——creativity never goes out of style——


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Passion is the Reward When You Realize Fear is a Choice

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Everyone is meant to feel passion in life. Our culture tends to associate passion with relationships exclusively, but passion is simply feeling the fullest expression of love. However, the most common obstacle in the way of living a passionate and fulfilling life is fear. A great friend of mine shared a simple quote with me about how fear manifests in all of us. Fear is simply, False Evidence Appearing Real.

Fear is a powerful emotion that twists our common sense. Life will never give us 100% guarantees for how any situation will turn out, yet our minds easily convince us otherwise when we are blinded by fear. Whether it’s fear of judgement, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of change, fear of water, or a fear of heights; fear has a way of rendering us helpless if we don’t learn how to conquer it. There is no universal scale to gauge what is considered a small vs significant fear because fear distorts all reality. Without giving us the ability to see other reasonable options or a way out we become paralyzed by our fear. We simply can’t see another solution. Although, just like air, fear can only fill the amount of space you allow it to occupy.

What I’ve come to understand is that our deepest fears can also be our greatest mirrors. They reflect characteristics about ourselves that so often go unseen due to our ability to avoid and deny. We live in a world where we have become masters of suppressing emotions, moving from one distraction to the next in a constant race to outrun our doubts and our problems. Fear is so often the dark cloud that casts permanent shadows on feeling passion, leaving it undetectable from our own hearts. When we live a life in fear, we lose a life of passion. When we learn to acknowledge our problems, navigate through less than desirable emotions and face our fears, we are able to see ourselves in a reflective light of courage, determination and strength.

Passion in life has two forms. Some people have focused passion towards an idea, cause or relationship. Whereas others experience a general passion in life itself, unattached to any specific object or circumstance. I used to envy individuals who had focused passion in life. I found myself feeling jealous of those who devoted themselves to one specific hobby or dream. I spent years wishing and forcing myself to minimize my life down to one passion, yet it never worked, because I was forcing myself to be someone that I wasn’t. And healthy passion only exists when a person is authentic to their own real self. It cannot come from taking on someone else’s idea or intention. When you constantly look to others you reduce yourself to dreaming, but when you look inward you become awake. Our ability to love and connect to this universal passion is not dependent on other people because love and passion is self-generated. Once I accepted that I wasn’t meant to live a life dedicated to a single passion, I was able to appreciate a life dedicated to being passionate about everything.

I honor myself and find joy in many things. I get my feet wet with everything possible because my personal journey in life will always be to learn. On the other side of fear is where you find your confidence. I am proud to say that I am great at a lot of things. However, I probably will never be professional at anything and I am entirely fine with that. I cook and bake. I play guitar and sing. I paint and draw. I find passion in writing and also reading. I garden and make jewelry. I craft and love to make things. I love to hike and be in nature. I love fitness and enjoy biking. I love dancing and swimming. I love meditating and prayer. I love expanding my comfort zone and testing my limits. I love taking risks and challenging myself because in those moments of fear and uncertainty I learn a little more about myself. The risk is worth the reward because I am more scared of living the familiar and predictable than I am of any fear itself.

We all have perimeters for our passions which range from lack of passion to being controlled by a passion, and our comfort zone lies in the middle. An extremely extroverted person quite often may live in a state of emotional intensity and activity, and this is where they are most comfortable. Yet, others take a quiet approach focused on personal activities that don’t necessarily involve a lot of outward expression. However both extroverts and introvert share a mutual perspective. Both like to live in their respective range of emotions within their comfort zone. When we are forced outside of this range, we become uncomfortable and anxious. But the beautiful thing is that whenever we experience a shift in our normal range of feelings, we have succeeded in stretching our perimeters. If we can make it through this change, we expand our boundaries of becoming a more complex and passionate being.

We don’t have anything to gain from playing it safe, except predictability. And life isn’t meant to be predictable. I myself had a huge fear of heights. Sure I can go on a plane, stand on a skyscraper or ride on a rollercoaster but where there is room for personal error there was room for fear. I couldn’t climb a 10 foot ladder without my knees shaking. Last weekend I decided it was time to face that fear and go WELL beyond my comfort zone in an obstacle course. And to push me even further into the fire, I didn’t have anyone beside me to rely on. I was the only one responsible for my safety, and with no safety nets below, the only thing keeping me safe was a simple harness that I clipped to cables along the way. I was so liberated when I finished the course, but when I saw the optional advanced level of the course, I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet. (Literally and figuratively). I didn’t even hesitate because I knew the feeling of regret if I didn’t do it would outweigh any fear on the course itself. The first obstacle was climbing a 60 foot telephone pole on metal staples followed by a hanging obstacle courses 50 feet above ground.

