It seems like years since we’ve been able to sit down and write a blog, connecting with our community again. So much has happened and it would take hundreds of blogs to catch you all up, so let’s start here.
We are parents!
We started dozens of posts to share so much from our pregnancy all the way until the birth of our child but life over the last 12 months has been a whirlwind, a time warp and a really beautiful but challenging time. All of those posts will be written, our birth story will be shared, but for now, we are sharing something really important.
Our sweet daughter, Macy J, was six weeks old when we started this blog post and in celebration of her first six weeks in our lives earth side we felt compelled to share a list of the most important baby items we have so valued in these first weeks. Bringing home a newborn baby for the first time is life changing and with that transition there are so many things that can make your baby’s (and your life) more comfortable and nurturing.
Of course, there were many comforts we offered our newborn and you’ll find the same to be true about yours as well. We felt the few we chose in the list below were the most important for us and we want to tell you why. Hopefully from our experiences you can make your own top list of newborn must haves and if you do, we’d love to hear about them!
Here we go! In no particular order:
This was our first major purchase – in fact, Macy’s grandparents ended up asking if they could purchase this amazing swing system for her! We found one barely used and in amazing condition on Facebook marketplace for less than half the price of a brand new one. We loved the idea of helping to reuse and recycle as well.
Parents and parents-to-be, this resource is invaluable for everything kiddo related so definitely look into Facebook Marketplace and give it a solid go. I can’t tell you how many hundreds and thousands of dollars we have saved for everything from Macy’s Mamaroo to clothes to dressers and more.
OK, back to the swing.
Think about your movements when you’re pregnant. Most swings move forwards and back and that’s about it. When I considered my own movements I found I always swayed side to side, never forward and back. I couldn’t make sense of how a forward and back motion would be comforting to my newborn so we dove in. The Mamaroo 4 has five different motions and five different speeds and also had a noise machine function! Oh, and for your convenience, Mamaroo also has a handy little app so you can control the whole thing right from your phone. We tried, both you and your spouse can control the same Mamaroo on your own respective apps on your own respective phones. Bonus. You know how some apps only let you have one registrant? Not Mamaroo!
For buying brand new, here is just one example of where you can find them (and you can choose your colour, too:
Don’t forget to check out your local Facebook marketplace to save yourself some money if you’re being frugal or really splurging on other items.
We spent a week in the hospital with five of those days in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) after Macy was born (once we have her whole birth story blog post written you will be able to read more about her stay and what happened). The nurses in the NICU used petroleum jelly on all of the babies’ bums. What we hadn’t anticipated was our baby being born sick and also that we wouldn’t be coming home right away. Macy’s diaper rash cream we had very carefully picked out to make sure we avoided using any toxins on her tiny vagina and bum was sitting on her change table at home in her nursery. Since there was no way we were leaving her side, we had to go without it and it really was a mistake.
Don’t be like us. Do not forgot to bring your carefully selected Seedlings Diaper Rash Cream with you in your hospital bag! You can find out more about it by clicking here.
Fast forward and Macy’s home living her best baby life now for weeks. While it hasn’t been anything crazy, after all she is only 6 weeks old now, Macy has had a few red spots on her bum. I barely put a tiny bit on my finger and dab her bottom – and before the spot can become a rash, it’s gone. Fast forward another couple of weeks now and Macy has had one diaper rash that her Seedlings Diaper Rash Cream cleared up overnight. It’s efficacy is important to us as mamas and consumers – but what’s especially important to me for my newborn is that I trust the plant based and clean ingredients list that makes up what I’m putting onto her most sensitive parts of her body. There are no hidden umbrella terms, like “fragrance”, what you see is what you get with this product and that’s why we have chosen this entire line only for our baby. And you can, too.
Seedlings Diaper Rash Cream, to share a few important points, is:
Bonus, we have been using a single tube since she was born and ten weeks later we still have plenty left!
Set up your free account and buy your Seedlings Diaper Rash Cream, or any of the other awesome Seedlings Baby products at 24% off head over to our team page.
A dear friend of ours came to visit us while I was still pregnant with Macy and her little one was about 3 months old at the time. Being the breastfeeding friendly home we are, she very openly fed her babe and showed us, eager-beaver-parents-to-be, all about this incredible invention called the Haakaa! Basically, you attach a 100% silicone cup to the boob you aren’t currently breastfeeding with while your baby nurses on the other. You squeeze the middle of the Haakaa as you press it over your nipple and allow the suction to slowly pull milk from you while your baby feeds away.
Having a supply of breastmilk on hand for daddy bonding time or for a lunch date out with friends or after a few glasses of wine – that’s a priceless thing. The Haakaa makes it simple and you avoid completely drenching that breastpad in your bra. Bonus!
I remember the first time I saw a wipe warmer and thought, “this is genius! Why wouldn’t I want to wipe by baby’s bum with a warm wipe instead of shocking her with a freezing cold one?”
Have you ever freshened up with a cold wipe? Armpit? Or even just your face? It sucks! Imagine being a brand new infant fresh from the womb without ever having even been touched before and now you’re being wiped with something so uncomfortably cold? That was a no brainer for us, we bought the Prince Lionheart wipes warmer immediately.
Now that Macy is here her change table is one of her favourite places. She has so much fun, kicks her feet like crazy. As soon as we lay her down she coos and laughs at he daddy and I. Sometimes this can be a be a place where babies are upset and we think this could be one of the reasons Macy associates her diaper change time as a happy time. We have only ever used wipes we’ve put in her wipes warmer and she’s been exactly as we’d hoped. Comfortable.
You can find a Prince Lionheart Wipes Warmer almost anywhere, head over to their website for more information! Their slogan aligns so perfectly with our mission for our newborn and yours, “Cold isn’t comfy”. We want our newborns to be as comfortable and happy as possible, and this is a product these two parents believe help to make their teensy lives just a little bit easier. I bet that’s something you can agree you want for your little, too.
