The Habit of Writing… the Writing of Habits…

So since Jan 1, 2015 I have been religiously writing in my journal every night before bed.  My goal was to create a habit of daily writing which has been very successful in my journal, but completely unsuccessful in my blog.  Boo.  Time to change this!

Since December 2014 I have been on a mission to purge my entire life.  I became a bit insane after reading Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I’ve been a purging machine.  I’ve actually read the book now 3 times and it continues to inspire me each time I read it!  So to update I have purged and donated approximately 20 full garbage bags of useable items – clothing, bedding, etc. and a whole bunch of boxes of dishes, knick-knacks, and general household stuff.  I organized the basement, assembled some storage wardrobes and have pretty much wrestled the clutter into submission.  I’m still working on the spare room/office/sewing room.  I still have too many books and “things” stuffed into the closet and bookshelves, but I lack the energy/desire to make more purging decisions for the time being.

I’m still contemplating what art to put back up on the walls and where.  In the meantime I’m kind of enjoying the house looking fairly sparse.  I still have areas of clutter (hello vanity table by the front door I’m talking to you) but I now know what my triggers are (bedding, scarves, spring/fall jackets and coats, mugs – ugh!) so I am working to minimize these and not buy anything new in these categories.  Seriously for a person with one bed, one neck, minimal need for multiple mugs in a province where spring/fall lasts for a total of about 10 days I have no need for so many multiples in these areas.

I’m also trying to simplify my facial cleansing/make-up routine.  After a brutal battle trying multiple brands at the dermatologist a colleague recommended the Paula’s Choice brand.  I ordered their Skin Recovery Kit and I absolutely LOVE it! No irritation, no break-outs, nothing but improved skin tone.  They definitely have a customer for life with these great products.  The need for make-up has been greatly reduced by the improvement in my skin.  I’m just using Nars blush in Orgasm, Benefit Roller Lash mascara and L’Oreal Infallible lippy in Timeless Rose (this stuff’s the bomb – stays on all day!) most days which is quick and easy-peasy in the morning before work.  I’ve recently added this L’Oreal Infallible eyeshadow in Amber Rush on the recommendation of a friend who has a beauty blog and I’m feeling pretty damn fancy – me and my glittery lids! Woot!

That’s about it for now – here’s a gratuitous happy dog photo until next time…

Ice cream!!! Happy Spring!!

Ice cream!!! Happy Spring!!

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Welcome to 2015!! Achoo!!

So I had a lovely long staycation of 12.5 days over the holidays where my intent was to purge and clean and paint the entire house.  A fabulous idea in premise but what actually happened was a flu, then a cold, with a few days of painting in between and not much organizing at all.  Boo.  Ah well as my sister said on the phone yesterday it’s not like I have a deadline so the work will resume once this horrendous cold is gone.

I painted the living room and dining room a lovely light grey Sherwin-Williams Grayish (http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color/find-and-explore-colors/paint-colors-by-family/SW6001-grayish/) with the hall and kitchen two shades darker in Sherwin-Williams Proper Gray (http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color/find-and-explore-colors/paint-colors-by-family/SW6003-proper-gray/).

It’s a very blue-grey so very different from the khaki I had before.  Seems to bring out the gold of the floor more but I still don’t love the red leather sectional with it.  I painted my bedroom Sherwin-Williams Spa (http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color/find-and-explore-colors/paint-colors-by-family/SW6765-spa/) which is a bright aqua and so far it makes me irrationally happy to wake up surrounded by this colour.  Not so happy to be stuck in here sick and with newspaper on the window because I haven’t had the energy to drag in the ladder and put the curtain rod up, but it will have to do for now.  Big plans waylaid by little germs as always!

I also painted two items of furniture – one a sideboard of sorts and another an upholstered chair – before and after photos to follow in another post.

I’ve continued my reading on minimalism and I will be trying some strategies to reduce some of the stuff I have.  One is to move all of my clothes onto a rolling garment rail in the spare room and then only return them to my closet once I have worn them.  If they aren’t worn during the season then out they go!  I have also been working on weeding out some of my more “interesting” lounge-wear – a.k.a. ratty pajamas.  I’m sure my neighbours and the mail person would super appreciate me not being outside or answering the door in the majority of my “lounging” outfits.

I think the best thing I can do to start off the new year is to count everything I have and divide it into categories.  I know I have too much but too much of what is my question.  I’ll start that way – out myself for all to see and then I’ll go from there.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

I started writing this blog to talk about my footwear, and potentially about some of the things I was wearing – but to be truthful the concept really never spoke to me.  I tried to keep on top of posting, but in reality I had nothing to say.  I never felt good about talking about my shoes when there are so many other more important things in the world to talk about.

