A New Year....

I have a mixed bunch of responses to the questions above as I look ahead into 2017. Parts of me say Yes and parts of me say No. Self improvement is a cornerstone of my existence but at the same time, when is good enough, good enough?

When I start really delving into something like this, one of my favourite Pearl Jam songs comes to mind...."Just Breathe"......

I can always be stronger and kinder, but I'm already strong and kind. I've experienced a lot of hard earned success in my 37 years, but I can always be better...Life can always be better and life is what we make it!

So...I'm deciding to do both. Be happy and content with the person I am today while also striving to be an even better me. Compassion, caring, kindness, happiness, strength.....I can say with 100% confidence I am and exude those features/attributes, yet, there is always room for improvement.

As long as I keep this smile on my face....keep breathing.... I can and will decide to be better...to get better....

Am I looking forward to the new year ahead?.....Heck yes!! We're already one month in and reflecting back on the past 28 days, I've already learned, grown and become stronger.

Our lives are what they make them and I choose to make mine the absolute best it can be!


A Journal of January 2016


Welcome 2016!

This is me, plain and simple (thanks Dad, for your blue eyes and rosy cheeks!), out for a walk on a snowy January/New Years day at the Country House. I can't believe it's already the 31st of January (and that I haven't yet blogged this year..bad me!) and I also can't get over how much fantastic "stuff" has already been packed into this year. This post is a photo journal of the comings and goings of 2016 so far....and what a fantastic time it has been!

I had a furry friend with me on that snowy walk at the Country House! Charlie absolutely loves the snow...My almost 11 year old pooch turns back into a puppy whenever he's outside in the white stuff!

It was then time to sit down (ok, or maybe lounge in bed) and set some plans into place for the year ahead. Whether it was personal or professional, I got out my Danielle LaPorte Planner, my notebooks and some sources of inspiration (The Happiness at Work Program - stay tuned for an upcoming post on this - and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) and began to map out my 2016. There won't be any drastic changes, huge epiphanies or enormous lifestyle changes...but it always feels good to get thoughts out on paper and see how to guide myself into a year that I know will be filled with fun, great times and success!


January has also been a month of 'sprucing things up' around the house a wee bit. Some new pieces of home decor, tidying up, organizing and really just continuing to make my City Cottage my home. And yes, as the sign says, feel free at anytime to get me drunk and ask me about New York...I have some great stories (keep an eye out for an upcoming post on NYC from my trip there in December).

Life wouldn't be complete without gal time and what a fantastic gals weekend at The Rock again this year in Port Elgin (Thank you soooo much Carlie!!). As is always the case when you get a bunch of women together, there is plenty of yummy food, lots of laughs and many new memories made! We even made it to MacGregor Point to go skating through the woods and hiked along Lake Huron at sunset. Thank you to all the Donut Dolls for a fabtastic time!

I've also been spending the odd Saturday at WillowHouse In Cambridge. If there was ever a store I would want to move into, it would be this one! Kim, the 'out of this world' owner of this beautiful shop, has such an amazing eye and sense of hitting every little detail just perfectly....Thank you for allowing me to become part of the 'family'!

One thing I really do want to focus on in 2016 is trying new things and making memories! I've always loved the quote, "Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to share, not stuff to show". I plan on doing this by pushing past my comfort zone and really living every moment possible. A friend and I decided to go out for dinner on Friday night to Manhattans here in Guelph to enjoy live music while dining on terrific food! It had been a very long time since I'd been to such a venue and it was SUCH a fun evening!! The band, the Eclectic Vinyl Orchestra was fantastic and uber entertaining and our dinner was scrumptious...Thanks so much Em for the wonderful suggestion!

So cheers to 2016... I'm really looking forward to seeing what this year has to bring!


A Lot Can Happen In A Year!

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A year I will never, ever forget... a lot sure can happen in a year.

A year of heartache, new beginnings, new paths being built, time spent in the country, time spent in the city, time with family, time with friends, tears, laughter and reflection...

I want to say a HUGE "Thank you" to family and friends for your love and support this year. I can honestly say that you have all been what has kept me going on many occasions this year..... Again.... Thank you! xoxo

The photo above is a snapshot of my 2015 and it not only reflects the year that has happened, but the year to come ahead too....

Time spent with friends, time spent outdoors, time at home, healthy living, my Charlie Bear, diving into home decor inspiration and liking the small joys that a simple life brings.

I plan on continuing to live a simple life, enjoying the little things, making memories and really embracing life and living it! Every single moment!

