In My Life, I’ve Loved Them All.

As I’m gearing up to celebrate my nephew Cohen’s 7th birthday celebration this weekend (Celebration #3! – the joys of my sister having multiple extended families!) I can’t help but feel a little bit emosh (typical Amy for those who know me…). Mostly because of Facebook memories reminding me how fast time has flown and how quickly he is growing up. Specifically, it reminded me of something that happened about 5 years ago to date. I sadly had to say goodbye to a pet that was my very best fur-friend and partner in crime. To cheer me up, my sister had filmed and sent to me a video of my nephew saying in his adorable 2-year-old voice “I love you Auntie Amy” …waterworks ensued…and it was just what I needed to hear to make my heart feel full again. Kids can so effortlessly make you feel better when you’re in a bind or having a rough time in general. To be honest, I can’t remember what life was even like before being an Aunt. I don’t have kids yet, but the feeling of unconditional love is real when you have nieces and nephews, so I imagine it will be tenfold when I have a family of my own.

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Cohen through the years…be still my heart ❤

Time really is so valuable. As much as I already feel this way, as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized the importance of family and keeping them close to you, especially my relationship with my siblings. My sisters and I were always close as kids and despite the 5+ year age gap between us, we really made our time together count – even when I was (occasionally) the annoying little sister trailing behind them. We were adventure seekers, imaginative and lived our best childhood going anyplace our bikes could take us. Side note: Does anyone else love the scenes from ET where the kids are riding their bikes through the forest?? There’s just something about it that gets me feeling all nostalgic.

I like to think that I’m a sentimental person and due to that I guess you could say I’m a keeper of mementos. They’re reminders of a time in my life that was special and preserve the memories attached, at least for me and my forgetful brain. I try not to go overboard since I’ve been practicing minimalism, so most of what I have can fit in one box (perhaps on the larger side..). Possibly one of my best kept memories between myself and my sisters is a cassette tape in which we recorded what I would say was our adolescence in a nutshell. And yes you read that right, a cassette tape! Such a thing of the past…I have truly aged myself! We didn’t realize at the time that we were creating something that we would one day look back on and laugh hysterically over, we were just having fun. The three of us recently got tattoos to symbolize our sisterhood and it was a decision I’m certain I’ll never regret. We may not get to spend the time together we once did as kids, but the time we do share is always well spent. Also, I can confidently say that no one can appreciate and take pride in quoting classic movies quite like we can. 😉 “Keep the change, ya filthy animal” 

-Amy

Birds who flock together❤️Our Tattoos

Do Everything With Good Intentions

What drives you to be the best version of yourself and how do you see yourself getting there? Do you worry about outsider’s opinions and judgment or doubt your own capabilities?

If you do tend to gravitate toward worrying and doubting yourself, then take it from someone who has and at times continues to care a little too much sometimes (curse of the INFJ in me) and just focus on your intentions. If you have decided to delve into something that brought you joy in some type of way, then does it really matter what anyone else may think or say? Gonna go with a hard NO on this one guys! Most of us are on different paths and won’t always understand another person’s for lack of a better word “journey” …and we really don’t need to; it’s not something that needs to be understood. I’ve opened myself up to this outlet for my thoughts in hopes that it may help someone else who could be experiencing something similar, and this is what has driven me. I have an inherent passion for helping people and as much as I tend to ramble I also am a big believer in unfiltered points of view. I prefer to discuss topics on this blog authentically without second guessing myself but I can also respect that this isn’t everyone’s preference. Without trying to sound too repetitive, put your energy into creating your own path instead of judging another’s.

Something I’ve had to learn is not to wait for praise in order to feel like you’ve accomplished something. I have been so lucky to always have a support system but I know it’s not always the case for everyone. As long as you feel that you’re doing something that matters to you then pat yourself on the back and keep moving forward. It is great to have encouragement, but it can’t always be a requirement in your personal growth. Maybe this is why some people love inspirational quotes so much, and share them on social media. Words can resonate with you and mean something when you aren’t used to hearing them yourself. If you can use relatable positive quotes to your benefit rather than those with negative passive aggressive connotations then I say press on! As long as it’s for the right reasons and if it‘s purpose is to positively enrich your life and others.

