A breath of fresh air.

Sometimes we just need some fresh air.  There is something about spending time with nature that is soothing, and helps you find peace with whatever you are struggling with.  We really wanted to go camping (secluded style, not in a massive field full of tents), and although it is a cheap thing to do, we just couldn’t afford it.  I was really upset, annoyed, etc. but tried my best to stay positive and come up with an alternative.  We decided to take a walk at Castlewood State Park, and then a drive through Lone Elk Park instead.  Our walk was very beautiful, and the air was very crisp- just the way we like it.  There was a bench on one of the bluffs, so we sat down and just enjoyed the view for a bit.  We breathed in that beautiful fresh air and just talked, and although I still want to go camping, I didn’t seem to mind as much anymore.  It was very calming.  Afterwards, we drove through Lone Elk Park, and briefly got to seek some elk and even a bison in the distance!

I often find myself craving to spend time outside or be with nature in some way, which I take as a sign that I am carrying around too much stress and need to take care of myself.  So, take care of myself I did.

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Best Ever Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe, Courtesy of Alton Brown

I love ice cream, especially chocolate.  So when I saw Alton Brown’s recipe on Good Eats, I HAD to try it.  Alton has never steered me wrong, if I am looking for a recipe for absolutely anything, I check and see if he has one, because I know it will turn out amazing.  His chocolate ice cream recipe is just to die for.  It makes the creamiest, richest, smoothest, most chocolatey ice cream ever, so I wanted to share it.

Tip: Do NOT skip any of the steps, change or sub any of the ingredients (especially don’t sub regular cocoa powder for the Dutch kind! Use Dutch cocoa powder!), take any short cuts, or try to skimp on the cream and use milk.  Follow his recipe EXACTLY.  You have been warned.


I can never seem to get a half decent picture when I make this ice cream, this is the best I could do haha!

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What if I don’t want razor abs or a “thigh gap”?

As a woman, I feel like we are expected to strive for flat stomachs, thigh gaps, and a sleek physique.  I have always hated my love handles and “muffin top”, something that I have struggled with my entire life.  I have always felt like I jiggled a little too much in too many places, and yearned for that flat stomach.  I thought that eating less food, and taking up jogging/running was the answer.  But my problem was, I thought that was the only answer.  And I thought that this was the only body that was “acceptable” and that this is what I should be striving for.  So when I would try running, and hated it, I felt doomed to ever feel good about myself, because no matter what routine, style, etc. that I tried, I hated it.  I didn’t realize that there are many types of people and many types of bodies.  I also have Hashimoto’s Disease.  I have been living with it for over a decade, and although it presents challenges, I don’t want to use it as a crutch.

I have been feeling displeased with my body, and one day, out of the blue, thought “well, what if I don’t want a six pack?!”.  And I got to thinking…….What if I don’t want a perfectly sculpted body?  What if I don’t mind if my thighs touch, or my stomach jiggles a little?  What if I don’t want to be a runner?!  Now, I am not suggesting unhealthy lifestyles, but rather, the expectations I had been carrying around for myself were unrealistic, and not very well thought out.  I didn’t ever truly think about what I ACTUALLY wanted for myself, I just thought about what I felt I SHOULD be wanting.  I just assumed that is what I should look like, and being a runner with razor abs is what I should be striving for.  It was like a switch flipped in my brain.  After some reflecting and long conversations with the Artist, my goals and aspirations became more clear….

I want to…

  • exercise regularly doing a variety of activities, and lift even heavier weights then I already do
  • improve my yoga practice
  • get a minimum of 8 hours of quality sleep every night, 9 is actually my preferred amount for me to feel well rested
  • eat a clean, whole foods diet

I DO NOT want to…

  • rely on meal replacements or other “diet” products
  • be a runner/jogger, because that is not me or where my interests are, nor do I not enjoy it…kudos to all you runners out there!  Doing what you love is the most important thing!
  • wake up at 4am every morning to work out
  • want to work out in my living room (I know this works well for others, and that is awesome, but this is not for me.  My living room is my special relaxing space, where I read, listen to music and spend time with my Artist, and I do not want it associated with working out.)

