Here I go again on my own

Back at the end of 2015 I posted about starting a new job in communications at Girl Guides. I don’t think I mentioned this at the time but that was a one year contract which ended in November 2016, and my last day was the day before we left for Florida (we planned our trip so it would work out like that). When I was originally hired there was the possibility of my role being extended but long story short, that role wasn’t a great fit. Also, we got a new CEO, the program that I was hired to work on changed direction, there was some restructuring, and here I am, unemployed (though I like to say FUNemployed). I’m basically in the same place as when I left my previous job in the summer of 2015 because I was unhappy there (more about that here).

I enjoyed my time at Girl Guides but early on I knew the role wasn’t for me. Actually, going into it before I even accepted the offer I knew it wasn’t for me. But I didn’t admit it to myself at the time. If I had a different role there I think it could have been different because it is an amazing organization and I truly believe it is making a difference in the lives of girls and women. I don’t regret working there. Again I made some lifelong (I hope) friends, had some inspiring experiences, I made some money, and the graphic designer was overloaded with work so I got to do a lot of graphic stuff that I really enjoy and is great for my portfolio.

But in the end it’s  a role that I took for an entire year, where I knew the entire time it wasn’t going to work out, knew going into it that it probably wasn’t going to work out, but I did it anyway. I left my previous job to work on my own writing and get my freelance writing and design business up and running, and I completely abandoned it for this role. And I have been wondering why I did that.

I went out for lunch with a friend last week who I met at my old job at the recruitment firm (the one I left in the summer of 2015). She is still in recruiting – though for a different company now – so we got talking about career stuff and I explained the above to her and she asked me “Why would you take that job if you knew it wasn’t right for you?”

Well, aside from the fact that it’s a great organization and I was being optimistic about my role there, I think there are two main reasons:

I felt like I needed a job. Though I was actually doing well freelancing I was feeling antsy and like I needed a steady 9-5. Our society really puts emphasis on having a “job”. We value going somewhere every day for 8 hours and working and getting a steady paycheque. I felt the pressure to have that, and whether that was actual pressure or just imagined pressure that I was putting on myself I don’t know. Every time someone asked me what I was doing I felt embarrassed to not have a “job”, which I know is ridiculous!

And that same friend pointed this reason out to me and everything sort of clicked – I took that position because it was safe. It was the easy way out. It was a role that I knew I could do, that I had experience in, and I knew that while I was there I was in a safe space. It wasn’t anything new and I wasn’t branching out. I wasn’t putting myself out there. Doing your own thing is A LOT harder than showing up somewhere every day and doing what you’re told. So I put my own thing on hold and I did the safe, easy thing.

The problem is I didn’t give myself enough time to try out what I really want to be doing, which is working for myself. I don’t know if I would have failed or succeeded because I only gave it a halfhearted try. I wanted to start a podcast, I wanted to start a web comic, I have a lot of ongoing blog goals, and I wanted to finish my book with stories and cartoons about growing up in the middle of nowhere by March of last year. None of those things happened, because I was being safe and working. Oh sure, I told myself that I would work during the day and focus on those things at night and on weekends, but I did not do that enough.

One afternoon at Girl Guides, the social committee (which I was on) planned a tree tour through the cemetery with the arborist who worked there. His passion for his work was so evident and I remember feeling really envious about his enthusiasm. That the job he went into every day was what he truly loved. There was nothing else he’d rather be doing. His job was his passion and he was living his dream. (I’m sure he still had his moments, everyone does.)

I don’t think that everyone’s job can be their passion. Sometimes I do think you need to work a “job”, to support yourself, your family, whatever. I was talking to another friend about this and she admitted her job is not her passion but she likes it well enough, it pays well, has some flexibility, has amazing benefits and such an amazing pension that she could never picture herself leaving. So maybe she works her job but does things she is passionate about on the side. I totally get that.

