Smash book

My blog turned two in March. My trip to Costa Rica happened just before this anniversary. Such perfect timing.

I feel like, since I’ve started blogging, try has become a word I use a lot more. Sure, I’ll try that. Let me try! I want to try that. I don’t know what will happen, but I’ll try!

It’s not that I didn’t try before. But I started my blog the year I turned 30 and something seemed to shift in my head. It was like I could do anything I wanted, no matter what anybody else thought. The people close to me always support me, so who cares about other people?

In Costa Rica, I found some of that energy I felt I’d lost recently. I tried everything! I was happy, blissed out and exactly where I was meant to be.

Since I’ve come home, I feel much more motivated to write. I used to write in my head all the time, and have to look for bits and pieces of paper to make sure I didn’t forget any of it. (Yes, it would make sense to carry a journal around. What can I say, I like post-its!) I’m doing that again! It’s a small thing, but it makes me happy.

I haven’t been writing here very much, but I have been creating. I’ve started a smash book. It’s kind of like a cross between a journal and a scrapbook. I could never get into scrapbooking, because I could never get it to look just right, but a smash book, now that’s my kind of book. You basically just smash everything you want it there.

At first, my book was mostly just words, but I’ve been adding images too. I tried something new, and I’m having fun with it!

IMG_0295

IMG_0297

IMG_0296

IMG_0299

IMG_0300

IMG_0301

IMG_0302

IMG_0305

IMG_0307

 

 

 

 

Surf’s up!

Two weeks ago today, I was surfing in Costa Rica.

In the weeks leading up to my trip, I told anyone who would listen that I was going to try surfing. I was very excited about it, even though I didn’t expect to be very successful. Secretly, though, I kind of thought I was all talk. I half-expected to chicken out once I got there.

My first full day at Peace Retreat, I asked if anyone would try surfing with me. Another yogi from Ottawa, Mélissa, said she would. We made plans to go the next day. We had a lesson set up and there was no backing out!

On the morning of the lesson, I was a little nervous, but I was also busy getting a bikini custom made, so I didn’t think about it much. Once we got to the beach however, I started to have second thoughts. The waves were huge. I’m not a strong swimmer. Also, sharks.

We met up with our surfing instructor, Forest, who was waiting for us on the beach. We practiced laying on the board, paddling and jumping up, feet apart. I felt clumsy on the sand, so needless to say, wasn’t super confident I would get up on my board in the water.

Costa Rica 018

Costa Rica 026

Walking towards the water, I was still apprehensive, but I was getting more and more excited.

Costa Rica 031

Heading straight into the waves, I realized I was afraid I’d be scared, I wasn’t actually scared. After that, I started to have much more fun!

Costa Rica 049

I face planted into the ocean several times. Salt water tastes like pretzels.

Costa Rica 072

Costa Rica 073

Then, after several tumbles off my board into the waves, something exciting happened. I started to get a feeling. After I started paddling and the wave had me in it’s hold, I would feel like the moment was right. It was time to get up. And I did. More than once! Sure, my board was huge and there was no controlling where it was going, but I was surfing. Actually, for real, surfing!

Costa Rica 080

Costa Rica 081

Costa Rica 082

Costa Rica 084

Costa Rica 091

It was such a rush! I couldn’t believe I actually did it! Our lesson was for two hours, but after an hour and a half, I was too pooped to keep going. It was hard paddling over the waves. It used a lot of upper body strength that I don’t actually have! Mélissa lasted a little longer than me, but when we were done, we walked back to the retreat very, very slowly.

We were covered in sand, I had a huge bruise forming on the back of my leg from rolling around with my board in two inches of water and falling on the fin, our legs and arms were like jello and we had swallowed a gallon of salt water between us. It was the best feeling in the world.

A vision of happiness

I haven’t been blogging very much lately, and I’m not sure why. I still love to write. When I do fun stuff (aerial yoga, anyone?) I think “I’ll totally blog about this!” And then, for some reason, I don’t. I’m not about to stress over this and try to analyse it. My blog is, as I’ve said before, my happy place.

So, although this seems a little late, I’ve put together my happy moments for November. In 2014, I am going to try to recap the great moments of every month, because looking back at what made me happy over the course of the month makes me happy all over again, and happy twice is better than happy once!

Christmas crafting with my best friend!

017

Finding homes for my teacups and teapots. I love the mix of tea and books!

tea and books

Displaying my love of tea for all to see! I stained these wooden letters with tea (of course!) and put them in my kitchen window.

073

My birthday is in November, therefore it is the best month of the year.

My birthday dress!

074

Messages from my students on the board in the classroom. I was not allowed to erase them (not that I wanted too!) so I taught using pieces of paper all day. It was worth it!

004

005

006

This was the snack table for my party. Yay, cupcakes! More food was added to this later.

078

I had a vision board party. We looked at many, many magazines, pulling out any and everything that caught our attention.

079

We made a mess, but it was fun!

080

The finished products were fantastic! They are all very different and represent what we want to happen in our lives.

091

Sadly, many magazines were harmed in the making of these vision boards. However, it was for a good cause and they were just going to be recycled anyways!

093

The day after my birthday, there was a huge snowstorm. It was the first snow of the year and it was fabulous! We got about 30cm (I think) and it was perfect snowman snow, the kind that sticks. Since we knew the kids at school would be too excited to sit down and work, we decided to have a special, one hour recess first thing in the morning. Everyone was happy, kids and teachers alike!

