Be More With Less

Have you ever wondered about having more with less?

I have for a long while now.  I wondered what it would be like to minimize stress, possessions, work, household responsibilities, financial obligations and in-turn having more time, energy, sleep, happiness.

I’ve slowly been making some small and some big small changes to live my life on purpose … creating my own little manifesto for happiness.  Life is after all ours to create and live!  Life is pretty simple actually; it’s we as humans that have a way of complicating it.

My journey began when I decided to move from Toronto to rural Manitoba, 15 months ago.  That was step one in eliminating the +++ stress and road rage 0f sitting in traffic for countless/needless hours, releasing some financial burden of a $$$ mortgage and surrounding myself with more things that I wanted to enjoy.

I have always been one who is well organized with my time, priorities and my house.  I can take on a lot, but I can always manage to get it done, on time and on budget.  I’m also a bit of a nut about having a clean and well organized, uncluttered house … everything has a home and belongs in its place!

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things debuted on Netflix a few weeks ago (check out the trailer at https://minimalismfilm.com/), and of course I had to watch it.  The documentary “examines the many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life-families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker-all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less”(movie info gracias a Rotten Tomatoes)

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Like many of the folks who have taken up the minimalist, simple life approach, I am on a search for balance and freedom by:

  • Reducing material possessions – they drain bank accounts; take up space and our attention.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to give your your favourite brands, a book collection – but it does mean buying with a purpose.
  • Time – reducing commitments and activities that are not in line with my values.
  • Thoughts – reducing negative thoughts and emotions (which also may mean eliminating certain relationships) – negative thoughts, like negative people, are completely useless and do not improve us.  When I have a repetitive thought, I try to decipher whether it is constructive anguish or useless rumination.  If it’s a useless rumination, I get rid of it.
  • Debt – this is a big one for most of us. Free yourself from credit card and LOC debt, car payments as soon as possible.  I have been paying cash for things up front for a while now.  And, if I am required to purchase on credit, I pay it back the same day.
  • Dress with less –  consider Project 333 – dressing with only 33 items for 3 months (clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories) sounds extreme, but thousands of people know that it actually makes life easier instead of more challenging (see all of the reviews and praise online). And, let’s be honest here – I am apt to wear the same few items regardless of the large walk-in closet full of clothing.  Check out their website:  http://bemorewithless.com/project-333/

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A bigger step toward this freedom is tiny house living.  I am in love with this movement on so many levels.  More and more people are choosing to downsize the space they live in. People are joining this movement for many reasons, but the most popular reasons include environmental concerns, financial concerns, and the desire for more time and freedom -> that’s me, count me in.  My plan is not to have to work to 65, heck I’m seriously aiming for Freedom 55!

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Photo: Mint Tiny House Company – Loft Edition

Retirement isn’t just a form of magical thinking ,  I don’t envision myself working a moment longer than I have to.  My how times have changed.  Where I once used to envision us in our huge home,  I now picture us, living in our tiny home, on Vancouver Island,  with our important possessions (my brother may lose it when he reads this – in a good way – but I’m coming to realize that happiness has nothing to do with all your stuff) , living simple, spending our mornings sipping coffee on the veranda, and spending our days hiking, lazing, reading a book, traveling the world, watching the stars – whatever it is that we want and love to do.  Live Simple.  Live happy.

A simple Life:  It means getting rid of many of the things you do so you can spend time with people you love and do the things you love. It means getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value ~ Zen Habits


I’ll Take -20 Pounds For $200 Alex!

I’ve been feeling all kindsa crappy , the past few months,  since I put on some extra weight.  I definitely have become “Dauphinzed” (but in all fairness, had I lived somewhere else, the outcome would have been the same).  I’m not gonna lie,  I loved it – it was fun to let loose, eat what I wanted and not have to worry about counting calories and I got to eat chicken wings, I frigging love chicken wings!

I’ve found that it’s become a lot easier to gain a few pounds than it is to lose them these days. The foods that I ate without care in my 20s and 30s now stick to me (sigh). Combine that with not exercising as much I definitely ought to and getting out of my norm, habits and routines, it wasn’t hard to see where I was heading … Excess Pound Town!

