The Misconception of Fear & Living Authentically

My Mom gave me some solid advice recently. You know it’s good when it becomes blog-topic worthy, hey?

I think there’s a misconception that driven, resilient ‘warrior-types’ such as myself are immune to fear, growing pains, or the curve balls life sometimes throws at you. Or that life is “easier”. Based on my experience, I’ve learned the warrior’s path is hard. Incredibly hard. It requires an enormous amount of courage and willingness to show up 100%: prepared to experience bliss, but knowing that at times, you’ll find yourself immersed in the depths of sorrow and fear.
Essentially, you’re forced to feel EVERYTHING. It’s a double edged sword.   Living consciously doesn’t exempt us from pain or hardship. If anything, our experiences and emotions become intensified because we’re  no longer just cruising through life comfortably numb.  Lacking awareness, if you will.

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As I approach the one year mark of moving to the mountains, I’m confident I’ve experienced every human emotion possible. I’ve encountered the thrill and awe of summitting mountain peaks, contentment and peace while paddleboarding under the stars, crushing loneliness while waiting to form new friendships and the spark of rekindling past and new romances.

I’ve had fulfillment and clarity from sitting in the forest and thinking out loud – sometimes trees make the best counselors.  I’ve experienced deep longing for authentic, intimate connections, while confronting the fear of opening my heart and life to someone.  I’ve had moments of lying awake at night, crying and “just wanting my Mom” or wondering, “What next? I don’t know what to do”.  There have been times where I felt so broken I’ve had to force-feed myself. I’ve faked smiles and friendly conversations, despite the sensation of feeling suffocated by the lump in my throat. But, it was always with a grateful heart and acceptance that no feeling or situation is permanent: joy, pain, pleasure, confusion.   It is what it is.  It’s all about making the best of my circumstances and trusting the process.

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I’ve recently discovered that I’m entering a new life cycle: my journey is calling  me to expand (yet again) and shift my perception to welcome 2015’s challenges. All of them.  It’s equally confusing and intriguing. The advice that my Mom gave me?

“There is something much bigger than you at work. You just can’t see it yet, but you will. So when you feel like you don’t know what to do, that’s the lesson: you don’t need to do anything. Just wait.  Know that what is coming is much better”

I’ve always been a firm believer in, ‘The Universe Only Trades Up’. Sometimes, on the surface, situations seem terrifyingly painful. There’s definitely a period of loss, grief and re-building of oneself. But it’s always worth it. Always, always, always.   I have this terrible habit of asking The Universe/God for what I want but then I get scared when it begins to manifest because it requires blind faith to trust my instincts and internal wisdom.

Do you ever experience that?  There is some sort of intuitive compass inside all of us that defies logic or common sense, but it doesn’t lie. Ever.  For me, it usually looks like this:

Weird feeling tells me something isn’t right –> Ignore —> Weird feeling urges me to understand something isn’t right —> Attempt to rationalize it/tell myself I’m being paranoid —> Weird feeling appears with a sense of urgency —> Okay I’m listening —> Weird feeling asks me what I want —> I say it out loud but make it clear I’m afraid —> Life starts to change —> I put up resistance and say I’m not ready —> Life continues to change with or without my opinion —> I’m terrified of what’s happening and feel out of control —> Things start making sense again —> Weird feeling is replaced by comfort and I feel okay again

Am I bi-polar? (Not to make light of mental health, but seriously. Sometimes I wonder how it is emotionally possible to feel EVERYTHING at all once)

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted a ‘Life” post, hasn’t it? I miss these types of chats. It’s always been a topic that effortlessly flows from my fingertips or lips.

No questions today, but I’m eager to hear your thoughts on the illusion of ‘living a fearless life’ or lessons you remind yourself of when times are rough.

I keep this one in my back pocket: “I don’t know how to do this, but something inside of me does” 

WIAW: It was a Carb-y day

One of the traits I’m known for is my efficiency. Whether it’s my professional or personal life, I’m always brainstorming ways to not only improve the way I do things, but execute my projects or tasks in record time.  That being said, todays post is rounding up a number of topics: Jenn’s WIAW (I did it!) and quick life update/random ramblings.

Before we get into it: Friends. I think I broke my blog. My posts haven’t been showing up in feeds (like Bloglovin) and a post I published last week isn’t showing on my site, yet I’m still receiving comments for it. I need to bite the bullet and hire a designer ASAP. I’m ready and tired of talking about it!   A few of you recommended “affordable” blog designers recently – if you could be so kind to refresh my memory, I’d be grateful for your help!

