REAL LIFE

yogamat That place, which maybe isn’t this place in the photo above, for you. Maybe your place looks completely different. We all have one, some of us have a few and some of us maybe haven’t found it quite yet. It’s that place where you feel most at home, most joyful, content and whole. Maybe it’s a calming place, that resets your day, a comforting place that makes you feel safe and secure, maybe a fun place that brings joy into your day, or an inspiring place that makes your creative juices flow?

I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘that place’ and where it lives in my daily life. I realized I have a few different spots where I feel totally in my element, but three really big ones that stand out everyday. One of those is anytime I’m with my people, it is a safe, secure and an extremely joyful place. Being on my mat (the one above also happens to be metallic gooooold) because it’s calming, humbling, and it gives me strong solid roots for the rest of my life. And when I’m creating, because that fire in my belly is inspiring and I know I am fully in my element.

family I have really been focusing on the small parts of each “place” the tiny little moments that make up the whole she-bang. And I’ve been trying my best to spread those tiny bits around the rest of my daily life, try my best to make my entire day feel a bit more like THAT PLACE (I’ve said it too many times, I know). There are small things that make up or help create those places in my life that make me feel whole and happy. Small things that I try to carry with me when I find them, that make the rest of my time exponentially more wonderful and hopefully give me more strength to fight through the inevitable hardships.

Is there a place where you feel totally free, maybe it’s something as simple as reading a book? I’m not really talking that glass of wine at the end of a hard day sorta place, that is a different (yet also very enjoyable) place. But is there a moment where you feel most like yourself and you are able to just let everything else go? What are the little parts that make up those moments?

What is “That Place” for you?

*It’s been a while since I went all Dear Diary on you, I’m always unsure about hitting publish on my DD posts. This past month has been one that was truly filled with life for us, birthday’s, new babies and a few too many goodbyes. All of it, has really made me stop and look at all the tiny moments so much more closely, and sometimes a good old word vomit all over the blog is just in order.

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January 29, 2015 · Daily,Dear Diary,REAL LIFE



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Big City Living with Kids Yes we live in a big city, Toronto to be most specific – just in case you are new around here. King and Harlow are born and raised big city kiddos, they know no different and I actually don’t really have a big grasp on raising them in less populous setting. We walk every where we can and if that’s not possible (in the winter the walking usually gets side barred a bit) we take the transit, cabs are pretty rare and we use Zipcar when we need a vehicle to get around. I love our sweet little life so very much, and even though we live in a big busy city, our life and routine could not get any simpler (unless we moved to a farm, I guess).

People often ask how we raise kids in a big city, what life is like not having a private back yard, or how we live without owning a car, really a giant wide range of urban kid raising questions. I know there are tons of reasons to live in a quieter, maybe more classically family friendly setting (I think you smell what I’m cooking when I say that) and really even from here the grass sometimes looks greener where that is. But we really do love living in a big urban setting, and as green as the grass looks when we look at the suburbs there would just be so much that we would all miss about living in the city (not to mention our lives are here, but other than that). Of course we have talked about moving many times (back closer to family) and we often go as far as listing off the things we would take with us if (if not when, sorry fam-jam) we were to ever leave. Not physical things (well those too), but mostly the lifestyle things that we have grown accustomed too and learned to really love about our urban lifestyle. So instead of answering all the “how is raising kids in a big city” questions, I thought I would list all the things we would take with us (if we were to ever leave) which happen to be some of the huge positives for living in a city. Which can also be things that anyone living anywhere can adopt.

city-living3 What do I love most about living in an urban setting? SO MANY things, but the things we would take with us if we ever decided to pick up and go?

PARK AND WALK – I know, most places aren’t as walkable or accessible by transit. I grew up in a smaller city where driving a car was pretty much mandatory, so I totally get it. But why not, drive to a location where you can get a lot of shopping done in a few block radius, instead of jumping back in your car to hit the next store, walk there. How do you carry everything? Well you could make trips back to the car to drop things off or pull a granny cart/shopping trolley (like me!) – come on you know you want too!! It probably sounds like a hassle, but really it’s not I love walking from place to place doing my errands – also if I can’t carry it, I can’t buy it usually works out to be a good thing.

TURN THE CITY INTO YOUR BACKYARD – It’s silly and a little bit backwards, but as much as having a private backyard space would be great I am sometimes pretty grateful that we don’t had one. Sure it makes every outside play time a real event, but it has transformed the way we see the idea of a backyard. Basically it has turned the entire city into our backyard. When kids want to go out and play (every waking moment), we GO OUT and play – in the summer we are rarely ever home. We park hop in the summer, we jump around to different neighborhood festivals, or just go exploring.

SHOP SMALL – Big cities usually mean smaller boutique like, local mom and pop type places to eat and shop at. It’s a bit harder and more expensive for the larger franchises to pop in, mostly because space is limited. So this whole supporting and shopping local thing is easy in an urban setting, and something we wouldn’t change. It might take a bit more searching and walking but try to stick to the little guys, grab a coffee and go for a walk. Maybe choose a different part of the city each weekend, it’s amazing the cute little places you can find if you are looking (also a great way to explore).

