LisaListed

The best things in life aren't things at all


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Zucchini Pasta A La Lisa

There is something so comforting to me about a big bowl of fresh, warm pasta covered in delicious sauce in the winter months. Comfort food at it’s finest! Unfortunately for me, my hips find pasta a little bit TOO comforting.

So, how to get a bowl of fresh, warm pasta still covered in delicious sauce that is jean approved? Use vegetables as your noodles!

I’m sure you’ve seen this latest “trend” spiraling (pun defs necessary) out of control and you’ve probably thought that the concept seems interesting but there is NO WAY that you will replace your delicious, carby pasta noodles with VEGETABLES!? Stick with me, my fellow Carb Lovers!

Think zucchini is only delicious in loaf form with chocolate? Well you are wrong, my lovely!

First, let me share some health benefits of that silly, little green squash we call the zucchini:

  •  There’s ONLY 21 calories per cup.. HELLOOOO!!
  •  A POWER house of Vitamin C… move over oranges!
  •  Lutein & Zeaxanthin which promotes healthy eyesight… I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW THE RAIN IS GONE!
  •  Manganese… no this is not a “manly” Japanese dish, but a very essential mineral that promotes healthy bone tissue development and helps your body produce collagen. Asta la vista crow lines!
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Have you SEEN more beautiful noodles?!

Now let’s get to it, shall well?

Zucchini Pasta A La Lisa Recipe:

 Ingredients:

4 medium sized zucchini
Splash of olive oil
1 garlic glove diced
1 jar of tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste
Approximately a cup of diced onions, mushrooms, garlic and bell peppers
Seasoning (I used Italian seasoning, and the classic duo of S&P)

Directions:

> I used my Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer to turn my zuch’s into long and luscious zuch noodles, but you could also use a mandolin slicer, a veggie peeler or simply a knife. I kept the peels on for extra nutrients. And it’s prettier.

> Sautee diced garlic in the EVOO for a minute or two, add the raw zuch noodles to the pan.

> Sautee, toss and coat the noodles in the oil & garlic until evenly coated. Only sautee for a minute or two… the noodles will JUST start to change color. TAKE THEM OUT! You’ll probably be tempted to keep cooking them because they still kind of look raw, but NOBODY likes mushy noodles.

> Remove noodles from the pan, put them in a side bowl.

> In same pan, sautée the diced veggies in a bit of EVOO. After they get a little bit tender, add in the tomato sauce and tomato paste.

> Stir around until heated throughout. Season to your taste.

> Once heated and seasoned accordingly, toss back in the noodles into the sauce bath.

> Toss to coat the noodles evenly and serve immediately. Dig in and be amazed!

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Be prepared to be surprised how full you are off from a beautiful bowl of vegetables that is jean friendly! All comments, tips and questions are welcomed!

Also, this was “Husband Approved” – that’s a winner in my books! Voila!

Enjoy!
Lisa

*** Can also easily be made with added meat or beans!

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Our Adventures Five Years In

Five years ago I met the man of my dreams. In fact, as time has passed, I realized that he has surpassed the man of my dreams on so many levels. Is it possible to feel as if we just met yesterday yet also feel like I’ve known this person my whole life?

When John and I met, we both felt all sorts of strong emotions that neither of us had ever felt before. After all this time, those strong emotions have gone away… but only to become fiercer, more intense and stronger than ever before!

When we first met, we were young. I was finishing up university and John was three weeks into his career. We happened to work for sister companies in the same building downtown and only three flours separated us. Since I was still finishing up school, I only worked part time but the days that I did work we would each leave our houses at the perfect time so that we could meet before work at our special spot and walk the few blocks together hand in hand. We would meet for lunch at least once a week and our coworkers would both make comments to us about how cute we were when they saw us together. We still meet each other for lunch once a week, even if that meant that a 12 block walk or a train ride just to see each other for twenty minutes and for that midday smooch. Since day one, we’ve never been able to get enough of each other and I’m so happy to say that we still can’t.

We have gone through so many life changes together and I can’t imagine what our life will look like when we get to a decade. Over the past five years, between the two of us there have been five moves, five jobs, three vehicles, two countries and a puppy! There have been ups and downs, positives and negatives but the one thing that has never wavered has been the love and respect for one another.

Although our looks and hair have changed a bit over the past five years, the way we feel about each other surely has not. We are celebrating this weekend by doing five things that we have never done before… today we kickstarted the “events” by going some place new for lunch.

Sticking with the “five” theme, here are five photos for each year that we’ve been together to highlight some of our favourite memories together:

2010:

Our First Road Trip

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Our First Calgary Stampede Together

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A fancy dinner and evening at the Calgary Tower celebrating our 6th month anniversary

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On “our bench” we discovered our on our first trip to the mountains together. This is where John eventually proposed. EEE!
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At Heritage Park in the fall time. Being our silly, sassy selves.

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2011:

Pre St. Patty’s Day Green Beer Chugging

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A helicopter ride in the mountains to celebrate one year together

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Christmas at my parents new home

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My University Graduation

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BBQ’inq and drinking beer in our backyard

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2012:

We had a stay-cation in Calgary and went to Calway park for the day (amusement park for kids)

 

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We “I do’d”

 

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We mini-honeymooned in the Mountains. This is canoeing on Lake Louise

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An autumn stroll in a park close to our home

 

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2013:

Watching the sunset together in Whitefish, Montana

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Enjoying our honeymoon in Punta Cana!

