{and their hearts were held in fast suburban chains}

I used to think that blogging was integral to my life; that I would still be typing up posts and sharing gifs well into my nineties. I can't pinpoint when, exactly, so many people decided that blogging was a business. Gone are the days of Livejournal and Geocities pages where you chronicled your life, your passions, your frustrations. All of a sudden people were paying other people to display their blog button, companies were sending bloggers free junk to peddle, and the Internet got a whole lot meaner. Daily posts were not only expected, but had to be filled with custom-designed graphics or photographs that were edited. Blog branding was at the forefront of everyone's minds, and designers cashed in on the trend. 

I've paid designers to overhaul my blog, and I've spent hours scouring the Internet for the "right" combination of fonts when it still didn't feel like me. You need three, you know. There are rules. I've lost hours of time in Photoshop trying to figure out just the right nav bar layout, and image mapping my links. I've paid and been paid in the blog ad game. 

Guys, I'm exhausted. 

Even now, two months after my last post, I'm still left wondering why. Why does it matter, why do I care, why do I miss it? I don't have answers to any of those, but I do know that I miss writing. Whatever that means. I'm not having an identity crisis, or a quarter-life crisis so it feels a little melodramatic to say that there are things that you just need to write down, and not writing them down just isn't an option. 

Why do you blog? Is it for fame and fortune, to document your life or your child's life, or just because you have more to say than Twitter can handle? 

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Bah, Cats.

Growing up I had two cats. There was Jake, the refined rescue from the SPCA, that looked as if he was wearing a tuxedo and acted more like James Bond than a cat. He preferred the company of my mother, most likely because she was not going to dress him up in doll clothes and subject him to tea parties. Gizmoe, the short-haired Turkish Van that was larger than a full-grown male Basset hound, was my playmate. No matter how many diets we out him on, that cat was always the fattest cat you have ever seen. He was my companion, and hogged most of my twin bed every night while I slept. We also had a beautiful Sheltie named Halo, but she was resolutely my brother's dog. 

Gizmoe was a saint. He put up with all of my shenanigans, from playing beauty salon (the blue sidewalk chalk that I had used to color his fur nearly gave my mom a heart attack) to pretending he was my diaper-wearing baby, he would just calmly go along with nearly every scenario I threw at him. He never bit me, and rarely did he scratch me--and when he did, I knew that I had gone too far and deserved his anger. 

This wonderful childhood experience had led me to believe that I was a cat person. I was always very active in the care and training of our dog, and I have always absolutely adored dogs. Despite my love for dogs of all breeds and sizes, I was convinced that I was a cat person. So when I bought my condo, knowing full well that I was no longer living with anyone allergic to them, I got two kittens.  Very quickly I realized that there is a large difference between kittens and adult cats. Also very quickly I began to realize that, while cats entertain me to no end, I don't particularly like them. 

At first, I thought that it was because they were kittens. Then, as they started to grow, I blamed it on the, being orange cats and naturally crazy. Last fall I gave one of them to a friend of mine because the two of them were just too much. "One is easier", everyone was telling me. "With one, they calm down and are less trouble." 

Thanks for lying to me, jerks. 

One cat has not gotten easier. Cheaper, yes, because I happened to give away the one that ate 10lbs of food in a week, but in no way has it gotten easier. 

I still don't sleep, because she always wants attention. She destroys everything that she can get her paws on, and even the collars and room sprays that are supposed to help calm her don't work. She has toys galore, but she would much prefer pulling my books off of my shelves and breaking my snow globes to keep her entertained. 

I cannot comprehend how one cat can produce so much bodily waste, and I cannot keep up with the kitty litter--some days I have to clean it morning and night just to keep it from smelling up my condo. I have tried every kind of door neutralizer, cleaner, air freshener, and box deodorizer that I can get my hands on, and none of them have done even a satisfactory job. 

It turns out that I am also allergic to her, although I'm sure anyone would be stuffed up when a cat attempts to sleep on their face at night. Her saliva makes me itchy, I cannot handle the amount of cat hair that is EVERYWHERE (even with me vacuuming daily), and I can barely breathe when I'm at home. And I'm only mildly allergic to her--poor B can't spend more than a few minutes in my place before he has to leave--his throat will start bleeding if he is around cats too long--and I have to change my clothes as soon as I get to his house so that I don't spread the dander there too. 