I have been an avid reader of lifestyle, style and health blogs but I was never sold on the crazy consumerism these blogs supported.  I am still in awe of some of the budgets people have for their clothing and how much they purchase – regardless if it is second hand or designer.  One woman posted what she had purchased since September and it was more than I had bought in the two previous years, and everything was designer so it was thousands of dollars worth of clothing!  She was purporting the concept of a “minimalist wardrobe” but was completely entrenched in the idea that she just had to buy the right items to make her happy with what she had.  This struck me as counterintuitive – that one must keep buying to become a minimalist…

So I was at a crossroads.  I really wanted to blog, but I needed to find something that really spoke to me.  I am not sure but I think I have finally found something I want to support.  I have been doing a lot of reading about minimalism and finding ways to being happy and content with less.  Truth is my stuff, my things, my more appropriately named baggage drove me crazy.  It was too much.  It was an exercise in finding storage in the house, shifting stuff when I was trying to find something important, ending up with mounds of laundry because I just had so many sheets and towels. Arg! It made me want to pull my hair out!!

I came across this book by Marie Kondo called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing – she’s a bit crazy-pants but it was the first book that really spoke to my heart.  So I went a little crazy – I started one Sunday morning and I went so nuts that I requested a holiday day for the Monday and just kept on going.  Everything was moved, organized, washed and donated.  I’ve been going for about a month now and I’m making some big headway.  Don’t get me wrong – my house didn’t look like an episode of Hoarders or anything like that.  There was just too much.  Too much of everything.  Like I was stockpiling for a zombie apocalypse or doomsday prepping.  I was clearly a “just in case” woman.  No one needs that much.  Seriously.

Seeing as I have no following and no one reads this but me, I decided to change the theme and change the name of the blog.  I am now a “recovering” shoeoholic – I’m selling my Fluevogs to prove it!  I will never have the bare house of a true minimalist because I like comfort and I love art and plants and pets, but I invite you to accompany me in my recovery.  I am on a journey to less and I can use all of the support and encouragement I can get!

What a difference… um, three years makes??

I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since my last post.  I love to write.  I love to connect online.  Why oh why am I not blogging?

Dogs have gone from 2 to 4.  Jobs have gone from 4 to 1.  Car has gone from old Mazda to new Kia.  All and all things are movin’ on up!

Sadly my footwear selection has gone from fab to drab.  I still have all of my snazzy shoes/boots, but due to back and neck issues I am forced to wear flats, and pretty much the same flats every day.  I’m trying to figure out how to post footwear photos that don’t bore everyone to death.  I just might have to include the whole outfit (which would require a mirror which is currently problematic…).  I did get a new pair of Manitobah Mukluks so I thought the least I could do was include them.  They are so cushy and cozy and the Vibram sole keeps them from being a mushy mess when transitioning from outdoors to indoors and vice versa.

mukkies

Anywhoooo.  I’m making the commitment to blog once again and I want to incorporate more interesting topics such as the books I’m reading.  I’ve just finished all of the Louise Penny Gamache mysteries (addictive!) and just started on Miriam Toews new book All My Puny Sorrows.  As always Toews does not disappoint and I am thoroughly enjoying the read!

 

 

 

Fabulous dahling, just fabulous!!!

Today I was thinking a lot about fabulousness/fabulosity/being fabulous.  I thought this might be controversial as my last post was about being happy and I can just imagine people saying “Dang first she’s talking about being happy and now she’s telling us she’s fabulous??  Who does she think she is??”  So let’s just make it clear right this minute that I don’t spend my time sitting around thinking about how fabulous I am… but what if I did?

So what do you think would happen if the next time you got dressed you decided that today was a day you were going to show the world how fabulous you are on the inside, on your outside?  What would happen if, instead of the usual boring work duds you spent extra moment thinking about your outfit and fab’d it up?  I’ll tell you a secret because I did just that this week and the result was amazing!  I’m not talking about just amazing on the outside either… it was amazing on the inside!!

I started on Monday wearing a hot outfit because I had a terrible sleep, and well hell it was Monday after all and they suck just be the mere fact they exist.  I figured that the purple boots would be the only way to drag myself out of my perpetual “I don’t like Mondays” funk.  The thing with rocking purple velvet boots is – you either have to make them the star of the outfit, or you just have to balls out with the whole outfit.  Usually I make them the star, but this week I though “WTF – why not go all balls it out?”, so I did… and it started a trend.

