Tag Archives: fitness

Saturday coffee thoughts: isolation life and combating loneliness

It’s a chilly and cloudy Saturday morning here in Alberta and I think we might see some rain today. I’ve got the windows open to let some fresh air in and it definitely feels like fall. They’re calling for frost this week and I’m so not ready for that. The huge tree outside my window is shedding leaves like crazy – and we’re only a couple of weeks into the sesaon.

Time is moving so quickly – it’s already mid September. The kids are all back in school. The “littles” in our family who are the same age, seventeen, are in their senior year of high school. We’re hoping the schools don’t shut down again for their last year. My nephew who started college this week has to take classes from home. I feel terrible for him. Life is once again on hold as we’re in another restrictive period. I’m not going to call it a lockdown but it is what it is.

Yesterday, I made the best Italian meatball casserole. It was so filling and satisfying. I’ll share the recipe in a separate post today. I have plenty of leftovers and am looking forward to dinner.

I’ve got my breakfast which is toast and plant based peanut butter. Remind me not to buy this again. I just spilled oil ALL over my counter. Everything is greasy even with a wipe down. I have my morning coffee and it tastes so good.

And with that, I have a lot of thoughts to share today.

Meal planning

My slow cooker is all set up and I’m looking forward to make something this weekend. But what? I’m not sure. I was hoping to pick up a pork roast yesterday with my groceries but the price of meat is so expensive right now. I used to pay $13 for a pork loin roast. Now the price has gone up to $16 or $21. I nearly cried. Even beef stewing cubes have gone up to over $15. It’s not right. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to afford to eat healthy foods. I like my meat. But for now, I’m stocked up on things like basa fillets, imitation crab, canned tuna and lots of beans. Luckily, chicken is still reasonable and I have some thighs I can roast up later this week.

I’ve been browsing Pinterest and YouTube for inspiration in my fall cooking and am trying out new recipes. I’m going to have to place another grocery order though. I spent $130 on food on Thursday with my order. But many of the items I wanted, like the pork roast, were not in stock. So, I’m going to have to order from Superstore, which has the most reasonable of prices for meat.

I always keep lots of soup, beans, dried foods like pasta and grains on hand at all times. My pantry is stocked up with baking essentials, oats, and healthy snacks too. I like to keep a couple of month’s supply on hand at all times. I’m not a prepper. But… with food shortages and labour shortages due to the pandemic, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

I think some preppers are insane for how much they buy at one time. While those with a large family, I understand the reasoning. It’s just me here. So I don’t need nearly as much. I could feed a couple of people for about a month or two with my current stock. It’s usually just fresh produce that I need to replace every week. And toilet paper. That shit is expensive too.

Art projects

I went through my Etsy store yesterday and am trying to revive it. I got motivated after a couple of sales this month. I sent a digital journal to my niece for her birthday and she loved it. So, I’m going to get back into making those. I’m also aiming for at least one art piece each day. I really want to learn to paint watercolor flowers but I’m terrible at it. Abstract is definitely more my style.


My mic stand arrived yesterday and it’s all set up. I also ordered a filter to help create a better sound for tutorial videos. I need to come up with some kind of lesson plan to record these in an order that makes sense. I’ll be focusing on Etsy tutorials, graphic design tips, music production and software reviews. I’ll have two channels for this though. My music channel is pretty much dead. Though the TikTok account continues to grow slowly. I think that’s the place to advertise songs. Honestly, it’s so hard to get noticed in any genre these days. Over saturated markets in all areas make it hard to stand out.

But… this is what I love to do and what I’m good at. For now, it’s a hobby but one day I hope I can make a career out of it. Plus creating the thumbnails and artwork is just so fun for me.

Health and fitness

I went for my xrays on Thursday and got my second COVID shot on the same day. I felt fine the next day. My arm is still store and there’s a large red bump near the injection site. Apparently, this is a rare side of the Pfizer vaccine. It felt like someone had punched me in the arm.

The reason I put it off for so long was exactly this. My body does weird things and processes vaccines differently. I don’t get the flu shot because it always gives me an allergic reaction. Even an iron infusion caused some swelling in my hands. And I’ve had bad reactions to blood thinners too.

But so far, I’m okay. And I now I don’t have to worry about going anywhere with the new isolation rules. Basically, if you don’t have both shots past October, you can’t get in anywhere.

I’m not here to argue it. I’m not anti anything. I just worried about my own personal health and safety as I know my history with vaccines.

My fitness challenge is still going strong. I’m still monitoring foods each day, and I’ve started working out again. The pool is still closed and the gym — I don’t even know if we can work out in public. You can outdoors though.

Isolation life…and how I cope with loneliness

We’re in isolation again and I’m not sure how long this will be for. COVID cases are skyrocketing again. The new rules are murky. I’m allowed to have two contacts because I live alone. So, for now, that’s my bestie — and probably my dad. For now we can still see him. I hope that doesn’t change. He won’t survive another lockdown.

