Friday, February 28, 2014

Alopecia Pity Party

I have had a really busy week...hence why the blog has been so quiet. Sorry about that! My "event" last night was at my wig salon for the launch of a new type of wig! I have never gone to a wig launch before, but I am in the market for a new wig (well, I am starting to look around) and the invite said there would be food and wine so I figured I should go. Even though I knew no one...yikes.

So I get there and I get to hear all about this new wig from the manager of the salon and a couple of women who have one. Except the manager, and the two women all wear postiches, which are kind of like toupees. Not full wigs like me, so it was kind of annoying not to get to see what the full wig looked like. Oh and my phone died so I have no photos. Go me.

This new wig is really amazing. Revolutionary. It is custom made to your head and then handmade in Italy from a mold of your head. Then it is shipped to Canada and the salon GLUES it to your head, but it is amazingly strong (the manager let me pull on his), yet the scalp and hair are soft and lifelike. I would sleep, swim, wash etc like a regular haired person! You go into the salon every couple of months so they can take it off, clean the cap, and glue it back on. The girls were saying they are very lightweight and not itchy or hot and that they LOVED them. You can even pull them back into a ponytail!!

I was so excited. This is everything I have ever dreamed about. PONY TAIL! Then I asked about price. And then I fainted.


and they recommend you buy two so you switch em out so they last longer.

And the life of one wig? Around 18 months. So $20,000 for 3 years of beautiful, natural-like hair.


I am le sad. I just cannot justify spending that kind of money on what is essentially a cosmetic item. No way Jose. I am not giving up my dream of buying a bigger condo just for a pony tail. Even if I had the money lying around I don't think I could do it. I was pretty depressed heading back home after the party, because it gets to me sometimes how most women have all this free hair and don't even appreciate it. I get so angry when I see damaged hair. So very angry.

On the HAPPY side- I met many nice ladies with alopecia like me and a few of us connected on FB! It is so nice to meet another people who totally get it. Some of them were very new to alopecia and wigs and I felt so knowledgeable talking about my eyebrows and eyelashes and I hope they came away with the impression that you can be confident while being bald! Also, the food and wine was yummy too ;). And hopefully this new wig technology will continue to grow and prices will drop over the next 5-10 years and then maybe my dream of a pony tail will come true! :)

I just needed a little pity party while I mourn over the loss of this new wig. 

Now let's get this weekend started!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Weekend in Florida!

Be prepared for a picture overload... it cannot be helped.

This past weekend I was down in Fort Myers Beach, Florida! Why you ask? Well my Mom and Stepdad Lee were down there for a vacation for a couple of weeks and somehow one of us had the idea that I should come down for a weekend. Suddenly there was a Monday booked off work and a flight to Fort Myers booked! I flew out Friday after work- have any of you been to Terminal 1 at Pearson lately? Holy guacamole...instead of a bunch of chairs at the gate they had all these plush leather seats with tables in front with individual Ipads. And you could order food and drinks from your Ipad to be delivered to where you sit. WHAT?!! You better believe I overpaid for a simple sandwich and pop just to experience that.

Of course, the good times never last and my plane was delayed over an hour! Sigh. I luckily did get a get exit row seat so once I got on I just sat back and relaxed and watched The Great Gatsby (ps- I loooove individual TVs on planes and I get so sad when there isn't one). Mom and Lee stayed up late and picked me up at the ungodly hour of 1:30am! YUCK. But they did bring me a rum and coke, which is kind of tradition now in our family.

The next morning Mom and I slept in (Lee had plans) and then we had french toast for brekkie and went for a walk along the beach! Fort Myers Beach is really cheesy and awesome. Kind of reminds me of a big Wasaga for all those Ontarians out there.

