More technology or simpler times?

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I’ve thought about this for a while now, but, recently it’s been on my mind even more.  It’s that we are all so into our technology, yet, at the same time we are embracing the past with such gusto.  We are embracing everything from our vintage home decor interspersed with our modern styles, to pin-up girl looks,  to re-useable bags at the grocery store, to our love of home style, back to the earth, eating clean diets!  We are acting as if we just invented all of these things.

If you have a  grandmother around or have been lucky enough to have one live with you, you will know that we are just all reminiscing and wishing the past was with us now. 

I know I do!  My mummo (or grandmother to you) was born at the turn of the century and I’m talking 1900.  She lived a very simple life and she was the eldest in a home of 12 kids in Helsinki, Finland.  She taught me so much.  She taught me how to cook, to bake, to crochet, to knit, to sew, how to do cross stitch, to mend, to clean, and to enjoy the simple things in life.  She grew up and lived in an era without so-called technology.  Life was about work, looking after your family, and home keeping.  She wasn’t wealthy, but, she lived a wealthy life.  She was always impeccably dressed, meaning everything was always clean, ironed, and in excellent condition.  Her home was always kept in order and was so welcoming with simple home cooking and baking scents to entice you.

What she had is what I am now striving for…  and in this crazy pursuit I actually watch YouTuber’s explain to me about this way of life.  They explain how to live a simple, but, fulfilling life.  Do I really need this?

Sometimes I just have to shake my head and remember that I already learned everything I need to know about living a simple  and healthy life from my mummo. 

More technoloy or simpler times - Refreshed and fit

Sweetpea helping me put away Christmas decorations

I certainly am not against anyone for making video’s or for watching them, because, I do watch them!  For some reason we are all in this same quest for simplifying our lives.  The more communication devices we have the more we seem to want to disconnect.  I appreciate the people who are realizing this and putting this information out there, because, I for one needed a reminder! 

I feel a bit crazed sometimes.  On the one hand I’m reading and hearing about all the newest and greatest gadgets available right now and then I’m hearing the message… stop…. you don’t need anymore stuff… stop and enjoy what you have! 

I think that’s why daily planners and journaling are making such a comeback and thank goodness for that.  Wouldn’t it be awful if we all forgot how to handwrite?  With all the apps and devices available to us, we now want to hold some nice paper, and to hold a nice pen, and to be able to write down our thoughts.

More technology or simpler times - Refreshed and fit

My notebook for lists

I for one still love my lists and I love to keep a notebook which shows my accomplishments.  I love to cross items off as I complete them.  It’s such a great feeling!! 

Here is another YouTube personality that I enjoy watching.  Her name is Jennifer L Scott and she is also an author of a couple of books Lessons from Madame Chic and At Home with Madame Chic.  Her channel is all about simplifying your life.  Very interesting. 







I’m looking forward to getting my new planner that I’ve mentioned before, but, until then I’m continuing to use my trusty notebook for my lists.  The other day I was so impressed with myself.  I had fourteen things that I wanted to accomplish (a very ambitious task for me) and I crossed off ten of them!  That was amazing!  I would not have gotten around to half of the tasks if I hadn’t written them down.  The day was all about getting my home in order and this is actually one of my goals for the year.  I want to do all the things around my home that I’ve been putting off for years.  I want my home to be comfortable and as complete as I can make it, so, that I’m comfortable with what I’ve done

More technology or simpler times - Refreshed and fit

Enjoying some candle light after tidying up

My last item on the list for the day was to enjoy some candlelight and a cup of tea, so,  I could fully appreciate all that I had done that day.  As you can see I did just that :)

Do you find yourself wishing for simpler times without all this wonderful technology?  Are you torn between vintage items and brand spanking new things sometimes?

Have a great rest of the week and I’ll talk to you soon. 


fresh start means new planner

Well it’s been a while, but, it’s a new year and I’m excited about a fresh start and a fresh start means new, beautiful… paper!  Paper in all it’s forms such as notebooks, journals,  and planners.  Plus nice new pens with fine tips and pencils!

Kate Spade notebook

My daughter and I stopped in at Chapter’s because I was looking for a particular book (which I didn’t find by the way, will have to check online).  Both of us got mesmerized at the Kate Spade display that was there.  My daughter is an organizational freak… and I say that in a very loving, positive way.  Her notebooks have always been pristine with beautiful handwriting inside.  I worried at one point she was a little obsessive compulsive.  But, I digress.  Needless to say we loved all the notebooks and organizational accessories that were being displayed.  She bought a few beautiful gifts for her friend who’s turning nineteen and starting college.  Plus, we bought just a few little things for ourselves.  I’d just  finished looking around online at planners and I had looked at the Kate Spade planners.  I didn’t realize Chapters sold Kate Spade!  I didn’t see any of the Kate Spade planners available at Chapters though.  Kelsi got herself the Kate Spade spiral bound notebook pictured above, which appears more red than it really is, it’s really a hot pink colour. 