I do love Gilford, don't get me wrong. She can be sweet as pie, and some days I really enjoy curling up on the couch with her and watching TV. The happiness that she brings to my daughter makes my heart swell...althought that could also be an allergic reaction to the dander. But those moments are not enough for me. 

It has taken two long, frustrating years, but I feel very confident in saying that I am not a cat person in the slightest. 

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sorry i'm not sorry

photo via Amna on weheartit.com | caption by me
...for leaving my makeup on the bathroom counter. 
...for only liking one brand of pen. 
...for not caring that my car is messy. 
...that I drink coffee with my milk.
...that I prioritize sleep over blogging when I get busy. 
...that I prioritize spending time with Little A over absolutely everything. 
...that I hate winter. Period. 
...that I take a {timed} Pinterest break when I feel overwhelmed at work, because it really is the best way to empty your mind of everything. 
...that I still laugh when someone makes a fart joke. 
...for being sensitive.
...for having high standards and expectations for myself--and the same standards and expectations for others. 
...for not being empathetic towards people who refuse to help themselves.
...for having specific drink orders for Starbucks and Second Cup because if I'm going to pay $6 for a coffee, it's going to be made my way
...that I'm entirely ok with a woman choosing plastic surgery to alter a portion of their body as long as it's not a substitute for self esteem. 
...for being traditional. 
...for being compassionate, and loving. 
...for being completely over the "BLOGGING IS A BUSINESS" thing, because too many people stopped being nice when money got involved. 
...for wanting a large family, a dog, and a proverbial white picket fence.
...for not being able to finish books, yet still buying more. 
...that I always use those "spend $50 and save $10" cards that my favourite stores give me because I am going to spend money there anyways, so why not save at the same time? 
...that I talk a lot. 
...that I have a loud voice. 
...that I speak my mind. 

What are you not sorry for? 

sometimes I stamp my feet in a jealous rage

Image via LucyArg on weheartit.com 

Travel envy is a total bummer to have. Out of all of the different online envies that you can develop, for me travel envy is the absolute worst. I don't get blog envy, and rarely do I experience fashion or design envy. But travel envy...she is a cruel mistress. I want to be excited for people when they get to go on weekend getaways to fantastic places, but mostly I just get grumpy. 

Canada is a difficult country to travel in. There are so many amazing places to visit, but it's just so expensive.    The country is absolutely massive, so to get anywhere outside of 'weekend road trip' range you have to fly, but Canada doesn't have any low-cost airlines. Heck even Peru has three separate low-cost carriers operating domestic flights, but Canada has yet to jump on that bandwagon. A return ticket from Edmonton to Vancouver (a little over an hours' flight time) is usually $500; yet you can fly the same distance from London to Amsterdam for £65 all in--roughly $100 Canadian. 

So when I read about people dashing off to Paris or Rome or Hobart or the Whitsundays for a relaxing weekend away--and on a very modest budget, no less--I get a little grumpy. And more than just a little envious. It's something that I'm working on because obviously it is entirely ridiculous for something so small to turn me into a scowling child, however it doesn't change the fact that I come down with a nasty case of travel envy.

This is incredibly inconvenient for me, because the majority of the blogs that I read are focused on travel. Perhaps I am just a glutton for punishment. 

in defense of the zooey's of the world

Images via Maya on Tumblr

I like glitter, bows, lace, ruffles, polka dots, pencil skirts, pearls, sock buns, high heels, and A-line dresses. Pride & Prejudice and The Princess Bride are my two favourite books. I regularly listen to Taylor Swift and She & Him. I adore Anne Hathaway, Zooey Deschanel, and Emma Watson. I read wedding blogs even though I'm nowhere near getting married, simply because I love the romance of them. I'm girly, is what I'm saying. 

