25 Things

25 Things >> Life In Limbo

It’s that time of year again! Every April around my birthday, I like to take stock of the past year and record what stands out. Last week I posted about my 25 favourite moments, and today I wanted to share my 25 favourite things. Everything on this list makes me so happy! Here we go:

Red Wing BootsI saw these on Cup of Jo, instantly ruled them out because they cost too much, and tried to find a copycat style. Long story short, I didn’t like any others as much as these, so I splurged. That said, considering they’re meant to last 20 years or more, I haven’t once felt guilty about the purchase. They’re exactly what I wanted, and make me feel awesome.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing LotionI became a true convert to this lotion over the past year – so much so that I have a bottle for every room in my house. It’s also the first year that I didn’t get flaky lizard legs during the wintertime, so I’d say it’s been a great strategy! I love how fast this absorbs and how non-greasy it is. I have found my lotion!

Shellac manicures | Now, I know people say these are not great for your nails, and I will admit that this is a recent fave in only the past couple months. But I’m obsessed! My nails have never looked better, and it lasts forever even though I’m not careful with my hands. Regular manicures last exactly one day on me, whereas these last until my nails grow out.

Uniball Jetstream Pens | I feel like I have found my forever pen. I just love these pens – they’re so smooth, they’re retractable, they don’t smudge. I am a bit of a pen nerd so this opinion is subject to change, but for now, these are the ones. A little more expensive than I’m used to, but so far they are worth it.

LovesickI think I’ve seen this whole series three times in the past year, which is a new record since normally I can barely watch things once. There’s just something about this show that gets me right in the feels but also makes me really happy. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s sad – I love it.

25 Things >> Life In Limbo

Quaker Microwave Steel Cut OatsIn just one year I have gone from oatmeal-hater to eating these for breakfast almost every single morning. Thanks to Dad for having them at his house over the summer! It’s probably the cheapest breakfast you could buy ($4 for like 2 weeks worth), filling, and yummy. I eat mine with peanut butter and cinnamon.

Philips Wake-Up LightI currently live in a basement apartment, so this thing has been super essential over the past several months. It does exactly what it sounds like – wakes you up slowly by turning the lights up gradually. It also has a mildly annoying alarm that goes off, but usually by the time it does, the light coming on has already woken me up somewhat. Thanks Mom!

Taking baths | Very recent phenomena in my life, mostly because in Montreal my shower was gross, and in Korea & Ecuador I did not have a bathtub. So this has been the first year that a tub has been available to me, and I started to take advantage of that! It’s fun to lock myself in my bathroom, light a bunch of candles and read my book. I never stay in very long, but it’s soothing nonetheless.

Tuesdays TogetherThis one little meetup has made such a huge impact on my life in just a few short months! It’s a group for creative entrepreneurs with chapters in several cities around the world. I’ve met so many awesome people through going to only a handful of meetings so far, and it’s been an amazing experience for both my business and my personal growth. Highly recommend!

Stevia DropsOne of my goals for the fall was to cut out more sugar, and these were a huge part of making that a success. I find sweet desserts relatively easy to turn down (though around my birthday it’s more of a challenge!), but I can’t seem to get used to black tea or coffee. Having these on hand has been awesome, and I’ve cut down a lot on my sugar intake. Yay!

The Wirecutter + The Sweet HomeAs someone who tends to do a ridiculous amount of research before buying anything, these websites have been absolutely amazing. Basically, they review every single product in a particular category, score them, and then tell you the best one for both price and quality. It’s actually hilarious how many of their top-rated products I now own, mostly because it makes the decision so easy and productive! I love everything I’ve bought on their recommendation.

Lands End SlippersMy dad got us all matching slippers for Christmas this year and there are precious few moments these days when I am not wearing them at home. They’re so cozy, and I think it’s fun that my whole family matches.

Cerave Products | I am such a huge fan of these products. I love how mild their formulas are, and how they don’t use fragrance. I also love their packaging and the way the bottles are constructed – perfect for travel! I now have their foaming facial cleanser, AM moisturizing lotion with SPF 30 and PM moisturizer.

