Warning Sign

Warning! Deep Holes. Dangerous Current. Slippery rocks.

Ya, but that view, though!

 


 

It’s our song. We don’t know how it happened exactly, how it came to mean so much to us anyways. When we first met Colin lived in Vancouver (Port Moody, actually) and I lived in Calgary after having formally lived in North Van in another life. We met through mutual friends at the time and I just knew he was my husband. In the beginning, I was so drawn to him that my heart raced and I had to stop myself from reaching out to touch him – the first night we met! He drove us home the second night we knew each other and I sat in the front seat. It took all my might not to reach out and touch his hand and I’m certain there was a look of complete fear and confusion just plastered on my face. What was going on with me?!

We got out of the car, our friend and I. We were staying with a lovely friend of mine in Burnaby; in town for a Ben Harper concert (of course!). My friend hugged Colin good-bye. I hugged Colin good-bye. We started to walk away. And then out of nowhere I yelled, “WAIT!”. I turned and I ran back to him and hugged him again. Probably with that very same look of complete fear and confusion just plastered on my face. What the hell just happened?! How embarrassing!

Minutes later I remember telling our friend upstairs over a Guinness on the patio that, had I still lived in Vancouver, that would be the exact kind of man I’d never let out of my sight.

fullsizeoutput_930

 

After a long drive back to Calgary the next day, Colin and I chatted into the late evening. The details aren’t as clear anymore, but I suggested that I come back out to see him. It was undeniable that we had chemistry, but was it real? Enough? As strong as we’d imagined?

Jorja (the beagle) was skunked a few days prior, so we arrived on Colin’s doorstep on September 8th, 2011 nervous, full of wonder and … stinking like skunk. If he was going to love us, this is what life looked like! I was on the phone with our mutual friend as though we were 14 again talking about our boy crushes and giggled with our hands covering our mouths so no one else could hear us. I’ll never forget these chats. It was the last time I’d feel butterflies for a new man.

We spent five days together before I drove home again. There was an earthquake just off the coast of Vancouver that week, I remember a friend of mine who lived on the Island had sent me a text to let me know he was ok since I should have been in Calgary and known nothing of this earthquake. Apparently, Colin and I were there and we always joked that we must have been so wrapped up in the start of our relationship that we just didn’t even notice.

The morning I left, we cried. I packed up the car and remember feeling empty, like I couldn’t wrap my head around how I was going to go back to my life and he to his. After the car was packed and Jorja was in her crate, I went to say one last goodbye. Warning Sign by Coldplay (who had been my favourite band for many years during my early twenties) was playing on the radio in Colin’s house. “And the truth is, I miss you.” The song depicts some of the angst in the beginning though – the excuses we tried to make so that we didn’t have to do the hard thing. Be together and figure it out. Deal with our shit. Get over our pasts. Stop living life with a woe is me attitude. Whoa. Tough stuff.

Fast forward almost 6 years later and we’ve never not once listened to this song without crying. It’s layered, for us. And symbolic. There were many times we were warned that we’d get along so well. There were many times we saw warning signs and knew it would be easier if we just decided to not be together. There were warning signs that “you were an island to discover”. Sometimes I cringe at the terrible things we’ve been through – put each other through, even. Listening to Warning Sign by Coldplay makes me cry because our story is amazing and also because there are so many things in the past I used to wish I could take back.

Then I read Jen Sincero’s You Are A Badass, which we’ve talked about here. Chapter 15, I turn the page to Chapter 15 and I read the single most important quote of my life.

“Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past” – Lily Tomlin.

Nothing matters about yesterday. None of it. Not the friends you used to have. Not the fight you caused. Not the bill you didn’t pay on time. Yesterday you did the best you could and you’re where you are today because of it. You’ll do the best you can again today.

Holding-hands

No relationship is ever picture perfect, but I like to believe that, especially in the beginning, despite the hiccups (what seemed like natural disasters at the time), our story was romantic. I look over and we’re holding hands walking through a field and our hair is blowing every which way. That’s life. The tornado is all around us and nothing else is in focus except for him, and me. Holding hands. Walking. Through life.

Listen: Warning Sign by Coldplay

With Purpose,

T

SaveSave

Six Pursuits Of Happiness In Six Years

We’ve been so serious lately.

Let’s have some fun and talk to you about six ways in our short (almost) six years together when we were on the pursuit of happiness and making the very most of the ebbs and flows. Some serious, and some not so much.

Six Contributing Factors To Our Happiness In Six Years

#1 – Travel

We celebrated our first anniversary together as a couple by traveling to Belize for 16 days in August of 2012. It was actually this trip that solidified our relationship and where we both decided we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We had to overcome a lot together on this trip and we learned not only what we loved about one another but what lengths we were willing to go to take care of each other, too. We left our phones and any other electronic device at home and spent 16 amazing days with only a digital camera (remember those?!) a friend had lent us, our backpacks, bathing suits and flip flops.

We learned how to always have each other’s backs, how to really enjoy one another and how to turn off everything else in order to really turn on for just us. There is magic in our travels together and it’s no surprise that the most important thing to us is to be able to build our business up to the point where we can travel the world when and how we choose. This is our greatest desire. It’s when we’re absolutely, undoubtedly, at our very best. After Belize we have added Phoenix, Las Vegas, Paris, Torino, Cinque Terre, San Gimignano and Nice to this list. To be continued…

When I think of Travel, I think of Trains.jpg

#2 – Recognizing Resistance

We didn’t realize that for most of our lives – both together as a couple and separately, how we had been pushing against resistance. Ummm, guys! That’s only making it worse!