I want to aim to incorporate exercise and fitness into my life, and NOT the reverse- trying to fit some “life” into my exercise schedule.  But mainly, I want to feel healthy, energetic, and most importantly: STRONG.  As I said above, there are different types of people and different types of bodies- we are all different!  And if we are all different we should have a variety of goals, and I should not be comparing myself or my goals to others.  I consider myself as “thick” and “dense”, and for the first time, I am perfectly ok with that.

The Artist and I are 2 months into our new workout routine.  To simplify, our routine goes as follows: lift often (3 times a week for us), and left heavy.  That is all (with the occasional walk or bike ride thrown in there).  When I started dabbling in weight lifting about 3 years ago, I didn’t really know what I doing, and I was more experimenting to find what kinds of exercise I enjoyed.  I wasn’t really lifting anything heavy, I wast just trying to figure myself out.  I thought it would be pretty cool, if one day, I could put 25lb plates on the squat bar (95lbs total) and do all of my sets that way.  This was my “dream goal” that I 100% thought I might never actually achieve.

Here I am, 2 months into our “lift often, and lift heavy” regimen, squatting 25lb and 10lb weights on the bar, for a total of 115lbs, above and beyond what I thought I might never be able to do!


And I also wanted to share a video of me doing deadlifts.  My “dream goal” on this was 45lb plates on the bar (135lbs total), and again, I 100% thought I would NEVER be able to do this.  I could barely do a 40lb barbell 2 months ago, so I am really proud of myself on this one :)

When watching these videos and viewing these photos of myself, I was kind of disappointed at first.  I don’t look nearly as strong or good as I feel, but then I realized that is the most important thing right?- how I FEEL!  So although I am still working on changes and improvements, and as I feel discouraged when things aren’t happening “fast enough”, I just remember that me going to the gym, or taking that bike ride, or going on that walk, is better then me sitting on the couch.  Everyone knows that famous quote, that every journey starts with a single step, and it is very true.  I am just trying to make healthy choices for myself, one day at a time.

DIY Dreamcatcher.

I love to make things.  There is something so soothing to my soul about making things with my own two hands.  The Artist and I are in the middle of glazing a bunch of items that we made on the wheel with clay, and I will post about that when they are done.  I also love knitting, weaving, working with beads, clay, and so many other things, as I am sure is evident in this blog.  My latest project was making a dreamcatcher.  I got some supplies and had at it.  I loved it so much, I made another, and still have supplies for one more!  These cost me between $2-$2.50 a piece to make, a great bargain.  They are super easy to make, and incredibly customizable, with no right or wrong way to make them.

To make them, I just looked at some pictures I found on the internet and read a few quick tutorials about the weaving part, and got started.  After you see how to start the weaving part, you are good to go.  It is very easy, and fun to make.  I used metal rings and wrapped suede-like cord around them, then used hemp string to weave, leaving a space/circle in the middle.  I used beads and feathers to decorate, and just tied everything in place.  You would also use glue I would imagine, but I didn’t have any and just tied double knots for he beads and feathers.  Note that in these photos there are shadows of the string, so it looks “doubled”.

I am in love with these!

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Alton Brown’s Recipe for Ribs- AMAZING.

One of our favourite cooking shows is Good Eats.  Alton Brown is hilarious, and his recipes are amazing.  Every recipe of his that we have tried has been stellar.  I highly recommend these ribs, the flavour is amazing!  And the Artist is amazing at executing this recipe.  We have his Good Eats cookbooks and got the recipe fro there, but you can watch a video of this, and see the recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/who-loves-ya-baby-back-recipe.html


How delicious do these look?!  The flavour is just incredible, and this is my favourite way to make ribs.  I want to take a moment and give a shout out to my fellow blogger “The Old Fellow Goes Running”…http://theoldfellowgoesrunning.com for nominating me for a blogger award!  His blog is really inspiring and motivating, not to mention what a great read!  I am not a runner, yet his posts are always enjoyable to me.  Check him out!

Until next time.

