Thursday, 12 October 2017

Love Is A Place, Home Is A Person

Prelude to this post, the best vegan sandwich in the world at Aux Vivres, Montreal (veggie pate)

We're getting ready to fly out to Montreal!

Going home is so nice, but it also makes me realize that over the past 15 months, I have really made Switzerland home, too.
It's OK to have two places that are home, right?

The truth is, home for me has become less about location, and more about where my heart is. For two years, Thomas and I were nurturing our relationship long-distance style, and it gave us both such an incredible appreciation for each moment we have had together in one place. 
For some, it might seem like just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill life, but to us, it's extraordinary.

We really value what it means to have a home and a family together, because for so long we had to rely on seeing each other every 3-4, I don't miss those days, but I'll always be grateful that we had the experience of being apart; it makes our love so much stronger. And, even nowadays, when we're apart for longer than...2 days, we go pretty batty!

So, all this to say, we are super excited to go and visit everyone in Montreal, introduce Theo to our Canadian friends and family, shop til we drop and eat some delicious and unhealthy snacks.

It's also crazy to think that the last time I went to Montreal (last November for 10 days alone) I was:

-5 months preggo with Theo
-Didn't know Theo was a boy yet
-Had only been in Swizz for 3.5 months at that point

Now, we're going back with a 6-month-old and a 4 month baby bump! Crazy how much can happen in a year. We've had a pretty productive 2016 and 2017 (and 2018 will follow suit, with second baby arriving!!!)
I never posted photos from last year's trip, so here's some photos (mostly of food) to kick start this little adventure!

Classic diner club sandwich. 

Remember that time that they sent my suitcase to Los Angeles by accident? Well, this was after my suitcase was returned, and I could switch out of mom's clothes and feel like myself again 

Two of my favorite women: my mom and my sis. This was at my surprise baby shower that was supposed to be Ashley's surprise birthday party. One day I'll get her dammit!

Baby Thomas and Baby Ariane on sticks for the baby shower games. Blondes have more fun

Amazing squirrel cake for the shower. When I  lived in Montreal, I was obsessed with squirrels, and now I have none in Swizz :( One major downfall.

This makes me so damn hungry. I swear the minute I get into my sister's house, the first thing I'm doing is making an entire box of KD 

Mixed feelings about this! I love the snow, in moderation. I don't miss the freezing, icy cold mornings, the never-ending winters and the dark gloominess that plagues the city for 6-7 months.

And this amazing little guy is one full year older. I miss my nephew so much, and can't wait for cuddles. It's going to be amazing to see the cousins meeting for the first time.

And these beautiful people! Two of my absolute besties, Stef and Natasha. These girls have known me forever and being with them definitely feels like "home". Can't wait for nonstop laughs with these two (and not pictured, my other besties, Ashley, Erica, Michelle and Nicolas)

When I got to Montreal my baby belly started to push out...must've been all the KD and poutine. Snapping a selfie to share the moment with hubs.

Delicious, dirty poutine

Had to have hubby's favorite - maple glazed donut <3
And then we were reunited, and life was good. Back when we were just 3! Now we're almost 5!!! My heart. <3

So that's it. I'm looking forward to a little vacation from working, the last month and a half has been crazy with freelance work, and I want to come home and do more creative writing.

I need to finish up my book and get it published!

So off we go, to the land where people smile and say hello in the streets, where I can afford everything I want to buy, where I can eat poutine and Thai Express and vegan sushi in one day, and then walk it off on the Plateau.

Ah, the more I think of it, this is gonna be damn good.


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Full Moon Musings

Happy Harvest Moon lovely people!

I'm really excited about this full moon.
Not only will it be huge and beautiful (hope I can see from my balcony, or at least behind our apartment!) it's also one of the most powerful astral phenomenon's of the year.

This full moon, which is the one nearest the autumnal equinox, is a time to reflect on our feelings, emotions and spiritual "state of affairs" and to release any negativities that have been accumulated.

Feeling frazzled at work? Not getting along with a friend or partner? Feeling like you are holding too much in and need to express yourself? THIS IS THE TIME!

Let the mystical, magical moon do all the dirty work for you tonight! Then...have a beautiful and deep sleep to rejuvenate and restart!

So, the nice thing is that there is no right or wrong way to do this ceremony. As with all things spiritual, you really have free range to follow your own path of what feels the most healing to you. The most important thing is to get in touch with your inner self and to offer love, acceptance, peace and forgiveness (to yourself, to others, to the planet, the Universe!) 

I have often read that writing out our intentions by hand is suggested, because you put so much more of your personal energy and thoughts into anything that is created by hand. Makes sense, right?

You can do something as simple as writing out one intention, for example, "I let go of the need to control outcomes".

Or, you can go balls deep and write out a summary of many different areas of your life that require your attention and might need a little more moon power.

I know this month is a biggie for me, because I had one particularly upsetting fight that left me feeling not so great.

Another reason I am having a big month is because I am taking care of my body AND the body of another baby (more on this soon!!!) and I really do need to focus on all the positive, magical and unicorn-filled loveliness in the world

And a final reason, is that despite feeling a little bla from the recent events, I am still super grateful for all of the wonderful things I have in my life. I am celebrating that  as I grow older, setbacks slow me down but don't debilitate me.

