uncomfortable working out felt. I know so many people who love their gym memberships and find amazing success there but for whatever reason I always left feeling defeated and like I really hadn’t accomplished much.

Then a few years ago I found Hot Yoga at Moksha Yoga here in Niagara. But once again I took classes off and on and didn’t manage to stick with it.  After my Dad’s health scares this winter and after settling in at my new job it really felt like it was time to finally commit and do something for myself. Moksha Yoga had a fantastic membership offer for the summer and I am so glad I took advantage of it. I have been consistently going 3-4 times a week and I cannot believe how quickly I started to feel the positive changes in my body and my mind.

The benefits of Hot Yoga are endless but here are just a few:

  •  practicing yoga in a hot room gives your body an amazing opportunity to SWEAT i.e. get all the crappy stuff out and let the good stuff in!
  • the heat of the room helps to warm your muscles up and create a better range of motion for your poses
  • you’ll find that the heat creates an amazing “mind over matter” situation and therefore helps you to focus on your breathing and your movement

Moksha Yoga in Niagara is a beautiful studio filled with the most encouraging and accepting group of teachers. The studio schedule is extremely accessible – there are even 6:30AM classes for the early risers. Moksha Yoga offers over 12 different class types as well as private lessons. They accept all skill levels and offer modifications to your practice whenever needed.

If you are interested in trying out a class I suggest their Friday night Karma Class which is a donation-only 60 minute class with funds going to local/global charities.

Have fun and get sweaty!

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Decor · Home

..now I have to lay in it..

I have spent the last year or so really fine tuning the look and feel of my bedroom. Since I am living with my parents I felt that it was super important for me to have a space that was completely mine and that I was extremely comfortable in.

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Pillows by HomeSense. Duvet Cover by IKEA

I’m sure that I will continue to find bits and pieces to add to it but for the most part my bedroom is complete. For that reason I thought it would be a great time to talk about my favourite feature and the most important part of anyone’s bedroom : THE BED! Snickering aside (this isn’t that kind of blog post) according to Mental Health Canada a good night’s sleep is vital for our nervous systems, our immune system and plays a huge role in the person we are during our waking hours. I am a firm believer that in order to get the most restful and successful sleep possible, your bed really needs to be exactly the way you want it. Be a Goldilocks it is more than okay!!

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Neutral tones and an underlying “nature” theme

Bed-frames and Mattresses:
I can’t stress enough how important the selection of your bed and mattress is. No matter how tempting it is to purchase your bed and/or mattress online if you are someone that struggles with sleep or physical limitations I HIGHLY suggest shopping in person. I chose a simple low to the floor, white, Queen-sized bed frame from Ikea with a removable rattan headboard. At the time I didn’t realize how important having a removable headboard is but for someone who likes to redecorate often it gives you the option of styling your bed with or without the headboard attached. Also, being able to remove the headboard makes it so much easier to clean it. Currently I have styled my bed without the headboard but have been contemplating painting it white and reattaching it (another blog post). I have a spring and active -response coil mattress also from Ikea and it is an absolute dream!

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Custom “Shhhh” keepsake by Shawne of Embroiderwee

Colours:
When I painted my bedroom I went with a grey hue from Behr called Thundercloud. I wanted a neutral grey that would allow me to accent with white decorative pieces (my favourite) and would coordinate with the natural hardwood floors, molding and doors.
For a tranquil space soft neutrals and cool greys and blues work well in a bedroom. However, pastels like lavenders and pale yellow can help make a smaller room appear bigger. I found a great article online by HGTV that can show you how to pick a perfect colour for your personal oasis.

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Paint colour by Behr “Thundercloud”

Bedding and Textiles:
I am absolutely obsessed with bedding. Sheets, pillows, blankets, you name it! There is  nothing I enjoy more than slipping into fresh sheets and blankets.  It can be a bit of a pain in the morning but spending those 5 minutes to make your bed will really make a difference when you come back to it at the end of the day. And don’t skimp out on those hospital corners!