But I digress!

Sometimes we all need a little push, if you don’t have someone in your life to help you out then I hope you can find the courage within yourself to go after what you want in life and make it happen. A lot of our goals are so attainable, just takes the decision to want it enough to try.

– Amy

….and because it’s Monday and Frankie the Frenchie agrees that Mondays are hard, here’s some cuteness to get you through the rest of your day! ☺18699780_10156122260596102_4093546845355822388_n

 

Exploring BC

Sometimes a staycation rather than skipping town on a holiday is much-needed. It’s what I decided to do this time around and I’m so glad I did. I live in beautiful British Columbia, in a place that is widely known as the “rainy city”, but I can tell you confidently that despite the dismal nickname, there’s nowhere I’d rather live. For the most part, our summer season is unpredictable but we have lucked out with beautiful weather thus far and I’ve been fortunate to be able to enjoy some sunshine on my vacation.

If you’re a nature lover like I am then you’ll want to take advantage of the hikes we have to offer. Lindeman Lake in Chilliwack was one of the first hikes I’d gone on years ago. It is on the shorter side at only 3.5km and will lead you to a beautiful turquoise lake at the top – which is a great reward if you’re hiking in the summertime and don’t mind the ice-cold water. The Stawamus Chief, more commonly known as “The Chief” is a popular hike in Squamish with three lookout points: 1.3km to the 1st peak, and 4km to the 2nd and 3rd peak. This makes it pretty doable for most people as you can stop at the 1st peak if you’re unable to push through to the 2nd or 3rd and the payoff is still a beautiful view. If you’re not much of a hiker but still want to spend your time somewhere scenic, Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park is an excellent option. Great for kayaking, paddle boarding, or enjoying the beach. I went there a few days ago and it is truly what postcards are made of…sometimes when I go to places as beautiful as this I can’t believe that it’s basically in my backyard. (Picture below taken by my boyfriend who has a new-found love for photography)

Chilliwack Lake

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I am somewhat of a beginner hiker but these are a couple of hikes on my to-do list this summer (I am also currently on the hunt for some hiking shoes as well so if any of you have recommendations please leave them in a comment below!):

Garibaldi

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This is an 18km hike and takes around 5-6 hours. I may need to work my way up to this one but since the best time to go is between July-October, I figure I have time to work toward it!

Joffre Lakes

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This hike is 10km and takes 4-5 hours. The best season for this hike is said to be June-September and might be a good one to do before Garibaldi.

What I’m still hoping to do – before I am back to the grind so to speak – and if sunny weather prevails🙏🏼 is bike along the seawall in Vancouver. For such an expensive city, there are many activities that don’t require a lot of spending – and that works for this frugal girl🙋🏼! One of my favourite things to do is make a day of it and head out earlier in the afternoon, follow it with ice-cream on the beach in English Bay and watch the sunset; may be cliché but still not something that I’ll ever grow tired of doing. When you’re happier than a clam to just be outside and enjoy the city you live in, life is pretty good!

Sincerely,

Amy – Happily Canadian and even happier to live in this beautiful province 😀

Life lessons I’ve learned in my (almost) 30 years

IMG_4702The big 3-0 is quickly approaching. Might not sound very daunting to most people but it does to this 29 year old…maybe it’s that it’s such a milestone age? I don’t know, but I do still get ID’d wherever I go – bless you kind souls who think I’m significantly younger than I am – I’ll take it! And I will admit, I have found life hasn’t always worked out the way I may have anticipated when I was younger. When I was a little too naive to know what my future could really hold, and you know what? That’s ok, because I wouldn’t change a thing. I know that life really is all about timing. My 20s have been years to educate myself, to discover my true passions, to grow up and find my independence. I really consider this decade of my life to be a decade of learning and making mistakes that I would one day learn were crucial to shaping me into the person I am today – a person who continues to grow and make mistakes, but maybe also a person who understands and accepts them a little more so now than I did before.