Kate Spade stickers

We  bought some cute little Kate Spade stickers.  I don’t really know what I’ll be doing with these, but, I’m sure Kelsi will find some use for them.  They were on sale and were just so pretty!

Kate Spade magnetic page markers

These Kate Spade magnetic page markers I will definitely use!  I love this idea!  Perfect for my current notebook that I write all of  my lists in.  Sometimes I want to be able to get back to a particular page that I wrote something important down on or something similar.  Love the colour too. 

Speaking of planners… I just ordered myself a liveWELL planner from Inkwell Press and I’m waiting for it to be delivered to Pic-It-Up the parcel receiving experts in Sumas for me, on the other side of the border.  Inkwell Press doesn’t ship internationally, yet, which is the one downside to the company… it’s funny because I don’t feel like we are that “international” here in Canada :)

This was my first glimpse at the liveWELL planner from makeup TIA





I can’t wait to get my hands on this planner.  Kelsi and I are so similar in this way.  We both love getting new notebooks, nice pens and pencils, and in general a fresh start.  When it arrives I’ll show it to you with all the accessories that I will use with it. 

I hope you’re all having a great fresh start to 2015!  I’m looking forward to spending more time doing things I love to do, and, one of the things I love to do is putting my thoughts down, here, on my blog.

Talk to you soon,




Natural deodorants that work

Do you put much thought into the type of antiperspirants or deodorant you use?  Maybe not as much during the cooler weather as in the summer months, but, it’s still something most of us use on a daily basis.  Unless you have a serious issues with sweating or your skin is sensitive, you may not give deodorants a second thought.  I’ve been wanting to tell you about my favourite deodorant for a while… because it’s so exiting :) 

I didn’t think much about them either until many years ago when my underarm area became really itchy and irritated.  I know… yuck!  At the time I was using Secret antiperspirant.   Coincidentally when this happened I had been at the lake and I’d been swimming and laying on the beach tanning :)  I thought at first I had some kind of a rash from the sand or I had been bitten by some little critters.  The itchiness persisted and because it was under both arms I decided to stop using the Secret antiperspirant I had been using for years thinking it was more likely the cause of the irritation. 

I decided to try one of the  mineral salt rocks.  I remember it took a bit of getting used to, but, my skin under my arms over time cleared right up.  The mineral salt rock was easy to use.  I don’t know if you’ve seen them, but, they look like large crystals and sometimes are sold in a little satchel for storing purposes or inside a plastic holder like a standard deodorant stick.  Basically you wet the rock and then rub the rock under your arms.  That was it.  After a time my body became accustomed to it and I didn’t notice any odour… and no one mentioned to me that I stunk :)  The only thing with the mineral salt is that it didn’t help with perspiration.  You would still sweat, but, you wouldn’t stink!

All natural deodorants that work

There is a huge market now for products that claim to be “natural” and among skin care products, deodorants and antiperspirants are one of them.  I don’t buy something because of the “natural” claim.  That really means nothing.  Everything when broken down to its most basic form is a chemical either man-made or organic.  What I look for is the ingredients that I want to avoid not being on the ingredient listing. 

I had obviously become sensitized to the antiperspirant and was having a reaction.  I’m sure years ago when I had this reaction there was already talk about avoiding aluminum in your skin care products, because of a link to dementia.   So, that was also a bonus of using the mineral salt rock, it didn’t have any aluminum in it.   Eventually, after several years, for whatever reason I did go back to traditional deodorants.  Over the past few years I’ve become more concerned again with what I put on my skin.  I think it really hit me when I watched my daughter in her early teens lather her body with all the fruity smelling lotions and potions.  She’d come out of her room in a wafting, cloud of perfume and the boys would all be choking.  I became worried about all the ingredients that were being absorbed into her young body through her skin and all the toxins she was inhaling in the form of those synthetic scents. 

I wanted her and I to stay away from products that contain phthalates, parabens, avobenzone, triclosan, aluminum to name a few.  If you go to the MindBodyGreen website you can check out this great chart they have that lists 12 Toxic Ingredients to Avoid and why. 

