Cooking Win

I recently received my first GoodFood crate. I got a half off deal on my first one, so I figured it was worth a try. It arrived this past Friday, and I cooked my first meal from it last night: A ground pork bulgogi with jasmine rice and marinated cucumbers.

The kit came with all of the ingredients I needed to cook the meal, and boy was it delicious! It was surprisingly simple as well.

Since I live alone, and have for a couple of years now, I find it difficult to find the motivation to cook myself hot meals, let alone healthy ones. Grocery shopping is one of the banes of my existence since I depend on public transit. Ordering in is an easy way out that I take far too often and gets far too expensive. I subscribed to GoodFood in the hopes that receiving recipes with all of the ingredients for the meals would provide me with the much-needed motivation to cook a healthy hot meal. I tried the first recipe last night. And guess what:

IT WAS FUN.

I enjoyed cooking my dinner last night, and it tasted so good. The payoff was huge in the amazing combination of flavours and ease of the actual meal preparation. It took about half an hour to make, and I ended up with 3 portions in the end, which means I have lunch and dinner for another day as well as what I ate last night. I am definitely calling it a win!

I have to more recipes to try, and I am so excited now. I think I will be making GoodFood a semi-regular thing in my meal rotation. I’m thinking every other week or so!

It is really nice to have a reason to cook for myself! I think trying new recipes is probably the best possible reason to get excited about cooking.

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Who Needs Resolutions

I tend to be the type of person who does not make resolutions for the new year. They stress me out. I do, however, usually create goals plans for the coming year. It’s less stressful because it’s less “I NEED to do this” and more “I WANT” to do this.

For 2018 I have created some plans, and even a couple of goals. One of which has already been achieved. (That will be a separate blog post in the near future.) I noticed something interesting this year though.

A little history first: Late last year, I transitioned from bullet journaling to an actual planner. The Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas has become my planner of choice. It’s more fun and a lot less stressful for me because I don’t have to worry about creating a new spread every single week. With my planner, I can just write down what I need to and I can jazz it up with colour and stickers as much or as little as I want. It’s working beautifully for me.

And now, back to the interesting thing I noticed: Since I joined the online planner community I have seen the intriguing trend of choosing WORDS to live by in the new year. I think this is such a fun idea. You can choose your words and live by them in whatever way works best for you. I decided to jump on board with this trend. Why the heck not, right?

I have chosen three words for 2018:

  1. CREATIVITY
  2. SELF-CARE
  3. SELF-LOVE

2018 is the year of taking care of myself. This is the year of focusing on my personal creative endeavours, of taking care of myself both mentally and physically in every way possible, and learning to truly love and accept myself completely for who I am. I feel good about this. I think this will be a great approach to the year.

An Absentee Blogger Ringing in the New Year

The final three months of 2017 were a bit of a whirlwind. A lot of reflection took place, some changes in priorities as well, but mainly, a very sick kitty took up a lot of my time and money.

On top of that, my mental health has been a treat to deal with this year, and the holidays kicked my ass.

But let’s take a quick look at what my 2017 was like. As always, there were many ups and downs, and several changes that took place. It was a hard year, not unlike any other though.

The Ups:

  • My low key board gaming 31st birthday party was awesome
  • Huxley joined the fam
  • I was able to attend my cousin’s wedding in Manitoba and see a lot of family we don’t get to see around here near often enough
  • I took my first proper vacation in almost a decade!
  • I met the Internet-friend who has been a solid place in my life for the past year and a bit in real life
  • Tobi finally reached a healthy weight
  • I was promoted at work

The Downs:

  • I didn’t pay down much in terms of debt
  • No savings
  • Huxley had to make 2 trips to the vet in 2 months and cost me a lot of money
  • My mental health took a hard tumble in the fall, though things are better now

The ups far outnumber the downs for what may very well be the first time ever. Aside from witnessing the state of politics down in the United States, I can say that it was not a bad year.

There were a few changes that took place in 2017 for me personally as well. They were more mindset shifts than anything else. The first was that I decided to sell my DSLR camera. As much as I love photography, I just couldn’t keep a piece of tech like that around making me feel guilty for not using it. Ultimately, I made the decision to sell it and focus more on writing than on photography. The second change, also a mindset shift, was regarding future plans. New rules have been put in place that make it much more difficult for someone like me to get a mortgage. I’ve decided instead to focus on enjoying life and making it easier on myself as much as possible. I still love my apartment, and I don’t think I will grow out of it any time soon, so I will be sticking around here a good while. The other major change was Huxley joining our family back in February. He has been such a joy and I love him so much. I can’t imagine home without him!