But could my job be my passion? I always thought it would be. I can still hear my boss at OFSAA saying to me when my position there was discontinued (I’m sensing a theme here), “Lindsey, you need to write and you need to be creative. You can do more than this role.” He is not wrong, and I knew it about my role there, too, but again it was the safe one! Why did I graduate from journalism and then go into communications? Safe route. I wonder if I will ever be as successful working somewhere else as I will be for myself if I REALLY write and be creative FOR ME and give it a REALLY GOOD TRY.

And I’m not talking about being a professional blogger. I do make some money from my blog, but it’s basically just enough to cover my hosting fees. It’s certainly not enough to live on, and though I could definitely take it up a notch if I stepped up the effort, let’s be honest – this is a hobby blog. Recapping my days is something I do for me, not something I expect to make a living on. But even with my blog I take the safe way out. I started this blog as a healthy living blog when what I really wanted to do was draw comics and tell stories because it was easier to get into it. I need to stop taking the easy way out and really push myself. I do recaps of my regular days because they’re safe and easy instead of doing my stories and drawing comics, and instead of starting a podcast (sometimes I do love recapping my activities but I’m saying I need to branch out more).

And every time my blog has gotten a lot of attention (for example with the guy who didn’t exist and with the piggyback fail) I’ve gotten scared that I’ve attracted too many people and I immediately pulled back and took a break, thus losing that momentum.

So, all this to say, I am currently unemployed but I have some plans (and I signed up for a Ladies Learning Code course that I’m excited about) and honestly it’s a pretty good time to not be working a “job.” Aside from the fact that Evan and I are getting married in four months (OMG!!!) and planning that takes time, I feel like I have a unique opportunity YET AGAIN to figure my shit out. And this time I’m going to. If the right opportunity does come up (’cause I am still hunting!) then yes, I will work a “job”, and maybe that’s what’s in the cards for me and I just haven’t found the right one yet. Maybe that job can even be my passion. But I need to give my own stuff a good try to figure that out. Whatever happens, in a year I will not be in the same place as I am right now.

And WHEW, sorry for the wall of text but it felt so good to write all that!

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Orange is the New Workout

A while ago I mentioned that I had signed up for OrangeTheory Fitness, since a new studio was opening in my neighbourhood and I was looking to try something new. It opened for a two week trial period just after we got back from Florida, so that worked out very conveniently. Since the summer I have been less active and giving less of a crap about what I’m eating so the pounds were accumulating and I feel like once we arrived in Florida everything caught up to me and I just BALLOONED.

At least, that’s how I felt. So I was excited to have something to motivate me upon our return.

Motivate me!

OrangeTheory is relatively new to Canada but has been around in the US for a few years now. I have seen several bloggers mention how much they love it so it’s been on my radar for a while and back in the summer I started looking around for a studio that would be convenient for me to get to.

One day on Facebook an ad popped up for an OrangeTheory that was opening in my area offering two free trial weeks and a discounted monthly rate (called the founders rate), so I immediately jumped on that and signed up. It’s still pricy even with the founders rate, so I initially signed up for 8 classes a month – I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it enough to go for the unlimited package. But I FREAKING LOVE IT. I can’t say I’ve loved many workouts in the past (or any workouts really) so I’m surprised at how much. I love it so much that I’m planning on switching my membership to unlimited because I don’t feel like going twice a week is enough – I actually want more!

One of my classes. And I look like I stole the legs from the woman in front of me.

OrangeTheory is basically group personal training. The studio space is dimly lit with orange tinted lighting and has treadmills (and they are fancy ones with fans which makes me so happy!), water rowers, and then a free weights section with benches, TRX straps and bosu balls.

Not my studio but it looks like just this

Each day is a different workout and focuses on endurance, strength, power, or all three (called an ESP day). An instructor leads the class through a workout rotation on the treadmill, indoor rower and weights and offers form correction, demonstrations, encouragement and cues.

So for example, my first day was an endurance day and we first spent about 25 minutes on the treadmills running (or power walking if you’re not a runner) at different paces – your personal base pase, which is an active recovery, push pace, and an all-out pace, with a walking recovery after each all-out.

