This week was a lot of new firsts (or kind of firsts). And I want to share it with you!
News you can use!
RICE IN A CAN
â€œWhat the f*ck?!â€ you sayâ€¦. yes, I hear you.
That is a box. Yes, yes, it is.
This is challenging everything you thought you knew…about containers.
Is it a box? Is it a can? But what really even is a can?
Deep stuff we are getting into. Like, heavy, man.
No dummies, it’s cause it comes with a seasoning packet. Duh.
Also, Dainty maybe wants to work on their packaging if they are planning on just selling it straight up in the can. Because as appealing and eye-catching as this may be, I can’t imagine it making a great looking display in the center of the grocery aisle
Second thoughts: I was unaware the Rice in a Can (RIAC) market was so saturated they felt the need to distinguish that they are The Authentic RIAC. But hey, I’m no can o’ rice expert.
OR ARE I?!
It feels like I’m well on my way to gathering knowledge like a tornado-vacuum cleaner that is laser-focused.
RICE IN A CAN is everywhere, how did I not notice this earlier?!
Directions are super simple.
Or super confusing.
What the heck does this mean?!
I measure out the water, turn on the heat, dump in the seasoning, open the rice and let the can-shaped brick of rice slide out. Upon further investigation, their website offers tips! Such as “In order to get the rice out of the can more easily, add half a cup of lukewarm water and wait 5 minutes”. Nice try, DAINTY; I am not doubling my time commitment to your product. What do I look like, some sort of rice-n00b?!
Two minutes after dumping everything into the pot, I start paying attention.
I realize that the can-shaped brick is still a can-shaped brick, whereas the seasoned water is boiling like it’s a lake of lava in hell. This whole thing was supposed to take 6 minutes, and I’ve already messed up 30% of the process. Maybe not the ideal beginning to this saga I am so deeply invested in.
Who cares? It’s discounted rice. Take a deep breath. Start over, as best as I possibly can, at this low point.
Quickly, I turn down the heat, smash apart rice brick into smaller rocks of rice, and then I start stirring like hell.
Note: I notice that this is A LOT of swearing and hell talk for some rice making. I don’t know if it’s worth all of this madness. But I am now committed to seeing this through to the final 6th minute of the process: Tic-tock, tick-tock.
The rice now seems to be more in line with what I imagine it should look like at this point. Whew!
The “directions” lead me to believe it should be 4 minutes of heating and stirring. But is it constant stirring or frequent stirring? Who knows? I stir for a minute, slack off for a minute, poke at it for a minute, stir it for a minute.
Now, time to cover and leave it alone for two minutes.
The waiting game.
Will my rice work or won’t it?! I feel the anxiety rise in my chest.
Then I glance at my email and completely forget I was cooking at all. A sale on floral dresses at Guess?! Tell me more….. I mean, damnit! I WAS MAKING RICE!
Whew, I only zoned out for 2.5 minutes. I am confident I can salvage this!
I open the lid of the rice pot.
Consider the rice.
It looks like rice.
So far, so good.
I cautiously taste the rice… taste and texture are regular/okay.
Not millionaire supermodel rice.
But not the gross sludge I feared either. Good, good.
But what happens if I stir in the tempeh and broccoli I made to go with it?
It turns out IT IS STILL RICE.
Dainty Rice in a Can…. it’s rice.
And on sale at 50 cents a can, so worth it!
Why is it on sale for 50c ? Are they even making money? Probably not; that’s not my problem to handle. But they did hook me with their deal – I am sitting here eating their rice, so I guess they won this round.
Would I buy this for the regular price of $1.79?
NEVER. IN. A MILLION. YEARS.
I ain’t no Rockerfeller.
It’s rice, and rice should cost the same as dust. I could make 300lbs of rice for 1.79
Well, maybe not 300lbs, but certainly more than 1-2 servings.
Sure, I could probably find a lower price. It is for sale on Amazon, after all. And, yes, Amazon does sell Dainty’s other products. But (and call me uptight), I’m not really interested in spending $1.79 on used rice.