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Just hiking n’ stuff in the mountains

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ERNIE!!!

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A trip to Edmonton

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We ran stairs here ohhhh too many times to count. The view was always worth it at the top.

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Just a typical Saturday…

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Walking in the provincial park right next to what was supposed to be our Forever Home

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Celebrating Christmas in said Forever Home

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2014:

Hiking in Palm Springs and keeping an extra cautious eye out for snakes

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Leaving our Calgary life behind for our Chicago life

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Drinking beer at our favourite place

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One of many “selfies” of us on my favourite bridges in Chicago

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Deeeeeeeeeeep Dishhhhh

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We’ve been to 2 Cubs games and 2 Sox games… we liked the hot dogs equally

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What our summer Saturdays typically look like now

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2015  has already been an amazing start and we are SO excited to see what else we can get up to in the next five years! And fifteen years! And fifty years!

Thank you, Lovely, for taking the time to read and celebrate with us! Cheers to you!

I love you, Honey, and I wouldn’t want to go on this adventure with anyone but YOU!

Enjoy,
L


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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly – Six Months In

After ALREADY/ONLY 6 months in Chicago, John and I have about 5,000 pictures together on these bridges. We have about 60,000 thousand photos of us in Chicago in general. And I have about 20,000 photos of Chicago’s landscape.  Yes, we have 85,000 photos in the last six months.

 

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On The Bridges

 

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Photo Cred: ME!

 

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Photo Cred: Google                                                                      Can you tell why I love these bridges so much!?!?

 

Since moving here, we have made a handful of friends to add to our bunch of forever kind of pals. (If you read TALL, DARK & HANDSOME (for a woman) – SEEKING Fellow Carb Lover & Outdoor Activist you will know just how gruesome it was to try to make friends.) We now have friends who we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with and we are also spending American Thanksgiving & Christmas with (and potentially NYE.) Yay!

Sign on our door for Canadian Thanksgiving

Sign on our door for Canadian Thanksgiving

 

Okay Lovelies, so in my VERY FIRST POST as LisaListed I promised that I would share the good, the bad and the ugly… so I’ll give you a little taste of some of the ugly. Keep in the back of your minds that we DO love it here, but I will keep my word and dip your toes into the ugly pool.

THE UGLY
It hasn’t all been rainbows and butterflies … there have also been some tornadoes and rats:

– There has only been ONE teary phone call to Mom and Dad. The loneliness and home sickness hit me for about 24 hours about 5 months in, but it subsided pretty quickly. Although I’m sure that son of a gun will strike again… probably in the dark and dreary winter.

– Crossing the street is a daily activity of playing chicken with cars, taxis, buses, etc… so far I have an undefeated record

– I was almost mugged once but thankfully had nothing on me.

– I’ve just gotten off the phone talking to three different health insurance companies trying to pay one stupid bill but each company that I talk to tells me that I need to call a different company… and getting ahold of an actual person to speak with is a God send! Until they tell you to call a different company… then I hate them as much as the computer I was just yelling at trying to say “claim” clearly enough so they could direct my call properly. And then you finally get a hold of a person who is as useless as a left toe… I’m still pissed if you can’t tell. Just take the money or let me keep it.

– It sometimes terrifies me knowing that we live in a city where terrorism is a true threat… to live in a city where people carry guns, where people get mugged, where the streets are lined with beggars. There are streets where I spin my wedding rings so that the diamonds face the inside of my hand and I am extra aware of who is walking beside and behind me. I’ve asked John on more than one occasion “was that a gunshot?” and there have been times when he can’t tell me with absolute certainty that it wasn’t…

– It’s scary to know that the newspaper here has an entire section under the Sports Headlines titled “Homicide Watch Chicago”.  And I’m mad at myself for becoming desensitized to reading about all the shootings that happen almost every single night… I have caught myself thinking “only 4 shots last night, not bad..” and I HATE that.

We still have frustrations here… I’m working up the courage to write a follow up post to The Not So Warm Welcome – We Blame You Justin Bieber. Maybe courage is the wrong word… I’m working up the energy to do so. And also the patience, I get so pissed off thinking about some of the things we’ve had to deal with (mainly healthcare. Grr..)  I had thought that most of the confusing paperwork and the hours dealing with the Government, the Embassy, DMV were a thing of a past… but they most certainly are not… we are already dealing with filing our taxes and I can tell already that this is going to be one expensive, confusing and frustrating situation. Although MAYBE in another six months I will finally be able to receive a drivers license – YAY!

 

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Proof

 

(That being said, we both feel very safe here. I’m working on my street cred every day (just kidding… kind of.) It is just the reality of living in a big city and we are both new to this.  In all seriousness,  if we didn’t LOVE it here then we wouldn’t still be here.)

Our journey has taught us more about different cultures. Has taught us about a variety of paperwork that I do not wish to pass onto my worst enemy. Our journey has allowed us to view life in a new light. I am a different person compared to who I was this time a year ago.

