Being minimalistic is fun when you have coffee

THIS is the reason why you should not mix coffee and minimalism

Minimalism is a popular subject these days. People are seeing the benefit to not having “stuff” weighing them down: having a cleaner house, less time spent organizing possessions, a sense of freedom, and even alleviated symptoms of depression (ya, there’s science behind that- Google it!)

It is incredibly easy to acquire and accumulate “stuff”, especially when you have kids.  You know those lists of “THINGS YOU MUST HAVE FOR YOUR BABY OR YOU PROBABLY WON’T BE A GOOD PARENT!!”? I followed those things for a while. Guess what? Our house became bombarded with stuff that we absolutely did not need!!

What’s a mama to do??

I was web surfing (is that what the young people call it still?) on my phone while my kids were playing on the playground one day and I stumbled upon this website explaining minimalism and how to do it. I’ve heard so much about the benefits of minimalism that I thought perhaps I should give this stuff a try. I could definitely afford to give up some of my cleaning time and put it into better things…like much needed “me” time. I signed up for her free course and got ready for some life changin’!

As I started going through stuff and selling it online or at consignment stores (and making some good money) I realized that this purging thing may not be half bad. I’ve always liked stuff, but I was starting to like no stuff even better!

Minimalism in the kitchen

I was going through the kitchen, deliberating on the things that I actually really used and needed. Ok, well, actually, I didn’t use much after all…other than the phone…to call the pizza man. Anyway, I looked at the counter, saw my espresso machine, and had a totally bizarre thought: “What if I gave up coffee? I could free myself from my intense dependency on liquid life while clearing up some room on the counter!”.

Thus, began my personal coffee cessation program. For the weeks following I gradually decreased the amount of caffeinated coffee I was drinking, substituting it with *gasp* decaf. After 3 weeks of weaning the day finally came for me to go full decaf.

It was the worst day of my life. How do people who don’t drink coffee live like that?!

coffee and minimalism

I was so exhausted that I couldn’t move. My kids thought they had finally defeated me for good when I told them they could have cake for breakfast as long as they got it themselves. I caved pretty quickly after that, drank some fully caffeinated coffee, apologized to my beautiful espresso machine, and even gave her a vinegar rinse to try and make amends.

After that, I continued to purge the things I didn’t feel we needed in our lives anymore. My kids didn’t need 16 shirts each, we didn’t need the spare iron that I wouldn’t use anyway, and I finally acknowledged that I won’t ever get over my fear of pressure canning and don’t need the massive canner filling up our shelves.

Now that I’ve gone through the entire house I feel organized, liberated, and most importantly, caffeinated.

Want to try your hand at gentle minimalism? Download your FREE guide created by someone who will NEVER convince you to get rid of your coffee machine!

 

What’s the one thing you will never get rid of?

modern day hippie mama

Are YOU a modern day hippie mama?

We all fall into a category of some sort. Our “type” helps define who we are, and allows us to seek out others who are like us. Sometimes you don’t fall into any one specific category; you kind of flop in between two. I’m not a full hippie mama, nor am I fully up with the latest trends. I am…a modern day hippie mama!

 

I’m a hippie mama when it comes to babies, but I’m a modern day hippie mama when it comes to…

cloth diapers.

I’m all for home births and eating my placenta, but after that it’s fair game. There’s a bit of controversy surrounding which diaper is best for the environment: cloth or disposable. I won’t get into the details because that’s an entire post in itself, but I’ve made the decision to not cloth diaper after failed attempts with two of my babies. Painful yeast rashes, too many dollars spent on expensive soap, and too many hours spent washing diapers deterred me from being a part of the (somewhat intimidating) cloth diaper community any longer. I’m a big fan of the convenience of disposable diapers, and to make sure my eco-conscious brain doesn’t feel guilty I buy the ultra expensive ones that are made from corn and biodegrade into some sort of edible mushroom. Now, how’s that for resourceful?

Do you refuse to buy organic apples so you can save money for fast food treats? You may be a Modern Day Hippie Mama!

I’m a hippie mama when it comes to natural therapies, but I’m a modern day hippie mama when it comes to…

those times when western medicine is necessary.

Homeopathy. Acupuncture. Herbs and vitamins. Chiropractor. Reiki. Food as medicine.

I try to use all natural therapies for most elements of our lives. However, I know darn well that there are times that call for the use of western medicine treatments. It’s different for each person for when they need to take a Tylenol or go on some anti-depressants, but I will happily advise that any time an ailment is restricting your ability to function normally it warrants intervention. Sometimes natural medicine doesn’t work. Sometimes western medicine doesn’t work. Whatever does work to get you back to your life lovin’ self is the guilt-free route you MUST take.

