Sunday, November 28, 2010

LOVE your Adrenals people.........

(Disclaimer:  I just read this on a message board and the contributor did not make a reference to the original author)  

I found this interesting, as I’m in “adrenal care-giving” mode right now, so thought I’d share it in case someone else may be questioning how they are feeling.

Estrogen Dominance. Today, women often have exhausted adrenal glands by the time they reach their mid-thirties or early forties due to a stressful lifestyle. Stress is regulated by our adrenal glands primarily. In early stages of adrenal fatigue, cortisol output is high as the body attempts to neutralize the stress by producing more of it. However, when too much cortisol is produced, it will have multiple undesirable effects. For example, cortisol blocks progesterone receptors, making them less responsive to progesterone. Progesterone normally produced by the adrenals comes to a halt in favor of cortisol. Insufficient progesterone production leads to an imbalance of estrogen to progesterone.

Adrenal normalization should precede hormone modulation. The adrenal glands deal with the daily stresses of life. A woman must normalize her adrenal glands in order to have a total body hormonal balance. In fact, replacement of deficient hormones alone without addressing the overall health of the adrenal gland is a band-aid approach and often ineffective in the long run. The normalization process can begin with investigating and eliminating stressors. Stressors are often chronic in nature, and can be related to lifestyle, dietary, mental, and inflammatory causes.

Common Causes Of Adrenal Stress:

Overwork/physical or mental strain
Excessive exercise
Sleep deprivation
Light-cycle disruption
Going to sleep late)
Chronic inflammation
Chronic infection
Chronic pain
Temperature extremes
Toxic exposure
Chronic illness
Chronic-severe allergies
Nutritional deficiencies

Associated Symptoms And Consequences Of Impaired Adrenals:

Low body temperature
Unexplained hair loss
Difficulty building muscle
Mental depression
Difficulty gaining weight
Inability to concentrate
Excessive hunger
Tendency towards inflammation
Moments of confusion
Poor memory
Feelings of frustration
Alternating diarrhea and constipation
auto-immune hepatitis
auto-immune diseases
Palpitations [heart fluttering]
Dizziness that occurs upon standing
Poor resistance to infections
Low blood pressure
Food and/or inhalant allergies
Craving for sweets
Dry and thin skin
Scanty perspiration
Alcohol intolerance”

I can say from experience folks, that you want to avoid Adrenal Stress/Burnout at all costs.   This is not fun, nor easy to bounce back from.    Pay attention to what’s really going on in your life – do you have unexplained symptoms? Are you tired all the time with no obvious reason why? Do you tend to run mock-2 without balance?  Do you apply on-going pressure on yourself?    Are you under continuous stress?
Just a few questions I asked myself, and low-and-behold, my low energy and crappy outlook was in-part due to Adrenal Stress.     (you can get this tested by the way).

Wishing you health and wellness as we head down the road of closing out 2010.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The next Outdoor Project

With the front door project completed (so pleased with that project), I’m working on my next outdoor project – in my head, as we speak (write?).

I am a HUGE fan of outdoor arrangements in pots or urns.     And this, my dear friends, is my next project.
I’ve got my husband on it, he’s received his action items, and hopefully next weekend will be the outdoor-winter-arrangement-project for the front step.

Here’s what I’m aiming for:

urn with birch 1

Mine will don accessories of some sort –if I can find them.    Hello Micheal’s!


This is our front door, before we owned it.    But I did swoon over their outdoor arrangements as we were buying this house.     Again, am aiming for something close, sans dead hydrangeas.

Wish me luck – and stay tuned for the unveiling photos.

Happy Saturday night!

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas

Oh this weather just puts you the Christmas spirit doesn’t?      I know, the driving is treacherous and its damned cold out, but it is sunny, and we should be grateful for that.     And, the ground is white rather than dark and muddy from the rain.     Everything is bright.      Ahhhhhhh.

Speaking of Christmas spirit, I am happy to report my front door has now met Christmas.       Ooooo, and I am happy.    Exactly how I envisioned it.     Happy.   Happy.    Even did a little inside decorating, although I had to hold of my hub as he wanted to put up the Christmas tree – there will be no Christmas tree trimming inside “the Alcohol free zone” zone.    Nope.    That is one tradition I am not prepared to give up.     We always whip up some chocolate martini’s, blare Nat King Cole, and trim the tree.      The tree can wait just a little while longer – besides it’s only November (maybe someone should tell the weather man).
In the meantime, here is our front door and a little something extra with our left over wreaths (we had 5 from last year’s decorating project).
Christmas on Eden 001
Christmas on Eden 002
Christmas on Eden 005
Traditions are good for the soul, and so is decorating for Christmas I say.   Please share -what are your traditions?   And how do you decorate for the season?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Alcohol Free Zone? Really?