How have you been?! It’s been a while since we talked, hey? I’m trying to think of what’s been happening in my world lately. Let’s see…

Here’s a look at yesterday’s eats. I felt particularly ‘carby’ (I love those days!)

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Breakfast #1 & #2

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Peanut butter toast with banana and chia seeds / Greek yogurt parfait with honey granola

Lunch/Snacks/Dinner

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Spinach salad, fish, mac & cheese / Rice cakes with Justins chocolate hazelnut butter / Cardamom chicken topped with toasted pine nuts & onions on naan bread

I also snacked on (unpictured)  clementines & dates + PB throughout the day.

Winter in the Alberta Rockies has been interesting. On one hand, it’s unseasonably warm (by Canadian standards) and we haven’t had to deal with many snowstorms or frigid wind chills. BUT my winter-sport adventures have been suffering as a result. Due to the lack of snowfall, ski and snowshoeing conditions aren’t so great. Most days, it feels like early spring and I’m itching to run outside, except it’s pitch black by the time I get home. (I live in a new development where  there’s no sidewalks, streetlamps or safe paths. I *could* run laps around the block but that’s just a recipe for insanity and boredom.)

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One of the spectacular views I encountered while driving through the Columbia Icefield 

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Arman:  because I know you’re going to comment on my outfit: I’m wearing sweatpants. Tucked into my Uggs. Yeah I did.

Miss Cowgirl herself (Ange) came out to visit us last weekend!  I suggested a walk along the Bow River where I  managed to  lead us adrift, but we had a great time.  I recently found myself lost in the Calgary airport parkade. What a nightmare that was. Who gets lost in a parkade? I felt like I was suffocating inside a black hole. Everything looked the same, I had no idea which level I was on, where my car was, etc.  The best part? I was on the phone with my man-friend legal guardian laughing hysterically saying, “I don’t know where I am!”
Him: “I GAVE YOU SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO GET BACK TO YOUR CAR. What do you mean you can’t find it?”

I love me.

Sorry, I got sidetracked. Back to Ange’s visit.  After our walk, we picked up ingredients to make snack plates and spent the rest of the evening eating, drinking wine, chatting and playing Monopoly Deal. <— My current obsession.

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Veggies, hummus, goat brie + mango habanero jelly, aged cheddar, feta stuffed peppers, olives, marinated artichokes, pickled beans, proscuitto, peanut butter dipped pretzels, crackers, sushi and yam & sweet potato salad. It was heaven!

For breakfast, we ate strawberry-pineapple yogurt bowls topped with Cascadian Farms granola. Strawberries are so good right now, eh?

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I bought a DSLR. Part of me REALLY wanted to go all out and splurge on a Canon 7D or 5D, but realistically, I’m not a pro-photographer and I know I’ll get annoyed having to carry heavy gear around with me. So, I found a used Canon Rebel and now I just need to get a telephoto lens along with a higher quality “regular” lens and I’ll be set!

The first shots I took with the cam:

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(Morning sunrise from my living room)

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What are your top 3 yogurt bowl toppings?

What foods will you never tire of? Peanut butter, hummus, avocado, pizza

Bloggers, what kind of camera do you use? (And why) Do you have any lens recommendations to share?

Jasper Adventures: Exploring Maligne Canyon

HAHAHA. I just finished uploading some photos from my latest mountain adventure and it’s cute how I thought I’d be able to recap everything in one post. Perhaps you should grab a snack or a latte before proceeding. Brace yourself: tons of photos ahead!

In all the years I’ve been living in Alberta and exploring the Rockies, I’d never been to Jasper until this past weekend. Most tourists and Albertans favour Banff for it’s close proximity to Calgary, making Jasper feel like a hidden treasure.  Although it requires more effort to get there, it’s definitely worth the extra hours in the car. The drive alone is spectacular.

Our road trip kicked off bright and early on Friday morning. We hit the road (from Canmore) around 10am and made a brief stop at Lake Louise for a photo op.

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The snow-covered lake is quite the contrast to it’s brilliant shade of turquoise in the summer!

The drive between Lake Louise and Jasper is absolutely stunning and offers world-class views of the majestic Canadian Rockies. We traveled through the Columbia Icefields and Continental Divide, passing several glaciers, snow capped peaks and frozen waterfalls along the way.