I really, truly use these rare moments of shittiness to try and grow and learn, and I have gotten a lot better at forgiving myself for my occasional slip-ups.

Moon magic, stuffing my bra with quartz and black tourmaline and sending blessings, love and heaps of understanding and forgiveness to all.

Oh, and this song!
So good.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

100 of My FavoriteThings

Often, as I am lying in bed drifting off to sleep, writing ideas pop into my head. Usually these ideas relate to my upcoming memoir self-help book, but sometimes they are other random bits of information that come out of the woodwork.
The words flow through my head and soothe me to bed like a lullaby, and I get the sensation that I am reading and writing at the same time.

It's pretty cool.

Sadly, I don't always wake up (I rarely do!) to jot down these ideas, so the next day they aren't quite as fresh. But last night, something came into my head that was a pretty cool idea.

What if you were asked to name 100 of your absolute favorite things in the world? This could be anything from an activity, a natural phenomena, an animal, a food...the list should be as unique and personal as possible.
The only thing you should avoid is listing people, cause then the list risks becoming just a long collection of names ("I love my momma, my grandmomma, my daddy etc;" We all do, try to focus on specifics events or activities with people if you want to add them!)

This concept was not invented by me, actually. I must've been distantly thinking of The Book of Awesome, written by Neil Pasricha. Remember that one?! Neil made a comprehensive list of often overlooked, but amazing things. 

If you don't want to make your own list, get this book and enjoy Neil's!

So, essentially, the idea is to focus on what we love, what we appreciate and what we value. In this crazy and unpredictable world, sometimes it's easy to lose touch with that magical high-on-life feeling that is our birthright, and we have to make some pretty serious efforts to take care of our happiness.

Tomorrow is a very special Full Moon. The Harvest Full Moon is a great time to let go of any negativity, sadness or bad feelings with a little moon ceremony!

Leading up to it, I'm working on busting out the major gratitude, to tune into the positive flow of energy and get my vibration back to where is should be (took a little dip this week with some dramatics that I'd like to move far away from!)

So this is an exercise that can be done anywhere (and you don't need to list 100 things, start with 10 if you don't have the time for so many!). Many of these have already appeared in my gratitude journal, and are in no way in order from best to worse...just things I love :)

Here we go:

1.Bubble baths
3.The feeling when you've ordered a bunch of new books and they are delivered to your mailbox
4.When you've been out for a long evening/event/vacation and you first step back into your home. Ahhh!
5.When you make lasagna and the proportion of cheese, sauce and spinach is just perfect
6.When my baby is sleeping and cooing and I give him his pacifier and he looks like a little lamb taking it from me
7.The feeling after a fresh hair job (dye,cut)
8.When you open your eyes in the morning and you see that the sun is coming up and the sky is this amazing pinkish colour
10.The feeling of bliss I get after a long Skype chat with my souls sister Sally.
11.When you're deep in conversation with a friend (or group of) and you realize that you really are invested in every word they are saying
12.Orange Crush or San Pellegrino Orange when you're not feeling well
13.The way the sound of the waves can zen you out instantly
14.Having breakfast with my mom and chatting with her about everything and nothing
15.The feeling of rejuvenation I get in the fall
16.Going to dinner at my in-laws place and realizing that my mother-in-law made my favorite meal (poulet au vinaigre)
17.Pugs (particularly Milo)
18.Organizing things
20.Making various lists
21.The fact that I have several 30+ year friendships that are still going strong (shoutout to Michelle and Nicolas!)
22.LUSH shopping sprees
23.When my hubs is telling a story and he's super into it and animated
24.Binge watching a really good TV show
25.Going for long walks 
26.When it's my birthday 
27.Fluffy and ridiculous housecoats
28.Chatting with Ashley about silly and ridiculous things
29.Swimming in the lake
30.When I predicted Theo's birthdate (that was cool and I felt so in tune with the numerological Gods hehehe)
31. Crystals and pretty rocks
32.Good coffee
33.Planning vacations!  (and also going on them haha)
34.Quitting the corporate world and following a more creative work path
35. Counting change (have always loved doing this! Especially Canadian dimes)
36.When you actually let money sit in the bank and don't spend it frivolously 
38.Going on a date to the movies with hubs
39.Trashy reality TV shows
41.When you have a week where the calendar isn't too busy and you can totally enjoy your home and little family
43.How good it feels to not drink
47.Listening to reggae on the beach
48.Going to garage sales/yard sales or farmer's markets
49.Spending time with family (especially the Canadian gang because I don't see them as much!)
50.Chatting with my sis and realizing more and more how similar we are!
51.Getting into a super powerful or inspirational book
52.Baby snuggles
53.Thinking about how life fell so perfectly into place when I met Thomas (despite almost two years of long distance)
54.Getting pedicures/massages
55.Playing "20 Questions" with Thomas every time we go swimming (silly pool tradition)
56.When you mutually decide that it's a good night for pizza
57.Wine Gums
58.When you hang out with old friends that you have so many memories with (Stef/Ash/Erica/Natasha <3 )
59. Finding a perfume that is just perfect (so far the best for me is Carven, Le Parfum)
60.Chatting in bed with hubby before falling asleep
61.Sitting on a terrasse on a sunny day
62.Exploring a new city for the first time (in the last year we saw Milan, Troyes, Reims and a few new places in Swizzy)
63.How cute it is that my mom is the only person who ever calls our house phone, or leaves us voicemails
64.When one of my articles goes viral and I make way more money than expected for the week
65.Cooking while listening to music
66.Going on train trips
67.Walking around Montreal
68.When hubs has a day off and we do everything together (today! Yippee!)
69.Learning new things
70.When you meet someone and you just click perfectly (Salllllllllllllly!!! <33333)
71.New lip gloss
72.Getting obsessed with a topic and doing a ton of research on it
73.Apple pie
74.Hanging out with my nephew
76.When you get into an exercise routine and enjoy going to the gym (this is not the current state of affairs, but hopefully I get my drive back soon!)
77.Discovering new music that you really like
78.Giving baby a bath
79. When husband says adorable things to me during his sleep, kisses my cheeks and hugs me close <3
80.When you chat with super happy old people
81.When you tune into synchronistic events and realize that everything is completely connected
82. Reading anything by Abraham Hicks and totally "getting it"
83. Looking at photos of stars, planets and far away galaxies and just realizing how small we are
84.Also, realizing that the odds of us being alive, in this moment are so slight that we must have a bigger purpose
85.Finding that purpose
86.Following your intuition (your emotional guidance system is rarely wrong!)
87.Some cats
88.Good movies
89.Going to a new restaurant 
90.Wearing super comfy clothes that are also cute
91.When you go to Montreal and feel so rich cause everything is cheap so you can shop and buy everything you want
92.Giving people gifts
93.When you give someone a genuine compliment and their eyes light up
94.Listening to a friend/family member who needs an ear and doing your best to help them feel better
95.Giving up our egotistical ways (even if this is sometimes a struggle, every bit counts)
96.When you forgive yourself, and others for wrongdoings
97.When you release things to the Universe 
98.Salt and vinegar chips
99.Songs that make you cry cause they are so beautiful
100.Realizing that you are always living in the "now" and making every second count