I had my first dog, my first true heartbreak which wouldn’t be the last, I bought my very own car and apartment on my own, and I also found love – the kind of love that I didn’t think I’d ever find and am lucky enough to have. So many firsts, so many experiences which were so foreign to me at the time. I remember wondering if life could get any better at times. If only I could tell my younger self that it would and to hang in there; that I would one day understand why some things didn’t always work out, and the reasons for the struggles.

Soon I’ll be bidding adieu to my 20s. I might check the rear view a couple of times on my way out, but I know that I am ready for this next decade of my life because it’s bound to be even better than the last. So now without further ado, 30 lessons I’ve learned in (almost) 😉 30 years:

1. Do not under any circumstance change who you are to conform to society

2. Never lose yourself in another individual

3. Be true to yourself even if it means removing toxic people from your life

4. Always listen to your gut. It’s usually the keeper of your truest feelings

5. Dance in your kitchen every once in a while, it’s good for the soul. This is especially effective if you have the song Green Light by Lorde playing in the background

6. Sing it loud and sing it proud

7. People aren’t always meant to stay in your life, but they were there when they needed to be

8. Even if life gets hectic, make time for those you love

9. Be present

10. Be you and be a little wild sometimes if necessary

11. Taylor swift really can get you through many of life’s tough situations. Don’t let anyone tell you different!

12. Create a life you will love

13. Get a dog

14. Find your passion and don’t forget to make time for it

15. Decluttering your space will help declutter your mind

16. Don’t sweat the small stuff

17. Be yourself unapologetically

18. Remember you are human

19. It’s ok to admit you are wrong and have a little humility

20. Don’t take yourself too seriously

21. Make moves that will scare you, because they will enrich your life

22. Be fearless

23. Realize how beautiful life is and cherish it in whatever way you can

24. Keep your faith in humanity. Even when we disappoint ourselves and others, we can pull through for each other in tough times

25. Sometimes the best moments in life don’t involve technology – unplug yourself from it or you might miss them

26. Don’t leave anything unsaid, it’s better to say how you feel than live with regret

27. Cherish your family and friends and tell them you love them

28. If you feel alone, remember you aren’t. There are people who care about you even if you are so consumed in your thoughts that you don’t realize it at the time

29. Live and learn and understand that things will get better, your heart will heal, you will be ok

30. Don’t regret anything you do or say because in that moment you did the best you could for yourself

Have a great weekend all! 🙂

-Amy

We’re Going To Disneyland!

It’s booked! September 30th to October 5th to be exact, and I am no less excited than I was 17 years ago when I went with my family for the first time. When they say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, they surely weren’t kidding. I never met a Disney movie that I didn’t like, and if you haven’t either, then perhaps a trip there should be in your near future as well!

For as long as I can remember, I have been a Disney fiend. Being a 90s kid I was fortunate enough to be raised on all things Disney, and I think that’s what has attributed to the wild imagination that I have always had. This will be my 4th trip, and I have to say the most memorable was the one I was lucky enough to take with my niece and nephew a few years ago. Honestly, when you can witness the innocence and unfiltered excitement from a kid, it is quite simply the BEST! We went in the height of the Frozen craze, and my nephew Cohen who was 4 years old at the time, fell in love with Elsa. Prior to meeting her he broke down into tears because he was afraid she wouldn’t like him…this kid ❤ as if that could even be possible! He waited in line for over an hour to meet her and here’s the magical moment I was able to capture when he saw her for the first time 🙂

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I meaaaaaan..❤️

The first trip I took however, was many moons ago and was pretty epic… AND worth sharing! It was comparable to a National Lampoon Griswold movie including loads of bad luck and shenanigans but a happy ending nonetheless. I was 12 years old then, and rather than travelling by plane, my parents decided to drive our brand new 25 foot motor home down the coast to California – and to give you a visual, this included all SEVEN of us – myself, my two older sisters, their s/o’s and my parents. My dad was perhaps the most excited of all and upon being questioned where we were off to by the Border Guard, he quickly responded in THE most animated voice “We’re going to DISNEYLAND!!” I truly don’t think I can ever forget the tone of his voice in that moment, it was hysterical and still makes me laugh to imagine it.

