LisaListed

The best things in life aren't things at all


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A Year Ago I Quit My Job To Move To Another Country With My Husband

Holy crap – One year ago today, we gave our two week’s notice to our jobs and told our friends/family that we were packing up and moving to the US in two weeks. That was one of the toughest things in the world to keep a secret, as we weren’t sure until the very night before that we would actually be moving.

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We had to list our home and keep that as a secret from our friends, which sucked because if friends wanted to come over we would have to come up with some sort of excuse/dirty lie so that they wouldn’t see the For Sale sign in our lawn. 

We had to figure out if we should sell our house, then we had to actually sell our house when that decision was made (thanks Dad). We had to sell all of our belongings (I was an effin Kijijii ninja), figure out what the shit we were getting into, try and manage the thousands of pounds of paperwork that was coming our way that we didn’t understand, figure out if we should keep our car, if we should hire movers or if we should rent a U-Haul and drive a trillion miles, keep a documented spreadsheet with every single item listed with a value that we had to present to the always so friendly peeps at the border, cross our fingers that our Visas would actually get issued. We were homeless and jobless for a few days and it was utterly terrifying…. yet thrilling!

Everything fell into place for us literally seconds before manic panick mode struck… John’s offer was unconditional on the Friday, our house closed at 11:58pm on the Monday, and we quit our jobs the very next morning so that we could LEAVE the country in 15 days to make John’s start date. Ideally we would have given more than two weeks notice, but we didn’t have that luxury. Our renewed passports arrived the day before we left the country. We both had a sense of relief knowing that things would get a little less hectic after we arrived in Chicago, but little did we know that things were going to get ten fold more hectic once we actually got here. The hectic-ness was just getting rollin’…

I look back at the excitement, fear, and courage on the day where we were able to spill our secret and by golly goodness, I am so damn proud of us for taking one hellllll of a risk. Over the past year, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about taking chances… about how it’s really just about overcoming your fears. I’ve come to realize that every time you take a big risk in your life, no matter how it ends up, you’re always glad you took it.

Enjoy Life,
L

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Emotional Hoarders Unite

My name is Lisa and I am an Emotional Hoarder.  Not to be confused with a “can’t throw away soup cans, have spiders crawling on my toilet, used kleenex collection” kind of hoarder. I’m more of a “saver of things that have some sort of emotional value” kind of hoarder. Actually I’m about 100 points away from being any kind of self proclaimed hoarder… the “H” word is a hard word to accept. Maybe denial is the first sign? Bear with me if I turn to anger next…

I tend to give things “feelings”.

I fought back tears when I sold my first car because I was certain that Henry Honda thought that I was abandoning him and I made myself believe that he (yes, “he” as in my car”) thought that he wasn’t good enough for me. Even after a few months (and right now as I’m typing this) I wonder how Henry is doing… if his new owners are kind to him and taking good enough care of him. I can’t bring myself to wonder if he’s actually in one of those auto graveyards…

From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been this way. I didn’t really realize that this was an issue until my husband pointed out that I was giving my car feelings. Uh, didn’t everybody do that?! Hearing that this kind of behaviour was not normal was news to me!

I feel guilty about throwing something out that somebody has given me. Even if I don’t like it or if I never use it.

I have a chest that my Dad gave to me when I was probably ten years old that it full of cards, letters, poems, etc. given to me from people. Words that touched me. Even though I rarely go back and read them, and even though the top of the chest is completely busted, I will never get rid of the chest itself or the sentimental words within the chest. I will also probably never get the top of the chest repaired because I fear that the repair man will break it even more. That’s totally logical, right?

Within that chest there are letters from my deceased Grandma, she used to be my pen pal, and when she died I read all the letters and cards that I had kept from her over the years. If that’s not comfort, than I don’t know what is! Also within that chest is a letter from my cousin, Nicole. Nicole is about 15 years older than me and although she lived in an entirely different part of the country from me and we hardly ever saw her, I still idolized her and looked up to her growing up. I thought that she was THE coolest! Nicole went missing in Syria on March 31st, 2007 and although her Mom and Brother have done absolutely everything possible to try and find out what happened to her, sadly, it’s still an unsolved mystery. I have a letter from her from when I was about 12 where she had traced her hand for me… again, that was so comforting to me.

