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Remember the Zombies?

25 Jul

Last August I became a member of the ZAP!Army. Our modus operandi was to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse; endurance, weaponry, survival etc.

Okay, so it was a way to trick ourselves into working out. Geez, spoil all the fun!

Anyway, I purchased a cool app called Zombies, Run! and started running training for the apocalypse. It was all AHHHH, ZOMBIES! on the treadmill in my basement for 3 months followed by UGHHH, NOW IT HURTS TO WALK!

That’s right folks, I had a case of the runner’s hip (Yes, I probably just made that up). Basically a couple days after a run I’d be walking down the street – do dee do do – (that’s the sound I make when I walk) and then my hip would quite literally GIVE OUT WITHOUT WARNING.

Now I’m not the most coordinated person, but I usually have walking down pat so this started to freak me out. When I told my doctor she advised me to stop running. Not to be confused with stop exercising, which I tried to get her to prescribe. She didn’t go for that one.

Because I live in Winnipeg and by that time it was October and therefore winter (I kid you not) I couldn’t test my theory that it was running on a treadmill that was causing the damage. So I stopped running and forgot all about the Zombies. Side note: I’m thankful the Zombie Apocalypse hasn’t happened yet.

Then the other day my cool friend Ang sent me an email stating she had taken up running and it got me thinking,

Hey! I used to run from Zombies. That was kinda fun.

You know, minus the danger of having my brains eaten and the whole broken hip and falling thing.

I kinda wanted to start running again. And since it’s only a few weeks till winter again – I kid, I kid! No really though, it’s almost August! – I asked Brandon if he’d go running with me. I’d run from Zombies and he’d just be there to support me. Or act as fodder. Either way ;) So Tuesday morning we suited up and hit the streets.

Running from Zombies was not how I remembered it. First off, my app was doing strange things. I chalk this up to the app having an artificial intelligence and being pissed at me for giving it the cold shoulder for so many months. Yes, that’s entirely possible ;)

Next was the whole running thing. I think I just like the IDEA of running, because in practice ERRRMEEGGERD it SUCKS! Okay so it wasn’t THAT bad. (Yes, it was)

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Just before the icky feeling set in.

I was fine for like the first kilometer but then, THEN, my stomach started doing this weird flippy thing. You know the kind where you start searching for a bathroom?

Yeah…that one :(

Except now it was like the second kilometer and I still had a kilometer left before we were BACK HOME. I looked over at Brandon; I don’t think he had even broken a sweat.

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*shakes fist at 6’2″ husband with LOOONG strides*

So I stopped running and started walking, hoping that the icky feeling would pass. It didn’t. In fact it got SO MUCH WORSE. By the time we reached our place I was sweating and seeing patchy white spots. I nearly plowed over my mom as I ran in for the bathroom.

So that was my first run in 9 months. Glamorous, right? *face palm*

Complete Distraction

23 Jul

Now that Brandon is OFFICIALLY finished work (until we move to Vancouver) he’s taken on the role – and official title – of Complete Distraction. With about 6 weeks left in Winnipeg, he’s hell-bent on making the most of our time. This includes taking me out on lovely – yet distracting – jaunts. Monday’s jaunt was to Assiniboine Park – Winnipeg’s largest park.

Established in 1904, the park includes the Assiniboine Park Zoo, Conservatory, English Gardens, Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, Restaurants, the Lyric Theatre, a Duck Pond, Cricket, Soccer, Baseball, Volleyball and Picnic Sites. It even has its own steam train line. It’s jam-packed with GOODNESS!

Undeterred by the clouds and roaring wind, we headed to the English Gardens.

Next stop, Leo Mol Sculpture Gardens for some lovely bronze sculptures. One of the sculptures got a little fresh with Brandon ;)

On our way to find a lovely picnic spot (chocolate & drinks = YUMMY PICNIC) I came across some beautiful words. Kinda summed up our day! <insert ooey-gooey comments here ;) )

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Life in Transition

18 Jul

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So I’m knee-deep in transition mode right now. I’m writing this post from the kitchen table of my mom’s place (buh-bye lovely office).

