MIMM #9: Weekend Home

Early last week I started to miss my parents a lot. As beautiful as my residence room is, it still doesn’t feel like home. It’s not as though I haven’t made friends but our relationships naturally aren’t as close as those that I have back in Oakville. Thankfully the commute is only 2 hours and my mom was able to pick me up on Friday afternoon so that I could spend the weekend in my own bed.

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Coming home to parents who will cook you meals, clean up after you and chauffeur you around is pretty marvelous after living independently for 2 weeks. London is full of marvelous opportunities such as the Covent Garden Market but it is a bit of a trek to walk or bus everywhere and the rainy weather has discouraged me from venturing off of campus. IMG_8110

I had an incredibly marvelous weekend and it started out with some marvelous mail. Joyce knows my obsession with tea and owls too well which is probably she sent along this variety of David’s tea (there is an owl on the package). Joyce also wrote a beautiful card and enclosed it with Owl stickers and sticky notes. As well, I received my Vega One French Vanilla and Vega Sport Vanilla, Silver Drinking Straws from the Maine Drinking Straw Company and the book “Whole Foods to Thrive”. Charissa put so much work into hosting the Colourful Smoothie Contest and I am so thankful that I was able not only to participate but win a prize.IMG_8173

The marvelous-ness continued when my mom picking me up from Chemistry class. The fact that she didn’t make me walk up the Brescia hill was not kind but pretty good door-to-door service. We had so much to catch up on the drive flew by. I’m pretty sure I talked my mom’s ear off. IMG_8187

Marvelous is being given Moon Cakes to celebrate the Harvest Moon. Our neighbours, the same ones who gave us Lobster from P.E.I, surprised us with Moon Cakes on Friday evening. They are so generous and thoughtful.The flavour and texture is definitely acquired and I can’t say I’ve ever had anything quite like it before. The box they delivered the cakes in was beautiful.

554664_342894899179628_1807322675_nMarvelous is getting together with Chelsea because we seem to relate on so many levels. It’s pretty obvious Chelsea’s blog is one of my favourites so I never turn down an opportunity to meet with her. It’s also pretty evident that our preferred places to meet up include Kindfood and Whole foods so it should be no surprise that I tried my first quinWOW bowl and fell in love with the marvelous miso gravy.1234268_342894942512957_1400790597_n

Marvelous is also attending Yoga class with Chelsea. We wanted to add in an extra component to our usual lunch date but the weather forecast was not promising which ruled out our idea of apple picking, frequenting the farmer’s market or hiking. Thankfully Chelsea had heard Be Yoga and Wellness was celebrating their birthday by teaching free yoga classes. We weren’t sure how hard it would be so we decided to stick to Hatha 1, but neither of us were overly challenged so we agreed to try Aerial or a more difficult level next time. I could definitely tell that my Pilates workouts have helped strengthen my core because I found myself more balanced while holding the tree pose. I haven’t practiced yoga in ages which is probably why I woke up sore the next morning. Amanda, the instructor, had a beautiful voice and finished the class with a powerful chant. The class was accompanied by live music so you could really feel the energy waves and rhythm of the beat. I found it a bit distracting because I wanted to watch the drummer and singer, but it definitely made for a positive atmosphere.1260869_342894869179631_1096412141_n1239528_342894962512955_1285484907_n

Marvelous is also discovering new local bakers. Nourishing Nook was giving away free samples at BeYoga and Welless so I got to try my first Sweet Potato muffin. She had kale chips that I found to be quite good since they were had a bit of a spicy kick to their crunch. Chelsea and I each had a granola circle and tried to decipher the recipe but found ourselves finishing the last bite before we had identified all the ingredients. I guess that just means I’ll have to purchase some which is definitely not a complaint on my end since they were marvelous.1368914_342894759179642_443416321_n 1371409_342894762512975_659219238_n1375906_342894845846300_507576849_n

Marvelous is also meeting Caitlin for coffee or watching Lottie blow bubbles and giggle. It’s having my last ice cream cone of the summer and then huddling with a blanket because Fall is definitely not frozen dessert weather. It’s hugging Emma, seeing Nathan, getting advice from my Mom and grocery shopping with my Dad.  It’s waking up to the smell of breakfast food and a full stocked fridge and winding down the evening with a cup of tea and in the company of my family. It’s being given the opportunity to go to university and to study a subject I am so passionate about. It’s taking time for myself just to be and it’s finally catching up on blog reading after being so behind. It’s being able to participate in things such as Katie’s Marvelous in my Monday tradition. What was marvelous about your weekend? What is marvelous about this upcoming week?  ♥ Molly

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey 

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September Favourites

Happy September! By now you are used to my monthly favourites and with today being move-in day to Brescia, there’s no surprise that the theme is back-to-school.

