Friday, January 15, 2021

2021- New Year- New Resolutions

Well, I did this new year's resolution post before January's done! I call that winning these days. Remote learning is tough, yo!

Let's look at how I did in 2020 first. Usually, I have a few smaller resolutions but last year, in a weird but foretelling fluke as I just chose one. I wanted to focus more on meditation. Using the Headspace app, I'm really proud of how I did on this one. I meditate about 3-5 times a week for 5 minutes. It was a bit more regular but now with the puppy being an early riser, some days I miss it. I enjoy the continued self-awareness,  grace and overall well-being it continues to bring me. I've also renewed my Headspace yearly subscription. I enjoy their daily courses where they talk briefly about different things before settling into meditation. 

So this year, my word for the year and therefore resolution is LESS. I just feel like we have too much stuff, I weighed down by all of it and we need less... both for the planet and also for our mental well being. I want to focus on consuming less. So for the most part, I'm starting with myself. 

I got this idea from my friend Mel on Instagram and loved it. I'd like to commit to buying only 12 personal things for myself for 2021 (I just flipped the number around). This includes ALL articles of clothing, jewelry and shoes. It may not seem like a lot to most people but it's definitely something for me. For the N-sale alone, I probably get myself 12 things. Not included are toiletries and makeup though I'm going to try to use all of what I have before purchasing more. I'm nervous about this and really hope that I can do it. 

This also extends itself to other parts of our life. Going to continue to declutter and purge all the stuff that we do have around here that we don't need. Not too many dollar-store visits going forward. Also, committing to reusing items when we can but getting rid of the stuff that we cannot. Another thing that we've started in 2020 and we want to continue, is pantry and fridge shopping. Just lots of less!!

What about you? What are your resolutions? Does buying less resonate with you? If so, let me know what you're doing....

Have a wonderful weekend.

Linking up with Andrea because if goals aren't a favourite, I don't know what is....

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Books Lately- January 2021

With Ontario's pandemic lockdown, I do a lot of reading for stress relief and in my spare time... Also, I'm using Overdrive and Libby more so my library has expanded even more! Here are a few that I've read in the past month, especially postseason.

After Betty Ramdin’s husband dies, she invites a colleague, Mr. Chetan, to move in with her and her son, Solo. Over time, the three become a family, loving each other deeply and depending upon one another. Then, one fateful night, Solo overhears Betty confiding in Mr. Chetan and learns a secret that plunges him into torment.
Solo flees Trinidad for New York to carve out a lonely existence as an undocumented immigrant, and Mr. Chetan remains the singular thread holding mother and son together. But soon, Mr. Chetan’s own burdensome secret is revealed, with heartbreaking consequences. Love After Love interrogates love and family in all its myriad meanings and forms, asking how we might exchange an illusory love for one that is truly fulfilling.
In vibrant, addictive Trinidadian prose, Love After Love questions who and how we love, the obligations of family, and the consequences of choices made in desperation.

I was excited to read this one by a Trinidadian author and it did not disappoint. It really showed a different type of family. It was gritty, real, poignant and haunting. The only complaint I would have is the Trinidadian dialect. While funny to me, as it was very, very Trini; I don't know if the average non-Trinidadian could really follow the story with the dialect being so heavy.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

it is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep. Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.

This book had some good bits. I enjoyed and understood the family dynamics  after the many Bollywood movies of my childhood and the food references had my mouth watering. It was a bit long and cliche for me.  Romance comedy fans will appreciate it though.
Rating 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Jessica reveals for the first time her inner monologue and most intimate struggles. Guided by the journals she's kept since age fifteen, and brimming with her unique humor and down-to-earth humanity, Open Book is as inspiring as it is entertaining.

I was enthralled by Jessica Simpson and all she has done with her life in both the music and fashion world. This book humanized her even more to me. I really enjoyed her candour about her relationships, addictions and mistakes and her raw self-awareness. 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

One life-changing summer on Nantucket brings about exhilarating revelations for a single mother and her two grown children.

Nancy Thayer is like a phone call to your parents... you know what you're getting, you feel good about the world after and you know all will be well. This book was pretty cliche with some heartwarming, feel-good moments. Character development could have been better, the plot was a little rushed but all's well that ends well.
Rating: 3 out of 5 starts. 

