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 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!

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! 

Superhero Weekend 2017

This past weekend was what I like to call “Superhero Weekend.” Not only does the latest big superhero movie usually open on this weekend every year, but it is also Free Comic Book Day on Saturday. Hooray for the first weekend in May being so awesome! And now, to chronicle it: 

It all started on Friday night after work, from which Jen (super awesome nerd-friend!) and I left a bit earlier than usual. We went to pick up her daughter and another friend before we picked her husband up from work and headed off to dinner. 

We had dinner at Under the Volcano, a local Mexican restaurant that makes some pretty delicious food. Because we had the movie to make, we called ahead and had a table reserved for us so we could get in and out quickly, which we did. Service was excellent, and the server was even jealous of what were up to that night. 

From Under the Volcano we headed straight to the theatre for our opening night viewing of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. We settled into our comfy reclining seats with our awesome movie theatre popcorn and drinks, for the one of the most anticipated movies this year. 

The movie was fantastic. Very enjoyable, especially with Baby Groot stealing the show! I won’t go into detail, because spoilers. 

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The next day was Free Comic Book Day, however, the weather was less than ideal, and Jen’s husband was unwell. Nevertheless, we three women took on The day ourselves. We did get off to a late start, but that was okay. We did things backwards from what we normally do and it worked in our favour. We avoided a few lines in Old East at Neo Tokyo and The Comic Collector, and stood in a shorter line at Worlds Away – we were in line for a half hour tops. Things went rather smoothly. 

Just as we were about to get into Worlds Away, my dad called, and we ended up meeting for lunch once we were done at the shop. Jen and Jose took the opportunity to go home and check in there to make sure all was well. 

We met back up downtown, where I got a “Joker” frappucino while I waited for them to join me in line at Heroes. It was delicious, and I hadn’t been in line long before they found me! The dreary weather worked in our favour again here, in the longest line also. Short wait times were the only reason I think we were able to complete the whole Comic Book Crossover! After finishing at Heroes (where I won a prize!), we made our way down the street to visit a friend at Über Cool Stuff and then around the corner and down the street to LA Mood. There was no lineup here, so we were in and out quickly, and were able to make our way to the last stop: the library. 

Unfortunately, we missed all of the activities at the library, but we were able to get our final stamps and submit our ballot for the prize draw. From there, we made a quick pit stop for a fun purchase and headed home. Despite the weather, it made for an excellent day. 

Hooray for Superhero Weekend  2017!

I think I need to try harder…

Wow. I am really not delivering on my goal to publish at least twice a month… At least I have an excuse this time, I guess? Sorta?

Most of the month of April involved dealing with some (what I originally though were) minor health concerns: fatigue, lethargy, semi-unusual aches and pains, etc.  They were causing me enough problems to affect my daily life, so I figured I should probably get checked out just in case. What I expected to be a simple, by the books doctor appointment ended with me having to go for testing for several conditions, including but not limited to rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. My doctor even booked my follow up appointment for me before I even left the exam room. This in combination with his urgency that I go get the blood work done as soon as possible, had me freaked right out. I went for my blood work the following morning and settled in to wait the LONG week before my follow up appointment. During that week, after researching (THANKS, ANXIETY), I almost had myself convinced I had lupus! It was good news, however, when I walked into my doctor appointment the following week. As it turns out, I am quite anemic. Who knew an iron deficiency could actually have serious effects on your life! Since then, I have been on some heavy duty iron supplements, and I am finally starting to notice improvements. I don’t think I have ever been so relieved as I was on that day. Knowing that I am dealing with something that can be fixed with a supplement is a huge stress release.

Before the doctor scared the poopers out of me, I actually made some minor upgrades around home. A new dresser, a bookcase replaced, a new vacuum cleaner… things of that nature. It has felt really good to make these changes around my home and update it a bit. I’ll have lived here for two years come July, and it was time for some little changes to be made. I also have plans to build a new headboard for my bed sometime this summer. I think it is going to be amazing. I can’t wait to have things exactly how I want them!

Along with these minor upgrades, the cats received some extra goodies as well. They now finally have a cat tree to climb and play on! Tobi loves it, and I’ve yet to really see Huxley use it, but I am sure he will in time.