When we were on the market for a noise machine we didn’t really know where to look – there are so many and none of them had more than one function or feature, it seemed. A lot of the toys looked tacky and we didn’t really want that for our daughter’s bedroom, either. We didn’t want it to look like a “baby’s” room. You know? We wanted furniture, blankets and decor to all have a little more longevity so she could enjoy her room for years down the line. We were also on the market for a night light that wasn’t too bright and a humidifier/cool mist diffuser. Voila, we are in Utah at the Young Living International Grand Convention last year and what do they release as a part of their brand new product line but the perfect combination of all three. Not tacky, not overly ‘baby’ and everything we wanted for less than we could have imagined spending on such a handy and very cute device. Feather the Owl diffuser also comes with Young Living’s Lavender essential oil, which is Health Canada Approved as a Natural Health Product.
Young Living’s Lavender essential oil in Aromatherpy can be used topically:
There isn’t a better priced sound machine out there with all of the features this one has! Macy will use her Feather The Owl diffuser for many years, too!
Feather The Owl’s little claws turn on the diffuser with just a tiny tap of your child’s finger and also change the colour of its belly from white to red, green, orange, yellow, blue, purple and pink before finally turning the light off completely. This feature is just enough light to function perfectly as a child’s night light for their room. You simply tap the middle claw on either owl foot, the right for colour preference and the left to turn on (and off) the diffuser portion.
That’s only two of the three most amazing features!
The noise machine portion, which makes the third and final feature, has two buttons at the back of the owl, one to turn on the noise machine function and also rotate through the sounds and one beautifully melodic songs and a second button to increase the volume.
Again, you can not beat the price of this all in one adorable kid’s diffuser, nightlight and noise machine PLUS it comes with a free bottle of lavender essential oil – you can not go wrong!
Check out the rest of the details about Feather The Owl Diffuser on our team page. Purchasing one of your own at a 24% discount is super easy and accounts, just like setting one up with amazon, are free and super simple. We couldn’t recommend a product without using it first and we’re so impressed Colin wants to purchase a second one so we can keep the one we already have going in our bedroom once Macy moves into her crib in her own room. Ha!
Hashtag #babywearing is the best! I have to admit, both Colin and I took to baby wearing a bit later than I thought we would. Maybe we were nervous? Macy still hates her actual carriers (Tula and Baby Bjorn) but mostly because she is a tiny girl and just doesn’t fit into them yet. However, her Cuddly Wrap is a stretchy wrap you tie snug around your body in different ways depending on how you want to carry your baby. Well, ours was gifted to us and meant for the colder months so it’s a nice and thicker fabric. Macy might have been just over a month old when I first tried baby wearing and while she fought it for a few minutes, Macy quickly fell asleep and I realized how much more efficient I could be with my nap hours in the day.
That being said, we were given a kangaroo baby wearing contraption during our NICU stay so Macy and I could sleep together in the recliner in our tiny (and shared) suite. It was the only way our nurses felt comfortable with Macy sleeping in my arms while I also slept – and I so appreciated it. Macy loved it then but we both outgrew it quickly. She didn’t love being as confined as the kangaroo made her feel so the Cuddly Wrap really did give us a little more wiggle room for her and I both to be comfortable.
It’s been many years Colin and I have put into researching the products we have in our homes. When we found out we were pregnant with Macy and having a pacifier for her I have to admit, I was really intimidated. How could anything on the market be safe enough for our child to quite literally have in her mouth for hours a day? Plastic was everywhere. Then we stumbled across Hevea and not only do they have amazing pacifiers but also teethers and toys. The natural rubber comes from a tree species called Hevea brasiliensis – how cool is that?!
Macy loves her pacifier and it came as such a relief to all three of us when she found it very comforting during her poor NICU stay and many hundreds of IV and needle pokes. These poor mama and daddy hearts couldn’t hardly get through those days but knowing she could rest just a little better with her Hevea pacifier made us feel just a little better. All these weeks later, she still finds great comfort in her paci.
At the end of the day if a product line is owned by a company that produces chemical laden products I can not trust their brand to be safe for my baby. The ever popular baby brands claim all sorts of things and we are quick to trust them at their word because our parents used the same brand and brand recognition is what keeps these companies alive. Except mamas and daddies are really starting to wake up to the honest truth. Not everything you see on your grocers shelves are safe for you.
What you put on your body is absorbed into your skin and bloodstream to be processed by your cells in the same way the food you put in your mouth is. When your body doesn’t recognize synthetic or dangerous chemicals, it doesn’t know what to do so it stores them in weird places. Traces get left behind in your body’s attempt to keep you safe but consistent exposure and accumulation of those chemicals cause harm to our bodies. There are only so many weird places to hide things before it makes you sick.
That main brand we think of when it comes to gentle baby washes is owned by companies that manufacture known carcinogenic chemical laden and harsh cleaners. That brand’s baby wash contains some pretty yucky stuff and in fact, their baby powder was just recalled for being very dangerous to babies. That is enough for me to skip right past the brand altogether, and to hope you will, too.
It’s time to move on, parents. We are able to make smarter decisions now because we know better. We didn’t know better before but now we can make sure our babies are not being exposed to unnecessary ingredients that can make them sick. We don’t have to use those harsh chemicals.
In our home we trust Seedlings Baby products because they are vegetarian, synthetic free, toxin free and oh so gentle. Our newborn has been using this brand since she was born and there won’t be another line in her rub a dub tub or her bloodstream.
Ok, when we first became pregnant any time I saw a baby whale I just melted. I think we both thought we were having a little boy and little boy décor is hard. (Choosing baby boy names is also insanely hard!) Instead of the nursery, I took up baby whales for items in the bathroom (with the exception of the adorable baby whale night light and stuffed animal gifts from a few great friends!). We have the cutest wash cloths and then, you guessed it, Facebook Marketplace popped up with an ad just down the street from where we live in West Kelowna, BC. Our baby’s whale tub cost us a whopping $5 and she absolutely loves it! There’s a small partition in the middle that helps to keep her sitting semi upright and a little cushion for a headrest. Again – reuse and recycle. Once Macy grows out of it, likely in the next few weeks, we’ll do exactly the same.