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Who I was a year ago is so different from who I am today. How ironic that a year ago today we moved into our “forever home” not having any idea that our “forever” in that home would hardly last six months…  I still cannot get over this. It blows my mind. John and I sometimes talk about that house and long over the amazing kitchen, main floor and backyard but we quickly remind ourselves of having to shovel the three car garage’s driveway twice a day. And that normally curbs the longing. We have adjusted from living in a four bedroom, 3.5 bathroom home to living in a one bedroom/one bathroom apartment pretty well  (although there were most definitely times were I wanted to pull my hair out due to lack of storage. Our vacuum cleaner’s home was in our hallway for the longest time, then it was moved to behind the couch, and then finally we managed to somehow make room for it in our bedroom closet.) Our storage locker is perfectly suited to hold a set of winter tires and hockey gear. So Canadian of us.

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When we first got our keys and my lovely Mom helping us do a thorough clean


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When we moved into our home, we had no idea that six months from then John and I would have two weeks to sell ALL of our furniture, donate everything else, and put whatever we could stuff into our Ford Edge to bring with us to a whole new country. I realized over Thanksgiving that I had even given our gravy boat away. We had celebrated Christmas  & John’s Dad’s birthday at our forever home last year and I’m so thankful to have created those memories. But a home is where your heart is, and our hearts have settled quite nicely into our rented itty bitty home in Chicago.

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Christmas on our back deck. Bonus about moving when we did – we never had to mow the lawn ONCE! That’s funny to me.

In some ways it feels like we have been in Chicago now for SO much longer and in other ways it feels like we are still so fresh here.  It’s weird. When I’m asked where I am from, I still say Canada. And then I have to say:

“no, not Toronto or Vancouver. Calgary.”

“No, Calgary is not close to Toronto, it’s about an hour east of the Canadian Rockies.”

Which I typically receive a blank face from and follow up with “North of Montana.” (When I’m asked where I grew up, then I say in a small town relatively close to the Alaskan border because can you even try to explain where the hell Peace River is!? Explaining where Peace River was to fellow Albertans was difficult enough – my go to response was always a heavy footed 5 hours north of Edmonton.)  I’ve been told that we’ve been here long enough to respond to that question with “Chicago” but no matter how long we live here, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to say that I’m not from Canada.

Whenever I see somebody wearing something with some sort of Canadian symbol, I get SOO excited. Embarrassingly excited. Within our first month or so of being here, I saw somebody in Millennium Park wearing a T-shirt with a Canadian flag on it… before I knew what I was doing I smiled at him with a big, goofy grin and followed that up with a ginormous over friendly wave. Like not just a cute little wave with my fingers… but my WHOLE ENTIRE ARM flailing in the air, like I was waving my hands in the air and I just didn’t care. I didn’t realize at the time that maybe he didn’t know that I was Canadian, and I had hoped that IF HE DID KNOW  he wouldn’t have given me that strange look.

Just this past weekend, John and I were walking admiring the fall foliage when I saw three guys coming towards us… one of them had on a hat with a curved red ‘C’… I had mistaken this symbol for the Montreal Canadiens symbol when in fact the guy was wearing a Chicago Bears hat. I couldn’t help myself from pointing at him (again, full arm exertion and index finger out loud and proud), smiling and much too loudly saying/shouting “CANADA” at him. We made eye contact and it was weird. I wouldn’t have blamed John if he had explained to the guy that he was taking me for a walk from my “home”. I’m doing my best to work on keeping my outbursts intact. I’m still learning how to cool my jets. Whenever I see a little piece of “home”, I have an overwhelming sense of emotion in my soul.

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Snapped this beauty at the Botanic Gardens


I love all of the Canadian stereotypes and it makes me feel strangely happy when a smart ass asks me to say “A-B-O-U-T” – sometimes I humour them and say “aboot” doing my best to not crack a smile. Most often times I pronounce it as “about” and they kind of get disappointed. Other times I have been asked where my accent is from and I proudly say that I’m Canadian. Then do the whole “no, not Toronto or Vancouver” dance all over again. I’ve been told that I pronounce “bag” and “pasta” funny . I quite enjoy hearing that I have an accent.  On the flip side, I often see tourists looking super confused and lost and I offer to help them… I also have a strange sense of pride in being a local.  Maybe I’ll just coin the term and call myself a Canadian Chicagoan – who likes ketchup on her “hawt dawg.” A Ketchup Eating Canadian Chicagoan – there ya have it, folks!

Since being in Chicago, our lives have changed drastically. Our lifestyles have changed immensely. And our relationship feels like we are dating ALL over again. A few weeks ago I had received a text from my friend which said that she had just saw John and I and that we had looked like best friends rather than an old married couple. I couldn’t imagine a better compliment to receive about our marriage than that.  Not that we were ever unhappy in Calgary or had a bad relationship, but our evenings and weekends were WAY different from what they are here. We are just so much happier now.

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One of the biggest truths I’ve learnt about big life changes is that some people won’t come with you. And that’s okay. Plenty of people miss their share of happiness – not because they never found it but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.  This journey has forced us to stop and enjoy it. Life to me is about going on adventures. Being around good energy. Connecting with people. Learning new things. Growing. There are days where you will have to create your own sunshine – but you can’t enjoy the rainbow without a little rain, right?

My perspective and view on life are a trillion time different from the Lisa who had just moved into her forever home with my handsome husband and I’ve got to tell you this…

My life today is richer, fuller, HAPPIER, healthier and now has more depth.