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That’s a glacier in the centre of the mountain.

Winter conditions can be treacherous and cars must be equipped with snow tires to complete the journey between Lake Louise and Jasper. (Snow tires and an SUV are the greatest purchases I’ve ever made!)

After 3.5-4 hours on the road, we arrived in Jasper eager to settle into our accommodations and kick off some weekend fun.  Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted by some friendly locals who didn’t  mind posing for a few photos.

IMG_6979The elk in Jasper are friendlier than the herds around Banff/Canmore. #Observations

Unfortunately, I don’t have much to report from our first evening. After checking into the hotel and exploring the resort, we had dinner then called it a night. We were tired! (I hate staying up late.)

THE “thing” I wanted to do most was delve into the depths of Maligne Canyon.  The initial plan was to go off exploring on our own, but at the urging of the hotel’s concierge, booked a guided 2.5 hour tour with Maligne Adventures.  For $70 per person, it included a shuttle, gear rental (boots + snow cleats) and an enthusiastic interpretive guide to show us the way. I actually preferred having  a guide with us to educate us on the park’s history, geological formations, wildlife and so on. One of the first things he told us was that we were ‘going to see a lot of strange things in Maligne Canyon’. He was right.

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Geo-thermal heat prevents sections of the river from freezing over. There were times when we could hear the river flowing underground underneath a seemingly “dry” or frozen river bed.

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We witnessed a ton of frozen and flowing waterfalls. We even filled our water bottles with fresh spring water. I have Giardia now. (Kidding) 

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During our exploration, we climbed inside a cave that was breathing. I can’t remember the science behind it, or where the air was coming from, but it was warm and dusty. The cave was  filled with crazy ice formations and crystals.

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I know what you’re thinking. We’re all on the same page. I’m certain of it. ;)

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The entire experience overwhelmed these two boys. They kept taking breaks to hold each other tightly and sigh.

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I lost count of how many waterfalls we climbed behind. I licked one. And ate ice crystals.

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The view while looking up inside a cave

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At one point, our tour guide said, “I’m going to go see if I can find my friend” and disappeared into the canyon. A few minutes later, he appeared with what I “think” is a marmot, but I’m not 100% sure. Anyone?

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It was dead. And frozen.  When it was my turn to hold Fluffy, I accidentally broke one of it’s claws off, but don’t tell anyone.

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After spending a couple hours exploring the canyon, it was time to begin our ascent back to stable ground. During our walk back to the shuttle, I chatted with our guide about his time in Jasper and completely related to a couple things he said: “I haven’t been on vacation for over 8 years – I don’t need to!” and, “Some people are just mountain people!”  I feel you, mountain man.

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Pyramid Mountain looming in the background. Jasper is located in a valley, giving the mountains the appearance of being much higher than I’m used to. They looked so far away, too! At home, the base of the mountains are right at your feet.

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And that concludes our tour of Maligne Canyon. I would definitely do it again and I’m already looking forward to a Summer 2015 trip to do some hiking in the area.

What’s the funnest tour you’ve ever been on?

Have you been to Jasper? Where are some of your favourite treasures within the park?

Tell me about your weekend! How’s your winter going so far? 

Thinking Out Loud #89

I have no idea how many Thinking Out Loud’s I’ve done so I’ve decided to make up a random number each time I post. Head on over to Spoons to join the party, if you haven’t already. While you’re there, I highly recommend checking out her Thoughts on Turning 30 post, too! :)

Hi hi!

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How’s the week going? I don’t mean to rub it in, but it’s my Friday and I’m THRILLED to be kickin’ off a mini vacation as of 5pm. Yay!!!  A small group of us are heading to Jasper for a couple days where we’ll enjoy outdoor adventures and R&R before hitting up the Banff Upper hot springs on the way home.

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Jasper

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Banff Upper Hot Springs

I went to a belated holiday party earlier in the  week and made one of my best friends (Cam) be my date.  We have absolutely no common interests, friends or hobbies, but we make each other laugh like crazy.

This is what he tells his friends about me:

“Jo looks like such a bitch but she’s the funniest and nicest girl I’ve ever met.”

This is what I tell my friends about Cam:

“Last summer, my friend Cam made me laugh so hard I kind of peed my pants.” (I can’t believe I just admitted that.)

