Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Book #5 completed in 2015: The Four Agreements - A Toltec Wisdom Book - A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

This book discusses various self-limiting beliefs, and analyses the "four agreements" which is a code of conduct to help overcome the suffering brought by those limiting beliefs.  This book is filled with various religious, and spiritual references in an attempt to guide the reader to free themselves from the corrupted form that they've been lead into from their upbringing.

My guess is that people love to love this book. I can see how, to some people, it might be motivating, encouraging, inspiring, reflective, and fulfilling, however, I did not feel any of those things while reading it. Honestly, I just found it to be annoying. To be more specific, I found the book to be repetitive, contradictory, and even a little arrogant. It felt like one sentence would talk about how we have no control over our lives and how we perceive things, yet in the next paragraph, it was all about how we have total control over every aspect that affects us. It really just was not my cup of tea, so to speak. I really hate to be so negative towards a book, usually even if a particular book isn't my style or taste, I can at the very least be objective about it, but this one just really rubbed me the wrong way. Aside from the few "quotable moments" noted below, there was really nothing much more of this book that I felt a connection to.
However, even after all that negativity, I will go ahead and be objective in saying that, there is probably a large range of people that would really enjoy and benefit from reading this book. I would recommend this read for people who are religious and/or spiritual, and are maybe at a point in their lives where they are re-evaluating who they are, and therefore looking for guidance to become a new person.

Quotable moments:
"'s not the stars that create light, but rather light that creates the stars." pg. xvi

"...he would always know that matter is a mirror and the smoke in-between is what keeps us from knowing what we are." pg. xix

"Consider how many times you have gossiped about the person you love the most to gain the support of others for your point of view. How many times have you hooked other people's attention, and spread poison about your loved one in order to make your opinion right?" pg. 42-43

"Making assumptions in relationships leads to a lot of fights, a lot of difficulties, a lot of misunderstandings with people we supposedly love." pg. 67

"Just to be, to take a risk and enjoy your life, is all that matters. Say no when you want to say no, and yes when you want to say yes. You have the right to be your." pg. 84-85

"To refrain is not the same thing as repression. To refrain is to hold the emotions and to express them in the right moment, not before, not later." pg. 117

"Life can be very easy when love is your way of life." pg. 127

Have any of you checked out this book? What did you think? Am I just a total skeptic?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Just Like Summer!

In the spirit of the hot hot weather we have been so lucky to have lately, I had to take full advantage and get out and enjoy it yesterday!

I gathered up Mark, the pup, a volleyball, kickball, frisbee, towels and drinks and met up with some close friends at Crescent Park. We spent the afternoon lounging in the sun, hanging out with the dogs, playing various miscellaneous sports, and just enjoying the outdoors. It was nice to just kick back and relax, and although its only late may, it really felt like a blissful summer day!

(Me & Captain)
(Nicole & Apollo)
(Captain & Apollo)

(So much space for so many activities - those people in the background are our friends waiting for Steve to bat)

(Nothing beats good company)

(Mark enjoying a beer)

(Matt & Nicole enjoying some snuggle time)

(Tasha & Lucas doing...who knows what...)

After about five hours at the park, we finally realized how hungry we all were and so we headed to Original Joe's so that we could chow down and enjoy a few cocktails!

(Mark on the patio at Original Joe's)
(Beer & Cocktails on the patio)

It was a fantastic day had by all, and since summer hasn't even really begun, there will be plenty more of these to come!


Monday, May 25, 2015

2 weeks left!

Only two weeks left until my first outdoor volleyball tournament of the summer, so here is my latest fitness update:

Unfortunately my runs are actually getting worse. The hot weather really hinders my stamina, but I'm still managing to do between 25-35 minutes. I really want to get back to the 40 minute range (or more), but I'll slowly have to work my body up to it again. 

As usual, I am still walking the dog everyday. Typically, I do minimum two 20 minute walks, but some days longer, or more frequent.

As far as my Fitness Blender workouts go, I completed the free five day challenge to "burn fat and build lean muscle", and I also did the free five day "busy people" challenge. I definitely was feeling super confident about my progress after those two weeks! 

Same as before though, I really need to keep up with improving my eating habits because although I'm feeling stronger and more fit thanks to the running and workout videos, I really think improving my intake will help me carve down to the six pack abs, instead of my barely there four pack. 
(Only two weeks left!)
What is your favorite way to get fit?

Sunday Fashion Fun-Day: Wedding!

This weekend one of Mark's high school friends tied the knot! We got the pleasure of attending the beautiful wedding! The ceremony was at Peace Portal Alliance Church, and the reception was held at West Langley Hall. It was just a wonderful day!

Honestly though, as much as we enjoyed being there for the actual wedding aspect, it felt to everyone like more of a reunion! Not a lot of Marks friends always get together, especially everyone in one place at one time, so it was really nice that so many were able to make it out to this event and we all got to celebrate the day together, and of course, we were all looking sharp in our best dressed attire!