My life today ensures that I am not just living the same year 40 times in a row and calling that a life.

I’ve learnt that happiness and success is about spending life in your own way. There is no “wrong way”. Live a life that feels right to you… nothing’s more fun than doing something that somebody said you can’t.

Each and every day now gets lived, so even though we still have frustrations and miss our loved ones back in Canada, I’m not sure there is a more beautiful thing to discover about life then to truly live each and every day. Stop focusing so much on living a perfect life that you forget to live.


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The Pretty

My lovely, I have learned that there will be times in your life when all of your instincts will tell you to do something. Something that will defeat logic, upset your plans and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications and just go for it.

I’ve learnt that life isn’t necessarily about the happy ending… it’s about the story.

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Enjoy Life,
L


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Is Human Nature Good Or Bad?

It’s funny how things stick with you no matter what has happened. It’s funny that in the moment, you have no idea that the moment will resonate with you for likely the rest of your life. It’s funny how a memory is made… so much happens to us but you never know which moments will make a lasting impression on you. It’s amazing how no matter how much time has passed or how insignificant a moment may have seemed at the time, you still feel a connection to a certain moment.

Some of you may understand what I am talking about, where as others may be wondering how much Bailey’s I’ve added to my coffee this morning but bear with me… maybe this will resonate with you too. If not, add some more Bailey’s to your own coffee and give me a another read.

When I was in high school, my English teacher had us read “Lord Of The Flies” by William Golding. Long story short (pun very much intended): A group of young boys are stranded alone on an island. Left to fend for themselves, they must take on the responsibilities of adults, even if they are not ready to do so. Inevitably, two factions form: one group (lead by Ralph) want to build shelters and collect food, whereas Jack’s group would rather have fun and hunt; illustrating the difference between civilization and savagery.

We were assigned to write an essay based on the novel as to whether we believed human nature was good or bad. I remember when I first started writing my essay, I had started my tangent about how human nature was good because OBVIOUSLY it just was. As I started getting deeper and deeper in to my essay, I started to second guess my initial assumption that human nature was in fact good. That was a scary thought to me at the time. My whole life I believed that human nature was good, kind, positive, etc, etc, but as I delved deeper and deeper and starting thinking from an outsider’s perspective I realized that perhaps I was being prejudice and naïve. It was too scary to say that human nature was purely not good either.

I turned in my essay and my final conclusion was that human nature was neutral. There are tendencies to both sides. There is good and there is bad. I don’t remember what my mark was on my essay, but even since I started thinking about human nature I have not been able to stop. Over a decade has passed by and I still find myself thinking about that very same question and still struggling to find an answer. In the most mundane everyday tasks, I find myself wondering if human nature is in fact good or bad. And then I wonder if my teacher realizes that she has had me thinking deeply about this very same question for over a decade now without coming to a sound conclusion.

Obviously there is bad in this world. Turn on the news and you are bombarded with the “evil” in this world. It’s really sad to think that it is almost 2015 and there is still a very real war going on in the world today. Living in North America, we assume that we are the “good guys” and those other guys are the “bad guys” but there are always two sides to a pancake no matter how flat you make it (thank you, Dr. Phil). We are all well aware of all the bad going on in the world today and that makes me think that human nature isn’t 100% good. Human all have selfish tendencies, it’s all about “survival of the fittest.” This creates greed, which leads to lying, stealing, fear, cowardness, bullying and violence. We have tried to make the Earth a better place for ourselves and to evolve. In doing so, we have eradicated a countless amount of species as well as destroyed the ecosystem. We are destroying earth with our litter and carelessness, but we sweep all of that under the figurative carpet (collecting more litter). You have to stop and think for a second as to why all of this technology is even necessary in the world? Is it really necessary or are we just continuing to spoil the Earth? We have the chance to lessen and decrease the emissions that we create, but we don’t use it. We have the chance to help the less fortunate, but then why are there so many people in this world who don’t even have clean water to drink from while we are washing our luxury cars with the same water we take for granted every single day? Do our egos make us bad? Why were there ever slaves in the first place? And why are there still slaves today? Because our egos make us feel macho and superior? Are we born bad or does society create this side of us? And that, my lovely, is the very same question I have been debating with myself for the past 10+ years.

On the other hand, of course human nature is good. Otherwise the world would be in even bigger shambles than it already is, right? How could one ever possibly consider Mother Theresa to be evil? There is a lot of good in the world, but it doesn’t get broadcasted as much as the negativity in the world. Not convinced? Well then let me share with you something that happened to me not too long ago on the very same day…:

I had just finished a class at my gym and I was so excited for it to be over, I hustled my butt to the exit door ASAP. When I got to the door, I saw that during my class a monsoon had developed. Am I exaggerating? Probably. But it was as if Heaven were making every living creature do the ALS ice bucket challenge whether or not they wanted to.