Having a love of lace or believing in true love doesn't mean I'm not a feminist, the same way that being divorced doesn't mean that I'm a bitter spinster. So why is the world so hard on us for showing our girliness? Why is it OK for men to post on social media about how difficult it is to pass a level on whatever video game is currently hip, but it's mindless and ridiculous for a female to post about an irritating nail polish incident? 

Quite frankly, I'm a little tired of the anti-Zooeyish movement. My gold-striped phone case does not make me a vapid idiot, my A-line dresses don't make me a slave to trends, and the fact that I sometimes take pictures of my most current nail polish shade doesn't mean that I'm a Stepford Wife. 

The next time you decide to {publicly} judge someone for how they choose to express themselves, or for something that they post on their social media, remember that they're probably holding back their own judgement over the fact that you have four kids with four separate women. 

To each their own, right? 

What Do You Mean, I'm An Adult?

There are certain things that are expected of adults. Adults hold a steady job and pay their bills on time. They have kids and careers, savings accounts and a balanced budget. They are responsible, contributing members of society. Well...most are, at least. And I can do (most) of those things--I'm looking at you, budget that never balances. These are some things that I am not so good at, however; all of these things are expected of adults.

  • Cleaning the car. I take out the trash regularly, but I usually have various items strewn across the backseat including but not limited to: shoes (adult- and preschool-sized), colouring books (just preschool-style), a few mismatched socks, a tire iron, a few Barbie bits and pieces, and crushed cereal crumbs. 
  • Waking up without hitting snooze ten times. I was told that when you become an adult, you suddenly start waking up at 6am all happy and ready for the day. I'm not sure if this is a lie, or if I'm just not an adult yet...
  • Cooking (and eating!) healthy, balanced meals every day. There are days where we have Ichiban soup with a side of cheese and grapes for dinner, and one time I had apples with caramel dip for lunch and dinner. Note that I do feed Little A healthy foods, I just don't seem to eat them myself.  I don't enjoy cooking (I blame my tiny kitchen, but I don't cook in B's kitchen either), and quite frankly I'm just not very good at it. There are some dishes that I can pull off and have taste magnificent, but those are a select few recipes and most are holiday dishes. 
  • Being on time. Growing up, I was always the last one out of the door. For some reason my brain just assumes that it will take me an hour to get ready, and that I'll need thirty minutes to get somewhere. Those are the default times my brain calculates everything off of, and I can't seem to rewrite the code. Thus, I am perennially late. 
  • Returning books to the library on time. I'm a big fan of public libraries, even though I'd rather own a book myself than borrow one. Maybe it's because of this preference that I tend to just never return them, and then end up buying them from the library in the form of outrageously high overdue fees. I'm told that proper adults bring them back in a timely manner--that's what the librarian tells me, anyways.
  • Working during proper hours. From 9am-5pm, I am distracted. There are unplanned phone calls and emails that come in, people that walk through my door, and so many little things that crop up to distract me from that day's To Do List. My most productive--and inspired--hours are from about 6:30-9:30pm. In those three hours, I can get more finished than I can in an entire eight hour day. As long as I'm not trying to work from home, because then my PVR calls to me like the Sirens called to Odysseus. 
  • Grocery shopping. Y'all, this one I have thrown my hands up in the air over. Under any other circumstance, I am compulsively organized. I create lists, habits and patterns of behaviour in all circumstances. Except grocery shopping. I can never wander through the store in the same pattern, and Lord help me I can't ever stick to my list. This leads to me to feel as if I'm failing, so of course I'm going to avoid the activity all together until we are down to Saltines and old mustard and I am forced to either grocery shop or starve. 

How are you bad at being an adult?

I Have Not Been Exterminated By Daleks, But Thanks For Asking

Props to my bloggy friends that noticed my lack of posting this week and subsequently emailed me to make sure that I hadn't been : eaten by a lion, mauled by a bear, lost in a blizzard, or exterminated by Daleks. You guys rock, FYI. 