We actually had a few friends tell us not to bother with a tub because they grow out of them so quickly but for $5 we really couldn’t go wrong. Now that Macy is 10 weeks old we have to say, even at $25 it would have been a wise investment. It was important to us that our babe love being in the water and having a baby bathtub has helped us to show Macy how fun bath time can be! She also really loves that this is her special time with daddy (and sometimes mama comes to play, too!).
Preferences may vary depending on the person and circumstances around your birth. It really didn’t ever occur to me that we would need to have a c section which actually made me regret buying this pillow in the beginning. I couldn’t put any pressure on my belly at all even when Macy was tiny and just born. It wasn’t until more than a month postpartum that I was able to try using the Breast Friend pillow with her for the first time and it made such a difference. I immediately felt terrible for having to try and find comfortable ways for her to lay down while I attempted to get her close enough to me. Breastfeeding is a challenge!
One of Colin’s friends reached out to him when we were first pregnant and said something that truly hit home when he said it and again when Macy was first born. He said, “breastfeeding is like two people learning how to ride a bicycle at the same time”. Neither of us knew what we were doing or how to help the other one out. When your baby is so tiny, you’ve had major surgery and you end up in the NICU (more on our full birth story coming soon) it’s even more stressful because nurses are on you 24/7 to watch you feed, show you better techniques, count your ounces, weigh your baby’s diaper, poke your baby’s heel for blood samples to test sugar levels and I remember all I wanted to do was cry because I didn’t know how to hold my daughter right with all of these wires and IV’s attached to her.
The first time I felt calm feeding her was that very first time this pillow didn’t hurt me. I can’t even remember if she was actually hungry and cuing for food, I just remember trying the pillow and it being comfortable so I picked Macy up and laid her down on it. She latched immediately and her body felt loose and cozy. Different. I felt relieved.
And you know what? This was another one of those Facebook Marketplace finds! I think I spent $10 or $15 recycling it from another mama who wasn’t using hers anymore.
It is challenging as you are transitioning from prenatal to postpartum. Mamas and daddies, it’s ok to not be ok, but if we can help it you won’t be completely unprepared! Learning the cues from your darling, sweet baby just for feeds, changes, snuggles and sleep is enough for new parents, so hopefully by creating this blog and sharing some of our huge wins with our own darling, sweet baby you feel supported and better prepared. Thank you for reading all the way through and if we’ve offered advice you really appreciate, we’d love to know. Is there something not on our list you think we should know about? Send us an email! Or maybe you just love being a parent and you need to tell us all about it? Ya, fire that off to us, too!
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We are so happy to have our very first guest post from someone important to our community. Sabrina has just finally received her certification in becoming a yoga instructor and we’re so humbled and proud of her accomplishments. In celebration, we wanted to share one of her amazing stories from her time in her teacher training with you, straight from the horses mouth.
So humbled. So blessed. We are so lucky to know this amazing human being. To travel this world of yoga this with amazing human being. To share her with all of you amazing human beings.
After being in business together for nearly two and a half years, I think it’s safe to say that we can offer some solid advice about working with your spouse full and part time. You’ll no doubt have different working styles and require different things in your space in order to be creative and productive. Quirks come out that you did not even know about your honey, and some of them will drive you absolutely mad. Sometimes, every once in a super blue blood moon (which is apparently happening January 31st for the first time in 150 years!), they even do something super cute that makes you fall in love with them. Sometimes. Rare, but be optimistic.
Colin loves to listen to music and, well, I need it to be super quiet when I am writing – which I am typically doing most of the time. We had to find a balance that worked well for both of us to be working from home, 100% of the time without disturbing the other all day long. But this post isn’t about the petty little annoyances that were truly few and far between…
Working alongside your spouse in business is a gift. In the last two and a half years we have learned so much about ourselves, about each other and about how to seamlessly stand beside one another to truly be the best versions of ourselves as possible. We’re better humans, better life partners and much better business partners because we embraced this incredible opportunity. Here are the top five amazing reasons to go into business with your spouse.
Being a part of the ins and outs of your business venture together means not only can you anticipate a successful period, you can also fully celebrate it together. You don’t have to go home and talk to your partner about people they don’t know and challenges that you faced with other strangers while trying to portray how really cool this time is. You were both in the trenches, you both know the battles fought and won. You both know the lengths everyone went to. You’ll celebrate even more because of it.
Celebrating what you have accomplished together as a husband and wife team (or a boyfriend and girlfriend team, or a wife and wife team, or a partner and partner team, etc) is powerful for a couple. It is empowering, sexy, exhilarating, triumphant and it brings you even closer together as friends, confidants and life partners. A huge step forward in your business is always a huge step forward together in all ways. Working hard together in business always translates to establishing a closer, more resilient bond in your marriage.
It can be difficult to support your partner through work issues when you’re not really a part of, or understand, all of the dynamics involved. Being business partners allows you the opportunity to really fully see the whole spectrum. Supporting your partner during the more strenuous times is much easier because you’re present, you know your partner well and you can see their perspective, and often that of others. You are just as invested in the success of your business as your partner is and the dedication you have to ensuring that the obstacles and challenges are met with determination will only mean you’ll get through it together, better than you would on your own.
Having your own business can be pretty tricky sometimes, and so can marriage. We’re not here to promote perfection, but a more positive portrayal of what happy marriage life can and often does look like. If you can learn to reach for one another’s hand and march on no matter what, neither of you will accept anything less. There is nothing that you can not face.
You won’t ever wake up one day and realize that you have done all of this growing and your partner is not in the same place as you have found yourself. Or worse, that you both did so much growing but unfortunately in completely opposite directions. You hear about this often in failed marriages, and in the business world. When you are both working towards the same goals and the business is dependent on your cohesive partnership, well shit! You gotta be the best damn duo out there. And let me tell you something, if you make your marriage and your business THE priority, your marriage and your business will both be successful. There is no other option.
You and your partner see the world differently, no matter the similarity in goals and passions. You compliment each other, but you differ in likes and dislikes, you connect with people on different levels and opposite topics. One of you has more patience, another has a much better eye for details. This is the most brilliant aspect of married folk getting into business together. You don’t have to compete, because you complete each other in these ways. It’s why you were attracted to one another in the first place. You are a good match, the puzzle pieces fit. You compliment one another. Of course if this is true in marriage it would be true in the workplace, too.
