The Our Place Essential Collection – Main Plates

Last month I shared the tumblers from the The Our Place Essentials Collection. This month I wanted to talk to you about their beautiful plates! The collection is a line of beautiful dinnerware that is not only gorgeous, but also fully functional. I’ve partnered with Our Place to show you what they have to offer, as well as tell you about what an extraordinary company they truly are.


I love Our Place because they are a company of people who care. One of the co-founders, Shiza Shahid, co-founded The Malala Fund and now works to celebrate and highlight the multi-cultural cuisine that Americans embrace. We are a land of immigrants, and Our Place recognizes that and focuses on how our cultural landscape weaves and intertwines. Our food is one of the major ways that we embrace other cultures and honor them. Our Place knows that, and seeks to bring us even closer.

In addition to their insight, they focus on ethical labor, using responsible materials, and the real stories that make people across America so incredible. Based in Los Angeles, California, Our Place has partnered with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council and is currently working to help people gain access to good food. Not only that, they are environmentally conscious in their packaging. All of their boxes are packaged with biodegradeable and recyclable corrugate, without any bubble wrap or plastic product involved.


Now let’s talk plates! Our Place’s Main Plates are beautiful, ceramic, hand-painted plates. One thing I love about these plates is how lovely they look when they are stacked (see the picture I took on the right below). They will look so beautiful in glass cabinets or open shelving!

Our Place sent me their Main Plates in Spice, but they also come in two other colors – Char and Steam. So you can match them to your decor, or mix and match them for fun! They are also both microwave and dishwasher safe. This is a major perk for me, as our dishwasher uses far less water washing our dishes than washing them by hand does. I am always happier to find dishwasher-safe tableware for this reason. Here are a couple of pictures I took of my plates!


I encourage you to check out Our Place’s website. See what other items they offer, but also read about them, the good they are doing in the world, and the incredible stories they have to share. Our Place also regularly partners with various charities, so check out their site and see who they are working with now! Use my link here to save on your first order with the code MEGANG10 and make your kitchen happy!

Be Gentle With Yourself

Things are stressful right now. If you have a mental illness, for me it’s anxiety, then the added stressors can cause flare-ups in your condition. It’s really no different than running on a twisted ankle. If you apply extra pressure, you’re going to feel it.

I think that the world is opening up more and more about mental illness, its effects on us, its consequences. So many people who are famous have shared their battles, in hopes perhaps of showing us that we are not alone. It helps to remember that. And it helps to be gentle on yourself.

Mental illness is tricky. It’s no different from a physical illness, but you can’t see it, and because of that it can often be overlooked. But the consequences of dealing with the Novel Coronavirus have put a spotlight on mental illness once again, especially depression. We’ve seen stories of people who have tragically committed suicide. Perhaps the solitude was too much, the burden too great, the loss too heavy. It’s hard to know. But I think that it’s important that we remember that not one of us is perfect, and that we actually don’t have to hold ourselves up to perfection.

The world is stressful enough without the added pressures we put on ourselves, so I’m asking you to stop doing that. If you are overwhelmed, say no. Say no to additional obligations that you really don’t want to have to deal with. Say no to dealing with people in your life who only make things worse. Say no to comparing yourself to others and hurting yourself because you don’t think you measure up. You aren’t them. And you aren’t required to be anything more than what you are.

Some days you will feel productive and some days you won’t. Sometimes you might feel on top of the world, and other days you might feel the weight of it resting on your shoulders. Some days you could find that you can hardly stop smiling, and others you may find that you can hardly stop crying. And inside all of these ups and downs I urge you to be gentle. Don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t feel as though you are less than. Don’t think that you are worthless or broken. You’re not.

You aren’t alone, and you aren’t bad. You are a complicated, beautiful soul. You are loved. You are precious. You are the way God made you, and if you aren’t religious, then you are the way the Universe made you. None of us are perfect, and our imperfections make us human. They make us unique and beautiful. And sometimes they make things hard. And knowing that, it’s more important than anything else that we know how to take care of ourselves. What matters is that we are capable of handling ourselves with patience and forgiveness. Without judgment or negativity. Because we are all going to have bad days. But when you struggle with mental illness, it can make those bad days really, really hard.