Lately, I feel like I've been fighting this epic battle against life in general. And lately? I feel like life is winning. Most of the battle is not for the Internet (sorry!), but I still feel the need to vent. As proof of my continued existence, and as explanation for my absence, I give you the following rants:

  1. What in the actual hell, everybody in the universe that zips their files?! I don't want to pay for WinZip, and my "evaluation trial" is over, so now I can't unzip all of the beautiful fonts that I've found, or ANYTHING ELSE THAT YOU PEOPLE SO NICELY SHARED WITH ME IN A ZIP FILE. I hate you, WinZip. Also: free large ad space to whomever can set me up with a free unzipping software.
  2. Why does it take all damn day for an iPad to charge? The amount of anger that I feel towards zombie Steve jobs when my iPad battery goes below 20% is irrational but completely understandable. Did that sentence even make sense?
  3. What is with this relationship segmentation that the world is obsessed with? I'm not married, so I can't hang with married people because it's weird to be the only not married person in the room. But I can't hang with singles, because I'm not on the hunt for a hookup and/or it's awkward being the only couple in a group of singles. So basically I'm destined to hang out with cats, because they don't care what my relationship status is as long as I have food.
  5. I bought new tights last night. Really awesome black tights that had a subtle cheetah print on them. They were amazing, let me tell you. And then I put them on this morning, and there was a small hole in the knee. No big deal, it's tiny. By the time I got to work they had a huge run in them and I had to throw them out. Thanks for selling sub-par products, Winners. I thought that my legs would be covered with tights today, so I did a half-assed job shaving my legs this morning. Moral of this story? Always shave your legs nicely. Always. 

What has been driving you crazy lately?

Unimpressed Cat is My Kindred

Guys, if ever a meme has imitated my life, it is Unimpressed Cat. 

I walk through life set to Unimpressed, so that when something good happens I am pleasantly surprised. 
It also means that when something goes wrong, I can use my Eeyore voice and say "Welp, I saw that coming." without experiencing disappointment. 

Most people don't understand this mindset. 
Most people tell me to get my chin up and slap a smile on my face, because everything is going to be ok

But I'm not an optimist. I will never be an optimist. 
I am a realist. And it works for me. 

Life, or Something Like It

Source unknown; found on Pinterest

I am a bit neurotic. I am a compulsive planner. I am obsessively organized, and it will bug me incessantly if I somehow mess it up. Failure is not an option for me, so when I do fail at something I am incredibly hard on myself. Leave me alone for too long in a quiet room, and I will start to go crazy. I constantly overbook myself, because I don't enjoy having nothing to do. In fact, I thrive on action-packed or stressful situations. Or, rather, I will get overwhelmed and cry, but as soon as my cry is over I will thrive. 

If you know me in real life, you will know that these are not startling revelations. 

It isn't always easy to live in harmony with my quirks; instead, I often feel as though I am battling against them. I am uncomfortable with change {if it is sprung on me}, so it tends to make me {more than} a little bit hard to live around. 

I had a plan for my life. I had set goals and deadlines, as well as establishing check-points to ensure that I was on track in order to live up to my plan. Instead of changing the deadline, I would alter the method that I would use to reach my goals. Everything was incrementally mapped out, the way one would lay out the route for a marathon. 

Are you surprised to hear that my life has not gone according to my plan? You shouldn't be. I'm not even that surprised, if I'm completely honest with myself. But that doesn't mean that it is easy to give up The Plan. It means forgiving yourself for not meeting your goals, for taking turns in life that you didn't ever expect yourself to take. It's about letting go of the constant that you had to rely on that is no longer even a remote possibility.

We all have a plan, whether we admit it or not. Those vague ideas that flit around in your head of when you want to get married, have kids, buy a house, or even what job you want to do: those are all part of your plan. Mine was detailed; methodically laid out in a logical sequence complete with concrete deadlines. 

I did not make those deadlines. It's extremely difficult for me to reconcile the fact that I failed, and even harder for me to accept that I have had to change my timeline so drastically from what I had originally envisioned for myself.

The next time I'm having a hard time accepting that my life didn't go according to my plan, remember that I'm happy. I'm so happy with so many aspects of my life that it can be overwhelming at times--but that doesn't stop me from lamenting what I see as failures. 

Are you hard on yourself about anything?

It's a Peter Griffin Kind of Day

You know what really grinds my gears? 