For the next 3o minutes we did sets of rowing followed by a series of weights and TRX exercises. I HATED HATED HATED the rower at first and I found it so extremely hard and thought I would just suck at it forever, but I’m actually getting better and find it motivating to see my improvement! Though I still don’t love it. My class tomorrow is rumoured to have a 2000m row so I’m definitely not looking forward to that. I might die.

Each workout ends with a five minute stretch.

The weights part of the workout is crossfit-esque in my experience but the difference is everyone is focused on their own workout and no one is paying attention to you. What I didn’t like about crossfit is that once people finish what they’re doing they tend to watch and cheer you on, and although it’s supposed to be motivating and encouraging, I would prefer to not have people looking at me while I’m doing my flailing version of burpees. I like that this is more anonymous.

What I also really enjoy, and what I think is the most motivating for me, is that everyone wears either a chest or wristband heart rate monitor, which you buy from the studio (or you can bring your own as long as it works with their equipment). I bought the wristband monitor from them as I don’t trust my chest to not mess around with the chest strap, dem nungas be pesky. During your workout you are trying to push yourself hard enough to maintain certain heart rate percentages (like your push pace on the treadmill). Heart rate levels are represented by colours and the “orange theory” is the idea that you are trying to spend parts of your workout in the “orange zone,” which is 84%-91% of your maximum heart rate. You earn a “splat point” for every minute you spend in the orange or red zones, so basically you get a splat point when you are really busting your ass.

Our instructor said that ideally you’ll spend most of your workout in the green zone and about 12-20 minutes in the orange or red zones. Everyone’s heart rate levels and splat points are displayed on a monitor and I find this seriously motivating because I can see exactly how hard I’m working. It has encouraged me many times to push myself because I’ll notice my heart rate isn’t in the orange zone yet so I’ll bump up my treadmill speed and give ‘er a bit more.

(image source)

I’ve even worn the heart rate monitor for my own treadmill workouts at the gym (using the OTBeat app) and I’ve noticed that my usual pace has my heart rate at like 75% my entire workout so I haven’t been pushing myself like I thought I was. Now that I can monitor this I’m making myself go a lot faster and I notice my running endurance increasing more quickly than it has in the past. And obviously I’m getting a better workout.

Each OrangeTheory class I’ve participated in has kept me engaged and interested, I think because we are switching it up all the time. If I push myself really hard and I start feeling like I’m going to die (happened a few times) I know that we’ll be moving on in a minute and I’ll be doing something else. Also, if you go definitely bring a towel – I have never been so sweaty during a workout!

Seriously.

Another favourite thing for me is when you’re finished your workout, your stats are emailed to you. Mine arrive in my inbox before I even get in my car to leave.

That was a big treadmill day. When it’s a day with more weights and rowing and less treadmill my stats are a bit different.

But the best is the way I feel after I’m done, like I’m a SUPER badass. During the workout I may have moments where I feel like I’m going to die, but they’re brief, and afterwards it is so worth it for that feeling.

Sometimes I feel like strutting for the rest of the day.

So, I’m loving OrangeTheory. I am the type of person who gets intimidated by new workouts and gyms but I am so glad I checked this out. I hope in a year from now I’m still as interested!

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Holiday Eating Week and New Year’s Eve

My bestie Lisa was home for the holidays (I’ve mentioned this many times but she lives in Calgary) so last Wednesday, the day after Evan and I arrived home and exchanged our gifts, I went on a solo road trip up to her parents in the afternoon to get some quality visiting time in.

Such a beauty view they have. Though I prefer it in the summer.

Remember when I posted our Christmas card and said Evan wanted you to print it out and put it with the rest of your Christmas cards? Diane (Lisa’s mom) actually did this and then texted me this picture:

We’re front and centre! Warmed my heart.

I definitely associate Lisa’s parents place with good snacks – they usually have a wide variety of cheese and crackers and that is a quality that I admire. When I was growing up they had a Costco membership and we didn’t, so they had a lot of exotic (for me at the time) snack foods. The snacks didn’t disappoint this time, Lisa made us quite the spread of cheese and crackers, probably my favourite snack of all time.