We pushed against resistance in relationships, each other and in our jobs until we started to understand the value of focusing on maximizing relationships that are really important and learning to let others go. Accept that resistance is letting you know that there’s probably a better way to go than upstream through the current. Less force means less suffering.

When we planned our wedding it took an entire year to put together something that just didn’t quite feel right to us. We kept being met with resistance from people, about the venue, things going wrong, little things, but still, we knew it was just wrong. As soon as we stopped pushing against resistance and making things harder for ourselves we noticed that what we really wanted to do was easier than what we really didn’t want to do in the first place.

We did a complete 180, changing the venue and the whole look of the wedding and everything fell into place within five days. A whole year and a half of planning a wedding we didn’t want – and five days for everything to magically fall into place when we started doing what was right for us. We rented a cabin in Nordegg, Alberta for 2.5 weeks and threw the reception there. We strung lights all over the beautiful A framed cabin along the front of the wrap around patio and we laughed, cried, hugged, kissed and danced into the night.

IMG_3161

#3 – Starting A Business Together

Starting our business – and thinking we were going to be successful right out of the gates – that was hard but also so crucial to the people we have become. Understanding that we were going into this business, however, to stick with it forever was what helped us the most. We might have given up a hundred times by now if we hadn’t committed so strongly to being entrepreneurs together.

Not only did we firmly believe in the products we were using and sharing with our people, but we were done pouring all of our passion and drive into someone else’s business and dream for very little return on investment. Every time we went to our jobs we were investing our time and efforts into someone else’s idea and when we first began talking about this business neither of us were at a point in our then careers where we were valued in our positions any longer. It was time to stop pushing against resistance once again.

One month after we were married we invested $200 in a Premium Starter Kit that acted like the kindling in a fire having waited years to be started. We lit the match and every since we have been adding more wood to this desire we have to build our business while helping our people to do the very same thing. We grow and new people bring new ideas, thoughts, love, support and then we grow a little more. It is amazing. Being an entrepreneur and helping to build dreams with other entrepreneurs brings us both more happiness than we’d ever expected.

tribe

 

#4 – Realizing that it’s only the two of us.

It’s no longer lonely and disappointing when you stop depending on other people. The only person that can make or break your life – is you. The only other person looking out for my best interest – is my partner. It’s just the two of us, truly – and when we put positive energy into this idea and focused on what we want for us, life became infinitely better. We stopped worrying about all of these friends we didn’t have, places we hadn’t gone, you know – what we were lacking. How in the hell is this making our lives better? We always had each other’s backs but continually wanted someone else to have it, too? Geez, no wonder we were so unhappy. This is seriously what our self-talk was about when we weren’t aware of it.

So, we got quiet and started doing a lot more listening. Next we just focused on what was right in front of us. We spend a lot of time, us humans, thinking about what we don’t have and it’s heartbreaking. Realizing that it’s only the two of us to depend on one another has changed our perspective to all of the amazing things we do have right here, right now. It gave the space to really think about where worry, anxiety and other troubling thoughts or emotions were coming from.

Only the two of us means that there is only one other person in this world that we can fully trust and rely on besides ourselves. We no longer feel the need to put expectations onto others – because it’s unfair for everyone, first of all,  and we only become upset when others don’t follow through. Right? If people say they are going to do something and they do it, great! Less expectation, less resistance, less force, less suffering. More excellent quality relationships, more pure and unwavering love, more self-love, more pursuing. And at the end of the day, it’s always been just us and it always will be and when there’s more, we’ll be so full with plenty to share. The door is open.

TC_0126_FINAL.jpg

#5 – We wanted to do a lot of growing and changing.

Acknowledging that we have pain that needed to be worked through was difficult. Sickness was manifesting – which is exactly what happens when you do not have emotional wellness. So, we actively started seeking wellness books, returning to yoga practices, focusing on our self-talk and learning how to use our essential oils to help support us on our journey. We actually just taught an entire workshop on emotional wellness with our team based on the emotional blends we all have used in supporting ourselves because of how powerful they can be.

Becoming better people meant we’d have to give up some things. Limiting beliefs, for starters, and then there’s comparing ourselves to others (we have done this so much with our business and it’s a huge no-no), self-criticism and so on. Have you actually ever really listened to the way you talk to yourself? Awareness is where we are at, and creating the space we need to be real with ourselves so that we can live the life we really want to live. You know how the saying goes, you can’t help others until you learn to help yourself. This is a never ending lesson you commit to learning every single day.

Gotcha.

Then we found that we had to learn to give ourselves permission to actually have the things we wanted. Wine. Time to relax. We had to learn to give ourselves permission to seek to have exactly what we wanted. What’s important to you? You need to check in and constantly be aware of the ebb and flow because what’s important to you will always change as you grow. Being open about how you really feel and who you really are – oh, and what you really want. Be confident.

Gotcha.

#6 – Choosing to live our life on purpose

We have both always wanted to live our lives on our own terms and do what makes us happy. Weird, right? Of course not! Do you know what makes most of us unhappy? Doing things because other people want us to when we especially don’t want to because it doesn’t make us happy. This can seem selfish – because it is! And do you know what the best part about that is? It’s perfectly ok to be selfish. We’re not harming anybody by saying, “No thank you, I don’t want to”. Then why don’t we say it more often?