That’s just me; you do you. And who knows, I may change my tune in the future as I am becoming more and more frugal in my old age. JK! If anything, I’m becoming money dumber. Just wait for my next reviewâ€¦. you’ll see! Post-Script: To be fair, Dainty is a great brand. Canadian and 135 years old. They must be doing something right. And I DO have to hand it to their marketing team; they are working their asses off to come up with ideas on this whole thing; bless those folks.
I needed to go to Calgary for a funeral. Though I haven’t seen Alan Blackburn in over 2 years, I decided to make my stay just 24 hours., seeing as how the forecasted weather for the area was listed as:
“Alberta has declared a state of public health emergency. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, largely in unvaccinated Albertans.”
I browsed potential flight options, sadly everything was creeping up into the $700 range.Â Then “Flair Airlines” caught my eye. I’d never flown with a discount carrier before. Mostly because I assumed they would go out of business before my travel dates. But since I would be going to Calgary in just 4 days â€“ I was reasonably confident they would still be up and running until the end of the week. I took a deep breath and booked.
Flair could keep advertised prices so low for many reasons, but one clear explanation was that they charged extra forÂ everything. A checked bag started at $50, carry-on was another $50, and advanced seat selection at an additional fee was required. God forbid you have to check multiple bags or are travelling with a pet…. that would more than double your ticket price.Â I managed to keep costs down by avoiding all those frills and booked for about 60% of the price of a real airline.
Leaving at 6 am wasn’t my idea of fun, but Flair only flew this route once a day. I checked in smoothly* at 5 and was on my way.
*And by “smoothly,” I mean: I realized at 4 am that I hadn’t opted to splurge for the carry-on, so I had to dig out another suitcase and repack everything hastily.
I was somewhat surprised to see our plane was an older Boeing 737. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but the aircraft wasn’t tied together with twine, and my seat was inside the plane, so that was a good start.
A flight leaving that early was only 1/3 full, and all passengers were bleary-eyed. But the inflight crew was delightful. They said beverage service wasn’t available due to covid â€“ which makes no sense. But I knew I could manage the 65-minute flight well enough without, same as the lack of in-flight entertainment or power outlets. I was displeased that none of the seats reclined but made due by stretching out across the empty row.
Perhaps more confounding was the fact that the seats all had recline buttons, but the buttons didn’t do anything. That perhaps explained the state of my assigned seat… it looked as though someone had forcefully tried to make the seat recline. Either that or my cushion had already been used as a floatation device.Â I was happy for the empty row so I could park my butt elsewhere.Â The other seats didn’t recline either, but at least my seat was in one peice.
The flight was smooth sailing until we hit turbulence so wild that it knocked the flight attendants off their feet. Call buttons were frantically jabbed as passengers started retching. An overhead announcement let everyone know the crew were strapped in for their safety. No one would be coming to attend to passengers. I blame the strong winds of southern Alberta for that more so than the airline. We touched down without any further drama, and I made my way off into the day. Flair had won me overâ€¦ for the time being.
24 hours later, I was back at the airport. I was checked in 75 minutes before departure by a very grouchy woman, and I made my way into the security lineup. The line was long, but the flashing sign overhead said the wait to get through security was 5-16 minutes. Plenty of time. My gaze dropped to my phone, and I was absorbed by mini-games. About ten minutes later, I glanced around suspiciouslyâ€¦ I’d moved about 2 feet, and the sign overhead was now reading 17-23 minutes. That would have still been enough time, but the line was essentially at a standstill. I stayed calm; it seemed security was making everyone use those little plastic bags for gels and liquids. I shrugged as that was pretty standard practiceâ€¦ 5 years ago. Still, each airport had its own version of security, and I guess this was Calgary’s.
Inching along, the couple behind me started to get realâ€¦ unravelled since their flight was currently boarding, and we were nowhere near the front of the line. I advised them to ask an officer for support. I listened to the soft-spoken woman plead her case as the officer shot back, “what’s that got to do with me?” At that moment, I realized the sweet couple were on my flight, and these officers were being total dicks. I pulled the couple along behind me as I politely asked each person in front of us if we could go ahead. We cut through until we came upon more people on our flight. I leaned over and asked the closest security officer if he could help; he snapped at me to call my airline.Â
Great, neat.Â My flight leaves in 18 minutes, and you want me to call their head office in Edmonton. Sounds useful.