Operation Live Your Dreams is in FULL SWING. We’ve sold our house (buh-bye 1860 square feet of oh so delicious space!) and moved in with mummy until the BIG MOVE in September.

It’s a transition. This means it has advantages and disadvantages, don’t ya know!

Disadvantage(s): Umm…yeah…moved BACK HOME (again!) We went from two people sharing 1860 sq. feet to three people sharing half that space. Our bed BARELY fits in our bedroom. Just saying.

Advantage(s): Save money! Yup that’s a biggie. The more money saved, the more we can give this dream business a chance.

Plus, when we finally make the move to our 600 sq. foot apartment (let’s HOPE it’s that big) in Vancouver, it’s gonna feel HUGE!

So far advantages are outweighing the disadvantages. GOOD STUFF! But sarrisously (yes, that’s how I say seriously, just ask Brandon) I can’t complain. Sacrifices must be made in order to start living the life I want. Balance will be restored in the long run. And really, what do I need all that space for anyways right? Just more room to collect clutter that I DON’T NEED.

*Side Note: Must look into minimalist life*

No more easy roads for me (unless it’s in line with my dreams than SCORE!) So there you have it folks; one woman’s journey to living the dream! :)

Chapter 3 or Make Your Dreams a Reality, YO!

16 Jul

So where were we? Ah yes, I left you on the edge of your seat (I’m sure!) with an itch. Hmm, I better rephrase that.

In 2011, after 2 1/2 years of working my if-any-desk-job-will-work-it’s-this-one I started feeling that familiar longing. I say longing because there’s really no other way to describe it. Other than an itch which makes me sound horribly contagious. Which I AM NOT.

Then I read a book. Not usually a big OMG moment. As an avid reader that’s what you do. Except this time it was an OMG moment because this little book got me thinking about my life. As in, how much I wasn’t happy with it (specifically career wise). The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau gave me a glimmer of hope that I could follow my dreams and be successful. The spark inside grew bigger.

Then my step-brother died.

Life = Short = Unpredictable Ending = OMG DO SOMETHING NOW!

All bets were off. I NEEDED to start living the life I WANTED to live and not the one society TOLD me to live. I wanted to scream because I was right back where I was in 2006. Standing on the edge of something HUGE and scared (again) to take the leap. And I started thinking,

How many more times am I gonna do this before I jump?

I was tired of ending up in the same place. It’s like banging your head against the wall and expecting different results; IT HURTS and no matter how many times you do it, IT STILL HURTS.

I’d given this unfulfilling career path 18 years of my life! I think we can agree that’s more than enough chances. So I began making plans. An exit strategy if you will.

In March of 2012 I had a heart to heart with Brandon about my dreams of coaching, publishing my novels and selling my art. I told him my heart wanted to be in Vancouver. We had LONG TALKS about how to really do this; ones I’ll spare you the details of. I enrolled in a coaching course in June and dedicated all my spare time to creating my business. When I wasn’t studying or going to class or working full time, I painted. I created a shop on Etsy and sold some of my art. Things were moving. All except the Vancouver move. We still had LONG TALKS about this.

Over the course of 2012, little things began to change in our life that started pushing us towards taking the BIG leap to move. We both started seeing life from a different angle. By September 2012, Brandon agreed to the move. He’d been quietly watching as I pursued my dreams and felt inspired to make some changes too. He dreamed of a career that would make him happy. We set a move date for May 2015. It still seemed like an impossible goal for both of us, but we were taking the leap. I wasn’t happy with the initial move date. It felt to me as though I’d just agreed to put my life on hold for 3 years. On the other hand, Brandon had agreed to move to Vancouver…so….YAY! I held out hope that as we got closer, the move date would be bumped up.

It did.

In December 2012 we upped the date to 2014. By January it was upped again to September 2013. Life just kept sending us signs that delaying the move wasn’t in our best interest. Plus my job with the government wasn’t a sure thing anymore.