Life is hauntingly short. Most of the people I love are dead, and I’m not exaggerating. Colin and I talk a lot about how we are grateful to be growing older and how it is a privilege. What little time we do have here, we want to make sure we live it intentionally now that we understand that we can have anything we want to have. In order to do this, we have to be comfortable saying no when we mean no. Don’t do the things you don’t want to do. You will go with regret and resentment, which doesn’t help anyone. Instead, show up when you want to go to the event, the concert, the dinner party, whatever it is.

The second part to this equation for us is doing things even though you know that it’s hard – quitting our jobs, moving out to the Okanagan – that was hard. It was simple but it wasn’t easy. And guess what? We’re alive. We are happy to have made the changes even though they were scary. That’s what keeps us stagnant though, is our fear. So we stay where we are in order to know that tomorrow will look the same as yesterday and the day before that. This is purpose-less. Mundane un-happiness. We were always so frustrated and bored. We weren’t tapping into courage.

courage necklace

So we started saying no and all of a sudden we were on our next leg of the journey in pursuit of happiness. We want to live with intention and purpose, because if we don’t, the cost will be too high.

With Purpose,

T&C

To Pursue On Purpose

We knew that our blog, Everything With A {PURPOSE}, would be only that, the point is to share only when you have something to share and not for the sake of sharing just because. So, we’ve taken a hiatus for the last two months after writing Leave Your Suitcase At The Door. It was like I didn’t have anything else to say. Period. There is no way to be sure how many times I’ve read it over and over again, almost surprised at myself and at how perfectly written it is. It exactly reveals that day to a T. I poured my soul out into that blog and I haven’t had anything else anywhere near as profound to say since. And that’s ok.

It was a time to stop talking and do a lot of listening, observing, watching. Oh, the treasures this has brought and the amazing amount of epiphanies that come at a time when you’re taking in information with very little output. Fascinating how quickly you reconnect with your intuition, when you’re this inquisitive and paying attention for the answers.

inquisitive

It was important to quiet all of the noise for a while. Writing is impossible when you’re in this kind of transition. So we did a lot of reading, writing in a journal and something we find so helpful that we encourage all people to really do – talk it all through with your spouse and those closest to you. I sat on my mat a lot. I meditated a lot. We read and we watched a lot of interviews with people who inspired us and even watched a few flicks.

One of those flicks Colin and I were watching was ‘Pursuit of Happyness’ with Will Smith. Colin had seen it before but not for years and I hadn’t seen it at all. We want to share our perspective of the whole concept.

Everyone suffers the exact same way, it’s just different.

We all suffer. You’re not special. I’m not special. We’re not special. Suffering is the human condition and no one gets to skip pain, or pleasure, for that matter. It’s a fundamental part of humanness. It’s why we strive to do and be better humans – which is why this movie is so appropriately named. Happiness is not ever something you can weigh, hold, shackle or chain. You are only ever in the pursuit of it.

Think of emotions the same way. Nothing lasts forever – emotions all end. Pleasure, pain, sorrow, delight, and even laughter. We live somewhere in between happy and sad most of the time with a pendulum that swings sometimes to the far right and sometimes to the far left.

Nothing anyone does is because of you

Everything anyone ever does is because of them. This is one of the hardest lessons I have had to face yet, understanding that I am completely in control of myself – because for many years I have felt out of control. You can’t hone in that control until you realize that YOU have it. Not one single other person is to blame for your failures, nor are they to blame for your successes.

You know when you read something so profound and you think, damn! That was so obvious! That’s because it is completely obvious and you’ve heard the thing time and time again but maybe you weren’t ready to hear it.

In the movie, Christopher asks his dad, “Did mommy leave because of me?”, to which his dad responds, “No! Mommy didn’t leave because of you. Mommy left because of mommy’.

This really was a layered lesson and one that we have spent many a night lately chatting about, usually propped up in bed with a glass of wine as we wind down – we’re not those normal humans who do that in the living room. Colin especially just loves to be in our bedroom space. So we talk a lot about understanding that our actions and thoughts are all chosen by us. Reactions – still us. Someone calls you a bitch and you immediately get mad? You chose to give them power over who you actually think you are. Are you a bitch? Right? Does it even matter if you are or if you aren’t? The answer is no.

What if you go one step further. Our emotional pain attached to another human being is our own doing and finally realizing that you’re in control of this – even though initially it sounds like complete madness – I know. If Tonia continually allowed herself to grieve the loss of a mother, or more accurately, whatever she felt like a mother ought to be, that is her choice entirely and no one else can make her continue to grieve this. The actions causing the pain aren’t there anymore. Pain is actually gone now, but the suffering isn’t IF she chooses not to let it go.

Why?

We haven’t learned the lesson of the pursuit of happyness yet.

Today, while driving around, a thought occurred. The only moment I am living in is now and there is no immediate threat, no pain, no joy. Contentment is here in this moment now as you read through this blog. Contentment is knowing that what happened isn’t happening anymore and it’s not happening again. The moment, the person, the pain, pleasure, grief… it’s been gone for a long time and it’s time to close the door and keep on going. Ready to pursue the next moment of life – happiness and sadness in their varying degrees must ebb and flow and happen as we move through life. That’s it – as simple as that.

joy.jpg

You don’t need a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a lover, a husband, a wife, a dog, a preacher, a mantra, a yoga pose. We were blaming something else for our ‘un’ happiness, because we’re really busy believing that we can hold happiness in our hands and one day arrive ‘there’ and forevermore live in this bliss.

Nope.

