Make time for yourself! Go on, give it a try.

Hey everyone,

Hope you’re having a wonderful week! How fabulous has the weather been 🙂 I tell ya, I’m #grateful for the milder weather. Here’s to hoping that it’s here to stay and that we have an early spring ;). As for my post’s featured image, it has nothing to do with the topic being discussed here today. I just thought that it was pretty so wanted to share it with you!

So, did any of you happen to make a new years resolution? If so, what was it? To travel more, to register for that creative painting class you’ve been thinking about, to read more or working out? Now that it’s the end of February, how’s that resolution going? 🙂 I’m not one for making a new years resolution but this year I did decide that I would try to make some time for myself and workout a few times a week.

Like all other parents, once you have a couple kids and re-join the workforce, things get busy. Between going to and from work, dropping and picking kids up, making meals, playing, bath time and preparing for the next day, there’s little time for yourself. I love every busy moment of my life 🙂 but I had been missing something lately and that was working out.

I’ve always enjoyed exercising. Obviously, some years more than others but being active has always been a big part of my life. Even when we were young. As kids, we used to spend most of our time playing outside with friends and family. Once high school hit, my sister, mom and I all joined the same gym and they continue to work out together today.

As most of you know, I’ve had two kids in the last 4 years, which has kept us pretty busy ;), and as for the last year, it was fabulous but also challenging so my workout regime changed. During the first half of my last maternity leave, I didn’t work out at all and as for the second half, I managed to make a few yoga classes a week, which was both relaxing and incredibly therapeutic. I continue to enjoy the benefits of yoga today. It’s very relaxing and I really enjoy the stretching, focused breathing and Savasana. It took me a while to really unwind and benefit from Savasana but I can honestly say that it’s my favourite part.

When I returned to work in August 2017, I naturally had to get used to my new work/life schedule. I really enjoy my job, so being at work is an absolute pleasure. The only thing that I was missing (other than the kids ;)) was working out. Working out allows us all to reenergize ourselves, clear our heads, strengthen our bodies and help us better deal with difficult times.

So, I decided during the Christmas break that I would give myself permission to carve some time out during my work hours and on the weekends to work out and, I’m happy to report, that I have been #parentwin!

Since the beginning of January, I’ve been going to the gym or working out at home a few times a week. Lucky for me, I have a gym close to my office, so I’ve been able to sneak out a couple of times a week for 30 or 45 minute classes. Pre-kids, I loved working out for an hour or more. Nowadays, 30-45 minutes is just perfect! I love that I can get in and out within an hour and how great these quick classes make me feel. Even better, I’ve been varying the classes that I go to and I’m finding this very effective. I’ve started going to spinning classes and, for those who haven’t tried them, they are SOOOO hard. Three minutes in, I feel like my heart is going to pop out of my chest. The music and energy during these classes are amazing and I always leave feeling re-energized.

I’ve also been going to yoga and body attack classes again. Body Attack used to be my fav, before the kids, but I find it a lot more challenging since having them.


On occasion, I’ve also managed to sneak in a workout on the weekend, while the kids are up. Major parent win 🙂 Have you guys heard of the Nike Training app? If not, you have to check it out. It’s a free workout app that offers workouts for different muscle groups, with or without weights, and for varying durations (ex: 15, 25 and 40 mins). Some of my favourite workouts are:

  • focused restorative yoga
  • Glute and hip strength
  • EngineRevv
  • Stability and Strength yoga
  • Lower Body Strength yoga

I like to set myself up in the basement and let the kids run around and play with all of their toys while I sneak in a workout. Yes, they climb all over and around me but it’s still totally worth it. Even cuter, they sometimes like to get involved. Our daughter loves to do ” down dog” and yelling out Oga! As for our son, he loves to do kids yoga videos and saying “manaste” ;).

Lastly, I’ve been enjoying the occasional bedtime yoga session, in our living room, while watching a show. It’s the best way to relax before we enjoy our sleepy time and head to bed.

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Overall, I’m really enjoying the addition of these short workout sessions and I look forward to continuing my yoga practice and strengthening my body.

I know that life can be busy and that it can be very difficult to find time to do things for just ourselves but we/you totally should. Whether you make time to read a book, go for a walk or see that movie you’ve been meaning to see, you should take some time this weekend and treat yourself to that which makes you happy. Your body and mind will thank you for it :).

As usual, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know about your favourite hobbies and whether or not you made a new years resolution.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend.

Talk soon,


Tips for fighting stress!

We’re already halfway through the first month of 2018! Along with a new year comes new opportunities as well as the opportunity to look back on the previous year, providing the opportunity to reflect on both all of the good and the bad.

2017 was a fabulous year! Our family of four traveled together, I enjoyed the last 6 months of my last maternity leave, Julien and I had a getaway to Banff, my sister moved home from Vancouver and we spent lots of time with our family and friends.