I visited him on Thursday and helped him with his dinner. He fades out more and more. Mostly we just sit together and I hold his hand. He’s quiet, so I do most of the talking. Or we watch whatever is on tv. Helping him with his food is something to keep my hands busy. I tucked him into his chair for a nap as he was ready to fall asleep. I fear his end is coming soon. If we go into full lockdown again, I’ll be devastated. My heart already hurts when I see him.

As a single person, a life in solitude can be lonely at times. I’m not overly social but I have my small group of friends I like to see for coffee or lunch dates. This isolation period means not being able to have everyone over for dinner like I had been planning and that hurts.

So, in an effort to keep sane, and busy, I’m going to work on this blog, my art projects, my Etsy store – maybe another music album. And I’m also working on organizing my home.

To help combat the loneliness, I chat with family via text every couple of days. I get my daily exercise. I’m keeping a regular sleep schedule. I’m showering every two days. I’m trying to keep things as “normal” as possible.

That’s life in a nutshell. Stay safe friends. Wherever you are.

How do you keep busy during isolation periods?

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Goal Setting – April 2021

Every few months, I sit down and review my previous fitness plans and challenges. I hate that I’ve let myself get to a point where I can’t even walk up a flight of stairs without wheezing. Part of that is asthma, but part of that is also the weight gain too. Partially caused by hormones, and partially caused by medications – and stress.

One of the big reasons why I chose the location I am in now – is how safe it is compared to downtown. I have plenty of places I can explore for walks and once summer is here, I can take my camera out again and explore the trails down here. That’s what I’m excited for the most. Getting back into hiking and nature trail walks.

When you spend a year in isolation – you fall into bad habits. Like sleeping in until noon because of insomnia that keeps you up at night. Or you sit on the computer all day without fitness breaks. Never mind the effects of being on your own and cut off from your support group due to restrictions.

Community rec centres are still closed here as are swimming pools. But I’m very close to a pool here and can’t wait for it to open. I really want to get back into aqua fit classes. It’s a great way to exercise and easy on the knees.

So, I thought I would start the month off with a brand new fitness plan. No excuses now. I have access to a fitness centre for FREE once I get my keys. I have a clean carpet I can use for yoga, pilates and strength exercises. And I have access to nature trails just a 10 minute walk away.

Fitness Goals: Exercise Plan

This plan is very preliminary. Things may vary from day to day depending on migraines and overall health. But I am determined to get back into working out every day.

SUNDAY: weather permitting – go for a 10-30 minute walk

MONDAY: exercise bike 15 minutes, weights for 15 minutes

TUESDAY: strength only – 30 minutes

WEDNESDAY: weather permitting – go for a 10-30 minute walk

THURSDAY: yoga or pilates

FRIDAY: weather permitting – for a longer walk up to 45 minutes

SATURDAY: day of rest — use the time to clean the condo and enjoy a drink on the balcony

Food Goals:

  • Eat more greens and salads
  • Cook at least three times each week – left overs for other nights
  • Order in food – twice a month only
  • Try one new recipe each week and blog about the experience

It’s Easter weekend here. I’ll be working on some music for YouTube and planning a meal just for me. I hope to have this posted by Saturday to help others who are single and have to cook their own meals!

Social Goals:

Social goals are a bit harder given the restrictions here. I still can’t see my dad which is disappointing. I’ve seen my sister a few times as she dropped things off for me but they weren’t really “social” visits. They were providing a “service – like installing my bed, the microwave, etc. She even dropped off a delicious Shepard’s Pie last night. I’m not normally a fan of this pie, but it was SO good. I’ll be having that for dinner tonight too.

I’d like to find a friend to go for walks with on the weekends. We’re still allowed to meet with friends outdoors. Walking is low impact. It would be great to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in over a year. I hope we can also have more family zoom nights.

I think as weight drops off, I’ll feel more up to socializing and being around people. I’m just tired of feeling tired all the time and I know my weight has something do with it.

Condo Goals:

My goals this weekend are to finish off the bedroom and organize my closet. I need to donate some more clothes as I have entirely too many sweaters and shirts I don’t wear. I downsized a lot before the move, but still have too much “stuff”. So, my main goal this spring is to really get organized and “purge” whatever I don’t need.

I also hope to make it to Ikea so I can pick up some plants and things for the living room. I’m getting used to the new condo. It’s feeling less like a hotel and more like home. My bed and I are still not getting along so I may order a mattress topper from Amazon.

And so, that’s it for my goals for this month. I think that’s a pretty good start. I stopped focusing on weight loss goals and just trying to set a good exercise routine and return to healthy eating. I’ll keep you posted on a weekly basis for updates.

Etsy Goals:

I really need to get back into designing products. I took the month of March off to focus on the move. But the store is just sitting there. I’ve made 11 sales and got a review – but I need more to make it more than a hobby shop. Right now I’m spending more money on advertising than I am bringing in from sales. So stay tuned, I’m working on some fitness planners too.