When we got back Lee had returned so we headed to the beach! I think at one point this day I talked everyone into homemade ice cream from a nearby ice cream shop (wasn't hard). We just relaxed and had such a nice afternoon! For dinner that night my Mom and Lee made Shepherd's Pie for me. It is a tradition that my mom makes me this when I visit- why should it be different in Florida? :). After dinner we went for a walk and got some drinks on a patio. On our walk back someone was lighting fireworks on the beach. I assume it was a welcome gift for me :)

Sunday morning we all woke up at 6:45 and hit the beach for a 7:00am run. We all took different routes and I headed to the north end of the island. It was a great run and I think I went about 4 miles. I loved to take the odd walking break just to take photos. It was a cool and foggy morning- just perfect for a run because the rest of the weekend was sunny and hot hot hot!

After a post-run breakfast we watched the end of the men's Olympic hockey game (GO CANADA!) before headed to the airport. Not the international one- but the smaller one! See, Lee has his pilot's license and he and mom actually flew themselves to Florida!! We originally planned to fly to Key West for the day, but the weather down south wasn't cooperating so we ended up doing a scenic flight along the coast. It ended up all being for the best because I get plane-sick pretty fast and was totally ready to land again after 30 minutes- despite downing some Gravol before hand. So the long flight to Key West probably wouldn't have been great for me!

After our flight we hit up the beach for a few more hours before dinner. That night Mom and Lee took me to a really nice upscale seafood restaurant they had found earlier in the week. We had an amazing table on the balcony overlooking the ocean. The only sad part was that they were out of Key Lime pie!

We all headed to bed and Monday we spent the day at the beach. Except we didn't spend all day ON the beach...We went parasailing!!!! SO MUCH FUN. None of us had been before and we were all game for this adventure. It was totally secure and comfortable (I had been skydiving 5 years ago and found the harness very uncomfortable). They even dipped us in the ocean! I brought my camera up with us (you don't get that wet as you take off and land on the boat), and my parents left their camera on the boat. There was a hilarious photo on it when we got it back of the spotter pretending to cut us loose with a big knife :). I wish I had some of those shots, but they are on their camera so I won't get them until they are back!

Oh, I also want to mention that I loved all the wildlife in Florida. Besides the lizards, which we don't have up here, I loved all the beach birds! In Ontario we only have extremely annoying seagulls. I should also mention that when Mom and Lee were running on Sunday they saw a WHALE from the beach! And the following day we small a shark that a beach fisherman accidentally caught (and released!). And on our flight I think I saw dolphins. :)

Finally on Monday night I packed up and headed back to the airport with a heavy heart- this trip was NOT long enough!! It is very sad to be back in cold and miserable Canada. Bleh. But I simply loved my trip and it was an amazing weekend and so worth it :) Thank you Mom and Lee for having me!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Werk It- Getting Healthy in 2014

I have spoken many times on here about my running and eating healthy, but I have spoke very little about my weight. Why do girls do this? Why are we so afraid of a number when bodies are built so differently that being 200lbs or 100lbs can look crazy different depending on your build. Check out this website- and you can search for your height and weight...and see SO many various body shapes. (Caution- some women are in their undies!)

Here are my stats as of right now, because I refuse to be ashamed of my wonderful body
Height: 5'7
Weight: 165 (I am usually 160. Not sure if the 5lbs is bloating or the giant bag of cookies I ate this week)
BMI: 25.8 (slightly overweight)
Bust: 38.5"
Waist (natural): 32.5"
Waist (bellybutton): 39"
Hips/Butt: 40"

I am never sure whether to go with my natural waist or bellybutton, but obviously my tummy is sticking out tonight so I am going to be honest and include both numbers!

PS- holy moly it was hard to find a picture of me in a bikini- I guess I am usually behind the camera? I was going to take a true "before" photo, but I'm in my jammies already so screw that...