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While I was getting ready in my hotel room, Cam did a back flip onto my bed (with his shoes on) and burped in my face. That’s how you know you have a good friend by your side.  Cam and Sam have become good friends too! (He had a huge crush on her, but I told him No. Several times.)

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Don’t you love it when parties have photo booths?!

I’m not much of a party girl. As much as I enjoy socializing and sipping cocktails, after a couple hours I’m usually more than ready to go home.  I left at 10pm as my pyjamas and  king sized bed were calling my name.  (The party continued until 3am. Wow, am I ever lame. Whatever.)

One of my must-have beauty products that I’m currently obsessed with is XXL volume Batiste dry shampoo.

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My hair is extremely fine and gets oily shortly after washing it and it’s the ultimate root-boost and hair refresher. I’ve tried salon-brand dry shampoos and NOTHING compares to this little homie. It’s only $10, too!

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I can’t remember a time when I didn’t eat a snack plate for dinner. This one featured smoked salmon, rice crackers, raw veggies, roasted cinnamon sweet potatoes and hummus. I just love dipping stuff in hummus and guacamole.

Another go-to {breakfast} as of late has been fruit salad + hemp seeds.

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I’ve been craving light, simple meals first thing in the morning. I usually pair it  with a shot of Vega antioxidant oil or a couple spoonfuls of nut butter to give it some extra staying power + healthy fats. Kiwi + banana or raspberries + banana are some of my favorite fruit combos. Mmm!

We’re all in agreement that blog friends make THEBEST friends, right? Case in point: Chelsea and Giddy YoYo hooked me up with a box of chocolate bars and I couldn’t be happier.

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As if Sam and I need more chocolate in the house. Our pantry is stocked to the brim! It’s definitely  a good problem to have. Yesterday I found some rogue Lindor chocolates under my bed and a glob of peanut butter in my hair. Living the dream, friends. Living the dream.

Have you ever won a blogger-hosted giveaway? What did you win?

What are some of your must-have drugstore beauty products? Besides dry shampoo, I like Maybelline Colossal mascara and Revlon Colorstay foundation <– I have Spoons to thank for that one.

What have you been eating for breakfast lately?

Catching Up + My thoughts on New Years Resolutions

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Hiya friends! Happy New Year to ya. It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m currently laid up in bed with a green juice nursing the beginning of a cold. I ALWAYS get sick around Christmas/New Years. It never fails. Why, why, WHY?  In any event, it’s allowing me some free time to write a blog post and chat about the upcoming year.

The above quote. Don’t you love that? It’s that time of year when everyone is thinking about their personal resolutions or goals they’d like to achieve while I’m sitting over here thinking, “I’ve got nothing!”

Something about our culture that bothers me is the notion that we always need to be striving. For more stuff, promotions, accomplishments, whatever it is that society deems “success”. And if we’re not yearning or constantly keeping our ‘eye on the prize’, we’re lazy, unmotivated or indifferent.  What if the real juice lies in simply being open to embracing whatever life presents us with and taking full advantage of it’s offerings?

That being said, I’m not saying channeling hard work, dedication and passion into our dreams isn’t required (because it is!) What I’m getting at is, if we feel like we have to constantly be in control or goal-setting to keep up with the rat race, we’re missing the point. Life shouldn’t be SO hard. Sometimes it’s best to chill out and let life surprise us with what we need.

Moving on from my resolution rant…

This is how little miss party pants over here rang in the New Year:

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PJs + snack plate + my bed + back to back episodes of Homeland.  The spread featured a bunch of my fav foods: stuffed grape leaves, olives, cheese, rice crackers, hummus, guacamole and a veggie-shrimp pasta dish that Sam made.

I’ve been busy working through the holiday season and the last thing I wanted to do on New Years was socialize.  By the end of the day, I’m so mentally and physically exhausted that all I want to do is decompress in the gym and eat my favourite comfort foods.

New Years day was spent working where I lent a hand in areas that needed some extra help. (I work at a resort.) It included making toast and preparing trays for In Room Dining deliveries and stripping linens, garbage and recycling from guest rooms.

This might sound weird, but I LOVE helping out in other departments and it really makes me appreciate all of the hard work my colleagues dedicate to their roles. I don’t feel like any role or task is beneath me.

Afterwards, I tried to go for a winter walk, but it was cut short due to the -48392C wind chill.