 

I’m a hippie mama when it comes to food, but I’m a modern day hippie mama when it comes to…

over-priced apples.

Don’t get me wrong. I love me a good farmer’s market. I fully appreciate non-GMO, organic, locally grown, antibiotic-free, free-range food. However, there are times when it just can’t be a priority according to our budget. Paying $1.50 for an organic gala apple vs $0.50 for a conventional one seems a little ridiculous to me. We choose certain things that we always buy organic, but there are just some things we can’t justify paying triple for.

There’s other things that money can go towards, like the blizzards from Dairy Queen that I eat in my car while my toddler sleeps in the back and the older ones are at school.

 

I’m a hippie mama when it comes to beauty products, but I’m a modern day hippie mama when it comes to…

under-eye concealer.

Organic mascara: Check

Organic blush: Check

Organic lipstick: Check

Heavy duty, chemical laden, industrial strength under-eye concealer: Check

For the most part, there’s a lot of companies that offer organic makeup at comparable prices to the classic non-organic. Unfortunately, organic makeup doesn’t have the chemicals in it that I need to effectively cover up the big, black bags under my sleep-deprived eyes.

I have a rule: I don’t want to look how I feel. On days when I haven’t had much sleep the night before I tend to do myself up a little more.

So, basically, I’m done up all the time.

 

I wear hemp mumus, grow my own food, play the didgeridoo (ok, I tried it once) and practice yoga. I also drive a gas guzzling SUV, order french fries through take out, and frequently forget my reusable bags. Being a modern day hippie mama is all about balance!

Namaste, Mamas!!

 

 

reclaim your yoga class

What you can do about vagina farts!

Kwif. Muff puff. Queef. Vart. Cooter Pooter. VAGINA FARTS.

If you have a vagina, you know exactly what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there: the dead silent yoga class. You’re in a blissful state and looking hot in your yoga pants. You’re standing directly in front of the cutest person in the class. You gracefully go from shaking your tush in Downward Dog into Warrior Pose — and pffffffffft.

Fuck.

You look around in an attempt to not appear suspicious while also making sure nobody is looking at your accusingly. You notice a couple people looking over at your direction and you desperately want to yell “that didn’t come from my bum!” because for some weird reason that would make you feel better. You try to shrug it off like it ain’t no thang, but it’s hard to envision your chakras aligning when you’re focusing on your fear of fluctuating from your vagina.

You feel like there’s no way you could ever go back, but listen up lady: you can reclaim your yoga class!

Understand that this is normal. Just like boob sweat, upper lip hairs, and PAP smears, vagina farts during inopportune moments (quiet yoga class, romp sessions, etc.) is just another thing to add to the list of weirdly wonderful things our female selves get to deal with.

Vagina farts are not the result of too much raw broccoli in your lunch. Air gets in your vagina during various activities and then escapes shortly after.

That’s it.

There’s really nothing gross about it…other than the sound it makes, which exactly resembles the ones that men and toddlers find inexplicably hilarious (minus the stench that goes along with theirs). However, regardless of the reason behind it, it doesn’t negate how embarrassing it can be. For most people who don’t have a vagina- and even some who do- the sound coming from your lady parts isn’t what they’re assuming caused the “pfffffffffffft”.

How to avoid vagina farts

Preventing these red-faced moments is actually reasonably easy. We all know that kegels and squats can be helpful when it comes to avoiding urinary incontinence (i.e. peeing your pants when you sneeze, laugh, jump, cough, breathe…you know), but they can also be helpful when it comes to toning the muscles so the air doesn’t pass so easily.  Your doctor, midwife, pelvic floor physiotherapist (this is a thing, ladies- ask your doctor for a referral!!) can all give you tips on how to do a proper kegel to make sure you’re getting the most of your efforts.

Now you know exactly what’s causing this fantastically annoying occurrence, so how do you deal with it when it happens?

There’s a few options:

  1. Completely deny it was you. Point your finger at the guy sitting beside you (because for some reason it’s far more acceptable for men’s bodies to make these noises). Blame your child. Accuse the dog. Don’t take any ownership.
  2. Say “excuse me” and allow everyone around you to assume you had too much raw broccoli in your lunch.
  3. Nonchalantly say “Sorry, that was my vagina”.

Your response will be situational, but whenever possible it is ideal to fill other folks in on the wonders that is the vagina and casually mention the third option. It’s the only way we’re going to end the embarrassment of vagina farts so that women can resume that downward dog–in the yoga studio AND in the bedroom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

the importance of shopping local

The importance of shopping local-and why you should do it!

I’m a local lovin’ lady!

When I can, I buy local produce and meat. I shop at local stores. I support local charities.

“Why?” you ask?