It included Phil’s dills (her dad Phil’s dill pickles) which are the most garlicky and tangy pickles I have ever had, and they sent me home with a jar of them so I was pretty pumped about this.

A great addition to my own cheese and crackers spreads that Evan and I have been having for lunch lately.

I stayed for the afternoon and we hung out and caught up until dinner, which was delicious. We had a meat pie and this delicious squash soup that Lisa’s mom made.

So good!

After dinner Lisa and I headed to Dawn’s house for a night in with her, Emily and Joanna. And Dawn’s little daughter Scarlett until her bedtime, who just SLAYS me. She is on a big poopoo kick right now and it’s hilarious. I was changing into my pajama pants in front of her and she poked the cellulite on my thigh and said “Wow Lindsey, you’re old!” Thanks Scarlett. You can always count on an almost three year old to tell it like it is.

We ate more snacks and had drinks and hot tubbed it up and chatted – it was a really cute night. I only took two pictures of us the entire night, the midnight cheddar bay biscuits we made from a Red Lobster mix around midnight…

Probably not the best decision but OMG it was good. No regrets.

And the birthday card I got for Dawn back in December, still proudly displayed in her kitchen.

I guess I wanted to show it to you. My group of friends likes to get ridiculous cards for each other, and sometimes that includes cards for other holidays. That one was a good Urban Outfitters find.

The next morning Lisa and I woke up to these two in our bed.

Miyou (Dawn’s dog) and Marcus (Emily’s son). I could get used to waking up with snuggly things in my bed, as Tilly refuses to snuggle with me in the morning (only when I get home from somewhere, and I only have a 10 minute window!) It was a good wake up call.

Give me all the snuggly babies!

I have such a love burst for those two.

Look at that chunky chicken nugget!!

It snowed quite a lot during the night so we were not in a big hurry to get on the roads. Lis and I hung out and snuggled and Dawn made us pancakes. Pretty perfect morning.

On the way back to my place we were somehow still hungry so we stopped for all-you-can-eat-sushi, as we do.

We came home, napped, chatted and watched Grey’s Anatomy (which I have never seen and am only now getting into!) and then ordered tandoori chicken pizza for dinner. It was the week of eating, I’ll just say. After dinner we showered (so our hair in the below photo is wet, not greasy) and got into our jimjams for another night of leisure.

That would be my new Christmas onesie. We did face masks and watched trash TV that I can’t remember. It was an early night but it was a good night!

Lisa was leaving the next day so we went out for a late brunch to Uncle Betty’s around Yonge and Eglinton. I’ve heard good things but have never been there so I was excited to check it out. I ordered the donut breakfast sandwich because they make their donuts in-house and I could not resist.

I showed that picture to Evan later and his response was “That actually…doesn’t look very good,” but I think he’s crazy. It was delicious!

Then we just did more hanging out and Grey’s Anatomy watching before it was time to take Lisa to the airport. I was sad to see her go, however I am pretty excited about the next time I’ll see her ’cause it’ll be at our wedding in Cuba!!!! AHHHHH!!!!!

For New Year’s Eve Sherrie had a party so that’s where most of our friends headed. I love a good low key house party for New Year’s, it’s my favourite activity. I would much rather do that than have to worry about going out somewhere. The babies were in attendance!

2016 was definitely the year of babies – three arrived in our group of friends. Busy baby year.

We had a family-style dinner for 12 that Sherrie and her boyfriend Will made us and it was freakin’ good.

Roast beef, squash, glazed carrots, mashed potatoes and yorkshire pudding (Will is a chef and he is also British, I have mentioned this). There was SO MUCH FOOD the entire night – we had different snacks and dips coming out all night after this, and after midnight Will busted out his famous make-your-own poutine bar. I was absolutely stuffed. We all ate so much that no one actually got drunk, but that is probably for the best as we are old now and 2016 hangovers are much worse than 2006 hangovers.