Have you ever considered how much space alcohol takes up in your life?    I mean the sitting around sipping wine, the wine with dinner, the digestif’s, and the sometimes groggy day(s) following the night before.       Some of you needn’t consider this at all, others may.     Everyone is different.  Enough, or too much varies between individuals.

Or does it?     What is the norm exactly?  It’s an interesting debate really.   Depending who you ask, a glass of wine with dinner every night is the norm, and not at all problematic.     Yet, the next person, would consider drinking every day, completely over the the top.

Thought I’d share with you my latest project (well I have a few going, but this is one of the latest).     I have decided to remove alcohol completely for 30 days, November 15 to December 15.

No, I’m not in any sort of program, and no I’m not in trouble – please don’t worry.       But what I am testing is the impact that alcohol (specifically wine, I really don’t drink anything else), has on serotonin levels.     Recall, I am on a wellness journey and my hormones and serotonin levels are at the forefront of my study.       I am testing varying amounts of alcohol against how I feel and my overall outlook.   And we all know that alcohol is a depressant.  Right now, my test is at “0” amounts of alcohol.       But I have to say, while the ‘no alcohol’ isn’t a big deal, the habits, routines, and traditions around alcohol are fairly deep-set.     For example, one of our traditions is kicking back on Friday nights with a few drinks, order-in pizza, and catching up while sitting around the fire.     While all of this can certainly happen without alcohol, it does somewhat change the tradition somewhat.     For me, anyway.    

So far, I am half way through, and am feeling fantastic.     I am trying hard not to make early conclusions as I really feel I need to complete the full month to have complete understanding of the project on the whole.
I am curious as to how many people have ever considered this in their life?    Certainly, I can’t be the only one.    (Can I?).      

alcohol free zone

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Feeling just a little profound today....

On Tuesday of this week, my Mother’s oldest brother passed away.     I got thinking, what must it be like to lose a sibling.    I have been SOOO blessed to have not experienced this type of loss, so was imaging it through my mother’s eyes.    While he was 82 and she is 79, I thought how it must knock on the door of mortality, and if nothing else, bring on some nostalgia.

Today is Thanksgiving in the US, as we all know.    And today I am thankful for a blessed life, for the health of my beautiful sisters and the part they play in my life.

Here they(we) are.


and before my time – my sisters and our Dad while doing some fine livin’ at the cottage.

                                                      dad and sisters

and because it’s Thanksgiving, something beautiful and warm.


Happy Thanks-Giving.

Frankly, I love John F. Kennedy Junior

Am cozied up tonight watching Oprah’s 1996 interview with John F. Kennedy, Jr. who I had always had a fairly serious crush on (but really, who didn’t have a crush on this amazing man?).      I even had a crush on his wife – was totally smitten with her beauty, her grace, her style – she was just lovely – Caroline Bissett Kennedy.

This man was eloquent, articulate, and graceful.     And frankly, was much more enjoyable to watch and listen to than his interviewer.      Thankfully for America, Oprah has grown, matured, become more introspective, and has decided to listen more, and speak less (she has, hasn’t she?)
JFK Jr. is 50 today.     The world saluts YOU John Kennedy!

(these are some of my favorite photos)

                      salut jfk                 
(photo via Celebrity Bride Guide)    Ohhhh, just so so beautiful.

          john and caroline laughng
jfk dog
(photo via Celebrity Dog Watcher) – Man after my heart.

(photo via Ultimate Carolyn Blogspot)    Beautiful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mind Mapping Your Future? I'm game.

Reading an interesting book right now called “How to Mind Map:   The Ultimate thinking tool that will change your life” by Tony Buzan. ( watch)

Tony Buzan says that the brain functions in 2 ways:   imagination and association.    So, by drawing out a mind map we can not only see exactly everything that is going on in our brains, all on one page/picture/map, but we can draw out our future, gain a clear picture of it, and this will lead us there.

He says (like many others do):  “you tend to get, what you think you will get.”    And so a mind map can help us think very well about what we want.     Then this Mind Map will therefore significantly increase the probability that we will get it.

Interesting.   I’m game.   I can draw.  I have a pretty good imagination.     This will be my project for this weekend – amongst others of course (like hanging my Christmas wreaths.)

Have a watch of the video I included here – do a little research.     It’s kind of interesting.  I’m open (as per usual).

