Friday, April 18, 2014

Life Lessons

So it has been what seems like forever since I last updated and it's not because I have nothing to say.  Life just seems to have gotten busier and busier and it seems like I never have a moment to sit down and just reflect; reflect on the day, the week, the month.

So here it is, it's 12:32am and I can't sleep.  I can feel my sinuses giving me grief again and instead of tossing and turning, I decided to take this prime opportunity to record all the random thoughts that are floating through my head.

For the first time in my life, I have a savings account balance and while may not seem like a big deal to many people, it's something huge for me.  I don't even think I can put into words how much having a balance in a savings account means to me.  All my life, I have lived pay cheque to pay cheque.  Even right now, I basically live from one pay day to the next.  I have learned to adapt my lifestyle and spending habits and now that I have Alex, my needs and wants are no longer as important.  There isn't anything in this world that I wouldn't do for that little guy - I tear up right now thinking about it.  It's amazing how becoming a mom changes everything.

I have had a lot of time lately, thanks to the wonders of sleepless nights,to re-evaluate my life and everything connected to it.  It's amazing how a person's perspective changes over time.  There is so much I would love to do an accomplish.  Thank goodness that I have a job I absolutely love because that's one thing that can keep me grounded.  And it gives me some security, as I know that ever important pay cheque will continue to be deposited and I will be able to provide for my son.

Perspective. That word has a lot of weight to it.  What I used to think was important and what has become important in my life have definitely changed.  I know I have changed as a person and I guess depending on who you talk to, it's either for better or for worse.  There are things in my life I wish I could change and at the same time, there are things that I love.  I do believe that everything happens for a reason and that in order to really appreciate what you have, you have to go through hell and back.  I know I haven't had a very hard life but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't reflect on some of the choices I've made and how they have caused my path to become what it has.

I have also learned that while there are some days I think I am a strong person, I'm really not in the grand scheme of things.  I want to fix things; I do tend to sweep things under the proverbial rug,  If I was a strong person, I would have made better choices starting back in elementary school.  Like I said, perspective is a pretty strong word.

I think back to something that I keep hearing over and over in my head, 'make better choices'.  The beautiful lady that spoke those words wasn't someone I really knew well but her love of life is something that I wish to resonate in my life.  One day at a time.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Self Love Sunday Update

I really wish there were more hours in most days ... especially on the week-end but perhaps fewer hours on a Monday ... man alive!  Today seems to have drug on and on!!

I racked my brain on the week-end as to what I was going to do to 'pamper' myself come Sunday.  I know it doesn't have to be much but for some reason I was just really coming up blank.  I was committed to a baby shower in the city on Sunday, so of course I had to pop into Walmart to pick up a few items, including ski pants for my little guy -- he's going to be taller then me by the time he is 5!! On our way to the cosmetics counter, I came across some face cloths that I just loved the colour of.  So I snapped them up - since I have tried to commit to a better face care routine ... or at least one that is more regular then my previous non-existent routine.  I would regularly go to bed with a full face of make-up on, including mascara.  I love how fresh my face feels after I have washed it.

So yeah - my self love wasn't anything overly exciting.  I bought face cloths.  But I love them. And they make me happy. So deep down that's all that matters.

As I mentioned, I had spied them on my way to the cosmetics counter, where I was headed to purchase some new lip gloss.  Anyone who knows me, knows I like lip gloss.  Perhaps maybe addicted.  I have oodles and oodles of different glosses in a variety of colours.  A friend had been using Rimmel's 'Stay Glossy' when I ran into her the other week-end and so I checked it out.  Love it.  It's a little more then what I would normally pay for lip gloss but it doesn't dry my lips out, lasts a lot longer then anything else that I have used and looks fabulous. Or at least that's what I think and so that's all that matters.  That seems to be a re-occurring theme! Lately I have tried to pay more attention to what looks good on me, not what is the best deal.  It makes much more economical sense to purchase products that are going to compliment me, rather then look good while sitting in the drawer.

It's amazing what a few small changes can do for a person.  Some days I look in the mirror and feel like a whole new person.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Successful People ...

"Successful people never worry about what others are doing."

I wish this quote was easier to live and breathe in our daily lives.  I would like to think that I'm a successful person.  I have a job I love and that makes me happy to get out of bed in the morning for.  I have a beautiful family, including one energetic and extremely active and lovable little boy that gives me a reason to smile and laugh and some days throw my hands up in the air. I have a roof over my head and food in my tummy and I have a small but amazing group of friends that I trust with my life. And most days I feel really good about myself.  I'm happy with my looks.  Well, as happy as a girl in her 30's can be ... we all have good and bad days!  Life is good.  It's not to say that I don't have days where I feel that life has kicked me down and left me there, in a heap of unhappiness.