Like all good things, this will take work, effort, communication, love and compassion.
Even when you don’t recognize it, your partner will know when it’s time to step in and give you a break. And also force you to take one when you just don’t have that off switch they keep telling you about. Flip what? What switch? Am I right?
Your partner knows your greatest talents and your limitations and is always willing to meet you, help you, encourage you. How can this not be a huge positive in your business? This is an amazing opportunity to support each others’ qualities and learn new skills together. What’s amazing about this last point is that you have the opportunity to truly become better people, developing new skills and new perspectives together every single day.
Growing a business together is one of the most amazing adventures we have been on together yet. We ebb and flow, we lean on one another, sometimes we surprise each other and sometimes you miscommunicate, too. You learn to use these happenstances as tools, rather than fuel for an argument. You have constructive conversations instead of screaming matches. You learn much more effective communication skills. You can feel each other’s next move before it is made.
There are days when we drive each other into the madness, this blog isn’t all rainbows and puppies. However, we have grown light years from where we would have been without the expectations put on us because we chose to join together also in becoming leaders of a team of people who depend on us. Our network marketing business might just be the very best thing we could have done for our marriage, our future and, ultimately, our retirement.
We’re still so young in both aspects of marriage and business partnership, really. Today we have been together for 6 years and 4 months, married 2 years and 5 months. Our road has not always been easy but we have most certainly come to understand, like Colin’s Dad has told us,
“You two can not be apart! Nothing good happens when you’re away from each other”. – Colin McArthur Senior
I can’t imagine this journey without Colin because there is no one I’d rather tackle everything in this life with. We get to experience quite literally everything together and neither of us would have it any other way.
Colin here 🙋♂️
The last month has been one hell of a roller-coaster ride. We experienced something that we often hear about in our industry for the very first time. Something that we’ve worked so hard for and thought would have happened a long time ago.
Our business blew up! And not how we expected
Let’s back it up for a second…
October was a terrible month for us. The worst its been in 12 months. Tonia and I participated in a vendor event out in Calgary that we thought was going to be a big deal for our business. We participated in the Body, Spirit and Soul Expo where we were lead to believe that tens of thousands of people would be gathering. We thought this would be a massive opportunity for us! We’d be crazy not to go!
We took a week off from our day jobs, drove the 8 hrs from Peachland to Calgary, we spent over $500 just to be at this event…we even had Young Living give us 50 kits because we we’re so damn sure that we would sell every last one of them.
We sold one! 😭
The event was dead. There was maybe 1500 people that walked through the event over the course of 3 days. At one point I witnessed two vendors hugging while one lady weeped and said ‘I cant afford to loose money this weekend’
It was a flop…
So we tucked tail and came home upset at the failure and a little unsure of what to do next. How is it possible that after all this time we are still struggling to make this work? Needless to say the first few days home were hard on both Tonia and I.
Then something happened…
Our direct up line leader and good friend was gunning for a new rank. Similar to our circumstance, she had been stuck at one rank for a little over 2 years and just couldn’t get past it. But through grit and determination she was able to push through and was now so close. We were the last pillar that needed to up its game otherwise she wouldn’t get there. The pressure was on!
It was in this pressure situation that we discovered something about our team. Something that makes me incredibly proud of every single one of them. Once everyone knew that we were the final team needed to make this happen people began to band together. In one week we sold more than we sell in a month. It was wild! Tonia keenly observed that our people have always wanted to help others and this was their opportunity. She said ‘Look, we have a team of humanitarians’
Not only did we hit the goal, we exceeded it! It was one of the best feelings I’ve had since we began this journey and something I will remember as a milestone. The month that we helped our up line achieve a LIFE CHANGING rank.
What’s better is that we now have a team who believes in themselves and who is working extra hard. There is a buzz in Team ESOS and it’s here to stay!
I recently caught one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s video’s where he discussed the importance of using gratitude and empathy as a strategy for marketing yourself, your brand and just your own personal happiness. It’s advice that resonated with me and something that I would like to be better at. Given the events of late this seems like a good time to practice!
1️⃣ I am grateful for my wife who works her cute little french butt off every single day so we can have a life only imaginable in dreams.
2️⃣ I am grateful for the amazing women that are doing the same for themselves and their families
3️⃣ I am grateful to all the people who I have not yet met who will also want to change their lives in ways only imaginable in dreams
4️⃣ I am grateful for my mental and physical health
1️⃣ I am empathetic to the people on my team that are still learning and growing in ways that are uncomfortable, challenging, embarrassing and hard.
2️⃣ I am empathetic that not everyone will hustle/grind/bust their butts at a high level
3️⃣ I am empathetic to the fact that I will not grow as fast as some. In fact its imperative that Tonia and I grow more thoughtfully and intentionally so we can help support others be the ones who made it to the top in a short amount of time
4️⃣ I will be empathetic to myself when I fail as a leader/coach/mentor. I am still learning and will not always have the answers.
The last month has been wild (Tonia has been practicing replacing the word crazy with the word wild…thought I’d give it a try)
Stick with it, stay grateful, empathetic, hard working and disciplined. Why?
…because you just never know when It’s your time
Both Colin and I have been diving into our own spirituality a lot more lately. For myself, it’s been about reaching back into my past and uncovering or revisiting the woman I was becoming before influences of peers and noise redirected my path in another direction. As a young woman, pre teens and all throughout my teenage years, I was fascinated with astrology and spirituality. I also read many a Silvia Brown book back in my day, so curious about mediums and their ideas in relation to past, and even future lives. My intuition as a child was magical, but I also didn’t really understand it very well so at times it was a bit scary to me.
I don’t really remember exactly when I put all of this away. It must have happened gradually. Looking back, I can’t be upset about all of the time in between, but I can be grateful that my path led me back. Recently I’ve been finding myself very attracted to all things, put very affectionately, witchy. I want all of the crystals and stones, I am finding myself reading and studying my Tarot cards nearly everyday, and tonight I made my own smudge kit with fresh rosemary from my friend’s garden. What I would typically do is ignore those attractions and say things like, “not right now”. However, lately the magnetic force to these things is so strong that I just can’t ignore it anymore. I’m quite literally being pulled so hard towards these things that you can sometimes find me with my face smooshed up against books about something witchy trying desperately not to look so I don’t fall in love. That magnet is humungous.