The five passengers and I stared daggers into each of the screening officers â€“ they were going through every bag by hand and making people throw out items that were fully allowed as carry-on: lipsticks, deodorant, tripods, jamâ€¦.No wonder I had been in the lineup for FOURTY-SEVEN minutes. I made it to the front of the line and sailed throughâ€¦ as I got through the next set of doors, I was greeted by a sign telling me my gate was a three to eight-minute walk away.Â
With ten minutes to go, IÂ ran.Â I skidded to a stop at my gate; there were people lined up. Whew, I’d made it!Â But the door to the gate was closed, and no one was at the desk. I stood by with 11 other passengers as we watched them detach and reattach the jetway. After fiddling around for 12 minutes, we all watched in disbelief as our plane took off. At that moment, the attendant returned to the desk, announced she had been there the whole time, then she claimed we had NOT been there and stated loudly that there would be no refunds. She went on to say that she would book us on the next flight in 24 hours for a “re-booking” fee of $200.
Another two passengers came up asking what happened. I told them that boarding had closed early, so all of us had missed the flight. They tutted and said that was a common complaint with Flair. I have never heard of a flight leaving early. Sure, six hours late maybe, butÂ early?!
I walked up to the desk to demand the whereabouts of my luggage. She piped up that I could claim it whenever I got to Vancouver. A real airline would have made every effort to get luggage reunited with the passenger as soon as possible. I gave her a look that would have turned Medusa to stone and enlightened her on the purpose of my voyage. She quickly clickety-clacked away on her keyboard and told me in a hushed tone that I would not need to pay the $200 re-booking fee, but she piped up that everyone else would have to pay $180.Â
Seems the re-booking fee was variable based on her mood. So she could have waived the cost for everyone or given us all refunds. But she chose not to. She could also have apologized or at least pretended to empathize. I was grateful for the waived re-booking fee. But I was still crying angry tears.Â I got on the phone to make arrangements for my son, cat, and lodging for another night before browsing options to get back on a different airline.Â
A real airline.
A “departure-times-mean-something” airline.
A “we-notice-when-passengers-are-missing” airline.
With prices starting at $525+, I decided to stay another night chez Alan Blackburn for free and try the whole rigamarole again tomorrow. I spent most of the day reading up on Flair’s policy to see the best points to stress when I asked for a refund. But I would wait until I was safely back in Vancouver before making any official complaints.
I returned to the airport the next day, again. This time 30 minutes earlier. I decided to go through a different security checkpoint, one run by all-female officers, and I was through in under ten minutes.I was happy it wasn’t a repeat of yesterday, but now I had 85 minutes to hang out. It could be worse; at least I had time to go to Chili’s for breakfast tacos. I was at my gate well in advance and was one of the first people settling into my seat.
An attendant came through with the manifest, checking for all passengers. Where the hell was that guy yesterday when the flight took off without 10% of us? My eyes landed on a guy a few rows up â€“ he was supposed to be on the flight yesterday, too. His eyes absolutely BULGED when they announced they were holding the doors for a few stragglers. The last passenger wandered onboard a full 16 minutes past departure time. So, their policies were flexible guidelines. Just do what you feel like. I tried to settle down and tell myself I was happy the today passengers were getting good treatment. It sort of worked.
One beverage service-less hour later, I was back home.
As soon as I set foot in the airport, I asked about collecting my luggage â€“ they replied I needed a PIN. What the hell are they talking about, a PIN? It’s MY suitcase, with MY name on it. And the bitchface from yesterday assured me they would keep it safe until I arrived. She never said anything about a PIN. Ms. “You-Need-A-Pin” told me to sit tight and wait for her supervisor. But I had already waited 24 hours for my suitcase, so I stalked off to baggage claim.
There I found the lost luggage enquiry desk for Flair, lights off and totally abandoned. The first airport worker I spoke to laughed and said there was never anyone there and I’d have better luck at their check-in desk. I weaved through the airport and up to the second floor and flagged down a Flair worker. I explained, and she pointed me in the direction of someone else before scampering off.