What I have discovered is that while I think and feel that I am successful, I spend a lot of my precious time striving to be something or someone I'm not.  I guess you could call it a bit of jealousy or envy but there are times when I look at someone and think, 'they have a great life', for one reason or another.  Maybe it's because they appear to have a great social or family life. Or maybe it's because they seem to have an amazing, never-ending closet full of fabulous clothes?!?! I don't know what it is but this is something that I really seem to struggle with.  I see people around me who seem to have this perfect life and walk around with this aura that they are these wonderful people with lots of friends and piles of money.  And while I'm happy ... could I be happier if I had their life? Maybe if I had their life but probably not if I have their problems and that's something that I really struggle to remember.

I really shouldn't worry about what other people are wearing or doing or how they are living their life because in the grand scheme of things, I'm right where I need to be and I need to be happy in my own skin.  I can't worry about what others are doing (or not doing) and by worrying and stressing over this, I'm not doing myself any good because it means I'm not living my best possible life.

So what's my goal at the end of this ... to learn how to truly be happy with whatever comes my way because as they old saying goes, 'everything happens for a reason'.  I need to remember that I am a successful person and that I should spend more time looking forward then looking around and behind me because I'm destined for greatness!  And heck - I look and feel fabulous today!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Self Love Sunday's and More ... oh my!

So yesterday was the 2nd week I participated in the concept of 'Self Love Sunday's' and I'm so loving it!  Yesterday was a step up from the week before, where I just used a facial scrub.  I managed to get in to see my stylist and started the colour process of going lighter with my hair colour.  I really love how it turned out and I love the style - it was a great pick me up and I think that's exactly what I needed.

I spent the week-end curling in a ladies bonspiel with some friends and had a really good time.  It was something a little outside of my comfort zone and something I would like to do again next year.  I came away with some great prizes (which was a bonus) and got some exercise.  It was great getting some fresh air and getting the heart pumping.  Maybe this will be the kick-start I need to start exercising on a more regular basis.

I've also been continuing on with my 2014 Things Challenge ... although I'm going to try and be a little better at writing down what I have actually gotten rid of.  I sold a jacket on a local buy/sell site that no longer fit me and I packed up a large tote full of clothes for another girl I know to try on.  I have to stop holding on to items that no longer serve a purpose for me any longer.  So hopefully she takes some of them as well and I think I just need to bite the bullet and take the remaining clothes to a donation bin.  I think why I have such a hard time is that they are items that I spent good money on and it's hard to part with them.  But alas, I need to move on.

I have also started making a list of 'Megan's Fave Items'.  Oprah has her favorite things list and I'm sure there are other celebs out there that have a list too.  I have really been trying to get great deals on clothes (I scored a couple great deals again today!) but I have also been on the look out for some great deals on make-up/hair care.  It's amazing what a little self-confidence can do for a person!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone

I have a confession to make.  Today, I'm wearing an outfit that I never in a million years would have thought I would wear.  It's not that it's totally out there in the realm of ladies fashion, it's just not something that I typically would have worn in the past.

Let's rewind things a little bit all the way back to Spring/Summer 2012.  I was expecting and got to experience first hand how unflattering maternity styles were.  I was fortunate enough to not really gain much weight throughout my entire pregnancy, just a rather large basketball that stuck straight out in front of me.  Or at least it seemed like a rather large basketball to me! I didn't look pregnant from the back and thankfully, the pregnancy Gods blessed me with glowing skin and good hair! I spent the majority of the summer in my Lululemon clothes, as I found them to be the most comfortable, almost like a second skin.  I also lucked out and found some clothes at a local maternity store that didn't make me look like I was trying to either hide my pregnancy (some of those tops are so unflattering!!) or accentuating it with some of the most awful print patterns that I have ever seen. Me and my 'lulu's' were best friends that summer. I was also very fortunate that after I had my 9lb 3oz bouncing baby boy that I was able to shred all my pregnancy weight and then some and as a result, had a closet and dresser drawers full of clothes that no longer fit. And yes, I know how fortunate I am. Most people don't end up 20lbs lighter then when they got pregnant.  I also have been lucky enough to have kept the weight off. So yay! for me but not so yay for my wardrobe.