Now, I consider myself fairly fit. I started working out regularly a year ago and while the scale hasn't changed, I find my body feels sexier. I feel stronger, taller, and less flabby. I usually run, but for the past couple weeks I have been doing the 30 Day Shred workout DVD and it is killing me so I haven't run much since I started that! But man am I getting strong fast- hello 10 push ups in a row! If you are thinking of starting working out let me tell you this:

I have been working out fairly regularly for a year and only NOW do I crave it and enjoy it. It takes a darn long time to make a habit of it but it sooo worth it. I have never felt better.

So there. The ugly truth. It ain't easy. Keep at it. Exercise gets better.

I have the regular exercise down now, but I need to work on my diet. Oh my goodness does my diet ever derail me (see note above about bag of cookies). I have two theories about dieting
1) Go hardcore and lose the weight fast, then switch to a maintenance diet
2) Eat healthy with some treats but take longer to lose

I tend to go more with option 2, which leads to me staying around 160lbs. (170lbs was my highest weight in Fall 2011 and I worked hard to lose those 10lbs and I have kept them mostly off). I think I need to work harder at number 1 and then move to number 2 after a few weeks so I can establish a habit of veggies and lean meats.

Point of this rambling post? I want to drop some weight. I want to be more securely into a normal BMI range because I know it will get harder to not gain weight as I get older. I need to take this beautiful, strong, body that I have been given and make the best of it! I am giving myself until June 1st to get down to 150lbs. That is 15lbs and about 15 weeks...soooo a pound a week! Definitely not an easy goal, but totally attainable.

This is from 2011. Probably look the same now minus the sunburned legs!
How do I intend to do this?
1) Keep working out! Finish my 30 Day Shred and then get back into cardio while still doing the odd Shred workout for strength maintenance
2) Calorie counting. The MyFitnessPal app says I need about 1370 calories a day to lose a pound a week so I am going to try to stick to that and add a bit more on tough workout days
3) Meal Planning. I have never done this before, but I know that by planning ahead I can plan for meals that fill me, taste delish, and allow for treats (hello- patio season approaches!)
4) Being accountable to someone, even if it is the internet. I am going to check in here once a week and give a quick update on my progress!

I want to end this post with a note- I am very comfortable with my body and I consider myself confident in my appearance. I know clothing can make a huge difference and I try to dress in a way that flatters my body. I also have learned things about my body- like carbonation makes me bloat so I don't drink pop if I need to look fabulous for a date or party. I think it is important for people to not hate their bodies- bodies do such amazing things!! I just want to treat my body right by making sure it is healthy. I know I would do better at my running and feel better day to day if I fueled my body better and got down to a bit healthier weight.

I might never look amazing in a bikini- but I want to feel amazing in my skin.

PS- This song has me wanting to hit the gym right now!!

Play Hard- David Guetta feat. Ne-Yo

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Books, Books, Books!

I love to read. When I was a kid I would take out the maximum 25 allowed books from the library and read them all before they were due in 3 weeks time...and then I would take out 25 more books. I would also take out books on subjects that interested me (mostly cats. haha) and eventually learned that the library had a limit on how many books you could check out on a single subject!

I don't quite read 25 books in 3 weeks anymore...but I do read almost every single day. My bedtime routine is to curl up with a book for 30 minutes before going to sleep. Right now I am reading my way through the Lord of the Rings series again (I last read it in high school).

Now, you may have noticed that I don't have a lot of books in this condo. In fact, I only really have one or two shelves of books on display!

Here is the secret to books in a small home- you don't need to have them all on display. I only keep out my favourites, new books, and ones I like to read more than once. I don't think living in a small space means you have to have less books, you just need to be more careful about storage!

1) Keep What You Love, Give Away The Rest
I have a few friends that I share books with! We will buy a new book and then pass it on. If we don't feel we want to read the book again, we don't ask for it back and let it be passed on to new readers. Sometimes I go through my books and donate a whole bunch that I am done with. I really only hold one to the ones that I love. I also often buy my books at smaller stores or resellers so I pay only a few bucks for a paperback! Very handy when you are heading to a beach or on a trip and don't want to care for a new book or Ipad.