Tuesday I managed a somewhat Mad Men sexy secretary look with my grey Fluevog Operetta Rubinis.  Wednesday I kicked it up a notch with the big guns again (red, Fluevog, fabulous by their very nature) with a black and white houndstooth pencil skirt and a red pea coat.  Thursday I rocked a khaki leather skirt, black turtleneck and the stunning coat with black boots.  Then I couldn’t just leave out Friday so on went a sexy denim pencil skirt, white shirt, black leather vest, black boots and the stunning coat.

I feel the need to add that none of these items were new and none were any different from the previous times I wore them.  The difference was inside me.  I had made the choice to be fabulous this week and I put that on every morning before I put on the clothes.  Funny thing was, I wasn’t the only one who noticed.  I received more compliments this week from my colleagues than I have in the past 4 years – all for clothes/outfits I have worn to the office many times!

The clincher was today when I was on my way to meet an old friend for lunch.  I was walking along minding my own business when a guy I had never seen before actually stopped me on the street and told me “WOW!  You look fabulous!” (and just for the record I’m not talking about an intoxicated gentlemen looking for money – they always tell me I’m a gorgeous lady but I take that with a grain of salt considering the beer goggles and all…).  This well dressed, apparently sober dude stopped me on the street just to tell me I looked fabulous and then he moved on – no pick up line, no request for money, no apparent ulterior motive!  Seriously people you cannot BUY that kind of positive affirmation at any price!!

So what was the difference?  What was the change?  What magic that made me appear different this week from last week?  Was it just me saying to myself on Monday “This week I’m going to be fabulous?”?  Could it really be that easy??

If it is that simple, what would happen if we actually allowed ourselves to be fabulous and bask in the praise we receive for some of the other things in life such as work, raising children, personal accomplishments, whatever?  Instead of being modest and saying “Oh you’re too kind” or “it wasn’t much” or whatever diminishing phrase we insert – what if the next time someone says “Wow!” to something we smile, say “Thank you!”, embrace it and then say to ourselves “Damn rights I’m fabulous – and it shows!”??  Could we handle the magic we might unleash??

Why not try it???

Little Miss Glass Half Full!

For some unknown reason I started the day at 4 am.  I woke up incredibly happy that it was the weekend and even though it was the middle of the night I could just roll over and go back to sleep, and most importantly sleep in… and then I realized it was Tuesday… wah wah…

At the bus stop this morning I ended up waiting for the bus with a woman I’d never seen before.  We weren’t talking but we both turned at the same time to watch a car turn the corner dragging something along underneath it.  She looked at me and said “That can’t be good.” to which I replied without thinking “I hope it’s not a body.”.  She turned to look at me with an amused expression and I added “Well we do live in the hood…” which she found hysterically funny and said “Well aren’t you Little Miss Glass Half Full today!” and we spent the rest of our time waiting for the bus giggling!

All day I couldn’t get this out of my head and I decided that although my earlier comment about the body doesn’t really reflect it, I actually am Little Miss Glass Half Full.  I know it may be obnoxious to some but I’ve decided to embrace the title, grab the tiara and wear the sash.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Pollyanna or Mary Sunshine but on the whole I’d generally say I’m a fairly happy individual.

I think what makes me a happy individual is perspective, one of the greatest gifts I have received.  I’ve had some really difficult times in my life but I’ve also travelled extensively in developing countries and have seen what difficult times truly means.  I have experienced losing someone I loved to murder, drug overdose, suicide and accidents.  Although I won’t ever forget the pain of these losses and I don’t want to minimize them in any way, they really do put into perspective the meaning of a “bad day”.  A bad day is a day when you lose someone you love.  A bad day is not when your hair doesn’t turn out or you miss the bus or you spill coffee or some jerk cuts you off or someone just does something that pisses you off or any of the hundreds of potential events that people use to define their version of a bad day.

This totally doesn’t mean I go through life never being angry, lonely, hurt or frustrated – trust me, I have at times deserved a sash and tiara for all of those titles as well!  What perspective has given me though is the guts and tenacity to fight for what I believe in and to stand up when it may be uncomfortable to unpopular to do so.

As with everything positive, there is also a negative side to the gift.  I am easily frustrated with people’s behaviour when they are petty, selfish or ungrateful.  I’m never sure what the pay off is for someone being consistently impossible to deal with or someone purposefully making my job/life harder by their selfish behaviour.  Rather than being frustrated I try to look at these people through a different lens.  Right or wrong I automatically think they must have had a wonderful life, where the most important person is themselves and they have never experienced anything big enough or awful enough to make them grateful for what they have.  Sarcastic?  Definitely.  Incorrect?  Possibly.  But if someone could explain to me the pay off for treating other people poorly I’d appreciate it as I’d love to add this knowledge to my perspective lens.