By the way, the mineral salt rock I had years ago would still probably be around if I hadn’t dropped it… it splintered into a gazillion pieces!  Which is another bonus, they do last for years as long as you don’t drop them!

 All natural deodorants that work - Green Beaver Company Natural Deodorant

When I decided to get away from aluminum in antiperspirant, again, I went to my local health food store and bought a few different stick deodorants that are aluminum free.  Actually you can now buy many of these brands at your local grocery store.  I’ve used Tom’s,  the Green Beaver Company, and a few others.  My favourite so far is Hugo Naturals

Hugo Naturals

  • Made from 100% natural ingredients
  • Vegan
  • Soy free
  • Gluten free
  • Cruelty free

Never any: parabens, phenoxyethanol, sulfates, PEGs, propylene glycol, petroleum products, silicones, phthalates, synthetic surfactants, artificial colors or synthetic fragrances.

The one thing about these deodorants is that that’s exactly what they are… deodorants.  They have very limited ability to stop perspiration.  That is what the aluminum does in the traditional deodorants.  I haven’t found this to be a problem though.  The only situations I would kill for a true antiperspirant would be times of stress.  Do you know that your sweat makeup is different in times of duress?  It has a different odour and the perspiration is more difficult to control.  There are still times when I use my trusty Secret deodorant (no further reactions under my arms).  I learned my lesson just over a year ago when my sister got married on a hot, sunny day in August.  What was I thinking not to wear a good, strong, old stand by at a time like that!  Yes!  I do use products with the ingredients I try to avoid sometimes.  That’s what I mean about everything in moderation. 

All natural deodorants that work - Hugo Naturals Dual Action Deodorant

A natural deodorant that works and my favourite deodorant is the Hugo Naturals deodorant in the  Mexican Lime and Bergamot scent.  It has a slight citrus scent which isn’t overpowering at all.  Also the formulation is drier, so, when you rub it on it doesn’t leave your underarms feeling moist right off the bat (which I can’t stand).  Hugo Naturals calls itself a dual action deodorant, because, as they claim in their website the  “Pure Rice silk powder effectively and gently absorbs moisture”.  I do find that this brand starts off feeling drier and seems to keep me drier throughout the day and  might I add, for me, this includes working twelve-hour shifts in emergency.

What ingredients do you try to avoid?  Do you have a favourite deodorant that doesn’t contain aluminum?

Talk to you soon,


Motivation to workout in the fall feels good

I hope everyone in Canada had a great Thanksgiving weekend!  We got to celebrate my babies eighteenth birthday during the weekend because her birthday is October twelfth.  Poor thing, she’s always had to share her birthday with the big bird! Traditionally when it’s your birthday you get to choose what you would like for dinner, so, I asked Kelsi what she would like and she wanted the usual (thank goodness) turkey dinner with all the trimmings.   I made an old favourite for her birthday cake, it’s called Dreamy Creamy Cheesecake.  For being an old, family, favourite I hadn’t made it in years!  But, that’s one thing in common with Kelsi, Keith, and I… we love our cheesecake!  So, we had a nice quiet birthday slash Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday.  I was actually supposed to work the whole weekend, but, when we were picking our vacation time I had requested October twelfth off.  So everything worked out well.


It finally feels like fall here in Maple Ridge.  It’s rainy and grey outside.  The temperature has dropped significantly, but, it’s nothing I want to complain about!  I also feel like I’m back on track with working out.  I don’t know about you, but, for some reason when I’m in full summer mode I lose interest in working out.  I don’t know if it’s because I don’t like doing it when it’s so warm or what… I’m not sure.  I know I feel horrible when I’m not working out.  It doesn’t really make sense to me why I lose my momentum like this.  But it’s back on and I”m feeling good!  I look forward to my workouts again and I feel guilty if I miss them.  Working all the twelve-hour shifts really does take its toll and I’ve realized I just can’t be on a tight schedule with the workouts.  Because even with the best intentions, if I’ve had a real crappy, exhausting shift, I just sometimes can’t do it.  So, I don’t schedule myself so tightly any longer.  I workout on most of my days off and sometimes during the days I work, if, I feel up to it. 


I know that visiting my aunt and uncle motivated me again to stay healthy.  I see them every few months.  Now more than I used to for sure, and seeing my aunt in the condition she’s in is absolutely heartbreaking, but, it also moves me to want to stay healthy and use each day to its fullest.  Alzheimer’s Disease is cruel

Besides fitness, I want to eat healthy, and for me it means limiting my intake of sugar, eating more of a vegan diet, and taking a few supplements.  The supplements that I prefer to take were recommended to me by Dr. Mahmood.  He is a medical doctor and an acupuncturist.  I had acupuncture done by him when I was having severe pain a few years back due to being rear-ended in my car.  He recommended I take a turmeric capsule, omega three, and vitamin B50 daily which I am again, for their anti-inflammatory properties.  Reducing inflammation is super important.  I suppose if I ate enough of spices such as turmeric in my diet daily I wouldn’t need to take supplements.  Everything in moderation is the key!