...when people get too big for their britches. Is it a faux-pas to mention #bloggingproblems on a blog?
...when people don't pay attention to important details--especially when I'm paying money for something. 
...when people call me by the wrong name even though I've introduced myself or sent emails with my name in them over a dozen times. Call me crazy, but "Ashley" sounds nothing like Stephanie, or Carla, or Norma, or any of the other names that you just called me. 
..when people drive like asshats. It's not that hard to wave when I let you in. 
...the fact that common courtesy isn't actually common any more, or really present at all.
...the fact that people seem to think that it is okay to blame me for their errors, and subsequently take their anger out on me. Uh...no. Nope. In no world will I ever be okay with this, or take it lying down. 
...the fact that I have now had a mystery bruise on the side of my thigh for two weeks, and it is both gross to look at and painful. 

What grinds your gears?

The Time I Ugly Cried Over the Cat That I Always Complain About

I remember walking through the door to my friends' condo, and finding eight tiny little kittens running around. Audrey immediately sat down on the floor to laugh at their silly antics. They were jumping, and mewing, and playing robustly. One little kitten broke away from the pack, and crawled into her lap. 

"This is Gilford." she said triumphantly. "This is my kitty."

"Are you sure, hunny? There are so many. Do you want to play with them first?" I asked, wondering if her decision was rash. "Of course it was rash, she is only three after all." I told myself. 

"No Mom, I don't need to play with the other kitties. This is Gilford. Can I please have her collar?" Audrey rolled her eyes as she spoke, clearly impatient with my questions. I handed her the purple collar, and showed her how to put it on. 

"Well, that was easy." I thought. "Now I just need to find my kitten." 

They were all so fluffy and cute. How could Audrey make it seem so easy? So I took Audrey's lead: I sat down on the floor, and I played with the kittens. There were kittens crawling into my shirt, climbing on my shoulders, and sleeping in my hands; as cute as they were, I knew that none of them were my cat. I was feeling discouraged, and pressured to choose one. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my toe. I quickly looked over, and found the source of the pain: there was a kitten attached to my toe, happily chewing away. I don't know if it was the insolence of chewing on my extremity, or the way he seemed entirely comfortable doing so, but I knew that this was my Toulouse. I popped his black collar onto him, loaded our new family members into their kennel, and we drove home.

Toulouse is on the left, Gilford is on the right. I think.

They spent most of their first few months doing what kittens do--sleeping in their box, making messes in my previously immaculate condo, and generally raising hell. They were too small to climb into their litter box on their own, so I created a makeshift staircase leading up to it using a stack of hardcover books. They ate more than I thought possible, and their litter box was always full. But dang it if they weren't sweet as heck, just indescribably sweet.

Apparently they didn't get the memo that you don't kiss your sibling with tongue. Awkward.

Slowly, as they grew up, I started to realize the pitfalls of having two cats in a small condo: everything was covered in cat hair, no matter how many hours I spent vacuuming; the litter box would be full after only a day, so a second was required; most problematic was their penchant for playing from 1-5am--jumping across my bed, stepping on my head, usually with claws out. I couldn't leave the bathroom door open, because everything would end up on the ground and the garbage would be knocked over and strewn across the room.

A deceptive photo; this was taken during his midday nap.

While Gilford has always been an easy-going cat, Toulouse became more of a problem as time went on. He became very possessive of me, to the point that he simply wouldn't allow me out of his sight while I was home. He would follow me from room to room, climbing up my body so that I would be forced to hold him. Heaven forbid I should close the door when I had a bath--he would have a fit, scratching at the door and meowing like he was in pain. If my daughter wanted to snuggle with me, he would push between us and get cranky if I tried to move him. His most irritating habit was his licking; while it might be his way of showing affection, I was being woken up multiple times each night by him licking my face or arms. I am allergic to cat saliva, it turns out, so this led to uncomfortable hives and lots of itchy skin. He would lick and chew on our hair while we sat on the couch--basically, he was a bit of a (super cute, non-violent) menace. 

This is the face of a menace, I swear.

I chalked this up to being a "stage"; he was only a year old, after all. I thought that with time, he would ease up on his intense need for affection and cool it with the constant kisses. "Orange cats calm down with age," said everyone I know with cats. "Just give him time," said they. 

