Seeing red

by , on
August 30, 2014

This post was brought to you by Act On Red, however the images and opinions are my own. For more information please visit www.actonred.ca.

As long as I remember I have gotten bright red every time I exercise. As a kid it was always horribly embarrassing. I would sit in math class, which I had right after gym in Grade 9, and feel the heat in my face and I knew I looked like a tomato.

It’s something I’ve gotten used to, something I’m even proud of, but a few month ago my face was red all over even when I wasn’t physically exerting myself. At first I thought it was a reaction to a product, but when I stopped using the one new thing I had been nothing changed. My skin was red and itchy and I started feeling terrible about myself. The red blotches were all I could see when I looked in the mirror, and I was aware of my red face all the time.

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I finally got to the doctor and got a solution. She took one look at me and told me: “Yep, rosacea.”

She gave me a prescription, but not much other information. It wasn’t until I posted about the diagnosis on social media that friends who had also experienced rosacea told me more about what causes it. Mine probably had something to do with stress.

In fact the flushing that I’ve always experienced due to exercise was probably rosacea – flushing is one of the three most common symptoms along with persistent redness and visible blood vessels. According to a recent study, heat causes 39 per cent of rosacea outbreaks.

The prescription I got worked quickly and the redness was gone within a week or two, but now I know the persistent redness, which 70 per cent of rosacea sufferers experience, can come back because of those same triggers.

I had a great resource in a friend and a family member who had both experienced rosacea, but not everyone is so lucky. That’s why I was glad to hear about the new website Act on Red [http://www.actonred.ca/rosacea], which offers tips about what causes rosacea and what you can do about it.

I suffered longer than I needed to, looking for solutions by myself rather than just going to see my doctor. Really it was a quick diagnosis and a fairly easy solution. Now I can point others who may be feeling embarrassed to this site and maybe they’ll help themselves.

This post was brought to you by Act On Red, however the images and opinions are my own. For more information please visit www.actonred.ca.

Eager Beaver

by , on
August 29, 2014

“I was completely the eager beaver in school, I was the girl in the front of the class who was the first person to put her hand up, and it’s often not cool to be the person that puts themself out there, and I’ve often gotten teased mercilessly, but I found that ultimately if you truly pour your heart into what you believe in — even if it makes you vulnerable — amazing things can and will happen.” – Emma Watson

I was always a kid who loved school. I’m a reader, I like to learn. I was always glad for the first day of school. New teacher, new projects. I always liked to be seen as smart, but I wasn’t always very loud in class. Until I reached college I didn’t speak out much, I didn’t raise my hand a lot. I was the type of kid who would sit in my seat hoping to be chosen by the teacher to go to the board or read out loud but never actually volunteering in case people realized that I was a keener.

I don’t know what changed for me in college. I guess I was allowed to break out of the box I had been in having been with the same kids from kindergarten through high school. Suddenly I was in a new place, with new people and no pre-determined view of me. I wasn’t afraid to raise my hand. I was proud to be the smart kid. I was outspoken. I knew what I wanted.

It changes when you get to choose exactly what you’re doing, you know what you’re there to learn and what your end goal is. But when I went back to university the first time I had no idea what my end goal was. I wanted a degree. That simple. I knew that I needed a degree to get the kind of job I was looking at, so I picked a degree that had a lot of classes I thought would be interesting and I went for it.

Now I’m going back to get my Masters in something that I’m really excited about. I know I will be interested in my classes, but I picked them because they fit into my schedule, because I need days off to work and I need time to be home for my kid.

But I’m still going to excel.

I do sit in the front of the classroom, and I join in discussions and I raise my hand. I have an opinion, I have lots of life experience and I really don’t give a damn what the other students think, because I’m in school to get the most out of it for me.

I hope that I can demonstrate to my daughter that being smart and being interested is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s something I want her to learn long before I did.

You will find your people, you will find your passions. The ones who mind don’t matter and the ones who matter don’t mind.

My people

My people

Let’s get it started

by , on
August 27, 2014

I took my daughter out to buy some reusable containers for both of us to take snack to school in. She picked out a couple of containers, a couple of reusable snack bags, and then as we browsed around Terra20 she started asking me when it will be time. She’s got all her supplies, she’s got some new clothes, she’s got her indoor shoes, she’s done the school bus safety course. She wants to know when it will finally be time to go.

I totally understand this. I was always the kid who loved school, loved getting ready, loved going back.