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I was terrified climbing up that pole knowing the uncertainty ahead. It was never a question of fitness for me, that I am confident in. It was the mental game that takes place when facing a fear. One particular obstacle daunted me. Hanging ropes, wooden poles and rings that were spaced far enough apart that the only choice was reaching. As I was right in the middle of the obstacle, one arm grasping a rope, the opposing foot in a small metal ring, it hit me. Fear is only as big as you believe it to be. I had conquered my fear of heights. Had I not tried, I would have never known, never pushed myself, never been able to tell myself that I’m stronger than my fears.

ggg

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Life is an obstacle course. Often in life we are faced with ladders. Sometimes we climb and move onward and upward towards a higher goal. But inevitably sometimes we are forced to climb in the opposite direction back down to where we thought we wouldn’t be again. Sometimes we walk shaky wooden bridges where we feel unstable and far from being grounded. Life is full of swings that give us sudden rushes when we hold on for dear life and take a leap of faith and are able to see what’s on the other side. Then we are forced to walk tightropes in the moments we struggle to find balance between two areas in life that seem to pull us in different directions. We get thrown into nets in the moments we are desperately grasping at straws and feeling caught and tangled in a web of stress and emotions. The ziplines are the breathtaking and beautiful moments in life that seem to pass all too quickly. Then we come upon the ropes, when we feel like we are stretched past our limits and our goals seem just out of our reach. And the unknown obstacles around the corner is the uncertainty where fear subsides. The fear that can make us walk blindfolded through life missing the beauty. But the only thing that keeps us alive is constantly staying connected to a continuous life line. Be that God, the Universe, a Divine Power, a goal or an idea. Don’t detach from life because of fear. Because it’s on the other side of fear that you find your confidence and passion.

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Fear is not real. It is the product of thoughts. Danger is very real, but Fear is a Choice ~ Author Unknown


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My Open Apology As A Mom

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Before I had kids I thought I was prepared for the unexpected. I had been a full time nanny, my career was in childcare, I looked after numerous babies, my friends had kids, I read the equivalent of a small library when it came to parenting books, I had a beautiful nursery and I figured it was no news to me that kids say the darndest thing. I thought I was prepared for motherhood when I left my house a pregnant mess of contractions.

Fast forward through the sleepless nights, teething, nursing issues, growth spurts, sleep regressions and first year milestones of a baby. Gone are the rock eating, drooling, clumbsy, gibberish speaking stages of toddlers. Enter the crazy stages of a preschooler. I was not prepared nor did I anticipate the awkward scenarios in which my son would place me in, all because of his budding sense of curiosity in the world around him. I myself love his inquisitive mind but others may not see it that way when put in these situations. So here is my open apology to those who have witnessed these moments….

To the elderly lady in the wheelchair:

I apologize for the quiet afternoon when you were leisurely strolling through Costco minding your own business. You were browsing through the bread selection when my son decided to yell across the warehouse “Why are you riding on a lawnmower?!”

To the beautifully dressed business woman:

I apologize for the early morning in the bank line up when you were most likely on your way to an important meeting when my son decided he needed to feel your white sparkly skirt with his peanut butter laden hands before I had a chance to pull him away.

To the impassive looking lady in line:

I apologize for the rude interruption when you were searching the shelves in the candle store. My newest lessons to my son about reading people’s facial expressions backfired when he asked you oh-so-matter-of-factly “Hello lady. Why does your face look so grumpy?”

To the young woman in the wine store:

I apologize when shortly following your conversation with your friend you let out a high pitch laugh. This giggle was met by a curious response from my son of “That was a funny noise lady. Why does your laugh sound like that?”

To the female police officer outside the coffee shop:

I apologize for my toddler’s book collection and it’s lack of gender diverse authority figures. It was apparent he was confused by a female officer when he looked you in the eye and announced throughout the store “That man looks a lot like a funny lady”

To the larger gentleman walking out of the restroom:

I apologize for the recent discussions during potty training with my son. Upon receiving his tiny potty we went on to explain that he gets a little potty and mommies and daddies use a bigger potty. He may have taken this size dialogue too literal when he asked “Do they have really big toilets for you in there?”

To the elderly man basking in the sun:

I apologize for my sons unanticipated question. He has grasped the concept that little girls and boys can take off their shirts but is rather confused by grown up men and women having different rules. His startling accusation “Why don’t you have to put your nipples away too?” left both you and I somewhat paralyzed for answers.

To my close girlfriends trying to maintain a phone conversation

I apologize for the countless times I tried to convince myself I was able to multi task a busy toddler and still hold a rational conversation with you. I really do hear what your saying although it may be misunderstood when my response is “I completely understand how…..you will not put that dog poop in your mouth”

And lastly,

I apologize for not really being sorry for my son’s growing interest in the world around him.

I will never be the one to suppress his curiosity simply for the sake of my comfort. I love that he constantly reminds me how interesting, controversial, strange and funny the world we live in is. And besides, being able to laugh everyday is worth the rosy cheeks of embarrassment.