I learned a few new things about myself as well. I learned that the state of my mental health has a huge effect on my every day life including managing important things like my finances. In light of this, I have come to understand that self-care needs to be a very important part of my life. My plans for 2018 encompass this. Those plans include a strong focus on taking care of myself first and foremost – the ways I intend to do this include fostering creativity as much as possible, working on self-love, and making sure self-care is a part of my daily routine. My other more “practical” plans include paying down as much debt as I reasonably can, saving $1000 and keeping it saved, and the big one: BUYING A CAR! It will be a significant added expense, but it will pay for itself by making my life significantly easier as well. I’m almost 32, and as much as I don’t love driving, I’m ready to not have to struggle to travel around the city or make arrangements to visit friends in the next town over weeks in advance! It is something that will make a huge different in my quality of life on a daily basis. I call that worth it!

So here’s to a happy and healthy 2018 to all of my friends, family and readers.

A Vacation of Firsts

I just arrived home from a vacation months in the making a few days ago. Vacation days were booked in February, and the following months were spent saving up funds and booking travel. After much anticipation and planning, things finally came together for a September 1 departure.

This vacation is my first since 2008, aside from taking a week off to move two years ago. A lot has changed since then: relationships have come and gone, I’ve moved house more than a couple times, I’ve started and left several jobs, and I’ve started over completely from nothing. A proper vacation was long overdue.

My vacation was amazing, and I had the opportunity to have so many experiences over the course of it, thanks to some pretty amazing friends and  family. I don’t know that I will ever be able to express my appreciation for helping to make this vacation possible.

The most amazing part of this vacation was the sheer number of first-time experiences I had. I attempted to keep and make a list, but it just got ridiculous once it hit multiple pages in length. I want to write about as many as logically possible. I will do my best not to make this boring!

Let’s start with the crazy stuff. On the second day of vacation, the first day of our road trip: we stopped in Redding, California, just off the I-5 for dinner, and then the plan was to head for the highway 299 W toward the coast. Minutes after we started to make our way down the 299 W, we discovered it was shut down due to one of the many fires in the area. I scrambled to find us a detour as quickly as possible, and ended up taking us down two regional roads: SR 3 and SR 36. Little did we know we were in for the ride of our lives…and not in a good way. It was the most terrifying experience I have ever had, to my recollection. We were detouring down these unfamiliar back roads full of sharp turns, at times with no lines painted on the roads or reflectors, and definitely no guard rails to be found the entire time we spent travelling those roads. It was made even more frightening by the drivers coming from the opposite direction around the curves driving 55-60 miles per hour, and that we were driving these roads well after midnight. We didn’t have phone service for the majority of the detour either, so we were also travelling blindly. We white-knuckled our way through the entire detour. Never have I been so thankful to arrive at a destination!

Thankfully, the positive first-time experiences outweighed the negative. I traveled into California for the first time and saw the world-renowned Redwoods. We visited two state parks while we were in California: the Redwoods State & National Park, and the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. We hiked two trails, totaling just under three miles. I use the term “hiking” lightly as neither of us are hikers. The tree growth in the first park was not as old as the growth in the second park, but it was beautiful, and an amazing thing to see for the first time! Even though we were dealing with wildfire smoke, it did not detract from the experience in the slightest. Seeing the Redwoods is the first thing I can confidently describe as awe-inspiring. And that was just the first park! The second park we visited was an old-growth park, where the vast majority of the trees were over a thousand years old. It has a completely different vibe from the first.  It felt like a truly magical place, and its beauty was almost overwhelming for me. We found a nice little nook just off the trail, and I now describe that nook as one of my “happy places.” It’s pretty amazing though that the Redwoods was just the first of several amazing destinations I experienced for the first time. The next one I was able to experience was seeing and going into the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I saw it for the first time while we were driving up the coast, and smelled it for the first time when we were past the worst of the smoke. The ocean has a very distinct smell, sort of fishy almost but also refreshing! It walked into it the first time when we stopped in Newport, OR where we stayed at the amazing Sylvia Beach Hotel. It was so much colder than I expected! I had a lot of fun and very pink feet by the time we were done and ready to go eat dinner! We visited the ocean again when we were in Pacific City, and had a nice walk on a slightly warmer and sunnier day. The ocean wasn’t much warmer, but it was an enjoyable stroll along the beach. Even with a bunch of people around, it was kind of peaceful. We ended our walk that day with yummy beach coffee. Another first, although much easier to come by! I was really so lucky in that I was able to see so much of nature’s beauty on this vacation. I even got to stick my toes and hands in a real sulfur hot spring while I was in British Columbia!