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Disneyland circa 2000. Including a creepy brother-in-law lurking in the back 😉

The road trip was one for the books, stopping at sand dunes, seeing the Oregon Coast for the first time and having my dad teach me all about “sneaker waves”. It was running fairly smoothly until we discovered the faulty transmission and became stranded on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere…but by some stroke of luck there was a gas station not much further down the road from where we were and we had a tow truck take us to the local repair shop. This hiccup slowed down our adventure a little but as always, we made the best of it. After 3 days of travel we finally made it to our destination at an RV park, where we would later discover was infested with ants..and wound up with an entire colony inside our motor home. I still cringe remembering the feeling of ants crawling on me in the night..granted the ant traps did end up working – thank the lord!

I can’t wait to make more memories on this next Disney adventure with some of my family and one of the most special parts of all, is that I finally get to experience this magic with my kid-at-heart boyfriend, whom I know will have just as much fun as me! Let the September 30th countdown begin 😀

-Amy

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“In this timeless land of enchantment, the age of chivalry, magic and make-believe are reborn and fairy tales come true.” – Walt Disney

 

 

Healthy Lifestyle

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about healthy lifestyle choices. How do you stay motivated? Some people need to stick to one thing at a time and make it a priority while others can have many things on the go and function just fine. As I get older I have come to realize I’m a one-thing-at-a-time kinda person, otherwise I get too bogged down. When I find myself searching for motivation I sometimes need to just remind myself of how great I feel when I am more active and care about what I put into my body. I am not a garbage disposal – I repeat – I am not a garbage disposal! 😉

I found this energy ball recipe a while back and absolutely love it so had to share it with you all because: a) healthy can be tasty too and I can’t keep something this good to myself! b) it curbs a mean sweet tooth and c) it’s full of superfoods that have added health benefits. A Freshii recently opened at a local mall in the city I’m from and I noticed that they sell energy bites with similar ingredients as listed in the recipe below, but of course it wouldn’t be as cost-effective to purchase them there, and you can also modify them to your liking by making them yourself.



No-Bake Energy Bitesno-bake-energy-bites11+srgb.

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (recipe says optional – I say mandatory)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together and let set in fridge for ½ hour. Roll into small balls 1 inch in size. Store in air tight container in the fridge. Makes 3 dozen.

 
These are SO good…I’d almost be so bold to say I prefer them over some chocolate bars(some)…and not only are they amaze-balls – there’s always room for a dad joke around here 😉 – they are also packed with nutrients including:

  • Flax seed: 1 tbsp of flaxseed approximates to 8 grams of fiber. It’s also full of healthy fats, and nutrients
  • Peanut Butter: Full of healthy fats and fiber and 1 serving amounts to 7 grams of protein making it a perfect energy boost and also keeping you full throughout the day. Also feel free to sub in a nut-free butter if you’re allergic.
  • Oats: Rich in fiber, protein and nutrients, also known to reduce cholesterol – a big win for me as high cholesterol is in my family.

Give these a go for a somewhat guilt-free healthy alternative! I will warn you though, they are highly addictive! I thought I’d also share my recent nightly yoga routine with you all tonight here as it’s about that time! If you’re like me and have trouble sleeping, this might help you out. I work in an office where I’m primarily sitting for most of the day, and this can really combat tense muscles! 🙂

– Amy

Namast’ay Inside

Pluviophile: a lover of rain;someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

Call me crazy, but I have always been a bit of a pluviophile, of course I love my sunny days most and the motivation they bring, but there’s something very calming about a rainy day. It might stem from growing up in a family that went camping all year round rain or shine. A little bit of rain never stopped us, even if it meant sitting by the campfire with oversized umbrellas roasting hotdogs. To most, this wouldn’t be appealing, but to me it was what built my childhood.