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

There Is A Way Through Every Block

I'm pretty sure that one of my earliest blog posts was titled this.

There is something so reassuring, so calming and so poignant about this Yogi Bhajan quote. 

Let's face it, life isn't always a bouquet of daffodils and roses. I am really happy that I've found a balance in my day-to-day life that keeps me in the "high on life" range for at least a good 80%-90% of my time, but that doesn't mean that I don't suffer from some human-level bullshit from time to time!!!

The truth is, without the darkness, we can't appreciate the light, right?

I used to live most of my time with my shadow, and only a small amount of time with my shimmer. Over time, with vigorous self-love practices in place, I was able to get rid of a lot of the dark layers; clean out the cobwebs and the dirt, and learn to love living in the shiny spots.

But, I still have moments that test me.

Just recently, I found myself caught up in a moment that tested my patience, my practice and my values.
For just a sliver of a moment, I went dark and engaged in immature back-and-forth banter with someone who shares different views from me.

Why did this person get under my skin so much?

Why was I allowing her ignorance to dim my shine?

In the moment, while she was using anything to hurt me (attacking my sobriety, mainly) I caved and became a little girl again, defending myself and spewing out nasty insults.

After a night of reflection, I realized, whoa, whoa, whoa.

This is a test.

There will always, always be people in the world with whom we don't see eye to eye.
There will be haters, naysayers, skeptics.
There will be those that don't see your value and worth.
Those that don't appreciate your story or your struggle.
Those that are unhappy and want everyone else to be, as well.

But those are not my people.

Not anymore.

You know that famous quote by Michelle Obama, "when they go low, we go high"?

That's who I am.

I don't need to prove myself to someone (anyone) who doesn't understand me/know me/care about me.

I don't need to stoop to levels of baby la-la ness to prove my points.

I don't need to tell a million people how you are not that nice/not genuine or not authentic.
That is not my story to tell.
And honestly, my point of reference is shaped by my own journey, so who am I to judge yours?

The bottom line is, my true heroines are the ones who were brave in the face of adversity.

Oprah. Maya Angelou. Brene Brown. Gabrielle Bernstein. Glennon Doyle Melton. Laura McKeown. Elizabeth Gilbert.

These ladies that I adore, respect and look up to faced challenging times and did not stray from their truth.
They held their ground.
They knew who they were.
They apologized; not for the sake of the other, but for their own peace.
They persevered.
They found their tribe.
They were not silenced.
They didn't let the world dim their shine.
They constantly "checked" themselves, forgave themselves for their mistakes and committed to seeing love over fear, no matter what the costs.

For a nanosecond I lost touch with my inner greatness and my ability to stand on my own two feet, unassisted.

But that's not something I am surrendering, now or ever.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Rise Of The Drunk Mom: A Dangerous Epidemic

The rate of alcohol-related illnesses amongst women is at an all time high. Women are turning to alcohol to soothe their stress, to take the edge off after a long day, and to escape the pressures of motherhood and marriage.

But how much is too much?