011

018

020

012

016

I’ve actually enjoyed going through all these moments that happened over a month ago. Maybe I am meant to do these monthly recaps long after they’ve happened!

 

Getting back on track

Last week was awesome! I started running again, with my friend Suzanne. On Tuesday, I went for a run, then did two yoga classes, back to back. Power yoga and yin. Wednesday was yoga. Thursday, another run. I ate well: no sugar, no gluten. It was a good week.

Then, the weekend happened.

There’s only one word to describe this weekend: indulgent.

It was a great weekend, packed with family, friends and sunshine.

Friday, there was a surprise girl’s night for my aunt’s birthday. Enter red wine, bread and cheese, and lots and lots of laughing!

Saturday, another girl’s night, this time with friends. Fish and chips, beer, lattes and cookies. Again, lots of laughing and fun times. We even bought a lottery ticket, convinced we were going to win 17 million dollars. Sadly, we did not win.

002

Sunday morning, I woke up with great intentions. I went to yoga, went for a run and drank a really tasty sugar-free electrolyte water thing to counter the effects of the booze.

The thing is, Sunday was a perfect srping day. Nice and sunny. The kind of day that’s best spent on a patio with your best friend, eating more fried food and drinking more beer. Followed by ice cream. Oh my. When I got home, I sat on the couch and couldn’t move. Not good.

drinks

So today, Monday, I decided to get back to the awesomeness of eating right. It just makes me feel better. I did have a piece of cheesecake with lunch, but hey, I’m not perfect! I stopped for groceries on the way home and stocked up on delicious, non-gluteny, non-sugary, non-alcoholic food.

Here’s to a great week!

Sugar, sugar

Where I live, March is nutrition month in schools. We talk about the four food groups, portion sizes, basically, how to have healthy eating habits. Since my students spend three years with me, I don’t do the same activities each year.

This year, the focus is on sugar. Where it comes from, how it’s transformed, what kind of sugar your body needs, what foods contain sugar. My theory is, the more kids know about their food and what it does for their body, good or bad, the better equipped they’ll be to make healthy choices.

I wanted them to understand exactly how much sugar most people eat without even realizing it, so we read the nutritional labels from their snacks and wheighed it out. They were amazed at how much sugar is in such small snacks.

002

I also included some images of high-sugar drinks and foods, like soda and chocolate, so they would understand why they’re told “you can’t eat that, it has too much sugar.”

003

I did this activity for the kid’s benefit, but it got me thinking. I try to eat well. I’ve cut most gluten out of my diet, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables (although not a huge variety), I drink plenty of water, I don’t drink coffee. But. I like sweet things. Cake, cookies, chocolate, ice cream, soda. I eat more than I should.

So I’ve decided to cut out sugar. I don’t know for how long, but for now, it needs to be done.

I did have a piece of birthday cake this weekend and that’s ok. Baby steps. However, I had an apple as a snack after school, instead of a pre-packaged caramel rice cake snack. When I went to Starbucks, I checked, and yes, my usual drink did indeed contain sugar! The barista suggested something similar, but without sugar, and it tasted delicious. I’m going to do my best, but ultimately, the goal is not necessarily to cut out sugar forever, just to reduce my intake to a healthy level.

I know some fruit contains a lot of natural sugar, but eating an orange is so much better than eating an entire bag of mini eggs (not that I do that kind of thing), so I’m not going to worry about that right now.

Does anyone have any tips? I’m open to anything that will keep me from reaching for the oreos…

One year of Bliss

The Bliss Project is one year old today! Time flies when you’re finding your bliss.

I looked back at my first post. I wanted to remember where I started. Have I lived up to my blog’s name? I think so. The Bliss Project is about trying new things. Recently, I felt as though I hadn’t been having a lot of new experiences. When I started this project, I was looking for something, I just didn’t know it. I thought I wanted to try everything out there, but one thing found me. If you’ve been reading for the past year, you’ve probably guessed it. It’s hot yoga. My practice, my bliss.

After reading the first post, I worked my way through my posts. I’d forgotten some of them! It was like looking through a yearbook. Here are a few of my favourite posts from the past year.

First day of my first 30 day yoga challenge! Who knew what joy would come from those 30 days and the days since.

My yoga pet peeves. Please keep your feet on your own mat!

Last day of my 30 day challenge. I learned so much about my practice and about myself!

Sharing positive motivation. Something has to cancel out all the negativity out there.

Trying to play volleyball. Tip: don’t duck.

I did a lot of these new and exciting things with my friend Julie. I was very sad when she moved away, but she’s coming home for the summer! One more reason to look forward to warmer weather.

My second 30 day yoga challenge. It was a different expericence from the first time, but just as amazing.

Turning 31. It didn’t kill me.

Wearing a dress every day in December. Twirling and feeling pretty for a whole month. Bliss.

Telling yoga how I really feel. It’s true love, and true love lasts forever.

Doing yoga in the snow. Cold but fun!

It’s been a great year. Blogging makes me happy. The fact that people take the time to read about my thoughts and my life is incredible. In one year, The Bliss Project has been viewed by people in 143 different countries. That makes me feel amazing.  I’ve connected with many wonderful people and learned so much. Thank you for reading, you’ve made this girl very, very happy!

find your bliss