The lady at the front desk of the gym smiled at me and told me that I should do an extra workout while the storm passed… That was the last thing I wanted to do. So I headed outside sans-umbrella in my workout clothes and went to my happy spot…. Trader Joe’s. TJ’s is only about 2 blocks away, so I figured I could hustle over there without getting absolutely drenched. Well, I was dead wrong. But there is something that happened to me during those two blocks that I need to share with you…

As I was waiting at the longest red light ever waiting to cross the street, a man saw me standing there getting hammered by the rain in my tank top. He started to walk over and before I knew it, he smiled at me and simply placed his umbrella over my head until I was able to cross the street. I was so appreciative and I thanked him endlessly and he just smiled back. The only thing that he said to me was “If that man on the other side of the street talks to you, just be nice to him.” I said “of course” and walked the rest of the way to Trader Joe’s with a smile on my face. A complete stranger, without saying a single word, saw me getting completely soaked and went out of his way to offer me his shelter. He sacrfiiced his own dryness and warmth just to offer me shelter for a minute or two. Would you do that for a complete stranger? I hope that I would, but I’m not entirely 100% sure that I actually would.  He did this without telling me his name, without trying to sell me anything… he did this purely out of the goodness of his own heart. And the only thing he wanted in return was for me to be nice to somebody else on the other side on the street. Sadly, I’m not sure I would ever recognize the man who offered me his umbrella if I were to see him again, but he sure provided me a lot more than a minute of dryness.

Once I got inside TJ’s, the woman who always offers juice samples looked at me in complete horror. To be frank, I looked like a wet dog. Probably smelt like one too since I was coming from the gym. She went on about “you poor thing, you got stuck out there, you must be freezing… etc, etc, etc” she went on for a solid two minutes while I smiled at her and told her that I was fine. She didn’t believe me and aggressively (in a nice aggressive for of way) offered me her sweater. She had literally offered me the shirt off of her back! I didn’t know that people actually did that! I was able to convince her that I was okay and thank her… her parting words to me were “if you change your mind, I’ll still be here”.

That was only in a matter of five minutes. In a part of the city that can be described as “sketchy”. It’s not totally unsafe, but it’s not exactly a place where I would go by myself in the evening.

I see acts of kindness in this city every single day… I’ve watched teenagers (both girls and boys) go out of their way to give money to the homeless, I’ve watched complete strangers help blind people across the street, I’ve seen people go into a fast food chain and give people on the street corner the lunch that they had just purchased. Those kinds of stories don’t get told as much as they should.

I wonder what would happen if stories like this were told more often. Would the world change if we were to spread these stories more often? Rather than focus solely on what’s wrong with the world today, realize that there’s a lot right in the world too. A lot of goodness. But people don’t like to hear about these sort of stories… the kind of stories that create buzz don’t generally make you view the world in a positive light. And I think that needs to change. I think that the world would be a better place if people told their stories more often about nice things that others did for them.  I think that the world would be a better place if we told positive stories just as much as negative stories. If the media shared what good also happened in the world that day. I think the world would be a better place if we simply shared with others what somebody did for them that day, NOT tell others how shitty society is or brag about what nice thing they did for somebody else. I do nice things for people too, but I absolutely despise it when people brag about the nice things that they did for somebody else. When you brag about something nice you did for somebody else, that gives the act a giant dose of selfishness and there is already enough of that in the world. Imagine if people focused more on what nice things OTHER people did rather than tell anybody who will listen about what nice thing they did for someone.

My lovely, living here has taught me to ease up on premeditated judgements of others. To literally walk a mile in other’s shoes. To be more open minded that your way is not necessarily the best way. I encourage you to tell your friend about the complete stranger who held open the door for you rather than bitch to your friend about the guy in front of you taking “forever” to place his order. I encourage you to write a positive review for every negative review that you write. I encourage you to help spread the goodness of every day life. Small acts of kindness can go a long way in making the world a more loving and friendly place. Be kinder to strangers, put your damn ego aside and say “hello” and “thank you”. If you owe somebody an apology, suck it up and give them a sincere apology. Be accountable for your actions and don’t succumb to the excuses that you create for yourself.

At the end of the day, I still can’t make a decision as to whether or not human nature is inherently good or bad. Regardless of what the true, genuine answer is to that question, I’m not sure it necessarily matters. At the end of the day, no matter what race you are, how much money you have, how you were raised, my belief is that at the core of each and every single one of us we all want the same thing. We are all on the mystery pursuit of happiness, health and love. I believe that if we all put aside our egos, our greed and our selfishness, this is something that can absolutely be attained by all one day. We can all make the world a better place, but it’s up to us to do so. The real question is, are we willing to do so?

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Final thought: don’t bother sending me hate letters accusing me of being a bible thumper or a tree hugger… rather than waste your energy and time doing that, give this another read and go buy a stranger a coffee.


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Moments Of Time

Time is a funny thing… we think that we have a lifetime of time, but do we really? Exactly how long is a lifetime? Does that allow us to settle and to coast through life thinking that our time is infinite? Does that allow us to push our dreams aside knowing that we will do them “one day”? Does “one day” come and go without ever fulfilling our dreams? Do we receive comfort knowing that we have decades ahead of us?

What about those who don’t have decades ahead of them? What about those who only live to 16? Does that mean that their 16 years are not as fulfilled as your 60 or even 80 years?

Time is a fickle fellow. We are often told that “our time will come” – but what does that even mean? One day will we get a knock on the door and outside there is a sign saying “your time has come”? Probably not. Why do people wait for funerals to tell the living what the recently passed meant to them? Why don’t we tell people while they are still alive and there is still plenty of “time”? Why do we wait for people to die before telling everyone but them how much we love them? Because there’s never the right “time”? Sounds like a poor excuse to me.