EXPLORE – One of our all time favorite things to do. In the summer especially, we often have no plans so we just head out and see where the day takes us. Usually we walk into something, a festival or event of some kind or one of us comes up with a plan along the way. It’s fun and rarely ever boring. I know it sounds a lot harder to do if you aren’t in a big city, but maybe there is a part of town you haven’t been to in ages? Take a drive there and park and walk – I bet you find some cool new shops, restaurants or something a little bit different.

urban families In my humble opinion there are huge pluses for living and raising a family in a big city (the only HUGE minus is not having all the people we love here with us). I could list off all the positives (from my eyes), but sometimes lists like that tend to sound a big snobby and sometimes even entitled (any one-sided lists can come off like that) so I’m not really going to go there. Plus I also see many positives to not living in a big city, all I have to do is look back at my childhood to see them.
Really there is no BEST place to raise a family, the best place to raise a family is the best place for YOUR family.
If you like the idea of big city living but like how green your grass currently is, try including some of these “lifestyle things” into your everyday – but maybe wait till the spring to try them out.

What do you guys think? Do you have anything you think, us big city people should learn from smaller city/town living? Is there something else you would add to this little, “big city living for all” list?

*photos mostly from the past summer, where the grass is ALWAYS greener.

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January 28, 2015 · ADVICE AND INFO,Daily,REAL LIFE



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This totally goes against my, tips for staying focused while working from home. But let me start by saying, during the day I never watch tv while working. Or even better, I never watch shows while I’m working during my “golden hours” – when my work is at its most productive I need full attention on the task at hand, that’s when I follow these rules to a T.

But when it comes to working during the evening, say when Chris is working late or I have things I want to get done? I often turn a background show on, makes me feel like I’m half relaxing/half being productive. Does that make sense? I have a few go to programs for the “while I’m working” show list, most might also be considered guilty pleasure tv because they usually don’t require my full attention to know what’s going on. What better time to get a guilty pleasure tv show in, then when you are semi-productively doing something else?

reality-tv True blue guilty pleasure tv, best watched when you are semi-productively working or studying at night (or off working hours). TLC, MTV, ANIMAL PLANET or DISCOVERY (though the last two are way less guilty) all fall under this category for me. You can leave a channel on, find a show on Netflix, or stream from the networks website and just let it go all the live long work-night. [ image is from man vs. wild, one of our favorite reality tv shows.]

 

gossip-girl Teen dramas for the background show win! If it’s predictable and you probably wouldn’t tell your friends you actually watch it, it’s probably go for the evening working hours (or maybe laundry folding hours?). Since finishing GG, I moved onto Pretty Little Liars (thank’s to a good friend who always tells me about her guilty tv pleasures) and it’s equally as good for while I work. [ image is from fanpop ]

 

food-network Good for anytime all the time, in my opinion. I know it’s not a “show” but generally any show on this network is a good background show. Often is falls under the reality tv category, but not always. I think any show from the Food Network (many of them are popping up on Netflix now) will always be some of my favorite background shows to work too. [ image from castles and cooks ]

 

law-and-order I also like to watch this, while I’m not working. But I tend to get so into it and sometimes I make myself paranoid that it just works out better to be a background show. It really doesn’t matter which series of Law and Order it is, they are all good in my books (a few of them are on Netflix now). [ image from salon.com ]

 

hgtv Food Network and HGTV, both top my list for things to watch while I’m doing other things (what a mouthful). Another show that’s not a “show”, but it’s easier to be general when all of them fall under the category. As long as I have these two in my background show life, I’m happy! [ image from HGTV ]

Do you have a favorite background show? Or maybe a guilty pleasure show you adore?

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January 26, 2015 · Daily,REAL LIFE,THE BEST LISTS



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family-skating1 family-skating2 famly-skating3 family-skating4 family-skating5 family-skating6 family-skating8 How was your weekend? Ours was pretty good, obviously. Saturday we went skating, family skating ended up being the sweet jam in my Saturday – sandwiched perfectly between two yoga slices of bread. It was an accidental overly physical day for me, but a super nice accident it was (the amount of food I consumed at the end of the day was a slightly hilarious/embarrassing result).

Skating was good and such a change from last year. Last winter, the kids mostly sat and then left with really wet sore bums. This time both of them have been taking skating lessons and it’s shocking how quickly they are improving, I’m pretty sure “You are doing such a great job!!” was getting a little old as we kept saying it over and over (and over) to both of them. I always forget how much I like skating, it usually takes me till it’s time to get off the ice to find my groove (and not be super wobbly).

On my list of things to do for next winter (which is still on my list from many years ago): buy skates for Chris and I (no more renting) and even more importantly, learn how to stop.