2015, you prepared me for just about anything life could throw at me.

I've grown personally and professionally. I've developed a few more life lines (ie. wrinkles) and a thicker skin. There has been much laughter and many tears. Through it all, I've remained me and have hopefully become a better version of me.

Cheers to the year ahead....2016, I'm ready for you!!



The First Week...

So how has your first week of 2015 been? Have you kept up your resolutions? Have you 'fallen off the wagon'?

However your first week has gone, I hope you have had a good one. 

Mine has been quite good and I feel as if I've packed a lot of productivity into the past 8 days.

As I sit here writing this, I'm looking at the bags of clothing and boxes of housewares that I have purged and will be donating to local charities. If you read my last post of 2014, I wrote about promises I made for myself for the new year ahead. One of those promises was to Simplify. By purging these items from my home, it opens up physical space which also in turn opens up 'head space'; it has allowed me to take stock of what I have and really ask myself do I Need this vs do I Want this?; and these items, via the charities, will be going to new homes whose families I hope enjoyed them as much as I did.

I have been doing little things like being sure the dishes are all done before I go to bed so there is no clutter on the counter in the morning.

It's these little things that are allowing the interior of my home to in turn bring clarity and space to my soul.  

 I've also started journalling again.... It is so cathartic. I'm writing down every cent I spend in an effort to analyze and adjust my spending habits. I've already saved money! I made my lunch and dinner all week long (I've even made my latte every morning and taken it to work) and not only have I saved money, I've also eaten much more healthy, 'real' food. I've been keeping a food journal too....I'm definitely not eating perfectly, but, I am eating well and know what's going into the food I'm eating as I'm preparing it.

So overall, so far so good.... really good!!

Cheers to 2015!!




Brave Wings...

Cheers to 2015!

I kicked off the year with great friends, yummy food and lots of bubbly (hence the somewhat blurry midnight 'cheers' photo).

It was a Simple yet perfect way to start the year....and remember, this year, I'm ALL ABOUT SIMPLE! There was reminiscing, remembering all the fun we've had over the past 17 years (as well as reflection on some of the tough times), lots of laughs (Cards Against Humanity is a HOOT) and plans made for the year ahead. 

I am very grateful that I not only got to spend New Years with these friends, but for also seeing other great friends this afternoon too. I can't think of a better way to kick off the year.

Charlie and I returned home this afternoon after the festivities, relaxed, had an amazing dinner (thank you so much to my friend from around the corner who brought me some leftover EPIC lasagna from her NYE get together last night - it was a 28lb homemade lasagna like no other you will ever have - AMAZING!) and we then decided to stretch our legs and head out for our evening walk. 

There was snow in the air, the blowing wind adding an extra chill....and I couldn't help but smile. An overwhelming feeling of contentedness came over me.... Life is Good...Very Good!

We wandered home and I began writing this....surrounded by new journals, notebooks, my 2015 agenda and books I am reading/will read..... 

These books will be the venues that will assist me in Simplifying my life... They will allow me to get my thoughts, plans, promises and goals on paper in black and white..... Through the words I read or write on the paper bound in their spines, I will identify my Needs vs Wants, formulate my budget, develop meal plans, journal, write recipes and most importantly, I will keep myself accountable.

I Believe we need more accountability in our lives because as I mentioned in my last post, we create our own lives, our own happiness, our successes and failures....life is not a passive exercise of letting it happen to you. We are accountable for our actions, our words...and those actions and words form what we call our life...our day to day existence.

To be accountable is to be brave. It means taking ownership and at times, that can be incredibly difficult. Sometimes, it would just be so much easier to let someone else make that tough decision for you...to not have to accept responsibility for our actions.

**Print by: life i design **

**Print by: life i design **

"With Brave Wings She Flies"....... The braver we are, the more accountable we are and the more I Believe that we can Simplify our life through making changes we may be nervous to make, to realize behavioural alterations that need to be made but we know will be difficult....

Change is necessary to grow. Simplification can be the ultimate in growth. A change to a 'Need vs Want' approach to life keeps you accountable for not only your material things, but your emotional well being as well. Less truly is more!

I'm about to go get into bed and start my first journal entry for 2015. I'm going to read a few pages of a new book. I'm going to take a glass of water with lemon with me to drink before I go to sleep.

Again, it's the little things...the Simple things that make up our life.... Hold yourself accountable to the decisions you make.... Be brave. It will be sooooo worth it! Happy New Year!