What are your goals for this spring? They don’t have to be fitness related – they can be anything you want to work on or change. Let me know in the comments!

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Friday Feeling – today’s word is “squall”

It’s Friday again! Does it really matter though? The days have all blended together and it doesn’t seem to matter what the day is. They all feel the same lately. That’s the effect isolation has had on us all.

We’re still in lockdown here. Most restaurants and bars are closed. I haven’t had a haircut in months. I finally cut my own hair out of frustration yesterday. Just an inch off the bottom. I’m afraid to cut it anymore than that for making a mess out of it. I just keep cutting and cutting because I think it looks crooked. So, I need to get into a salon the minute they open up again.

My niece is taking beauty culture classes or whatever they call it now so I really might have to visit my sister one of these nights. The kids are all growing up so fast. Her brother got accepted into business school and I’m just so darned proud of him. They’re amazing kids. Even if they are taller than me.

I just got off the phone with my therapist. Appointments have been via the phone or video conference because of the pandemic. We meet bi-weekly. And it feels amazing to have someone to talk to who isn’t family or a friend. It’s someone who doesn’t know my world and can give advice without judgment. I always feel better after our chats. I really like her too. Very easy to get along with.

For some people therapy is a four letter word. There are people who are ashamed to even admit they are in therapy. But one thing I realized in the last year with isolation and the pandemic, sometimes we need that extra support. Just having someone to talk to can help.

That’s why I’m stoked for my new service page where you can book consultations and coaching sessions with me. I told my therapist that I’m ready to retire from government work and move onto something else. I’m still looking for work I can do from home but jobs are limited these days. I’m still also waiting for medical appointments – it’s going to be about a year before I can get into see a neurologist for the migraines. I also want to chat about Parkinsons. It’s hereditary. And I just want to be on top of things for when I get older.

The search for a new place continues. Rent is so insane here. I’ve paid $1200 for years for 2 bedrooms since 2008. People are now charging that for what they think are “luxury” condos — for a ONE bedroom! It’ s freaking insane. I ranted about this on Facebook and a friend just sent me a link to a rental for like $1500 without utilities. I was like, um, thanks, but did you even read my post? I’ve seen condos as high as $2500 monthly. People call them luxury condos but they’re tiny.

And what’s with kitchens in new condos? They are so little. Some people still like to cook! I need a full sized kitchen above anything else.

That would mean more than 50% of my income goes to rent. I’m tired of being broke all the time. While I have some savings, it isn’t much. Luckily, I managed to pay off a good chunk of credit debt this year. So, that’s a bonus. I have stellar credit now. That’s an amazing feeling but took a long time to get there.

And so, this is where I am on this Friday afternoon. It snowed last night and it’s a dreary kind of day. It’s supposed to get really cold this weekend but I can’t complain. We’ve been spoiled with above average temperatures.

Except for that “squall” that we experienced two nights ago. No one even knew what a “Squall” was. I kind of like the term. “squall”. Want to know what a squall is? Check this video out. It was surreal. Lots of people lost power. Because things couldn’t get any weirder. People lost entire sheds and trampolines. Roofs were torn off houses.

It’s like a hurricane- but with snow.

On that note – I will wish you a happy Friday. What are you up to this weekend? It’s another big fun isolation weekend here. I think I will get back into baking and work on some recipe cards for you all.

Happy Friday!

Friday Promos

Still looking for that first review of my Etsy shop. Prices of art have been reduced. I’m also giving away artwork to customers who leave a review. You can also get a hand-signed piece of your choice from me. Don’t miss out! Only a week left.


Check out my new “services” page – it’s a work in progress as I come up with a list of services I can offer. If you’re looking for online companionship or coaching sessions, get in touch. We can work out something.

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Living Well: The importance of a good night’s sleep

Regulating sleep schedules without the use of medicine or supplements

Sleep plays a vital role in our overall health. Not only is sleep crucial for daily life, but it is also an important part of weight loss and fitness. In continuation of my fitness challenge theme; and this week’s goal to improve my sleep habits, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite tips that help you “rest well.”

As mentioned previously, I am a chronic insomniac. The worst experience was back in 2014 when I was ill. Two months went by and I was surviving on very little sleep. I had been off work for several months and doctors could not figure out what was causing it. I remember one day I was so tired that I felt asleep on the toilet. I was burnt out.

That’s how important sleep is. You can’t function without it.

My longest stretch was about 120 hours without sleep. So, I visited a sleep clinic as suggested by my physician. I learned some valuable information and feel compelled to share it with you.

By the end of the 120 hour stretch, I was completely delusional. I couldn’t form proper sentences. I was seeing and hearing things that weren’t there. I was paranoid and thought the world was out to get me. My career and personal relationships suffered because of it. It led to really bad decision making – decisions that I can’t take back.

Why sleep is so important

According to my research from multiple sources, eight hours of sleep seems to be what the majority of health professionals agree on. If you’re trying to lose weight, getting enough sleep is crucial. Having a regular sleep schedule helps our bodies in many ways to heal and lose weight.