Of course, some women exercise moderation while consuming alcohol, but statistics show that these are the outliers. Most women overdo the recommended 1 drink per day guideline, established by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, which keeps drinking in the "moderate" zone.
So think about it.

One drink per day.
Seven drinks per week.
That is moderate.

Is this the behaviour we want to be modelling for our young girls?

Binge drinking for women comes into play when four or more alcoholic units are consumed in a two-hour period. Accumulate 5 instances of bingeing per month and you are in the heavy alcohol use category.

My first thought? That's everyone I know. Well, almost. I have some very close friends who are super responsible drinkers, or who don't drink at all. When I was a heavy drinker myself, I looked at them with awe, as if they were mystical unicorns or in possession of a super power that I couldn't tap into.

The truth is, many women (sadly, lots of young moms) will continue to drink at dangerous levels without understanding the physiological, physical and emotional repercussions.
Alcohol abuse is a slippery slope, which often starts off as "fun" and social.
Mimosas at brunch! Then a glass of wine or two for lunch! Why not have a few beers on a hot sunny day?
See, drinking is not inherently problematic, IF you aren't abusing it.
The problems start when people are abusing with blind awareness.
The people who, deep down, know that they shouldn't be having that much wine tonight.
The ones that keep telling themselves that next Monday, or on the first of next month, they will detox and the problem will be under control for awhile.
I know this type all too well because it was me.
I kept myself on the hamster wheel for a long, long time.

I come from a pretty booze-free family. Growing up, there was rarely alcohol at home. My parents would buy a big bottle of vodka or rum to make cocktails with at Christmas, and that bottle would sit, for months, for years, in our liquor cabinet, just a few inches emptied from a glass or two of eggnog.

My Dad would have the occasional beer; usually amongst friends when we had a summer BBQ, or when he invited his pals over for a chess match.

And then there was me.

I started drinking at 14, and quickly developed a problematic, chronic binge drinking habit. Drinking was a big part of my life for close to two decades, until I decided to call it quits for good when I became a mother.

So, my concern and interest in the rate of drinking problems among women hits close to home. It is my personal experiences that have inspired me to do research about this epidemic, and try to raise awareness about it's dangers.

Women are being hospitalized for alcohol-related issues at a rate of FIVE TIMES that of men. Yes, my friends, this is a WOMEN'S ISSUE.

Why are we drinking so much? What are we trying to escape? To run from? To cover up?

Why are we glorifying drunkenness?

Why do we brag about our drunken blackouts, our epic hangovers, and how much booze we were able to guzzle the night before?

Why is drinking a "hobby" for so many?

Why are we putting ourselves at risk of a number of unpleasant side effects, namely doing things we wouldn't do sober?

Why are we covering up our awesome, naturally amazing selves with poison that dulls our shine, causes us emotional instability, hormonal fluctuations, heart, liver and brain damages, and not to mention increases our cancer risks?

And why, why, why are we tearing down women who decide to not drink? As if they are "lame" or "boring"?
Why is our reaction to an informative article about how marketing influences women to drink more, "this author needs to calm down and have a glass of wine?"

Look, I don't blame those that have these automatic reactions.
We're totally brain-washed by clever marketing and drinking culture.
Furthermore, I'll never leave out the parts of my "story" where I was the drunkest person I knew. 
I was.
And it's those experiences, in contrast to a life of sobriety, that inspire me to speak out.

I know there are women out there that need to have these conversations. Because I did. And I won't shut up now, cause it's important that we raise awareness about this dangerous epidemic.

P.S. I can't be the only one who is actually enjoying motherhood and raising a child so much that I don't want to be drunk anymore?! Cause he's a better high than wine? How are people not just high off of baby laughs and snuggles?!

Big love and big glasses of sparkling water to all

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Dealing With People's Perceptions of You During Early Sobriety

I've made the choice to not drink.

Well, let me clarify. Not drink alcohol. I will still be drinking lots of water, sparkling water, the occasional Diet Coke (harder to quit than booze!!!) and vanilla soy milk in my coffee.

It's a personal decision I've made after having struggled with alcohol mis-use for close to two decades.

My longest stretch "near-sober" was when I was pregnant with my first son. Although I would have the occasional glass of wine with dinner (and usually wouldn't finish the glass), it really was the first time I had gone close to a year without any type of alcohol-induced buzz.

Fast-forward to a month after my son was born.

I had a glass of wine with dinner, once I had stopped breastfeeding.

It felt weird.

I didn't love the taste anymore, and I was hyper aware of how the wine was making my head ache and giving me a weird spinning/out of body feeling.

It didn't feel good, so I didn't have a second glass.

But then, something happened in June and July of this summer.
We had weeks of back-to-back family vacation, where copious amounts of wine and cider were available.
I fell into the "it's vacation! It's OK to have a few!" mentality.
But after a few weeks of this, I remembered, with a longing, aching feeling, the way I had blossomed when I wasn't drinking.
The pride, control and sheer happiness I felt.
The clarity.
The health benefits I enjoyed.

Unless that's pure motherfuckin' Diet Coke, get it outta my face!

I wanted that again.
I still want that.
I am sober, now, for real.

No "just one drink" or "it's the weekend" nonsense.
That shit just doesn't work for me!!!

