Saturday, May 31, 2014

Shout Out Saturday

Today I am giving a shout out to my favourite poem.  I first discovered this poem in 2001 when I lived with my aunt and uncle in first year university.  I can remember sitting in front of it, hanging on the wall at the end of their hallway, and copying it down word for word.  It was like for the first time my exact thoughts were sitting in front of me.  Desiderata profoundly affects me and today is hanging in our living room, a gift from Jeremy early in our relationship.  I encourage you to read it slowly.  Thirteen years later, I still love Desiderata:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

Friday, May 30, 2014

Plan a Wedding on a Budget

As I told you a few weeks ago, I have been writing for My Debt Solution and having a lot of fun!  I just did a three part wedding series and wanted to share it with you on here.  I recently shared this video on our fifth wedding anniversary and thought it would be fitting to also tell you how we did our wedding on a tight budget :) 
Let me know if you have any questions because I am all about having a great wedding, but not breaking the bank!  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Yummy (Vegan) Banana Bread

I posted the above photo this weekend with the caption, "Hell must've frozen over. I'm baking".  And it's the truth!  If I am in the kitchen, I am most likely making a meal or juicing.  I hardly ever bake.  In fact, I would say I bake less than five times a year.  I would love to do it more often, but I don't have the biggest sweet tooth and my self-control is pretty much non-existent! If' it's in the house, I will eat it:)
But, that being said, we had some bananas that were turning and I didn't want them to go to waste.  My sister has a fail-safe recipe, but it calls for eggs which we didn't have.  I instead use this recipe and tweaked it. worked! So I thought I would share:

1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup sugar
1.5 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 very ripe bananas, mashed up
 1 teaspoon vanilla
mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 and lightly grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.  I just put a little on my fingers and spread the oil around.  This made it easy to take out of the pan after baking.  Cream the oil and sugar, then mix in flour, baking soda and salt.  Then add in the bananas and mix well.  I used my mix master and the lowest setting.  Stir in the chocolate chips. I think I used about a third of a cup...Thomas' sneaky fingers stole a few!
Pour batter into the pan and bake for about 45 minutes.  Check with a long toothpick or skewer to see if the bread is cooked all the way through.  Mine almost took a full hour.  

Delicious!  I feel like a real adult having baked banana bread successfully. Also, the coconut oil made the bread so light and moist.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mare's Music Monday

Today's Mare's Music Monday is a fun one!  I was listening to my i-Tunes on shuffle last week one evening while making dinner.  Sometimes I get so focused on finding new music and keeping on top of what is current and popular, that I forget my existing catalog.  It's fun to take pause and remember songs that I had on repeat years ago. 
Today's review is on an album I discovered years ago, but I still love today. 
Kate Nash is an artist from the UK and I instantly fell in love with her quirky style and lyrics back in 2007 with the release of her debut album Made of Bricks.  Again, like I said in my Iggy Azalea review, Kate isn't going to be for everyone.  She's got a wicked sense of humor, beautiful voice and unique songs.  I love to crank Made of Bricks and dance around, singing at the top of my lungs.  She reminds me of Lily Allen or Pink.  My favourites on the album are Nicest Thing, D***head, Mariella and Foundations:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Shout Out Saturday

Welcome to another Shout Out Saturday!  Today I am acknowledging something that's probably been a long time coming. 
I like red wine. 
Why is this getting a Shout Out?  Well, I've lived in wine country now for about 15 years have never been able to enjoy wine.  I also found it headache-inducing, too tart, too sweet or just not enjoyable. 
Until now.  It's funny to say this, but as soon as I turned 30, something in my palate changed.  Now, I just love me some red!  I searched back through my Instagram and wine pictures started popping up not long after my 30th bday:

I don't have a particular red that I like or don't like.  Do you?  Now, don't get me wrong...I'm not drinking it every day!  But when the occasion warrants, I do enjoy a glass of red now and then ;)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Nail of the Day

This Nail of the Day is Essie's Watermelon.  For once, a nail polish with a name that isn't weird ;)  For some reason the photo is showing it much more red than it is in person.  Essie polishes I find are great for that though, they are a little different, depending on the light.  This is a solid polish.  Easy to apply, could have only been one coat for opacity and hasn't chipped.  Essie is quickly becoming a favourite of mine! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

T Turned Three!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Need a Laugh?