I have every single nice card or letter from my parents. I have every single card that we received from our engagement and our weddings. I have every single card that was ever given to me that was out of the ordinary… such as the card I received out of the blue with a gift card to Magnolia Bakery “just because” or the card I received my “Lovely” necklace with that was also “just because”. I have kept all the flower “cards” that I have received from John, especially the “just because” ones.  And if the card is homemade, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll keep that too.

For every single email account I’ve ever had, I’ve ALWAYS struggled to delete any non-junk related email. It’s pathetic really. I am pretty sure that I still have emails from when I was in grade 8. Don’t judge.

When we moved to Chicago, as I’ve mentioned before, we started brand new – selling most of our belongings in Canada. I had no problems getting rid of our furniture and such, but getting rid of things that have sentimental value to me is nearly impossible for me to do. Our friends in Calgary are keeping boxes of John’s and my childhood memories which the very thought of having to get rid of brings a lump to my throat. John had a dinosaur hat that was given to him that probably didn’t cost any more than ten dollars, but because it had sentimental value it made the cut and was brought to Chicago. Sadly, throughout the moving process it got crushed and ruined, and it was so tough for me to throw away. RIP Dino Hat

I’m also a hoarder of things that I can consider to be special and/or fancy. Case in point, I never actually wear my Lululemon clothing to work out in because I want to “save” them and make them last longer. I have clothes in my closet that I hardly ever wear because I want to “save” them for something special. I always save gift cards too because I know that once I use it, it’s gone. I will go to the store that the gift card is for and pay for the item out of pocket because I want to save my gift card. John forces me to use them, which I’m begrudgingly grateful he does. He also forces me to spend the full amount on the gift card because he knows that if there is money leftover, I will “save” it.

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I save fancy bath products that I receive to the point of where I hardly ever use them because I am “saving” them. Until recently I saved my first pair of boots that I had ever bought, but I finally managed to bring myself to get rid of them when they started to make me bleed… but even then I made excuses for them and tried to convince John that I would just wear thicker socks with them. I have saved a leather coat from my Grandma that hangs in our front closet that I have never actually worn before, I’m not even sure if it actually fits me to tell you the truth, but I will likely save that forever too. The jewellery box that my parents gave to me when I was probably 14 or so it completely busted from moving over ten times, but I can’t bring myself to replace it even though the top rests on top and the side doors don’t easily open or close.

Even as a child, I would always save my Halloween candy. I would eat my least favourite ones first and then hide everything else under my bed. I would allow myself one or two of my favourite chocolate bars, but my natural instinct was to save them. I would save my Halloween candy to the point of still having about 80% of it the following Halloween and I’d have to throw my last year’s stash of favourite chocolate bars away.

I’m a booze hoarder too. I HATE cracking open an expensive bottle of booze because I am saving it for sometime special. In fact, John and I have been saving a fancy bottle of Pinot Noir since we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Whenever John asked me if I wanted to crack it open, I would always tell him no, that I wanted to save it for sometime special. It’s been sitting there collecting dust for about five years and although we have shared SO many special times in our life, I still wouldn’t want to crack the bottle of wine. I didn’t even have a pathetic excuse as to why none of those moments where special enough to crack, all I knew was that I wanted to save it. For what? I had never really thought about what the perfect occasion would be that would make me WANT to actually open it… so we continued to save it.

BUT WE FINALLY CRACKED THE SPECIAL BOTTLE OF WINE!!

Last week was another loooooong week at work for John. Since August he keeps telling me that “this is the busiest time of the year”. Whenever I ask him when the “busiest time of the year” will finally be over, he doesn’t really have a concrete answer. Since August his hours have been getting longer and longer, and his stress levels have been getting higher and higher. He loves his job, don’t get me wrong, but having him come home around 9:00pm is starting to get really old. I don’t even bother starting to cook dinner until around 8:30pm most nights. This past week was probably the longest week he’s worked all week, and he had to go into work for Saturday and Sunday as well. Knowing that he had to work all weekend on top of an already really long week, we decided on Friday night that a glass of wine was most definitely necessary (to be clear, by glass of wine I really mean bottle… but glass sounds nicer.)