It took a long time to accept that I wasn't the right parent for my little furbaby. I just couldn't give him the love that he so clearly wanted, and needed. I loved him so much, yet he drove me beyond the edge of crazy with those sleepless nights--they caught up to me, and I knew that I needed to find him a new home. 

A rare moment where I'm kissing him, instead of the reverse.

I couldn't bring myself to put an ad on Kijiji; I didn't want to give my baby to just anyone. I wanted him to go to a home that would love him the way that he needed to be loved. 

On Sunday afternoon, that is exactly what happened. 

A friend from work came over with her boyfriend, purely to "meet" Toulouse. They brought their furbaby, a gorgeous Border Collie named Burt, to make sure that there wouldn't be any personality conflicts between the two of them. After an hour and a half they had fallen in love with my little man, just as I knew that they would. I stayed calm, upbeat even, the whole time. Even while packing up his favourite toys, bed, dishes and litter box, I was calm. I knew in my heart that this was the right decision for Toulouse. 

I walked them outside, and helped load my little boy into their car. I said my final goodbye (he would barely look at me, his anger over being shoved into a kennel and taken by strangers was written on his face), I stayed calm. It's the right thing to do. 

Then I turned away from him, said goodbye to my friends, and walked back into my building. And good lord, did I cry. I ugly cried in my kitchen for over a half hour, again at my boyfriends' house, and even more later that night in bed. Deep down, I know that I did the right thing. He has only been at his new home for twenty-four hours, but he has already settled in nicely. He has claimed his spot on both their bed and couch, and has declared which windowsill shall be his throne. 

I know that I did the right thing. But I miss this face more than I ever thought possible. 

August Glossybox Review

I have had this draft sitting in my folder since August 1st; I did not receive my box for August until September 28th, and it was full of items that are found in a drugstore.

It is now October, and I have not yet received my September Glossybox. 

I have tried contacting them regarding my concerns about the contents of the boxes and their delivery time-frames  and so far all of my emails have gone unanswered.

To say that I am dissatisfied with Glossybox is an understatement. I have cancelled my account with them, and sent a final email explaining why. At this point I don't expect to receive a response from them, and that makes me sad. I had such high hopes for a Canadian beauty subscription service to provide high-quality items, and I was really excited to be able to share new products with y'all. 

When (if?) I receive my September box--and the October box that I've already paid for!--I will post a review of all three at the same time. 

Have you ever been disappointed by a company?

This post was not sponsored by Glossybox, and the opinions contained herein are my own. Negative reviews are not meant maliciously, they are simply given when I do not personally enjoy a product. If I have given one of your products a negative review and you wish to discuss this, please feel free to send me an email. By utilizing a "click here" link, you are letting Glossybox know that I have referred you. I receive no cash compensation for this, although I will earn GLOSSYdots that can be used towards free boxes in the future. 

So...I Have This Tablet... {a gadget review}

Last month I attended a trade show, and I was lucky enough to win a brand new tablet! I was super excited, because I have wanted one for a long time but was far too cheap to actually buy one for myself. Now that I've had a chance to use it for a while, I wanted to review it for all of you lovelies!

What is it: Samsung Galaxy 10.1 Tab (yes, the infamous tablet at the centre of the Samsung/Apple war) (Not that I'm taking sides but my daughter immediately mistook it for an iPad--and I noticed an obscene number of similarities as well--so the lawsuit doesn't seem far-fetched.)
Retail Value: $349.99 CAD (source)
Operating System: Android 4.0
Battery Life In-Use (manufacturer): up to 14 hours
Battery Life Standby (manufacturer): up to 2000 hours

My Two Cents:

Right from the start, I found the tablet to be a little frustrating. This was my first Android gadget, so I knew that there would be a learning curve when it came to figuring out the device, but this was a little bit ridiculous. In no way would I describe it as an intuitive operating system; I find it clunky, and some processes (including something as simple as reorganizing the shortcuts on each of the main screens) are painful at best to perform.
When it comes to the battery life, I am convinced that Samsung has inflated its expected performance. I understand that streaming video or surfing the web should use more battery than, say, word processing, but I cannot for the life of me go more than a few hours without plugging it in. I've even tried disconnecting it from WiFi to use non-internet based programs, and the battery was still dead in under four hours. As for while it is in standby, it isn't much better--if I don't plug it in overnight, it will be dead by morning.
Verdict: I would not buy this device. 