Like most, 2017 also presented us with some difficult times. Just before Christmas 2016, we lost my grandma. Lucky for me, mom and I were with her when she passed. I’m honoured that I was able to help granny through her last day on earth but this experience was both stressful and heartbreaking. Granny was my only grandparent present in my life and meant so much to my mom, sister and I. I could dedicate many posts to granny and all of the things that we did together and how much I/we loved her. She literally dedicated her entire life to her children and grandchildren and I will forever be grateful to her for that and all of the memories we have.

A few weeks after granny passed, Mom was diagnosed with stage 3B ovarian cancer and less than a week later, underwent major debulking surgery, two days before her 59th birthday. She spent quite literally the rest of 2017 fighting her cancer. For anyone who has had a parent diagnosed with cancer you know how difficult this can be and how helpless it can leave you feeling. For those who know me, you know that my mom is my world and quite literally my first love! She, like granny, has dedicated her entire life to her babies and I’m SO lucky to have such a present, loving and fun mom.

So, now it is 2018 and I’m happy to report that December 2017 was mom’s healthiest month since her diagnosis. She hosted an amazing Christmas dinner as well as NYE with her friends and she’s had more energy than ever. She’s been able to snowshoe, keep up with her grand kids and spend lots of time with family and friends. She’s even been working out. What a champ! She’s a real life superhero :)!

Three peas in a pod!

Even better, mom had her regular 3-month appointment this week with her oncologist and she received positive feedback 🙂 our family couldn’t have asked for anything better. Her chemo worked really well and her cancer remains in remission. F*uck you cancer, you messed with the wrong mama!

Like most, the love that I have for my family is immense. I wouldn’t be who I am without all of them so when mom was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer, 11 years after she fought breast cancer, I was devastated. I was half-way through my maternity leave and was heartbroken. It was one of my biggest nightmares. Although I had SO much good going on, I felt as though I was drowning in pain over this. As though I couldn’t cope with mom’s diagnosis and our new reality. It just wasn’t fair…of course, like many, I learned that life isn’t always fair.

Lucky for us, mom is strong and recovered from the insanely difficult surgery and recovery, her painful chemo and is living each day to the fullest. She is positive 95% of the time, allowing herself to have the occasional pity party day, understandably. Because of her strength, I try to encourage myself to show the same strength and to focus on all of the good that we have going on in our lives!

Since the end of her chemo, she see’s her oncologist every 3 months at which time they tell her about her markers etc. This process has been quite stressful. The first two months we’re all happy and well 🙂 we focus on all the positive and try not to think about the cancer but as we approach the third month we become more and more anxious. I don’t know about you but I’ve never experienced real anxiety until this year and sometimes it can be quiet overwhelming. I think that it’s directly linked to the lack of control that I have in this situation. So, I’ve decided to share with you some of my tips and tricks for dealing with stress and anxiety 🙂 I’ve only recently (2017 onward) started practicing these activities and although they weren’t easy to do at first, I’ve come to love each of them.

As I’ve noted before, I used to be a major cardio junky. This changed, in the last year, as I really needed to slow down, relax and breathe. Here are my tips for staying calm anytime and especially when you’re feeling anxious or stressed:

Incorporate yoga into your weekly regime, including conscious breathing:

As previously mentioned in my post about our family trip to Florida, yoga really helped reduce the stress that I was feeling at the time. I started practicing with my father-in-law and really helped reduce my anxiety, around mom’s diagnosis, when I was on maternity leave. Being a runner, I loved nothing more than intense workouts. Yoga can be intense but the conscious breathing, holding of poses and reflection at the end are medicinal. I swear tears literally fell, quietly, at the end of many classes as I lay there on my mat, practicing mindfulness and gratitude.


Yoga taught me that it’s ok to slow things down. That both my mind and body appreciate it and that practicing conscious breathing greatly reduces ones stress/anxiety. For those who feel as though your days are flying by and that you have little down time, I highly recommend that you give yoga a try. Like meditation, it is SO hard to slow your mind and body down, at first, but with time you will reap the benefits.


Meditation and mindfullness

Do you meditate? If so, I would love to know which apps or books you follow. If not, you should totally try it out 🙂 Why? Why not? Even before mom’s diagnosis, she tried to encourage us to meditate and I’d always say sure mom lol well, like everything else, she was right. Meditation is AWESOME and has helped me get through the difficult times this year and continues to help me daily.

I love to use the apps headspace and calm. At first, it was SOOOO hard to meditate. All I did was think about all I had to do, how weird it was that I was lying on the couch or sitting on a chair trying to focus on nothing when all I could do was focus on all that I had to do. Well, like most activities, meditation takes practice and, if you give yourself time, and practice regularly, your meditation sessions will improve and bring you much joy.

Like yoga, I started practicing meditation last summer, when mom was undergoing chemo. I figured why not try it out. I’d put our daughter down for her afternoon nap, lay down on the couch, plug myself into headspace and do a 10 minute session. For those who use this app, you already know how intoxicating this guys voice is. You can’t help but hold onto it and try hard not to fall asleep. At first, it was hard to make it through 5-10 mins but now I do at least 10 minutes a day and, if I need it, I will do an additional 10 on my way home from work.