Each day when you wake up, leave your negativity out of your thoughts. If it creeps in, push it away. I can’t speak for everything, but for me it’s sentences that begin with, “What if…” – this is what is called an “anxious thought” and it’s not a real thing. It’s a fear. So when my brain starts a sentence with those words, I have learned to label it and dismiss it. I have to work harder some days than others when it comes to anxiety. Sometimes it’s barely a whisper, other days it brings me to my knees. I’ve found that the best thing I can do for myself is to be gentle. To be kind with my thoughts and my words. To say the things to myself that I would say to someone I love, and that I will say to you now.

You did great today. Everything will be alright. Tomorrow will be better. I’m proud of you. You can do this. You can beat this. You are strong. I love you.

Formulate: Your New Best Friend For Hair Care

Formulate is a custom shampoo and conditioner company that has you work with a chemist to create your own perfect shampoo and conditioner. Your hair, your goals. Formulate is the world’s first personal formulation chemistry service. I’ve recently had the chance to work with Formulate in order to try their product free of charge in exchange for this review.

Formulate uses ingredients that are based on peer-reviewed scientific studies and are paraben, sulfate, and cruelty free as well as being cold-mixed. Once you join Formulate you can continually work with your chemist over time to alter your formula if your preferences or hair goals change. One thing I really love about Formulate is that I can log into my account at any time and see the formulas for both my shampoo and conditioner.

When you enter Formulate’s website you will be asked to answer some questions about yourself and then you will be matched with a personal chemist. So far I have really been impressed with both my chemist and my technician. Formulate states that they want to help you reach your hair and scalp goals, and has multiple areas from which you can choose those goals. Up to 5 different goals can be chosen. I had several goals in mind, but the ones I ultimately chose were anti-frizz, lengthen, strengthen, color protection (I dye my hair), and glossy. In addition to hair goals you will be able to choose the scent of your products. There are 10 different scents to choose from currently and you can also choose the level of strength of your scent – light, medium or strong!

I have found through using the shampoo and conditioner that I have had to adjust my expectations of use. The shampoo doesn’t lather up as much as store-bought shampoos seem to in my hair on the first wash, but I have to be careful not to use too much in the second washing or it lathers too much. This has shown me just how great it cleans my hair and scalp. I’m not even sure I need the second wash, but old habits die hard, right? The conditioner is very different from any other conditioner I’ve used in the past as well. This conditioner is a melt, and I found that in my trial uses I used way too much. The standard amount of conditioner ended up being far, far too much. Through trial and error and messaging with my technician, I came to realize that the cold-pressed melt that Formulate uses doesn’t require a ton of product, and I now only need a fraction of the conditioner I used in the past.

I’ve been using Formulate for several weeks now, and here is how I’m faring so far. I have tried 2 different scents. First I chose Cool Coconut. I loved the scent but my 4-year-old poured the remainder into the bath for bubbles, so I had to get a new one. Super sad day! I decided that if I was going to go again, I’d try another scent and allowed my technician to surprise me. She chose Serenity, which is a lovely blend of Lavendar and Chamomile. Perhaps she thought I needed something to help me relax after the first debacle! I loved the scent but I had chosen light for both options. I decided to tweak my formula just a little, and when I did I upped the scent factor to Medium. I don’t typically like really strong smells so I started out light. But I liked the scent so much that I stepped it up in hopes that it would remain in my hair more strongly!

Formulate offers their shampoo and conditioner sets in three sizes. You can order them in a 4oz., 8 oz. or 14 oz. size. I started with an 8 oz. set because I wanted enough to use it for awhile for my review, but not so much that if I decided to change my formula I would feel wasteful not using the rest. And while I did change my formula, I will use the rest of what I have before I start with the new set. I’m happy with it so far and don’t want to be wasteful.

So far the pros of using Formulate are that my hair definitely looks fuller. For reference, I have fine hair that is about 4-5 inches below my shoulders. It is wavy and frizzy naturally. Fullness wasn’t even one of my hair goals, and yet, here I am! Even my husband, who isn’t bad but doesn’t always notice when I’ve made a change, commented on my hair and said it looked like it had more body. It’s definitely shinier than it has been in the past as well. But I think my favorite thing about this experience has been that it really seems to clean my hair and scalp better than anything I’ve ever used. In the past I got one good hair day, and that was the day I washed it. On day two I would need dry shampoo, and even then it wouldn’t be any good down and I’d need to pull it up. But now I get two awesome hair days without the oil I used to struggle with, and even on day three I don’t always need dry shampoo and I can pull it back without it appearing greasy! This is an absolute first for me.