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I opted for the gym instead. First workout of 2015!! (I did cardio + core)

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New Years Day dinner: A veggie tortilla ‘pizza’ followed by some food prep for the following day: chickpea veggie burgers + a mug of kombucha. (In my J mug! It’s from Chapters Indigo) 

I’m going on vacation for a few days next week and hopefully this awful pounding in my head and sore throat goes away soon.

The first travel adventure of 2015 is taking me to….

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The Fairmont Jasper to enjoy the mountain resort and outdoor winter wonderland adventures such as snowshoeing, an ice walk through Maligne Canyon and hopefully some champagne to ring in the New Year.

This is my first trip to Jasper!  Any must-see/do/eat recommendations for me? :)

What are your thoughts on resolutions? Have you made any this year?

Coming home for the holidays

Seasons Greetings, friends! Just popping in quickly to say hello and catch up on what’s been happening.

I hope you’re enjoying the holidays with your loved ones and (hopefully) basking in some much needed R&R after the Christmas rush. I’m spending the next few hours with family before heading home to the mountains.  Work is crazy right now and they need all the help they can get (such is resort life)  so I’ll be back at work on Sunday.

Although my trip home was brief and low-key, I had a great time doing… nothing. I didn’t brush my hair, apply makeup or change out of my sweat pants for 3 days, finished the book I was reading and started another (Eat & Run –> Ishmael), watched movies and napped.

Backing up to a few days ago, one of THE highlights of my holiday was when this happened!

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Three of Santa’s reindeer visited Kananaskis Country and I took one for a walk! I was surprised by how small they were and assumed reindeer would be comparable in size to elk or moose.  Or maybe these guys are just dwarfs. Or young’ins. I don’t know/don’t really care.

I was literally bouncing up and down with excitement while waiting for my turn. The handler announced, “Okay, I’m going to let you go first because you’re freezing.”
Me: “Oh I’m not cold, I’m just excited!”

Christmas Eve

I arrived at my parents house late afternoon and after laying down for a quick power nap, poured myself a glass of rum & eggnog and played with my bird, Oliver.

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Fun fact: I got Oliver when I was 18 and working at a pet store. I honestly can’t believe he’s still alive. He’s such a friendly guy and loves being around people.

The rest of the evening was spent at my sisters house eating snacks until I could hardly keep my eyes open and my parents had to take me home to bed.

Christmas Day

My Mom always makes a big breakfast  before we open presents. While we were waiting for my sister, brother and nephew to come over, I opened my stocking and ate Lindor chocolates + coffee. I’ve been eating at least four Lindor chocolates per day for the past week – they’re SO good and I can’t stop!  (My stomach is starting to hurt from all this sugar, though.)

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Our breakfast spread: french toast on thick-cut french bread, fresh fruit and three types of vegetable quiche.

Then it was time to open presents! My family doesn’t go too crazy with gifts, as we prefer quality over quantity.  I’m seriously in love with this necklace my sister gave me. A mountain charm that I can wear close to my heart. :)

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Later on in the morning, I went for my traditional Christmas Day run. I covered 10k in a little over 52 minutes which kind of surprised me because I haven’t run since November. Once a runner, always a runner, I suppose. #CellMemory #SelfTimerFail #GoLegsGo

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Boxing Day

I’m not much of a shopper, but I needed a couple house-related items and decided to check out The Bay since they tend to have fantastic sales. I’m so glad I did because I found these little Nike homies marked down to $25 (!!!)

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I don’t know what came over me, but I knocked out a 4 mile run ON A TREADMILL. Say whaaaat. Yeah. I was going to run outside, but it was super icy and with my track record of falling and crashing into things, decided it was best to do my run in a controlled environment.

Lastly, I want to show you something I think all of you HLBloggers will get a kick out of.   A very nice boy (hahahaha, okay, my bf, I don’t know why I’m being all weird about it)  put together the most thoughtful Christmas package for me.

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Buy Me Brunch apparel
Mini bottles of Patron
A jar of coconut cashew butter
Quest bars
A DONUT WRISTLET
An (unpictured) bag of za’atar
A card with a detailed description as to why he chose each item + ski passes

It’s like he knows me or something. <3

Tell me about your  holiday! What was your favourite moment? What are some of your favourite family traditions?

Most memorable gift you gave/received?