I was assigned a start-time of noon and since London is only a 2 hour commute I don’t have to leave until 9:30 or so. This leaves me ample of time to blog since the vehicle was packed up last night thanks to my Dad. I’m not quite sure how he managed to fit everything in while leaving room for four passengers. Saying I over pack is an understatement, which is precisely why I’m too embarrassed to post a photo of my load after the addition of clothing, technology and last minute room decor. Panicking that I forgot something is oh so common for me but it’s better to be over prepared right? I neglected to mention my suitcase was 10 lbs overweight when traveling to and from Myrtle Beach but lucky for me I was let through with no charge! Whoops. September Favourites

1. Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie 2. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 3. Kate Spade Le Pavillion Laptop Sleeve 4. Swingline Colour Bright Staples 5. Roots Mini Alex Pack 6. Swingline Red Stapler 7. Studio Oh! 2014 Live Simply Agenda 8. Wilson Jones Heavy Sheet Protectors 9. Pier One Sticky Note Pad Set with Owls 10. Quartet Screamers Dry-Erase Markers

But since today is the beginning of a new month not only is it time to post items I look forward to purchasing, I’ll also be taking the opportunity to outline some goals. I’m adding in a school category because I think those objectives should be kept separate from personal ambitions.

Blog

  • Reconnect: I took a lot of time off from blog writing and reading during my vacation to Myrtle Beach. While I am not about to dwell that my posts weren’t published to my standards (weekend posts, lack of consistency and weird timing), I do miss the friendships I was starting to build as I left comments on other blogs, or kept track of what other bloggers were pursuing. With school work fast approaching and homework soon accumulating it is unrealistic to think I will be able to dedicate more than an hour to the blog world each day. My goal is to become a more concise writer and really start to utilize organizational tools so that I can read blogs more effectively (blog updates).
  • Layout: My blog appearance still isn’t where I’d like it to be. I’m questioning whether I want to become self-hosted or even splurge for a customizable domain. Regardless I want to sit down and really learn what is available in terms of font sizes, colours, gadgets and widgets.
  • Subject Matter: Since I have a prepaid meal plan that I need to use, I don’t plan on cooking for myself very often. While I hope to create a recipe at least once a month either on a weekend home or using the oven provided in our lounge room, I am going to have to become more creative with my blog posts. While my blog isn’t necessarily a food blog, I have trouble coming up with equally interesting topics to write about (apart from food). If you have any suggestions just let me know!

Personal

  • Nutrition: I’ve been having a lot of allergic reactions recently, especially after being stung by a jelly fish in Myrtle Beach. Earlier in the week my arm swelled up and we aren’t sure if it is because of the sting or because I was around nuts. Usually I am not that sensitive but it’s really the only explanation since my sting wasn’t infected! I’m going to have to be extremely cautious about reading cafeteria food ingredients and asking how items were prepared. I’m also going to be extremely aware of fueling my body and brain since I have a tendency of eating less when I am busy with school work. Nutrition is so important for my concentration and with a history of restrictive eating I don’t have room for a slip because it could easily turn into a spiral.
  • Appointments: Come September 9th I will be having a lot of appointments. Right now many of them seem unnecessary but I know that they are in place for a reason and I need to stay accountable. I need to manage my time so that I don’t feel like they are taking away from study sessions.
  • Friendships: While I am open to meeting new people, I also don’t want to lose touch with my friends back at home. I am hoping to find a balance between my school and social work without one overpowering the other.

School

  • Readings: I am writing this as a personal reminder to stay on top of my homework. I’ve never been one to procrastinate but I do worry when deadlines approach. Not having enough time is a big stress for me. Being ahead of the course material is definitely better than being behind since lectures serve as a review as opposed to being an unfamiliar lesson.
  • Extra Help: I’m not very good at asking questions because I worry others will think I am stupid. This is an irrational fear and the bottom line is that if I don’t understand something I need to ask for clarification. Chances are someone else is thinking a similar thought. Western, especially Brescia’s campus offers so many clinics or help sessions and I should try to utlize them for all that they are worth.
  • Have fun: I truly love learning but when grades come in to play I often put too much pressure on myself which takes away from education being fun. My goal is to take this year as a learning curve and chances are if I am less stressed I will perform better. I also want to engage in extra curricular activities without taking on too many commitments. Volunteer work and involvement is equally important for getting the most out of your University experience and it does enhance a resume for purposes.