The next guy seemed reasonably competent and told me to hang on as he waved a new guy over. He explained to New Guy what to do to get my suitcase, and we all piled into the elevator together. We wandered down back hallways, and I imagined probably wasn’t allowed in this section of the airport. At that moment, Mr. Competent told New Guy to stop following him. New Guy nodded enthusiastically. Mr. Competent slowly explained the process of retrieving my luggage again.
New Guy assured me everything would get sorted out, and he led me back to the baggage claim area, where he proceeded to ask me again what the issue was. After listening to the short temper fuse version of my story again, he smiled and pulled out a lost luggage form “it’s always a good idea to fill one of these out,” he chirped. I was about to strangle cheerfully ignorant New Guy. I told him my luggage had come in 24 hours ago and he just had to go look for it. He smiled and asked me what colour my suitcase was.
Turquoise. He looked at his form and shook his head.
No, what colour code is it? Options included BLU, GRN, RED, BLK, YLW, WHT, and ORNG.
I replied, it’s turquoise â€“ my words washed over his pleasantly blank face.
Aqua, like half blue-half green.
He smiled and told me just to fill out the section with my name, address and signature.
Promising to find my bag and he then turned and walked off, returning upstairs. Moments later, he returned to ask me my name, this time writing it down on a shred of paper he’d dug out of his pocket. He repeated his promise full of cheer and departed once again. It had now been almost an hour and a half, and I had a headache. Surprisingly, 5 minutes later he returned with my suitcase in hand.I snatched it and ran off, leaving his idiotic happiness behind.
I have since emailed the company 6 times with no response. Until I told them it would be in their best interest to respond. They have only replied about the bag snafu. They have said they will “see what they can do” regarding monetary compensation.Â But they haven’t gotten back to me, and it’s been 3 weeks. Nor have they addressed the mental anguish I had to suffer from returning dressed in Alan Blackburn’s clothes. I have also contacted the Better Business Bureau; they responded, saying that Flair hasn’t responded to them yet either. And that they have 47 pending cases open with Flair.Â
Discount airlines are discount for a reason. Not just because their seats don’t recline. But because they apparently don’t train their employees. I bet they save a lot of money operating that way.
I got a new swimsuit: The Nike Color Surge Fastback Tank One Piece.
The actual name is just a lot of fancy words to say “Swimsuit for swimming”. I have plenty of suits for surfing, they are all well made bikinis that are covered in surf wax and ripping into shreds. I also have plenty of suits for suntanning, tiny bikinis that don’t cover much and (in my experience) don’t exactly stay on when you whip down a waterslide.
But this suit is different. It’s for swimming laps. The kind â€œrealâ€ swimmers wear. A teeny one-piece that goes up your butt. And it is surprisingly revealing for a one-piece.
The first time I wore it to the pool to do laps, I was super self-conscious. The cut and placement of the straps were not right for my body type. Or maybe I had gotten it a size too small…. either way, I was certain at least one of my boobs was going to pop free. I don’t just mean while I did the backstroke, it felt like the ladies could accidentally fall out while I was simply standing still on the pool deck.
But as soon as I got into the water, the suit came alive and I was KILLING it. My pace was good. I had the timing, stroke, and breathing down. My form was better than I can ever remember it being.
And it was all completely effortless.
Iâ€™ve heard people talk about having a magic surfboard.Â A magic board will make you fall in love with surfing all over again and takes your surfing to the next level. What makes a magic board is the right combo of design elements to create speed, power, control and works wonders in the type of waves you surf.
But this? This was a magic swimsuit. It turned me into the real swimmer I knew I had the potential to be. The transformation was nearly inexplicable. This must have been what Eddie Brock felt like when he bonded with Venom.
I left the pool in a daze, did I just really do that swim? With my boobs staying suited up the whole time and everything? I double-checked the look on nearby men’s faces and my swim tracking afterwards, it all seemed to be true.
After getting home and showering, I noticed somethingâ€¦ my shouldersâ€¦. the shape was different.
I twisted and turned my arms every which way. All the while, checking myself out in the bathroom mirror.