Back in April of 2012 the government began cutting positions and laying off employees. It was right around my let’s-follow-our-dreams conversation with Brandon. (See how life can start sending you signs?) I worried that I’d lose my job before I was ready to quit. More LONG TALKS ensued.

A program called Alternation was implemented so that people who were looking to leave the government could “swap” positions with those that were affected by the reduction. It ensured (or at least tried to) that those who wanted to stay – stayed and those who wanted to leave – left. Of course it’s much more complicated than that but that’s the gist.

In February 2013 I put my name on the alternation list to leave. Brandon and I both agreed that the earliest I could accept an alternation was May. Every day as I walked to work I sent a little prayer out to the Universe for an alternation in May.

It wasn’t just that I was tired of working at a job that no longer made me happy (though I was). I wanted to spend the months leading up to the move 100% focused on my business. Accepting an alternation meant I’d not only have the time, but also 6 months of pay as part of the alternation package. A nice cushion that would help ease the burden. (To which I am SO THANKFUL FOR!)

The Universe (or whatever you choose to believe) heard my pleas and in May I found a replacement for my position. I said goodbye my desk job on my birthday, May 9th. Happy 34th Birthday to me! The next day we hopped a plane to visit friends in Seattle for a few days then on to Vancouver for some apartment/neighbourhood hunting. May was a whirlwind!

We sold our house in June and moved back home with my mom July 2nd. And that’s where we are now folks. Operation Make  Your Dreams a Reality, YO! is in full force.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I intend on blogging about our journey; the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s my hope that our journey will inspire others to follow theirs. :)

Crossroads Deuxième partie

11 Jul

Yes, I’m multi-lingual. (Confession: I’m using Google translat

So today I’ll be discussing the second major crossroad I’ve encountered in the last few years. This crossroads took place in 2009.

Having recently quit my long time boring desk job office job in 2008 as a business analyst at a well-known insurance company, (No names please!) I found myself working for a small business owner….for less pay….as a receptionist. *face palm*

I made the transition from a place of desperation. The business analyst work was boring. It was a newly created position and I spent long hours “finding work” to keep me busy. Not cool. So like I said, the move was a desperate one. Sure it was less pay, but I’ve always maintained that the money didn’t matter as long as I liked the work. SPOILERS: I didn’t like this work either.

In fact the old saying Jumping from the frying pan into the fire pretty much summed up that experience.

Oh look! Fire!

Oh look! Fire!

8 months in and I was so incredibly depressed I began contemplating my demise. On my drive home at lunch I thought about ramming my car into the median so I didn’t have to go back to work.

Yup, that’s how bad it was.

I started therapy. It was my second round in 7 years. This time I was completely focused on how much I hated my job. (The first revolved around my parents divorce and a rather rocky relationship with my ex-mother-in-law) The psychologist was blunt with me – just how I like it – and asked “Why don’t you just quit your job?”

HA! Quit my job? Without a backup plan? Yeah right! Easy for a psychologist to say. She probably had LOADS of money stashed away for “emergencies” or what not. This girl had a grand put away for a holiday in England but THAT WAS IT.

But she persisted. I went home after my session and told Brandon (we were just dating at the time) about my psychologist’s advice. Needless to say he was less than pleased that she was trying to convince me to stop working. I could see him calculating how we’d pay the bills. And then I told him about the driving-into-oncoming-traffic thoughts and my concern that if I didn’t leave the toxic environment that I was working in (my boss was verbally and mentally  abusive) that I wasn’t sure how much longer I’d be around. You know…like breathing and stuff.

I was scared. Brandon was scared. So we agreed that I’d quit the next day.

Hello, Crossroads!

You might think that was the crossroads, and I guess in a lot of ways it was. But really it’s what happened after that I want to focus on. I spent the next 3 months unemployed. I was finding myself. Trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

I cried. I journalled. I began meditating. I started drawing with charcoals and pastels. I felt better. I found that having a positive attitude was helpful. It wasn’t easy, but I pulled myself out of my depression and began thinking clearly.