Let me know what you think.    In the meantime, here’s an example of a Mind Map:
roles-and-goals-490 jpeg

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Headboard done, with a little help

Ahh, Sunday – they’re so good for projects.      Finally, our headboard is done.     And I LOVE it – yes!!!
Here’s a look and the project in progress:

                              headboard and layla 005

A few decorating projects on this baby (the green flowered fabric is the fabric-gone-wrong from a few weeks back).

                   headboard and layla 006

Our home-made headboard is made of of none other than “press board” and a 2x4 cut on the angle to hang it by (the other half is secured to the wall).

           headboard and layla 007

The other half of the 2 x 4.

headboard and layla 009

Removing the old fabric – yup, it is simply stapled on.

headboard and layla 010

And our final product!!    (sans our pillows as I’ve yet to find matching linen).

headboard and layla 011

Pretty happy with this project.     Once linen is identified, purchased and implemented, shall post the final-final product.

And of course our little helper:

headboard and layla 003
headboard and layla 002

Loving the camera as always. :)

Leave me a note, if you would like more detail on how to make this headboard

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Do good, feel good.

Last night, hub and I went to the Muscular Dystrophy Gala here in Ottawa.    I sat on the organizing and fundraising committee this year, so we were attending the event as guests.      

The company I work for plays a significant  role in the corporate sponsorship program for MD Ottawa which is how I got involved.

I have to say, it feels good to do good.     We lead a blessed life, and instead of focusing on what we don’t have, it’s just so important to focus on how we can give back to help those who face the types of challenges that we cannot possibly know or understand.

My goal for 2011 will be to ‘give back’ to two charities/programs who can benefit from my time and support.
MD Canada  JPEG
                                                       question mark jpeg

And, I challenge you to give back some how, some way.      It’s win-win.     Those who have challenges benefit from our giving, and, well, it just feels good to give.       Do good, feel good.

Project Shopping - I will do!

I would like to say that there are 34 shopping days until Christmas.     Yup, that’s it - 34 days.      Today is November 20th, and I have completed 50% of my Christmas shopping today.     This, my dear friends, is a first!!!   

My goal is to be completely done my Christmas shopping by November 30th.      This, I will do.       I have made this promise to myself.       This year I will not stress over Christmas – I will make lists (even if I forget them at home), I will develop a project plan, will role out action plans, will set up Gantt charts, will recruit assistants, and delegate tasks when needed.

This organized state of mind makes Christmas not so daunting.   In fact, I am actually looking forward to it.       This will be the first year in which December will be filled with quiet times, peaceful Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Perhaps some home-made baking is in order (sorry M&M’s, no nanaimo bars this year). 

In the meantime, I bring you my favorite things of the season:

charlie b christams 2

Charlie Brown Christmas.   LOVE.


This always makes me smile:    Linus at his best


While I am not a big fan of this move (well, it’s not that I’m not a fan, I’ve just never watched the whole thing), it’s important to recognize the goodness in our lives, be thankful, and truly realize that it really is a wonderful life.


Since I appear to be on the Christmas special theme, we cannot forget about this bad guy, and all the Who’s in Whoville.


Goes without saying……

(photo via Inhabitat) – the gift of giving.    I love to find the perfect gift for someone.    So gratifying.

                           chocolate martinits jpeg

A few of these while……….


      …….doin’ a little decorating - now one of our Christmas traditions.

Well, I could go on and on, but I thought I’d leave some for you.     Tell me, what are some of your fav’s of the Christmas season?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A makeover, what's not to love?

Short post tonight.     My blogging days are few thus far, but already am hankerin’ for a change.      So, I’m in design phase of a new and improved blog, coming soon.     Stay tuned for the unveiling of
Project Beautiful:     people, things, food, moments.

In the meantime, saw these posters and liked them, so thought I’d share.

                                nice person

Ain’t that the truth!


Ok some of you, I know you have comments here.

                         stressed desserts
More truth spoken here.

Ok blog readers, I challenge you to please leave me a comment.      Starting to wonder….is there any life out there in the blog-sphere?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Things that bring on happy

We moved into our new house in June of this year.   We moved twice before that, so there was much packing, and moving, and shuffling, and tossing things in to boxes.

As you likely can guess, stuff went missing for, what seemed like, forever.     Well I guess it is forever, ‘cause some of it is still missing, and may never be found at this point.