Presently, I use headspace, once and a while, on my commute home from work and I use Calm before bed. Julien probably regrets telling me about Calm lol because I listen to it EVERY SINGLE night before bed and without headphones. It’s amazing. You can listen to meditation for sleep, relaxation, stress etc and to different sounds. My favourite sessions are those for sleep with rain in the background. Amazing! I swear I’m asleep within the first three minutes. I highly recommend adding meditation to your daily routine. Another benefit is that is allows me to practice conscious breathing and gratitude daily. #grateful!


Dehumidifer and calming scents:

Last, but not least, my parents-in-life bought us a dehumidifer for Christmas and it has also become part of our evening routine. We like to use it with a variety of amazing scents that encourage relaxation. I like to use it when we are watching a show in the living room and then again when we go to bed 🙂 I set it so that its on for two hours, turn my sleppy time meditation on and I am gone lol is there a better way to fall asleep! We have a few scents now but I would love to hear about your favorite ones so please do feel free to leave a comment with your recommendations.


So, there are a few of my tips for reducing stress. Tomorrow, after waiting 9 weeks, I will be receiving my BRCA results. I can promise you that tonight, like every night ;), I will be going to sleep with my dehumidifier, and calming scents, while listening to my sleepy time meditation and I encourage you to do the same.

For those who try these tips out, I hope that they bring you much joy. As for staying positive, this is just in my nature. I’ve always been and will always be a positive person. Life is good and I encourage everyone to wake up with a grateful heart. Grateful for their life, their children, health, family and friends!

Hope you have a fabulous weekend! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your ongoing support.


Ash xo



Breast health and Mammograms – we gotta do it ladies!


Ladies, we have to take good care of our ladies! If we don’t take charge of our breast who will? A big shout out to some e-cards for the hilarious picture and quote above. I had to include it. Plus, posting pics of my breasts during my mammogram would have been a bit much ;).

For those who don’t know, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. The good news is that after her mastectomy, chemo, and radiation she was cancer free! The bad news is that in January 2017 she was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer. I am not sharing this with you to make you sad rather, I am sharing this with you because I never thought that this would happen to my family. To my hardworking, loving, kind and generous mom but it did. I am sharing this with you because breast and ovarian cancers are real and, if left undiagnosed, they can be deadly. You have the power to self-check and ask for additional testing. You owe it to yourself to take good care of your body. The only body you have for this lovely-life of ours.

It has been six months since mom’s diagnosis and since I have decided to seriously take charge of my breast and ovarian health. I am currently seeing a breast cancer high-risk specialist at the General hospital (how lucky are we to have such a specialty) and undergoing different tests. One of them being the dreaded mammogram… I’d like to focus this post on my recent mammogram experience. Why, you may ask, well because if you have a family history of breast cancer this simple test can save your life. I never thought that I would have a mammogram at 32 since they aren’t recommended until the age of 50, but I am happy that I did.

Having delivered two babies both naturally and vaginally I wasn’t too worried about the mammogram being painful. Until the day of! I had asked a few people about their experiences and most said that they were uncomfortable. I was starting to worry a bit and thought maybe they were downplaying it like people downplay labour pain. I decided to google mammograms and look at pictures of the machine. Have you seen the size of those machines? They are huge. Of course, this google search only made me feel more nervous and on my drive, over to the hospital, I began to panic. Mom always said that it feels like they are squishing your breast into a pancake. That can’t be good lol I tried squishing them myself but it didn’t really hurt. Oh, I forgot to mention that I barely have any breasts at all. Like literally none. I seriously wondered how they would get them into the machine lol but they managed :).

I’ll tell ya from the start that my mammogram experience was actually quite pleasant. I am not sure if I have a high pain tolerance or if the process was painless due to my complete lack of breasts but it didn’t hurt at all. I had this awesome tech who was around my age. She was so sweet and sensitive to my current situation (since mom’s diagnosis and history was included in the referral). She took the time to explain what the terrifying machine would do and took things step by step. We actually ended up laughing a lot. I wasn’t sure she would be able to get much breast on the machine but she did and boy did she squish them like a pancake but I promise you it didn’t hurt at all. I was in and out in about 15 minutes and felt better knowing that my breasts had been scanned. These early images will allow for comparison later on in life. We are so lucky to have this technology in Canada.

So ladies, for those of you who have a history of breast cancer in their family and who’s doctor supports this decision, I highly recommend getting a mammogram done early on. It is a brief and painless appointment and may give you some piece of mind. I know that it did for me.

To my high-risk specialist. I thank you so much for taking such great care of me and sending me for this test. I feel confident moving forward that I am in good hands and that you will guide me to make the most educated decisions regarding my breast health. I will leave you with a recent picture of mom and I taken two weeks after her last chemo session. She was feeling great and we had a great visit with the family.

IMG_20170715_104234 (1).jpg

Talk soon,

Ash xo