My shoulders had never looked like that before. It looked like I was growing a new kind of shoulder muscle. I’m no doctor of muscles, so I can’t even tell my Serratus anterior from my Rectus abdominus, I’m pretty sure neither of those is a shoulder muscle. But for all I know, they could be the same thing. I’m really only slightly more educated on the subject than my six-year-old son, who claims his hair has muscles.
I decided to go to one source that would be able to answer all my intro to human biology questions. I asked Mister Fitness on our date that night. I lifted my arms, poked at my weird-shaped shoulders and saidÂ â€œWhat is this new muscle I got? Whatâ€™s that all about?â€ His eyes lit up and he exclaimed enthusiastically â€œYou got capped delts! YEAHHHHHH!â€
I still donâ€™t know exactly what that means, but if my boyfriend is stoked about my muscles, it must be pretty good. I don’t exactly think I need broader shoulders, but if my new swimsuit wants me to look like a quarterback, I’m not gonna complain.
As uncomfortable and unflattering the swimsuit is, Iâ€™m keeping it. And wearing it. FOREVER.
And when it falls apart I will go back to SwimOutlet.com and drop another $62.28 USD
So…. I know you donated to my 5K run for the Guide Dogs of BC and Alberta, yet you are left wondering if I actually went through with it. For all you non-metric, US readers, 5K translates to 3.1 miles. Not exactly an epic marathon, but a decent distance for an old mom.
I admit, I was very apprehensive for a number of reasons: I just started running again 6 months ago, I haven’t run outside IRL since 2013, I am allergic to cold weather, I haven’t been in a race since 1993, annnnnnnd it was an early morning thing. Blargh. Sign me up for a night race next time.
But fortunately I had Danielle, Liz, Bella, Koa, and Lindsay coming to cheer me on, so that made it much harder to just skip the whole thing and sit inside eating cake under a warm blanket. And all y’all were so generous with your donations, that I ended up as the second highest individual fundraiser in the city. That makes me both so, so proud and utterly disappointed. Proud that I have such generous friends who understand and support causes that matter to me. Disappointed because the event had a surprisingly low goal of $25,000 and they didn’t reach it.
It was interesting to run within a group of people, as I always just hit the treadmill solo for my runs. But fresh air was nice too, even though I was worried my face would freeze off for the first couple kilometers. They did warn us just before the race started that the terrain around the lake was a bit slippery. If they actually meant it was fully covered with icey packed snow, then yes, it was “a bit slippery”. I speed walked through that section and became frustrated when it seemed like I’d walked for about half the trek. But there were still other runners behind me, so I couldn’t have been doing too terribly.
And in fact, I had not been, I finished at 35:30, which is my fastest time ever doing 5K. This result left me seriously wondering what I have been doing on that treadmill. Because, now, it sure doesn’t seem like it’s running. Do I treadmill like I’m gingerly picking my way around an icy lake?
I also fell in love with wearing the bib. Good old number 3101, that’s me! I want to wear a race bib for the rest of my life to everything. Why number 3101, though? 419 people registered for the event, I was the 18th registrant (’cause I’m a keener) and nowhere near everyone actually showed up.
Lazy cake eating, slackers (that’s just my jealousy lashing out).
But for all the good fundraisng and speedy running effort, I was awarded a symbolic puppy sponsorship, and a weekend in Whistler. However, being the responsible (and boring) momma that I am, I opted out of the Whistler trip and instead took the $100 gift card for the grocery store.
Overall, the exeprince was really great. I love fundraising, running, and friendly cometition. I have already registered for my next 5K in June.
Next time around, I’ll be running to support the mental health of Women suffering from Post-Partum Depression. Now, Post-Partum ain’t no joke. I had it quite badly, and many of my friends experienced it as well after the birth of their children. Unfortunately, it hits hardest for women like me who already have mental health issues and for those who do not have a good support system in place.
This LOVE YOU RUN FOR WOMEN raises dollars for local mental health services. With the funding of programs that allow women to take steps to recovery. If you want to get the jump on supporting me (Danielle!), running with me (Julie!), or registering in your own city (Erin!), please do so!
I feel (and look) like Iâ€™ve gained 10,000 lbs over the past couple weeks.
So I have decided to get back into my good eating habits. Or at least get rid of some of my terrible ones.