To be honest, almost 20 years of drinking is/was enough for me.
I (hopefully) have another good 50+ years to pump out, and I don't wanna waste them being all, slurry and ridic.

 I've gotten off topic, because this post is not about what brought me to sobriety, it's about how other people don't always know what to say to sober people.

And why do soberistas have such a hard time validating their choices not to drink? It's not about the "others" it's about us!!! If we don't wanna drink, that should be totally coolio and not pose any problems to those who are drinking.

Here are some examples of what you'll hear when you say NO to a drink:

"But what about all the great wine/spirits/beer in (enter city where you're visiting/vacationing next)?" (What about it?! I would be losing more by actually drinking it than by abstaining)

"Just have one!" (ummm, no asshole, I can't)

"It's not like you're an alcoholic" (maybe not, but I have problematic drinking patterns, otherwise I wouldn't have spent so many precious hours trying to wrap my head around this unhealthy relationship that I have with booze, right?!)

"I could never give up beer/cider/wine!" (that's OK- I'm not asking you too! My choices are for me and I don't judge you for yours)

"Don't you find it hard when your husband drinks?" (No. His relationship with alcohol is his responsibility, not mine. His drinking doesn't make me feel tight-chested like my own did)

"So what do you do for fun?" (The same things that people who drink do? No drinking means that I can enjoy my body, my mind and my emotions purely and naturally. I don't have to hide away in bed on Sunday mornings, recovering from embarrassing fuzzy memories from the night before and waiting for my hormones to regulate and my blood to detox)

"Aw, you're no fun!" (I get it. You'll miss the "fun" party girl I used to be. And I really was fun. I was flirty and silly and open. I probably paid you a lot of attention, even if you were boring or lame. But guess what? I'm more fun sober. I make better jokes, I'm naturally high on life and I can still dance without booze- even if not very well)

AAAANNNNDDD big news. My book, which will be self-published by the end of 2017, will be about recovery and self-love. A lot of other anecdotes/personal stories will be included, but I know that what I need to do is write about these struggles and how I overcame them. For me, and for all of the people who have had similar experiences 

Oh, and here's something I wrote last month that I found on my phone and really like:

When you wake up and remember that you didn't drink the day before: now that's the best feeling in the world to anyone with alcohol problems.
It's a nice combination of pride, real happiness and clarity that makes the day shine bright - even if, like today, it's raining.
A natural high of real, home-grown  endorphins flooding your system saying 'this is better than the dark stuff-stick around a bit'
Patient. Calm. Grounded.
No anxiety.
It's gonna be a great day
One day at a time you CAN slay this beast.
Be a warrior for your beautiful self who is shining from the inside out, gently cradling you in security and flooding you with love.
Saying thank you.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Some Lovely Quotes

I love quotes.
I love positive affirmations.

When I was working at MK, around the time that I was really over the corporate world, I would do all of my work quickly, and then spend my "lunchtime" printing out inspirational quotes and taping them into a little black book.

It made me feel recharged, reconnected and ridiculously blissful.

Just the act of reading beautiful, positive things got me into *the vortex* (if you haven't read Abraham Hicks, now is the time to do so!)

I'm not religious in any organized fashion. I have pretty strong opinions about how organized religion is the root of (most) evil, but I tend to keep that to myself unless asked!

However, lately, I am really digging the idea of making Sunday's "holy" in my own personal way.

I can still enjoy the things that I find get me closer to my idea of "god" (I don't use this term often because of it's directly religious connotation) but I do like to use the terms "universe" "energy" "love" etc;!

It's all one and the same anyways.

The only thing that matters is that you tune in to your own spiritual practice the way that feels right for you.

So my way?

It's doing these kinda things:


taking a bubble bath

*giving my son a million kisses and making him giggle

*giving my husband his favorite "eye massage" (which is really third eye massaging, little does he know hehehehe)

*walking my dog or cuddling him

*writing down a list of things I am grateful for

*reading stories about inspirational people (most recently sobriety and recovery coaches)

*cooking/eating delicious foods

*watching reality TV shows that most people find horrible

*online shopping (hey, it can be a spiritual experience!!!)

*writing badly organized blog entries about quotes and what to do on Sunday's, and something about religion and....wait, what's my point here? hahahaha....see below for the quotes and enjoy SOUL SUNDAY SISTAS AND SIRS!!!

My baby has been napping too long and my brain in on one of those see-saws that jump from topic to topic.

Here's a real life example of what my journal looks like. This beautiful collage was assembled on Feb 18, 2016. Thomas and I were living in Montreal and I was super in tune with dreaming/manifesting and all the fun spiritual things that please me so.

Hell yeah, Deepak! I know you're talking about the people who get under our skin and act like assholes! But, you're right. It does help to remember that they're doing the best that they can.
Important for HSP's like me to remember!
We are all creators. Create the reality, the live and the dreams that you want!
It's all up to you.
The biggest obstacles are often self-imposed ones! Get out of your own damn way and let the miracles flow <3

This always reminds me to love myself fiercely. Even the hurt, damaged parts need love, forgiveness and affection <3

Friday, 4 August 2017

Toxic Friendships: Spotting Them and Discarding Them!