I’m both excited and nervous for school to begin. I’m excited to be reunited with friends in London but I am sad to leave my family (and other friends) behind. I never realized that I am actually kind of a homebody! Thank goodness for Skype and Facetime or else I might not recognize Lottie when I come home in 3 weeks. I’m only kidding but she is growing and learning at a fast pace. Luckily I have a week to settle in before classes begin which allows me to re-familiarize myself with campus and a sleeping routine. Can’t wait to share photos from my new room with you. Take care. ♥ Molly

Alphabetically Speaking

Nothing was flowing as I typed this morning. I tried to write about my recent efforts to meditate, but I couldn’t come up with inspiring words to help you see the benefits of finding peace within your mind. I was going to talk about how I am packing for University, but posting pictures of my messy room wouldn’t be eye appealing and I don’t have a DIY project for dorm rooms quite yet. I thought about sharing a recipe, but recently my cooking and baking haven’t been out of the norm or anything special. There was also the idea of writing a book or restaurant review, but my words weren’t doing either justice. So instead, I chose to take an easier route by completing an alphabetical questionnaire that has been floating around the blog world lately. I’m not sure if you’ll be surprised by any of my answers but it’s a great way to find out a few additional fun facts about me. ♥ Molly

“Stay true to yourself because there are very few people who will always be true to you.” 

A. Attached or Single? Single!

B. Best Friend? I have quite a few and I am confident that they know who they are. I also consider my siblings and parents to be some of my closest acquaintances since they have supported me my entire life.IMG_3788

C. Cake or pie? Does cheesecake count? I’m not keen on pie crust but I do love lemon, rhubarb, apple and pumpkin filling!

D. Day of choice? I like Fridays because I have the schedule of being in school, but I can look forward to being able to rest on the weekend. There’s also no pressure to get things done since I have two school-free days to complete tasks. Saturdays are second best because I can relax but it doesn’t mark the end of the weekend.

E. Essential Item? My iPhone. It allows me to create lists, take pictures, stay connected through Texting, Facebook, E-mail, Instagram and Twitter, write blog posts and can even be used as a Calendar, Calculator or GPS.

F. Favorite color? Pink! Although turquoise is quickly catching up!DSC05383

G. Gummy bears or worms? To me gummy bears and worms taste the exact same. I do enjoy stretching gymmy worms and the neon flavours are pretty neat!

H. Home town? Peterborough, Ontario!

I. Favourite Indulgence? Ice cream although I’d hardly consider it an indulgence since I eat it on a daily basis.Yum

J. January or July? I love the weather in July although January marks the beginning of the year which is always refreshing.

K. Kids? I hope to have 3 to 4.

L. Life isn’t complete without? Steadtler Fine-Tip Markers! I’m only kidding… Happiness.20

M. Marriage date? I used to say I wanted to be married by 24 but that only gives me 4 years to find my Prince. Let’s just say the distant future, most likely during summer.

N. Number of brothers/sisters? 2 sisters, 1 brother and 1 brother-in-law! I’m the youngest followed by Emma, Nathan and finally Caitlin (the oldest).

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples because I like a good crunch plus oranges take longer to prepare. I’m all for convenience. Pink Ladies or Royal Galas to name a few.IMG_8338

P. Phobias? Loud chewers and Spiders. They both make me cringe.

Q. Quotes? “You is kind, You is smart, You is important” – The Help, Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

R. Reasons to smile? Because it takes fewer muscles than frowning, because it’s the cheapest thing to wear, because it spreads positivity, because it makes others happy to see, but most importantly, because I genuinely can and haven’t always been able to.IMG_0485

S. Season of choice? Spring tulips, Summer hydrangeas, Fall leaves and the crisp snow of Winter. In terms of temperature, Summer for sure! I hate the cold, brrr.

T. Tag 5 People. Anyone and everyone.

U. Unknown facts about me? I can curl my tongue into a three-leaf clover. My hair colour is natural, it hasn’t ever been dyed. I’ve always worn a homemade (Thanks Mom!) halloween costume (or recycled dance costume).  My favourites include Madeline (Age 6-7), Pippi Longstocking (Age 8-9), Paper Bag Princess (Age 12) and a Peacock (I made this one myself – Age 19).IMG_0605IMG_0592

V. Vegetable? It’s harder to name a vegetable I don’t like. If I had to choose, I would probably pick red onions as my favourite.