2) Get a Library Card
My library card expired last summer and I still haven't gotten around to renewing it because you have to go in person and I don't live near a library! But it seriously is amazing. I would download all sorts of books to my Ipad and read through the night. The best part is that when you finish a book you can instantly download another. The only downside is that they only have so many digital licenses so sometimes you need to wait a bit for a popular book.

3) Check Out Free Books
A lot of older classics are actually free to download because their copyrights have expired! I actually just finished reading 2900 pages of Sherlock Holmes (anyone else watch the TV show? Love it, but it is different from the books in a way that sometimes irks me). I have also read my way through lots of Bronte, Austen, Anne of Green Gables, and other classics. All for free!

4) Pack It Up
I have boxes of books that I am not willing to part with sitting in boxes in my storage lockers. I don't think all books need to be on display because a tiny space can quickly look cluttered with too many bookshelves. If you don't have a storage locker, you can put books in drawers, an ottoman, or in pretty boxes on a shelf so they are still accessible to you!

Another tip would be to buy digital copies of books to replace paperback. But you know what? If I love a book...I just prefer the paper version so that I can keep it on my shelves or pass it on to others. So if digital copies work for you- great! But I am not so big on them!

How do you deal with books in your home?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Life is Good

I just realized I never updated you guys on my latest Blogger Brunch attendance! On Feb 9th the Toronto Lifestyle Bloggers group had their 2nd brunch, hosted by Melissa at The Sweet Escape! The last one was last November so it was great to see everyone again and see some new faces too. We didn't take any photos this time- how unblogger like of us- but we did get in a few hours of really good talk. It is so great to meet with these guys and really talk about the issues we face as bloggers- IT problems, sponsorships, experiences, etc. The bloggers that meet in this group are from all levels of blogging experience and everyone is welcome! Please join up to the Facebook group!

Then this weekend was a long weekend (Family Day in Ontario)! Woohoo to Monday's off! On Saturday I took my new guy Cam to a Marlies hockey game for his birthday/Valentine's Day. Yes- I have been seeing a guy for a couple of months now and he is kind of awesome. You may see his name pop on here now and again so I figure it is about time to introduce him :).

Anyway, back to the game. I bought the tickets online and thought I was paying for semi-decent but not amazing, seats. The arena is small so there really aren't bad seats, but I wanted to treat him and at least get lower bowl (The Marlies are Toronto's AHL team and play at the Ricoh Coliseum near my condo!). I ended up getting seats in row EE online, so I thought they would be in the 5th row. WELL. Turns out they were right behind the announcer's booth- so front row and centre ice. I am the best girlfriend ever :)

It was pretty fun being that close to the action and the game was great- it was an exhibition game against Swedish team Farjestad BK- went into overtime! Plus I had a bacon poutine for lunch/dinner while I was there. Mmm....

In other Happy Life News- I am going to be a Double Auntie!! Yep, my little niece let the world know this weekend that she is going to be a big sister!

Apparently this is the best picture they could get- she never sits still!!
I found out at Christmas and it has just been killing me not to share, but my brother and I share a mutual group of friends so I had to keep it to myself until they wanted it to be public! I am soo excited to have another little baby to dote over :). I need to start saving up for his/her RRSP fund...and a bunch of "Auntie" onsies.

Lastly, I have been doing the 30 Day Shred for 9 days straight now! Have you ever done it? I am dying. I was doing pretty strong on Level 1. For the first few days I was in constant pain, but after that I was feeling great with each workout. Well on Sunday I decided to move onto Level 2 thinking I was totally ready. Oh My Word. They should just call it Level Death by Plank. Horrible. Going to be a loooong 8-9 days before I switch it up to Level 3.

The good news is that I think I lost an inch in my waist already! Or maybe I just suck at measuring myself...hard to tell. But I feel like I am looking pretty fit.