You’re already there in every moment that you forgive, move on, take a step forward, read a book, kiss your spouse, wash your hair, sing to one of your favourite songs, drink your favourite glass of wine with the perfect cheese pairing, float in the lake, smell the scent of your favourite essential oil diffusing as you write in your favourite blog.

 


 

There’s been a lot of reflection happening in our home. We say, “I’m so proud of you” to one another, like, a LOT right now. There’s a spiritual growth spirt happening here and it’s why we’ve been so quiet. We’re not saying anything that someone else has already said – we’re just putting it out there in a someone-already-said-it-and-we’re-just-repeating-it-in-our-own-words kinda way.

Try spending some time in contentment appreciating the pendulum, knowing that everything, including emotion, is temporary. We’ll all enjoy the pursuit much better this way.

TC_1471_FINAL.jpg

With Purpose,

T & C

Leave Your Suitcase At The Door

Colin used to work on Saturdays and I’d get up early with him and head to hot yoga while he headed to his old job. One particular day, a day I won’t soon forget, I walked to my yoga studio for some extra exercise. Yoga mat strapped to my side, I was ready to take on my day. I remember feeling like a warrior. Like, ‘Girl, you got this!’.

I did not have this.

Let me start by saying I have never made it out of Savasana alive. I cry every time. There is this unbelievable release that happens after an intense guided yoga flow that just overcomes me as we lay honouring our practice. This particular day, though. Nothing could have prepared me for what happened.

One thing that bothers me now is that I don’t know name of the Yoga teacher that day. I’m actually not sure if I even remember what she looks like or if I even looked at her because it was as if I practiced alone in the packed room of 49 other yogis. To me, there was only her and I.

For those of you who might not have had the opportunity to attend a hot yoga class, generally speaking you would quietly walk in, place your mat on the floor and set up your space appropriately. Once you’re settled in, you stretch your way down into a comfortable Savasana or Corpse pose position until the Yoga Instructor slowly engages you in practice. This day I knew I was really in for it as soon as she started talking. I was always worried when there was an instructor I don’t know yet because I’d wonder how intense her practice would be. Every Yogi is different. What I didn’t expect or ever worry about was a tiny little yogi kicking my ass emotionally that day.

Laying in Savasana she began ask us to imagine standing up and leaving the room again only to return to the yoga studio, but this time we had to leave our suitcase at the door before we came in to lay down in Savasana. In other words, our baggage was not allowed any further into this room, but we’d spend the next hour and fifteen minutes talking about why. Shit. HOW DID SHE KNOW?!

Our eyes closed, she walked us all back to the change room and then right back in and had us stop as soon as we were inside the doors to the hot yoga studio room. We were instructed to imagine our suitcase in our hand and that the entire room was empty save for her and, well… me.

empty-room.jpg

It was surprising how magically she’d taken over my imagination as if her voice was that of my own narrative. I’d actually left my body where it was and followed her wherever she told me to go. I obeyed. She then said to imagine that whatever we were carrying in this suitcase was something we’ve been needing to let go of for a pretty long time now. We absolutely can not bring it any further into this room. It stays at the door. Put it down. I listened.

As if nothing at all had happened we began our flow as she gently awoke our bodies from Savasana to seated, seated to Mountain. I don’t remember anything about the class itself after that. Only her voice. And her message.

She said, if you’re thinking about your suitcase, don’t worry. It will be there waiting for you when you leave.

I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Where the hell was my regular instructor? I actually remember thinking that. I adored my Saturday afternoon Yoga instructor. This one, she was beating me up! I collected myself and drew in my rib cage and pressed further into down dog. She began to talk about the consequences of carrying around this suitcase with us for the rest of our lives. We don’t even open it anyways, she said. Do you know why we keep it though? It comes with consequences. We’re afraid to be brave enough to save ourselves in case the risk of the consequences is too great. Sucker. Punch.

I was so in my head and in my body the entire class. I don’t remember any yummy stretches or how we got back into Savasana but I remember feeling trapped when I got there. Between me and the outside world was now this suitcase I had to face on my way back out of this room. I remember being almost mad. Ridiculous, right? To be mad at the end of a Yoga practice?

She spoke again, softly. She said, something to the tune of:  let me tell you something about the suitcase at the back of the room that you carefully put down at the beginning of our practice today. That suitcase is full of baggage that isn’t yours anymore but you carry it around with you every day as if it means something. You carry it around not because you’re not ready to put it down but because you know there are consequences you’ll have to face for doing so. There will be other people you’ll have to leave behind, other things that will have to be left behind also, even if that’s not what you want.

That suitcase you left at the door? You don’t have to take it with you when you leave.

All of a sudden I heard myself sob out loud. No one moved. No one was surprised. It was me alone in a room with just her and my whole heart cracked open and I felt so much relief. I always cry in Savasana because of this beautiful release of energy I feel, and it usually feels like love and peace. This day it was devastation leaving my body while I sobbed uncontrollably. I knew what I had to do and I knew what I would lose when I did. I’d been waiting for someone to say it was ok to choose me.

Then I felt her over my body as she so gently laid a cold cloth scented with Lemongrass over my eyes. A few more moments passed and the class was over.

After we’d finished our practice I took an extra minute or two to gather my water bottle, blocks, towels and mats. I really just needed to let everything set in.


It has been almost two years since I left that suitcase behind. I did choose me, there were consequences and they hurt like hell, but I saved me. I continue to save me every day and everyday I am more of the woman, wife, leader and friend I strive to be. The suitcase represented a part of my life no one should ever have to face. I chose to leave a parent behind, knowing that others wouldn’t understand and also that relationships would suffer. Or else I would.