W. Worst habit? Never feeling good enough. I often have trouble believing in myself because I can’t seem look beyond comparisons long enough to recognize my own potential.

X. Xray or Ultrasound? I’ve had both done!

Y. Your favorite food? Everything in moderation right? Except sushi! It’s labour intensive but I do enjoy making it! IMG_7441

Z. Zodiac sign? Cancer. The Crab. Water element. Moon planet. Sensitive, dependable, romantic, creative and protective. Hypothetically I should like the colour silver and my lucky day is Monday which completely contradicts the above statements!

WIAW: Light Lunch Menu

Whenever we host a gathering I am usually assigned to food preparation since I am easily distracted when I try to dust, vacuum or tidy. I think it’s a win-win situation since my Emma and my Mom are great cleaners and my Dad and I enjoy cooking. Our family members compliment each other well. IMG_6267

On Saturday, my Mom’s Sister and her Husband came to our house for a visit. We had every intent on going swimming in our backyard but the weather fell through and rained away our plans. My brother-in-law Aaron had even brought this fun pool toy for me to try out. Who needs to swim lengths when this thing pulls you through the water?! IMG_6286

Regardless, it was nice to see my Aunt and Uncle and I know they liked meeting Lottie for the first time. She was the center of attention… next to the food that is. I’m only kidding but we did offer them lunch and afternoon tea since it is a long commute from their house to ours. We figured lighter foods were in need because the heat was very much still present despite the rain. Here’s the menu we came up with.

IMG_6255To Drink: Lime infused Water, Lemonade with Blueberries and Lemon Slices

IMG_6258Starter: Chilled Cucumber Soup

IMG_6257 IMG_6252 IMG_6250 IMG_6271Main: Couscous Salad (Sliced Onions and Red Pepper, Plain Yogurt, Toasted Almonds (Optional), Cumin, Cooked Couscous), Tomato Salad (Fresh and Dried Basil, Tomato, Bocconcini Cheese, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegraitte), Coleslaw, Potato Salad, Vegetable Platter, Sandwich Quarters (Cucumber and Cream Cheese, Turkey and Spinach, Egg Salad, Roast Beef and Romaine)

Our lunch left us fairly satisfied but we still managed to make room for some homemade chocolate chip cookies and chai tea. We even enjoyed fresh butter tarts courtesy of our guests. Thank you again! Dessert isn’t complete without fresh fruit so we served fruit salad that we ate using some super cute skewers Emma had pre-made using washi tape. My Mom also decorated our house using hydrangeas from our gardens. These flowers never cease to amaze me as they change from blue to pink depending on the acidity of our garden’s soil!IMG_6276 IMG_6279IMG_6234 IMG_6235

We concluded the afternoon with some cold meats, shrimp, cheese and crackers and then parted our ways. It was nice to catch up as we don’t see those relatives often enough plus it gives me a great reason to wear a fancier dress (not that I need an excuse). My Aunt even brought over some letters she had saved that my Mom had written her. Some were from when my Mom was in High School and others were from just after Caitlin was born. My Mom’s writing hasn’t changed a bit – Is that not the perfect Kindergarten teacher printing?IMG_6965 IMG_3031photo-115 photo-118

Well that’s what we ate last Saturday. Thanks again Jenn for hosting this WIAW link-up!  What do you enjoy serving for lunch gatherings during the summer? Has this heat left you snacking on cold salads and sandwiches rather than grilled paninis and hot soups?  I know Jenn posted a great Sweet Potato and Spinach Frittata recipe earlier this week which would serve well at a brunch. ♥ Molly

“In family relationships love is spelled T-I-M-E.”- Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

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MIMM #4: Positive Reminders

I think it is important for you all to know that I am still working on my recovery from mental illnesses. I am by no means 100% recovered from disordered thinking around food, weight and happiness. These days, my mood is much more stable and I am pretty happy-go-lucky however I do still have episodes of negative self talk that bring me down. “Bubbly, Personable, Happy, Smiley, High-Spirited, Fun” are all terms used to describe me but they also go against my diagnosis of being chronically “sad”. How? The reality is you can be depressed and cheerful at the same time.