This was the year…

With 2014 coming to a close, I’ve been reflecting on this past year with a grateful heart and a sense of bewilderment. If I could sum it up in a sentence, it would be:

HOLY SHIT. I can’t believe I just did that. :D

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Thinking back to where I was exactly one year ago, I was in the early stages of transitioning into my new life. Becoming the most authentic version of myself.  And it was painful! I felt confused, scared, sad, slightly crazy and anxious. Like I was dying, but I embraced it.  What I knew for sure was that I needed to speak my truth and start getting clear about what I wanted. It went something like, “God, I’m really f*#$ing scared right now and I need your help. I want to live in the mountains and get a job doing something I love. I’m sorry it’s not more specific but I just have this feeling it’s what I’m supposed to do.”

I’ve learned that it’s okay to ask the Universe for what you want. In fact, you must.

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By the end of February I’d relocated to the Rockies after getting a job I truly enjoy.  It felt almost TOO easy. Or too good to be true. For the first month, I was petrified of getting fired or the rug being pulled out from beneath me. I can’t remember if I’ve told you guys this story, but one morning as I was driving to work (and pleading to the Universe, “please don’t let me get fired. I’m really happy here!”) a car pulled out in front of me with a license plate that said, RELAX on it. I took it as a sign to chill out and I’ve been fine ever since then.

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I’ve learned that fear shows up with something is really important for our spiritual growth. Have you ever been struck with fear amidst happiness? Sometimes it hits me like a ton of bricks. I’ll start doing inventory on all of the things (and people) that bring me joy, and wonder, “What if I lose EVERYTHING?! Then what will I do?! What if I never recover from the heartbreak?”
It’s totally normal, though. I just remind myself of this great quote that teaches us, “Fear is a natural response to moving closer to the truth.”

I spent the spring, summer, fall and now winter making new friends, adventuring around the Rockies and discovering more about myself while building this magical mountain life.

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I’ve learned that genuine, soulmate connections are possible and effortless when you’re just you. That I revere unconditional REAL love instead of being with someone out of fear of being  lonely. These words have come out of my mouth AT LEAST 2394 times this year: “I would rather be alone forever than with the wrong person.”

I’m confident with who I am, can provide for myself and generate my own power. I knew  I needed a partner who would be my best friend and compliment my life nicely. (And vice versa) Someone who wouldn’t stifle me or try to talk me out of my dreams.

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My goals have shifted and I have a better understanding of what’s important in life. I used to aim for things like PR’ing races, getting six pack abs  and eating as “clean” as possible (which are all fine goals to have) but now I think bigger picture:

-I want to continue living and working in an environment that makes me come alive. As someone who’s obsessed with the outdoors, it’s crucial for my happiness.

-I want to live by example and inspire others to speak their truth and ask for what they want.

-I want to continue exploring, adventuring and pushing limits. Whether it’s summiting a mountain, or opening myself up to vulnerability, I want it all. If I’m not being challenged, I feel stagnant.

-Keep a soft heart, but take no shit.

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I’m completely head over heels in love with EVERY aspect of my life. It took me until the age of 29 to get here and although I don’t have ‘everything’ figured out, I’ve learned that’s not the goal. We’re never going to reach a point where we “have all the answers”. Life is a series of peaks and valleys. It ebbs, flows and is constantly in motion and filled with mystery: changing, evolving, and shaping us into who we’re supposed to be if we allow it.

I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store.

No questions today, but I’d love to hear what you’ve learned over 2014!

Thinking Out Loud #42

I just made that Thinking Out Loud number up. I’ve only linked up a handful of times, but I’ve lost count so I picked the first number that came to mind.

Happy (almost) Friday! Are you on holidays yet? Do you get any time off this year?

I’m delighted to be joining Amanda’s TOL link up today.  Thanks for hosting, friend! <3 I miss you!

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Can we talk about what exactly is going on with mandarin oranges this year? Gone are the days of 484293 oranges in one box. Now you get 6 regular sized oranges… that taste like nothing.

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I’ve bought at least four boxes this year and they’ve all made me ragey. Anyone else have this problem?

I had to laugh when I glanced at my bedside table last night and realized I can be summed up perfectly by it’s contents.

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Palm trees, pine scented candles, books (on running, travel and spirituality), a hamsa bracelet and… a stuffed goat.

Thymes Frasier Fir candles are my favorite thing in the world. They smell EXACTLY like the real deal. At $30 a pop they’re a little pricey, but I’ve been burning it almost daily for a month and it still has lots of life left in it!