It was right around this time the whole making-money-job-thingy raised it’s ugly head. I was no closer to figuring out what I wanted to do. I contemplated going back to school but couldn’t decide what to study. All the while I was applying for (pardon my language) shitty office work to help pay the bills.

But a part of me – a rather large part – knew office work wasn’t the answer. I wanted to use my creativity. I wanted to use my hands. I dreamed of becoming a successful author and artist.  I called these my if I had a million dollars dreams. About as likely to happen as me living in a castle.

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And with all my millions I’ll buy this to live in!

Because for me – in that moment – there seemed like no other way to earn money doing what I loved. And when it came down to it, that’s all I really wanted. To get up each morning and do the work I LOVED!

I secretly wanted to follow my heart but DAMN was that SCARY. So the fork in the road appeared and I took the easy, familiar path. I was offered an office job (OH NO!) with the federal government and took it. The pay was awesome and I figured if I could make any office job work, then it would be this one.

Boy was I wrong.

2 1/2 years in I started getting that same itch. The one that kept coming up. The one that just needed to be scratched. But that story is best left for part three ;)

Christmas in July – SALE on Art!

10 Jul

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I’ve decided to have a SALE on my art because who doesn’t LOVE a deal, right?! RIGHT?!

Visit my Etsy shop and receive 50% off EVERYTHING by using the coupon code MEMBERS1. But hurry! This offer is only valid till the end of July.

Ink Me

9 Jul

As part of my new career and journey in life I decided to get some ink. It was important for me to select something that was both meaningful and a helpful reminder to be patient with the changes in my life. I chose a mantra that I started using 4 years ago. What do you think?

Tattoo 1 Tattoo 2http://sydneyaaliyah.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/sydtattwo.jpgCheck out my feature on Sydney Aaliyah’s Tattoo Tuesday. It talks all about my complete obsession love of tattoos!

Crossroads Numero Uno

4 Jul

There has been three very distinct moments in my life when I was faced with a fork in the road. I’m certain there have been many more than this over my 34 years but like I said, three really stand out for me. It’s these three moments that I want to share with you.

The first moment happened in 2005. I was 26 years old and had recently split from my husband. All together we had spent nearly 10 years together so to say it was traumatic is probably an understatement. At the time we were living in Nelson, BC and my family and most of my friends were back in Winnipeg, MB. When we split my family wanted me to come back home. They wanted to see me. They wanted to comfort me.

I didn’t want this.

Going home was the equivalent of failing. At least that’s how it felt. So I agreed to a two-week vacation to visit before I moved on with my life. I had arranged to move to Whistler, BC with a friend who had lived there before. We would get a place together and I’d “move on”.

With my plans in place I hopped a plane to Winnipeg. The visit was good, but hard. Part of me was anxious to leave while the familiar comforted the other part.

The two weeks passed quickly and before I knew it I was back on a plane to Vancouver. From there I’d meet my friend and drive out to Whistler to look for a place to live.

Whistler is beautiful. If you’ve never been I would recommend you going. It was April by the time I arrived and the ski/snowboard season was winding down. It was eerily quiet as we walked the streets. We checked out a few places and talked about the move. I was excited but a nagging voice inside kept saying, What exactly are you going to do for money out here?

I tried to ignore that voice. I didn’t want to worry about getting a job. We spent the night at her friend’s place. I slept on the couch and thought, What the hell am I doing?

At that point I was a month into my separation from my husband, and in a town where I knew exactly one person. I had no money and no job prospects. I was scared. BIG TIME.

The next day my friend could tell something was wrong. She took me out to this beautiful spot along the river that overlooked the mountains and asked what was up.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” She asked.

I wasn’t sure.

I was scared. I wanted my mom. I wanted to cry. I wanted to run back to Winnipeg and hide under the blankets in a dark room.