Huxley has turned out to be an absolutely wonderful addition to my little family. He and Tobi play so well together, and he has taken to me as his human as I could have only hoped he would. He is very much a part of the family, and I love to my two babies as much as if he was always here. He has started snuggling in bed with my at bedtime each night, and it makes me so happy. As I always seem to be telling him, he is the best decision I have made in the past two years. He is very comfortable here and he knows he is loved.

Tobi went to the vet this month as well, she was overdue for vaccinations and I felt she needed a proper check up as well. We tried a different one this time, a new veterinary clinic that has opened up a short two minute drive from home. They took to her right away, and were impressed with how chill she was. She was given a clean bill of health, aside from her usual issues, and she got her shots as well. The highlight, however, was her weigh in. She weighed in at 6.6 kg, which is approximately 14.5 lbs. This is the lightest she has been since she was about a year old! After several years, she has finally attained a healthy weight. This new vet had absolutely no concerns about her weight because “she is clearly a large cat.” It felt so nice to have someone else understand that there was NO WAY Tobi could possibly weigh 10 lbs and still be considered healthy. We left the appointment that day with Tobi feeling sufficiently traumatized and me feeling completely satisfied with the service we received. It seemed just the news we needed to gear up for Tobi’s 9th birthday this past Tuesday. I bought the kitties a Meowbox to celebrate her birthday this year. It was enjoyed by all.

Tobi: “Is this all for me?!”

I am home from work today, not feeling well at all. I am taking this opportunity to practice a bit of self care, which included some blog activity, because I do miss it when I don’t write for it. It gets some feelings out there, and it helps me feel more social, being an introvert and all. HOPEFULLY I do a better job of staying on top of things in the future.

In the meantime, I will keep on playing World of Warcraft and reading up a storm. Since I finally  finished the train wreck that was The Goldfinch after a year and a half, I have been reading up a storm and it feels great.

31…

Two weeks ago on Monday… I turned 31. What a lame/boring age to turn. No milestones, nothing. I DID, however, have a GREAT weekend leading up to my birthday. I was able to spend some quality time with a lot of special people, and wouldn’t you know it? I took maybe two photos the entire weekend… SO out of character for me, I KNOW.

I hosted a game night on Saturday night (February 24), which turned into a great way to catch up with people I don’t see nearly enough. We played Cards Against Humanity, and my new game Bang!, which was a birthday gift. We ate nachos and those of us who didn’t have to drive drank. We were all merry. My friend Steph, took me out to buy birthday party supplies earlier in the day as her birthday gift to me, and it really made the day and night great. We played games and joked and laughed into the wee hours.

On Sunday, I planned a birthday dinner with some of my closest friends. Sadly, one was unable to make it due to work, but I saw her the very next day for our weekly movie night on my actual birthday. I invited my dad, my sister and her boyfriend, my super awesome friend Jen from work, along with her husband and daughter, as well as Wes and Ash and their cute kids. The food was awesome, and the atmosphere was pretty great too. It was so nice to be able to celebrate with a dinner surrounded by some of the people I care about the most. It was a really enjoyable evening. I went home that night very happy.

After an awesome (and exhausting) weekend leading up to my birthday, my actual birthday was very run-of-the-mill. I went to work, I ate free pizza from a local pizza place that offers a free birthday slice, I went home, I napped, I went to my friend Alice’s for our weekly movie night, and then I went home to bed. It was a good day, but very normal.

Overall, it was a great a 31st birthday, and it was awesome to celebrate it with as many people as I did.

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Since then, I’ve been working through some other things. I have been really tired and lethargic and sleeping poorly for weeks. I figured out that my B12 was low again (which was the cause last time it happened) and had to go back on my B12 supplement. I think it is safe to say that I have to keep taking it and can’t stop again; not if I want to function at least semi-normally. I’ve been on it for just about a couple of weeks now, and I am noticing improvements progressively as the days pass. I have started sleeping better incrementally, and I am able to come home and complete tasks that were falling to the wayside previously.