I donâ€™t â€œdietâ€ per se. My general rule is to eat more vegetables and drink more water thereby ingesting less junk.
Everyone says a good way to really keep track of your progress is to have an eating journal where you write down everything you eat. have decided to keep track of some of the wins and losses in a loose journal. Here is a summary of my past month.
Day 1 â€“ Breakfast: Ate raisins out of my sonâ€™s toast. He still refused to eat the toast, though. Day 2 â€“ Lunch – Ordered a salad, ate only croutons. Cannot decide if that is better or worse than eating the full salad. Day 3 â€“ Doing well until some jackass left a bag of Maltesers on my desk. Ate 2/3 of the bag.
Tried to even it out on the treadmill.
Probably even, I vote today doesnâ€™t count either way. Day 4 â€“ Allowed son to eat remaining Maltesers for breakfast. Figured overall, that was better than me inevitably finishing them off. Day 5 â€“ Breakfast â€“ black coffee
Lunch â€“ Half-baked potato with honey mustard sauce
Dinner â€“ Avocado sushi Day 6 â€“ Bought sunflower seeds to curb eating and smoking. Ate loads of them while driving about, spitting shells out of my car window. Resulted in less eating and smoking and a $100 ticket for littering. Day 7 â€“ Did well with eating all day until deciding on half a fruit tray for late night snack. The tray was intended to feed 6-8 people. Day 8 â€“ It’s Thanksgiving! Nothing counts. Dessert x3 and 10,000000000 carbs. Yum yum yums Day 9 â€“ Discovered a recipe for pumpkin pancakes. FUCK YOU DIET. At least I made the pancakes vegan, does that count for anything? Day 10 â€“ While waiting for my Chamomile and oatmeal facemask to dry, I began eating it. Not that that is bad in and of itself since itâ€™s just oats and chamomile with baking soda, it just seems really gross to do it. Glad no one was around to witness it. Day 11 â€“ Making colloidal oatmeal. Forgot to put the lid on the food processor. My kitchen is now an oat explosion. The stupid oatmeal plan is canceled. Day 12 â€“ Was tricked into eating two chocolate muffins after dinner. My best friend is the devil. Day 13 – Did excellent with only one meal of rice pasta and spinach Day 14 â€“ Was starving after excellent eating on Day 13, ate greasy, doughy pizza for breakfast. And then went to a kids b-day party, so obviously ended up eating chocolate cupcakes thick with blue icing. Day 15 â€“ Ate a spinach salad for dinner. But woke up at 2am on the couch with a suspicious looking empty M&M package next to me. Day 16 â€“ Realized the non-dairy milk Iâ€™ve been putting in my coffee has 15gr of sugar per cup. What theâ€¦.Why?????!!!! Day 17 â€“ Threw out all the vegetables in my fridge that had gone bad. I swear I did not buy them just to throw away. Day 18 – Vegetable sushi for both lunch and dinner and 2 hours killing myself at the gym Day 19– Got angry with life which resulted in working off 1250 calories at the gym. In turn, I drank loads of water. Yay! But I also ate a bunch of bread and junk for dinner. Muscles are sore the following day, so I think it was good overall. Except for weird muscles, I didnâ€™t know I had. Like underneath my shoulder blade and on my palms. Since when do hands have muscles? Day 20 â€“ Did you know Oreos are vegan? Day 21 â€“ Vegetable sushi for lunch again. But Peanut butter Ritz cracker sandwiches for dinner. Having kid food in the house is a curse. Day 22 -Â The realization that when someone else cooks for me it’s tasty, filling, healthy, and I eat much smaller portions. I need a personal chef. Day 23 â€“ Discovered that eating food so spicy it burns your face off and eating everything with chopsticks really helps keep consumption down to a minimum. Day 24 â€“ Are pop tarts okay if they are organic? Nevermind, they are moldy. Threw them all in the trash. Success! Day 25 â€“ McDonaldâ€™s is running their monopoly game. A month of fat fat garbage food. Ughhhhhhh Day 26 â€“ Are corn chips on the good or bad side of things? Is it better if you have them with salsaâ€¦ thatâ€™s like vegetables, right? Day 27 â€“ I’ve remembered that I was supposed to do AB exercises every day this month. I’ll start now! Day 28 â€“ Start the AB exercises. Hate the AB exercises. Quit the AB exercises. But instead ran 18 km (11mi) on the treadmill over the past 24 hours. In your face AB exercises! Day 29 â€“ I found Kraft makes unsweetened+unsalted peanut butter. This is a game changer. Day 30 â€“ Managed to stop eating McDonaldâ€™s ice cream every day. Letâ€™s just call the month a win and be done with it, shall we?