So, this topic has come up in my mind, and in conversations with other women SO MANY TIMES.

I'm talking about friends who aren't really friends.

Friends that really just enjoy tearing you down, because they are insecure/not happy/jealous or many just a little bored and resentful?

Otherwise known as, the bully friend.

I think we all have one or two (hopefully not too many!!!) in our lives. Sometimes it's an old friendship that you continue to carry around because you feel obligated to do so.
Or sometimes it's a new friend that seemed to check all the boxes in the "good friend" department until you slowly start realizing that they aren't who you thought they were.

And, unfortunately, these people get under your skin and actually affect your mood because you have to deal with the whole  "why is always trying to find a way to inadvertently dis me?! Why is she sooooo meaaaaaaaan!!!!" that goes on and on each time something happens, but then disappears temporarily when she's  nice.

Or the "why am I such a coward and why do I allow this behaviour? Why don't I stand up for myself?!"

So, what's the point of all of this pondering?

I have finally reached a point in my life where I am OK with gaslighting some of the not-so-great-for-me friends.

I care about myself, I treat myself with love and respect, so why would I accept less than amazing treatment from friends?!

I think that having met some super duper strong, amazing and powerful women in the last year has also shown me what true quality is.

The way I view friendship (or any relationship, really!) is that if it's not making you better, helping you grow and giving you mad support, it's just not gonna cut it.

So how do you spot a toxic friend?! If any of the following feel all too familiar, you might be mingling with one:

-The person makes passive aggressive/bitchy/mean comments regularly

-You just FEEL like your energy is getting weakened when you see them/talk to them/think about them

-You don't really look forward to hearing from them

-You feel like you've invested much more into the relationship than they have

I'm a self-diagnosed HSP (highly sensitive person) and when people purposely use that against me like it's a weakness? Not feeling it, sista.

You don't have to be mean to people or make sly comments that are meant to be hurtful.

You have no power when you try to tear others down.

So, the point of this? I'm just gonna stick with the people that make me feel like I'm sparkly and wonderful and fun and not those that try to dim my shine cause there's isn't bright.

I have a son now, and I want to show him by example that kindness is cool. That bullies can be dropped. That support and love always win out over bitchiness and rudeness.

Who hasn't felt this way at some point, amirite?!

That's right, motherfuckers <3

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Motherf^%&ing Tired Momma!

Holy hell, I'm exhausted. I'm tired and I want to be un-tired.
What's caused me to feel this sleepy, frazzled and "overcooked" you ask?
Too much vacation.

Does that even make sense? Aren't vacations meant to be restful?

Well, yes, they are. But this year's "vacation" was not spent lying on sandy beaches and playing Crazy 8's.

This year's vacation was more visitation.

We had a week in Swizzy with my dad and stepmom, followed by a week in England with the entire English gang, and then came home to greet my Canadian mom and host her for two weeks.

It's been lovely, it really has, but I'm goddamned tired now and am really looking forward to going back to regular, daily grind life.

I just love my regular, non-over-the-top, boring-to-others' existence!!!

I don't have FOMO, I don't feel like anything is missing.

I don't care if my social life is now mostly centered around mommy tea dates and long chats with the local optometrist (she's really, really sweet!)

I love being home.

I love focusing on myself, my babe and my hubs.

I want to get out of this tired phase as soon as humanly possible, because I notice that I am waaaaay more irritable (sorry folks) when I'm tired, and I don't like being Ariane-cranky-pants!

I would write more on this extremely passionate subject, but I'm too tired.


Sunday, 2 July 2017

Why Do We Glorify Busy So Much?

We live in a super fast-paced world. We are continuously exposed to a plethora of digitized information; be it on television, on the Internet, or on our smartphones. We are smack dab in the age of information and of disinformation.

Our brains rarely get a pause to regroup and relax.

On top of the near-constant "logged in" status, we, collectively as a society, glorify busyness.

This turtle has his priorities in order! I don't think he's freaking out about making it to three different social events in the same night. He doesn't need a babysitter. He's heading home to chill out and watch Netflix with the littles.

People are viewed as "achievers" and "responsible" when they juggle a full-time job, parenthood and social and leisurely activities. Not to mention those types who manage to do all of this while still dressing to the nines and looking polished and professional.

While showing the world an image of cool, calm and collection, these super busy-bodies are often hiding a dark truth: they are exhausted. They probably desperately want a "day off" from their hectic schedules to chill out a bit.

The reason this all came up for me this week is because we have been BUSY for weeks. I remember last year, when I was working for Michael Kors, I often felt trapped in a busy bee cycle. I was working at such an accelerated pace to try to get all of my work done (for four years, and it was never "done"). This pace left me super frazzled, super unpleasant to be around and generally feeling pissed off at coworkers, management and sometimes, myself.

The problem was, I was glorifying busyness.

I thought that if I could somehow do it all, that I would magically be rewarded with this wonderful sense of pride and achievement. But I never really got to enjoy those feelings, because I was just too busy to.

New life goals. Having a garden bathtub!

Last week we went on this insane one-week road trip from Switzerland to England, with our 9-week old baby. Although it was nice , it brought me back into that frenzied go-go-go pace that now makes me feel very anxious.