I hadn’t stepped on a scale in months, but I knew that the clothes I wore while I lived in Toronto no longer fit me, and those that did were super tight (again sigh).   I estimated my weight gain to be around the 15 lbs mark (sigh again).

The thing with eating poorly is that it literally makes you feel like a big bag of sh@t.  We’ve all heard the old adage “you are what you eat” and we all know that what you eat and how you feel, have a close connection. I was noticing that I had decreased energy and stamina, I was feeling tired all of the time – like I just couldn’t get out of 2nd gear – I was perma stuck – but hey, I had chicken wings! lol

I want to get back to me, to being healthy, to eating healthy, quit with the junk food cravings, ditch the large double doubles and get back to my green teas.  Toss the diet Pepsi and get back to my yummy, nutritious  lemon/cucumber or strawberry and mint water.  I WANT MY ENERGY BACK! And guess what?  It’s not hanging out in a bag of Doritos (although I am quite fond of the sweet chilli heat flavour!). I know that I just have to  get back into my old habits.  When I eat healthy, I don’t crave junk food.

Most importantly maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can help you prevent and control many diseases and conditions.

I decided to embark on a weight loss journey and get back to me.  I need to flush my body of these toxins and properly nourish it.  I need to get back my mental clarity and energy.

Last week,  I stepped on the scale — total weight gained 20 lbs!  20 freaking pounds in 14 months!  That’s 1.42 lbs gained per month!  Now, some of you say – “omg, like your still a normal size”.  True, that I am.  But, being a healthy weight for your body  (I have a small frame) is different for me than it would be for someone else and what makes you feel good is subjective and individual to the person.

For example:  I used the CDC calculator to determine my “normal” body weight.   Based on my height and weight, my BMI is 23.8, indicating that my weight is in the Normal category for adults my height.

But, it also says that for my height, a normal weight range would be from 111 to 150 pounds!  Like what?  A 39 lbs difference?

So that’s what I am trying to say.  I don’t feel comfortable at this weight, even though it is still within the “normal” range.  I feel more comfortable at my previous weight – which too is within the norm.

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Anyway, back to my point … this is doable.  It’s only 20 lbs, if I dig deep I can totally lose this weight by making the same simple changes I had to, to lose it in the first place!

 

10 simple ways to kickstart your weight loss:

  1. Swap the to go order – stop eating out! And, for the love of all things holy – stop with the chicken wings!
  2. Skip the inside aisles – all the healthy goodness our bodies need are all contained on the outside aisles.
  3. Get fit in 12 – I’m not gonna lie.  I hate working out – we DO NOT get along.  I cannot begin to tell you the number of $$$$ I’ve waisted on unused gym memberships and workout videos.  So I opted for reality — I downloaded The 12 Minute Athlete (free on the App Store).  I have no reason to not do this 2x per day.  Heck, I may even do three!
  4. Kick the habit – stop with the empty calories in your large double double – a Large Timmy’s is 280 calories!  Opt for black coffee or green/white tea options
  5. Purge – purge your cupboards to make sure you’ve gotten rid of all of those yummy temptations!
  6. Pile on the veggies – I used to love pizza topped with arugula and yellow/red peppers – so switch to it rather than stuffed crust and pepperoni  (omg, Pizza Hut lunch, I’m gonna miss you! )
  7. Walk with Spot – or in my case, Ellie, even if it’s just around the block for 20 mins per day
  8. Cut out white starches – white bread, white rice, white potatoes etc.
  9. Drink +++++++ water
  10. Learn to love salad- I’ve always loved salads so this one is an easy fix. When choosing your leafy greens, the greener/darker the better! Opt for spinach, kale or arugula rather than iceberg lettuce.  Ps: stay away from Cesar salad. My fave salad right now is spinach, arugula, strawberries, watermelon, hemp seeds, chia seeds, spicy Thai tuna or Cajun chicken and Kraft Asian Dressing

These little things will start making a difference in no time at all.  Furthermore …. I added a little oomph to my journey!!!  AND because of it, I’m already noticing a huge boost in my energy levels, I feel like I have energy to burn and I’ve already lost 4.3 lbs.    I’m totally looking forward to the rest of this journey …. Stay tuned …

Namaste

T xo

 

~ I wish I could lose weight as easy as I lose my keys, pen, cell phone, temper and even my mind

 

 

 

42 Going On … ?

A few weeks ago I was out for a girls afternoon.  I was chatting with a nice young lady, I was telling her how I was a bit sad, because my youngest had just left for University and I was now an empty nester. She was floored, she thought I was only 30!  Well, thank you very much, I’ll take it!