I don’t say this to earn sympathy but rather to avoid comparisons. Too often bloggers glaze over their lives only highlighting the “happy” moments. I post pictures of my room when it is tidy and avoid photographing it’s areas of clutter. I only post recipes that I have perfected but that doesn’t mean they started out as 100% fail-proof. I appear as though I never get in fights with friends or family but in truth, I am a human as well and I don’t have flawless relationships. Some bloggers are inclined to showcasing the fun activities they do, without letting on that they have moments of “doing nothing” as well. I don’t think I’d earn many followers if all I ever did was complain since nobody wants to be left feeling emotionally drained after reading a post. I think it’s strong that some bloggers are able to admit to the hard times they are facing and shed light on issues so many of us battle on an everyday basis. CaitPlusAte and ItzLinz are two of my favourite blogs for this reason since they address sensitive subjects while remaining positive and inspirational.

So while I might appear to have my life in order, rest assured it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I live a happy life and most of my smiles are genuine, but that’s because I have plans in place to lift my spirits when moments of sadness arise. Marvelous is having continuous support and unconditional love whether I feel I deserve it or not. My friends and family continue to remind me that they have my back. In times of sadness I have a little bucket of marvelous “reminders” as to what is marvelous about life and what others find marvelous about me.

IMG_6295 Screen Shot 2013-07-28 at 2.54.58 PMPositive Affirmation Books: No matter how old you are, I truly believe you need to own at least one picture book. These three books, “Heart Thoughts”, “In the Garden of Thoughts” and “Every Thing Is Going To Be OK”,  contain inspirational thoughts that are not only uplifting but empowering. Accompanied by whimsical illustrations or photographs, these books always leave me feeling happier and more optimistic.  “If you stumbled today, remember where and how it felt. Tomorrow, take a different path. Life flourishes from its pain and the lessons we gain.” – Dodinsky

IMG_6305Blessed Bracelet: The idea is to wear this bracelet until it fades in colour and eventually falls off. These bracelets have been carried through India and blessed with love on the banks of River Ganges. I was given two from my Life Coach as a reminder not to worry about the past or future but to live blessed in the moment. The colour red symbolizes protection, healing, commitment and spirituality. The first one stayed on my wrist for over four months and I have yet to tie the second one onto my wrist. “When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” – C.S. Lewis

IMG_6113 IMG_6302“Why We Love You” Letters: For my twentieth birthday, two of my best friends, Elyse and Caitlin, compiled a box filled with 20 letters from my closest friends and family members for me to read next year when I am away at University. Since I couldn’t wait until I felt sad, I read them all in one night, but I will definitely continue to re-read them in moments when I need to be cheered up. It was neat to see which memories were most prominent in the minds of others. My dad wrote a poem recalling when I ran around an MBA court with the “Raptors Flag”. The comments were so flattering and made me feel very important and special.  Some were stories from when I was a baby, others were work-related,  some were just funny things I’ve said (and wish others had forgotten by now) and of course some offered advice for my future. One of my favourites came from my niece Lottie as she signed it only with ooo’s (not xo’s) since she still hasn’t learned to kiss yet! What a cutie! Elyse and Caitlin also included some inspirational quotes and fun photographs they pulled from my instagram and pinterest accounts. “I remember your drive, passion, determination, and insane energy from your grade 7 year like it was yesterday. I remember your landfill, your lock bridge, your uber-organized binders and your straight A’s. I always loved how you presented yourself with such poise, but were so darn adorable in your little cardigans.” – Tammy

photo-89Willow Tree Angels: Angels are said to represent protection, inner peace, virtue and love. Today I have three and each one offers me comfort when I am searching for answers. I purchased myself the Angel of Freedom, was given the Angel of Happiness from my grade 12 English teacher on the day I graduated, and the Angel of Friendship actually belongs to my mom but I keep it in my room.
“Angels have no philosophy but love.” – Terri Guillemets

IMG_5982Pandora Bracelet: Last year for my birthday, Elyse and Caitlin gave me my Pandora bracelet along with the “Inner Strength”, “Journey” and “Angel of Hope” charms. They both have the “Journey” charm as well to symbolize that they will always fight alongside of me. While we were away in France, my family gave me the “Eiffel Tower” charm. They also gave me the “Camera” charm since I love photography. This year Joyce gave me the “Faith” charm. Each charm is so special since I didn’t purchase them myself and instead they were given to me as a reminder of friendship or love. While wearing the bracelet I am constantly thinking of those who believe in my potential. “Friends give us the courage to lift the blinds on our hearts to open up and show what we generally keep hidden from the rest of world.” – Ritu Ghatourey