It was just a typical Friday night, nothing special or anything. We were wearing our cozy winter clothes, which include sweat pants, hoodies and for me a magic bag wrapped around my neck because I have I am always freezing if I’m not in a sauna. When John was selecting a bottle of wine, he first grabbed the Pinot Noir that we’ve been saving for the past five years. For some reason at the time, I didn’t fight it. So sweatpants, hoodies, magic bags and all, we popped open that fancy bottle, put our feet up and savoured each and every sip.

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What I learned from doing that, is that there was never going to be the “right moment”. There was never going to be a moment that I had deemed special enough to crack that bottle of wine. I would always find an excuse as to why we should save it for another five years. Instead of waiting for the perfect moment, I learned that just an ordinary Friday night was in fact the perfect moment! It helped me remember to live in the moment, to stop romanticizing about future moments, to stop pretending as if there would be an actual moment where I decided that “it was time…”

I learned that although I will likely always save all my letters and cards that I receive, and that I will still have a hard time giving or throwing things away that are sentimental to me, life is too gosh darn short to save the fancy wine. To not wear the expensive gym wear to the actual gym. To use the fancy soap on yourself. To eat your favourite chocolate bars first before digging deeper into the others.

Lovely, life’s too short to plan for special moments! Just pop open the fancy wine and enjoy it because tomorrow promises nothing. And for goodness sakes, you can always go and buy another bottle of wine to save for another five years!

Enjoy Life,

L


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Because I Said Sew

A Hem – now that I have your attention and those extremely clever dorky puns out of the way, I have a story to tell you.

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Most girls at one time or another in the life learn how to sew. Well maybe not sew, but at least learn how to sew a button back on or to hem a pair of pants. Maybe even hand sew a small hole in fabric closed.

But not me! When I told this to my Mom, she didn’t believe me that I never learned how to sew. She was a little bit horrified. My Mom used to sew all Halloween costumes for my sister and I, and I remember in junior high when my sister went on an apron sewing spree. But somehow, I slipped through the ropes of learning how to sew. I never took a Home Economics course in any of my school years, nor did I ever have any strong desire to learn how to sew or to do anything girly at one stage in my life. I was a bit of a tomboy.

At my first corporate job, there was a woman who I worked with who was sick of seeing me in pants that were just a little bit too long. Finally, one day she cracked and let out a small outburst:

“Didn’t your Mother ever teach you to sew!?”

I would have loved to see what my face must have looked like, because she then followed up with “Oh my gosh… what if you don’t have a Mother!” She went on a tangent and felt terrible, but in return she hemmed any and all pairs of pants for me during my time at that job. Thank you again!

John would make little comments to me here and there when there was a small tear in something that needed to be sewed up or when I would pay a tailor to sew fallen off buttons back onto my peacoat. I brushed his comments off, but don’t worry Honey… I heard them all.

Since moving to a new country where I am not allowed to work, I initially felt pressure (not from my husband) to be THE ULTIMATE HOUSEWIFE! Sweet John would tell me that I already was the ultimate housewife, but we all know that he is biased. I was convinced that an ULTIMATE HOUSEWIFE needed to at least know how to turn on a sewing machine.

I looked up sewing classes and did my due diligent. For some reason or another, I didn’t want to learn to sew at a place like Michael’s. Like I am in most things in life, I decided that if I was going to learn how to sew than I was going to go all in. Sew (c’mon had to sneak one more in there) after many hours of researching sewing courses, I found the perfect one where I would learn to sew. It was in Uptown, which I had initially confused with Old Town so I thought that it was close by. Turns out, it wasn’t at all… but I got to meet lots of strange characters on the train commuting back and forth.

The class that I had chosen was taught by a high end fashion designer who sewed his own creations for his clients. He did everything from bridal to leather jackets, so I figured if he couldn’t teach me to sew than nobody could. I registered online for my sewing classes and received an email saying that there will be a follow up email with all necessary information. The week before my classes were about to start, I began emailing and phoning the guy to ask for the list so that I could pick up anything that I may require. I didn’t hear back from him.

The night before my class was scheduled to begin, I was in a tithy. I figured that I would just show up empty handed the next day, but then at 7pm that night I FINALLY received an email from him saying everything that I needed. There was a lot and I didn’t know what half of the stuff on the list was, so I panicked! John was still at work, I couldn’t drive myself (no license remember?) to a store to pick up the stuff on my own, so I did what any logical woman would do. I called my parents and cried. Boo Hoo.