I seem to lavish the compliments more as I’ve aged.  I used to get so annoyed when I’d get carded.  Now, admittedly, I wish I still got carded at the liquor store.  I get a little giddy when the kids and I are “mistaken” for sisters or friends, them … not so much!

I remember, I couldn’t wait to grow up.  I was always told “slow down, there’s no hurry”  Boy ain’t that the truth!  Now that I’m all grown up, I wish time would slow its roll a bit.

Did you know that there’s an actual clinical phobia for aging?  Gerascophobia – its an abnormal or persistent fear of growing old or ageing. I definitely don’t suffer from gerascophobia.  But, I do hope to age as gracefully as I can physically and spiritually.

What I really want to know is how do I get Kim Kardashian’s “just woke up selfie look”? Like, makeup is all perfect, not a wrinkle on her, eyelashes as long as my legs, hair is all did and she’s like “yawn, good morning world, I fell asleep without taking off my makeup!”

I have had a few people ask me a bit about my routines and favourite products.  As part of this blog, I thought I’d share a few of my faves with you.

Skin Care

Face:  I’m pretty regimented when it comes to my skin care routine. I really try to use pure, safe products (i.e. not containing talc | tallow | carbon black | animal products or by-products | parabens | formaldehyde-donating preservatives | phthalates | formaldehyde | alkylphenols | benzene | monoethanolamine | triclosan | synthetic dyes | hydroquinone | mineral oil).  For this I use Arbonne’s RE9 Advanced (Soothing Facial Cleanser, Regenerating Toner, Corrective Eye Cream, Intensive Renewal Serum, Restorative Day Cream/Advanced Repair Night Cream and Age Defying Neck Cream).  I love it, it smells great (looooove citrus) and I’ve had good results.  I also make sure to exfoliate 2 times per week (Arbonne Exfoliating New Cell Scrub).

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Body:  Exfoliation is an important part of skin care. When old skin cells start to pile up on the surface of the skin, it can leave skin looking dull, rough, and dry, and can result in excess oil and clogged pores – leading to blemishes and acne. For this I also use an Arbonne product – SeaSource Detox Spa Foaming Sea Salt Scrub.

As far as body cream, honestly, I use organic virgin coconut oil.  Truth is,  I have also ridded myself of most of EOS’s,  Blistex’s and chap sticks and started using coconut oil instead as well as a selection of NATURALLY made lip balms.

Makeup

I love putting on makeup, mainly because I don’t do it very often anymore.  I work remotely and my lifestyle is a bit simpler than it used to be.  It’s good to give your face a bit of a break, but, I am still a girl 😉  And, thanks to the millions of makeup artists on YouTube, everyone’s becoming a bit more of a beauty expert these days.

I’ve never had an overly complex routine as far as makeup is concerned. I’m not one to spend an hour in front of the mirror for the perfect cat eyeliner, I just can’t do it – when I do it I just look like a troll!

Step 1: I start off with Arbonne SPF 20 day cream – hydration is important.  Once my face is fully moisturized, I give the moisturizer enough time to fully absorb and sink in, which is usually around five minutes.

Step 2:  Next, I apply a face primer.  This is an essential step if you want to prep your skin for a flawless foundation application. A good face primer will help to minimize the appearance of pores, blur imperfections, and smooth fine lines. Not only does face primer help to create a flawless base for your foundation application, but it also works to extend the life of your makeup.  For this I use Arbonne face primer.

Step 3: After I’ve applied the primer, I use the Arbonne CC cream (light or medium depending on the season) all over to give full coverage.  I prefer full coverage.

Step 4: Once I’ve done that, I apply Marc Jacobs concealer under my eyes.

Step 5: I like to contour (contouring is when you use a matte powder, cream, or pencil product that’s two shades darker than your skin tone to shade areas you’d like to define or reshape, like your nose, forehead, chin, and cheekbones). I found a dual ended contour stick that I’m quite fond of (I use light/medium) – this one is just Wet-n-Wild.  I usually highlight my forehead – down the middle of my nose, the rest of under my eyes, and tiny bit on my upper lip just under my nose and my chin.  I contour (the darker shade), the upper edge of my forehead – near my hairline and follow it down to my cheekbones and come down nearly to my upper lip.  I then do the outsides of my nose.  Then, blend.

