a little more me.

Inspired by a friend’s self-project, I started to truly reflect on my own life these last few weeks. Truthfully, leaving me in a little bit of a stumble with the basis of knowing I’ve been struggling with happy as of late. Understanding what works and what doesn’t work. What makes me happy and what doesn’t. What I have and what I’m missing. Solely, for me.

I realized I became complacent in the day to day. A busy exhausting chaos. Focused way too much on hurt, regret, who I think I should be and fear of underachieving. And failing to realize how much I was actually shielding myself from the world.

Taking the time to truly understand/accept that sometimes you just have to let go because dwelling/trying to fix broken/doubt/insecurity/loss/stress has the ability to kill anyone’s mental health.

So here we are… No phone by my side, spicy tuna avocado salad, a Whole30 grocery list made and a freshly designed website/business plan for a new project launching in a few months. A quiet Sunday spent alone. Everything I needed today.

A lot of changes coming in the next few months. But all ultimately focused on one goal… a better balanced self.

I’m about to detox a little bit from a few things: Tech Devices, most of my Social Media (Twitter, I cant quit you) and anything that makes my body not feel at it’s best.

Because this: I’d rather be present and see you in person than text/message/chat. So let’s hang out. Let’s chill in the park. Eat burritos (err… lettuce wraps). Road trip to the mountains. Adventure with my/our cameras.

I’m challenging myself to: build more strong friendships. stop eating/drinking things that make me feel like shit. capturing more life with my camera (less phone). finding new surroundings. learn to run without needing a race. blog here more. build a life that feels more satisfying. and not be so damn scared.

Motto for the post…

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
~ Howard Thurman
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a little more me.

a new beginning.

A new chapter begins tomorrow…

You know that moment when something finally happens after waiting for what seems like forever. Two and a half years ago, I started this journey… the goal of surgery. I was born with Duane syndrome – A rare incurable condition, that basically is a misfiring of affected eye muscles. Specialists, vision therapy and surgeries try to manage keeping my vision binocular (eyes working together) with a singular image.

It’s rare enough that, at 31, I still have vision therapy appointments at the Alberta Children’s hospital. I think that’s the best part out of this – therapy sessions include Disney characters.

But I have to put effort into making my eyes work together… it’s hard to explain to others… that binocular vision (‘regular vision’) makes me feel like I’m going crossed eyed… that when when my eyes do work together, I usually have double vision. Only finding remedy by picking one eye to dominate sight and the other to fill in. As the time passes, binocular vision gets harder and harder to achieve. Hence, surgery. This isn’t my first surgery and it’s likely not my last because surgery will never cure this.

I will be put under with anesthesia, they will operate on the 3 of the 6 muscles that stabilize my eye and then I will be woken up for placement with adjustable sutures. Being woken up mid-surgery is a daunting thought, especially for eye procedure of this caliber. But as anxious as I am, I’m grateful to have a condition that has options like this.

After waiting this long, I’m using this experience as a ‘reset’ moment… I, now, will have the luxury of moving forward. My condition had the ability to affect my life as it worsened. The headaches. The dizziness. The tired eyes. It even started to affect my photography passion; as my eyes began to tire quicker and quicker with intense focus. And I was beginning to fear the moment driving would no longer be an option because it would be too much of a risk.

So here is to… a week of recovery with some amazing family members, oversized sweaters and lot of sleep. And then, excitement for the ability to get back on track with goals.

 

a new beginning.

a life reset.

There’s a few drafts sitting there waiting; none will likely ever see the light of the publish button. mostly a vent during a hard moment. Where have I been?

French presses in the morning watching the news, phone disconnected from the Enterprise and wondering where the measuring cups are… basically, taking my life back.

The last three years have been the most chaotic years of my life, and it was completely my own doing.  There’s no denying that I became a ‘workaholic’ and I really really suck(ed) at the life balance. Overly dedicated to the full time job, too many photography gigs and volunteering every chance I got… as much as I thought I was rocking it, I wasn’t. I sacrificed my self in the consuming need to be 100% to everything else. 2014 was the worst for it but finally made me understand the lesson I needed: Calm the fuck down!