This journey of ours has allowed me to see life through different eyes. To see life with a whole new perspective. This journey of ours has shown me that this is the only life that we are going to get, so live it accordingly. Live it presently. Stop thinking ahead. Stop thinking of the past. To live in the moment. To live in the now. At any given moment, life could be taken from us. Just. Like. That. And there is nothing you can do about it. Nothing that you can do differently. It’s too late…

This journey of ours has shown us to try new things now, to do things outside of our comfort zone, to make difficult choices, to take each day as it comes. To live in the moment, to stop stressing about the future, to stop thinking of ‘what could have been’, to let go of the past.

My Lovely, just be. Embrace the moment as  these moments of time are not infinite.

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Enjoy Life,
L


8 Comments

Who Knew That So Much Of Your Life Could Change In Only A Matter Of 3 Months?

3 months

92 days

2,208 hours

25% of an entire year

A whole quarter of a year!

That’s how long it’s been since we left Canada and made Chicago our new home

That’s how long it’s been since we saw our one bedroom, one bathroom apartment for the very first time

That’s how long it’s been since all of struggles were really put into overdrive

That’s how long it’s been since our puppy no longer has a backyard to frolic in

That’s how long it’s been since we started this crazy journey of ours

That’s how long it’s been since the best part of our life began!

Who knew that so much of your life could change in only a matter of 3 months? I sure as hell did not! In only a matter of three months, we are living a whole new life and each day that passes, it is starting to feel more normal! We are loving this “city life” and absolutely loving living downtown in a major city.

Living downtown Chicago, you see approximately 180 differential kinds of people. People who you prejudge right away until they smile and say “hi” to you. People who you try to avoid eye contact with until they reach down and start petting your puppy and you can see their eyes light up from a love that only a puppy can provide. People who shake their cup at you and you wonder what they are going to do with any change their muster up… but then you talk to them and you hear their side of the story.

In three months, I have really enjoyed living a city that is so cultured. Living in a city where a Memorial Parade can make you tear up even though you aren’t from this country. You can feel the pride, the courage, the strength and the sadness from those whose shoulders you are rubbing against.  You can walk down a block or two and have hundreds of different cuisine offered to you. You can walk down the street and hear languages that you have never heard of before.

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In three simple months, my eyes have been opened. I love all of the different kinds of people who live here. The other day at a popular clothing store, a white man helping me was wearing a turban, had a piercing through the septum of his nose, was wearing a cop tank top, tight leather pants, as well as high heels. I didn’t think anything of his style choice until I was leaving and thought that if I had ever seen somebody dressed like that in Calgary, I’m sure I would have thought that he was weird or strange. But now, I applaud his confidence and courage to be who he wants to be.

Since living in Chicago, we have started to “play” tennis. We walk like we are walking to China. Hell, we have gone to China Town and to Greek Town! We go to baseball games. We try new cuisine. We are meeting new people who I have an inkling will become lifelong friends. We have gone stand up paddle boarding. We go to the beach. We go for bike rides and jogs along the lakeside. We probably eat too much gelato, but really is there such thing as too much gelato!? We are learning a new language (yeah, they speak English here but differently terminologies, learning healthcare terms, learning different sayings and pronunciations, etc)
We are vacationing in our own city and we love it! We haven’t even done 2% of the greatness that Chicago has to offer and yet we are already having the time of our life!

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I guess it’s true that the higher the risk, the higher the reward. I am so proud of us for doing all of this and for living outside of the box. We are making a lifetime of memories together and creating stories that only each other’s souls are able to hear.

I cannot wait to see what greatness unfolds in the next three months of our journey!!

Stay tuned, my lovely, stay tuned!

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Enjoy Life  (we sure are!)
L


19 Comments

The Liebster Award… WITH A TWIST!

My blog has received an award!

Which award you ask? Why, the mighty Liebster Award!

So thank you, A La Modern Mom, thank you for the recognition!

liebster

What is the Liebster Award? It is an award given to bloggers from fellow bloggers.

What does this award mean? Well, “Liebster” is of German origin and has several definitions: dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, welcome, sweetheart … I’ll take them all, thank you very much!

This award is a way to show appreciation and love from the blogging community and it feels like a warm pat on the back. Perhaps even accompanied by a high five!

There are some “rules” that I must follow, so as much as I love the bend the rules, this time I shall obey. These are the rules:

1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves (I’m regretting posting this post where I shared most than 11 things just a few days ago)
2. Answer the questions that your nominator asked you
3. Nominate 5-11 bloggers and link them in your post
4. Go to their page and tell them
5. Thank and link back the person’s page who nominated you

OH WHO AM I KIDDING?! I am going to bend the rules once again… I’m going to throw a twist into it! I ask that you (yes, you) answer each of the questions that I ask of the nominees in a comment below! 

Easy enough, right? Okay, let’s get started!


11 Random Facts About Yours Truly

1. I am terrified of snakes

2. I have learnt that friendship is absolutely quality over quantity

3. I like sour cream a lot

4. I love weddings… not for the party part but for the love part

5. I struggled with math throughout school but my high school teacher told me that I’d be successful regardless because of my strong work ethic

6. I can and do eat entire watermelons to myself in one sitting

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7. I have lady crushes on Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Emma Stone and Melissa McCarthy

8. As a kid and teen, I was always an avid Backstreet Boy fan but Justin Timberlake has won me over in my adult years

9. I love flowers and plants but have a hard time not killing my plants… my new friend is helping me with this

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10. I love food and eat healthy about 80% of the time. Life is too short to avoid cupcakes, my friend.