From a recent article by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:

Sleep plays a vital role in keeping your brain healthy.

“During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.”

Why can't you fall asleep in quarantine? A sleep expert weighs in ...

Sleep helps us to stay mentally fit and perform day to day tasks. Not getting enough sleep will impact your ability to drive a car, work on heavy machinery or even basic life skills like cooking, reading or writing. Even thinking can seem impossible with a foggy brain.

Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems and can have a real impact on your personal life, your job and your relationships. Your energy levels will bottom-out and you  may even lose interest in doing things you once loved. This is why fitness and exercise really helps to regulate your sleep schedule.

Some tips to help regulate your sleep schedule

For me, there are a few things that help me regulate my sleep schedule so I can get at least six to seven hours of non-interrupted sleep.

  1. Set a regular sleep schedule – in bed by midnight every night
  2. No naps during the week
  3. Daily exercise – but not past nine pm at night
  4. Plenty of sunshine and fresh air
  5. Drink lots of water during the day. No coffee past four pm

Clean your room and bedding often

Nothing beats clean sheets and a fluffy pillow – I sleep best when the bed-sheets are fresh out of the dryer. Keeping your bed clean and free of clutter will help you to relax and be comfortable when you lie down. I need to work on cleaning my room as well. If the room is cluttered or messy, I find at times I can’t relax enough to sleep. Invest in a large hamper for your dirty clothes and look into tools for organizing your closet like shelf hangers or racks.

Without spending a lot of money, you can “feng shui” your bedroom to help you sleep better. Get some blackout curtains, use a humidifier for dry homes, get some scented candles, diffusers – or use calming colors like pastel green, blue, yellows to calm your busy mind.

Pintrest has a lot of great ideas for bedroom makeovers.


No screen time – at least one hour before bed

This means no phone, computer or electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. It’s time to shut off your electronic devices and trade your I-pad in for a paper book. The glare of the screens can be hard on the eyes at night time. Give your eyes and your brain at least an hour to relax before bed. This is why I find being in bed early is crucial. I need to make sure I get at least six to seven hours of sleep to feel refreshed and alert in the morning.

Tablet and iPad Buying Guide | Best Buy Blog

Have a cup of sleepy time tea

One or two cups of chamomile tea with a dash of milk and honey really helps to calm the nerves and puts me in the right frame of mind for sleep. Chamomile is a natural herb that helps you sleep. It is caffeine free which is what you want to drink at night time. I’m a coffee drinker. Not a tea drinker. But the sweet taste of chamomile is a guilty pleasure.

This is something I really need to get back into. It’s June 2020 and I can’t remember the last cup of tea I had!

Does Drinking Chamomile Tea Help People Fall Asleep? | Live Science

Listen to white noise or nature sounds

While some people like me listen to music to fall asleep; I find listening to white noise or nature sounds can really put me to sleep fast. The low hum of  a fan in winter months or humidifier often does the trick for people. Sometimes I listen to nature music.

Hypnosis or “Talk Down” Videos 

The Honest Guys on YouTube have some great videos that can help you fall asleep to. I really like the twenty minute talk-down sleep videos. If you’re looking for more music suggestions, check out my post on music for relaxation.

Deep breathing exercises or “bedtime” yoga

Deep breathing while lying down at night time is a great way to prepare the mind and body for sleep. Yoga and meditation before bed can help with calming anxiety. Here’s a video on how to combine deep breathing and yoga for sleep.

There are many other things I’ve learned over the years to help with my sleep problems. Insomnia can really drag you down mentally and physically. But don’t let sleep ruin your life.

If I can change my life long sleep disorders – there’s hope for you too.

Regular exercise, getting plenty of sunshine (vitamin D), and fresh air really is an amazing way to help regulate your sleep schedule. I can count the number of nights I’ve had interrupted sleep on one hand. On those nights, I either went on a long nature hike, or spent a lot of time outdoors – or I took a fitness class like Aqua Fit.

Thanks for reading!

Hope you enjoyed this post on how to regulate your sleep schedule. What works for you? What methods have you tried to help you sleep at night time?

Thanks for all the comments and re-shares. If you’d like to use any of the information from this blog, please, I ask that you refer to my website in your post.

(this is a repost from September 2019 – but good information to share)

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Asparagus Quiche – without the crust

The other night I made dinner for a friend and I made the most delicious asparagus quiche. I just polished off another serving for lunch and it tasted even better today. I’ve made plenty of crustless quiches before but never with asparagus. I forgot how amazing asparagus can be.

This is a pretty easy recipe to follow and is very versatile. I’m not so great with pastry but one day I will make my own pie shell.

I do suggest using a casserole dish. I only have square baking dishes – but this would fit better into a 9×12″ casserole dish.