I chose me.

I chose to save me because if I didn’t then what kind of a leader would I be?

With Purpose,

Tonia

Changing Gears

What if your reality looked a little different from normal (whatever the heck that means)? It offered you food, shelter, water plus all of the extras you could only dream about. Freedom, travel, opportunity. Isn’t it interesting to you the people who become successful are of a different mindset from the majority of people who… are not?

Growing up we learn about fairy tales that fill our hearts with wonder and then someone who’s “had a hard life” wants to “tell you how it really is” and then, of course, you’re doomed. Done for. You believe them. You’re no longer Cinderella, you’re her ugly step-sisters. POOF. No fairy godmother. We believed them, too, for a really long time. The only time that you have a really hard life is when you don’t do something about “how it really is”. 

This morning we watched a short 11+ minute video (which we attached below for you to watch, too) of one of our favourite self-improvement authors, Jen Sincero, about excuses. She asks her audience to really think (in everything she does) about where you are right now and where you want to be. Where are you? What’s stopping you?

We have watched numerous people in our community achieve incredible freedom (time and financial) in the past year and a half since we have been building our Network Marketing business. Incredible feats that to us, 2 years  ago… seemed impossible, like completely out-of-our-reach. We have listened to people’s stories that sound just like ours did, growing up without much money, without extras – to wanting more for themselves, dammit! What happens is sometimes who you want to be is sacrificed for what you think others will do or say to and about you. We have also felt that way.

flying-free.jpg

Do you know what we know now? It doesn’t matter, none of it. What anyone thinks, what YOU think… none of that is real. What anyone thinks about you does not pay your bills – and we’re not saying that to change your thinking about other people, we want you to turn that inwards. Your limiting beliefs are created only by you. What’s real is outside of what you think. What’s real already exists and the only reason you can’t see that is because of you.

Thinking back to the conversation started this morning in our inbox, we are humbled by the obviousness of our path. We all want freedom to do the things we want, to be able to say YES instead of having to say no because of a lack of money, time, or freedom. We all have the ability to have whatever we want, but sometimes you have to make a sacrifice to get to where you’re going. The hard truth is that making that change makes most of us uncomfortable.

“It’s going to be uncomfortable, but not necessarily hard.” – Jen Sincero

What do we have to offer?

Our experiences. Our support. Our desires. Our knowledge.

“Change your life in a massively positive way” – Jen Sincero

Why would we hide these things away from those who want it just in case the ones who don’t tell us so? Those who don’t want what you have and what you can offer do not serve you. And that’s OK! For some reason we think it’s not ok and that it’s our job to change their minds. Let us be clear.

It is not your job to change anyone’s mind.

Instead, it is your job to do something incredible with your life because whatever you want to do and be is available for you, but it takes hard work. And some of that hard work happens by understanding your limiting beliefs and then taking the steps necessary to change your way of thinking about yourself.

“When you get the idea that scares the crap out of you that’s when you’ve hit the bullseye.” – Jen Sincero

There is a difference between something being uncomfortable for you and being innately … hard.

The hard truth is that what we want costs a lot and we have to pay the toll, which happens to be hard work, dedication and perseverance. And the willingness to do things that make us uncomfortable. Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results. It’s time to change gears.

If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else is going to. Isn’t living a life on purpose fun?

With Purpose,

Tonia & Colin

DIY Dishwasher Tabs

One of the things that makes us happy is, well, not having to clean our toilets every few days – or let’s be real, ever, but I’m sure you can relate. No one actually wants to clean toilets, so that’s the example we’re going to run with because I’m going to talk about a product here (because it’s one of the ingredients in our dishwasher tabs) that I swear to you has changed my life and if you are like me, it will change yours, too.

We talk a lot in our blog about the changes we have made in our lives over the past five years when it comes to removing toxins, changing our diets based on our awareness of our bodies (which is ongoing, turns out Tonia has a new potential food allergy, which we will talk about very soon!) and that includes our cleaning products. Remember in our post, It’s Complicated, we asked why our toilet bowl cleaner is bright blue? It’s not a question any of us are programmed to ask because we grew up with bright blue toilet bowl cleaner. Right?

What if we really did ask? We wouldn’t like the answers. Chemicals, synthetic combinations of a lot of chemicals that none of us want touching our bodies – including the air we breathe when using these chemicals to “clean” our homes. So we stopped using them and looked for healthier alternatives. The problem is that a majority of people associate harsh chemicals with effective cleaning power and unfortunately don’t associate harsh chemicals with disease. You can have plant based and effective without the other stuff.

What about our dishes?

What if there was the simpler, more economical way to make your own dishwasher tabs? I have an awesome recipe that I want to share with you guys and I couldn’t be happier to have come across these products (first, I had no idea what washing soda was until I started making these) and the plant based cleaner has replaced every other cleaner in our home.

Something that really sparked a conversation about this topic recently was that Colin read a label for a very common dish soap that says, “poison if ingested”. Whoa, what?

What we don’t fully understand is that even small exposures to these toxic chemicals over time can cause major health issues. Just because you rinsed your dishes after washing them, doesn’t mean there aren’t traces of those chemicals left on your plate.

Homemade Dishwasher Tabs

Thieves Household Cleaner (plant based, infused with essential oils – but you can use any plant based cleaner or solution you might have). ***Side note: If you’d like to know why we use Thieves or have questions about becoming a wholesale member with Young Living, we’d be happy to help you do that***

2 Cups Washing Soda (I baked 2 cups of baking soda in the oven at 200 degrees celsius for 1 hour, but I recommend Nellie’s Washing Soda).