The things that I actually like about the tablet (the third-party applications, the overall size and weight of the device, as well as the convenience of having a tablet instead of a laptop) can be found in other tablets. I do use it on a regular basis, and I am glad that I have it; if I had to shell out my own money for a tablet, though, I would spend a bit more and go for the iPad. Call me a hipster sheep if you must, but I value functionality over cost pretty much every time--and definitely in this case. 

You know, in my opinion.

I was not compensated in any way for this post. The opinions expressed in this review are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of any other person or organization. They are not meant to harm, simply to inform others of my experience with the product. If you work for Samsung and would like to address any of the points listed in this review, please feel free to contact me at {rakaskesa} at {gmail} dot {com}. I also do not claim to own any of the products/platforms/etc listed in this post--those are held by the companies that made them. Please don't sue me. 

I Hope That You Grow Up...

{are we friends on instagram yet?} 

My dear, sweet Audrey,

You are the very center of my world. There is nothing more important to me than ensuring your happiness. You are my jester, my snuggler, my baby girl.

I hope that you grow up to be a strong, passionate woman that is unafraid to follow her heart.

I hope that you grow up knowing how very important you are to so many people, and that you are wise enough to keep their love safe.

I hope that you grow up to know how to love unconditionally, and that you choose the right person to lavish this love upon.

I hope that you grow up to have a daughter that is just like you, because even on your worst day you are still the best thing to ever have happened to me.

I hope that you grow up understanding the importance of respect, both for yourself and for others.

I hope that you grow up with friends that will be there for you at each stage of life.

I hope that you grow up with faith in your heart, because it makes the really hard days so much easier.

I hope that you grow up knowing that no matter what happens, you can always come home again.

I hope that you grow up with happy memories of your childhood, even though you might struggle at times.

I hope that you never lose the compassion and empathy that is in your heart. You are such a loving and kind person.

I will never be able to truly express just how happy you make me. Sometimes, I am hard on you; it's not because I am mean, but because I know what you are capable of. Sometimes I get angry with you, but it's because I know that you know better. No matter what, never forget that you are my everything. I am your mama, and I love you so much more than I can put into words.

Thank you for being you, and thank you for loving me. Every hug is a cherished gift, every snuggle is a moment suspended in time.

Love you always,

Are You Pro or Anti Choice?

I try really hard to stay out of the political spectrum on this blog. I am not a political blogger, and I don't really care to be. Every once in a while, though, something political happens to make me incredibly upset. Motion 312 has does exactly that.  

Now, let me start by saying that I'm not entirely opposed to revisiting the idea of when a fetus becomes a living being. We really do not know when a fetus starts to actually feel (not just react to stimuli), or think. However, to me it does not seem appropriate at all for this discussion to take place as a political debate. This is something that should be in the hands of the scientists, the people who are actually able to prove and disprove theories. 

I have read the political and social commentaries that discuss the Motion, and I am well aware that the Motion does not, in itself, give the government the ability to criminalize abortion. What the results would do, however, is alter when in a woman's pregnancy an abortion can be performed. Ultimately, this would result in limiting a woman's right to choose abortion as an option. 

I'm not writing this because I champion abortion. I don't--in fact, I can't imagine any situation where I would choose abortion for myself. But that's my choice, not yours. What is important to me is having the choice at all, to be the only person making the decisions about what is and isn't right for my own body. Let me frame this another way: I am not a Mormon. I have made the conscious choice to not follow Mormonism as my religion. Does this make the people who choose Mormonism bad people? Does it make Mormonism bad? No, of course not! Why is this different? Why is it OK to choose which faith to follow, but not OK to choose what to do with your body? 