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January 19, 2015 · Daily,REAL LIFE



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drink more tea! At the beginning of the year (so like 16 days ago), Chris and I decided to start the year off with a bang and nix out all the bad food we had been eating – start the year out from scratch. A couple of years ago I started doing a detox once a year, which really seems to reset my eating habits back to a healthy level of moderation. And this time Chris wanted to join in, which was pretty much music to my ears. Generally when it comes to eating I follow an 80/20 moderation rule (I don’t know if it’s actually a RULE, but for this purpose lets say it is) 80% of the time I eat only the good healthy stuff, 20% of the time (like the rare occasions we eat out) I eat whatever I’m craving. This moderation rule, seems to really work for me (I have no idea of its right or good, I’m not a doctor) but it keeps my healthy eating enjoyable and I never feel like I’m missing out.

Back to the point, since starting from scratch with our eating this month we nixed; sugar, diary, complex grains (and a bunch of other things, but we will stop there cause it starts to get a bit boring). Something that’s really helped us get past cravings and evening habits of not having snacks (or a glass of wine) is drinking tea. I’d like to take all the credit for this, but it was actually Chris who pulled out the tea this time around.

If you are trying to cut out (or cut back on) sugar (or maybe just some junk) try drinking tea with no sweetener, as a sub in for a sweet treat, a sweet drink or when you are out and feel like you need “something” but don’t know what (those are the times I usually reach for something junky) have a tea instead. I know with no sweetener it’s not sweet and in your head it doesn’t sound like a decent sub in at all. But if you aren’t having a lot of other sweet things in your food intake, it actually begins to taste a little sweet all on its own. Find a flavor (or some flavors) that you love, most teas have a natural sweetness to them that and flavors taste stronger when you aren’t consuming sugar, or maybe I’m crazy?. Mostly I find the entire ritual of drinking something that is just mine (like your morning coffee) really really helps kick a craving down and transition to not craving it as much (can’t promise that you won’t always crave sugar, cause I do).

Currently we are obsessed with: Sweet Rose, Lemon and Ginger, Peppermint and Pomegranate Green from Organic India

*not a sponsored post!

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January 16, 2015 · ADVICE AND INFO,Daily,REAL LIFE



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after-the-kids-went-to-school Oh hey there! (nerd alert! I felt like a picture of me looking over my shoulder deserved a proper intro).

Thank you to all of you who sent me questions last week! They were super helpful, inspiring and insightful – much more than I expected, so thank you! One of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ page, material) from last week and life in general is: What do you do with your day now that the kids are in school, what is “work”? And I thought since it is asked so often and I haven’t really answered it yet (I talked a bit about it here but also, not really) it sorta deserved its very own post even if it is a little dry ( I mean, super duper interesting and exciting), but hey I spiced it up with an over the shoulder photo!

READ THE FULL POST

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January 13, 2015 · Daily,Dear Diary,REAL LIFE



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The Year of The Music Nerd Before we start, and before you start making fun of me two “the year of” posts in a week? I guess I’m just super creative and witty with my titles, what can I say (sarcasm font). Last year was The Year of The Book Worm, I didn’t do nearly as well as I hoped. The first half of the year started really strong, the last (okay 3/4) was pretty slooooooowww. I’m still planning to read more and instead of starting a new reading list I’m going to finish off the ones I didn’t get to – that’s just how sloooow and bad I did.

But this year, I also want to get back into my nerdy music ways. I used to be an avid music finder and buyer, like I probably should have used some of those hours for reading (and then I’d probably be a more avid reader). It’s (another) one of those things that sorta fell aside, when I had kids because time is cut shorter and some things just have to take a back seat. The past couple years I’ve made it a priority to listen and search for music again. So I’m coining, 2015 THE YEAR OF THE MUSIC NERD. Why nerd? Because all the people I like the most are nerds, I’m a nerd – so let’s all be music nerds! It’s a long post (info wise) find the rest after the jump, that way if you aren’t into it, you can scroll right on past.

READ THE FULL POST

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January 8, 2015 · Daily,MUSIC AND BOOKS,REAL LIFE



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christmas-market1 christmas-market2 christmas-market3 christmas-market4 christmas-market6 christmas-market8 Well, sure you can (obviously) but it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without a trip to the Distillery Christmas Market – at least for us (probably not for you, but let’s pretend). It’s sorta like baking Christmas cookies or decorating the tree, it’s part of the season, a tradition. We made our annual trip to the market yesterday, of course it was the coldest day of the weekend. We really know how to pick em, yes we do.

I have another post going up tomorrow, with a few more photos from our day at the market. Because Chris just took that many photos and mostly of my mug (I think he loves me, or something) so you’ll see some more of our faces tomorrow. And while we are sorta on the topic, I know its been a bit more quiet around here then usual we’ve been sharing a cold (sharing is caring) – it’s made it’s rounds twice now and has sucked like 2 weeks out of our lives. Sucked our regular days and replaced them with cuddles and sleep, so it hasn’t been all that bad – but it has left me in the dust a bit, so I’m focused on getting work and life back on track this week. Which means I probably have a few, running around like a crazy lady days ahead of me – but what’s new right (ba-dum-cha!). Happy Monday, hope you had a Christmas-market-y weekend!!

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December 8, 2014 · Daily,REAL LIFE



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