I am connecting with groups of people who are all loving the same things as me and in these groups I am totally, 100%, unfiltered, raw me. The more I spend time in there, the more I am 100% unfiltered, raw me all of the time, everywhere.
All of these things make me really happy. They excite me. Why? I thought about this on the drive home from Vancouver today with a giant bag of freshly harvested rosemary from Geoff’s patio garden that he’d put aside for me. I’m slowly figuring out my own language again, awakening my intuition and following my heart. Decision making isn’t a painstaking process anymore because I’m developing this complete trust in myself – when you dig this deep, you heal some real shit you don’t recognize is way down at the root!
Relationships and friendships are stronger and better connected now. Intentions are always so good. I feel full almost all of the time, but in a good way. My interactions with people are kinder, more loving and to my surprise (and anyone who has known me for more than five minutes), I actually have a tiny bit (let’s not get wild over here) of patience. Now that is progress.
So now I have an entire kitchen table full of rosemary drying out, which will be used in some amazing winter cooking and I’ll probably make a few more rosemary smudge sticks. Colin and I actually put sage & rosemary essential oils (which we buy from Young Living) in our bedroom every night, which actually helps me to sleep. Both herbs are helpful with promoting healthy liver function – and if you’ve been following along with my personal health & spiritual journey, you’d know that one of my favourite people is my friend and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner. We work a lot to release energies that seem to get stuck in my liver and gallbladder area, which manifests into digestive issues if I am not staying ahead of it.
So, the last few years, what I’ve actually been doing is basically a complete detox of my humanness. After the purge, while we were getting ready to The Beach House in October, a lot changed. There wasn’t as much clutter, which offered some space and room to make better decisions. To connect with myself. To have far more highs than lows. To make time in my day to wrap fresh rosemary into a smudge stick from the garden of one of my favourite friends after taking my husband on a day trip to Vancouver to see one of his favourite musicians for his birthday.
Tonight, reflecting on all of this, I feel so calm. Nothing about my life has ever been calm before. There has only ever been chaos. Who knew that it would be spices and smoke that would help to bring me back to this, with wide outstretched and loving arms, peace.
Also, now I have Cinders & Smoke stuck in my head because of the title of this blog. Now maybe you will, too!
Generally speaking when discussing food and nutrition you will hear that the more simple you can make things the better. This makes total sense when referring to things like picking the ingredients for a banana bread recipe or looking at the ingredients on the back of a box. But sometimes simple is not always best.
Simply put, a carbohydrate is an energy source from your food that comes from starch, cellulose and sugar. Carbs are a necessary part of your diet as they assist in providing fuel for both your body and your brain. Without carbs your body will begin to look for energy sources elsewhere (fat and protein reserves) This process is called Ketosis and is the basis for diets such as the Atkins diet or a Ketogenic diet. The basis of these diets (or fasts) is to deprive your body of carbohydrates which will force you into pulling from fat reserves and voila, you’re thin!
However there’s a reason why these diets have proven to be problematic over the years. First and most importantly is that they do not set you up to have a long and healthy life. They are not teaching lifestyle changes, they are quick fixes to problems that will eventually come back up again. As an example, starving yourself from carbs will inevitably cause cravings. A craving is just a guilt word that we use when your body is in need of some form of nutrition. Do you have sugar cravings? Changes are you don’t need sugar, you need a healthy source of fuel (aka complex carbhydrates).
Secondly, when you deprive yourself of necessary nutrition your bodies natural reaction will be to slow down your metabolism. Your metabolism slows down because your body thinks you are starving and instinctively holds onto food because it doesn’t know when the next nutrient rich meal will be. If you lower your metabolism on a Ketonic diet and then return to life as normal chances are you will gain a lot of weight, and fast! Other health problems of these types of diets include high cholesterol as they encourage higher fat intake for fuel. The problem with that is that most people do not get their fat from healthy sources.
Lastly and most simply you are malnourishing your body. Fat, protein, carbs, sugars, starches, trans fats, cholesterol, etc, etc. Your body needs it all. The goal is not to deprive but to find healthy substitutes, get them from the best sources possible, and listen to your body. Your body knows better than anyone!
Simply put 🤓, a complex carbohydrate is a natural food source that is comprised of a long chain of simple carbs (three or more) linked together. Complex carbs contain things like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants or fiber. Because there is lots for your body to breakdown your will not experience a sudden spike in blood sugar rather a more sustained or continuous energy level through the day. Additionally, you are feeding your body essential vitamins and minerals which aid your body to perform optimally! You could eat all the kale in the world but if you are not absorbing the nutrients effectively then you will not be as healthy as you could be, also you’ll have a pretty dull diet!
Some good sources of complex carbohydrate foods are:
A simple carbohydrate is a food with only a few sugar molecules linked together. Simple sugars are present in both natural and processed foods. Natural foods that contain simple sugars are fruits, vegetables and milk. However, these foods still contain vitamins and minerals which still makes them much better for you. Because these foods are simple carbohydrates they will give you a quick spike in energy.
Some good sources of simple sugars are:
The issue with simple carbohydrates is when they are used in processed foods. Specifically when the sugars are chemically extracted from their original food source and used as sweeteners or masking agents in food. Because these foods do not contain much if any nutritional value they are often referred to as ’empty calories’ as they provide your body with nothing more than calories. The source of sugar for these foods comes from high fructose corn syrup which has been showing to be very bad for you
High fructose corn syrup is an industrial food product and far from “natural” or a naturally occurring substance. The sugars are extracted through a chemical enzymatic process resulting in a compound called High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Regular cane sugar (sucrose) is made of two-sugar molecules bound tightly together– glucose and fructose in equal amounts. The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are then absorbed into the body. High Fructose Corn Syrup also consists of glucose and fructose, not in a 50-50 ratio, but a 55-45 fructose to glucose ratio in an unbound form.