It grinds my gears that people have decided what the labels of each side should be--Pro Choice vs. Pro Life-- as well. Being Pro Choice does not mean that I am anti-life. Logically, they should be labelled Pro Choice and Anti-Choice, or Pro Free Will and Anti-Free Will. Because any way that you slice it, so-called "pro lifers" are actively advocating the government to take away a women's right to choose. The term 'Pro Life' is incredibly misleading because it assumes that the other side of the argument is Pro Death. Do I need to repeat that this isn't at all the case? 

{For the religious crowd: The only one that can judge me and my actions is the God that I choose to believe in. And please, don't quote me Bible passages; because I've read Titus 2:14 and Isaiah 1:18, and I know that the Lord will forgive me for my sins. Even John 3:16 reminds me that He sent his  only Son to wash away my sins. All of my sins, all of your sins. He doesn't pick and choose, he loves us all unconditionally.}

It is not my place to judge the choices or actions of others. So what makes you so special that you can dictate to other women what they can and cannot do with their bodies? 

More Facts {About Me}

Fact: Katherine Heigl movies always make me happy {even One For The Money, and that movie was absolutely horrible.}

Fact: My very favourite side dish is mashed potatoes and gravy {the gravy goes on the side, because no one can make a potato volcano as well as I can!}

Fact: I always have a stick of antiperspirant with me {smelling gross is not an option}

Fact: The "life is like a box of chocolates" quote from Forest Gump annoys me to no end {probably because it's overused--"get at me", anyone??!!}

Fact: I never used to be a big crier, but in the last few years I've turned into a cry machine {TV commercials and billboards have had me in tears...and they weren't for World Vision or the ASPCA!}

Fact: I have learned to be unapologetic about expressing my opinions, because people have steamrolled me in the past {although I try to stay tactful!}

Fact: I could never let someone sweep me off my feet and foot the bill for my entire life {some parts of my life, however, would be welcome!}

Positivity, and a Quote.

Everyone feels a little lost sometimes. 

The plan that you had meticulously crafted is thrown out the window, and you're left to wonder "what's next?". 

Not knowing the next steps, and especially not knowing the cumulative outcome of them, is a terrifying thought to behold.

The consolation in all of the fog is that the line between failure and success is blurred as there is no longer a metric with which to measure. 

Every step is in the right direction. 

Every step can be seen as a success. 

Weekly Wrap Up #7

So what have I learned this past week?
  • Single parenting is incredibly hard, but I'm not alone. 
  •  I feel all kinds of gushy and mushy towards Boyfriend, but I'll spare the details so that you don't ralph into your garbage can. That's no way to start a long weekend!
  • Having someone else read you pages of the 50 Shades trilogy, all the while stopping to question the logic/terrible sentence structure/word choices (favourites being "HOW COULD SHE HEAR HIM MURMUR OVER THE HELICOPTER???" and "Anastasia Steele is a name for a Russian pro wrestler slash prostitute" ) is a million times more entertaining than reading it yourself.
  • My book club is slowly turning into "drinking wine and talking about our children" club...so basically  it's every day of my life but with new people.   
  • Standing up for yourself does not make you a bitch, as long as you do it nicely. And firmly. 
  • Having the flu one week and a wicked cold the next is unpleasant, uncomfortable, gross, and very frustrating. Can I have one week where I'm not yucky, please?
  •  Knowing that I will end my week with great times and great friends is exciting--but it also makes the week move at the speed of a two-toed sloth. {Did you squee over that link? Because I sure did, for about ten minutes!}
Although I'm a big fan of my own work, I also enjoy what other people write. What were my favourite reads this week?
  1. The name of the sections of College Crush slay me: relationshit, crazy train. Perfect. Also: this, and I will vouch for the source. I lived it, and am currently living it--although "it just feels right" is sometimes the best that one can come up with.
  2. I am addicted to this site
  3. I cannot believe that I had never heard of The Geeky Hostess before!
  4. For some reason, I am obsessed with laundry rooms
  5. Joelle's 'Thus Is The Life Of A Blogger' is the truth. 
  6. Best. Ever. 
  7. Kendra tells it like it is. Kendra's recipe also makes amazing sweet tea
Where is your favourite place to long-weekend drink? You can find me on the dock {with safety supervisors, of course!}.