I am also working extra hard to get on track financially. I have a long road of breaking bad habits ahead of me, but I recently listened to an audiobook that is poised to change my life in big ways in terms of money management and savings and the future. I am excited about getting on track for real, for the first time. In the past I always dreaded having to deal with money, and I feel like I am finally not afraid to deal with it anymore. It feels pretty great. As a result, I am feeling more positive about other aspects of my daily life as well. I am getting more physically active again, slowly but surely. In no time, I think I will be working out and doing more healthy things in general.

I find it really interesting how making sense of one very important aspect of your life can make a difference in a multitude of ways, including translating into other seemingly unrelated parts of your life. I am already taking much better care of myself mentally – practicing self-care on a semi-regular basis as compared to barely ever before. And I have been much kinder to myself in general.

Things are also coming together for the two trips I have planned this year. The first is in June, to attend a family wedding, and the second will be a trip to visit my best friend who moved away last October. The flights and accommodations are book for the trip in June, and I will be planning for the second trip happening later this year just as soon as flight schedules come available.

Huxley, or The New Guy as I like to call him from time to time, has made himself very comfortable and is already friends with my friends who have met him. It’s funny how quickly it feels like they have always been here. I can’t imagine my home without him now, and it has only been 5 weeks. I’m not complaining whatsoever! He has been a great addition to my little family here and Tobi has accepted him also, which makes me feel happy inside.

I have an exam coming up in less than a month, and I spent my day today getting caught up on all of my reading. After 4 hours, I finally got there! Next step will be going through the study guide, which will start tomorrow. I am determined to do better than my previous two courses, where I ended up with C’s. I am thankful to have a study buddy, that’s for sure! I am also thankful for my bullet journal, which has done wonders to keep me on track especially during the toughest days. Maybe one day I will do a blog post about that. It’s not as creative and fancy as some of the others out there, but it works great for me.

This post kind of became a jumble of overall updating, which was not my original intent. It’s not very often that I have so much to say as I did today. Hopefully the next one will be more coherent!

A New Addition to the Family

It has been two weeks since I wrote about my frustrations over cat rescues and adoptions. It is truly amazing how much can change over two weeks!

Long story short, I have had my newly adopted cat, Huxley, for a week as of today. He has been such a joy. He is so handsome and chill and purry. He really is a great fit for my little household here. So far, it has also been the smoothest transition for a new cat I have ever seen! Tobi and Huxley have only swatted at each other once. It feels like he was truly meant to be a part of our family.

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Huxley 

Huxley was the black cat I applied to adopt through A.R.F. Ontario after the adoption of the kittens from Toronto didn’t pan out. He was the one I had basically given  up on hearing back from the rescue because it had been over a week and I hadn’t even received an email confirming my application had been received even though I should have received it within 72 hours. On the day I finally gave up hope, a week ago Thursday, that was the day I finally received a phone call from the coordinator for the rescue. She left a message for me around midday that day, and I was unable to answer the phone because I was away from the office with my team visiting some of our brokers. I called her back as soon as I got home that night.

She apologized up and down for not getting in contact with me sooner. As it turns out, her entire adoption team was out sick with an illness in one form or another. She herself was dealing with the very same cold I am STILL dealing with. She conducted the phone interview with me on the spot, and told me at the end that she thought I would be a good fit for Schwarz (now Huxley). She sent my information to his foster mom who was in touch with me within a couple of hours to make arrangements to meet him on Sunday last week. I went prepared with my carrier and the adoption fee, and after I met him, we sealed the deal. I signed the contract and brought him home. He took to my bedroom for the most part, and was unsure of Tobi. Even with dealing with new surroundings and a new cat, he was lovey and purry and made himself at home under the bed to start with. As much as Tobi was unsure of him in the beginning as well, she has done wonderfully. She is acting exactly as she was before he arrived, if not even happier. I’m sure that even though they aren’t quite buddies yet, she is enjoying not being alone all day when I am at work.

A week later, Huxley is moving around the apartment with no issues. He seems to know its home! He is eating great, and found the litter box right away. He has even accepted me as his new human! We are working on cuddling and snuggling right now, but he is still more comfortable beside me than he is on me. Tobi took time to adopt her snuggly lap-cat ways as well after we moved here on our own. He is a wonderful boy and he is making us so happy. I am so glad that the coordinator at A.R.F. Ontario ended up getting in touch with me. Huxley has even met a few of my friends, and they fell in love with him too!

I love my new house panther!