We recreated this picture from Sherrie’s first New Year’s party four years ago in 2012 – just after I started dating Evan!

2012-13

2016-17

I think those four years look pretty good on us. Photo credit to Emily for capturing that, it took a few tries!

It was a lovely New Year’s Eve with some of my favourite people!

Really love those girls.

And this guy.

The end of the holidays for another year.

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Christmas Things

On Christmas Eve we headed to Evan’s aunt and uncle’s an hour north of the city where we were staying until Boxing Day with Evan’s mom, Brotherman and Kelly and our little nephew. Their house is absolutely beautiful and the town is cute in a Stars Hollow sort of way, so it was a really great place to spend Christmas.

Evan’s Uncle Stevie and Auntie Jan used to live in Tobago but moved back to Ontario in 2016 (whyyyy didn’t we go visit them when they lived there??? Dummies!), so this is the first Christmas we have spent with them. I briefly mentioned in my last post that Evan’s nana unfortunately passed away in the early fall and this was also the first Christmas that the rest of us didn’t spend it with her (first after three years for me). She loved to host Christmas and it felt really weird not to not have her around, and not be watching House Hunters and true crime TV shows in her living room and laughing at her sassy commentary in her proper British accent. I’ll have to tell you some stories about her sometime because she was such a character and her presence was noticeably missing, for all of us. But, that is life and it goes on. At 90, she lived a great one herself. We made the best of the situation and had a wonderful Christmas together.

On Christmas Eve we all congregated in the kitchen and made pizzas.

Evan being a good son and taking pictures for his mom on her iPad.

We picked up dough from Nino D’Aversa (Italian bakery in Toronto) and added all the toppings. They turned out deliciously.

We listened to Christmas carols and drank wine and ate our pizzas with a big Caesar salad with homemade dressing from Uncle Stevie. A very good Christmas Eve.

Brothas

On Christmas morning we woke up, had a leisurely breakfast, and opened our presents. This year we decided to just do stocking stuffers for everyone, which worked out really well because we all had a pile of fun things to open but we only spent $20-$25 on each person. I think that might become a tradition.

It was awesome having Landon around. At a year and a half he is not super enthused about Christmas just yet, he mostly enjoyed the boxes and wrapping paper. Next year though I think he’ll be getting there! He was so cute though and was so good the entire time. Just a little muffin.

I also fell down the stairs, which was not a Christmas day highlight for me… But also not a huge surprise as stairs and I sort of have a history. Actually it probably would have been a Christmas miracle if I didn’t fall down the stairs.

My most embarrassing stair fall was probably at my bestie’s grandfather’s funeral last year because I was in a dress and I almost took out an old man – I realized at the last moment before grabbing onto him that he wasn’t going to be able to save me. This was a close second in embarrassment though because I was carrying my phone and Nintendo DS (with Harry Potter Lego in it!), both of which went flying and made such a giant racket that everyone came running. I don’t know what happened but the stairs were polished wood and slippery and I stepped on a narrow part where the stairs curved and my foot went flying out from under me. I felt it happening but I was powerless to stop it and hit every. single. stair. on the way down.

I had some pretty bad bruises on the right side of my body and am still sore but otherwise escaped unharmed, though I still can’t do a pushup because my right arm/shoulder can’t take it (not that I could do a proper pushup before anyway). Everyone said they couldn’t believe I didn’t hit my head or break a bone and I don’t know what to say except if there is one thing I’m good at, it’s falling. I’ve fallen enough times that I know to let my body go slack and roll with it for minimal damage. Anyway, it was not the first flight of stairs I’ve fallen down and it will likely not be the last. But (YES DAD) I am going to be more careful.

After presents and my big bad fall, Evan, Kelly, Uncle Stevie and I headed out for a walk to the lake. It was super cold but it was super beautiful.

I love a frozen lake. That is certainly not the type of ice that you can just blow across on though. There’s a beach there so we’re going to have to come back in the summer when it’s hot for some swimming!