Here’s why:

reasons to shop local

 

The Christmas season grows my love for shopping local more and more each year. In my search for the perfect item I seem to come across the coolest local artisans on Facebook and Etsy that offer one-of-a-kind goods.

This year is no exception!

Each year we buy a new ornament for our tree. I can’t help but fall in love with these charming dreamcatcher ornaments from Shop Ava to Zoe.  They are handmade with quality leather and lots of love, and would be the perfect addition for you to put up on your tree.

Christmas ornament

Photo credit: Caroline Ross Photography
Styled by: CJ Marketing

Once our tree is decorated, this optimistic Mama attempts to do the impossible: take a holiday photo. They may not have brushed hair or clean clothes on throughout the year, but I like to give the illusion that they are mostly presentable in our holiday pics:) These adorable hats and headbands are made with eco-friendly and natural materials by Lille Mus , and are a perfect addition to any outdoor activity. How can you not fall in love with these hats-do you see those pom-poms?!

Cool hats and headbands

Photo Credit: Caroline Ross Photography
Styled by: CJ Marketing

For a warmer, indoor option for a head accessory a sweet bow in a nice choice!

Isn’t She Lovely makes the softest elastic bows that were suitable for all my children , ages 5 months to 9 years. These bows are offered in different styles, colors, and patterns and are a sweet accessory to your little one’s outfit (speaking of outfits-she’s got adorable rompers to go with these charming bows)!

By the way, did you notice how lovely and NOT tired I look in this photo? Organic Makeup Artistry by Stef offers all natural make up and hair done for all occasions, and if I do say so myself, she does a pretty nice job!

Baby wearing a bow

Photo Credit: Caroline Ross Photography
Styled by: CJ Marketing

You know how it goes–toddlers don’t like to wear clothes. However, mine was convinced that pants were a good idea when she got to wear one of these easy-to-use belts to hold up her britches. Made with top quality materials, Belted Apparel offers a snazzy solution for your naked toddler problem (and are even available in adult sizes)!

Local, handmade belts

Photo Credit: Caroline Ross Photography
Styled by: CJ Marketing

Shoes are a girls best friend. Trust me. I’ve got 4 girls…I know. These handmade, comfortable shoes from Wild Ones Mocs are a Mom’s best friend! They’re beautiful AND they’ll stay on your little one’s feet. What more could you ask for?

Cutest moccassins for baby

Photo Credit: Caroline Ross Photography
Styled by: CJ Marketing

My favorite part of Christmas (aside from rum and eggnog, of course) is gift giving. There is nothing better I can think of for little girls and boys than a gorgeous handmade doll from Friends For Keeps. Each doll is created to be as individually special as your child. They are a sure way to bring smiles to your children’s faces on Christmas morning.

beautiful handmade dolls

Photo Credit: Caroline Ross Photography
Styled by: CJ Marketing

 

Are you inspired to join in on some local lovin’? Maybe you already are a local lovin’ folk? Share with me in the comments!

get rid of stress during the holidays

5 simple ways to find your zen this holiday season

The holidays are stressful.

Seriously.

Gift shopping. Present wrapping. Dinner cooking. Party hosting. Treat baking. Decorating.

Madness.

This chaotic mess of festivity can make anyone fall out of a state of relaxation pretty darn quickly. While it may seem like you don’t have the time to get to a blissful, zen-like frame of mind, taking a few moments to regain your sanity will be worthwhile.

5 simple ways to find your zen this holiday season:

 

(Don’t forget to Pin this so you can find it next year, too!)

How to relax this holiday season

Meditate.

It’s hard to clear your mind of your to-do list. Sometimes taking just a few short moments to forget about it can recharge your foggy brain so you can accomplish things more efficiently and effectively.

Need help guiding yourself into a Zen state? Check out “guided meditations” on YouTube. Put on some headphones and tune out the rest of the world for a few minutes.

Exercise.

No, dashing to the store or reaching for the roll of wrapping paper doesn’t count. Take advantage of the snow and put on those snowshoes. Bundle up and go for a walk. Throw on an exercise video (and a spandex body suit, obviously) and do a workout in the livingroom. Release all of that extra holiday stress and burn off those extra cookie calories. Your body and mind will thank you.

 

Healthy food and lots water.

Rum and eggnog is barely dairy. Cookies are not a food group (although they should be).

Christmas treats are inevitable. Don’t add extra stress to yourself by avoiding them, but make sure you are fuelling your body with that veggie plate that’s been put out. Drink lots of water. Don’t fill up on only sugary treats. A sugar crash is not going to contribute to your productivity.

Take “You” time.

There’s a lot of time put into doing things for others over the holiday season, and that’s SUPER rad. However, you’re going to start running on empty if you forget about yourself. Keep up with your journal. Take a long bath. Enjoy your coffee in front of the fireplace. Do whatever it is that brings you to your zen. Don’t forget to take care of you.