I realize that I cannot control my bad eating, I can try to curb it, but I am so terrible at managing my late night snacking.Â I’ll go the route of loads of treadmill time to balance out the eating instead.
As many of you know we will be heading off to the Philippines soon for a family reunion.
out exactly my family, but I have been invited and I think it’s important for Koa to spend time getting to know his heritage and family.
Lola left a few months ago to sort out details with her property where we will be staying. Koa will no doubt be wildly excited when he sees her again.
I’ll be heading out with Koa, his Tita, and his cousins. I didn’t really care all that much about specific dates, so I told Ate to just book me for the same flights as her. We will be outnumbered 3 young boys vs. 2 grown women – but I am confident team adult will come out winning (if you’ve never flown with small children…. let me tell you, it’s actually bearable with as many adults as possible).
Turns out the same flights as them means SIX weeks in the Philippines. I see so many benefits and drawbacks to such a lengthy trip. But it’s all settled now, so I’m just gonna roll with it.
This all means that Koa and I will be away for the entire Christmas season. Winter and Jesus aren’t exactly my favorite thing, so I’m okay with missing it. However, I am a little mopey about missing the number one gifting event of the year.
I will miss connecting with all my friends, family, and loved ones over here in the West.
A traditional gift exchange won’t work, even cards are out of the question [unless I am going to get my act together enough to get cards out by mid-November (spoiler alert: I’m not)], and for that, I’m secretly happy because it means the opportunity for a more meaningful show of support.
I truly don’t need anything and if Koa gets one more piece of Lego, our living room is gonna explode.
You all know I love animals. More than anything
Animals are an invaluable part of our planet, regulate ecosystems, and add endless benefits to our lives.
However, these beautiful creatures are all too often mistreated. These animals are voiceless against the political, legal, and industrial systems that dictate many aspects of their lives.
Did you know thatÂ Canada has some of the worst animal protection laws in the western world?
Canadaâ€™s animal cruelty laws have barely changed since the 1950â€™s. In Canada, there are no federal regulations protecting animals from abuse on farms, in zoos and aquariums, or in laboratories.Â Itâ€™s still legal to import and sell dog and cat fur, shark fins, animals killed for trophies, and elephant ivory. In Canada, itâ€™s completely legal to kill and eat your pets.
While many countries around the world are constantly passing new laws protectingÂ animals, the Canadian government has consistently ignored animal protection and dragged feet when it comes to legislation.
Animal Justice (AJ) is the only national animal lawÂ organization fighting to turn Canada into a more loving place for animals. AJ helps to defend animals by fighting for them in court, pushing for stronger laws, and working to ensure the laws already on the books are vigorously enforced. The lawyers at AJ have made it their mission to transform Canada’sÂ legal and political systems to bring animals the protections they need and deserve.
AJ leads the legal fight for animals in Canada. Their lawyers work to pass strong new animal protection legislation, push for the prosecution of animal abusers,Â and fight for animals in court.
Wildaid pushes for protection of endangered animals and focuses much of their efforts of ending the illegal international trade in wildlife products. This not only betters Canada, but worksÂ to help all species around the world, like sharks, rhinos, elephants, lions, vaquitas, rays, and many many more.Â The main idea with WildAid is that when buying these products stops, poaching and killing will follow suit.
One of my favorite projects Wild Aid is working on right now is the fight to end the horrific act of gillnet fishing; outlawing gillnets would benefitÂ all creatures of the ocean.
They also have a program geared towards slowing Climate Change, which includes the education and promotion of climate-friendly food and transport.
Wildaid is an excellent charity in terms of transparency and efficiency with their finances.