After our walk we napped, read our books by the fire, took our annual Christmas Day selfie…

The fourth one we have now! The first with champagne, fancy. And then we popped open our crackers and donned our colourful paper crowns for dinner.

Christmas dinner number two (we had our first at my dad and Mona’s the week before) did not disappoint. It was delicious. Holidays are really the only time I have turkey and stuffing with gravy so I cherish every bite.

After dinner we played this hilarious game that Evan’s Uncle Stevie and Auntie Jan introduced us to – I don’t know what to call it other than try to unwrap a present wearing oven mitts.

Evan and Brotherman got matching shirts for Christmas and I love that they were wearing them proudly.

Anyway, there were about four layers of wrapped boxes and you had to try to open them wearing oven mitts while the person in front of you rolled the dice. If they got doubles you had to stop what you’re doing, pass the box and the oven mitts to them and they had to try to unwrap the box while the person in front of them rolled trying to get doubles, and so on. I will definitely be busting this out at every Christmas party I attend in the future because I tell you, it was a time.

By the end there was just a tiny box to open. That man is 96 years old and was killing it. But of course, Evan won, because that’s what he does best. Wins all the things.

The final present was a deck of cards, so we can play together and he can beat me at more games!

On Boxing Day we left Uncle Stevie’s bright and early to hit the road to Evan’s dad’s for Christmas number three, about a two hour drive east. Unfortunately, it had been freezing rain since the early morning and the roads were pretty crappy. They were mostly just wet by the time we set out but there were several accidents on the 401 (the biggest highway that crosses Ontario east/west) and they actually shut down a big section that we needed to travel on. Getting off was a nightmare, and then we had to take a side road that was RAMMED with traffic and that two hour drive somehow ended up taking us six hours. I’d like to say the drive was a good time but I was in the front of the truck in the middle, between Evan and his mom (who we were dropping off) and the hump of the seat was digging into my bruise from the stairs. The worst thing about this though, was that the snacks were all in the back of the truck. So that’s a lesson learned – keep the snacks up front! I have to say that Landon was a SERIOUS trooper through all of this.

When we finally got to Evan’s dad’s, his road was basically a skating rink and we could not get up a hill before his driveway. So Brotherman and I (VERY CAREFULLY) slid across the road and up the hill and trekked to the house to retrieve their dad. Then he had to come and rescue us with his tractor and pull the truck up the hill and into his driveway. It was quite the adventure.

Luckily after that ordeal, dinner was waiting for us.

And Christmas dinner number three was just as delicious as the previous two! I loved the addition of sausages and sauerkraut.

Since the roads in that area were not great and we got there so late, we decided to stay over another night, which ended up being really nice because we got more time with Evan’s dad and Loulou.

It was such a good Christmas with all of Evan’s family and I was so grateful for everyone for having me. But after three days of traveling, I was so excited to go home on the 27th. Evan and I made it home in the afternoon and immediately got into our pajamas and did our Christmas together with Tilly.

My favourite present was this custom ornament of Winnie from Evan!

I love it so much! Dawn’s sister Melon has her own business (Garbaroo Co.  you should check her out, her stuff is really cool) doing custom pet portraits, magnets, ornaments, basically everything, and she sculpted and painted this, that talented minx. The funny story behind it is I had actually contacted her back in November and asked her if she could do one for Evan for Christmas, but she told me she was unfortunately too busy and wouldn’t have time to finish it. I was disappointed and then I saw her signing up to do things for people on Facebook so I was all “WTF I THOUGHT SHE WAS BUSY!” Then I received this and Evan said he told her to tell me that because he was already getting her to make the Winnie ornament for me! I had no idea, those tricksters. I will cherish it forever.

So that was Christmas 2016, a good one all around.

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Experiences of 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  I hope you had a great Christmas if you celebrate, and a wonderful holiday overall. Ours was a whirlwind of family and friends which pretty much did not stop until New Year’s Day, but it was a really good time. I have some recapping to do but first I want to talk about 2016.