And that’s what I did. I had my friend drive me to the bus station so I could get out of Whistler A.S.A.P. In that moment it all felt TOO BIG for me to handle. I felt like I was standing on the edge of something but I wasn’t strong enough to make the leap. My friend agreed to drive me to the station (though I am sure she wasn’t too pleased about it) and I ended up back in Vancouver a few hours later.

As I sat in the bus depot trying to get ahold of my Vancouver friends to come pick me up it took all my strength not to freak out. Two days later I was back in Nelson packing up my things and catching the first bus back to Winnipeg.

I arrived in Winnipeg exactly one week from the day I left. My parents picked me up from the Winnipeg bus depot at 6:00 am. It was dark and the weather was still cold. I had opted for the familiar instead of taking a risk at something new.

I felt like a failure.

It’s hard to say what would have happened if I had stayed in BC. In the years that followed I would look back at my decision and kick myself for giving up so easily. But you can’t spend your time dwelling on things you cannot change.

I’ve learned to see the positives that came from my decision to move back to Winnipeg. I met my future husband two months after I moved back, I was able to spend time with my granny before she passed away (she passed 6 months after I arrived home) and I met some amazing people that I now consider my family.

So was it the right decision? I’m not sure. But it was definitely the easier one and easy doesn’t always translate to fulfilling. Moving back to Winnipeg set me back in other ways. It took me further away from my dreams. If I had some cool way to go back in time (Anyone have a DeLorean?) I’m not sure I’d change it. We all have to accept the choices we’ve made whether they’re good, bad or otherwise. Sometimes we are spot on and other times… not so much. It’s what you have learned from these decisions that’s important.

What I’ve learned is that things happen for a reason. Yes my life would be different if I had chosen to stay. Maybe by being brave and taking the risk I could have saved myself a lot of heartache in the future. Maybe I’d be further along in my creative career. Maybe, maybe, maybe etc. It can really make your head spin!

The great thing about life is that it’s never too late to make a change. There will always be another fork in the road. There will always be another decision to make that will be scary. There will always be another opportunity to take the path less traveled. Sometimes it will feel right to take it. Sometimes it won’t. Only you’ll know which path is right in that moment. All I ask is that you really stop to think (or feel) about which path is right. Are you choosing this path because it’s right (in that moment) or easy? In the immortal words of Robert Frost,

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

I encourage you to take the path that makes all the difference!

Next time I’ll tell you all about my second fork in the road. Spoilers: I took the easy way again :-( Bad Angie *shakes finger*

Vancouver Rocks!

2 Jul

I don’t speak about it often, but it’s been my dream for nearly 8 years now to move to Vancouver, BC. There’s a whole laundry list of reasons why. The weather is much more preferable than Winnipeg, the culture is right up my alley, the smattering of friends located nearby and I’m a HUGE Vancouver Canucks fan. Of course there are other more practical reasons for us to move such as career options & schooling.

I had my first taste of BC living 9 years ago. I moved with my ex-husband to a small ski-resort town called Nelson. Set on a lake (that never freezes – can you imagine?) in the heart of the mountains, each morning I woke up in awe of the beauty that surrounded me. Even though I was working for minimum wage at the local bookstore, I found it hard not to smile as I made my way down the mountain (quite literally) to work. Sure it wasn’t all peaches, I missed my family & friends and well, my marriage did take a nose dive, but I still reflect on those 9 months in Nelson as a key factor in shaping who I am today.

Coming home wasn’t a decision I made lightly. I had no desire to move back to Winnipeg at all, but picking up the pieces of my life was a task I needed support with and since all my family and friends lived back home, well it made sense. But since then I’ve been quietly….okay maybe not so quietly, yearning to move back.

Well folks I am happy to announce that come September, Brandon and I will be making our way west to live in Vancouver!

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Who says it’s always raining in Vancouver?!

It’s a dream come true for me and it takes all of my energy not to dance around tossing handfuls of Skittles in the air (I like the red ones :) ), whispering Taste the Rainbow and giggling like an eighteen year old drunk on peppermint schnapps!