11. Cuddling with John and Ernie makes me happiest.

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And now answers to the burning questions A La Modern Mom asked…

1. Why did you start your blog?

I started this blog as a way to share the journey of moving from Canada to the US with my husband and my puppy. I wanted to share our ups, our lows and everything in between. Turns out that I have more to say than just talk about our experience of moving!

2. What is your favorite quote and by whom?

This is a good one… I love quotes! I’m unsure if I can actually chose a favourite and my favourite often changes depending on what I am experiencing or feeling. That being said, here is one that I love:

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“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you did or said, they will remember how you made them feel” Maya Angelou

3. What is your favorite post that you’ve written (provide a link!)?

My favourite post that I have ever written is probably “Why I Gave Up The 8:00 To 5:00 Corporate Career.” This is probably my favourite because when I wrote it, my biggest audience was my family and friends. I felt like this post was the best way for me to explain to them our situation, our circumstances and how some reactions made me feel.

4. Who is your favorite fictional character?

Winnie The Pooh. He is naive and slow witted, but also friendly, thoughtful and steadfast. He often comes up with clever ideas, driven by common sense. He has a kindhearted soul.

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5. What single quality do you most appreciate in people?

Honesty. Always have, always will. Be upfront and honest from the get go. Honesty also drives loyalty and genuineness.

6. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 13-year-old self?

Ooh, good question… There are many things. I would tell my 13 year old self to nourish friendships with those who you know deep down are your true friends. And that in the grand scheme of life, your teen years do not matter nearly as much as you think they do.

7. Where was your best vacation?

Dominican Republic with my Husband for our honeymoon. It was a relaxing 2 weeks in the dead of a Canadian winter on a beautiful beach with too much food and booze. Pure bliss.

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8. What is your hidden talent?

I think that I make a mean banana muffin and banana bread… Thanks Mom!

9. What is your favorite meal?

A dinner with close friends and family with lots of laughter, love and happiness in the room.

10. If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I would love to fly!

11. What movie did you love to watch as a child?

Land Before Time… over and over and over again!

 

Pay It Forward

I would like to nominate the following to receive this award as I enjoy each and every one of you:

Little Miss Jennaay
Thoughtful Minds United
Full Leather Interior
Vera Kasi
Nonsense & Shenanigans
Ann St Vincent
The Bitching Mound
Keely’s Graffiti
Kayleigh’s World

My Questions For The Nominees To Answer:

1. What are your favourite and least favourite blog posts to read?
2. If you could have any profession in the world, what would it be (without worrying about money, time, financial)?
3. What is your favourite physical feature of yourself?
4. Who do you need to say “I love you” to more?
5. Who do you need to say “I’m sorry” to?
6. Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?
7. Where is your favourite place in the whole world?
8. If you could redo anything in your life differently, what would you redo?
9. What is the nicest thing that somebody has ever done for/to you?
10. What would an ideal day be for you?
11. What is your favourite post that I have ever written?
12. What is your favourite post that you have ever written?

Lovelies, don’t think that I forgot about you and the TWIST of this award… in the comment box below I encourage you to answer the above questions! There may even be a prize involved for those who actually participate… Oh, I am dead serious, Buster! I love learning about my lovelies 🙂

Enjoy Life, Lovelies!
L


17 Comments

Things You Most Definitely Want To Know

I’ve been hearing from my other fellow bloggers that their favourite posts to read are random facts about the Bloggee (Did I just invent that term, if so, I’m going to the Shark Tank ASAP… well, actually since I’m an alien in this country, I’ll have to go to the Canadian version called Dragon’s Den… alas, I’m putting a patent on that bad boy)

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So, if you are still reading this, you are being warned that here are some random, yet awesome and true facts about yours truly. And yes, I feel like a giant narcissist for actually writing this post but you do what you gotta do to make it to the Shark Tank right?!

Random Fact Numero Uno: I like big butts and I cannot lie. You other brothers cannot deny. That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist and a round thing in your face…   This is one of my favourite songs to exercise to, and I like to “talk” the lyrics rather than rap them in my mind. It’s a funny conversation.

Other Random Facts About Yours Truly:

  • I’ve gone sky diving twice from 15,000 ft and would go again every day if I could
  • I’ve gone bungee jumping from 134 meters and found that a lot more scary than skydiving

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    Where I went Bungee Jumping from… some call me crazy, some call me fun 🙂

  • I probably swear too much. No, that’s not true, I lied to you… I definitely swear to much. I just can’t help it. I’m the person who says “Shit, I didn’t mean to just say ‘shit’!”
  • Admitting my favourite kind of music is like admitting that your favourite foods are lobster and fish sticks… totally opposite ends of the spectrum. I like me some gangsta rap (John was so surprised when he scrolled through my I-pod for the first time), as well as the mushy and poppy stuff that’s on the radio.
  • My life revolves around a fondness and love of food. I have mentally accepted lugging around an extra ten pounds if that means indulging in cupcakes, rice krispie squares, white pasta and cheese.
  • As a kid I used to play with worms in the puddles. I probably even ate a few, who knows!
  • I absolutely adore baking. Mostly to lick the bowl.