IMG_6292Oracle Cards: These decks help me to manifest my thoughts and put words to my feelings. They seem to relate to whatever emotion I am experiencing, happy or sad, confused or awakened, and offer vague advice open for personal interpretation. “Today I will tell myself that who I am is okay, and that what I am doing is good enough. Of course I make mistakes and get offtrack sometimes, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not as good as everyone else. No one is perfect and that’s just fine.” – Melody Beattie

MiMM1Happiness is a journey not a destination, similar to the path towards recovery. You don’t get to a state of utter confusion and chaos overnight, so you can’t expect to be healed in a second. Even in my worst days, there is something marvelous to be celebrated. Thank you Katie, for yet another wonderful link-up that reminded me to take time to reflect on marvelous memories.  ♥ Molly

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

MIMM #3: Birthday Celebrations

First off, I just wanted to thank everyone who wished me a happy 20th birthday on Thursday. It was so kind of people to take the time to acknowledge my special day, and none of those comments went unappreciated. My birthday was definitely marvelous!

To say this past week was “busy” would be an understatement. From shopping in Toronto to driving lessons in Oakville, appointments to eating almost every meal out, each minute has been spent on the go. I’ve been waking up earlier and going to bed later than normal, and many nights haven’t been slept in my own familiar bed. While it’s been fun and the constant shuffling is a distraction from my anxieties, I was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone a majority of the time. Thankfully supportive people surrounded me so most of my worries and challenges went unnoticed. While I enjoyed eating out, I do miss saving money by cooking for myself. Shopping was fun and I found so many purchases that I wanted to buy, but again trying on clothing and spending money on myself isn’t one of my strong suits. One regret I didn’t have, was watching “High School Musical” and “Glee” during my Toronto sleepover with Megan. I might be twenty but the dancing and singing performed by Vanessa and Zac were just as enjoyable as when I was 13! Megan and I share similar personality traits, and we can be pretty boring when it comes to boys and bars. We both find cheesy lyrics and chemistry class a bit too fun but we are also able to laugh at our quirks. It’s marvelous.

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Since my birthday falls in the middle of July, which is prime vacation time, many of my birthdays have been spent in travel. Honestly, I’d have it no other way. It’s marvelous to celebrate abroad! When I was little, the added attention of “Birthdays” didn’t seem to phase me. I loved hosting a party, eating cake, and appreciated the gifts. Over the years, I’ve begun to feel undeserving of my celebration and the extra acknowledgements, so on my actual birthday it’s easier to be doing a family activity than something centered around me.

Sometimes we are at cottages, last year we were in France and this year we decided to venture into Buffalo for some shopping. For all of you who live in the States, I envy your assortment of Goldfish Crackers and Chobani! You also have some pretty cool coupon clippings! When we got home around 8:00p.m. I decided to open up my presents. I noticed there was a very appropriate theme going on which all had to do with baking and ice cream. If you read yesterday’s post you know that I’ve never enjoyed ice cream more than I have this summer. My sister Caitlin, her husband Aaron and her daughter Lottie all gave me an ice cream maker with some cute ice cream cups. They match my residence room perfectly. They also included a marvelous ice cream cone card. Emma is very crafty and as one of my gifts, made a “neapolitan” ice cream cone using a base she purchased from Anthropologie and pom poms she made out of wool. She wrapped hers using ice cream cone stickers. My brother is an avid Poker player so he made me “Win” my present. We played a round of simplified poker in which I dominated and won a generous monetary gift. Amongst many clothes and other things, my parents gave me money towards my trip to Myrtle Beach, Lululemon and Ivivva, an individual cupcake platter that has a glass bell and this really neat “memory” stamp.

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Of course, my friends don’t let me escape all of the attention. Joyce showered me with gifts, Megan took me out for Frozen Yogurt and I went for appetizers and drinks with Caitlin and Elyse. My friends are marvelous to say the least. Caitlin and Elyse made me a “Because I love you…” memory box. I’m definitely going to be talking more about how much I appreciate inspirational and sentimental gifts later this week. This present hit the spot and left me in tears of joy all night. I am so blessed to have such incredible friends and family. I really couldn’t be more fortunate!