Last week, I mentioned I was channeling Betty Draper with one of my work dresses

When I showed up to work earlier in the week wearing this, someone sent me a chat link saying, THIS IS YOU. It was a photo of Betty. Hahaha

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I’m pretty sure Kim Kardashian has this dress, no?  Other people said I looked like a schoolteacher. My friend Cam kept calling me Miss Gregson and telling me he had to go to the bathroom in a high pitched voice.

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This top/sweater/cape thing?  Olivia Pope!

Along with this dress.

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I’m sorry for the dark lighting. It’s dark when I wake up and get home. :(  I never thought the day would come that I spend more time in work clothes than I do sweat pants.

I’m obsessed with quotes and am constantly adding them to a Favorites album on my phone.  I feel like when you’re willing to see things differently, the universe speaks to us through other people, wise words, etc. It’s funny how I tend to read things in the moment where I need it most.

Some current favs:

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The soul doesn’t know a thing about deadlines. I LOVE THAT!

I don’t really watch tv. In my free time, I’d rather be in the gym, a yoga studio or reading. That being said, I ALWAYS have time for Vanderpump Rules.

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If I’m going to select ONE tv show to watch, I might as well make it trashy, hey?  Yes Arman, I’m all caught up now.  Last night, I skipped the gym and yoga in favor of sitting in bed watching episode after episode. It was glorious.

What reality shows are you into?

Do you have plans for the holiday? Are you travelling anywhere?

Name 5 things on your bedside table: 

Things bloggers do

Hello, hello!

How’s your week going so far?  I keep forgetting it’s Christmas next week. This year is different in the sense that I’m going to be working through the holiday season and won’t have much time to enjoy the festivities. I’m heading to my parents house after work on Christmas Eve, then I have to be back in the mountains on the 27th to work right through New Years.

Not only that, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas when you’re away from your family, doing your own thing.  I don’t mind it though. And well, MOUNTAINS. Can’t complain about that!

Let’s chat about the weekend!

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Friday

I stayed in, cooked dinner and went to bed at 9pm.  The end. My friend said hanging out with me makes them feel like a 70 year old.

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Roasted chicken, Oh She Glows roasted carrots with corinader-cumin infused tahini; spinach, walnut, apple & goat cheese salad, jalapeno cornbread.

My wine glass was filled with vodka.  #classy

Saturday

Since I knew I was going to be indulging in wine and holiday treats later on, I woke up thinking I should “probably” eat a healthy breakfast. Like a green smoothie or something. Instead, I opted for a sharing a bagel, a cinnamon bun and a goji ball from Rocky Mountain Bagel Co.

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The remainder of the day was spent running errands until the Alberta Bloggers Christmas Party/Meeup/Hashtags thing started.

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From left to right: Jen, Sam, Lindsay, yours truly :) , Leana, Ange

We’re so cute!! This was my first time meeting everyone (except Sam) and I think we all got along great.  Wanna hear something weird? I discovered Lindsay is related to my boss. HAHAHA. What are the chances!  Her and  I have pretty similar jobs, too!

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Part of our spread: veggies, bread, olive oil & balsamic vinegar, smoked salmon, cheesy cauliflower and labneh wraps.

And 12 bottles of wine, but we only drank 6. As we do.  (I’m not joking)

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We played this fun game where we all brought two bottles of the same wine, put six in a paper bag then sampled and voted on our favorites. Whoever brought the wine with the most votes got to keep all of the second bottles.

I’m pretty sure I drank 12 glasses of  wine water within the course of the evening. I didn’t want things to get too crazy since we had a group fitness date planned  the following morning.

Sunday

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Ange suggested we visit One Cycle studio for a spin class to sweat out the demons from the night before. It was by far the fanciest and funnest spin class I’ve attended. It was exactly like going to a rave:  everyone was sweating and drinking electrolyte drinks inside a dark room with disco lights and electronic dance music.  Except we were high on adrenaline instead of illegal drugs.

I felt like I was going to throw up, my forearms were sweating and now my bum is sore. That’s how you can tell you had a great workout.

After class, we went our separate ways so I could get some shopping (and eating) accomplished. I went to my favorite veg restaurant, The Coup and immediately ordered avocado rye toast to start.

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I was thrilled to discover it was served with a side of chili flakes and fire salt. It’s how I ALWAYS prep avo-toast at home.