Since there is there is no chemical bond between them, no digestion is required so they are more rapidly absorbed into your blood stream. Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol) this is why it is the major cause of liver damage in the U.S is a condition called “fatty liver” which affects 70 million people. The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin–our body’s major fat storage hormone. Both these features of high fructose corn syrup lead to many health issues, some of which are very serious and irreversible.
Some sources of foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup:
T & C
Freedom, by definition, means to have the ability to think, do and speak without being stifled or held back in any way.
How can we get clear on what freedom really is? Thinking about the definition, it truly reflects all that we are able to do as a physical human, except sometimes the answers we offer for what freedom means, we include material things or even money. To truly feel free, we would be able to speak freely, act freely, think freely. There is quite a lot of responsibility wrapped up in that idea.
So what is required of us, as humans, before we can achieve freedom?
Here are my three thoughts on the Responsibilities (or laws) of Freedom.
We must take great care in the thoughts we think, the words we choose to use and the actions we take. Before we can do this, we must become aware, more compassionate people. Freedom, as suggested in the definition above, requires us to do no harm, even though it isn’t really suggested. In plain language, it is required of me to be the best version of myself, and that, my friends, is a constant and continuous work in progress.
You read. A lot. You find mentors who have come before you that have already taken the steps necessary to get to where you want to go. You absorb information and then regurgitate it. Colin has recently started what he is dubbing his Growth Journal. Why is this important? For one, I think it allows you to taste how the words feel coming out of your own mouth, or in Colin’s case, and mine right now, through our fingertips and onto our blog space. You begin to understand your own emotions and thoughts better when they’re staring back at you. Some of your best aha moments are in discussion with wise friends, and other times in discussion with your wise self.
Making progress means turning inward and reflecting on the ideas you had, and then interpreting other people’s ideas that are both the same and different from yours. When you have a bigger picture, or a more worldly, or more Universal view, you have a much better grasp of how everything you do affects everything around you. You say less, but you mean more. You soften. You’re more thoughtful. You seek more often than you speak. So when you do have something to say, it’s naturally more eloquent and kind.
I think of Freedom Of Speech, as you might have too, and I can think of numerous times where that ‘freedom’ is not always used for good. Freedom of speech shouldn’t be meant to harm others, if it does, you’re encroaching on the freedom of others, which is not living with the intention of being free. You can’t have something at the expense of someone or something else. That is exchange, not freedom. (An interesting thought….)
So, when you’re doing the work to becoming the best version of yourself, some pain will come up, some grieving will happen, some confusion will arise. Accept them all for what they are, write about them, and keep going. Meditate. Observe them rather than feel them. Go to a hot yoga class with the intention of understanding one of these areas better. Start a blog, or write a new post about a revelation you’ve had, like when I wrote about my coming to terms with the fact that I’d have to become estranged from my mother in order to live, Leave Your Suitcase At The Door.
Freedom does not come after a wish upon a shooting star or the blown seeds of a dandelion. To achieve freedom, there is work.
Recently, Colin and I sold everything we own, with the exception of our guitars, about two dozen books, our computers, a 96 bottle wine rack (that has got to go soon, we were going to buy a house and have a cellar, but that seems to be more like a 10 year plan instead of a 3 year plan now), our essential oils & diffusers and of course, our clothes. We literally created an abundance of space.
However, this space is both physical and emotional. Our things, these inanimate objects, had taken on value that had been weighing on us, mostly me. I’d given my couch set the value of my independence, ironically giving away my independence completely. Selling those couches stirred up emotions of inadequacy. Insecurity. Would I still be an independent woman without my couches?
Well the short answer, is OBVS! How ridiculous, right? Except, we all have done this. Something we have purchased at a time of significance can take on the responsibility of representing an emotion to you. I thought that my couches represented the truth that I was, indeed, an independent woman. What I had failed to do was the create space for understanding why, first, I needed to have proof that I was an independent woman, and second, why I needed to attach myself to that thought.
I needed to go back and do the work!
Next thing, was to understand that feeling successful and independent is important to me, so my new space would have to be created in order to allow me to express, seek and talk through my ideas about success. I began to talk openly about this on my social media pages, telling my story and receiving information back from other people who could put themselves in my shoes. My people were getting me. I was not alone.
So I kept creating space. Creating this space meant to be open to a discussion about anything and removing the emotion to become an observer. Talking about something with other people who can offer more information, a new narrative besides the one in your own head. Create space so that you have more of it to allow you the room to grow. Release what isn’t serving you anymore, which includes a bunch of couches you don’t need (we moved into a fully furnished beach house, if you’re just joining us here on our blog!).
In order to be free, to feel truly free, you have to remember to always be creating new space. Everyone’s space with be created differently!
The most important responsibility, is to keep doing, to continue to seek love and information. To keep learning, growing, expanding, purging, cleaning up, creating space, meditating, moving forward, sharing, being vulnerable, being of service.
Read. Not novels, those too, but I mean really read. Seek new information, other peoples’ opinions. Schedule ZOOM or Skype dates, or phone calls with people you’ve connected with that inspire you. We live in an age where anyone is accessible! Take advantage of that and ask a new person in your life what their take is on something you’re working on. Ask for advice. and then when you’re ready, remove what you don’t need and keep what you do to make it your own. Always take an inventory of your thoughts, your surroundings, your materials things, your vocabulary and your relationships. What is serving you? And what isn’t?
Being on the other side of worry, regret, and guilt from everything – truly understanding, or becoming to understand, what your reactions, thoughts, ideas, actions, words are all motivated by, creates an awareness that opens up an infinite space. I call this intuition. You learn to trust yourself in a way that gives you peace. You trust your first thought and go with it, because you’ve done the work in removing all self-doubt. You’ve created the space for intuitive thinking. You’re taking action that will move you forward without a second thought. This is freedom.
And when you can harness these three responsibilities, opportunities are absolutely everywhere, and you’ll recognize them, because you are aware of them at every turn. You see yourself differently, but you also see others and the world differently. You no longer blame, you only experience. You’ll fall down a few times here and there, we’re human. So, you start back at number one and get back to work.
When you live in a freedom mindset, you can live anywhere and do anything you desire.
We do. You can, too.