  • 2 cups of cheese (cheddar, mozza or your favorite blend)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
  • 1 bunch of asparagus (about 10-12 long pieces) cut into 1″ slices
  • 1 cup of spring onions cut into small round pieces (diced)
  • 1/2 can of creamed soup (I used Campbell’s Cream of Broccoli)
  • 1/4 cup of half n half cream
  • Six eggs beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • Spices: salt, black pepper, parsley, sage


  • Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a casserole dish. I use Pam spray for this
  • In a large skillet melt the butter. Add in the garlic, spring onions and asparagus. Season with spices to your liking. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. This is just so the asparagus can absorb some of the flavour. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, cream and soup. Don’t mix it too much. You can add a little bit of corn starch to thicken up the base if needed.
  • Add in the asparagus mixture and cheese. Give it a little stir.
  • Top up with more seasoning – I always add a little parsley on top as a garnish.
  • Cook for about 40-45 minutes. Cooking times will vary so check often. I used the toothpick method.

This recipe will up to four people. I do suggest serving it with something on the side – like cooked ham, steamed asparagus, or garlic shrimp which is what I did. Scones or a cheese loaf would pair nicely with the quiche.

Optional: about 30 minutes into cooking, take the quiche out of the oven and add some more shredded cheese on top. You can broil the cheese to give it a crispier texture. I skipped this step – and it was still delicious.

What’s your favorite quiche recipe? Let me know in the comments!

If you’re looking for a quiche recipe with crust – check out this one from EveryDay Food. Just substitute the spinach with asparagus.

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Social media detoxing – all you need is love

Tonight while binge watching season two of Sex and the City, I hopped onto Facebook to see what was happening. Someone from my old office made the announcement that she was leaving the site to focus on her family. And while the thought of not seeing her adorable baby photos, I have to admit – I totally understand the decision. I sent her a private message and wished her well – encouraging her to continue posting baby photos on Instagram.

Some of my favorite people in the world don’t use social media at all. Like Keanu Reeves. It may be why I like him so much. There’s a bit of a mystery to him.

People ask me all the time how I can stand to be on Facebook with all the politics and the drama as of late. To be completely honest, the answer is simple. I just ignore it. It’s that easy.

The only reason I still use Facebook is to keep in touch with friends and family that I don’t see often in person. Like my cousins in Denmark and older friends who are afraid to go out while the beer bug is still happening around the globe.

I have a love-loathe-hate relationship with Facebook. I love it for the marketplace as I often check to see what kind of home rentals are on the market. I also picked up my last piano from there. But every third post is an advertisement of something I was thinking of buying and it feels so intrusive.

When it comes to Facebook games and apps – I just don’t use them. And as for anyone posting extreme political views (as in overly aggressive, threatening or hate remarks) – I just unfriend them or unfollow them and limit my interaction with them.

There are those friends that you can have a serious and intellectual discussion with while respecting each other’s viewpoints. And then there are those who are toxic influences who want nothing more than to tell you that you are a horrible and bigoted person for your beliefs.

Like recently someone asked me if I had canceled my Netflix account yet and I said… to their dismay: Hell no. Why would I? This time next week the cancel culture will forget why they even canceled their accounts and will move onto something else.

Social Media Detox

When I left my job to go on health leave, I removed all of my colleagues from my friend’s list and took a long break from posting or interacting with people. It felt good. It helped me heal from the anxiety from being ill, and it kind of served as a proverbial “detoxing” of my life.

I removed all those people who no longer served a purpose in my life. Anyone who caused unnecessary stress or drama – instantly removed. And it was a HUGE relief.

Over time, I slowly started adding those people I could trust and my friend Jo was one of them. The list of trusted colleagues is very small. But I can openly discuss this now — but that’s a story for another day. I’m “in between jobs” at the moment.

When it comes to social media, I think we all spend a little too much time online. If it weren’t for this blog and my music, I probably wouldn’t use social media as much as I do. Twitter is a disgusting and vile place to be sometimes with today’s cancel culture. But at the same time, I’ve met some pretty awesome local artists that I have a lot in common with. It’s fun to share stories of our city and experiences. I also get a lot of my news from Twitter.

Instagram is a place where I share pictures of food and the occasional selfie. Those are rare these days as there’s nothing exciting going on at home. I use Instagram mainly to stalk my favorite musicians and celebrities. I unfollow anyone who is overly political or that I don’t see eye to eye with. Why? It’s just less drama.

Plus…. I love these videos and collaborations with Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds. Who wouldn’t? Both are absolute dreamboats.

Talk about things you love

Even when it comes to using sites like Reddit – I’ve learned to avoid politically charged discussions, sticking to my favorite television show subs like Sex and the City or Xfiles. I love giving advice to new cooks and discussing food, music and all the fun things in life.

And when it comes to WordPress, I’m a terrible reader. I mostly just stalk the website to see what my stats are for the day and compare to other days to see if I need to change up my posting schedule. Which I do often. Did you know Mondays are my most popular days? Well, you do know that now!

Youtube. What can I say about youtube. I love this site for learning new cooking skills, recipes and even technical stuff. I have a few channels I watch daily about celebrity or Hollywood gossip like the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard lawsuits.