After spending 16 months running at high speed, I just crashed… I realized I didn’t appreciate moments anymore. I was always trying to be two steps ahead; what was next in the long list of tasks/goals rather than being present. I had stopped shooting for myself, only for clients. I couldn’t watch a movie without feeling guilty of lack of productivity. I would work on every work project at home. I was trying to be a superhero when I shouldn’t have been – Maybe it was to hide from the not so pretty parts of my life; the hard circumstances that I had no control over.

I’ve laid low this year… taking a break… only committing to a few ventures my heart is truly invested in. and focusing my time with family and the challenges/adventures that have faced us this year. I spend less time on social media. I leave my phone at home on the weekends. I don’t touch the MacBook, unless I need to photo edit (or blog). I’ve fallen back in love with always having my Canon with me. My favourite place is back to being in the kitchen. Although, a great blanket fort is a close second (yes, I know I’m 31). And understanding that ‘busy’ is highly over-rated (definitely not as cool as it seems); it’s annoying and in some instances, the most unproductive thing you can do.

In this high paced life we live, don’t forget you.

a life reset.

Eat Me Saturdays… Scampi.

Rosemary Shrimp Scampi

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Coarse salt and ground pepper

12 ounces spaghetti
1 pound large (31 to 35) peeled and deveined frozen shrimp, tails on (if desired), thawed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti until al dente; reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Add shrimp to pot, and stir. Immediately drain spaghetti and shrimp, and set aside (the shrimp will continue to cook).

2. In same pot, heat oil over medium. Add garlic, rosemary, and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until garlic is golden, 1 to 3 minutes.

3. Remove from heat; return pasta and shrimp to pot. Add lemon juice and enough pasta water to create a thin sauce that coats pasta. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

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Serves 4

Eat Me Saturdays… Scampi.

My Sweet Summer is Gone…

And sometimes you end up sitting on your bed in flannel and leggings, eating spicy pho, watching Eat Love Pray (trying to fill the void of missing Italy and dreaming of Bali), reviewing project progress and slowly writing this random blog post that’s terribly long overdue…

It honestly feels like a lifetime since I last posted… but really, life has been chaos. From the Kids Up Front Charity Car Wash, paddle boarding on Ghost Lake with the roommates, a ridiculous amount of events, Stampede, my ‘staycation’, wedding season, volunteering & running…

I feel pretty humbled by life right now… Surrounded by truly inspiring people. Being given such amazing opportunities. The realization of how truly far I’ve come in the last few years.

(but why did I cut bangs again?)

Also, learning to accept that life will always be this directed stumble… even in finding a path to do what I love, life is still complicated. Despite satisfaction in achieving (and perhaps some sort of high from it)… you’ll still find yourself in awkward situations. you’ll still grumble about a shitty run pace. and even with all your abilities/care, some people will still make you feel disposable.

You’ll still yearn for your adventure to reconnect with the beauty and passion that this world has to offer… and wondering if escaping is possible. to wander the world with a backpack and a camera. to sit on some rocky beach with only a coffee. to live barefoot as much as possible (yes, I do really find shoes annoying). To see the smiles in the most simple form, from those who expect the least.

But I’m grateful for the experiences and lessons this year gave me… it reminded me how truly beautiful life is, in all it’s different forms. A reminder that love is so precious and adventures let us grow past who we think we are.

I can only wish that next summer provides me as many experiences as this year… Here’s to a beautiful fall and scarf season…

My Sweet Summer is Gone…

Cheers to sunny days and no alarms!

It’s amazing what a little downtime can do… 7 days of no office… just friends, sundresses and sunshine. No sense of urgency over anything. Volunteering. Homemade Tacos. Slurpees. Lake Adventures. Paddle Boarding. Ice Cream from Mackay’s in Cochrane.

I’m feeling less like a Type A robot, and more like the low-key girl I use to know… you know the one that would rather be barefoot, eating watermelon and chilling at the lake. Refreshed and completely inspired for new adventures.

And despite sitting here working on the desktop this afteroon, clearing CF cards for another wedding this weekend… I am so content. 2014 seemed to come with a lot of stress but with being half way through the year, a good amount of successes have come as well.