I don’t camp quite as much now, a few times in the summer if I’m lucky, but I still find the same comfort in the rain that I did during these times – only now it’s usually while looking at it through a window from my warm condo. When I find myself moving too quickly and not taking enough time to myself, the rain almost makes it ok to take a day off from the usual hustle and bustle. Maybe I shouldn’t see it this way, but it validates staying indoors, and focusing on my introverted pastimes ie: reading a book, shamelessly binge watching a Netflix series or writing like I am now. Here’s the thing, I don’t let the rain stop me from getting out and living my life by any means, but sometimes these guilt-free inside days are much needed for me to feel centered again. That being said, I am ready for sunshine to return, we are all lacking some serious vitamin D in Vancouver!

On Tuesday I was lucky enough to have a co-worker come in on her day off and put a few of us through a yoga session. We had limited time but were able to do a few Sun Salutations and it’s amazing what a difference it made to a day that had a bit of a rocky start. We left energized albeit very relaxed. This is why I love yoga so much. It serves as a form of meditation, lowers stress and anxiety and improves your sense of well-being. To some it’s a mode of improving flexibility, strength and health, while also exercising the mind. For me it is all of the above, but most importantly it is a way to cleanse my brain of the overload of thoughts I occasionally have and brings me peace of mind.

What motivates you and gets you through the day? Maybe it isn’t yoga, but it’s good to find something that brings positivity to your life and to set aside time for it. If you do decide to give yoga a try, don’t feel discouraged if it takes a little longer to work through some of the poses. Most people aren’t born with the kind of flexibility that it requires but you can work your way up to it.

And for all you dog loving yogi’s out there, here is an adorable frenchie working that cobra yoga pose 😉

-Amy

frenchie

Risky Business

For those that know me, you know that I have never been much of a risk taker and don’t tend to waver from what feels comfortable. I think it is because of the many unknowns and being afraid in general that the outcome might not be what I could hope for it to be, but I also think it takes experiencing certain risky situations to truly feel alive and free. Of course there are some things that you still can’t pay me to do, but for the most part I am more open to trying new things than I once was.

A few years ago I took a trip to Mexico with my boyfriend. We decided to book an excursion that included zip-lining, something I’d never done before due to being petrified of heights. I don’t know what it is about ventures such as these but as much as they terrify me, they also ignite a part of me that is dying to dive in head first and try it. So there I was with my wobbly knees and shaky hands, getting harnessed up while plagued with fear but feeling excitement at the same time. I remember looking around and seeing the animated expressions on some of the kid’s faces as they were waiting in line. They didn’t display a shred of fear and were just thrilled to be there. So surely me, someone in their late 20s, would be able to handle zip-lining, right?? The great thing about where we went was that the elevation would gradually get higher each time and started off at a pretty decent height at only 8 meters above ground, which I greatly appreciated – baby steps please! Being able to experience the incredible view of the Mexican Caribbean didn’t hurt either, sadly we weren’t able to bring our cameras so there are no pictures to share, but take my word for it! By the time we reached the highest point at 45 meters, I felt pretty confident and conquered my fear of heights – even if it was just temporary 😉 but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day! I will probably encounter another situation like this at some point in my life but I’m ready for it, and will remind myself of this day if those feelings arise again.