I can’t forget though, the amazingness that was Powell’s City of Books. I can only describe it as a book lover’s dream. So, basically my dream. We visited twice and I did well in stopping myself from overspending – or spending at all! I can’t wait to go back… I NEED to go back…

Among the many other amazing firsts was the food! I tried so many new foods! I even discovered that I enjoy things I thought I disliked previously. Surprising myself in this way was actually pretty great. It reminds me why I try things at least once. I had my first actual food cart experience in Portland… more than once. It was delicious every time. Absolutely zero regrets. I had the best Thai food I’ve ever had in my life twice from a food cart that came highly recommended, and I also tried a “sushi burrito” twice in two different styles: one spicy and one not. Both were fantastic. Who knew a giant sushi roll could be so satisfying! In keeping with my whole trying foods kick, I tried a new spin on an old staple of mine when we stopped for lunch one day: a salmon Caesar salad! I usually go for chicken, but I remembered that I wanted to try new things on vacation so I changed it up. And boy am I glad I did! It was so flavourful and the salmon melted in my mouth. It complimented the salad much better than I ever expected. One of my favourite new foods I tried was Korean, traditional. Arien’s mom cooked a meal the night before I left and it was excellent. I enjoyed it so much…spice and all. I was rather proud of myself actually! Spicy foods aren’t usually very nice to me. It’s funny though because I was told that she didn’t break out the big guns in terms of spiciness…haha. Baby steps! There was So much good food on vacation too. I will miss it. It’s just not quite the same at home.

This small recap of a few of the MANY firsts I experienced isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. I have so many amazing memories from this vacation that I will remember forever.

You Know Something’s Wrong When…

The world we are living in is a very difficult one to live in. On one hand we are surrounded by SO MANY great and beautiful things like friends, family, nature, the freedoms we enjoy – but on the other hand we are dogged by some of the ugliest things. Racism and bigotry are very much alive and well. Violence is everywhere we turn. Extremists of all kinds seek to dismantle all that we have worked hard to achieve as a society. This is becoming especially apparent with our southern neighbours, the U.S., based on recent events.

I have been struggling a lot with my depression this summer in and of itself, but watching events unfold around the world, mostly in the U.S. since Donald Trump was elected president, has been profoundly disheartening and has had a negative effect on my mental health overall. It has added to what has felt like a gradual spiral dive turned crash and burn into the ground. My mental health is in the shitter. My anxiety is at a 2-year peak, and my depression is the worst it has been since I went on medication approximately a year ago. I realize part of it is seasonal, part of it has a social aspect, but I feel like a large portion can be attributed to struggling to live in this world we have created for ourselves. I’m not saying I am suicidal or having suicidal thoughts, but it is becoming more and more difficult to go about my day knowing what has been happening elsewhere and thinking about what could potentially happen that day. It’s a very stressful way to live.

The events that took place in Charlottesville this month had a more profound effect on me than I ever could have expected, leading me to examine my own belief system and the way I look at this and similar situations. The fact that neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and white nationalist groups feel like they have a place in society today is scary to me; bordering on terrifying. They shouldn’t have a place anywhere. I thought we as people learned from history, at the conclusion of World War Two, 72 years ago. I was so, so incredibly wrong.

I consider myself a feminist, and my political leanings are quite far left. I am very much against any form of racism, bigotry, or hatred; things that are very easy to say considering my privilege. Sadly, it is all I seem to see when I attempt to read or catch up on the news.