So stay tuned for future posts on my journey to Vancouver. There’s a lot to prepare and even more to write about ;)

It Ain’t Always Easy

25 Jun

Life at the Richmond house has been a little chaotic lately. And when I say chaotic, I mean full out insanity. It happens nearly every June. I take an already busy month of birthdays and cram in additional items till my cup overrunneth.

This year I added two online courses, selling my house, packing & moving in 20 days on top of running my own business. See? Chaos!

Even though all this chaos (read: change) is a good thing, it’s still change and your soul/body/heart/brain can only take so much before something has to give. For me that means a total breakdown:

  • Crying
  • Self-Doubt
  • Yelling (Not proud of this)
  • Overall sense of hopelessness

That was me the other day. Fine one minute, then a snotty mess the next. Following your heart isn’t easy. No one said it was…at least I sure didn’t. It’s the reason why in the past I’ve taken the easier path at the crossroads. It takes energy, commitment and maybe a wee bit o’insanity.

Follow Your Heart vs Follow Your Head

For me, Follow Your Head means taking the path I’m familiar with. It’s the path that kept me trudging along, doing mindless work in a business atmosphere that left me counting down the days till retirement. (31 years…if you’d like to know)

It was safe. I knew the work. I got up each morning, took the bus to work, clocked in 8 hours, took the bus home. Repeat. I received the steady paycheck, the health benefits, pension etc. Like I said, it was safe. It was also damn unfulfilling and BORING!

I can pinpoint 3 major crossroads in my life. 3 moments in time when I had the opportunity to change my path. Twice I chickened out and kept on the Follow Your Head path. Although I can say with all honesty my decisions eventually led me in the right direction, I know now that this last crossroads I was meant to take the Follow Your Heart path.

And I am. And it’s difficult. I’m like a salmon swimming against the current. It’s worth it in the end but HOLY CRAP it ain’t always easy!

So what keeps me going? Because really, I’m not going to lie, there are days when giving up seems like the only option. Well I’ll tell you, my pretties.

  1. All the greatest people in life succeeded in the face of challenges. It was hard and they persevered. I want my name beside theirs on the list of AWESOME!
  2. I already know where the Follow Your Head path leads. I’ve been actively following it for 33 years. (Okay maybe not since I was a baby but for arguments sake let’s say I was.)It leads to Ho Hum, BORING, SAFE, MEANINGLESS, ZZZZZZ.(At least for me. Results may vary. Though I suspect if you’re still reading this you probably feel the same.)
  3. I am stubborn as HELL. Once I set my mind to something, good gravy there’s no stopping me. Just ask my mom or my husband.
  4. I LOVE what I do. I LOVE coaching. I LOVE writing. I LOVE creating art. And I think I DESERVE to LOVE what I do for the rest of my life. (See stubborn as HELL note above) (PS…YOU DESERVE IT TOO!)

Now I know that everyone’s idea of following your heart is different. There are just as many people who look at my office job and think Wow! I want that! as there are who agree with the comical description of office life in the movie Office Space. (Who wouldn’t like to burn down their office! Right? Right? Not that I would EVER do that – joking aside)

I’m not telling you that your job/life sucks. Only you know if it does or not. But what I am saying – even advocating – is that whatever you do it life, make it GOOD. Make it your OWN and for pity’s sake ENJOY it!

If you aren’t happy with something, change it. Yes, it will be difficult. Yes, you might turn into a snotty mess occasionally until you achieve it (whatever it is) but in the end it will worth every hill you had to climb, every rock in your shoe and every skinned knee you received from a fall that you didn’t see coming. It will be difficult but I guarantee it will be EXCITING!

Or you could take the safe path.

Because I’m all about sharing experiences, I’m going to write about my crossroad moments in a three-part series. It’s my hope that you’ll see a bit of yourself in these posts and find the courage to take the Follow Your Heart path the next time it comes up. Remember, I chickened out twice before I finally plucked up the courage to change my direction. I know you can too!

Ready to Step Off the Sidelines of Life? Let’s Work Together to Accomplish Your Goals!

Visit the Coaching section for more information.

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