Decorating a bed can be broken down into the following sections: sheets, blankets, comforter/duvet, pillows, accent pillows and throw blankets. When choosing your bedding make sure you keep things in mind like your body’s natural temperature (flannels are notoriously warm compared to cooler materials like bamboo or cotton), and how important it is that your bedding look freshly pressed all the time (100% cotton will ALWAYS wrinkle more), and finally how often you will be laundering your bedding (comforters will start to clump if you are washing them very often whereas a duvet gives you the option of just washing the cover). Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns and materials. Remember as with fashion – things don’t have to match – they just need to go!

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Textures add depth and visual interest

A few final tips :

  1. Gather tons of inspiration. Pinterest is a great way to start and you can conveniently shop with your inspiration stored on your smart phone or tablet!
  2. Measure! Make sure to keep up to date measurements of your bedroom (or any room) to keep your trips at a minimum.
  3. If you don’t like it bring it back. No matter how much we think we love something sometimes it just doesn’t work in real life. Keep your receipts and ask the return policy when making your purchases.
  4. Create your colour scheme and work from there! Pick your vibe and stick to it to avoid making your space visually confusing.
  5. Mix rather than match your textiles! The look you want is coordinated yet effortless.

As always please feel free to post any questions or comments you have!

Happy Decorating –

Blog · Health & Beauty

This is Thirty…One

Last Thursday was my thirty-first Birthday.

I was born on Sunday March 29th 1987 at 2:10PM to Debbie and Jim. After being born approximately twenty-one days late of my estimated due date (sorry Mom) and even though Spring had sprung, I brought with me the snow.

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Catherine Elizabeth circa 1988-ish

In most recent years I always find myself asking my Mom the same question “Do you remember how you were feeling in the days before I came” and her responses are always very similar alternating between “Dear you had me so worried” and “I thought my baby was never going to get here”. The conversation always ends with us agreeing on the fact that I never really do anything until I am completely ready – just like in birth so I am in life.

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to write. But I never knew really what that meant for me. Sitting down and attempting to write a book seemed far too intimidating for me, and a blog seemed to be a great way to practice putting my words out into the universe and in turn put myself out into the universe. I had no idea how inspired this whole process would make me and how amazing it would feel to receive such positive feedback.

Thanks to a recent blog post I was asked to participate in a podcast recording for Our Minds Matter. The episode features a chat with host Janice Arnoldi about my experience with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and the tools I use to help alleviate my struggle. I was absolutely honored to sit down with Janice and be able to use my voice, and my words to shed light on mental health.

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So here I am having just celebrated my thirty-first Birthday and what better way to start a new year than to be able to share my podcast with you. I hope that by continuing to move further into a space of complete authenticity someone else will feel compelled to do the same.

Authenticity isn’t something we have or don’t have.
It is a practice — a conscious choice of how we want to live.
Authenticity is a collection of choices we make everyday.
It is about making the choice to show up and be real.
The choice to be honest.
The choice to let our true selves be seen.
–Brene Brown

 

Health & Beauty

All About The Brows

I’m pretty sure one of the worst trends that came out of the early 2000’s were super-thin brows. So many females were sporting over-plucked face framers and believe me I also fell victim to this short lived trend. Unfortunately, by the time I decided that I needed to grow those babies out, my brows had already suffered for years at the hand of my overzealous tweezers. I have tried my hardest over the last few years to grow my brows into the full and luscious beauties I knew in my heart they could be however they had definitely fallen short (or bare shall I say).

After spending so much time trying to find the best brow products on the market and filling in my brows everyday I was ready for a more permanent solution to my brow woes. I started to research the technique of microblading.

“Microblading originated in Asia and is known as eyebrow embroidery, 3D brows, micropigmentation, or microstroking.  It is the least invasive form of cosmetic tattooing and considered to be semi permanent makeup.  The procedure is done using a handheld device that uses a very fine blade to deposit safe, plant based pigment in to the skin.  The result is natural and fuller looking eyebrows that you won’t have to fill in with makeup every day”

My sister Jessica was over visiting and was telling me about Brow Envy Niagara owned and operated by Lindsay Noaman – microblading extraordinare. I hopped onto her website and the before and after photos spoke for themselves! I knew I needed to book an appointment with this clearly talented woman.