1 Second EverydayI actually put this on last year’s list too, but it warrants another mention. In 2017 I’ve gotten serious about this project and haven’t missed a day so far, touch wood. It’s been so fun to see the video growing day by day, and even though I don’t always capture the most exciting moment of the day, it’s always a special one because it brings back all kinds of memories. Love this project.

Spotify (Premium) | I have long been a fan of Spotify, and I think it’s made one of these lists before, but I have to give it a special shoutout in this, my first year of full-time freelancing. It is kind of crazy how much Spotify I listen to every single day while I’m working, and even more crazy that I didn’t upgrade to Premium until a couple months ago. Why did I listen to so many ads every single day instead of paying $10 a month? I have no idea.

Hamilton Soundtrack | Speaking of Spotify, I seriously hope that there’s no ‘usage report’ anywhere on there, because I know it would be embarrassing to see how much I listened to this soundtrack this year. It somehow became my concentration music, meaning that if I put it on, I get into the zone, work-wise. I love it, and I love Lin Manuel.

Roncesvalles Village >> Life In Limbo

Roncesvalles Village | My beloved neighbourhood. I moved here in October, and it is already so dear to me. When I thought I might have to move out of my place, I was crushed mostly because of how much I love this place. I’m near the park, near the lake, near the library, near a bunch of adorable coffee shops and restaurants, and near tons of transit options to take me into the heart of the city…and then back out again to my peaceful hood. I never want to leave!

Self-RegI’ve only scratched the surface of this powerful framework, but already Dr. Shanker’s work has made a huge impact on me personally and professionally. I’m taking the Foundations course now, and starting to see the world more and more through a “Self-Reg lens”. Such a fascinating blend of science and practice. I can’t wait to learn more.

HomegoingI read a lot of great books this year, but when it came time to make this list, this is the book that stood out the most. It’s so powerful and moving, and also so well-crafted as a novel. It feels so rich and is told so beautifully, even though each section is relatively short.

Bic Multipurpose LighterMy Grandma gave me this as a housewarming present, and it’s turned into one of my favourite things. I never used to like lighting candles because I’d burn my fingers or get annoyed by matches. Did I ever think of buying a lighter? No. But now I have a lavender-coloured one and use it constantly.

Rusk CTC Hair DryerThis was the year I learned how to blowdry my hair, and it never would have become a regular part of my routine without this hair dryer. Yes, it’s a pick from The Sweet Home (see above!) and I love it dearly. Lightweight and super hot (almost too hot at times) = fast hair drying. I love this thing.

Ergonomic Keyboard + MouseMy chronic back pain has all but disappeared thanks to this easy setup that I use whenever I’m working from home. The layout might not be for everyone, but it works for me and has been such a lifesaver over the past year of full time (computer-based) freelancing. It was affordable, and I matched it with a simple riser for my laptop and have been so happy with the results.

25 Things >> Life In Limbo

The Triangle QuiltThis quilt was my favourite project to date. I have since given it away, but it taught me that I can make a quilt and how enjoyable that process can be. I already have a second quilt top sewn but have been dragging my feet on finishing it. Time to get back to it!

“When the satisfaction or security of another person becomes as significant to one as one’s own satisfaction or security, then the state of love exists. Under no other circumstances.” -Harry Stack Sullivan | I think I heard this quote on Alanis Morissette’s podcast, and it struck a real chord with me. I’ve done a lot of thinking this year about relationships, and this idea was one that I found so powerful. 


Just looking at this list makes me ridiculously happy. How lucky am I, to get to surround myself with lovely things and lovely people? The luckiest. I never stop being grateful for the life I’m living right now. I can’t wait to see what 26 has in store for me! So far (one week in), it’s been wonderful.

If you’re curious, you can also see my favourite things from when I was 24, 23, 22, and 21.

25 Moments

The past year of my life was a beautiful blur. Do I say that every year? This year, it feels especially true. Writing these posts each year for my birthday is such a special tradition that I’m so grateful I’ve kept up. It gives me space to reflect on what was important to me during the year: what made me happiest, what made me feel most loved, and what made me feel like I was growing. I always pick the moments that I feel most deeply in my heart or that I have the clearest, most beautiful memories of. They’re often the small moments and the little things, but they’re what make my life so rich and lovely.