Yup, life is pretty good right now. :) If you have some happiness to share, please leave it in the comments!! Also, Happy Family Day! How are you spending today??

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rearranged Furniture!

On Tuesday night I had to rearrange all my furniture because pest control was coming in on Wednesday. Nothing too serious- the building is just trying to eradicate carpet beetles and I had seen the odd one in my unit before so I was on the list. The original instructions said to move all furniture from the baseboards and empty the cupboards, but after laughing for 10 minutes I spoke to the property manager about how skinny my unit is and he said just to move all furniture from the areas that needed attention. So I cleaned out all around the HVAC unit (where I most often have found the bugs), and the carpet in the front hall.

It was quite the puzzle to figure out how to move my bed while still having walking room!! But anyway it was all good and on Wednesday night I was able to move everything back. Now, if you remember, the layout used to look like this:

And now it looks like this!

Do you see the difference? Besides the poorly made bed...

I moved the turquoise cart to the other side of the couch! I seriously don't know why I had it on the other side in the first place...I think it had something to do with wanting a side table, but I never used it as a side table anyway. I am not entirely sure of the math here, but somehow I magically gained a foot of space in the living room!

I love how there is actually room behind the chair so two people can easily sit at this table, or I can sew on the other side. Plus, I moved my printer onto the cart (it used to just fit on the floor in that spot). I wish it fit lengthwise in there, but it was an inch too big. I have no plans to get a smaller printer...this one is 10 years old and I am fairly confident I haven't changed the ink in 5 years. Plus it came free with my first laptop. Solid purchase (or...not purchase).

The cart also makes more sense sitting in this direction. Before it was a bit awkward to reach around the side bars to get something out, but now I can access the shelves more easily. 

I love having breathing room on both sides of the couch too! The cart used to be crammed in there, but now the couch floats in the space. I am currently keeping my wrapping paper and shredder on the other side.

There you have it- a small change that has seemingly revolutionized my living room. It really feels that much bigger in there!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Throw Pillows!

A couple of months ago, I sewed some simple pillow covers for my friend as a housewarming gift and I tried them on my bed throw pillows for size...and I kind of liked them! I instagramed them here if you want to see (follow me while you are there!!).

When I had ordered the fabric for them from Tonic Living (Pippa, Mermaid) I ordered two yards in the hopes that I could use some of that pretty fabric for me :). Well I finally got around to making my pillow covers!

I didn't have enough fabric to completely cover both pillows, so I used some rainbow chevron pattern that I had in my fabric supplies. It goes with any bright colours!

As for the before...I used to have grey pillows with a leaf design on them. They actually came with my couch! I didn't mind them per se, but I really liked the turquoise fabric when I tried my friend's pillows on for size. Plus, the old fabric was stiff and scratchy and not very good for cuddling up against. The new stuff is soft and cuddly.


I really like how the new pillows pull in the tuquoise element that I have scattered around the condo. Plus, the tiny bit of orange in them really reads easily as a coral and I have used coral as an accent colour in a few places (including my sheets!), so the pattern is just perfect. I only wish I had been a bit more careful and lined up my patterns more so they matched, but I left these to the last minute and kind of rushed to get them done before some plans I had. I won't even show you the hack job I did at sewing them shut :) #bloggersecrets

They have so far been an awesome addition to my giant collection of pillows on this bed. What? A person needs all these pillows in order to make the ultimate curl-up-and-read-a-book spot! There is nothing like jumping into this at the end of the day! And yes, this is how it looks every night before bed and then I remake the bed nicely in the morning :)

PS- How awesome is it that the days are getting longer?? I was actually able to take photos with natural light after getting home from work!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Camera Lens Storage

When I started blogging, I was using a point and shoot. Then my dad lent me a DSLR for a few months and I really preferred it to the point and shoot. A little while after that my dad upgraded his camera and he passed on his old one to me- along with a bunch of his old lenses. Then, over the course of this blog he gifted me a flash, remote, and tripod as well! I got quite the collection of photography paraphernalia here, and my old method of keeping all the lenses on my table wasn't quite cutting it anymore.

