Friday, June 2, 2017

life lately...

whew - it's been a while! just popped by to share a few photos of what life has looked like lately...

Friday, February 10, 2017

snow day

vancouver is once again covered in heaps of snow. its been a cold, white winter this year, but thankfully someone in our family is loving it.

jeff took some photos and put together a little video of finn's adventure earlier this week. have a peek if you are so inclined. xx

Monday, February 6, 2017

immune support

i feel like i have been perpetually sick pretty much constantly for the better part of two years - so much so that i feel silly even telling people i'm sick because i know their internal reaction is most definitely 'again?' but between pneumonia last christmas, shingles this past spring, and a lengthy list of bed ridden cold and flu spells sprinkled in between, i am determined to support and rebuild my floundering immune system this year.

a few good things i am committing to incorporating/ continuing this season include:

upwards of 70% of our immune system resides in our gut, so maintaining a proper balance of good to bad gut bacteria is essential for optimal immune function. i have always been extremely cautious and avoided the overuse of antibiotics, but have not been as diligent at rebuilding with probiotics. jeff and i recently went to whole foods (and spent an obscene amount of money INVESTED in our long term health) and picked up some good quality probitics for the whole family. we are also working to incorporate more fermented foods into our daily life. kombocha has always been an easy win over here, but other fermented foods - veggies, sauerkraut and kefir will also be added to the list- building up the good gut flora in all of us is top of my to-do list.

bone broth 
perhaps a bit of a food buzzword right now, bone broth has a deep-seated history in supporting immune function. thanks to the high concentration of minerals, bone broth works to heal and seal your gut (see above note on why that's important). in particular, chicken bone broth is proven to inhibit infection caused by cold and flu viruses (something that won't surprise our grandparents generation who rushed to make chicken soup whenever we got sick.) it also works to help us sleep better, fights inflammation, protects our bones and joints, makes our hair and nails grow stronger, and generally just makes us feel good. it's easy enough to make your own, or if you live in a larger city, your local health food store likely stocks it. you can drink bone broth on its own (i personally love this, but understand it's not for everyone) or use it in place of regular broth in any of your favourite recipes that call for some kind of stock.

mushrooms (shiitake, maitake and reishi ) have been highly prized in traditional chinese medicine for thousands of years because of their potent healing benefits. my girlfriend kristen turned me on to them a couple summers ago, and more recently, my friend katie shared with me what we now call 'magic mushrooms' for their ability to help heal whatever ails you. (THESE mushroom pills are an absolute MUST if sickness has been plaguing your household.) incorporating more medicinal mushrooms into your cooking routine is ideal, but if that's not something that sounds doable in your household, adding a mushroom powder (like this) into things like tomato sauces, soups, casseroles or even smoothies is a good way to mask the taste and still reap the benefits.

vitamin d 
sunshine is so important for vitamin d production, but for those of us living in raincouver (or other chillier/ less sun-filled parts of the world) accessing natural sunlight can be challenging during the gloomy, cold winter months. getting real about supplementing when the sunny days fade is super important. there is a wide spectrum of opinions on what adequate supplementation looks like, so spend a bit of time researching and find a level that feels appropriate for your needs (remembering that some is better than none in this case.)

ginger + garlic 
both broad spectrum anti-microbial agents and natures immune boosters, i am always looking for more ways to incorporate these two superfoods into our diet. smitten kitchen's recipe for 44 clove garlic soup is being added to the rotation, and i am still LOVING this recipe for turmeric milk that uses lots of ginger to cure and comfort whatever ails you.

mental health
we all know stress is a huge contributing factor to how effective our immune system functions. i wholeheartedly acknowledge the connection between the grief i have been working through over the past few years and my bodies ability (or inability) to function optimally. mental health is a key component to physical well-being. and so i continue to do the work, knowing it's a long journey and not an overnight fix. visiting my wonderful counselor as needed, trying my hardest to carve out moments for mindfulness (whatever that may look like) and taking a big step in upping my self-care routine (which, of course, encompasses everything that i have shared here and more.)

on guard essential oil  
also known as thieves oil, i am a HUGE advocate of doterra's on guard essential oil - a blend of wild orange peel, clove bud, cinnamon leaf, eucalyptus leaf and rosemary flower, on guard is a protective blend used to support the immune system and help kill off harmful bacteria and viruses.  you can use on guard in a few different ways to help keep germs at bay -
  • diffusing it into the air for aromatherapy purposes. doing this also helps kill airborne germs and viruses. 
  • using it topically - mix a few drops of on guard with some fractured coconut oil and apply to your wrists, souls of your feet, behind your ears and the back of your neck. we do this each morning as a preventative measure, and several times a day at the first signs of sickness. 
  • add a few drops to your natural cleaning products and use it on surfaces to rid them of germs and bacteria. (several drops mixed with equal parts white vinegar and water do the trick!)
  • doterra brand on guard oil is food grade, meaning it is safe to ingest. at the first signs of illness, soak some apple slices in water with a few drops of on guard oil and enjoy, or mix up this magical flu busting, detox cocktail:
    combine the following ingredients in your favourite mug, stir and enjoy-
    2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    1 tsp honey
    1-3 drops on guard oil blend
    small squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
    1 cup warm water
stay cozy, friends!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

why I march

Unity. Equality. Diversity. Solidarity. Acceptance. Feminism. Love.