Slow down.

This is supposed to be a time to enjoy. Before you spend time and energy on anything, really consider if it’s going to be worth your while. If you’re feeling the fatigue set in ask yourself if putting up decorations in each bedroom (on top of the rest of the house you’ve already done) is going to benefit everyone. If the answer is no, forget about it. Put that energy into doing other things you may enjoy more, like hiding your kid’s Elf on the Shelf* that you currently love and hate .

(*This reference to Elf on the Shelf was my kind way of reminding you that you need to do that still. Go on. I’ll wait here until you get back. Need ideas? Click here for my resource of ideas.)

 

It’s easy to get caught up in the things we need to get done, but try not to forget to enjoy this time of the year. Taking the time to regain your feelings of zen during the holiday season will make it so much more enjoyable for you and those around you. You’ll have and be more fun, and won’t lose your spot on Santa’s “Good list”.

 

breastfeeding social media

Breastfeeding tips and tricks

You’re here for breastfeeding tips, but I need to share a quick story with you first:

Last week I answered the door. It was the pizza man. He looked…uncomfortable. I thought maybe I smelled bad? Maybe I had spit up on my shoulder? I closed the door. I looked down. I realized why he looked so…uncomfortable. My breast was hanging out of my shirt because I forgot to put it away after my baby was done feeding and I answered the door. As I stood there thinking about what had just transpired I couldn’t believe it…he forgot to give me the dips!

 

Breastfeeding has been a challenging journey for me.

Some women have no problem and have Pamela Anderson looking jugs full of milk even before they’ve had their baby. Some women go through hours of torture to literally squeeze out one drop.

The latter was me.

I spent hours researching ways to make me produce more milk (and help me fill out a D-cup). Here’s what I came up with:

Breastfeeding tips and tricks

 

Make sure you have a correct latch

This is the first breastfeeding tip and is the most crucial when you’re establishing breastfeeding and your milk supply. You want baby’s mouth to be covering your areola, not just your nipple. Jack Newman is my go-to guy when trying to help a client establish their latch and was my best friend when trying to establish mine (even the fourth go-round was a doozy for me- this is not always the easiest thing to do so try not to get discouraged if you don’t get it on your first few tries).

If you’re still having a hard time establishing an effective latch do make sure to go to your local public health unit or call a Lactation Consultant. They can offer you a wealth of information and a little more of a hands-on approach when it comes to getting that latch down pat.

Keep only one eye on the clock

It’s easy to get caught up in the “feed baby every _____ hours”, but it’s not quite that simple. The more you nurse the more milk you’re going to produce. If baby is showing cues of being hungry don’t deny them milk just because you’re not quite at the hour mark. That said, f you’re trying to establish your milk supply and baby is sleeping beyond those every couple of hours it’s fair to wake them up for a feed.

Try galactagogues

Not only is it a fun word to say, but some of them are very effective. The main ones are Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle but there are products out there that contain more herbs and are specific to breastfeeding. Check out your local health food store and chat with your midwife or doctor to see what they recommend.

The cookie recipe below containing Brewer’s Yeast was the galactagogue that worked best for me! This is by far my favourite breastfeeding tip as it is the most delicious!

lactation cookie recipe, breastfeeding, breastmilk production

**If you’re not feeling up to making cookies, simply add some brewers yeast to your smoothie. That’s the main ingredient that really helped me!

Skin to skin

Take off your shirt as much as possible. Get baby naked as much as possible. If you’re struggling to stay put in bed or on the couch throw the baby wrap on and put a naked (maybe leave the diaper on) baby inside. Voila! Portable skin to skin.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

Or, better yet, have someone take care of you. Your postpartum doula or partner should be making sure that you are getting plenty of rest, sleeping as much as possible, eating nutritious foods, and drinking loads of water. Making sure that you’re hydrated is a major component of keeping your body healthy while you’re breastfeeding. Your baby is literally sucking the life out of you so it’s important to keep it restored at all times. While this is one of the most important breastfeeding tips it’s also the one that most folks struggle with the most.

 

I mentioned breastfeeding wasn’t easy for me, right? It was a hard go right from the beginning. When I was told by a doctor that “not all women were meant to be cows” I nearly gave up. Instead, I spent hours researching breastfeeding tips, spent days in discomfort (mastitis, thrush, engorgement, cracked and blistered nipples are no joke, friends), and months breastfeeding. I ended up breastfeeding for a total of 6 years. My breasts may never be the same (in other words, they may never look like they don’t appear in a copy of “National Geographic”), but my choice to breastfeed was the best one that I could have made for myself and my babies.

 

I want to hear your breastfeeding journey! Comment below and share your story!