I probably also say this every time: I am so grateful to be who I am, to be where I am, and to be loved so deeply. I am unbelievably lucky and I feel luckier every single day. Ps. If you’re wondering, that’s what success feels like for me: feeling more loved and more lucky every day.

This year, I put my moments in chronological order. Enjoy!


The day that we celebrated my little Grandma’s 88th birthday. We hung paper flowers in the yard, made adorable food, played bocce ball on the lawn, laughed, and were together for the first time in what felt like ages. I can’t explain how grateful I am to have made a video of the day.

Celebrating Father’s Day with just my dad and sisters. We nabbed a table on a patio by the water, drank way too much (amazing) beer, and stayed a long time. After having lived abroad for so long, the simplicity of after-works drinks with my family was a little bit mind-blowing and was a big part of the pull to make Toronto my home.

The moment I realized that I wouldn’t have to get a job waiting tables over the summer because I might actually be able to figure out this whole freelance thing in a real way. This has been such a fun and interesting year for my career: I am so proud of myself and a little bit baffled that I’m still pulling it off.

Going to a Blue Jays game with my sister (who is so confident, beautiful, and way cooler than I was at her age), my BFF visiting from New York (who I never would have met had I not moved to Korea) and the amazing guy who once called me to give me my then-dream job as food editor at a magazine (and has since set me up with basically my entire freelance career). It was the most beautiful summer night with the most beautiful people.

My entire trip to New York to visit Katie and Nancy Sue was amazing – there’s nothing like summer in the city, right? They’re my people, and NY is one of the best places on earth. But if I had to pick one moment, it would be ending up at Marie’s Crisis singing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the top of our lungs at 2AM on a summer Monday night. That night, we’d also had a bunch of soju and of course the one true love of my life Goa Taco. I want to bottle this memory and keep it perfectly intact for ever and ever. It makes my heart feel like bursting.

Watching Rob Thomas and Counting Crows at Jones Beach. It was hilarious and amazing and such a gorgeous venue. And we caught some great Pokemon that night!

Our entire trip to Vermont with Katie’s whole extended family. Everything was great: the outdoor showers, the superb gin and tonics (thanks Jim!), the great road trip music, the jaw-dropping star-gazing, and even the incredibly arduous hikes. I loved it all.

The day we brought Bodhi home! So much frolicking in the grass. So many cuddles with a little ball of fluff. So much happiness. We’re still pretty smitten with him, even if he doesn’t look like this anymore.

Making the decision to move to Toronto. I can still remember all my long, long walks in the ravine by my dad’s house that I took in order to think and think and think. When I finally decided to “live out what I already knew to be true,” I was ready, and I have not looked back once. Six months in and I already know this move has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

One of the most meaningful moments of the past year was when my family came together for my uncle’s funeral. It was an incredibly sad time, given the suddenness of his death and the loss of his beautiful spirit. Yet having that time with my family was special in a way that few other moments are. I will always be grateful for those few days of togetherness.

Adrienne

Spending the weekend in the city with Adrienne after not having seen her for three years – and it was exactly the same. At the time I was in a weird place of transition and wasn’t yet living in Toronto, so having one of my best friends back in my life was a gift. I don’t really remember what (if anything) we did except eat and talk, but what else is there to do?

Moving into my beautiful little apartment on the first drizzly day of October. My dad carried boxes down the alley from where he was parked and my mom and her partner brought stuff in from the other side. I just stood in the middle and brought the boxes downstairs – and then they all left and I got to unpack, like really unpack, for the first time in nearly four years. Puttering around my new space finding homes for my things (and myself!) was such a joy.

The morning I woke up to an email in my inbox letting me know that an e-transfer I thought I’d lost for good due to technical difficulties was back in my account after 2 months. Hallelujah!!

Getting invited for dinner by my landlords, who have also become friends. It was early into my time living in the city, and having the chance to spend time with them was such a wonderful way to start to feel connected and involved with life in a brand new place. Some of those early weeks were lonely at times, and I remember this dinner being such a lovely moment.