The truth is, I like the slow, quiet days.
I like sipping tea at home and playing with my son.
I like reading books.
I like staying in when everyone else is going out.
I like watching French films.

I've gotten far too busy lately, and it's time to get back to my roots and de-busy my schedule.
July and August will still have quite a few events, but I'm going to make a conscious effort to chill out, say no more often, and get back on track with my writing.


P.S. I don't think I could ever live in a big city again, I think the fast paced life would just send me straight into heart palpitation territory!!! Who have I become?! Big city party girl loving stay at home mom blogger? I kinda like it :)

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Boozy Update

Or more like, non-boozy. The truth is, I am ready to make a real, typed in ink commitment where alcohol is concerned. I am over it. I am giving it up completely. Not one drink "here and there", not a glass of wine to "unwind". Zero alcohol.
My mission statement/explanation (not that I need an explanation, but I do have one and want to share it!) is the following:


For me, guys. I know that plenty of you are super responsible drinkers that aren't prone to anxiety. Alcohol has never made anything better for me, and in fact, has made many things significantly worse.
I really think getting pregnant with Theo was a major "slow down,Ariane!" sign from the Universe. I was drinking too much. Too often. Too alone.

The spectrum of alcohol abuse and mis-use is vast. It can creep up quietly. I was drinking from the age of 14, so almost going on 20 years of quite regular drinking. A lot of the drinking was bingeing (which, for the record, constitutes drinking 4 units of alcohol in a two hour period, for women, 5 for men).
I had that down to an art.
Ariane is an alcohol mis-user (I find that term accurately sums me up. Or shall we say, summed!)

So listen, I don't want to go to deep into the past, I'm much more excited to talk about my bright, non-boozy future!

So what am I gonna do? How do I handle social events where booze is served? Family dinners? Holidays? Parties? Bars? The list goes on and on and on...and guess what?! I once cared about "what people would think". but not today!

I don't need to explain.

And no one does, really.

This lifestyle change will only bring good, healthy, positive, radiant, loving and unicorn-sprinkled magic into my life and the life of my little, beautiful family. As momma bear to two sweet boys (one fur baby, one birth baby, as I like to call them) I need to set a good example.

I'm giving myself a gift today.
I'm bravely saying, "Ariane, you are not good with this stuff. It's not for you. Let it go."

Isn't life, after all, a series of letting go of what we fear to lose most?

This voice is much more warrior worthy than the little whisper of "Go buy more cider"
This voice is working for me, not against me.
This voice took a long, long time to find itself, and to get nice and loud.

An honestly, praise to the self-help junkies who pioneered into sober territory long before me.
Gabrielle Bernstein, Glennon Doyle Melton.
These ladies have faced their demons and shared their victories with the world, so grateful for their guidance and leadership.

My heart is feeling this, big time.
That's how I know it's the right move.

With warm salutations and a cheers from the world's biggest water glass, I sign off (it's actually not that big)

....That's what she said last night (sorry, couldn't help myself!!!!!)

Saturday, 3 June 2017

It's Time We Stop Shaming Parenthood...Here's Why

I'm getting pretty good at these titles, aren't I? The truth is, this is a topic that has been resonating with me since I got pregnant, and even more so, after having my baby.

Our culture seems to fixate on the negative aspects of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting, whilst undermining or completely ignoring the absolutely wonderful parts that come with bringing a child into the world.

A good friend of mine is starting to really consider having a baby of her own, and we've discussed this at length. She is equally discouraged that the narrative surrounding what should be considered miraculous and amazing is littered with so much negativity. Why do we, collectively, focus so much on the hard stuff?!
Why can't we lead by telling women the GOOD THINGS that come with becoming mothers for the first time, instead of terrorizing them with horror stories of the "worst case scenarios"?

I'm not saying that it's always going to be a walk in the park.

Pregnancy, labour and raising a child can be challenging and difficult to adapt to.

You won't always feel great.

You'll sometimes want to moan and groan.

But, it's NOT ALL BAD.

What we need to consider is the language we are using when we discuss the topics of parenthood, with specific sensitivity to young mothers who need support, and those that have no children of their own, yet.

Before getting pregnant, I would say that 75% of the "feedback" I was exposed to (whether by personal accounts, Internet stuff or fables!) was uninspiring and generally negative.

Isn't it time we change this?!

I'm breaking this post down into 3 categories: pregnancy, childbirth and life with a baby/child.
I want to review some of damaging core points that people focus on when they talk about their experiences, and then shed some more positive, unicorn-sprinkled alternative notions that are good to consider.
I'm a first-time new momma, so by no means do I claim to be an expect or any of this stuff, but my experiences have been pretty magical, and I think that's a side of things that needs to be shared!


What We're Told

- "Your body will be destroyed. You will get fat and have stretch marks"

- "You'll never lose the baby weight"

- "You'll be sick as a dog"

-"You'll have to "give up" all the things that you love

What I Experienced

- The ability to stop living my life "selfishly". I was finally able to see past my own needs/desires/bad habits and focus on what was good for my body and my developing baby

-Better sleep and relaxation. I gave up the late nights and booze for baths and reading. I was able to enjoy things that previously seemed "boring" to me. Pampering myself and focusing on better habits totally rejuvenated me!