However, I recently found out that Home Sense carries these little storage cubbies (for jewellery? Make up? Who knows) and they are the PERFECT fit for the drawers of my Norden Gateleg Table from Ikea. Well, technically I have been storing my lens in one of these storage things on the table for months, but I just learned they fit in the drawers. It took me a long time to find a second one after I found this out, however! The beige one isn't as cute as the green one, in my opinion, but it is in a drawer so I guess I can't complain :).

The camera itself sits in the middle of the table where it is in no danger of falling! Speaking of which, I need to buy a carrying case for it, but I find it is a bit larger than most DSLRs so I need to buy it at a place I can return to (so, Etsy is out). Any ideas?

Also, I need to apologize for the flash in the above photo. I wanted to show how my flash fits in the cubby space, but that meant using the built-in flash on the DSLR...which is never good for photos :)

While I was at Home Sense I also went shopping in other areas (because...Home Sense...). PS- it really annoys me that they don't store the shopping baskets in the middle/back of the store. I didn't know I would need one until I was well into the store. I only came in to see if they had a storage thingy!!

Well, I ended up coming out with a new bathmat because my old one got chocolate on it and I didn't notice until after it came out of the wash and the stain was set. Yes, chocolate. And I am not sure how, but I found chocolate on my newly shampooed carpet too so I think I stepped in some and trailed it around the condo. I was eating copious amounts of chocolate chip banana muffins last week so this is entirely plausible.

Also- I got some cute new bowls!

I wanted 4 bowls, but they only had 3. I didn't want an odd number, so I just picked up 2 (and by the time I left the 3rd bowl was scooped up too!). Aren't they adorable? They are really big compared to my old ones and just calling for a bunch of fruit or soup or something yummy like that. I have this dream of one day owning a beautifully mismatched set of pretty dishes. So far I have only managed to find bowls. I now own 14 bowls. #Ihaveaproblem

Anyone else picking up cute things they love but don't need?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Small Space Living

Good Morning!

Today I am guest posting over on The Canadian Housewife, talking about small space living! Jennie and I met in line for the YHL book signing in 2012 and even though she lives out in the country and I am a city gal, we have been emailing and following each other ever since- so when she contacted me about doing a post for her I jumped at the chance!

Be sure to head over to The Canadian Housewife and check it out! :)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Olympics, Running, and Other Things

It's Friday!! And it is also the start of the Olympics, which is also know as "those magical two weeks when there is always something on TV"

I have to miss the opening ceremonies because not only am I at work, I am in a meeting all morning. So I shall hopefully watch it later in the evening! What are your favourite events? I love the ones that are over fast...I can't stand the stress of a long event. GO CANADA!!!

As for my own athletics, I have been running quite regularly, but I can't say I have been rocking my own workouts. I have been feeling quite sluggish and 5K is really testing me some days. Still a lot of time until my 10K in May so I am not worried. I did run 36 miles in January, but I am already up to 12 this month, so hopefully February will be better! I have started seeing a chiropractor too in the hopes of improving my posture and therefore improving my running form. I can't wait to get outside again (too snowy/dark/cold right now) and get some real mileage in! Though, I will miss the TV by the treadmill. Nothing distracts me from a tough workout like a good crime show. I just really want to get my groove back, though.

In other news, I am looking forward to winter ending! Am I alone in this? I swear I was not made for cold weather. I need to gather up my family, friends, and job and convince them all to move down south with me. But in the meantime, I have a short trip to Florida coming up in a couple weeks and then a trip to MEXICOOOO. Hopefully by the time I get back spring will have sprung. There is nothing like anticipation of a trip to help alleviate those winter blues. That and vitamin D. I started taking some this winter and I feel like my mood has been very good!

What are your go-to tips for getting through these last painful weeks of winter?

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