In other {exciting} news, Nourish Bistro is offering BREAKFAST soon!  It’s a Christmas miracle. I can’t wait to see what kinds of creative plant-based dishes they’ll come up with.   If you ever visit Banff, you GOTTA dine here! I’ll even come with you! Future blogger meet up, YYC friends?

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What do you think of the current sweat pant trend?  I’ve been eyeing this pair from Roots.  I hate wearing regular pants because my rear end is an XXXL maternity size but the rest of me is small so nothing ever fits well. Unless they’re sweat pants. Or no pants.

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Sigh. Such is life.

Did you attend any holiday parties this past weekend? What was the funnest blogger hang out you’ve been to?

Tell me three things on your wish list this year!

Mine: a trip somewhere HOT, a Michael Kors boyfriend watch and a hot yoga pass. Which won’t happen, but if I “had” to create a list, that’s what would be on it. Along with a onesie.

Day in the {Mountain Girl} Life

I realized my blog and Instagram make it seem as though I’m out adventuring in the mountains all day, everyday and that’s not the case.  I want to share what a typical day is like for me. I’m actually pretty boring during the week. In the winter, I prefer working out and quiet nights at home with a stack of books instead of socializing. I definitely become more introverted this time of year.

6am:
Alarm goes off,  lay in bed for a few minutes and think about what I want for breakfast.

6:15
Chug a ton of water while preparing a matcha green tea latte. Go back to bed & drink it while scrolling through my social media streams. I’ve successfully quit early-morning coffee (in favour of warm lemon water and sometimes, tea). It feels so good!  My digestion and skin have improved big time.

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6:30-7:30
Get ready for work, contemplate if I want oatmeal or a green smoothie. I decide neither and prepare a bowl of plain Greek yogurt, a pear, cinnamon, nutmeg and chia seeds. (Pear + nutmeg go together like PB&J!)

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Channeling Betty Draper. One of my favorite work dresses!

7:30-7:40
I can’t decide what I want to do in terms of “fitness” after work. Either gym + pool or gym + hot yoga. I pack my bag with workout gear & a swimsuit to take with me, then set my yoga stuff out in case I decide to head to a late night class. I’m all over the place, but at least I’m prepared and organized!

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7:40-8:10
Drive to work

8:10-9:15
Fire off a few emails & attend a morning meeting

9:15-12
Work. Eat a snack (coffee + a YOGI gingerbread man! My yoga teacher handed them out the other night. SO CUTE.)

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12-12:30
Quickly eat lunch, then head outside for a power walk. I don’t know what’s going on in the Rockies but it’s unusually warm. Two weeks ago it was -30C and snowing. Now it’s 13C and melting.

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12:30-5

Work, work, work. I don’t have that many interesting details to share. I’m currently working on a few  media projects for 2015 that include YouTube videos, contests, tourist attractions & web content. That’s it – in a nutshell.

5-5:30

GYM TIME!!! I’ve been LOVING my workouts lately.  I did a quick strength training session:
Lower body: weighted squats & lunges
Upper body: bicep curls, tricep dips, mack & rotator raises, A-presses

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(This is actually a photo from a few days ago. I only take blog content gym selfies when NO ONE IS AROUND TO JUDGE ME… and then I post them on the internet for everyone to judge me.)

5:30-7
Drive home, eat a snack (spoonfuls of PB straight from the jar + half an avocado), change into yoga gear then head to the studio. Oh wait, let me rewind a bit.  I also discovered Sam Skyping with Chelsea and Arman so I joined in on their chat!

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THEY ARE SO CUTE! Hi, FRIENDS! <3

8-9:15

Hot vinyasa. (With Glenn!) The  studio I attend offers traditional 26 posture (aka Bikram)  and vinyasa classes.  This was Glenns first hot yoga experience and I think he liked it! I don’t know, I’ll have to follow up with him later today to make sure he’s not mad at me.

9:30-10

Get home, shower and crash into bed. I woke up at 1am with a growling stomach and remembered that I was so out of it after yoga, I didn’t eat dinner. Nor was I hungry.  Hahaha.

That’s all. See, I’m boring.

What does your typical work day look like?

What types of activities do you do to stay fit AND SANE in the winter?

Do you ever Skype with other bloggers? Um… that was my first Skype experience. HAHAHA I CAN EXPLAIN: I use FaceTime on my computer to communicate.