I lost my running Garmin watch – I looked for that (bleep) thing for 3 months.    It was nowhere.       Seriously, it was just nowhere in this house.      And then one day I used my psychic powers, and voila, there it was in the bottom of my knapsack (why in my knapsack I have no idea, certainly “I” didn’t put it there).
Then there was my retainer.      Missing.   Completely.     Just.  Gone.     These things are $500 to replace (and just so you know this ‘missing’ one was my second one which I had made just last winter, so it was 6 months old – argggh).     But then tonight arrived, and my psychic powers kicked in again, and low and behold, I thought it a good idea to open up my luggage.    And voila!    There it was, just sitting in the bottom of my suitcase.     I have no idea why my husband put it there – what on earth was he thinking??!!

Sooo, all to say, I am happy.        And hence, I bring you things that make me happy:

 woman and dog
(photo by Mark J. Asher via Etsy) – I feel this connection – this is LOVE.

(photo via – I adore this kitchen.   I have a thing for black and white, never mind in my all time favorite room!)

farm house with fireplace
(photo via Cote de Texas via Pure Style Home) – I love this room – I would never leave this room.

My front door – my home.
Layla Lexus
And of course, my girl (see first photo).

So, what are the things that make you happy?  

p.s.  I just finished watching Barbra Streisand on Oprah with Robert Redford – and I think I need to watch The Way We Were – this, I think would make me happy (or maybe sad, considering how it ends).

                            the way we were jpeg

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Project Procrastination

Ahhhh Sunday morning.      We are up and about – coffee is made and the fire is on.      I love having fires, but they are especially a treat in the morning while drinking coffee.

So today I’ve decided to tackle all the projects that I have been procrastinating on.       My first is loading every CD I own onto iTunes so I can turn my iPod, now configured for MAC, into a PC friendly iPod.    I have been meaning to do this for years.    You see, my friend Nat loaded up my iPod for me years ago, but she’s one of the MAC users (you know the one’s, they’ll only use MACS ‘cause they’re the best), and so have lived with this version for all these years.    No more!

Second, I plan on organizing our laundry room.    We (I should say my husband) is insulating it these days, so it is a focus at our house.      I see baskets, organized baskets.

Third, I do believe it’s time to put the patio furniture, if not at least the cushions, away for the season.     I’d say it’s about time.

And, if time permits, I’m “itchin'” to hang my wreaths.      Perhaps I’ll just dig them out of storage and I’ll be one step closer to dressing up my already pretty front door.

Isn’t November great?!      See, this is what I was talking about earlier in the month.     Get at your projects, you’ll be happier in December for it (or so my November horoscope says).

(cartoon via Inspiration Online)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Itchy. (it's not what you think)

I’m feeling creative lately.      Maybe it’s the sun.      Maybe it’s where I live.   I’m not sure, but I have an itch.    I find myself searching for creative endeavors.       My house has had an overhaul in my head, a few times over (never mind my headboard – argggh).      I have an itch to start a business – but I’m just not sure what?    (if you have any ideas, please feel free to share).

We spent the evening with friends last night over take-out Chinese food, brainstorming on local hotel/motels, pizza joints, gyms, and wine bars.     I think it would be so rewarding to own my own business.     Doesn’t have to be big, but something that I could create, grow, work at while it satisfies this creative itch I have.     But I don’t think it’s just an itch per se – I think this might be something that is meant to be in this phase of life.

Yes, I have my real estate license, and no, not sure how I’m going to use it yet.    But I’m thinking….ohhhhhh, I’m searching.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share some  of my creative itches:

dark flloors
Loving these dark/black floors – (photo via Decor Pad via Design Sponge)

headboard fabric

My headboard material – it arrived yesterday but we weren’t home to accept it, so looks like a Monday night project.

triple wreath

As mentioned before, I have a thing for door wreaths.     Am especially excited for this Christmas, as I’m doing just this:    the triple door wreath ensemble.   Oh yes, can’t wait, might even do it today!     Here  is a great video from House and Home on DIY holiday door wreaths – enjoy!

sarah richardson front door

I love these outdoor arrangements – this is another winter project of mine.   This picture is Sarah Richardson’s front door, complements of House and Home.


My final creative itch is to culture stone our fireplace.    This is not our fireplace, but am aiming for a similar look.     (photo via Aurora Masonry)

Well, I think that’s enough itchin’ and scratchin’, off to dig out my wreaths.     I’m worried the neighbors will think I’m crazy putting up Christmas wreaths.    But who cares, right?

(do you think it’s crazy?)…………….

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Get up and go for Pete's sake

I think I mentioned my year long date with my personal trainer is coming to an end.     We only have somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 sessions left.     That’s just a few weeks.