The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.” ~ Jack Handy

 

 

 

 


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Laksa Soup

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It may be July but our weather has been far from the typical sunshine and heat that covers the valley this time of year. With cool and rainy mornings and afternoons of thunder and overcast it feels a lot more like fall is rolling in. I’ve traded in my sundresses for jeans and hoodies and swapped my summer meals  for comfort food. I know as of tomorrow the weather will soar right back up so I took advantage of the cooler days and tried some new recipes. I absolutely love Laksa soup and for those of you that haven’t tried it, it’s an amazing mix of coconut, curry and spice in one delicious noodle bowl. Usually it’s pretty difficult to recreate ethnic restaurant meals at home but this recipe was right on par and by no means difficult to make. It will satisfy your sweet, savoury, and spicy tastebuds all in one bowl!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package rice noodles
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ – 1 lb chicken or pork * either uncooked or precooked, see below for changes
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 pkgs Laksa paste
  • 1 Litre chicken broth
  • 1 can coconut milk (use full fat)
  • Shrimp/prawns
  • Fresh bean sprouts
  • Cilantro
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Hard boiled eggs (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place rice noodles and broccoli in a bowl and pour boiling water over and cover.  Let noodles and broccoli  ‘steam’ while you’re making soup.  Drain and rinse with cold water so that they don’t stick together.
  2. Heat oil in soup pot. Saute onions for a few minutes then add meat (*only if meat is raw), garlic and ginger. Cook for a few mins until meat starts to lose pink color.
  3. Add Laksa paste, stir and cook for a few more minutes.  Add chicken broth to deglaze pan then add coconut milk.  Bring to a slow boil and simmer for a few mins. Add prawns. (I used uncooked frozen prawns and they were cooked by the time the soup and meat had heated up) This is when you add the meat if it is pre-cooked.
  4. Serve over noodles, broccoli and a handful of bean sprouts.  Garnish with cilantro, cucumber slices and hard boiled egg.

Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.~ Auguste Escoffier


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S’more Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting

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Summer is one of my favorite seasons for so many reasons but camping definitely tops the list. Nothing feels better than jumping in a truck and driving away from town with a warm breeze in my hair and a bag of sunflower seeds by my side. Wait a minute….. I think I just wrote a country song there. I love turning off my phone for several days, sitting by the lake and letting mother nature wash away any unneeded stress. It’s amazing what a weekend in the woods will do for your soul, not to mention the added bonus of boating, fishing, hiking and enjoying campfire food. Okay who am I kidding… I’m not interested in smokies and steaks…. bring on the marshmallows and chocolate.

Smores are my achilles heel so when I can’t have the real thing I tend to improvise. I originally made these cupcakes for a stagette party. A bunch of us girls road tripped to the mountains last March to spend a weekend in a cabin cross-country skiing and relaxing. So these rustic camping cupcakes were the perfect fit. But with winter far behind us and s’more season ahead, it’s a great little dessert to bring to any summer BBQ. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Cupcake Batter

  • 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup  sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (can substitute for coconut oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows (optional)

Bailey’s Icing

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup Baileys (or other Irish liqueur)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar (may need more)

Garnish

  • mini marshmallows
  • graham crackers
  • chocolate bar of choice (toasted almond, caramilk etc)

Directions:

For the cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the sugar and cocoa. Add the oil, eggs, vanilla and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk on low speed.
  4. Scoop the batter into liner until almost half full. Add in several mini marshmallows and cover with batter so the cupcakes are 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean.

*There will be an ooey gooey crater in the top of the cupcakes from the marshmallows after baking. Don’t worry, this will be covered in icing :) But learn from my mistakes and try to place mini marshmallows in the center and coat with batter *

For the Icing

  1. While cupcakes are cooling, in a large bowl beat together butter, Bailey’s and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until mixture is smooth, thick, and evenly colored.
  2. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, until frosting is desired consistency. Beat in more sugar for a stiffer frosting.

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Frost the cupcakes and  garnish with a piece of graham cracker, mini marshmallows and a piece of chocolate. Bet you’ll want smore when they are all gone :)

We go together like campfires and marshmallows ~ Author Unknown


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When a Healthy Lifestyle Becomes Unhealthy Living

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Most people only ever associate fitness with positive connotations and results, however this has become far from the truth for many individuals, especially women. In a society obsessed with outward images, the healthy approach to fitness has  shifted to an unhealthy obsession and addiction.

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Salmon Cakes with Tangy Lemon Dill Sauce

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I will be the first to admit that fish is definitely not one of my favorite meals. I wouldn’t go as far to say I don’t like it, but never have I found myself desiring a piece of fish. Maybe it’s my lack of recipes for preparing it, or maybe it’s the fishy smell that lingers in my kitchen days after cooking it. However, this recipe fixes both those problems. Making salmon cakes always intimidated me, but these are simple to make and will leave your kitchen smelling amazing and your taste buds even happier. I love me a good sauce so maybe the fish in this recipe is just a vehicle to get this amazing and healthy lemon dill sauce into my belly. Either way I will be making these little patties of delight many more times over the summer! Enjoy!

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Let Love In

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In a time when social media blurs the line between reality and fantasy it’s hard to distinguish what is genuine anymore. Whether it’s a relationship, career, friendship or lifestyle, we have forgotten how to accept life for what it truly is….. imperfect and flawed. It’s as simple as a few well taken photos and one can paint a picture of the quintessential life. We choose to hide the mistakes, the flaws, the less than perfect moments in a desperate attempt to prove ourselves. And yet the audience of approval is a sea of strangers.  In this constant striving for perfection we fight feelings of insecurity, low self esteem and doubt. Whether we like it or not, we are now in a generation where Continue reading

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