Youtube is one of those places where you can easily get lost down the rabbit hole. You start off watching a vegetable casserole cooking video and five hours later find yourself watching an old interview with Joe Rogan and Elon Musk. Or you stumble across Ryan’s youtube channel and see him insulting Josh Brolin.

Don’t argue with the trolls – they want you to react.

Do I have a point with this post? I don’t know. Maybe I’m just rambling and sending thoughts out to the universe again.

I think people get too personal and too involved when it comes to politically charged discussions on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Even I’m at fault for letting trolls get the better of me from time to time.

It’s good every now and then to just remove yourself from the toxic environment. Take a break. Unfollow those who no longer serve a purpose in your life. Are you getting into daily arguments with someone you haven’t seen in twenty years and have no interest in meeting for coffee? Then let it go! Move on. Trust me. There are better things you can do be doing with your time.

Every now and then I go through my friend’s list and “purge” them. My Facebook friend’s list is at a whopping 120 friends. Instagram is even less at 102 friends. Youtube is at 60 on my music channel.

For me, it’s not a popularity contest. I don’t need thousands of friends online. I don’t need to spend my time arguing with people I’m never going to meet. And I don’t need to get into heated debates about something I have absolutely no control over like politics or taxes.

Moving On – Letting Go

What I will continue to do – is gush over adorable baby photos. Share some of my best creations in the kitchen and on the piano. And maybe leave the odd comment like “way to go” or “that’s awesome” to spread some positive vibes out into the universe.

Because at the end of the day – isn’t that what we all could use a little more of? A little love? A little positive reinforcement? A little encouragement? A little note saying, “hey, I know we haven’t seen each other in a while, but I’m thinking of you,” just to let that person know they mean something to you.

So, next time you find yourself arguing with a random person on the internet – take a step back. Take a break. Don’t let the internet or social media control your life. You’re better than that.

And if you need even more positive encouragement in this messed up world. Here’s a message from The Beatles.

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Banana Coffee Bread

This might be the best banana bread I have ever made. I actually measured things this time around and watched the oven carefully. I just polished off TWO servings, so. I can attest – this loaf will turn out moist, sweet and delicious.

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cups of rolled or quick oats
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and /or nutmeg

You will need a large baking dish for this recipe. I used a deep dish baking pan that I inherited from my mum and it worked very well. Also, one less dish to wash. This dish has handles which makes it easy to grab.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease your dish with Pam spray or butter. I use the Pam Coconut Oil spray and it works well. Add the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix well – saving the oats for last. Add in the oats, and gently stir the dry mix with a wooden spoon. For additional flavour, you can add in cinnamon or nutmeg – or both! Set the dry mix aside while you prepare the wet ingredients.

This is an alloy steel baking dish – deep enough for a large cake mix or casserole!

Preparation – Wet Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter (cold) (or about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 medium bananas ripe (almost brown)
  • 1/2 cup of brewed coffee (dark is delicious)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (topping)
  • Optional: walnuts for topping (I did not use this)

I used my stand-up blender (also inherited from my mum) for this part and just mixed everything together in the blender. You could also use an immersion blender in a separate bowl. Use whatever you have!

For this part, you can use a blender or handmixer to mash up the bananas. Add in the rest of the wet ingredients, one ingredient at a time and blend/mix until you have a nice puree like mixture. Make sure not to over blend it – you won’t want it too runny.

Grab the dish with your dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture in. Mix well with a wooden spoon until all the flour is blended in nicely and it looks something like the blurry picture below (sorry about that). Add in the chocolate chips last. Stir with the wooden spoon again.

This next step is where you can let your creativity shine. I didn’t have any nuts on hand, but for the topping you can add walnuts or almonds. I used chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of sugar.

Baked this massive loaf in the oven at 350F- the nice thing about preheating the oven while you prepare the ingredients is that the oven will be nice and toasty warm. Cooking times will vary. My oven took about 45 minutes. You will want to check the loaf around the 40 minute mark with a toothpick. I wound up putting the loaf back in for a few minutes and it was perfect. I mean, this is the best I’ve ever made – and I’ve made a lot of loaves!

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Living Well: Skin care and treatments for adult acne

For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you know that I live with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome which is a disease that affects hormones. What also happens with PCOS, is living as an adult in my forties with acne. Sometimes I look like an overgrown teenager with skin problems.

And I hate it.

As a teenager, I never had skin issues. It wasn’t until later in life when I started experiencing hormonal issues, that I really started experiencing adult acne. When you’re a professional trying to work in a professional office setting – people often stared at me when I had bad breakouts. I often wonder if it was a reason why I didn’t move as far as I wanted to in my career at the time.

Over the years, my doctor and I have tried all kinds of creams and medications. I even saw a few dermatologists. One thought I had a good case of Rosacea. While another doctor, didn’t think it was Rosacea, but thought it was something wrong with my blood vessels. Which kind of made sense, since I also have Factor V Leiden.