They provide frequent updates on their site, so feel free to follow their progress, wins, and challenges here:
Please, please pour your love for us (or traditional obligation to Christmas gifting) into giving a voice to the animals. It will mean the world to so many of us if you make a donation to Animal JusticeÂ or WildAid on ourÂ behalf.
If you are unable to donate, please consider other meaningful action like signing to implement a Charter of Rights and Freedoms for animals in Canada https://www.animaljustice.ca/charter
Love you all so much,
Lynn & Koa
And of course, I will be posting a billion pictures and updates from our trip, so don’t you worry. I’m planning to go dune surfing while I’m there too, so get ready for action shots of me eating a mouthful of sand.
But for now, ya have to be satisfied with the pics of lovely creatures:
As you may know, I have total garbage skin. It’s probably from a combination of stress, all the sunshine, and poor diet.
But whatever the issue, I have been told that this Chamomile-Oatmeal face mask will be the solution to my problems.
My current routine for the past few months has been a tea tree base for all the things. Soap, mask, scrub, and straight up.
I’ve seen improvements, but I’m still not where I want to be. So I am willing to give this a try.
Why not? It’s cheap, easy to make, and has loads of benefits.
Oatmeal and Chamomile are both known to soothe and calm the skin.
IngredientsÂ (all extra affordable):
1/2 cup oatmeal powder (colloidal oatmeal) or some reg old oats after a few rounds in the food processor*
1/4 cup strongly brewed chamomile
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp honey
Of course, I thought, no problem I totally have all these ingredients.
But alas, I for some reason I didn’t have oatmeal or baking soda. I don’t know what is going on at my house sometimes, but fortunately, all this has now been rectified.
I do not to use the optional ingredients.
I vote no to honey because bees are my friends and they don’t like it when we use them for honey.
And I vote no white sugar because they are not generally rounded granules and anything teeny but not round can very much irritate your pores.
You can add them in if you want, they do have skin-tacular benefits. The sugar exfoliates and the honey will help remove dead skin.
Mix all (or at least 3) of these ingredients up until they are like a paste and then smush it all over your clean, pre-washed face.
But be ready, ’cause it’s messy. So maybe apply in the shower and not when you are wearing your favorite ballgown.
Leave it on for at least 5 mins, but ideally 15.
The mask should tighten as it dries and turns more yellow-y.
Wash it off.
Gently pat your skin dry with a soft hand towel and apply an oil-free moisturizer to your face and neck.
Now, doesn’t your skin feel super smooth? Yeah, it does! Even after just one use.
This mask is very mild, so you can use it as often as you like, and feel free to use it on other areas that need smoothing, beyond just the face.
Which is a great idea since the mask doesn’t keep, so if you have extra,slather it on!
The oatmeal should help to fix all your old garbage skin.
Rolled oats contain healthy fats that add moisture and hydration to the skin. Oats are a beautiful gentle exfoliator for the skin, removing cellular build-up allowing new, rejuvenated skin to surface. They contain saponins that gently remove dirt, oil, and bacteria from your pores without clogging your pores and will leave your skin glowing.
Colloidal oatmeal specifically works to cleanse skin, lessen acne, reduces itchy skin, treat inflammation, softens skin, reduce irritation (making it great for sensitive skin), soothes Eczema/Psoriasis and rashes, moisturizes skin, and
Chamomile has been used for centuries to heal people with skin issues. Chamomile works wonders on your skin due to its anti-microbial properties and its ability to soothe inflammation and irritation on the skin from sunburns, acne breakouts, and dry skin. It will minimize most skin irritations and reduce pain as well.
It is calming and works as an anti-inflammatory. It also provides for a great calming effect to more than just your skin. The strong scent will very much relax you. This really adds to the ritual and makes it pleasant instead of annoying to have another thing to do.
The baking soda neutralizes skins acidity and softens skin.
*Please keep in mind when making your own colloidal oatmeal, it is a good idea to put a lid on the food processor. That way you won’t end up with an oat explosion all over the place and yourself
**Added benefit is that you can eat your face mask if you are hungry and/or bored waiting for it to set. It’s just all food. Why not indulge in a tasty gluten-free snack?