In all I would give Formulate a 10/10 as far as product quality, customer service and value. While Formulate costs a little more than I might have paid in the past for my products, the quality far outweighs them. Not only that, but I use far less product than I needed in the past – especially for conditioner. And it’s also saved me from continuously trying new things in order to find the right thing. I’ve been washing my hair for 43 years and it took me until now to find something I really love.

Want to win your own 8 oz. set? Enter my giveaway here for a chance! Click below to enter the giveaway, and even if you don’t win, you will get $5 off!

Three Films That Are Better Than The Novels

I’ve always been a bookworm and I’ve always been a cinephile. So there is a real intrigue and joy for me whenever books are made into films. I know that typically people believe that the book is always better. It’s the way the story was meant to be told, and sometimes that is lost in translation when it’s turned into a screenplay. Maybe we feel the characters were miscast or the storyline was butchered or the beauty that belongs to the book is simply missing from the film. But recently I watched a film interpretation that was far better than the book, and decided to share a few with you. I’m going to try not to discuss the storylines too much so as not to ruin them for you if you’ve not read or watched them yet.

The Devil Wears Prada

This one is fairly obvious because, by now, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t at least heard of this, even if they haven’t seen it. I read the book many years ago and, while it was an interesting read, I didn’t really like it. The book version of this film was dark. It was sad and depressing. The characters weren’t as shiny and vibrant and the plot wasn’t as bold. Without ruining it for you in case you haven’t read it and want to, I’ll just say that it was much darker, especially for Lily, than the film was.

On the other hand, the film is many things the book is not. It’s bright and beautiful. It’s funny and endearing. The characters were portrayed in a far better way and were so much more alive and interesting to me. They were more relatable. Not to mention that the perfomances, as we now know, by Streep and the other actors involved, were incredibly well done. I only read the book once, but I’ve watched this film several times. I’d love to entirely replace the negative feelings that the book gave me with the good feelings that the film does. They say that a good writer makes you feel. What those feeling are can really vary and, in this way, you could say that the book was well-written because it made me dislike it. But for me, that doesn’t mean a book is good. I look more to how the story makes me feel and what I take away from it. And in this case, the film did much more of that for me than the book ever could.

A Simple Favor

I’m just going to be honest here, even though it’s going to be brutal. I hate, hate, hated this book. The only reason I finished it was because I had started it and I wanted to see it through. But I literally found myself procrastinating so I wouldn’t have to read it, and audibly sighing while I did. The characters are detestable. I mean: Every. Single. Character. The only characters I didn’t hate were the children, though I did feel sorry for them. I was hoping at some point social services would arrive to remove them from the unstable environment and idiotic adults in the novel. None of the characters were likeable. More than that, they were loathsome. I couldn’t invest in any of them and didn’t want anything good for any of them either. I just hated them so much.

When the movie came out, I was leary. But I do like Blake Lively. She piqued my interest with her involvement in the film, and I did think it looked interesting, so I decided to give it a try. It was enjoyable. I loved Lively’s portrayal of Emily. I also found myself incredibly surprised by how much I liked Anna Kendrick in the film. I’ve never really been a fan of hers, but I loved her in this movie. She was likable and funny, and made me appreciate the character of Stephanie far more than I did in the book. In addition, I really liked the end of the film more than I liked the ending of the book. Books can describe something, but ultimately the visions are formed by the reader. And for me, the movie was far more beautiful than the book as well. The glamour of Emily, the beautiful scenery and sets, the gorgeous clothing – the movie was lovely to watch, and that helps too. Like with the former, I’d happily watch the movie again, and gladly burn the book.

The Girl On The Train

Unlike the last one I discussed, I didn’t hate reading this book. I did find the storyline compelling, and I did want to know what had happened. However, like A Simple Favor, I didn’t love the characters. I couldn’t stand Anna. I think she was the worst one for me, and whenever the book switched to her point of view I was irritated. I trusted Rachel’s narration and really wanted to like her. I guess I did, in a way. I felt sorry for her and I wanted better for her, but it didn’t really like her. I also wasn’t a fan of Scott or Megan’s or Tom’s, and by the end I felt largely disappointed. I suppose all along I was hoping for an ending that would be more interesting or uplifting than the one I got. I was left feeling as though something was unfinished for Rachel and had hoped to see her in a better place.

I just watched the film last night and I’ve found that I did enjoy it over the book, though not quite as much as I did for the others. In the film version the story moved much more quickly (as is often the case when a long novel becomes a film) and I really liked it better that way. In addition, without being able to know Anna as well as I did in the novel, I found that I liked her much, much more. I still didn’t love her character, but I didn’t hate her. The biggest difference for me was Rachel. The Rachel of the novel was irritatingly frustrating. It was hard to read about her mistakes and choices occurring over and over again. But in the film I felt much more sympathetic towards her. It was still hard to see her in so much pain, but it was easier to forgive her missteps.