-A deep sense of gratitude. While I was pregnant, I had so many eye-opening moments. Being able to recognize all of the great things I have in my life, the people that I am blessed to have in my family and circle of friends. I took stock of all of the blessings and was able to enjoy an immense feeling of pride knowing that I have such a wonderful collection of great things and people at my fingertips.

-Feeling More Beautiful Than Ever. I've definitely struggled with body acceptance issues in the past, but I must say, being pregnant made me feel like a total princess warrior, inside and out! Just knowing that my body was growing a tiny human made me feel empowered and beautiful. I embraced the changes that my body was going through, released my fixation on my body weight, and really enjoyed the ways I was changing!

Here's me at 8 months preggo with my sweet pup Milo. I'm pushing 200 pounds but I don't care one bit because I am happy and healthy and can't wait to meet my baby boy


What We're Told

- "It's the worst pain you will ever experience"

-"You will need to get an epidural to get through labour"

-"It is the worst thing ever"

-"Your vagina will never be the same again"

What I Experienced

-An intense but beautiful labour. Not many people use the word "beautiful" to describe their labour, but that is exactly what mine was. Yes, it was challenging. Yes, it hurt. Yes, I had moments where I was biting down on the edge of the bathtub during contractions to try to distract myself from the pain.  But you know what? It's also magical. Going through the intense experience of birthing your baby brings a sense of beauty and joy that is unparalleled by any other experience.

-EMPOWERMENT.  The biggest feeling of womanly empowerment comes with child birth. I have never in my life even flirted with such a feeling of pure, raw, animalistic empowerment as I experienced when I was giving birth to my son. I was pushed to my body's limits, but in a good way.

-Pure Joy.  The old adage clich├ęd comments about having babies is all too true. You really don't know true, pure, absolute joy until you hold your little baby in your arms for the first time. I knew I would love him, but was not prepared for the absolutely life changing, all-consuming happiness that hit me as soon as I held him in my arms for the first time. It's the biggest high you can get in life (naturally, at least, and I don't suggest you try the unnatural alley!)

2 Hours after Theo was born. I barely look like someone who has been through a traumatic event: cause I chose not to see it that way! His birth was miraculous and wonderful. And I look pretty good for 2 hours postnatal. Just sayin'


What We're Told

- "Your life is over"

-"You will never be able to enjoy the things you loved before once you have children"

-"You will desperately miss adult interaction and "going out"

-"You won't be free until he/she turns 18"

-"You will never sleep again"

What I Experienced

So this section comes with a disclaimer, since my baby is only 6 weeks old. As a first time mom, I admittedly cannot speak about experience with a toddler/young child-but I can tell you about my life with a baby, so far! And here have been the best things to come of it.

-The Strongest Desire to Be A Stay At Home Mom. Stay-at-home mom's have long been criticized in the world of parenthood. People either downplay the amount of work it takes to stay home and raise babies, or criticize the parent for being lazy and unmotivated to enter the workforce. I have to say, I am a stay-at-home mommy and I think it is the best job in the world.  Any mom that stays home (and even those that don't) know that motherhood is a full-time commitment. There are no "breaks". You are working round the clock to make sure your little one is fed, bathed, clothed, clean and has taken his or her naps. The hours and minutes pass by so quickly on this schedule. But you know what? I freaking love it. Nothing makes me happier than waking up in the morning, knowing that my day will be filled with nonstop baby servicing. And, on my down time, while he naps, I clean and cook and do laundry. It's all very old-fashioned, but it's what I love to do, and it works for our family.

-I Can Still "Do Stuff".  People seem to think that once you have a baby, the cards are laid, and you can no longer participate in any of the things you enjoyed post-birth. That's simply not true. While it is true that I have different priorities now, it's actually totally doable (and really fun!) to go out for dinner, go for long walks, go shopping, go visit friends...all with baby in tow. You aren't condemned to staying home once baboo is born, you just need to adapt a little bit!

-The Love Never Ends. Having a newborn to cuddle, nourish and play is the best gift you can ever receive. The love I have for this little guy, PLUS the added bonus of loving and appreciating my husband on a whole new level, has really added major significance to my life. Just sitting at home, reading a book to my babe, or seeing him smile when I give him a bath, is the biggest gift I could ever receive. I appreciate every second.

Here we are at 6 weeks postpartum! Theo is sleeping in my arms and I'm chilling and enjoying my stay-at-home life.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not just a "lucky" mom with a "good baby" writing out of my ass. Yes, I've had the 48-hour-crying marathons to deal with. I've gone though 5 days straight without sleep. I've been peed on. I've skipped meals, showers and episodes of my favorite shows. I've waken up every 2-3 hours on a regular basis for the past 50 days. I have struggled with not being able to breastfeed 100%. I have dealt with pushy breastfeeding coaches. I also birthed my baby in a country that I've lived in for less than a year, without the comforts of my mom, sister or best friends close-by. I probably have just as many reasons as anyone to bitch, moan and curse. But, instead, I am being Ariane-glass-always-full, cause that is all I know how to be, and I am already dreaming of Baby #2.

P.S. Am I turning into a Mommy Blogger?!