Welcome to the first of what will be a long series of blogs from me. The intention behind this series will be for several reasons. First will be to treat this as a journal for myself and my thoughts. I’ve discovered the joys of blogging and found that in doing so I have begun to really understand the chaos that is in my head. Second is to hold myself accountable to continue to grow in all the ways that I know I need to. Third, is to hopefully inspire and help others who are looking to accomplish some of the same things.
I’ve been reading lately. I am not much of a reader. In fact, I think I may have read about a dozen books over the course of my life. Seriously! I’ve never really been interested in literature and if I do read I find my eyes becoming too heavy to read more than two pages in a row. To make matters worse, If I am able to make it a few pages in I often forget what I just read. My comprehension is crap!
I’m not entirely sure where it has come from but I’ve been feeling compelled to read lately. But not stories of fiction or history or the classics. I am reading self development books. Maybe its the muse inside me or my desire to find a mentor through the new phases of my life but whatever it is I am really enjoying it and want to keep the momentum going.
I am currently working through John C. Maxwell’s The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. When I opened the book I began reading the introduction and on the very first page I read something that struck me. Mr.Maxwell began by discussing unfulfilled potential…
My friend Florence Littauer, a speaker and author, wrote a story in her book Silver Boxes about her father, who always wanted to be a singer but never was. She says he dies with the music still inside of him. That’s an apt description of unfulfilled potential. Not reaching your potential is like dying with the music still inside of you.
Maybe it’s the musician in me or maybe it’s just the time in my life, but I don’t want to die with the music inside of me.
The first chapter discusses being intentional about your growth. Perhaps this is another reason I chose to begin this series of blogs. If I was to understand the chaos in my head further and intentionally grow why not combat one of my weaknesses (accountability and consistency) with one of my strengths (blogging and using technology)
One of the exercises is to identify what he calls your ‘growth gaps’ There are 7 gaps that hold people back from making decisions necessary for growth. They are as follows:
*I am guilty of the ones highlighted
Now that I am aware of the gaps I am better equipped to deal with them when they come up. As an example, I’ve been saying for a long time that I wanted to begin a more movement based fitness routine. Similar to the teachings of Ido Portal or GMB Fintess. However I’ve been saying ‘After I’ve done a little more research on the movements then I’ll start it. Also I’ll be better equipped to start it when I move into the new house’ Right in that statement alone I was guilty of both the Knowledge Gap and the Timing Gap.
The next thing is to create a growth calendar. If you do not plan your growth how do you expect to grow. By doing this simple exercise I was able to identify that I have about 29 hrs per week of potential growth time (outside of my regular work). Imagine all the things you could do for yourself with an extra 29 hrs per week?!
There are 4 areas that I want to grow in:
Each one of these categories can be broken down into sub categories which I will get into more detail in later blogs. Now that I know the 4 areas that I want to improve upon I can easily cross reference my monthly work schedule. Below is how the month of October looks for me:
After spending an evening developing my schedule I printed it up and put it on the fridge! Now every morning I can double check exactly what I have to do for the day. It’s perfect!
I wear an activity tracker on my wrist that tells me how many hours per day I sit, stand, walk, and even lie down. Its very helpful and insightful and holds me accountable to my daily activities. The feature that I love the most is that it also acts as a pedometer. I’m really not sure why but I love understanding how many steps I take per day. I got’s to get my steps in!
Here is the read out of the last 2 days of my life…
What on earth would posses me to take 22,690 steps over the course of 2 days HALF of which are up or down stairs? So many stairs that both Tonia and I are practically limping around with sore calve muscles?
For the last 2 days Tonia and I have been in the depths of what could be the most important thing we have ever done in our life. We’re moving! I know what you’re thinking. ‘Whoopty Doo you’re moving!’
This move is more than just a change in homes. This move is everything that we have been working towards for the last 2 years. This is a new beginning to everything about us. On top of it all, it’s my 36th birthday.
This was the view that I was greeted to today…
If you’ve been following us over on Facebook then you will know some of our story and how we got here. If you haven’t then you better get your ass over there cause you’ve got some catching up to do!
Those 22,690 steps that I was talking about earlier are representative of all the hard work and dedication we’ve put into our life. Every step away from the old is a step towards the new. But here’s the thing, you have full control over which direction you move in.
I recognize that there are some people with certain health conditions or circumstances that may make things more challenging but lets assume for arguments sake that you are born in Canada or the US, have your health and a decent head on your shoulders. I would argue that you are in full control of your life. Having full control of your life means you are FULLY responsible for where you are, what you believe, who you hang out with, everything. Not your parents, not your friends, not your boss, not even your god. You chose the life you live. And every decision and step you take moves you closer, or in some cases further away from the things you want.
If you’re anything like me, when making a big decision in life there can be uncertainty or doubt. I’ve been spending some time exploring having faith in my decisions and the power that comes with it. I’ve begun to notice the more I trust myself and have faith that what I am doing is best for me, the better things are becoming. But the word faith has and to some degree still does have some weight to it that doesn’t feel quite right.
Successful people don’t make the right decisions, they make their decisions right – Elliot Hulse
I feel like the word faith can take on two meanings. One in a religious sense and another in more of a ‘everything will work out’ sense. Personally, I’ve struggled with this word on both sides of the coin.
I grew up religious, have gone through some of the sacraments in Catholicism and realized at a young age that this was not a world I wanted to be apart of. This is not intended to be a religious discussion but just so you understand my point of view I do not identify with religion at all. Nor do I believe that ‘God’ has a plan or has a say in how we live our lives. I do however believe that if there is a ‘God’ that his role is to put opportunities in front of you, but its your job to act upon them.
I’ve always felt like that cliche interview with the professional athlete thanking ‘God’ for his or her achievements is so insulting to the hard work that person put into their life. ‘God’ wasn’t responsible for that persons success, ‘God’ may have put the opportunity in front of him but in the end he chose to do something about it.
Second is the ‘everything will work out’ angle. I’ve always had a cloud of worry or what if hanging over me my entire life. I have an acquaintance who refers to this as the ‘Hag In The Attic‘ I’m not sure where that comes from but like I said before if I am responsible for every aspect of my life that would also including my beliefs, mindset and evicting the hag that lives in my attic.