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The sewing store closed at 9pm and God knew if John would make it home before then, so I was panicked, flustered, pissed off and lonely. I lucked out and John got home at 8:15pm and immediately drove my ass to the store to go on the hunt for shit neither of had any clue about. One of the items on the list was “muslin” – It took everything in my power to make sure I pronounced that word correctly when I asked the employee where/what muslin was. We gathered most of the stuff and went home. John was so nice about the whole situation… He’s seriously the best!

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Now, most people sew a pillow case or an apron as their first project when they are learning to sew. Not me… oh no no no!!! I decided that my first project was going to be a freakin’ WRAP DRESS! One that I could hopefully wear when I finished. Go big or go home, right? You going to give me grieve about not knowing how to sew on a button – I’ll show you, I’ll sew a gosh darn wrap dress!!!! (Side note: I’m not competitive at all.)

My sewing classes were 3 hours classes once a week for ten weeks. My very first day, I was cocky because for some reason I thought that being naturally athletic would translate well into being a natural sewer. I asked the guy “So it’s going to take me thirty whole hours to sew one single dress!?” I was baffled and was certain that I was going to finish in half that time. Nope… it took me a total of probably 45 HOURS! 45 freaking’ hours… let that sink in.

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My 45 hours in that sewing class were interesting. There were a few classes were I was the only female and also the only straight person. I thought that my dreams were coming true and that I could finally be surrounded by my new found gay best friends. Except they wanted NOTHING TO DO WITH ME!!!! They were too busy flirting with each other. I thought that it was awesome, until I realized that I was such an enormous outcast in my sewing class.

 

In one of my sewing classes, I met a Russian girl. I thought that maybe we could bond over being foreigners and such, but quickly realized that we had nothing to bond over. She bragged to me about how she received a green card by marrying an American and swiftly divorcing him. She then went on to brag about how she is known as the fashionista among all of her friends and they all look to her for new trends. I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

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There were also a few people who constantly pestered me about poutine or who would want to argue with me about how disgusting poutine was. They acted as if they were the poutine champions of the world. Finally somebody asked what was in poutine and I heard somebody say “cheese, french fries, and mayo.” I almost lost it at that point… here I’ve been listening to some dorks go on about poutine and they don’t even know what the hell it is!? C’MON!!!! So I specified that traditional poutine was “french fries, gravy and cheese curds” – and no not cheese slices, but CURDS!

The actual sewing aspect was A LOT MORE tedious and annoying than I ever would have imagined. Never did I realize how key patience were in the sewing world. Perhaps that was why we had never met before? It took my 15 minutes every single time to put the damn thread through the “eye” of the needle on the sewing machine. I would have to get down on one knee, close an eyeball, tilt my head and chest slightly to the right, and hope that my wood pecker hand movements would eventually put the damn thread through the hole. And that was the start of class every single time.

I had no idea how much cutting and pinning and ironing was involved in sewing. And it takes so freakin’ long! Every time after sewing class I would tell John what I had just spent the last 5 hours doing and I always felt like I should be able to tell him that I did more than just cut and iron. Props to all you sewers – you are patient people.

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On my very last class the instructor (who was totally, unbelievably strange by the way… but also nice) was talking to me about how he was getting ready to turn the big 4-0. He kept going on and on and on about it, and I would just smile politely or make an “uh huh” noise when it felt natural. He was still going on about turning forty, and had come over to sit REALLY close to me to help me with something… like so close our noses were almost touching… when this is what he said to me:

“We’re about the same age, aren’t we!?”

I almost cried on the spot. Sew much for this class I thought….

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All of that aside, now that it is all over, I actually think that I might enjoy sewing. I like being able to create something new and after I was finished, I was so proud of myself for creating a wrap dress that I can actually wear. I at least now know where the power switch is on a sewing machine, how to cut fabric properly, I’ve learned sewing terminology, I’ve learned that it’s really annoying to be sewing and realize that your machine isn’t threaded, I’ve learned that the sense of pride you have when it’s all over is worth all the pin marks in your finger pads. I hope that one day I’ll sew my own children their own Halloween costumes, don’t hold me to that though.