I’m thrilled that she’s so ready, I’m excited that she’s excited but right at that exact moment I found myself not so ready at all.

I did not cry in the store, I only almost cried.

I’ve spent so much time this summer thinking about how exciting it will be that I haven’t let myself mourn this part of our life that we’re losing. The waking up when we feel like, snuggling together in bed, choosing our plans for the day.

She’s so big, so grown up, but so little at the same time. When she uses words like startling and odd I forget that she’s only four. she only four. She’s smart and she’s tall, but she’s a little kid with little kid emotions and little kid fears. And little kid hopes and optimism.

She will love school. She will make friends. I have heard nothing but good things about her teacher, and even great things about her bus driver. She will be fine. She will still want to snuggle with me some days. She will still run to hug me when she gets off that bus.

When she needs me I will always be there, but this is the beginning of her not always being there when I turn around.

There she goes

There she goes

Running for a cure

by , on
August 26, 2014

This post was generously sponsored by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, visit www.CIBCrunforthecure.com 

Four years ago I walked the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure pushing a stroller, doing it for friends, fitness and my daughter.

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Finishing (photo by Sara McConnell before she was Sara McConnell Photography)

This year I’m going to do it in a walk/run, pushing myself to best my time –  I hit around the 45 minute mark – and run as much as possible. I don’t know at this point if I’ll be able to run the whole or even the majority of the 5K, but October is still three months away.

When I exercise my face turns bright red

When I exercise my face turns bright red

I’ve been pushing myself a little bit for a couple of months now. Focussing on health, pushing myself to run and finding that I can do things I never knew I could do (run for three minutes straight? Let’s try it I guess). One of my proudest memories is knowing how much my legs hurt during the second half of that walk four years ago and knowing that I pushed through it and I was okay. What I did that day helps me push through more now.

Of course, the strength that I’m building is about one half of one per cent of the strength that those who are diagnosed with breast cancer need to have. If you want to learn more about some of the women who are living that life, go read Laurie’s blog. She’s the one who recruited me to do my last CIBC Run for the Cure and she’s connected me to the stories of a lot more women who are living with cancer.

Participating in the CIBC Run for the Cure is my way of supporting those women, fundraising for research to help them and their families and all men and women who may face down this disease in the future.

If you’re up to it you can register to walk or run here, or if you’re feeling generous my fundraising page is here and I am currently at 20 per cent of my goal. You can also talk more about the run and breast cancer screening with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure on Facebook or Twitter.

This post was generously sponsored by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, visit www.CIBCrunforthecure.com 

Late nights

by , on
August 25, 2014

I should be asleep. It’s been a very long week. Lots of driving, lots of tidying, trying to get back to a normal life while preparing for our whole new life that starts in two weeks. The kid starts school, I start school, we learn a whole new schedule. I’m not sleeping, I’m lying here watching reruns of Project Runway and petting my dog.

I’m thinking about how I’ll handle everything this fall. Whether I’ll still be able to exercise or if I’m going to lose that part of my life again. Whether I’ll be able to feed and fuel myself and whether Ill be able to get the kid nutritious snacks to keep her going all day.

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I’m wondering what the stress of juggling all these balls will do to my marriage. I’m wondering if I’ll be able to keep my house tidy and make sure that dinner happens. I’m wondering if my budget will work out and I’ll be able to stay on top of things. I’m wondering if I have it in me to write a 20 page essay after seven years.

I’m excited about this new life we’re beginning, but the details are totally overwhelming. How can I stay on top of it all? Can I do the things I need to do and the things I want to do?

And most important, will my daughter suffer for the change?

Love, sweat and tears.

What I learned from Rupaul

by , on
August 24, 2014

I started watching Rupaul’s Drag Race as soon as it came to Canada. I have downloaded every season (legally) and watch them all over and over again. I look forward to every next season, I root for my favourites. I breathe it all in. There are many things I have learned over these six seasons, including a whole new vocabulary, and many things any woman should know:

1) Every body is beautiful

Drag queens study the female form and appreciate every body. They are all about emulating and beautifying. If only all women could see themselves as the beautiful objects drag queens see.

2) The appropriate definition of bitch

Straight from the lips of Ms. Latrice Royale: Being In Total Control of Herself. Call me a bitch.

3) When someone is criticizing you, remind yourself it’s like water off a duck’s back.

4) I am a Glamazon

5) It’s important to be able to laugh at yourself. And no one can make you laugh at yourself better than Bianca Del Rio

IMG_08516) If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?