Oftentimes a film loses so much of what the book intended that it’s nearly impossible to tell the same story both ways. And if you are going to try to then you might find yourself with a 6 hour mini-series or film like Stephen King’s The Stand. Many times the books are altered on purpose in order to deliver a happier ending or a less depressing story because that’s what people like and that’s what they will pay for. Novels are often changed for their film counterparts in order to appeal to a wider audience. And I’m alright with that. Because I’m able to keep the film and the novel separate, I don’t mind seeing another interpretation. Books and films are both magical to me and I enjoy seeing stories told through both mediums. In these three cases, however, I would say it’s safe to go ahead and watch the films and skip the books if you are the kind of person who enjoys a lighter form of entertainment.

Meet Your New Favorite Drinking Glasses

I have fallen in love. The Our Place Essentials Collection is a line of beautiful dinnerware that is not only gorgeous, but also fully functional. I’ve partnered with Our Place to show you what they have to offer, as well as tell you about what an extraordinary company they truly are.


I love Our Place because they are a company of people who care. One of the co-founders, Shiza Shahid, co-founded The Malala Fund and now works to celebrate and highlight the multi-cultural cuisine that Americans embrace. We are a land of immigrants, and Our Place recognizes that and focuses on how our cultural landscape weaves and intertwines. Our food is one of the major ways that we embrace other cultures and honor them. Our Place knows that, and seeks to bring us even closer.

In addition to their insight, they focus on ethical labor, using responsible materials, and the real stories that make people across America so incredible. Based in Los Angeles, California, Our Place has partnered with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council and is currently working to help people gain access to good food. Not only that, they are environmentally conscious in their packaging. All of their boxes are packaged with biodegradeable and recyclable corrugate, without any bubble wrap or plastic product involved.


Now let’s talk glasses! Our Place’s Drinking Glasses are beautiful, hand-blown glass tumblers. They are also stackable! They will take up less room in your cabinets – and who doesn’t love to de-clutter and save space?

Our Place sent me their tumblers in Clear, but they also come in two other colors – Dusk and Sunset. So you can match them to your decor, or mix and match them for fun! When I say that they are functional I don’t mean that they can hold liquid – which they, of course, do – but I mean that they are also both microwave and dishwasher safe. This is a major perk for me, as our dishwasher uses far less water washing our dishes than washing them by hand does. I am always happier to find dishwasher-safe tableware for this reason.

This is a Mocktail Mule I made with Ginger Beer, Lime Juice and Grenadine!


I encourage you to check out Our Place’s website. See what other items they offer, but also read about them, the good they are doing in the world, and the incredible stories they have to share. Our Place is currently donating 10 meals for every purchase – all month long. So not only can you get beautiful items for your home, you can help feed someone in need. Use my link here to save on your first order with the code MEGANG10 and make your kitchen happy!

Why I Love I Dew Care Skincare

Awhile back I received a couple of sample items from a company called I Dew Care. The items came in subscription bags and boxes that I subscribe to. I loved the items I tried, so when I saw an opportunity to partner with them and review more of their products, I jumped at the chance. I recently all but begged them again to allow me to review their newest line because I’ve loved everything I’ve tried so much. This is not a sponsored blog post. Several of the items I review I did receive for free from the company, but they were for campaigns for Instagram and YouTube and are unrelated to this blog review.

I Dew Care is inspired by K-Beauty, which is Korean skincare. They are 100% cruelty free, as well as free from Talc, d5/ Parabens, Synthetic Fragrances, & Petro Chemicals. They are a brand of Memebox. Their website states, “Memebox is a company based out of San Francisco with outposts in Seoul, Shanghai, and Taipei. Founded in Seoul in 2012 by Hyungseok Dino Ha, who sought to make the best of K-Beauty accessible in the West.”

The first that drew me to I Dew Care is it’s packaging. It’s fun, upbeat, bright, and interesting. That may not matter to some, but for me, my love of a product starts with the container. The names of their products are also cute and lovable! There’s something special about these products that makes me feel happy when I’m using them. The packaging and names are uplifting, and that creates a feeling for the user I believe. Beyond that, I’ve found that their products are of a great quality. They work. In addition, they aren’t ridiculously priced, which I greatly appreciate. I decided to write this post because I wanted to share with you my favorite I Dew Care products, in hopes that I can help you find skincare that you will love, and that is also cruelty-free and isn’t hard on your budget.