There’s a great quote from Jim Rohn that states ‘We need to give thought, but we also need to take action. You need to dream without just being a dreamer‘ I like this because for years I was the dreamer that he spoke of. I sat in my home dreaming of all the great things in life that I didn’t have wondering why I didn’t have them. The answer was so simple…take action and have faith that it will all work out!
When I began living on purpose I struggled with ‘How do I know what I am doing is right?’ I think like most people I wanted reassurance and validation that my actions we’re moving me forward. The interesting thing about this was as I became more ‘aware’, or as the cool kids call it AWOKE, I began to understand that I was receiving reassurance and validation the whole time, but not in ways I was attuned to.
One of the laws of the world seems to be ‘When you do what you’re supposed to be doing life becomes more available to you‘ Have you ever wondered why some people seem to live so effortlessly? Life just seems to hold doors open for them, hand them some champagne and then slap them on the butt as they walk through!
For the last several years Tonia and I have struggled greatly, both personally and professionally. There were many signs being put in front of us daily that we stubbornly disregarded as something ‘we have to work through this before it will get better’ We were receiving daily signs such as stress in my body, unhappiness, confusion, frustration, more bad days than good days, the day job where promised work was not being followed through, a house that was cursed, everything! The world screaming at us that where we were was not where we were meant to be.
Fast forward to today
Now that I am thoughtful to every situation in life being a potential sign things are processed much differently. I continually ask myself ‘why did that happen?’ in any situation good or bad. The self awareness and discovery is amazing. Also, since we have moved into this new home some pretty spectacular things have been happening. All of which are IMMEDIATE!
Here’s a few things that happened on our first day here:
Some people might look at these things and think ‘That’s just a coincidence’ I completely disagree. This is life opening up with more easy because we are supposed to be doing what we are doing.
It should be this easy…
PS – I found the cover photo after I wrote this entire blog. It was the first image that I found when searching for images…there are always signs!
Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future – Dan Pena
Unbeknownst to me I had begun this process years before I heard this statement. I had a circle of friends that I had hung out with since I was 16 years old. We did EVERYTHING together…which to be fair was mostly partying. As I got older and some unfortunate drama occurred in my life I was forced to question the relationships that I kept. It was hard for me to trust anyone and worst of all I was becoming a shell of the person I used to be. I was constantly approval seeking from them and I felt alone in their company. Worst of all it was taking a huge toll on my relationship with Tonia.
We often hear about the importance of cleaning up the food we eat or the products we use or maybe even the mindset that we have but I find it rare that you hear about cleaning up the relationships that you keep. Maybe its because its controversial or maybe its because sometimes, as in the case with Tonia, you have to say goodbye to family. It is however, in my opinion, the most important step to take if you are striving for more in life.
I want to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you go and tell all your friends and family to take a hike. If you are happy and content with your life then you’ve won as far as I am concerned. This message is for those that are unhappy with their circumstances and want to do something to move forward.
Here’s a quick tip: surround yourself with the people you want to be like. Its that easy!
For Tonia and I it was simple. We want to be business professionals and online marketers. We want to be influencers and mentors. We want to have extraordinary experiences and deep relationships.
The world is so well connected these days that meeting people has never been easier. You can connect with people on Facebook groups, forums, blogging communities (hello all my new friends!) its literally endless
For me I wanted a mentor! I wanted someone who would take me under their wing and help guide me through my shit. Problem was I didn’t actually know of anyone. Then one day I realized that there are so many people teaching online that I could just connect with them. There are also so many online influencers to follow and mentor myself with that I don’t even necessarily need to be friends with them for their thoughts to rub off on me. Ill give you an example:
Remember that quote at the beginning of this blog? That statement was made by Dan Pena. They call Dan the 50 Billion Dollar man because he has helped coach other businessmen into acquiring an estimated 50 Billion Dollars in wealth. Dan accredits a large part of his success to his no bullshit, militaristic style of coaching. He yells, swears, makes people cry, sometimes even slaps his mentees. Yup, he actually puts his hands on you if he thinks you need it.
Dan gives most if not all of his coaching away for free except for one specialized coaching program. The cost is upwards of $20,000 and he will fly you out to Guthrie Castle (Yes, Dan lives in a castle). The intention is to have you touch, see, smell and experience opulence at a level that you have never known before with the hopes that this will rub off on you. While this sort of lifestyle is not for everyone the methodology makes complete sense.
He is loud, super aggressive, very alpha male and something that I am not. I am quiet, shy, meek, not opinionated and well…a door mat. And its because of these traits that I had been taken advantage of my whole life. Its how I lost those friends that I spoke of earlier. I was betrayed and made a fool right in front of all of them but because I was so weak they knew they could do it to me. I needed to learn more assertiveness and have self respect in order to get closer to the life that I wanted. So, I started mentoring myself through Dan’s teachings and words!
I listened to every interview I could find of Dan’s. I read every book or blog of his that I could find. I immersed myself in all of his work for a good 8 months as to absorb the parts of his personality that I wanted for my own. Something pretty amazing began to happen…people started treating me with more respect.
Its amazing how things change when you become more self respectful and assertive. I think I confused assertiveness with aggression. Being assertive raises the bar for yourself and the things you want out of life. Aggression is throwing a temper tantrum when you don’t get those things or are met with challenges along the way. As an example: one of the ‘rules’ that I have set forth for myself and others is that I do not disrespect someones time and I also expect that in return. If I have a phone call scheduled or a meeting scheduled for 10 am then that meeting or phone call begins promptly at 10 am. Not 9:59 and not 10:01. Another great quote (I can’t even remember where I heard it from) is ‘you are either on time, or you are late!’
I’ve actually cancelled meetings with people because they were 5 minutes late. Yea, I could have brushed it off and just sat down with them anyways but by allowing that sort of behaviour to be acceptable you are setting a standard. The funny thing is once I made it clear I do not accept tardiness people started showing up on time. Assertive…not aggressive! This is just one of the MANY lessons that I have learned through my online self mentoring. I wont show up for meetings late, so you best not either!
More on this topic later…