The day that I sent an email that ended my work with a client I was not aligned with. It was such a freeing (and terrifying) experience to walk away from money but instead give myself the gift of good energy and better opportunities. Things have been more than fine financially ever since, so this was a good lesson for me in my first year of full-time freelancing.

Being surprised by my mom and Grandma showing up at my apartment one Thursday to take me out for lunch. I remember feeling so grateful to finally be living close enough to them for that kind of thing to even be a possibility. After so many years away (including my time at university!), it felt especially sweet to walk around my new neighbourhood with them and enjoy a long lunch together.

25 Moments >> Life In Limbo

Having a mini ‘high school reunion’ with my best friends from that time in my life. It had been years since we’d all seen each other, and we’d only kept in touch to varying degrees. But, just like always, showing up to the restaurant and seeing them was exactly like old times, as if no time had passed. We had so much fun and wound up (as always) back at Kelcie’s house, having long rambling conversations about anything and everything. Even though our lives are so busy and we’ve grown up a lot, in a lot of ways we’re all exactly the same as we were, and it feels good to have people who know you that well.

In a similar vein, there was a day at the end of December when my dad and his partner and my grandparents came to visit my apartment for the first time since I’d settled in. I sat them down (even though I didn’t have enough seating) and served them tea (even though I didn’t have enough mugs) and we sat around for a while. I remember feeling kind of amazed that having my family over to my apartment was a possibility for me now.

Homegoing

The first book club brunch we did at Fresh for the book Homegoing. We’ve had meetings since then and I’ve enjoyed them, but the first one was special for a lot of reasons. We had all read the book, we all had a lot of thoughts on it, and we had an amazing discussion over delicious food. Everyone was there and nobody had to leave early, so we had this lovely lingering brunch while talking about a good book. What could be better?

Going to my first Tuesdays Together meetup! I have a feeling that if I think about this too long I’ll get emotional, because this first event turned out to be a catalyst for so many amazing opportunities and joys over the months that have followed. The first meeting was serendipitously at my sister’s apartment building, which made me feel braver about going alone after a friend couldn’t make it at the last minute. We sat around a table and talked about systems and apps for our businesses and it didn’t take me long to jump in with ideas. My mind was boggled by all the interesting creative people who were there and I left feeling so inspired. I also met Sonja that night, who has since become a dear friend and partner-in-crime.

Red Tent Sisters

Both of our filming days in February with the Red Tent Sisters. We were producing a bunch of Ask the Sisters videos over two days at the end of February, and it was a blast. We spent the days talking about reproductive health and sexuality and all that good stuff, plus I also got to nerd out about our new studio lighting and the “set” we created in Kim’s bedroom. The weather was sunny and Spring-like so we got to take all our breaks out on the back deck in t-shirts. It was one of those days where I just kept thinking “I love my job” over and over again.

The day that the baristas at my favourite local coffee shop and I learned each others names and bonded over Riverdale. I have never been a ‘regular’ somewhere ever, so this was a big deal for me, and now the café feels like my second home. I go almost every day, have made friends with all the other regulars, and get life advice from the baristas. It’s pretty special and I’m pretty grateful.

Being asked to help at Nurture Retreats as the retreat assistant. I was so thrilled! I wanted to go like crazy but didn’t have the money, so to be asked to help out in exchange was like a dream come true. The retreat is in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait – it’s three days of self-care and creativity and good amazing food all rolled into one. Heart-eyes emoji.

Sarah Slean Metaphysics Party with Nurture Retreats

Getting to cater, create, and experience Sarah Slean’s album release party for Metaphysics (which just came out today!) with Sonja. Every aspect was absolutely beautiful: the 4-piece string quartet, Sarah’s voice, the stunning food, the signature cocktail (heyyyy), the calligraphy on the walls – everything. It was such a dream.

Dr. Shanker on The Agenda

Last week when I got to go to TVO studios (I grew up watching TVO and only TVO, so that part was especially cool) and watch an interview with the founder of The MEHRIT Centre, Dr. Shanker, on The Agenda. I was pinching myself that I got to accompany him and cover it for our social media channels, and again baffled at how much my career has grown in just one short year.