Here are some photos for the day:
(The Group)
(The guys)

(The gals)

The couples:
(Me & Mark)

(Steve & Dani)
(Laura & Matt)
(Rob & Bridget)
All in all I have to say everyone was looking pretty sharp! Obviously I don't know where everyone else got their items, but for Mark and I here are the details:

-Dress: Auritzia
-Blazer: Bootlegger (old)
-Shoes: Spring
-Necklaces: Anthropologie & unknown (old)
-Earrings: Ardene (old)
-Bracelet: Gift

-Pants: Extreme (old)
-Shirt: Le Chateau (old)
-Vest: Le Chateau (old)
-Shoes: Spring
-Tie: Winners (old)

Do you love getting dressed up for special events, or absolutely dread it? I find I always have a hard time deciding what to wear, but then I usually end up loving the feeling of being all dolled up!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Book #4 completed in 2015: Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

This is a high school romance novel with a little bit of a twist. The twist being, that some of the storyline is progressed by the characters' interest and participation in the "gaming world." The main characters, Svetlana and Lesh are unique individuals, both somewhat considered "loners", but yet they seem to bond over this shared trait during their early lunch time breaks. Faced with the pressures of being teenagers in a judgemental world, this is a story of lust, compassion, growing up, and giving in to what you want, regardless of what others think.

I'm not sure I need to say much more than this: this novel took me almost a full two months to complete instead of my typical 1 week. But, because I am trying to make reviewing my reads a beneficial resource for you fellow bloggers, I suppose I should give you a little more. Here's the jist of it. I just couldn't seem to get interested in this book. I liked that the chapters alternated between telling the story from Lesh's and Svetlana's point of view, but I felt like it took a long time to get into the meat of the story line. It wasn't until I reached the half way mark that I finally found myself being charmed by the characters' unique tastes and traits, but overall, as a whole novel, this just wasn't my cup of tea. I felt it was a slow read and far to "gamer-esque" for me. There were brief moments of the novel that I thought were cute and quirky, and some of the descriptive story telling I have to admit was enchanting, but all in all the read was just a little to fantasy for my taste. I would recommend this novel to a)gamers and b)teenage boys. The content, although mostly pg13, does come across a little harsh and therefore I think it's a little more catered to the male mind.

Quotable Moments:
"Form isn't just a vessel. It's not a paper cup that we fill up with a poem, a liquid poem that would fill a glass vase or a gravy boat just as well. It's part of the poem itself." - pg. 105

"'Fry was watching you,' I say. I don't say, 'too.'" - pg. 185

"He wishes he had his carcass in his hands, and my femur in his jaw, crusing it to reach the sweet, sweet marrow." - pg. 220

"My doctor once told me that if you don't have to actually do things--don't have to actually move within a physical space--time ceases to exist, and we can dream a lifetime in the msot fleeting moment, like absorbing every frame of a whole movie as a single image. I admit I don't get it, but I do like it." - pg. 226

"The air rushes from my lungs, the sense flees from my mind, and I pull her against me harder. Her lips taste like cigarettes and peppermint schnapps and Dr. Pepper lip gloss--smoke and candy and sugar and flames. It's delicious and disgusting, just like Jelly." - pg. 262

"As she pulls away, she whispers, 'Do you like me?'
'Obviously,' I whisper back. - pg. 337

"'...or what's her name. Chicken.'
'Hen,' I say, and I smile a little.
He shrugs. 'Chicken suits her too,' he says. 'Like Chicken Little'" - pg. 339

If you've read this novel before, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, May 15, 2015

A long stretch

Here's how my last few days have gone down: 
-I called in sick to work Friday night
-Played in a Reverse 4s volleyball tournament in Abbotsford Saturday morning. 
-Got even more sick Saturday afternoon (sore throat, congested)
-Fell down in the middle of the night in the bedroom early Sunday morning (I was getting up to go pee and I totally tripped and fell)
-Had Sunday Mother's day brunch at Lonsdale Quay with my family
-Had Monday to Wednesday off where I attempted some of my Fitness blender workouts and a few light jogs which turned into walks (nasal congestion totally slows me down)
-Had dinner with the in-laws Wednesday evening
-Went back to work Thursday night which was my first of a stretch of 6 nights in a row this week

And well, now I'm sitting here typing away exhausted and filled with dread. I just managed to finish a 1000 calorie workout from Fitness Blender, and I did a 35 minute run. Normally at least I would be thoroughly looking forward to the long weekend, but like I said before, I am only just about to start night 2 of a stretch of 6, which yes, if you counted correctly, that means I am working straight through the entire long weekend until Wednesday morning. 