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  • Long nails gross me out… cut those things, we aren’t cavemen.
  • I’ve had to dye my hair since I was 19 thanks to the grey hair gene that I received from both sides of my family. But I have enough hair to ensure that I won’t be cursed with baldness, so I guess I’d rather fight the hair colour battle
  • I don’t always know what to say to a baby, but I can carry on a conversation with a puppy like nobody’s business
  • I often wonder about which life choices I could have made differently so that I could have become a rapper (I got beatz, yo)IMG_0775
  •  I do not sing publicly. Never. I get shy and embarrassed. I won’t even sing to your baby if it’s crying in my arms if you can
    hear me.
  • If I absolutely had to, I could get by talking french in France… but please speak slowly to me in return.
  • My favourite gifts to give and to receive are experiences. I’d much rather create a memory with somebody or have somebody else create a memory then give them something in a box that they’ll forget about in a weeks time.
  • I like to literally drench my french toast/waffles in syrup… and only good syrup
  • John and I have had our kids names selected prior to even getting engaged… and I won’t tell a soul what they are
  • One of my fears is that our kids names will be ‘trendy’ or super common by the time we actually pop our kids out.
  • I had a speech impediment when I was a child and could not pronounce the letters “R” or “L” for the life of me.. my first name starts with “L” and my middle name starts with “R”. I tried to be considerate of our kid’s names when we chose them in case they inherit this from me as I inherited this from my Dad.photo 4
  • I almost drown in New Zealand on one of my first days there when I was 18. I got caught up in a super bad rip tide and had to be rescued. It was terrifying and I had no idea what a rip tide was at the time… now I sure do.
  • I also almost died when I was 18 in the hospital, the Doctor told me this later on when he knew that I was going to be okay. 18 was a solid year for me.photo 2
  • I am sensitive and take things to heart. I can’t change this. It’s also another reason why I love so deeply.
  • I would rather be told the truth the very first time. Do not ever lie to me please. Thank you.
  • I’m that annoying person who is always cold. When most people are recovering from heat stroke, I’m perfectly warm and content.
  • Lastly, I would choose white cake over chocolate cake any day of the week.

What are some of your random facts, my lovely?

Enjoy Life!
L


10 Comments

A Letter to My Closet Followers

Dear My Closet Followers,

Thank you. I appreciate your kind words, your support and your encouragement. I appreciate and understand your reasons for keeping your messages to me private, and I’d like to thank you for sending them. Whether the reason is that you do not want your message read by others, you are scared of what you fear others may think of you when they read your words to me, whether it’s because we aren’t friends anymore but you have the courage to reach out to me… thank you.

I know that there are people out there who don’t necessarily like what I have to say, and yes, of course that bothers me. Am I on a journey of intentionally writing things to upset people? No, absolutely not. There are so many other people out there writing wishy-washy blogs because they are scared of ‘saying the wrong thing’. If that is more your cup of tea, by all means drink up. However, I am more of a coffee drinker myself. If you don’t like my truth, that is a-okay. People who truly know me know that my intentions are nothing but pure.

My closet followers send me messages that make me feel like what I have to say is valid. They make me feel like something that I’ve said hits home to them. Others have sent me messages telling me that they are going through the exact same thing and that it’s nice to know that there’s somebody else out there who shares their feelings. Somebody else who has experienced the judgements that they are currently going through. And that’s what this journey of mine is all about. To make others feel like it’s okay to live outside of the box. To be different. To speak your mind. To do what you’ve always wanted to do and stop allowing others to put limitations on your dreams.

It’s ironic, the people who I am receiving criticism from isn’t from whom I thought I would receive it from. I’ve been told that I have poor spelling, that I have improper grammar. That my posts are a bit too “intense”, that I could be “insulting” people. I am getting suggestions on how to make one of my posts less “harsh”. How I should make a comment in one of my posts that “I have the opportunity and the plan to get a job.” (clearly, they did not get the message that I cannot get a job here). They say that I should make this comment because I am somehow delivering the message to people who don’t give up their jobs that they don’t value their family. That, my lovelies, is not my message at all and I hardly believe that this is the message that I am spreading.

I am just as much a fan of the working Mom who works 80 hours a week, takes their kids to soccer practice, puts dinner on the table as the next guy. I am a huge supporter of Sheryl Sandberg and would love to have dinner with her one day. I am just as much of a fan of a woman who chooses her career above all else. By no means am I suggesting that if you are a working Mom that you don’t put your children or husband first. In fact, I applaud you as I don’t know how you do it. I am sharing our story, our circumstances, the choices that we have made as a couple. And I am simply asking to hold all judgement for the choices that John and I have made.

I received this from a successful business person in response to my latest post:

“it warms my heart to see how things have turned out for you guys. I admire your strength and positive outlook on things. Your ability to charge into any situation and not just make the best of it, but turn it into something spectacular sets you apart from most. Anyways, I just wanted to say you give me hope and strength in knowing that being true to yourself and the things that are important to you are worth it through and through! Thanks for being someone that I look up to, even though you may not have known it.”

So, to my closet followers and all those who have also publicly sent me incredibly sweet, supportive and loving messages, I once again thank you. Because you are what makes me feel like maybe my words are worthy of being told.

Enjoy Life,
L