P.S. The Artist just saw me typing and saw the photo of the ribs, and decided we are going to the store to get some and make ASAP.  They are that delicious :D

Stones Concert

For the Artist and I’s 5th wedding anniversary, my parents got us tickets to see the Rolling Stones in Kansas City (about a 3.5 hour drive away).  I have been connected to the Stones my whole life.  When I was a kid, I remember my dad listening to them late at night during our road trips, and I just didn’t understand why he liked them so much.  Or any oldies rock for that matter.  As I became a teenager, I started to explore music more, fell in love, and there was no turning back for me.  I wanted to see the Stones during their Bigger Bang tour when I was in grade 11 0r 12, and was even calling in to radio contests to try and win tickets.  No luck.  Fast forward to now, and all of a sudden I hear about their ZIP Code tour and decided that I was willing to eat oatmeal for every meal for as long as it took if that meant I could get tickets.  Luckily, my parents helped us out.  As an adult, my obsession started to grow.  I love oldies rock so much, that I walked down the aisle at my wedding to Rod Stewart.  But the Rolling Stones are my number one, all time favourite.  I enjoy books and biographies of them, but my absolute favourite thing is to listen to their records, courtesy of my dad’s collection that I currently have.

I was feeling anxious about having car troubles or traffic and missing the concert.  I didn’t even want to wait in line at the concession stand at the stadium in fear of missing them come out, as the opening act was over.  I stood in line forever to get an over priced t-shirt, that I have zero regrets purchasing.

I packed my oregano oil because I thought I would have no voice the next day. Turns out, my response was more of a frozen-in-awe type. I don’t think my heart has ever beaten so fast. The music melted my soul. And as usual when I am touched by something, I cried.  Not obnoxious sobbing, just constant tears streaming down my cheeks.  I feel things like music very viscerally, and I guess my body needs a physical outlet for it all and it produces tears.  (read more about my love for music when I went to the Stl Symphony here: https://emilyandherartist.wordpress.com/2014/02/) As for the old man jokes…I wish I was in a good as shape as Mick Jagger. And I hope that I am still rockin it that hard at life when I am 70-something.  I will never forget that night, and I don’t think I will ever be fully un-melted <3

Experience. Of. A. Lifetime.  It breaks my heart to think about not being able to experience this again in my life, as the Stones may not tour again.  Even if this is the case, I am so grateful for getting to see them this once.  The music (along with many other things going on in my life I am sure) has recently given me a sense of clarity in life, how or why…it is all still unknown to me.  Maybe this clarity started forming within me when I was reading the autobiography of Keith Richards on my way to Chicago recently, and I learned that when starting out, the Stones were broke and struggling to get food and electricity, putting all their efforts towards their passion.  Sort of what the Artist and I are trying to do now.  It is a constant struggle, and it never seems to feel like any progress is being made.  Keith, Mick, Charlie, Ronnie, and the members of the Stones…..you inspire me to keep following my dreams no matter what.  No….matter….what.

As I raise my glass, here’s to you.

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Homemade Woven Coasters

As a working woman, I find that I don’t have much time to just be.  Time to lounge around, watch TV, read, work on my latest project, write a blog post, or just have some time with my thoughts.  Having this time is something that is very important to me, and I try and savour it whenever I can, even if it exists for only a short period of time.

To say that the Artist is a night owl would be an understatement.  Every night as we are climbing into bed to watch TV, a movie, or read, he has lots of energy and is bouncing off the walls.  Literally.  He has the most energy at this time of the day, and in turn, sleeps in during the morning.  Long after I have fallen asleep, sometimes on the couch, the Artist is “arting” away through the night creating his masterpieces.  So on the weekends, I get up at my usual hour, sometimes sleep in a tad, and enjoy a nice, slow, relaxing morning.  If I sleep in too late, and I will if I don’t set an alarm, my sleep schedule gets so thrown off and I am dragging myself around all week until I crash.  So these mornings are my primary time to read, learn, and relax.

My latest project has been weaving, and I am addicted to it.  So I have been putting on an old sitcom like Friends and weaving away in the mornings.  I made a make shift loom using cardboard, and have been making these coasters that I really love.  The Artist saw them on a blog… http://www.prettyprudent.com/2014/09/prudent-home/diy-woven-coasters/ and asked me if I could make some, as I am fairly decent at “crafting”.  I loved these, and they are just our style.  So here are just a few, I have been making tons of these.  When weaving, I feel very zen.  It is like meditating.  Just typing about it is making me crave a weaving session this morning.

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Without my special weekend mornings, I feel off balance and kind of irritated.  I guess it just goes to show how important self-care is for our overall well-being, and that we should engage in it often.  By taking care of myself, I am the best wife I could possibly be, the best daughter, friend, and colleague that I could possibly be.  I am the best version of me, in all of my roles.