Below I will share my favorites, as well as a link to Ulta. I receive no commission, nor will I receive anything for sharing these links. I am simply putting them here for you so that you can easily locate the products!

Space Kitten $23

Space Kitten is a peel-off mask, specified for your T-Zone area. I find that the softness it leaves my skin is just incredible.

Plush Party Lip Mask

Plush Party $16

Plush Party is my new best friend. I began using it awhile back, when Clinique discontinued my favorite night-time lip mask. Plush Party moisturizes beautifully and is still on when I awaken in the morning!

Berry Melting $23

My favorite makeup melt. A little of this guy goes a long way. I use it for removing my lippies and eye makeup before I wash my face. The formula is amazing and the smell is incredible!

Saw you dew Jelly Cream Moisturizer

Say You Dew $23

This is a Vitamin C Gel + Cream. For my personal taste, it leaves my skin too dewy for the day. I’m more of a matte lover, personally. However, I use it at night on my face, neck and décollete areas. It makes my skin so incredible supple and hydrated.

And I’ve saved the best for last. My absolute favorite I Dew Care products are from their newest line, the Yogi Kitten collection. It’s a line based on balancing skin and using plant extracts  including cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil, heartleaf, and power greens – to help detoxify, clarify, and calm blemish-prone skin. And I can say for a fact that it works. I’m in my 40’s now and, happily, don’t have a lot of issues with acne. However, every month in tune with my cycle, as well as in high-stress times, I do break out. Typically on my chin, around my mouth and, occasionally, elsewhere. Using these products calmed my skin and stopped my breakouts. They arrived, but they were minimal and went away quickly instead of blossoming into painful, red, irritating blemishes. I am keeping this trio handy so that anytime I hit that part of my cycle I am good to go!

NEW!  Namaste Kitten Clarifying Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil Cleanser

Namaste Kitten Cleanser $19

This cleanser is awesome. I can honestly say that this cleanser makes my skin feel more clean than any other cleanser I can remember. Plus, it’s fun to use! When you use it you should wet your hands, put a dab on them and rub it around to fluff it up!

NEW! Yoga Kitten Balancing Heartleaf Clay Mask

Yoga Kitten Mask $23

This mask is AMAZING. I honestly cannot stop touching my face after I’ve used it! It’s so, so soft and smooth!

NEW! Juicy Kitten Purifying Power-Green Serum

Juicy Kitten Serum $25

This serum smells amazing, and it feels incredible on my skin. It absorbs beautifully as well, and doesn’t leave a sticky residue behind.

I Dew Care is currently one of my favorite brands. Their uplifting, light approach to skincare is bright and fun, but they don’t sacrifice quality or performance for that cuteness. Don’t let the adorable packaging fool you, I Dew Care is bringing it. Their pricing is fair, and it’s honestly a brand I love using and have recommended highly to my friends. If you are looking for great skincare without a hefty price tag, give them a try. I think you’ll love them as much as I do.

Why FabFitFun Is The Best Subscription Box Out There

FabFitFun is a quarterly subscription box service. They deliver a box to your home once every 3 months, for Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. The also have Editor Boxes. These boxes are available if you join in between the seasonal boxes. The are comprised of the favorite items of, you guessed it, the Editors. Members are able to purchase these boxes in addition to the seasonal boxes if they wish. However, you aren’t required to.

Fabfitfun has a wide range of items in their boxes. You can get jewelry, wraps, scarves, socks, makeup, haircare, skincare, tech items, fitness items, and so much more. Every box I’ve received has been worth over $300. (Each box costs $49). Some of the items are a surprise, but some you are able to choose. If you are a select annual member (meaning you pay for the year upfront) you will get to choose more of what is in your box. You also get priority shipping. Contrary to what people think, this is NOT more expensive than paying quarterly. As a matter of fact, it’s a little cheaper as when my bill comes it’s $180, which means that each of my boxes are $45.

FabFitFun also has an Add-On sale at the beginning of each season, where they offer products at up to 70% off of their retail value. They also have Edit Sales, in conjunction with the release of the Editor Boxes, that do the same thing. Again, you aren’t required to purchase anything at the sales, they are just available to you if you want to shop them.