Today Thomas turns three.  I will post some photos later.  To celebrate, here's a short video to make you smile! 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Shout Out Saturday

Welcome to another Shout Out Saturday!  Today I wanted to set aside a little part of the internet to give a shout out to doulas.  Even though tomorrow marks my son's third birthday, I still feel incredibly strongly about the importance of a doula. I can barely formulate the words to convey how much we love our doula, Sally but I am going to try.
Sally, with Thomas, days old
We had never heard of a doula until our midwife asked if we were considering one.  (Yes we had a midwife, and no I did not give birth in a field.  I had Thomas in the hospital and would recommend a midwife to anyone. Sidetracked.)
I knew I didn't want anyone else in the room with us when I was in labor, no family or friends.  But the thought of having a calming, experienced and knowledgeable presence was very appealing.  This is an excerpt from our Doula's website:

"The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Studies have shown that when doulas attend births, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily."

We met with Sally to chat and before the session was over, Jer and I were both completely on board!  She provided a calm environment for us both and helped us shape our birth plan.  Ok, not a birth plan...but things like if I wanted to have drugs, when and which ones, if I wanted a mirror to see what was happening (NO thank you!), what kinds of pain reduction methods we would try etc.
My labour was a story in itself, which you can read all about here.  Sally was priceless during this time for us as she kept not only me calm, but Jeremy as well.  She was able to give him a break and also show him the best ways to support his wife.
Thomas did not latch properly for seven days.  I was determined to breast-feed and if it wasn't for Sally, there is absolutely no way I would have.  She provided such incredible post-partum support for both Jer and I.  She taught Jer how to bathe Thomas, a tradition that remains to this day.  She came over multiple times in one day because I was having such a hard time getting Thomas to latch.  The post-partum support was invaluable.  I wish every woman would have a doula.  I also wish there were doulas for one, two and three year olds ;)
You can contact me anytime with any other doula questions.  I can't properly explain in a blog post how beneficial Sally was/continues to be to us.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Nail of the Day

Ok friends.  Today's Nail of the Day is one I bring to you with mixed feelings.  Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Mellow Yellow came highly recommended to me by a couple YouTubers.  I trusted their opinions and was very disappointed when applying this polish.  What you see on my nails is four coats.  It was very sheer, as most yellows are, which surprised me because others had said it was opaque.  Also, it was extremely gloopy and sticky and not user-friendly.  You might say, "that's what you get for spending $3 on polish".  I disagree.  Some of my favourites in my collection are Sally Hansen. I went with it and applied the polish.  I was totally unimpressed with how it stuck to my cuticles and chipped almost instantly.  Oh and it also bubbled. Yuck. 
The other side? I LOVE the colour! It is so fun for summer!  I even got compliments on it from guys.  I am going to give it another try with a white polish underneath.  I think this is a fun one for the summer or maybe an accent nail, but I hope my bottle was just an off-formula.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Easiest Up-Do Ever!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mare's Music Monday

I haven't been this excited about a new artist in a while.  Iggy Azalea is so refreshing and fierce.  That being said, she definitely won't be for everyone.  She's crass, honest, incredibly talented and her lyrics resonate with me instantly.  I can listen to The New Classic, her debut album, front to back without skipping a single track.  I love and respect the way she does things her own way, in her own fresh style and doesn't apologize for it.  She's a rapper from Australia who left home at 16 and moved to the US alone to pursue her dreams.  I love her story!  Some of the stand-outs for me are Change Your Life, Work, Impossible is Nothing and Fancy (the video is a fabulous homage to the movie Clueless).
This album definitely gets my stamp of approval (if it's your kind of thing;).  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!  Whether you are a mom, have a mom or love your mom friends, let's celebrate each other today:)  Motherhood is the toughest job out there!