I’m so glad that I didn’t let my uneasiness stop me from doing something that I later learned would turn out to be an incredible experience. Some of my best memories are as a result of stepping out of my comfort zone. I still have quite a few things I’d like to check off the ol’ bucket list but I’ll get there. In the meantime I will be challenging myself to explore the adventurous side of me because I like it, and we’re all capable of doing great things so the question is, why the hell not? 😀

-Amy

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Cycling in Playa Del Carmen

 

Positive Vibes Attract Your Tribe

Sometimes I have to slow down, take a breather and have some time to myself and that time is now – self-care is so needed every once in a while! I haven’t written in quite some time and it is simply because life has been a bit busier these days. In the past little while things have been looking up…way up! The pieces to my puzzle are seemingly coming together and I’m truly in a good place, a place I didn’t anticipate being in just yet, and for that I am so happy and grateful for life’s recent events.

I feel very fortunate to have such supportive people in my life. It isn’t always the case for everyone though. Something I’ve learned a time or two before, is when you are in a good place and you’re truly happy, certain people aren’t always genuinely happy for you. Misery loves company perhaps? Something that I try to take away from situations like this is that it’s merely a reflection of their own insecurities and certainly has nothing to do with you. You just have to be sure to keep those close to you who value your happiness and root for you every step of the way. They’re the ones that deserve your time and energy. People will always talk, people will always have opinions and advice on how you should live, but you don’t have to listen, and you absolutely don’t have to let it affect your life. Maybe it’s the INFJ in me, but people’s opinions have affected me to some degree throughout my life. It is an extremely freeing feeling though, to no longer care and it is something I’ve been consciously doing.

My mom is quite the wordsmith and we both laugh our heads off at some of the things she can come up with on the fly, but she said something to me tonight that I wanted to share: “It’s funny how you can be in a terrible storm but all of a sudden the fog lifts, and in front of you there is a beautiful oasis and it’s just a wonderful sight” – true that mom 😉 and she is so right..I always remained hopeful that my experiences would all line up and make sense to me one day, that there was a reason for the occasional storm and I needed to embrace it because eventually the light would come through again. Well it did, it has been and continues to. Hope you all have a wonderful week 🙂

-Amy

PS here’s a lovely song I’ve had on repeat for days – seriously amazing ❤

The Space Between

For those that have been following me from the beginning of this blog, you’ll probably know that I previously mentioned being an auntie to two kiddos, a wonderfully brave, precocious 10-year-old girl Nevada, and an equally precocious and sweet 6-year-old boy Cohen.

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Photo credit goes to their mom and my sister 🙂 – how cute are they!?
Nevada has always been a performer and loves to sing, she recently auditioned for a talent show and was one of the 12 kids selected to perform. She will be singing Fight Song by Rachel Platten in front of her entire school….is this kid brave or what?! Now I realize that I may sound biased because I am her aunt, but she is AMAZING! She is so full of artistic and musical talent for a girl her age and never ceases to leave me in total awe. I really admire her courage because it’s something that I definitely struggled with when I was her age…public speaking – no thank you!! So needless to say, I am a pretty proud auntie right now.

As adults we could learn a great deal from kids, their ability to not take life too seriously and how they are so capable of living in the moment without looking so far into the future. Yes, with age comes added responsibility and our outlook on life changes when we’re more in touch with reality, but as we get older it seems like we forget about what we need right now. There is this need to focus so much on a destination, and reach for something in order to feel whole only to be disappointed and let down if we don’t get it. It’s difficult to be truly happy if you’re constantly looking ahead for something that you don’t have rather than enjoying where you currently are in your life.

It’s easy to look at the big picture and see this life that you envision for yourself. As a little girl I knew that one day I would want a family of my own – ideally my 4-year-old self planned on marrying Jordan Knight from New Kids On The Block or Johnny Depp but that didn’t pan out 😉 … I am really working on trusting the “journey” (I’ve watched way too many Bachelor episodes!), enjoying today and focusing on the blessings that have come my way recently. I used to get myself stuck in this space between where I currently was and where I wanted to be, but everything happens for a reason…maybe in order to discover that reason we have to just be. 🙂

-Amy

In the end, she became more than what she expected.
She became the journey,
and like all journeys, she did not end..
She just simply changed directions and kept going.

– R.M. Drake