 

A week or so later I was in Lindsay’s salon being prepped for my new brows! Lindsay was comforting and very knowledgeable, taking the time to explain the procedure and show me every tool she was going to use. She continuously checked in with me throughout the session to make sure I was comfortable and kept me completely relaxed. The best part was when she said to me “okay now I’m going to nit pick”. Hello!! That was music to my ears. I knew she would not let me leave without giving me the absolute best brows she could!

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I am currently 6 weeks post-microblading and will return to Lindsay for my touch-up in about 2 weeks. I am already so happy with the results and cannot wait to enjoy hassle free brows! Here is my before and after picture which totally speaks for itself:

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If you are interested in microblading or want more information you can visit Lindsay’s website Brow Envy Niagara Trust me you will not regret it!

Blog · Essential Oils · Health & Beauty

Let’s Talk

I started noticing some emotional changes in myself about eight years ago. Some medical professionals have suggested it was a change in my hormones after I stopped taking birth control pills, some have suggested it was my body’s response to traumatic situations and a lot have suggested the changes were a combination of both.

In most recent years I have been extremely honest and forthcoming about my struggles with anxiety and my mental health. Thanks to a breakdown in the stigma surrounding these issues it has allowed a free-flow of information regarding all kinds of mental health difficulties and ways to combat them.

Today I am going to talk a bit about the different tools I have discovered that help me to “work” my mental health. Meaning – methods I use on a regular basis to take an active role in feeling better both mentally, physically and spiritually.

**WARNING** I am not suggesting my way is the ONLY way to combat mental health issues — I am only presenting what I found has worked for me. I am not a health professional and these opinions are my own.

Meditation

About three years ago I went through some pretty undesirable health issues (undiagnosed food allergies, adrenal fatigue, anxiety) and for anyone going through health issues it can be very difficult to keep a positive outlook as you are waiting to hear what your diagnosis’ are. Add anxiety to the mix and it can be pretty much impossible to control negative thoughts. I needed to find a way to train my brain to switch gears from negative thinking and self-talk to positive, and strength-filled self motivation. Thankfully I found guided meditation. The amazing thing about guided meditation is just that – it is guided! Step by step it teaches you how to move your thoughts to something more positive. A friend of mine suggested the Calm app – which ended up being an absolute life line! You can set up the app on your mobile device and work through meditations whenever and where ever. It also has amazing sleep stories that help you drift off to restful sleep at night.

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My meditation space

Essential Oils

By the time  you are reading this blog entry you have probably heard about essential oils once or twice in your day. Well here is number three. I discovered the AMAZING benefits from my friend Allie. She is a Wellness Advocate for dōTERRA and brought to my attention this wonderful company. I was so impressed with the quality of oils and the company itself I decided to become a Wellness Advocate. I purchased The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils and set to work on some trial research of my own. There really isn’t enough time in the day or room on the blog to tell you about all of the essential oils I utilize so if you have any questions please comment below.


Cannabidiol Oil (CBD)

What is CBD Oil you ask? Let me break it down for you! CBD Oil is a cannabis compound that has HUGE medial benefits but doesn’t make you feel “high” or “stoned”. The most important quality of CBD is its lack of psycho-activity. All of the 60-plus cannabinoids unique to the Cannabis plant interact with our bodies thanks to our network of neurons called the endocannabinoid system. Without getting too Bill Nye the Science Guy – basically humans are wired for the benefits of CBD!The endocannabinoid system runs deeply through and touches all of the major systems in our bodies. That is how CBD can do so many awesome stuff for us like regulating moods, stimulating appetites and reducing pain. For me personally – CBD has helped to curb my anxious feelings, regulate my moods and get restful sleep at night. I have found an amazing Canadian company based in British Columbia called THC Delivery. Their products are of the highest quality and their customer service reps are outstanding and it’s Canadian!!

Whatever you choose to do in respect to your mental health issues – I feel the most important piece of advice I can give is to do your research and be open to suggestion. Keep talking about your struggles and work together to continue to fight the stigma.