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Ironically, through my whole entire 45 hours of sewing class, I was never taught how to sew a button on… but that’s what tailors in our condo lobby are for, right Baby?!

 

Enjoy Life Lovelies!
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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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


7 Comments

Liebster Award – Numero 2! Encore, Encore!

Although I was just nominated for this award not too long ago, I’ve been nominated once again from Autumn! So thank you very much, Autumn! I appreciate it hugely and graciously accept!

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So here we go again, folks! The rules are here in case you forget them.

11 Random Things About Myself

1. I do not do fake cheese… ie. velveeta, american cheese, space cheese… no thanks
2. I love dolphins and have gone swimming with them in the wild in New Zealand
3. As a kid I used to hate cookies, donuts and pizza.. my parents called me the Fruit Monster because I loved fruit so much
4. For the majority of my life, I’ve had a dog as a pet
5. I can’t wait to go to Thailand, Vietnam and Bali one day
6. I’m not extremely tech savvy
7. I could eat 5 pound of king crab all to myself (well, I’m up for the challenge anyhow)
8. I love small, thoughtful gestures that make someone feel special
9. My older sister looked like Annie when she was a kid
10. I drove a packer/roller for a construction site one summer
11. I can hold my own in a chess match

Questions From Autumn

  1. Stripes or Polka Dots?

    Both 🙂

  2. Signature Starbucks drink?

    Depends on my mood…  I like a gingerbread latte in the winter, an iced caramel macchiato in the summer with extra caramel, an iced tea if I’m not feeling coffee…

  3. What’s your best feature, in your opinion? (Self love, y’all)

    I’m thoughtful

  4. If you could live in another era, which era would you choose?

    I will also require an explanation…I like this era. I like life now 🙂

  5. Who inspires you?

    My Mom. She was one of the greatest teachers there ever once was.  She worked endless hours and did so much for her students because she loved them. She spend her evenings doing schoolwork and spent her summer in her classroom preparing for her kids. From a daughter’s perspective she put way too much thought and consideration into every single report card and it always took her forever to do them because she would never write anything generic. Looking back, I love that about her. She always did so much extra for her kids and she would do it year after year after year without getting the recognition she deserved. As an adult, I realized that she did so much for her kids because she loved them… not because she wanted a pat on the back.

  6. Describe your perfect day.

    My favourite kinds of days are going on new adventures to places I’ve never been before with people I love. Eating good food. Drinking good wine and/or other bevs. Going to the beach. Watching the sunset. Smelling fresh flowers.

  7. Favorite way to relax and de-stress?

    Ideally a day at the spa! Followed by wine.

  8. Describe one quirk about yourself.

    Oh boy… I have many. I can’t and will not finish the last bit of liquid at the bottom of my drink. The thought of backwash has taunted me from my childhood days.

  9. What was your childhood dream?

    So cheesy… to meet my Mr. Wonderful and have a long, happy and healthy life together. Nailed it.

  10. What is your mantra/favorite quote?maya
  11. What’s one item off your bucket list?

    Paddleboarding!! Happy to have scratched that one off last weekend 🙂

 

My Nominees:
A La Modern Mom

Witty Critty
Kevil
Don
Aimee

My Questions for the Nominees:

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?

Enjoy Life, Lovelies!
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!

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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


41 Comments

A Letter To My Thighs

Dear Thighs,

First of, I would like to apologize to you. I am sorry for whispering behind your back and saying those hurtful things. You’re right, at first I was sorry to have been caught saying them, but now I really am sorry for saying that I wish I could have the very desired “thigh gap”.

I have come to my senses over the past few years and I am sorry for ever thinking such absurd thoughts. I understand now that you have such a bond with each other and how could I ever wish for you to part ways?! You two are the best of friends and have such a strong bond with one another and I am ashamed that I tried to ruin it. How could I ever want to ruin such a physical and emotional bond!? I’m sorry.

You have stuck together through almost 30 years and I am disgusted with myself for wanting to separate you two. I know that you guys keep each other company, that you tell each other secrets. I know that you cuddle ands snuggle one another when comfort is needed. You two are soul mates, you two deserve one another. The love between the two of you is so strong and fierce that it is often envied by many.

My dear thighs, I love you just the way you are. Through thick and thin, come hell or high water, I guarantee you that you will never, ever have to part.