Besides feeling motivated in staying healthy… I’m extremely motivated right now with home renovations!  We just had painter come by to take a look at all the interior spaces I need (want) painted… I can’t wait for the quote!  I’m dying to get this place painted, to get rid of excess junk, and to buy some new furniture!  I have a few projects that I’ve completed already with Annie Sloan chalk paint and they look great and are like new pieces.  I just finished my dining room table, but, I’m not quite sure yet if I’m going to do more to it.  Either way it looks better than it did.  I’ll be sharing that project soon!

Well that’s about all for now.  I have a few more days off work this week, so, I have to make the most of the next few days.  But for the rest of today I’ll workout, then some dinner, and probably after that I’ll  catch up with one of “The Real Housewives” shows for some mind-numbing fun :) online.

Any major renos going on in your home?  Which interior paint company is your favourite and how do you pick your paint colour when doing interior painting?

Talk to you soon,


My to do list is too long

Today is Wednesday and it’s my day off.  One thing I like about working shift work is having days off in the middle of the week.  I love having the house to myself, being able to get things done with no one is around to interrupt, and I especially like getting my shopping and errands done during the day when it’s not as busy.  Now that sounds all wonderful and that’s what I wish it was like today, but, for some reason I’m feeling a little under the weather. 

I’m still in my PJ’s, still writing my to do list, and not feeling very energized.  What I would like to get done today is number ONE workout (even if it’s a quickie), then… shower, Costco, Thrifty Foods, Langley Farm Market, find the second book in the Diana Gabaldon Outlander series that I’m rereading, phone someone about getting the interior of my house painted, take pictures of stuff I want to add to my Craigslist for sale ads, start my painting project, make dinner, read some blogs, write another post, and relax with my book that I need to find today!  Oh, I left housework off of today’s list even though it desperately needs to get done, but, there’s always tomorrow :)

I should have known things weren’t right yesterday.  I came off of my night shift, slept a few hours, and then woke up and got ready in a rush because my sister came over.  I actually slept longer than I’d planned to.  I just couldn’t wake up when my alarm went off.  It’s not that I wouldn’t still be tired after only two hours of sleep, but, the tiredness was more than the “norm” for me.  That should have been my first indicator that something wasn’t quite right.  Even though I overslept I had a good time with Liisa.  After I got ready we had lunch at The Big Feast, drove to The Passionate Home to buy some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and then bought a few things at the Village Deli here in Maple Ridge.  The day was unseasonably warm and we had to have the windows open while we drove.  Shouldn’t complain about that all! 

The Big Feast makes the most wholesome, home cooked (but fancier) food.  We love it there and so does my husband… I sent him this picture at work. 

To do list - out with my sister at The Big Feast

Then we drove to Langley to The Passionate Home, where I’ve bought Annie Sloan chalk paint before, for my other painting project.  I’m sure you can buy the paint at other home decor stores, but, I like checking out this store because they  always have a nice mix of vintage knick nacks and new things.  We came back and stopped in at the deli to buy some Finnish mustard that my sister is going to serve with her ham on Thanksgiving. 

To do list - buy Finnish mustard Turun Sinappia

I have lots of paint leftover from the table I painted a few months ago for my spare bedroom, but, I needed to buy another colour for my dining room table.  Sweetpea’s decided she’s going to stand on top of the table to look out the window!  She’s scratched up the surface, so, either way it needs to be painted plus I don’t like it very much any more, so, if it doesn’t suit the place when I’m done, I’ll sell it.  Sweetpea will be in big trouble if she goes near the table once it’s painted!  I have no idea what made her think this was acceptable :)

To do list - paint dining room table

No matter what else I get done today on my to do list I am going to workout!  It’s funny… my husband has no problem putting himself first, meaning he get’s his workouts in no matter what most days.  I need to do that too.  So, that’s my plan for the day… as soon as I’m finished here I’ll workout and then I’ll go from there.  I’m thinking I’m not going to get to everything on my list today, so, I’m really glad I have a few more days off.  That’s the great thing about working twelve-hour shifts, having more than two days’ off in between sets! 

How do you manage your to do list?  Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the number of things to get done?  Do you workout no matter what else needs to get done?