Honourable Mentions:

  • Every Lakeshore walk talking to Katie
  • Every time I went home to The Hideaway and hung out with Bo
  • Every time I listened to the Hamilton soundtrack
  • Every family dinner, especially the one at Pai

“Let whatever mysterious starlight that guided you this far guide you onwards into whatever crazy beauty awaits.” This quote will never stop being relevant to me – so much so that I painted it on a canvas and hung on my bedroom wall. Every time I try to think about how much has changed in just one year and how crazy-beautiful my life has been and is becoming, I am both humbled and awed. 2017 so far has been one of my best years yet, and I can’t wait to see what 26 has in store for me.

I love doing these reflection posts every year. If you’re curious, you can read about my favourite moments of 21, 22, 23 and 24.

A Triangle Quilt

Triangle Quilt >> Life In Limbo

Yesterday night, I pulled my last few border stitches tight, tied it off, cleaned up loose threads, and finished a beautiful quilt. It is, hands-down, no question, my favourite thing I’ve ever made.

I think “make a quilt” has been on my bucket list since I first saw this post – holy moly, I just checked the date on it – in 2012. Back then, I had a sewing machine and I was in a real DIY phase, but I was also in school, and didn’t want to spend lots of money on quilting tools and fabric (well I did want to, but I felt that I shouldn’t..). Fast forward to a couple months ago, when I came home for the summer. I’m staying at my Dad’s house, and lo and behold, my stepmom has boxes and boxes of fabric pieces she’s not using and every quilting tool a person could dream of.

Triangle Quilt >> Life In Limbo

I set out on my quilting journey with very little guidance and a one-step-at-a-time attitude. Those steps added up to something, and I could always see my progress right there in front of me. I always focused on getting to the next little step without worrying about the steps after that (things I had no idea – yet – how to do). I could take each one as it came, and cross bridges when I came to them. Making a quilt might seem hard, but cutting fabric isn’t hard. Sewing together two pieces isn’t hard. None of the steps on their own is really that hard.

Triangle Quilt >> Life In Limbo

Along the way I realized something: it had been a long time since I’d worked with my hands to make something real, tactile, and non-virtual. When did I stop making stuff?? Why did I stop making stuff?

It’s crazy how much joy I got from even just looking at my quilt at each stage of its development. And I was amazed at how much mindfulness, peace and flow I got from an activity that took up my attention and focus for minutes or hours at a time, like this process did for me.

Triangle Quilt >> Life In Limbo

Not only that, but I’m very proud of myself. I’m excited to give this as a precious gift. I’m so, so happy that I created something special with my own two hands. There is literally no downside to this equation! It’s just something that brings me Good Vibes Only.

Don’t listen to the many people who will tell you quilting is impossible and that it takes years. Those things are true for some (beautiful, hand-sewn, impossibly stunning!!) quilts, but not for a quilt like this one. My workmanship is probably laughable to more serious and more talented quilters, but I’m just proud that I made something warm and cozy and lovable, and that I didn’t even need a quilting foot for the sewing machine. It’s more than doable, and it only took me about a month.

Triangle Quilt >> Life In Limbo

I used this tutorial loosely – I changed the size of my quilt, but followed all the other steps. My finished quilt measures 28 by 33 inches, which is small for a crib-size quilt, but it’s perfect for a baby.

Triangle Quilt >> Life In Limbo

And yes, in case you’re wondering, I have already started cutting fabric for the next quilt.

The 26 List

The 26 List >> Life In Limbo

Every year around my birthday, I like to make myself a fun list – things I’d like to do or try before my next birthday. These are usually experiences I think I would be nice, or skills I’d like to learn, but not necessarily goals that need to be measured. I’ve never finished everything on my lists, but just having the list keeps me inspired and focused and gives me things to think about when I’m not sure what to tackle next. When I was 24, I checked off about 17/25 things, which is a ratio I’m pretty happy with.

This year, I took many of these list items off of a larger list I have, my list of 100 dreams that I came up with in February. The list of 100 dreams is an exercise I borrowed from Laura Vanderkam and I think it’s such a fun thing to do.

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