 I thought it would be fitting to share this quote about moms from Gwyneth Paltrow:

"We see disapproval in the eyes of other mothers when we say how long we breastfed (Too long? Not long enough?), or whether we have decided to go back to work versus stay home. Is it not hard enough to attempt to raise children thoughtfully, while contributing something, or bringing home some (or more) of the bacon? Why do we feel so entitled to opine, often so negatively, on the choices of other women? Perhaps because there is so much pressure to do it all, and do it all well all at the same time (impossible)."

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Shout Out Saturday

Welcome to another Shout Out Saturday!
Today's Shout Out goes to my good friend Emilie. There will be many Saturdays dedicated to acknowledging the wonderful people in my life and I am starting it off with a bang!
I wish everyone could be so fortunate as to have an Emilie in your life.  She is my fierce friend who I know no matter what will always have my back.  If Emilie ever felt like one of her loved ones was being wronged or in danger, you know she'd step up without hesitation.  She is my constant cheerleader, sending upbeat texts and messages.  She's taught me so much about YouTube, social media, radio and just life in general.  She leads without ego and is one of the must successful people I know, yet incredibly humble.  
Her nature to always improve is contagious and inspiring.  One of my best friends met Emilie for the first time a few months ago and was instantly taken by her loving nature and friendly demeanor.  She's the kind of person who instantly boosts your mood and who genuinely cares about what you are saying. 
I am proud and honoured to be Emilie's friend.  I hope this post inspires you to tell you friends how much they mean to you and to give them a shout out! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Coffee Corner

Another random home decor post!  This was such an easy project and I find it to be very effective.  I love my coffee and recently expanded my collection to include a jug of sugar free vanilla syrup from Starbucks.  It's a great way to sweeten my coffee or tea without any calories.  But, I didn't like having a ton of stuff on my kitchen counter, looking messy and cluttered.  I searched on Pinterest and found the simplicity of adding a tray to be very effective. 
The tray I used to create this coffee corner was a lovely house warming gift.  I am pleased to have it in use and on display, rather than sitting in the cupboard, hidden away.  Even though the same amount of items are on the counter, having them sitting on the counter looks more purposeful and tidy.  This little addition has created a conversation piece in our kitchen, as well as a reason to save money and have a coffee at home:) 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago today the final episode of Friends aired. Do you remember where you were? I think it's one of those iconic moments in television history that many people remember where they were, who they were with and what they felt.  I still get teary at the finale.  I own all ten seasons of this show and couldn't even begin to estimate how many times I've watched it.  I like to start from the pilot and work my way through chronologically.  This may sound corny or lame, but Friends brings me such comfort. It's the show I turn to when I am sick in bed or upset or need to escape reality. It really is like hanging out with six friends.  Some of my favourite people also love this show and it's such a bond.  
I was recently asked what my all-time favourite episode is.  Too tough!  There are some that immediately stand out.  The One With the Prom Video.  The One After Ross Says Rachel.  The Last One. The One in Vegas.  See? Too hard! 
What was your favourite thing about Friends? I feel there just aren't sitcoms like Friends anymore. (Hahaha, back in my day...yes I sound old, but it's true!) Maybe that's why it feels so special.  It just can't be duplicated.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Shout Out Saturday

Welcome to another Shout Out Saturday!
(If you missed last week's inaugural post you can read it here to find out the back story of this new feature on MaresPlace.)
Today's Shout Out Saturday belongs to this song: 

I am sure many of you are sick of this song but it still just makes me SO happy! 
I have been thinking a lot about this recent quote from a Wise Word Wednesday.  It takes so much more effort to be happy, but it's worth it.  
I choose to be happy and smile.
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