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The last marvelous thing I want to mention about the week was receiving marvelous birthday “perks”. Does anyone else enjoy signing up for birthday “perks”? I was able to receive a free lipgloss and mascara from Sephora and I have yet to redeem my coupons for a free ice cream at Marble Slab, a free starbucks beverage or food item, a free meal at Milestones and a free yoga class (plus I can bring a friend) at both Kula and The Clarity Centre… and those are just the perks that interested me most!

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So there is a very brief (well actually pretty long) summary of my week, although I am sure more will come out through WIAW. After all, I have to share some of the neat eats and treats that I enjoyed.  Don’t forget to check out the other MIMM posts linked up at Healthy Diva Eats. Katie celebrated her husband Mike’s birthday this past weekend. Happy Birthday Mike! Thanks again Katie for hosting MIMM, it’s such a great way to reflect on the marvelous life that I live, and to look forward on the great things that are planned in my upcoming week. What do you like to do on your birthday? Are you a fan of the added attention? What was marvelous about last week and what marvelous events are to come? ♥ Molly

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou (… And I will never forget how happy and special everyone has made me feel throughout my birthday week. I am so grateful.)

Wacky Weather

I had every intent on posting a restaurant review, but after the flash floods in the Greater Toronto Area, I decided I’d do a weather recap instead!

We haven’t had a blackout in Oakville for ten years. Back in 2003, I was shopping in a local mall with my mom and sisters when stores starting closing their doors. We all figured something was the matter, so we got into our car expecting to drive home, only to be halted by heavy traffic. We noticed the streetlights were out and suspected a power outage, but it wasn’t until we reached our house that our suspicions were confirmed. To be honest, what I remember most is our neighbours handing out popsicles and ice cream bars at the park behind my house, in hopes of emptying their freezers before the food went bad, melted or thawed. The blackout was caused by the sudden elevation in temperature, and lasted two days. Our subdivision was brand new at the time, so we were the last to have our power fixed. My mom took us out for breakfast, which made the experience seem more pleasurable than not.

Yesterday, while I was fortunate not to be directly affected by the rainstorm, over 300 000 houses in the greater Toronto area lost their power yet again. Environment Canada reported 106 mm of rain fell at Pearson Airport which almost breaks the record of the Hurricane Hazel record for single day rainfall.

Emma took this photo as they were driving home from Toronto!

Emma took this photo as they were driving home from Toronto!

My mom, dad and Emma weren’t quite as lucky, and found themselves caught in a flood as they drove home from apartment hunting. While they arrived home safely, it was definitely a longer drive then they had intended. Emma and my mom seem to get stuck in the worst of weather. Two yeas ago they were in New York City during Hurricane Irene, and last year they were driving home from London, Ontario only to be hit by a wild turkey. Yes, that’s right, a wild turkey broke the windshielf of our van, leaving my mom and Emma unharmed but shaken.

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The impact of the Wild Turkey!

My hope is that everyone stayed safe and sound in their homes yesterday. Between the devastating water damage in Calgary, and Toronto’s wacky weather, many houses have had to be evacuated. It’s in times like these where the foundation of a house is less important than the foundation of friendships. It is sad to see so many photographs lost, but memories will be mended and homes are already starting to be rebuilt.

I personally enjoy the sound of thunder in my ears, and the sight of lightening in the sky. It’s a beautiful production in the sky. There is something soothing about hearing raindrops dance on windows, while curling up with a cup of tea under a warm blanket.

Chai Cinnamon Tea with Frothed Milk!

Chai Cinnamon Tea with Frothed Milk!

This being said, I will be driving to London, Ontario later today, so I am hoping that the skies stay clear. Being able to stay dry inside is much different than driving in dangerous conditions. How do rainstorms, heavy winds, power outages affect you? Are you afraid of the dark, thunder or lightening? ♥ Molly

“After a storm comes a calm.” – Matthew Henry

MIMM #1

This summer I am not working, so I am able to live a more relaxed lifestyle. While I do love a schedule to keep me on task, it has been nice to make last-minute plans with friends. Despite not having a set routine, I still seem to be keeping pretty busy. From the upbeat “Color Me Rad” race, to low-key Strawberry picking, I’m so thankful for everything that I’ve had the privilege of doing this summer. My life has been pretty “marvelous” so in appreciation, I’ve decided to participate in Katie’s “Marvelous In My Monday” link-up.

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Marvelous is sitting down for a family meal, cooked by someone with love. It’s learning about what is going on in the lives of your parents or siblings, because you are truly interested in hearing what they have been up to.