These are a few of the big words that we have been talking about in our house this past week. Now more than ever, Jeff and I felt it was so important to share these words and this experience with Finn. To begin the conversation about the importance of being an ally and using your loudest voice to support those that are being silenced. 

One of the signs we made for the Women's March in Vancouver read 'The measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable.' A statement that, sadly, feels a little too true lately. 

But to see the incredible number of people all over the world gather - to speak out, raise their voices, agitate, resist, and say 'this is not ok!' - well, that was a pretty incredible thing to be a part of. 

My cousin kori wrote a beautiful note last night that I felt hit the nail on the head-
It's our time. We're taking it back.
We will rise from the ashes of our great grandmothers you burned.
You cannot stop us, you can not hush us for we have remembered who we are and we have remembered that we are stronger together than we were separated.
We will never ever ever EVER again forget our beauty, our magnificence, our connection or our god given right to equality and a voice.
Us -- the women -- of all ages, sizes, backgrounds, colours -- we are uniting and we stand in our truth.
Thanks for pissing us all off, for it brought us back home together... look out world, it's going to be real and fucking POWERFUL.
Keep fighting the good fight, friends! We are ALL STRONGER TOGETHER. 

From the Women's March on Washington Website -

We stand together in solidarity for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families - recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of any country.

The rhetoric of the past US election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us - immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, First Nations people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault - and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

In the spirit of democracy and honouring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to the new US government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.


(photos by Jeff Thorburn | last photo by Katie Cubitt)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

so long 2016

a few wonderful memories to bid farewell to this past year. i am vibrating with excitement for all that 2017 has in store, and hope to share more of those moments here. thank you for sticking with me all these years!

cheers! xo

you can view previous years in photographs (2011 - 2016) HERE.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

merry christmas

from my family to yours, wishing you the happiest of holidays full of love, gratitude, and time spent creating meaningful memories with the ones you love most in this world.

i want to graciously thank each and every one of you for your support and encouragement over the years. your kindness means EVERYTHING to me, and i am so genuinely honoured and humbled that you take the time out of your busy lives to share in ours. 

so looking forward to all that 2017 has in store. xo

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

simplify the holidays || last minute, meaningful gift ideas

(i realize it's perhaps a bit late in the season to be sharing a post about simplifying the holidays, but on the off chance someone out there is feeling like they might light their hair on fire because of the overwhelming amount of things left on their to-do list - this post is for you.)

many years ago, i worked for an incredible ubran environmental non-profit organization in calgary. with a mandate to create healthy homes and communities, we advocated for and promoted concepts like minimalism, conscious consumerism, and the value of supporting local businesses. basically, all those buzzy trends right now that weren't a super popular way of thinking back then.

during this time, i came across a group called the center for a new american dream - a NGO doing meaningful work to emphasizes community, ecological sustainability, and the celebration of non-material values.

on of the most valuable resources that the center for a new american dream has created is their guide to simplifying the holidays - practical tips for reducing stress and increasing joy and personal fulfillment during the holiday season. it has ideas for deeply connecting with children and family, streamlining gift giving, creating new traditions, minimizing waste, and ultimately, creating a holiday season that everyone in your family will enjoy, love and remember for years to come.

over the years, their guide series has expanded to include additional resources such as the 'more fun, less stuff catalogue' (an alternative gift guide for those who want to wrap their holidays in more of what matters—meaning, connection, and joy), a template for a very cute DIY holiday coupon book (along with loads of great coupon ideas for all the most important people in your life) and a pinterest board full of ideas to help you simplify your holidays.

a few of my favourite gift giving ideas from their guides:

if you like to cook or bake, try your hand at making fresh salsa, pasta sauce, jam, or baked goods or prepare homemade soups or dinners that can be frozen for future use and include the recipe (my favourite soup recipes here. some awesome baking inspiration here)

give away the last great book you bought and enjoyed to someone with similar taste.

make and package up homemade green cleaning products (some great recipes here)

plant a tree or perform some other “random act of kindness” in your recipient’s honor.

put together a list of favorite family recipes.

have a “re-gift” swap. we all have gift-quality things in our closets that we don’t actually use (many still in the box from holidays past). get together with a few like-minded friends and trade them for items that fit your gift list.

celebrate your loved ones—write your friend or family member a letter listing all the qualities you admire most about them.

a monthly lunch date with an elderly relative or friend.

offer to teach a skill you possess, such as canning, photography, gardening, swing dancing, knitting, furniture making, or doing the butterfly stroke.

give tickets to a community theater or a membership to a museum.

buy renewable energy certificates to offset the carbon emissions of a friend.

set aside a few hours to volunteer in your community in honor of your friend or loved one.

vow to send a letter or postcard each month for the entire year to friend or family member in a different city (this is especially great for kids and grandparents!)

make a donation to charity or buy a giftcard to an organization like canada helps or kiva and let the recipient decide where to best allocate the funds (more ideas here)

this is of course just the smallest sampling of ideas shared in the guides- download both for more ideas and inspiration.

may your holiday be full of calm, quiet moments interspersed with beautiful memories created with family and dear friends, delicious food, and moments of pure delight.