Fast forwarding to when I was planning on going back to work.  I peered into my closet and cringed.  I had clothes that I had paid good money for but they no longer fit or I had purchased more for the name brand then how they actually looked on.  I just about cried. I had been saving up money because I knew I would need some spiffy new duds (and a few pairs of shoes/boots because that never hurts anyone, right?) I first hit up a local second hand store that deals essentially only in brand name clothing.  I managed to find several good deals that didn't hurt my pocketbook and as a bonus, once I got home and checked the pockets of one of the pairs of jeans I purchased, I found $10! I had asked for gift cards to a few of my favourite stores and so I also utilized them when searching for some new pieces to add to my wardrobe.  And what was the end result? I stepped outside of my comfort zone and now had clothes that looked great on me while at the same time, didn't break the bank as well as learning a little about fashion and clothing in general.  So what did I learn?

Try it on! Try it on! Try it on!  This is something that is worth repeating.  Over and over and over again.  It's so important to try items on if you are physically able to not only because fit is so important, especially if you are shelling out some serious cash (heck, any cash at all).  Some of the items I tried on, I never in a million years would have purchased if I had gone with my first impression when it was hanging on the rack.  Skinny jeans/pants were not something that I thought would be a good fit with me - I think it was just the concept that bothered me.  I went into le chateau and this super friendly associate pushed me in the direction of a pair of black skinny dress pants and they are now my go to pant.  Go figure!  One of the sweaters that I had received the most compliments on, is one that I walked past while it hung on the rack probably 5-6 times before I finally took it with me to the change room.  And guess what? It's one of my favourite pieces now - something I can wear dressed up or down.  Who would have thunk? I've also ended up trying on all sorts of shirts that I never would have tried on had I gone with my first impression and once I've tried it on, I am amazed at how well it looks it.  Looks can be deceiving!

Shop the sales! Because I'm a smaller size, I'm very fortunate that I can usually find some great deals on the clearance racks.  And lately I have had double the luck because besides finding clearance items for a great price, when I get to the register, they have been discounted another 25-50%.  There is a catch to this though - don't buy something because the deal is too good to pass up.  I know we have all done it - bought something that maybe wasn't quite what we were looking for or didn't fit quite the way we wanted to but it was too good of a bargain to pass up.  Listen up - back away from the bargain if you have any doubts about it because really, it's not going to turn out to be a bargain - it's going to sit in your closet or end up on the floor of said closet and you are going to grumble and complain about how it doesn't fit properly or that you never wear it.  See - not so much of a bargain after all!!

Buy a few classic pieces. There are a few items in my wardrobe that I have decided that I can not live without.  Because of our climate and the insane amount of days that we have snow on the ground and chilly temperatures, I'm a huge fan of cardigans.  I recently purchased a plain black Vera Moda (one of my favourite brands) cardigan for $35 and I have found myself reaching for it on more then one occasion. It just seems to be that piece that pulls an outfit together.  For example, today I'm wearing a super goofy Vera Moda t-shirt with a cat wearing glasses on it and I tossed on the cardigan because I didn't think I would be warm enough for just short sleeves.  And the cardigan totally dressed it up.  With a few classic key pieces in your wardrobe, you can add pops of colour and some trendy items and be all set.

Think about your purchases.  Before I headed back to work, I knew I was going to be on a budget when it came to purchasing my back to school wardrobe. I was just about at the end of my shopping trip and I came across this orange Bench sweater that I totally fell in love with but didn't know if I could justify spending the $$$ on.  Would I wear it enough? What about the colour?  Sure I loved it now but would I love it 2-3 months down the road?  I walked away from the sweater but couldn't stop thinking about it.  I was out shopping with my mom that day and we were actually down in the vehicle, I had put my son in his car seat and we were getting ready to leave the mall.  I remember turning to my mom and telling her that I needed to go back and get that sweater.  I quickly ran back up to the store and it was still there and I purchased it.  It's still one of my favourite sweaters and I think I appreciate it a little more because I did stop and think about it before purchasing it.  It's not always going to work out and there's always a chance that the item you stopped and thought about won't be still there but deep down, you will feel good about your decision.  Although it's hard to tell yourself that when you go back and the item is no longer available.