One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze.

I keep meaning to break up with Christina Lauren and I keep prolonging it. This over the top book had such a weird Groundhog Day plot and wasn't very developed. The Christmas feel was good and hence one of the only reasons, I didn't hate it. 
Rating: 3 out of 5 

After uprooting her life in the States, Irene Steele has just settled in at the villa on St. John where her husband Russ had been living a double life. But a visit from the FBI shakes her foundations, and Irene once again learns just how little she knew about the man she loved. 

My favourite author but not my favourite series of hers. I read the first two and felt I had to finish the last in the series. It felt a bit rushed and the character development isn't as great as it is in her summer books. It was just okay for me.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

What have you been reading lately?

                                                       Linking up with Steph for Show Us Your Books.

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Small comforts

Happy Monday, lovelies. We are in lockdown in Ontario for a couple more weeks but who knows what the next couple of months will bring with our climbing numbers? So today's Not Just a Mom link up is perfectly timed as the small comforts are what it's all about these days. I'm not a host this year but please link up with SarahAdrienneDaraJenJoanne, and Lauren for some fun. I will be as much as I can!

Here's a random list of some small comforts/cozy things in our lives these days:

1- A very hot cup of coffee in the am. I'm transitioning to a cup of coffee in the am instead of tea. I got D a single serve coffee maker for Christmas and I've been using it religiously also. The quality of my coffee experience is so much better. Now if only I could do black like he's started.

2- Throw blankets--- the softer and fluffier the better. We have baskets of them in our two sitting areas and in some bedrooms too. My kids use them instead of blankets to sleep sometimes.

3- Homemade baked goods-- but it's Jan-YOU-ary so healthy ones. We are going to start experimenting with some gluten free treats soon. If you have any good recipes, please send them my way!

4- Snowy mornings where no one has to drive anywhere! Winter driving is not my fave even with good tires.

5- I've been making chai a couple times a week with this blend. It tastes like the real thing that my Indian friend makes. 

6- Candles-- I mostly use soy wicks these days but there is something about the flicker of a candle on a winter day that really is cosy. I use warmer scents come winter like vanilla and marshmallow.

7- A good glass of red wine maybe with some artisan cheese or popcorn! 

8- Special family meals like Mexican or Hawaiian night, Sunday brunches or even a nice pizza night!

9- A really good book. I discovered Overdrive and the Libby app through my local library so even more great, free books at my finger tips.

10- Binge worthy shows or comedy specials. 

11- A Facetime coffee or Happy Hour drink with your bestie. 

12- Joggers--- it will be a sad day when I have to wear real pants again.

13- Delicious weekly soups (I load them with veggie goodness)  that I make for dinner one night and have as lunches during the week. 

14- Slippers-- I got these for Christmas and they are like a warm hug in the am!

15-Snowy walks--- this has been a new thing since getting Toby but it's changed winter so much for us. Getting that fresh air is a game changer. 

What small comforts are in your lives these days?

Friday, January 8, 2021

New Year's Eve 2020

My US friends  and family, my heart aches for all that's going on in your country. My prayers for your nation.

There is no smooth transition but I wanted to post some pictures of  New Years' Eve 2020. It was the four of us... we ate,  drank, danced, listened to a little performance, played board games and puzzled, watched some lacklustre "ready for the New Year" TV and everyone (barely) stayed awake to welcome 2021 before having a family sleepover!It was really special. Here are a "few" pictures...

We are fans of  tablescapes in this house and for NYE, you'd better believe there'd be one...

You'd better believe if we buy 2020 balloons, we're going to take enough pictures around it!!

A charcuterie board, chicken samosas and a gluten free BBQ chicken roll for A before the meal. We bought a good bottle of champagne when it came back in stock before lockdown.

Balloons everywhere!

He is always at my feet!

A little performance of my very favourite "Heart and Soul" from my heart and soul :-).

All dressed up.... nowhere to go, and we love it!

We all slowly started changing out of our dress up clothes. D was the first.

All cozy!

Cheers to 2021... though the first few days have been hairy... eesh!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Linking up with Andrea. 

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