So, I’ve joined the gym in my building (for $60/year), and will be talking to a trainer today who writes training plans for people to work out on their own.  

My question is – how do I gear up to do this on my own?     I need to find the zone  and get in it - you know those times in your life when you are in “the zone” and it’s a no-brainer, you just go and workout because it’s what you really WANT to do.      You wouldn’t dare let the day pass without getting your workout in. 
So what would Caitlin do, or Angela, or Jenna?      (Ok for the record, these three women are a lot younger than me!  Just sayin’)

My new project is to search for the “get up’n go” required to do this on my own.     I know I have IT.   IT has shown itself at various points in my life.     I need to feed IT to get IT to come out of hiding.      Hmmmmm……….what to feed IT????     This is the question.

So, what do you feed your IT to get it out of hiding, and stay in charge?     (please don’t say ice cream :))

                     no impact aerobics
Cartoon by Every Day People Cartoons

Wellness, not a "project" afterall

I had a lovely acupuncture appointment today with my ND.    We talked alot about the wellness journey.     I explained to her that I was beginning to feel better, how it seemed to be a slow and steady journey, and how bit by bit, day by day, I was feeling improvements, more energy, a better outlook.

Knowing how I project manage everything (this didn’t take her long to figure out), she counseled me on the process of wellness and how health is not a project – there is no start, middle or end.   It is not “accomplished” once a certain goal is reached.     It is a constant and continuous journey.      
I have a hard time with this concept I must say.    How does one manage something that doesn’t have a start and end?        This is definitely homework on my end – maybe I need to ‘project manage’ my inclination to project manage my health.    JK.

In the meantime, I read this on The Happiness Project today, so I thought I’d share
10 Common Happiness Mistakes.                               
  1. To delay to do something important until you have some “free time,” because you may never have any free time
  2. To retreat into isolation when you’re unhappy
  3. To neglect to make a small change because you think a big change is necessary
  4. To refuse to consider a big change because you assume you can only make a small change
  5. To “treat” yourself to something you wouldn’t ordinarily permit yourself, because you’re feeling blue
  6. To postpone something important until you’re feeling healthier, or thinner, or married, or whatever
  7. To think that you can “make” someone else be happy
  8. To imagine that what’s true for other people is true for you
  9. To spend too much time, or not enough time, thinking about the past, present, or future
  10. To ignore the truth about your own temperament, interests, and aptitudes
Well, in my opinion, there are no mistakes – only learning.

Happy Hump Day everyone, let the sun shine on.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Project Smart Spending

My husband and I are challenging ourselves with a new project:

Project Smart Spending

I love this project.   To me it creates order, and anyone who knows me, knows I love order.     Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project says ”external order creates internal order” – but I think the same goes for financial order.    Don’t you think?

Happiness Project 2 Jpeg

(this is a great read by the way – afterall, it’s a “project”)

Anyway, on a similar note, my husband cooked dinner tonight! (I intended)    He decided that he was going to make lasagna.    Not one but two lasagna’s.       Much to my surprise, they were bubblin’ in the oven when I got home (hub doesn’t cook as a rule, so yes this was a surprise.   Although he tells me he made me a roast 5 years ago :)).       Anyway, while enjoying his amazing creation, we did the math and calculated that each serving cost about $2 per serving!!!!       This was a major A-HA for us!      When can you eat good homemade food for $2!!!???      This fit nicely into Project Smart Spending, without us even making a conscious effort.     Imagine what we can accomplish when we put some conscious effort forward(?).

Another item on Project SS  is my fitness regime.    I have decided to join the gym in my building.     Cost:   $60 per year!!       Then, I will hire a trainer that my g-friend uses to do 6-week plans for $40.        Now that is some smart spending, in my opinion.

In the meantime, I’m going to add a couple of strength programs to my regime myself.       Caitlin from the Healthy Tipping Point posted today about starting the following strength programs:    One Hundred Pushups and Two Hundred Pushups.

pushups jpeg

How awesome would it be to do 100 pushups?      Love it.     And better yet, it’s free - you do this program at home.

It gets better.    As some of you know, I’ve been shopping for fabric for my headboard.     So, I have to admit, we bought some last week, and put it together yesterday, and I hate it.     So, while this is NOT a good move for Project SS, we chose another fabric (the fabric I should have gone with in the first place).     The swatch I got from the store was $36/yard.     BUT!!  I found it online for $8/yard – so my headboard will cost $24!! (well besides attempt #1) but still!!       I need a round of applause here for resourcefulness!

Please share some of your Project SS  choices – I’d love to hear them……