Yes, I’m a complex patient – even though my doctor doesn’t think so. That’s just because she’s treated me for so long.

Because we also have winter eight months of the year, our air can get so dry in winter months that it really wrecks havoc on our skin.

As you can imagine, the cost of skin products can add up over time. I’m always looking for natural products to use and have found some success with Aloe Vera based creams and a good face wash. That said, when breakouts are bad, I have to take Minocycline which is an antibiotic for fungal infections. It seems to get rid of the acne – and the great thing is, usually keeps the acne away for six months to a year.

So, today’s post is going to be dedicated to skin care and products I’ve found to be helpful for keeping my acne breakouts at bay.

NOTE: this is not a paid sponsorship – but hey, Cerave or Nivea, feel free to reach out!

Cera Ve

Face Wash – budget friendly

It was my family physician who recommend this brand to me and I have used it for a couple of years now. It feels great and refreshing on my skin too – especially after a long day.

I started using the face wash in the shower in the mornings and at night time as well about a month ago. I can already feel the difference in my skin.

I’ve also combined this treatment with Omega 3 – fish pills – and it’s a great combination for dry or acne prone skin.

You can pick this up at just about any pharmacy, or order from Amazon. Cera Ve also makes face creams and lotions.

Nivea Skin Cream

Nivea Soft Refreshingly Soft Moisturizing Cream - 25ml | London Drugs

A soft and soothing hydrating lotion

My mum introduced me to Nivea creams when I was a child. She used it for things like rashes, dry skin or sunburns. As an adult, I started using Nivea Soft cream which felt less greasy on my skin.

I wear this product daily – apply once in the morning and before applying foundation, which is the only makeup I apply to my skin.

A 200 mL container usually lasts me about two months and you can buy it at any pharmacy or visit Amazon.

Aloe Vera Lotion

NIVEA Aloe Vera Body Lotion, 16.9 OZ (with Photos, Prices & Reviews) - CVS  Pharmacy

A natural product that comes in many forms to help hydrate your skin.

Aloe Vera is another great natural plant that is used for medicinal purposes. You can buy many aloe vera based products from oils, creams, gels and even in beverage form.

I switched to the Aloe Vera Nivea Soft cream for body lotion and it feels amazing on my skin. The first time I put the lotion on my legs, I breathed a sigh of relief. It felt like I had just stepped in the shower.

You can buy these bottles from any pharmacy – or on Amazon. One bottle will last me several months.

Tea Tree Oil

Nature's Bounty Tea Tree Oil | Walmart Canada

A natural remedy for dry and acne prone skin

Tea Tree Oil, in combination with Coconut Oil or Olive Oil, can make for a great product to help combat acne.

This Oil is also known as melaleuca oil, and is an essential oil that comes from steaming leaves of Australian tea trees. It is believed that the tea tree oil is antibacterial and can help fight fungal infections. It is often used to treat acne, athlete’s foot and other skin problems.

The oil should never be used on its own as it can burn skin. It is suggested to mix a few drops of the oil in with a base like coconut oil or olive oil.

If you already have oily skin, you may want to avoid this treatment. Tea tree oil should not be taken orally. There are a number of options to purchase. I recently tried this brand which you can get on Amazon.

Honeywell Humidifier

Review: Honeywell MistMate Cool Mist Humidifier - Today's Parent

A quiet humidifier to help keep your skin hydrated

I love this humidifier. I bought it in the fall when I was struggling badly with allergies. What I noticed after a few nights of use was how great my skin was starting to feel.

Even the bags under my eyes were starting to lighten up and I felt better overall.

A humidifier is an easy solution if you’re living in an extremely dry home or live in a dry climate province like Alberta.

It’s important to keep this machine clean as fungus and bacterias can get trapped inside the machine. I have this model and have not had any issues with it. It’s also very quiet.

I should take my own advice and clean this machine out and use it again.

Trial and Error

So, if you’re like me and you have acne prone skin, I hope that at least one of these products may help you. Winter is coming fast and I’m cringing already at the thought of how the weather affects my skin. I’ve stocked up on my daily vitamins and skin care products – and hope to beat the acne breakouts this year.

My doctor and I tried so many products over the years for my acne breakouts. I’ve finally found something that really works. And hope it continues working!

Sometimes the only thing that works for bad breakouts, is prescription medicine. I tried a gel during the summer that actually burned my skin. It did nothing for the acne spots. I turned to my pharmacist and she sent me a month supply of Minocycline, and my skin is back to normal – thankfully!

Also, I will add – that a healthy diet, regular exercise, natural vitamin D (sunshine) – and drinking plenty of water – will help improve your skin health.

What is your daily skin care regime? Let me know in the comments!

Living Well!

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Searching for the perfect blueberry scone recipe

Here we are at Monday morning again. The weekend flew by!

Yesterday was a quiet day. It was so cold outside and inside my condo. This morning – it’s PLUS SIX degrees. I refuse to turn my heat on based on principle.