So the moral to all my ramblings here? It's perfectly acceptable to step outside your comfort zone. For me, I have pushed myself to explore different fashion trends and ideas and at the same time, look for ways to do that don't break the bank.  Before I would have never stepped into a second hand store and now, that's the only place I will purchase new jeans.  I love my new look and I don't really care what others think.  I feel comfortable with what I'm wearing and really, that's the only thing that matters.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Self Love Sunday's

I think in order for us to live gratefully, we have to take care of ourselves and not just others.  In life it's really easy to forget to take time for ourselves, especially when we are so busy looking after others. I was sitting on the love seat in my usual perch (with my heating pad turned on in an attempt to reverse whatever damage I did to myself when I slipped the other day), drinking my new favorite tea (Russian Earl Grey in case you are wondering) and I got to thinking about how there are lots of little things that a person could do for themselves that wouldn't take up too much time but would just be nice to do.  I then happened to scan down my Facebook newsfeed and happened to see a good friend of mine, posting about doing something for herself (which happened to be giving herself a facial mask).  It was as if a light bulb went on above my head - the words 'Self Love Sunday's' immediately came to mind.  What things, whether it be big or small, could I do for myself on a Sunday that would be out of my normal routine that could perhaps boost my mood. So I'm going to attempt a little experiment.  Every Sunday, I'm going to do something just for me.  Something that won't benefit anyone else but me.  I'm giving myself permission to be a little selfish.  It doesn't have to be something big, just 'something' and maybe over the course of time, it will evolve from just a Sunday thing to a more frequent occurrence.

I bet you're curious as to what I did yesterday, aren't you?  It definitely wasn't anything exciting but it was something purely for my own benefit.  I had purchased a branch new gentle facial scrub/cleanser when I was last in the city with my little guy and hadn't had the opportunity to use it.  I cracked it open after my shower and washed my face using it.  See ... absolutely nothing to write home about.  But it made me feel amazing.  My face felt soft. I felt even cleaner then when I stepped out of the shower.  Life was great.  And it took me no more then 2 minutes.

So think about it.  Self Love Sunday's could benefit anyone and everyone who is willing to try it.  Maybe it's sitting down and watching a TV show that you normally don't have time for.  Maybe it's fluffing your pillows and pillow cases in the dryer before you go to bed.  The possibilities are endless.  Be prepared for the ripple effect it's going to have on you though ... ripples can very easily become waves of change!

Living With A Grateful Heart While Being A Part-Time Perfectionist

Some days it's really hard to see the good side of things and to actually be grateful for everything (both negative and positive) that has happened throughout the day.  I don't think of myself as either a 'glass is half full' or 'glass is half empty' person.  It seems like everywhere you look, there is some kind of talk about gratitude - whether it be a hot new book with tips on how to be a more grateful person or some creative canvas on Pinterest, creatively displaying an inspirational quote.  The idea of being grateful is everywhere and essentially it is something that should just come naturally.  However, I think we have all become hard wired to forget to be grateful and to dwell on the negative aspects of our lives.

The more I make a conscious effort to live more gratefully, the more I realise that some of my habits are more of a hindrance then a help when it comes to living this kind of lifestyle.

I can now admit to myself and everyone reading this, that I'm a part-time perfectionist.  You sure can't tell from the daily disaster that my house seems to be in ... all the time. It's not that I enjoy living in chaos or in a constant state of disaster, it just seems to be the new norm as I try to balance life and work.  I don't want to be that 'mom' who is so busy making sure her house is tidy and dust-free that she doesn't get a chance to enjoy life and all the little moments that happen around her. I've learned to be okay with everything not being tidy although inside I do cringe when I see areas in complete disarray - think my little guys bedroom after I have gone searching for him because he was entirely too quiet to not be causing 'trouble'.  But I have learned to let go ...

Now in my craft room - that's a whole crazy world in itself.  When I create something, the finished product has to be absolutely perfect ... when I'm done creating, it looks like a bomb went off.  And I am okay with walking away from it.  Some days I wonder how I can create in an area that looks like a war zone and I really don't have an answer. Perhaps my creative mind needs complete disorder and chaos in order

Maybe if my world was a little less chaotic and a lot more organized, I would feel a little more in control of my life. I'm sure I would be in a position where I would perhaps see the more positive things in life and not always immediately see the negative.  At least this gives me something to work on.  Wouldn't it be great to call myself a 3/4 time perfectionist in the future?!?! Perhaps one day in the future ...

So how can I adapt to live my life gratefully while struggling with my at times, OCD tendencies?!?!?  That's something I have asked myself often and I still really don't have an answer.  I think it's just going to be something that is a work in progress, much like how life is.  Some days are going to be better then others and I'm just going to have to step back some days and be okay with the chaos.  I need to realise that it is okay to have a lived in house, after all, my little guy is making memories and I would rather be a part of those memories, then standing back making sure nothing is out of place.