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With Utmost Love,
LisaListed

My lovely, did you ever fall victim to the “thigh gap” tornado?

Enjoy Life!
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


3 Comments

The Simple Life

One the major differences that we’ve enjoyed since coming to the US, is that life is sure a lot more simple now.

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When we were making the decision on whether or not to actually leave everything behind and move to another country, we did our best to imagine what life would be like. We are both very practical and realistic people and we tried to envision a life where we would only have each other.

A life without our close friends and family.
A life where we may not have somebody to watch our dog if we chose to go away for a weekend.
A life where we knew that John would not be allowed to leave the US.
A life with only one income and one pension.
A life where if we didn’t like it, we would have to put on our big boy pants and suck it up.

We knew that we would be trading in our “forever home” to rent a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment. We knew that the days of opening our back door to let Ernie run around in the backyard were over. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to afford an apartment with two bedrooms and that our new guest room would also be the living and dining room. We knew that the brand new 60 inch TV that John just bought wouldn’t make the cut to come cross-continent with us.

With that, we also knew that we would be gaining a lot too. We would get to live right smack downtown, rather in the ‘burbs. John’s commute to work used to be a solid one hour each way (on a good day), and now he literally walks two blocks and he is at work. The longest part of his commute is the elevator ride. And it is amazing! We get so much time back just from cutting down his commute time. We get over ten hours back a week, that’s over 40 hours a month…. Imagine what you would do with an extra 40 hours a month!

Living smack downtown is amazing. I wish you could bottle up the energy and sell it. There is always so much to do! There are so many options and it is impossible to be bored here. You can get anything you could ever possibly want within a short stroll.

Speaking of strolling, we walk everywhere! The only time we ever drive now is to go grocery shopping, and that isn’t even necessary. Every single day, Ernie and I go for a walk along the lake. There are so many places to go, so much to see! Going for a walk is an adventure in itself! If John and I go for a walk in the evening, we never know where we’ll end up. And time doesn’t even seem to exist, minutes and hours can pass by without you even realizing!

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This simple life is great. This weekend, not a single load of laundry was done. The vacuum wasn’t touched. The dust continued to settle and invite it’s other dust friends to join the party. The ironing board stayed stuffed inside the closet. This weekend, we had three whole days together. Three whole days. 72 hours. Do you know how many chores could be accomplished in 72 hours? Well, I don’t because I didn’t do a single one. That’s right, you read me correctly… not a single one.

Instead, would you like to know what we did this weekend? We enjoyed each and every single moment without feeling guilty for a second about it!!! And it was amazing! And the best part was that we didn’t even have to leave the city! On Friday we celebrated July 4th like the best of them. We walked until we dropped, we ate and drank like it was our last meal, we watched the fireworks from the lakeside. On Saturday, a muffin delivery turned into an impromptu afternoon and evening of sore cheeks from laughing, stuffed stomachs from delicious homemade italian pizza, red lips from too much wine and FRIENDS (the real kind, not the TV show). On Sunday, Ernie had his play date with Bert and then the rest of the day we were full blown lazy. It was the best.

Our pre-fireworks activity

Our pre-fireworks activity

Back home, we tried to have a ‘staycation’ for a week in the summertime. And I sucked at it. I was a terrible staycation partner. I felt like we had a week to do everything that we never had time to do before. Everything that we had previously pushed aside, suddenly had to be accomplished within that week. There was not much ‘cation’ going on in our ‘staycation.’

Since moving to Chicago, we’ve had the opportunity to hit the reset button. I’m the first to admit that I got caught up in the rat race back home. Got caught up with climbing the corporate ladder. Got caught up with buying the fancy family home when we don’t even have children yet. Got caught up in the life tornado.

The reset button has reminded us what is most important in life. What our values are. What really matters to us. It has reminded us how we want to spend the few hours in a day that we have together. The simple life gives us so much back in return, that it’s tough to imagine that we ever once thought we would be making compromises to live this life.

With this simple life, we are both healthier and happier! Both of our health has improved, our stress levels are down and at the end of the day, we are both able to give each other our best selves. We laugh more together, we smile more together and we enjoy life for what it is!

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The simple life has given us a life where we are able to truly enjoy every single day… I’m not sure it gets much better than that, my lovely.

Enjoy Life,
L