My diet was terrible this weekend. I felt tired and didn’t have much energy yesterday as my insomnia has been bad. But I forced myself to go to bed last night at 11:30 and managed to get up before 9:00 am today. I need to do this for the next two weeks before going back to work.

I had planned on doing some baking yesterday to heat up the place. Having the oven on always helps. I didn’t make dinner until almost 8:00 pm which killed my fasting plan. But I heated up some frozen fish sticks, yam fries (mostly healthy) and boiled some veggies in the rice cooker. Now that part was delicious.

I have to use up all the veggies in my fridge in the next few days – so I’m guessing it will be another homemade soup kind of day. Or a vegetable casserole. I have a mix for scones that I want to get done today. So, I’m on youtube looking for great recipes.

I have TWO pounds of blueberries I need to use. I froze an entire container on the weekend. So, I might make some banana blueberry bread tonight too.

I love Jamie Oliver’s cooking tips. Here’s one for his scones recipe.

Anna Olson also has some great tutorial videos on her channel. She explains things so clearly – and talk about a dream kitchen. Although it’s probably a studio! When I move in the spring, the most important thing will be a gorgeous kitchen with plenty of storage.

I also like Chef Billy Parisi – he comes up with some pretty innovative dishes if you can look past his “hipster”? language – he’s also got a dream kitchen I’d love to get my hands in.

I was also thinking that I need to get a bigger freezer. I love batch cooking and freezing meals but my tiny freezer is packed already with ice for drinks and frozen vegetables. I can’t stock up like I really want to. So, I’m shopping for an affordable compact apartment size freezer that I can use for my weekly meals.

I’m hoping that I can work from home for the winter. It would be great to have meals that I can just pop into the microwave. If I have to return to the office, we’re not allowed to use the kitchen and that will really put a damper on my healthy eating plan. There’s only so many cold foods you can eat on a daily basis.

Anyways, that’s where my mind is today. It’s going to be a busy afternoon baking and hopefully helps to warm this place up! I’ll share some recipes later and some pictures if things turn out well.

I’m not ready for it to be winter yet!

Happy Monday!

Self-care goals: how to unwind after a bad day.

This is a repost. I think it’s good information to share every now and then. You can also read my post on The Art of Self-Care.

Just a short post today. It’s been a lousy few days. Tired. Stressed. And contemplating when things started heading south. Last month – things were amazing. But the past two weeks, since I got bronchitis, it seems like my whole world has come crashing down. And I’m not sure how to pull myself out of this funk.

So, I thought I’d share some tips on how I survive bad days like today – when it seems like the entire world is crashing around you all at once. Ever feel like you’re drowning and you can’t get out of the water? Yeah, that’s where we are today. I’ve sunken to a new low.

But then I’ll wake up tomorrow and it will be a new day. I’ll feel rested. And it will be a new day.

How do I cope on days like this? The routine isn’t all that complicated really. It’s pretty easy. Even you can do this.

Adult, Bath, Bathtub, Blur, Indoors, Leisure

Coping tips for really, really, bad days.

Make a nice hot cooked meal like my mum used to make.

It reminds me of her. There’s just something about the taste of a roast beef soaked in gravy, a side of roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes. Really. Nothing makes me feel like “home” more than this.

Watch animals and babies do funny things on YouTube

Watch dogs and cats doing silly things. Find funny videos of babies laughing. Laughing really is the best medicine. Also, watching people falling – video compilations. I shouldn’t love these as much as I do. But they really perk you up. Or maybe I’m just sadistic that way.

Reach out to a friend in need

Call a friend and chat with someone who is also going through a difficult time. Misery loves company. But sometimes you just need to vent to someone who understands. I did this when I got home. Had a good chat with a colleague and I feel a little better now. I’m not the only one going through a rough patch. We’ve all been there.

Find comfort – hot bath, soak in a hot tub or steam room

Having a warm bath with epsom salts really does work wonders on stress. Dim the lights. Bring out the candles. Lower yourself into the tub. Lean back with a water pillow. Put a facecloth over your eyes. And just relax. Block the rest of the world out. You deserve this.

Pour yourself a hot up herbal tea or a warm cup of cocoa

Polish the night off with a hot cup of Chamomile or Lemon tea. Chamomile is a herb that helps you wind down. It can also help you sleep. Fun fact – you can also use cool Chamomile tea for for a skin rinse. Not a tea drinker? No problem. A warm cup of cocoa can help. Add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg to top it off. A few marshmallow if you’re not on a diet – to sweeten the deal.

Shut the world out -with music

Sit back in your reclining or rocker chair. Your couch or bed will suffice. Grab your noise canceling headphones. Turn on your favorite movie. Close your eyes. Let the soothing sounds of an acoustic guitar or dreamy instrumentals take you to another world.

Tell me, what do you on when you have a bad day? How do you cope?

For me – it’s always going to be music. And on that note – I hear my bed calling my name.