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Marvelous is for the moments when you wake up to the sound of birds chirping in time to see the sunrise and for the times when you sleep in unexpectedly. It’s for falling asleep while reading a good book, but also for the times when you wake up energized for the day ahead.

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Marvelous is being able to get together with a friend who you haven’t seen for a while, without it being awkward since you share so many similar passions and interests. It’s for having friends like Chelsea, who you can ask for good recommendations when it comes to television shows, books, restaurants and foods.

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Marvelous is trying a new restaurant or a new dish, and eating until you are completely satisfied. It’s being able to pick an item off of the menu that you truly want or are craving, able it’s being able to enjoy every mouthful without regret.

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Marvelous is staying active in your every day life, whether walking to get the mail, biking to the library or completing a workout video. It’s being able to go to the gym five days in a row because you enjoy exercising, but it’s also being able to take several days off without guilt.

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Marvelous is catching up on a TV series with a cup of tea in your hands. It’s being able to watch an uneducational show without feeling lazy, because you find yourself entertained by the humour and suspense.

Marvelous is spending time smiling and laughing with family. It’s watching your niece learn and grow, as she discovers new things each and every day.

photo-95I have so many great adventures to come this summer, but already, I’ve managed to make my day to day life pretty marvelous. Thank you Katie and everyone else, for reminding me how marvelous my life truly is. Be sure to check what other bloggers find marvellous in their life, as it is a great way to find favourite products, DIY projects, new recipes, motivating quotes, fun songs and of course fitness tips. I bet Katie has had a lot of marvelous moments this past week, as she recently delivered a handsome and healthy baby boy named Rocco. He is definitely a bundle of joy and my best wishes out to their growing family.  ♥ Molly

“It is always the simple that produces the marvellous.” – Amelia Barr

Family Fashion Show

It’s Fashion Friday… Only one day late! I had high hopes of publishing this post yesterday, but after a long night on the runway, I woke up too tired to do the event justice. My apologies in advance for the quality of photography, as I only had my iPhone to document the evening. I know what you are thinking… If you give me 7inch heels, I can pretend to be 6 feet tall, but the reality is, my frame is “petite” and I am by no means “runway” material. As a kid, I did a few modeling classes here and there, but I much preferred competitive dancing to posing. I’ve been told I could do “commercials” because I have a bubbly personality and a versatile look, but my face is far too “young” for the runway. photo-91 First Outfit

1. Sunstrip Pullover 2. Pilcro Hyphen Relaxed Jeans 3. Brixton Satchel

So when Emma came home from her job eagerly presenting this “Mini Fashion Show” opportunity, I didn’t exactly know what to say. Emma works a retail position at Anthropologie in Oakville. While my frame fits better into Urban Outfitters, a sister company, Anthropologie is by far Caitlin’s, Emma’s and my Mom’s favourite store! Their materials are durable yet feminine, their styles are unique but still trendy and their accessories can definitely take an outfit to the next level. Don’t even get me started on their kitchen and home décor section. If only money was unlimited!

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1. Shadow Bloom Top 2. Striped Remy Skirt 3. Matte Geo Shades

The great part about Anthropologie is that they really engage in appreciating their customers. Sometimes they offer complimentary lemonade as a refreshing treat, and in this case, they were putting on a fashion show at the Shops of Don Mills in Toronto for loyal shoppers! The fashion show did a great job representing a range of body types and ages. It was a family affair as my mom, Emma and I all modelled. My grandmother, Caitlin and Lottie also came to watch the event. Afterwards, they had cake pops, chicken skewers, tomato with boccaccini cheese and even Sangria. photo-93 IMG_2365-1 photo-94 The event was fun, and even got me thinking about how I can better dress my body, since their stylist chose out my two outfits. It was a great way to see clothing come to life, and to try on outfits you wouldn’t normally dress yourself in. Thank you Anthropologie for putting on a fun evening. ♥ Molly

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” – Yves Saint-Laurent

Strawberry Fields

There is nothing sweeter than picking strawberries on a warm summer morning. On the way home, the delightful aroma filled the car, bringing with it fond memories of childhood trips to the strawberry fields. My sister and mom decided that it was time for a summer adventure and the idea of picking fruit sounded tasty, affordable and fun! We woke up extra early to beat the heat, and have a fresh selection. Of course, you can’t just pick a few strawberries when you go, because it is far too much fun. We ended up leaving with two full baskets, plenty to be eaten fresh, baked into a pie, blended into smoothies, sliced on top of yogurt or turned into sauces and jams. ♥ Molly

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

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