Add 1 C Vinegar and it will start to foam
Mix together then add ½ capful of Thieves Household cleaner (I soak my cutting boards in this stuff, clean my oven, windows, sometimes my laundry, toilet bowls, you name it. It’s that good)
5 Drops Lemon Essential Oil
Mix all together
Pour into ice cube tray molds (make sure they’re the rubbery kind so you can push them out. Here’s what mine look like:

DIY-DIshwasher-Tabs.jpg

Allow them to dry over night ***I find the crumble when I try to pop them out of their mold, so I dry mine overnight in the freezer!*** and then pop them into a glass container under your sink for your next dishwasher load! I usually add two of these little guys per cycle and they really do the trick.
These are the things in my life that truly make me the happiest; finding solutions like these for my family and being able to share then with all of you. We all want to do a little bit better with our health, with the products in our homes and the ways in which we help each other to do that. We’re all in this together.
17238823_10155144528482094_1361490257_n.jpg
Share your favourite recipes with me, too, please!! I absolutely love a good DIY hack with minimal and all natural ingredients.
If you’d like to talk shop about the products we use and why we use ’em, we can do that, too. You’d absolutely love their products if you’re into natural, healthy, non-toxic and easy peasy DIY recipe type stuff just like we do. Send over a note!
With Purpose,
Tonia

Survival Mode

Two days ago we were out running around in our chucks (because all married couples wear the same shoes, right?) and Tonia was wearing flood pants. It was practically summer and we were taking full advantage of soaking up as much of the warm air as possible. Upon arriving home, unpacking our few groceries and getting back to the swing of things at our desks, we realize it’s snowing.

What in the entire world is going on with this weather?

stop-snowing.jpg

It’s hard not to be just done with it by now. It has snowed here in Kelowna pretty much non-stop all winter long and we’re just dumbfounded by it. It’s gloomy, un-sunshiney and we’re all tired of feeling dumpy. You, me, the cashier at the grocery store. All of us.

So instead of wallow in our own self-pity, eat six hundred mountains of potato chips and devour another bowl full of seeds, nuts and chocolate chips trying to fill the void in our hearts, we’d like to share a few healthier tips with you to help keep us all in tip top shape. At least until Mother Nature gets her shit together.

  1. Straight up diffuse some happiness that not only smells like spring but also actually works to uplift your mood (and ultimately your productivity). One of our favourite essential oils to help shake the dumpy moods we get in when the doom and gloom of another snowy day takes hold is Citrus Fresh. Doesn’t it even just sound amazing? That’s because it is. Citrus Fresh is an essential oil blend of a bunch of delicious, cold pressed citrus fruit rinds and to pack a punch, a powerful and gorgeous addition of Spearmint. You might not jump up and click your heels in immediate joy, but you’ll definitely be excusing yourself from the pity party.
  2. Read a kick ass, motivating book. Don’t have one? Go get Jen Sincero’s You Are A Badass. It’s the kind of book you’ll continuously pick up, re-read and recommend. That’s a promise. Even if it’s just a page or a chapter, Jen Sincero’s wit and way with words will help to snap you out of being in your head in a hurry.
  3. Joy. Not the emotion, but another of our favourite essential oils. This blend is one that Colin loves, especially. That man loves his floral scents and so we actually make a linen spray with the essential oil blend of Joy and spray our bed sheets, couches, and clothes fresh out of the laundry. It’s all in the name. For all of your essential oil needs, we got you covered. We can talk to you all day about EO’s.
  4. Do a few sun salutations on your mat – or even a couple of cat cows to stretch your spine all the way through your core down to your navel. That stretch wakes both of us up and eases tension, grounds you and brings you right back to the here and now.
  5. Take a bath with your favourite bath bomb! You can buy our favourite locally made (in Kelowna) bath bombs here (they ship!) or make your own! Ask me for my awesome recipe.
  6. Play some really, really fun, funky music and listen to your body when it’s time to just relax and take a break. Sit back, sing along, dance. Cry. Whatever. But do it to some really, really, fun, funky music. Also this song. Ok one more.

These are just some of the ways we engage in being mindful about our moods everyday. Who’dda thunk essential oils were for more than just making a room smell amazing, right? Plenty more, in fact. Ask us about our essential oils, why we choose to use them and how they can help you out of your wintery blues, and onwards. Looking for more yummy yoga poses to help awaken your body? Feel free to ask anytime! Some of Tonia’s favourite Yogis are Kathryn Budig and Rachel Brathen.

Pigeon.jpg

What are some of the ways you explore when you really need a pick-me-up? All weekend long we’re going to post our favourite winter-gloom-and-doom busters on our Instagram feed, tag us in yours too! Follow us on IG here.

With Purpose,

Tonia & Colin

It’s Complicated

When you’re navigating the online world looking for answers it’s probably more often than not that you’ll come across opinions. It’s what social media is made of, in fact, it’s what all media is made of. Whose opinion can you trust?

When we first started learning about the food industry and what terms like Certified Organic or Non-GMO meant, we were overwhelmed. It takes a lot of effort and dedication to make big changes to your life, impacting your overall health (body and mind). This commitment to better health and better understanding of where our food was sourced and what it was actually made, from became, what is now, a lifelong journey for just overall better-ness.