Back in 2014 I started doing a recap post of all the activities I got up to over the year and it really made me appreciate my life. 2016 wasn’t all great – the world got super weird, we lost Evan’s grandmother, our little kitty Winnie and a lot of wonderful and talented people. But no year is all great, and I like having a spot on here of all the good things that happened. So, in keeping with my New Year recapping theme, here are my favourite experiences of 2016!

My 33rd birthday surprise dinner, that I actually had zero knowledge of. It was a very well executed surprise.

It was especially a surprise since I had already planned my own birthday dinner a week later at the Sultan’s Tent, a Moroccan restaurant with belly dancers. Also a good time.

It was the year of concerts. I kicked it off with Death Cab for Cutie and Metric at the ACC with Sherrie.

Then just a few days later Evan and I saw Garth Brooks with Emily and Corey.

Emily gave birth like a week later.

Then Mumford and Sons, again with Sherrie.

Bryan Adams with Evan!

The Lumineers for my bestie’s birthday.

Collective Soul and Goo Goo Dolls with Evan and my dad for my dad’s 65th birthday.

Blue Rodeo with Evan…

Sam Roberts and The Killers with Sherrie and Will.

And finally Our Lady Peace and I Mother Earth with a bunch of our friends.

That is 9 concerts! I don’t think I’ll be topping it this year, but I am seeing Kings of Leon in a few weeks and I have a gift card to Ticketmaster that is burning a hole in my pocket so there will at least be a couple more!

For Valentine’s Day I got Evan tickets for a birds of prey experience, and that did not disappoint.

We adopted little Tilly!

Who is just the best and is such a wonderful addition to our family.

I started going to Choir! Choir! Choir! and had some great times there, including singing Hallelujah with Rufus Wainwright.

I can’t believe that video has more than 5 million views. I’m not in it but I did make it in the holiday one!

And when I got my brother, Kenya, Dixon, Dawn and Emily to come out with me one night and we’re all in the Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows video.

Evan and I went to my first Leafs Game.

They lost but I wasn’t expecting them to win so that’s a-okay.

We had THE BEST trip to Cuba.

Where Evan proposed to me while we were swimming in the ocean at sunset.

Getting engaged is obviously the highlight of my entire year but it was a really great trip aside from that also.

I ran my first 10k with my friend Melissa and my blogger friends Casey and Michelle.

Hoping to do that again in 2017!

My nana turned 102!

Just incredible.

My bestie and MOH threw me a fantastic bridal shower.

Which ended with a boat ride on the lake we grew up in and a hot tub party.

We had some really fun cottage times, the highlight being when we had our friends over and my brother and friends were visiting from out west and were able to make it. That was a really fun night.

And then we took my brother and friends for adventures around the city.

Evan and I went camping a few times this summer, including our annual friends camping trip near Algonquin Park. I don’t think I ever ended up blogging about that but it was a time!

I did the CN Tower Edge Walk for my friend Casey’s birthday!

Which was just as crazy and exhilarating as it looks.

I had the most amazing Alberta/BC road trip with Sherrie, Lisa and Yamina where we met up with my brother Eric, his girlfriend Kenya, his best friend Dixon and my mom in Kelowna…

Then camped at probably the most beautiful campsite on earth in Revelstoke.

Cheers to that.

Then there was the yurt camping and adventuring in Jasper.

And the trip ended with my bachelorette party in Banff!

Which was, I can’t lie, one of the most fun nights of my life.

And finally we have my and Evan’s trip to Florida, where we got to spend a whole weekend with Paula and Fabian.

And had some other adventuring thrown in too.

It was a year. I think one of the best of my life. And I am so excited for 2017 because aside from more concerts, it’s the year we’re getting married – TWICE!!!

Hope you all had a great year and if you didn’t, I hope next year is 10 times better!

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Merry Christmas!

Have the best holiday! Evan says that he would like you to print this out and put it on your fridge or with the rest of your Christmas cards 🙂

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