Step 6: For my eyeshadow, I’m less particular insofar as brands,  right now I have a really nice colour pallette from Sephora that I like …. Urban Decay Naked.

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 10.25.22 PMStep 7: I use Marc Jacobs velvet noir major volume mascara, but my staple is Christian Dior.

Step 8:  I do shape and fill my brows.  Next to teeth, brows are the most important thing. They really do frame the face.  Well-groomed brows act to frame the eyes and highlight your best features. Strong brows can make you look put-together on a makeup free day. I was fortunate back in the high school days when the in-thing was thin brows, cause I had none lol.  For this I use Anastasia Ebony Dip Brow pomade.

Step 9:  I wear bronzer – I opt for the Arbonne bronzer, it has more of a matte finish. In the summer I opt for one with a shimmer.

Step 10:  I’m not picky when it comes to blush – right now I’m using a few, but I like the Hard Candy Blush Crush Baked Blush.

Step 11:  Highlighter – right now I use a liquid highlighter (Arbonne sheer glow), but I think I’m leaning more toward a powder one.  Any good one’s? Let me know.

Step 12: I use eyeliner, but I’m not picky – the one I have right now is Marc Jacobs and the others are Rimmel and Annabelle.

Step 13:  I’m more of a lip gloss kinda girl rather than lipstick or lipstain (not picky in brands – but if they have a flavour – bonus!)

**Brushes matter btw, a lot, so be sure to select good brushes**

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I am 42 in this photo

Now talking about all these beauty tips doesn’t mean that the wrinkles, crows feet, laugh lines, forehead and furrow lines don’t exist.  They do.  Just ask my kids, they love to remind me of my forehead line and how it was caused by years of raised eyebrows at them lol.  We all age.  Can we just get used to it already?  Wrinkles are to be embraced and celebrated. Wrinkles are not weaknesses but rather the result of a lifetime of all kinds of emotions and experiences.

Age brings intelligence, experience, wisdom and beauty.  Many cultures celebrate the aging process and revere their elders. Yet, “there’s so much shame in our culture around aging and death,” Koshin Paley Ellison, Buddhist monk and co-founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, told the Huffington Post. “People themselves when they’re aging feel that there’s something wrong with them and they’re losing value.”  Kind of sad, isn’t it?

“Everyone wants to live forever but nobody wants to grow old.” (Jonathan Swift).

I’ve lost friends and family members much too young and too much too soon.  They didn’t get a chance to get old.   Certainly we can use the time we’re given better than pretending that we are not old.

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At Transformation

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A few years ago, I went through a period of transformation.  A time where I was forced to do some intense soul searching and dig deep.

I had always been Tina daughter, Tina sister, Tina wife, Tina mom, Tina worker.  I had spent years defined by those roles, as many of us do, that I didn’t even know who Tina was!  I mean I loved being those things, but, after separating from my then husband, someone at that time I had been with for 16 years (since we were 16 years old) I was now single, and raising my two girls pretty much solo.  You’d think that since I became a mom at 19 that I’d be out partying and getting a little crazy (I did do that, it came a bit later).  But that wasn’t what I chose to do immediately afterward.  I spent a lot of time in those following months, staying in alone on weekends, reading, watching chick flicks, enjoying a glass of wine, reflecting and searching the world wide web for anything on how to do me! After all, who was I?  What were MY interests?  I didn’t even know – most of my interests were my kids interests or my exes interests.  What made ME happy?  What did I want from MY life?

17990691_10155030908085168_9023561088869871015_nYou know when you’re stuck and it feels like your life is a disconnect that a good self help/discovery book is where it’s at.  Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert was the beginning of my transformation.  I followed Elizabeth through her pleasures in Italy, her devotion in India and love in Bali.  Although tempted, I skipped the mounds of pasta meals but started to meditate and get acquainted with Hindi mantras,  heck I wanted to do the whole Ashram thing myself.  I listened to Alanis Morrissette’s “Thank You India” on repeat.  The book touched me so, to the point that I got Om Namah Shivaya tattooed on my left hip as a constant reminder to myself to honour The Divinity That Lives Within Me, to Bow to Shiva My True Identity.