Have a great rest of the week and I’ll talk to you soon.



Alzheimer’s Disease is cruel

Alzheimer's Disease is cruel - my aunt holding me

My aunt is fourteen years old in this picture holding me.

I visited my  aunt and uncle last week.  My aunt is sixty-three years old and is on a priority wait list for placement into a care facility.  She has Alzheimer’s Disease.  She was diagnosed seven years ago when she was fifty-six years old.  She’d noticed symptoms for a few years prior to that and when the symptoms became too apparent to ignore any longer, my aunt and uncle started going to the doctor.  It took a long time and several trips to the doctor and eventually specialists to get the diagnosis.  My uncle was just about to retire when all this started.  Since his retirement, five years ago, he  has been her full-time caregiver. 

My aunt was still talking five years ago and was able to manage her own care.  Today she doesn’t talk.  Once in a while she may call out a word or a few words strung together, but, that’s it.  She needs help to dress, to manage her hygiene,  her toileting, and her meals.  She won’t climb up or down stairs any longer.  She’s afraid and she can’t figure out how to make the motion happen of lifting her leg up onto a step and then the next.  She’s now confined to one floor of the house and paces from window to window to look outside for short periods of time.  She no longer remembers extended family members.  Just a year ago she’d show recognition when she saw me, but, I don’t think she remembers me any longer.  Her moods are labile.  She still smiles and giggles a lot, but, can cry quickly especially when she gets help with her care… it’s as if for a fleeting second she realizes what’s happening to her and it saddens her deeply. 

My aunt is the youngest of three girls, my mom, being the oldest.  She’s only fourteen years older than me!  As I became older we talked more as friends and I knew how she feared getting Alzheimer’s.  My grandfather had Alzheimer’s.  I was a teenager when he was diagnosed and into my own self-centered, teenage life.  When he was finally hospitalized, because, he needed full care, I was already living on my own with my own young family. 

My aunt’s decline has been very aggressive and very rapid.  Because she was diagnosed at such a young age my aunt is enrolled in a research study at the University of  British Columbia for studying Alzheimer’s Disease.  The researchers are hoping to enlist my mom and my other aunt into the study as well.  Of course they are also requesting that my aunt’s children, my cousins also participate in this.  I’m not sure how extensive this study is and if they will want more of the extended family to participate… I imagine they will.  I’d definitely do my part.  Anything to find a cure!  When my uncle was reading me some of the disclosure information regarding the study, there was a statement that said, “you will not be made aware of any finding’s unless you request them and you are psychologically deemed fit to be able to handle the information”.  I certain would not be!  To me that would be a death sentence, basically knowing when I would start my slow and painful death.  I know that sounds harsh, but, this disease is TERRIFYING.  To me Alzheimer’s Disease is a cruel, slow death sentence that robs you of all dignity and leaves behind only a shell.  There is no nice and gentle way to say it.

Over the years as a nurse I have looked after many Alzheimer’s patients.  Now working in emergency I meet them and their families.  They come in to get help because they are in a desperate situation and they can’t cope any longer.  You lose yourself with this disease and your family loses you.  And we really have to remember that aging doesn’t have to mean dementia.  Dementia isn’t a normal part of aging.  On the one hand I see dementia taking the life out of someone way too young and then I meet incredible people well into their nineties and even one hundred and two-year old’s with all of their faculties in tact.  That’s how it should be.  I hope research really gets underway and makes some huge strides in this disease.  Our aging population is going to make all our health care facilities burst at the seams if we don’t do something now to try to find out what causes this horrible disease.  

Alzheimer's Disease is cruel - my aunt holding me

My aunt and I in 1965

I don’t want to dwell on what may happen in the future for me, because, that can be paralyzing.  Nor do I want to think of any of my siblings, or anyone I love being stricken with this illness.  Instead I want to concentrate on living a healthy life and do all I can within reason to stay healthy in MIND and BODY.  I want to do what I can to help research for Alzheimer’s Disease.  But this is also my motivation to eat a more vegan diet, exercise, and keep my brain healthy and active!  When I read about preventing dementia, a  healthy diet with less animal products and exercise is always recommended.  In one of my earlier posts, which you can find here, I mention some of the books that I have read to maintain brain health.  I wish there could be a concrete answer to what is truly effective and what is just wishful thinking.  We don’t know yet, so, if you’re in the same predicament as I am and my family, you can only do what makes you feel good doing.

Seeing my uncle look after his wife of over forty years with such patience and compassion really shows you what true love is all about.

Do you know anyone who has this disease?