Since I won't have much of anything exciting to post for this coming weekend, I just thought I would finish todays post off with some photos of the family from last weekend when we did our mothers day brunch excursion.

(Mark & I)

The boys
(From left to right: Mark, Stu, Mike, Dad, missing: Sid)

The Girls
(From left to right: Mom, Christina, Dianna, me, Nona, missing; Leigh)

The gang - Yes, Stu and Mark are being ridiculous
(From left to right: Mom, Grandpa, Nona, Dad, Dianna, Mike, Christina, Mark, Stu)

(Dianna and Stu)

(Mark & I)
(Beautiful mom on mothers day)

(A little "Bro-mance" going on)
(Grandpa and Nona)

(The girls)
Hope you enjoyed the photos!

I'd love to hear h your last little stretch of days before the long weekend is treating you?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Fashion Fun-day: Nautical top!

(On this particular day I went with my new turquoise zipper flats, and no jacket)
This is one of my all-time fav, "go-to" tops. I bought it at Winners, of course, I think about three years ago and I still love it. It's just one of those loose fit (so I never have to worry if I'm having a bloated day), easy to wear tops. 

I can pair it with black skinnies, like I did above, or with jeans for a slightly more casual look. It can also easily go with jean shorts, or a twill short, and then for shoes, I pair it with casual sneakers, dressy flats or pumps, and even boots in the fall and winter time. 

This worst thing about this top is that in the cooler weather months, or even the later evening activities, I have a hard time deciding what kind of sweater/jacket to wear. Most of the time I end up with a jean or leather jacket depending on what bottoms I have chosen, but the sleeves tend to bunch a little to much if I try to wear it with just a draped cardigan. 

What is your favorite "go-to" top?


Friday, May 8, 2015

There you are

(November 30, 2013)
a butterfly with broken wings
a little bee that cannot sting

a pretty flower that lacks its scent
a winding road that's never bent

a little girl with broken dreams
a never ending nightmare, or so it seems

but there you are,
fixed wings, 
a strong sting,
beautiful scent
forever bent

you turned my nightmares into dreams to share
you lead the way, and so together we'll stay
love will never let us part, 

because it's shared deep within our hearts 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

5 Weeks Left!

At the beginning of the year I told myself I was going to get in the best shape of my life for this summer! 

Well, my first outdoor volleyball tournament is fast approaching, only 5 weeks left, and as happy as I am that I have made some good strength gaining progress, I still don't quite feel like I've gotten the flat belly results that I had hoped for.
Don't get me wrong, I know I am making progress, but honestly I wish I could get rid of that little bit of lower belly pudge. I know it's probably got a lot more to do with my poor eating habits (I just cannot resist some salt n vinegar or all dressed chips) instead of my workout habits, but a girl can dream right?

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it yet, but I've been using a combination of running and walking with the pup, as well as Fitness Blender at home workouts. My co-worker Terri recommended Fitness Blender to me, and honestly, I love it. I haven't paid for any of the full programs, but I've been doing various combinations of just the regular full-length free workouts and although maybe visually I'm not yet seeing results, I am definitely feeling like my body is getting much stronger, and my balance and coordination are improving.

The website is great because so many of the workouts are tailored for people like me with little to no equipment or even space at home. Plus, they give you a low impact version of pretty much every move, you can select the target areas you want to work that day, and you can limit how much time you want to spend. It makes you feel like you're customizing every workout!

I just finished the free five day challenge to burn fat and build lean muscle, and starting tomorrow and I am going to try the free 5 day challenge for busy people. 

Anyway, here's hoping that I can buckle down with my eating habits, keep up with my workout habits, and finally shed that last little bit of bloat in the tummy before that first outdoor volleyball tournament!


Monday, May 4, 2015

Beach days!

Just a simple post today. I just wanted to take a quick moment to say how grateful I am for being able to live so close to the beach. I swear the fresh ocean air just makes life better, and well, the beautiful scenery I'm sure helps too!

The east portion of White Rock Beach is literally a 10 minute walk through a trail from our new house! It's just a quick little stroll downhill on the way there, and then a bit of an uphill hike on the way back.
(The trail from my house to the beach)
(Downhill the whole way to the beach, and uphill the whole way back)
I never considered our old place far from the beach, it was only about a 10-15 minute car ride. But, the fact that you had to drive, and then of course find/pay for parking, always made it a little daunting to want to go. 

Now that I can literally just stroll through the trail (I'm already walking or running down there everyday) makes it so easy to just get my butt down there. Plus, now that the weather has warmed up even more, I can just throw a towel, water bottle, book and volleyball in a bag, and spend my days kicking my feet up and soaking in some sun. 

(This is directly where the trail leads me.  During the day time there's a large portion of sand as well, but I took this photo in the evening yesterday when the tide was already in.)
This picture right here just says it all. I am so lucky to live where I do!

That's all for today!