I was on a roll … and I loved it.  I picked up a great Riesling and then picked up every single Robin Sharma book on the market!  Chapters loved me lol.  Discover Your Destiny.  This book gets you hooked at the first line … “You are far greater than you ever dreamed of being.  And, no matter what you are experiencing in your life right now, trust that all is good and unfolding in your best interests.  It may not look pretty, but it is exactly what you need to learn for you to grow into the person you have been destined to become”.   Wow!   I couldn’t put it down, all I wanted to do was keep reading to watch the choices and decisions Dar was going to make and how I could apply these lessons to live my highest life, and be my authentic self — I wanted a life of authenticity.  My copy is dogeared beyond belief and I still refer to some passages and quotes from it to this day.  Heck, for a few months afterward I kept it in my purse, and when I had a moment or needed to take a break, I’d open up one of the dogeared pages and and read from it.

Here’s a  link to a free excerpt of Discover Your Destiny:

http://www.robinsharma.com/product-samples/pdf/Discover-Your-Destiny-1.pdf

I’ve read most of his books, I find him to be a truly inspiring human being! Truly magnetic! He’s the kinda guy I’d like to morph into a little gnome and carry around in my pocket and he’d spout out inspirational thoughts throughout the day like,

“Hey Tina:

•Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow ~ Helen Keller

•Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive ~ Matt Cameron

•Change your thoughts and you change your world ~ Norman Vincent Peale”

If you haven’t read any of his powerful books, I’d encourage you to give some a try. They are life changing!  (oh and if you believe in serendipity – I got a chance of a lifetime to see the one and only Robin Sharma as keynote speaker at our Arbonne Canadian National Conference in 2013 – talk about destiny! – whoop whoop!)

I was on my way – I was feeling good, I was getting in tune with moi and I was discovering that I not only liked me, but that I loved me.  That me and only me was in charge of my life and destination. Personal growth starts simply by becoming a better version of your former self everyday.  Step one successfully accomplished (well at least acknowledged – personal growth is a lifelong journey!).

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 10.16.02 PM.pngNext, I was going to tackle getting out of my comfort zone – life begins at the end of it don’t ya know!  Most people live their lives in their comfort zones, afraid to change, afraid to step out of the comforts of their norms, their regular routines – that are safe, where they know all of the rules of the game.  I realized that we set these limits ourselves and that we keep ourselves locked in because we typically dread what lies in what we don’t already know.  I admired folks who shook the status quo, who took chances, who weren’t afraid – I admired the people who jumped!  I didn’t need to stand on the sidelines and admire … I could jump too!

Shortly after, I stumbled across a poem that I saw posted by George Strombolopoulous, I forget what exactly he was posting about, but I think his mom had this poem by Edgar Guest hung in their house.

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Authenticity, integrity .. this poem struck a chord with me so much that I tattooed the last six lines on my right ribs.

I started redefining my norms, what was possible — becoming authentic is an individual mission, I mean how can we be who we truly are if we spend our time and attention being something we are not for the purposes of the approval of others or being fashionable for instance?  I started by listening to my inner self and kicking my fictional self to the curb.  I found that my life was simpler when I was more peaceful inside, when I made the right decisions for the right reasons.  I decided to end friendships that were not healthy, started surrounding myself with people who were supportive and likeminded, and started making a plan for the next chapter – following my own compass.  I had some friends who were definitely instrumental in helping me through this transformation (shout out to Stacey and Selena), friends definitely helped.

I ended up getting three more tattoos – I’m now a walking billboard for positivity and growth.  And, yes – when I’m by the pool or at the beach, people will stop and ask to read me lol.

Hey, listen, I’m not here to preach that because I am striving to be a truer version of me that my life is perfect, it’s not, no one’s is … it’s filled with just as many challenges as everyone else’s, life will continue to throw us curve balls, but I’ve now learned that it’s how we deal with those challenges that determines the quality of our lives.  I’ve really forgotten this lately … but thankfully life’s a journey and I can continue to make strides. Tomorrow is a new day.

~ “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” – Tony Robbins