It’s difficult to handle these huge amounts of negativity everywhere when living with depression. I sit here and feel like I should be doing something about it. Single-handedly if I could, as impossible as that is.  I question myself constantly: Do I do enough? Do I allow it to happen? Am I helping to perpetrate racism and bigotry and hatred as a white person? I know there are opportunities out there, but most times I just do not have the energy or the motivation. It’s difficult enough to get out of bed every day and get my self to work, let alone do anything else.

It’s so hard living in this world. It makes me want to rage quit.

A Much Anticipated Purchase

I have been entertaining the idea of purchasing a fountain pen for ages, and for some reason I never bothered to act on the thought until last week. I found a reasonably priced basic fountain pen on Amazon and clicked the “purchase” button. It arrived three days later and I am IN LOVE.


It has a simple, yet elegant design and I am very impressed with it considering I paid less than $30 for it. I have spent a lot of time with it, both seriously writing and just doodling and it is the best pen I have ever used. I simply cannot understand why I didn’t do this sooner!


The pen I purchased is a the silver fountain pen with a fine nib from the Pilot Metropolitan collection. I also purchased some ink cartridge refills for starting out. It did come with a converter, but I think I will leave using it until I have a bit more experience. In the meantime, I’m just going to write like crazy with it. This could be a dangerous purchase for me. I could see myself owning many more in the future and many more colours of ink!

Inspiration

After a quiet holiday long weekend with some minor frustrating occurrences, I think I may have finally found the inspiration to write something of substance. It feels like it has taken years for me to get to this point.

I started it last night. I’m not going to talk about it here until I have something a little more substantial than a few sentences.

I just wanted to share that it may finally be happening after what feels like far too long. Thank you to everyone I talked to this weekend; you helped me to get to this point.

If only I could finally get these exams out of the way already…

An Eventful June 

June has been a busy month in the land of Lindsay. As a result I have been exhausted almost perpetually this month. Hoping for a relatively quiet July, and in turn time to recover. Time to recap the craziness! 

The beginning of June came with a midterm to study for and to write. I probably didn’t study as much as I could have, but I at least managed a 75% on the exam. I am okay with that. The quizzes for this class have continued to happen every week or so, and has kept me on my toes. My last class is tonight, and studying for the final exam commences tonight as well. 

Mid-June came with a big trip for my cousin’s wedding. The family came from far and wide and converged on Brandon, Manitoba for a long weekend. We flew out on Thursday, and returned Monday afternoon. Mom and I tried Airbnb for the first time, and it was a great experience. We saw family we haven’t seen in ages, and we had a fantastic time at the wedding. My cousin looked absolutely beautiful, and the wedding was a fun laid back affair. I was sorry to part with everyone again, but I was very happy to be home again Monday! I was also very thankful for my neighbour who acted as cat-sitter as well. The cats were much better for having someone able to look in on them twice a day! 



Traveling to and returning from Manitoba did a number on me. Luckily I haven’t gotten sick or anything, but I have been exhausted on a whole new level. No amount of sleep has had me feeling rested until today finally. This past weekend I took a few extra naps totalling 5.5 hours of extra sleep. I guess I needed it! 

This past Sunday night brought the Eagles of Death Metal concert at London Music Hall. I took a friend for her birthday. It was a super great time, even though I was crazy tired to begin with and even more so after… I did sleep well that night. A deep and satisfying sleep, even if it was short. It was one of the best shows I have been to in a very long time. Maybe I will get lucky and catch another great show sooner rather than later. 

Well, I’m broke now too, so the excitement has to slow down regardless. Time to rest!

Handy person?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Canadian holidays, we just celebrated Victoria Day, or “May 2-4.” It’s the first long weekend of the summer season, and usually marks the beginning of summer festivals locally. A lot of people go camping, others party, and still others use it as an opportunity to start gardens or plant fields and the like. I, on the other hand, used this long weekend to build a long-awaited headboard for my bedroom. 

With the help of my dad, we built a headboard from scratch. From buying the raw materials (wood, stain, screws, etc.) to cutting, sanding and finishing the wood, all the way to assembly and installation. It was fun and exciting, but also exhausting and much more physical work than I have been used to. I am only just getting back to semi-normal energy levels, so it still took a whole  lot out of me. I am, however, very happy that it’s done. I can assure that the cats are happy about it as well. They are finally starting to relax again and so am I. 

See the journey in photographs from end to start below!