Heck… I ran a half marathon (21 crazy kilometers) in a better time than expected, I work with a photographer that I’ve admired for years basically every wekend (Cassie, you are magic!) and couldn’t be more grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way this year!

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This is exactly what I needed. I wouldn’t have changed anything, well, maybe make it a little longer… how is Thursday already?!

Here’s to summer… filled with blue skies, quiet moments with Bones, country music in the Jeep with the girls, watching airplanes land and takeoff, thunder, fresh fruit, beer, captured moments, smiles, no pants, chips & salsa and getting caught in the rain!

#lifeisgood

The songs of the summer (so far)…

 

 

 

Cheers to sunny days and no alarms!

did that actually happen?

Two days later and I’m still baffled… 21.1 freaking kilometers.

Despite all the doubts of my knee and with soo much personal stuff going on, I didn’t think it would happen or how well it would actually go. I think I may have slept 2 hours the night before, completely had myself in a tizzy… Was I ready? Would I be a mess without proper sleep? Would today be the day of all days that my knee would go? I stood in the kitchen at 4:30am while making my smoothie, trying to give myself a prep talk… ‘you’ll feel better about this when you get there, go throw on your gear and grab a coffee… and let’s get this show on the road.’

There is something amazing about walking into an event on race day… I was surround with people that were planning to do the exact same thing as me and from what i heard in the days before, no one really seemed truly ready. Most of them felt like they were in the same boat as me. The energy is always hard to explain on race day, other than just saying it’s inspiring. Youth to people that could have been my grandparent, it brings out all walks of life. If they can do it, why can’t I? attitude starts to kick in.

Calgary Marathon, let’s do a few more porta potties next year. Or have the 10km runners let the 42/21km runners go before them.

In the mad dash to find the shortest line to pee, I ran into Tina (one of the other ForeRunner girls)… and she gave a prep talk without me asking her to. She seemed to know what I needed to hear. We laughed, we bitched about the lack of bathroom facilities, we took a selfie, we peed and we headed for the start line.

I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I was when Ben asked if I wanted a run buddy a few days prior… I’m sure he is the reason I made through this distance on Sunday. Knowing he was around, kept me going when mentally I was ready to break… this was at 12km and definitely 18km.

It seemed to take 2km to get into the groove of a solid stride… Through inglewood, to the zoo, to brigeland, to east village, thru to 17th Ave, to 14th street, thru to Kensington (oh hey, Euverman), to Memorial, to Centre Street, back to East village and to the FINISH line. On 17th Avenue, I almost rolled my ankle on the crack in the road that I did try to avoid. I discovered that Vega endurance gels aren’t as gross as the ones from Power Bar. And who doesn’t love the dramatics of drinking gatorade and throwing the cup onto the street, especially when Eye of the Tiger pops onto the ear buds.

I ran a steady 11km… then walked a bit when the bad knee started to make a little noise. From then on, it was run with a little bit of walk and repeat. Until we hit 18km… Memorial Drive… This where my feet and right knee (funny enough, not the bad one) decided that they were over this distance we were doing. The point where I wasn’t sure if running or walking was more uncomfortable. The moment I had the hardest mental battle of the race, ‘you’ve gone too far to give up now’ and “I know we’re hurting but we can do this…’. I ended up walking the 19 to 20km and only finding the fight for a sprint at the end for the finish line.

Ooo… shiny medal but more importantly, why is it soo far to get my flip flops? To me the greatest reward of a finish line, is getting to remove your runners.

2 hours and 45 minutes… not bad for the first half marathon.

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I truthfully don’t know if a full marathon will ever be where I want to be. Perhaps one day. I’m currently happy at 21km. Two more Half Marathon are in the works for me this year so far… The Vancouver Rock and Roll Half Marathon and The Canmore Rocky Mountain Half.

Two days later, both my knees are fine… My quads are still giving some grief… I’ll be back to running in a few days. (After I recover from being ridiculously sick, finally feeling better but not close to 100%)

Like I said, I still can’t believe I’m a half marathoner.

did that actually happen?