Let’s share how we went from the refining of our food to how we cleaned up every cupboard in our home and why. Colin was blaming his food intake for a common ailment for a long time but the culprit was much more complicated than that!

After we began substituting things like refined sugars for raw, unpasteurized honey it became apparent that this was the beginning of a landslide. Here’s what things looked like in the very beginning.

What we used to eat –> what we substituted it for

  • Refined Sugar –> Raw, unpasteurized honey
  • Butter/Margarine –> Organic Coconut Oil
  • Store bought bread –> Bought a bread maker
  • Meat in Sauces (spaghetti) –> Dried beans or Eggplant
  • Grilled Steak –> Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

These types of changes happened one grocery trip at a time after researching how to keep up with all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals we’d need to be cooking with in order to maintain healthy, optimally functioning bodies. Whole foods. Hot lemon water. Better quality produce. Then we added nuts, seeds and all that jazz to our diet too and we still sprinkle hemp hearts and flax seeds into our spaghetti sauce.

lemon-water.jpg

Once we got the hang of our new diet and started to feel amazing, Colin realized he was still suffering from headaches almost daily, which he had attributed to poor hydration or not enough nutrients in his diet. He went for blood tests to make sure we were feeding his body right – which was so amazing! When he went for this blood test we were fairly new to the vegetarian world (under a year) and were all self-educated. His results were amazing in all areas, which meant his body was receiving more than enough of everything he needed.

Then why the headaches?

When people ask us why we chose to ‘sell’ essential oils or why we joined a Network Marketing company, it was very easy for us to answer. They (the oils and the company we chose to align ourselves with) were a solution for us for so many things. One thing we really loved was that they had the plant based cleaner (one, ONE single cleaner for every surface in our home instead of a cupboard full of poisonous and toxic products each for a single purpose in which we needed to wear a mask and gloves to use), a completely natural toothpaste that doesn’t taste like cardboard or have the consistency of jello. Yuck. They were a solution to our need for natural remedies with minimal ingredients. They were our answer for almost everything we were looking for. We’d used essential oils for years and wanted a better quality brand. It was amazing that the one we found also offered so many other natural options.

Why were we looking?

Looking and disecting product labels for so long when it came to the food we were purchasing had us basically checking labels for everything now. We were cleaning with “green” products that actually weren’t green at all, we had just trusted that because the product had the word “Green” or “Organic” in the company’s name that meant as a consumer, I should be able to trust that the ingredients were in fact Green or Organic. Wrong. Our hearts sank, because, if manufacturers were able to be so misleading with their labels, what else were we oblivious to?

We threw out almost everything! This was not going to be as slow a process like it had been with substituting food over time. Nope. This was going to be now. Immediate. Everything. Must. Go.

And it did.

The toilet bowl cleaner (IS BRIGHT BLUE!! Why?!), laundry detergent (also bright blue?!), candles, glass and window cleaner, hair spray, make-up, toothpaste (bright blue, are you sensing a theme?) and so on.

We didn’t feel safe. We felt lied to. The products on the shelf for me and you to purchase so easily based on what catches our eye, or worse, what attracts our sense of smell; those are all things that are carefully determined by a team of executives who formulate the product itself or design the product’s label. What’s inside, a lot of the time, is harmful to our health and unless we’re educated on that subject and do our own digging – none of us – will ever know.

locked-up.jpg

A lot of people ask us why we use essential oils, why we joined a Network Marketing company and why we’ve chosen this to be our career in business. When we eliminating all of this crap from our homes and started being conscious of what we were using, diffusing and cleaning with, Colin stopped getting headaches. When we threw out the candles and traded them for a diffuser. When we made our own deodorant and threw out the colognes. When we brushed our teeth with plant based ingredients. That’s when his headaches completely stopped.

If we don’t share all of this information with you, who will?

With Purpose,

Tonia & Colin

 

 

Quality Time

We stay at Tonia’s best friend’s house while we are in Calgary, we always do. However, this time around things felt different. We’ve spent so much time working that it wouldn’t be unusual for us to look at the clock and it be 9:45pm! Now that we’re staying where another couple comes home from work at a regular hour, it forces us to close up shop around dinner time so we can enjoy our time together with them. Something so small has really brought so much love and awareness to the importance of quality time.

Learning to balance your personal and professional time is a tricky thing when you’re so passionate about the lifestyle you’re building.

balancing.jpg

Quality time has even changed its meaning. Sometimes you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and you’re scratching your head trying to figure out what’s wrong. You assess how you’re feeling, asking yourself if you’re tired or maybe coming down with something. Often, we find, it’s that we haven’t spent quality time somewhere in our lives. Something is out of balance.

The four areas we always find we need to maintain balance in:

  1. Our marriage
  2. Our alone time
  3. Our health
  4. Our Social Life

Quality Time For Our Marriage

This means everything from time away from our business, relaxing together and doing all of the things we all know to do for our marriages. Spending time in love. Sometimes this takes a back seat to the other three things, though that’s rare for us. How do we know we’re out of balance? We annoy each other, we’re snippy or we just aren’t communicating properly.

Quality Alone Time

This one is big in our house. We both have hobbies and areas in our lives that we need to pay attention to in order to feel balanced individually before we’re capable of being there for others. We all know that, but it’s not uncommon to fall out of sync with ourselves. Colin plays guitar and has since he was 14. This is something he needs to do in his life to recharge. Tonia loves to read and study (wine, oils, business). If we don’t put effort into this time for ourselves, we might not be at our best.