On a completely different note, of course I couldn’t speak of being grateful without mentioning my second pair of Fluevog boots.  I am incredibly grateful to own a few pairs of this wonderful footwear, two of which are tall boots.  I previewed the lovely red pair of Fluevog Operetta Maria’s in this post.  Today I pulled out and polished my gorgeous grey Fluevog Operetta Rubini’s and took them out for a spin.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of we actually wearing them because I left work in a hurry because I had to get home for an appointment with a gas meter reader.  I was running late and forgot to snap a photo before I changed into jeans as I didn’t want the meter guy to think I spend my time hanging around my house all fancy like that!

Anyway without further ado may I present a stock photo of Fluevog Operetta Rubini’s in grey:

Fluevog Operetta Rubini

Seriously, with boots like these on my feet how could I be anything but grateful?

Time to come out of the storage room.

So the past few days I have been trying in vain to a) fight off an impending sore throat and cold and more importantly b) de-clutter by life.  I am sad to report neither is going very well right now.  The sore throat and whatever ickma accompanies it is taking me down faster than a cheetah takes down a gazelle and as a result things in the basement/closets have just about ground to a halt.  This is so frustrating because all I want to do is get rid of everything!!

This week with me being on holidays I have very little shoe action to blog about as it was pretty much heinous Birkenstocks/shearling boots/heinous Birks again – you get the picture.  I did however do a fair amount of cooking and took photos of my culinary accomplishments.

Back in the good old days (aka January) the heart stomper suggested I watch Food Inc., a documentary that in part examines the industrial production of meat (chicken, beef, and pork), exposing it as inhumane and economically and environmentally unsustainable.  Now what you need to know that I am one of those people who can only eat meat if I suspend my disbelief and pretend that the chicken or beef magically occurs on the styrofoam trays found in the supermarket.  If eating meat depended on me raising an animal for food or hunting, you would find me happily out there on my hands and knees foraging for nuts and berries.

Although initially I denied the heart stompers request to show me the video, coincidentally it was being shown on CBC’s Passionate Eye right around the same time… so I watched it… big mistake.  Big, big, mistake.  So, as a result, I am currently embracing the idea of giving up meat in a permanent way.  Sigh.  I mean I love veggies as much as the next person but because I am allergic to eggs and have trouble digesting wheat and dairy giving up the little meat I currently consume is a big, hairy, inconvenient deal.

So in return for my serious attempt to give up the hard stuff I bought myself some new cookbooks and started following more vegan blogs online.  Although I would generally consider myself quite a good (and healthy) cook, this week has been an exercise in experimentation, trying some new recipes on for size.  Following are some of the delicious results!

Salad with Tahini Avacado Dressing

I got the recipe for this Tahini Avacado Dressing from a fantastic blog called Oh She Glows .  I didn’t have any chickpeas so I didn’t make the salad she suggested, so I made a regular salad and used her recipe for “Taco Meat” from her Taco Salad recipe instead.  Just FYI I had made the Taco Salad the night before and it was delicious, but didn’t take a photo.

Next up was one of my old standby’s – Gallo Pinto and fried ripe plantains.  I don’t actually have a recipe for this as I learned how to make it when I lived in Costa Rica so I just throw everything together when I finally have ripe plantains.  The only “special ingredient” would be the Salsa Lizano (pictured) which is like ketchup to Costa Ricans – they put it on everything!

Gallo Pinto and Platanos Frito

Tonight’s dinner (below) was a combination of one recipe and one winging-it dish.  First off was Roasted Broccoli (on the left) from another vegan blog I follow called In My Box (ya I know – not the best name lol!)  The other dish is something I made up years ago from things I had in my cupboard.  I’ve made this sort of thing many times – EVOO, garlic, dill, capers, mushrooms and lemon juice with pasta, sometimes throwing in seafood, sometimes other veggies, basically whatever I have around.  Today I also added some nooch (nutritional yeast) which made it super creamy and cheezy tasting and tossed it with brown rice linguini.  Just as a note I managed to eat less than half of both – there’s no way I could eat that much pasta in one sitting!!

Roasted Broccoli and Mystery Pasta

So the sore throat and ickma continues and the basement isn’t cleaning itself but I managed to make myself some lovely food and take care of my soul this week, which is just about all anyone can ask from holidays isn’t it?