 

She’s all Daddy

by , on
August 23, 2014

My kid is a performing. I’m not sure if this is her “thing” or if it’s a totally normal 4-year-old trait that she’ll grow out of, but holy man.

During a car trip the other day, one that took about half an hour, she performed songs, made up characters and cracked (terrible) jokes.

She sang Everything is Awkward to the tune of Everything is Awesome.

She pulled herself up to my seat – “Hey, mommy, got any grapes?”

(Apologies for the earworm).

Sometimes I can’t even wrap my head around this kid.

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She’s totally ridiculous, and she’ll tell you so.

Daddy's girl

Daddy’s girl

I don’t know what she’s going to do with her life, but she has a lot of energy to give whatever she chooses.

Am I a Mompreneur?

by , on
August 22, 2014

I am a woman who is building her own business, and I am a mother. It is almost impossible to be a parent and not be defined by that in some way. I have a daughter who takes of a lot of my time and a lot of my thoughts. Being a parent is life-altering.

Does being a mother affect the way I approach my business? Yes, it probably does, because it affects who I am on a base level.

Am I a “mompreneur?” No, no I’m not.

Because being a mother doesn’t have anything to do with the services I provide. Being a mother hasn’t pushed my in any professional direction, and my background and focus all comes from training, not parenting.

The definition given for mompreneur is a woman juggling being an entrepreneur and being a mother. But before I started my own business I wasn’t a mom-ployee was I?

There does not exist a parent with children at home that isn’t juggling something. There does not exist an entrepreneur who isn’t trying to balance.

We all have other things that can steal our focus, and it feels like the title ‘mompreneur’ puts emphasis on that second thing, which does us no favours. I am a professional, no different than any other professional in my work.

Do you use the term mompreneur? Why?

Dear Jack

by , on
August 22, 2014

You’ve been gone for three years as of today. It’s been a lot and very short time. We drove past Hudson on our way home and I thought of you and started crying. I couldn’t help it.

My daughter asked me why I was crying and I told her it’s because I miss my friend Jack. I try to talk to her about you. Someone very special who wanted to make the world better.

“We should make the world better, Mama.”

I still want to be your legacy, I want my daughter to be your legacy. That’s part of the reason I’m going back to school in a couple of weeks. I’m finishing my honours and I’m going to get a Masters in Political Management so I can work in political advocacy and feel like I’m doing my part.

I do know that I won’t go a day talking about politics without relying on my experiences in your office. It was a privilege being one of your people.

There are times when I’m still overtaken but how unfair it all seems, to have hit that peak and then lost you, our leader, our guide.

But I watched you and learned from you and we shall move forward, because we have to. Ever progress.

Back to School!

by , on
August 21, 2014
A little #ThrowbackThursday for you: My first day of school

A little #ThrowbackThursday for you: My first day of school

I have always loved back to school time. I love shopping for fall clothes, I love comparison pricing school supplies – seriously, since I was a kid. I love new pencils and new notebooks. I love the fall. I love browsing the office supply aisles and I buy new pens just to try them out and see how they feel. I have a shelf full of blank notebooks in my office, waiting for me to choose them.

You remember that Staples ad with the song “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”? Yeah, that’s me.

This year is pretty special because I’m going back to university and my kid is starting full day kindergarten so there will be lots of firsts and figuring things out. I’ve already made a back to school pin board. I was very excited to take her out for her supplies – a new backpack, a new lunch box. This is the beginning of an annual tradition for us. Something special that we can do every year together.

Now it’s my turn to figure out what I need for my new life as a working mother and university student.

I am thrilled to have found the perfect backpack for me from Lug. I’ve got an iPad and a bluetooth keyboard to take great notes. And I’m thrilled to say that Staples sent me a new portable scanner that I plan to use to scan handouts from my classes as well as all the wonderful memories and artwork that my daughter brings home from her school days.

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As for other supplies, I have always been the prepared student. I carry tissues and water, I have a pencil case fully stocked with extra pens, pencils and erasers, a mini stapler and scissors just in case. For my brand spanking new pencil case I’m going to visit Staples to get one of their Me to We pouches. Proceeds go to Free the Children. I need highlighters, Post-Its and cue cards, cause that’s how I study – repetition baby.

Disclosure: Staples Canada very kindly sent me a Brother Mobile Colour Scanner. All opinions are my own. Yes, I do love back to school this much. And office supplies. Really. 

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