Quality Health & Wellness Time

Oh boy, this one tugs at us. This include fitness, holistic medicine which we feel includes things like seeing a natural medicine practitioner but also spending time with our yoga and meditation practices. This includes listening to our bodies and feeding it right. Using our essential oils with purpose instead of just popping something in to our diffuser for fun. When one of these parts of our wellness routines is out of whack, our bodies and our minds seem to shout the loudest at us. We tend to spend more time here, more focus, more effort than anywhere else. We could always spend more.

Quality Social Time

We can be introverts. We like to be at home. We love to host, cook and entertain people, though! But we’re home bodies and sometimes we forget that it might have been ten days since we saw someone else’s face besides each other’s and the lady at the grocery store. It’s something we need to commit more time to in order to balance out the other areas of our lives. We need to spend more time out together with our friends, but we also need time out separately with our friends. Balance.

As long as we continue to do everything we do…  Everything With A {Purpose}, we will find it easier to maintain balance in life, marriage, business, health and relationships. When you’re feeling off, what are the ways you can measure where your balance might be out of sync?

With Purpose,

Tonia & Colin

 

A Whole Foods Journey

After our last blog about the beginning of our rabbit hole journey with food we had quite a few friends reach out to us, which was fantastic! We both really love sharing about our journey and have been studying it (and listening to our bodies) for over five years now, so we feel pretty comfortable literally spilling our guts.

This morning we were reminded of a post-grocery store ritual we had shared with one of our friends and thought we’d like to share it here with all of you as well. First we’ll talk about a few things and then at the end of the blog we’ll share a very easy (and fun) way to stay on track!

When we first began down this journey we were learning how to make so many of our meals from scratch. Let’s face it, it’s super easy to go to the store and buy the pre-made, processed foods like pasta sauces, dips like hummus for snacks, frozen pizzas, etc. Most of the inner aisles of the grocery store are just that; processed foods.

Basically we had to learn a new language; whole foods. We had no idea what that really meant. Processed foods; did we even really know what that means? Definitely not, but once we learned more about the term it changed our lives.

Processed Foods

Definition: “The definition of what constitutes a processed food can vary slightly, but it usually refers to foods that are packaged in boxes, cans or bags. … In addition to going through many complex processing steps, processed foods often contain additives, artificial flavorings and other chemical ingredients.”

(Source – http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/processed-food-definition-2074.html)

Examples: Milk, canned vegetables, ready made sauces, dips, soft drinks, cereal.

Are all processed foods created equal?

Unfortunately not. Hence, the rabbit hole. Learning to recognize how manufacturers label foods is one of the most important parts to figuring out this maze of confusion, but that is also a tricky feat.

Look for logos on your food labels like:

Whole Foods

Definition: “…a natural food and especially an unprocessed one (as a vegetable or fruit)”

(Source – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whole%20food)

Examples: Nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, quinoa, rice, etc

While we just wanted to give you all a quick run down of these two very different ideas, we really wanted to make note of something important about the definition for processed foods. It clearly states that processed foods often contains additives and even chemicals. This means that chemicals are actually added to your foods that you and your family are consuming. What does that mean?

Additives can be anything from artificial (synthetically made) sweeteners, MSG’s, Trans fats – to see more on the subject click the link for a list of 10 additives to stay away from and why. These are not the types of chemicals we want to have in our bodies and so that meant we had to do something different. We had to commit to making some very big changes around our home.

It meant we’d have to start cooking from scratch.

Tips & Tricks When Just Starting Out

  • Use your search engine and search for lists of whole foods
  • Only shop from the perimeters of your local grocery store
  • Avoid the centre aisles where foods are packaged in cans and bags
  • Substitute things like whole grain pasta for brown rice pasta
  • Start using raw, unpasteurized honey instead of granulated or refined sugar
  • Buy coconut milk for sauces and soups instead of using heavy creams
  • Make your own dough for pizza (holy cow you guys, we have the easiest, nobody can screw this up, vegan pizza dough recipe so there’s another quick blog we’ll put together soon!)

chopping-vegetables

Now let’s get to the fun stuff. We want to share a tip with you that has saved us so much time, money and from having us stop for fast food (or just bad food choices in general), especially before we were both working from home.

Go grocery shopping on a day where you have no set plans. Dedicate your entire afternoon. Buy yourselves a bottle of wine. Why?

Every Sunday we would go to our local health food store and stock up on all of our flours (buckwheat, whole wheat, brown rice), nuts, seeds, almond milk, coffee beans (Kicking Horse, we love you!), spices, veggies, fruits, dried beans, peas (our favourites are split and black eyed, especially for soups), quinoa, rice, chick peas, substitutes like Veganaise instead of Mayo, etc.

dried-beans

We would pack up the car and head home to quite literally spend the rest of the day prepping for the entire week. We washed and prepared all of the vegetables into containers and popped them into the fridge. We’d meal prep, too, but it was also just easiest to chop up a whole zucchini and then when we wanted to add zucchini to a meal, open up the container and throw in a handful. Imagine if you did this with your veggies in a way so it was easy to grab a few carrot sticks, zucchini and cauliflower heads with the hummus you prepared yesterday, etc.

It doesn’t sound like much, but we really came to enjoy these afternoons. We’d pop on some music, crack open a chilled bottle of white and prep all day. OH! And we’d even save all of the vegetable trimmings and ends and make a big pot of vegetable stock to use throughout the week as well. It was kind of like a date day – all while making it easier to live healthier, happier, whole food loving lives.

With Purpose,

Tonia & Colin