I love FabFitFun’s boxes, of course, and I’ve found so many of my new favorite products this way. However, there’s a lot more to it than just the boxes. FFF has a community page on their website where members can go to talk. It’s called the Community Forum. They talk about FFF, of course, but they also use the community to find support, talk about problems, trade items, and make friends. The discussions are so wonderful, and it makes me so happy to see strangers coming together the way they do in the community. There’s even a group who does a Christmas in July gift exchange. There’s so much to be found there, and it’s completely free when you join FabFitFun. I’m also currently in a Book Club and a Cooking Club through the Forum!

In addition, FabFitFun has a TON of workout videos available to its members, again, completely free with your membership. They also send out newsletters with helpful tips, healthy recipes, and fun information. They have other videos as well for cooking and a range of informative things!

I actually love FabFitFun so much that I became an affiliate. We say #fabfitfunpartner. Which just means that I have a link to use to sign up (and I do earn a small commission on sales). I’ll post it below if you are interested in joining. I’ve taken several pictures of the actual boxes I’ve received as well, so I’ll post those here too. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, as I’m happy to help!

FabFitFun is more than a subscription box service to me. It’s inspired me to live a more happy and healthy life. It’s motivated me to connect with people all over North America, and it’s helped me find some incredible products that I’d probably never have found otherwise.

Get yours here and receive 20% off your first box using the code WOOHOO
(This is my personal referral link.)

RIght now the current box is the SPRING 2020 box. Here are the items I received in my Spring 2020 box!

If you want more than one item in each category, you are able to purchase additional items. The cost varies in each category, and typically it’s $15 for higher-priced items, $10 for mid-priced, and $7 for lesser priced items! During this sale I chose to add a mystery item as well as a set of tea towels to my box!

Here’s my personal referral link! Get yours here and receive 20% off your first box using the code WOOHOO and join today!

Sites You Have to Visit in Canada’s Capital!

Image Credit: Pixabay

Personally, I’ve never been to Ottawa, Canada. But I understand it to be an incredible city with tons of beauty and culture. If you want to visit there, here are some things to know!

Ottawa stands as the capital of Canada, making it an important part of Canada’s politics, history, and culture. Due to its importance, many important sites have popped up in the city, sites that tourists and residents can both enjoy. Some of these sites are important political and historical sites, while others simply provide entertainment or something more. If you ever find yourself in Ottawa, you absolutely have to visit the city’s best sites. So what are the top things to visit in Canada’s capital? Here are the sites you have to visit in Ottawa. 

Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill is the seat of the Canadian government, making it one of the most important buildings in the entire country. The building is much like the U.S Capitol Building in Washington D.C in this regard. However, Parliament Hill has many other things going for it as well. The area constantly has events going on, most of which are open to the public. This includes seasonal events like Christmas Lights Across Canada, an event that sees the area bathed in beautiful seasonal lights. Even if you don’t come at a specific time of the year, the building still hosts daily events. This includes the Changing of the Guard Ceremony in the day and the Sound and Lights Show at night. Both display important parts of Canada’s history and culture. When combined with Parliament Hill’s political importance, this makes the site a must-visit for all tourists. 

Rideau Canal

When in Ottawa, it’s hard not to notice the Rideau Canal. The waterway connects the city with the massive Lake Ontario. It was originally constructed as an emergency route in case the U.S ever invaded Canada, but is now primarily used for pleasure. Small boats can sail up and down the river, making it the perfect way to spend a sunny day on the water. In the winter, the waterway freezes and becomes a large ice rink for skaters to enjoy. Even if the water and ice aren’t for you, just walking by the canal and seeing all of the different sights can be a great way to spend your day.

ByWard Market

ByWard Market is a retail and entertainment district that tourists will love to shop in. If you’re someone who loves to shop and splurge, then this is the perfect location for you. Merchants, farmers, and vendors bring their goods and wares here to sell to the public. In addition, you can find some of the city’s best coffee shops, restaurants, and bars in the area. One could make an entire day out of simply browsing the wares of vendors and enjoying the cuisine the market has to offer. If that’s not enough, the ByWard Market is host to a wide variety of festivals and events, allowing you to have some great experiences. 

Fairmont Chateau Laurier

If you need a place to stay, the iconic Chateau Laurier is a great way to combine history with functionality. Even though it is a hotel, the Chateau Laurier is a designated National Historic Site of Canada. It’s not very often where one can reside in a historical site, but this hotel offers precisely that opportunity. The hotel was constructed in 1912, making it well over a hundred years old. However, don’t fret about whether the hotel is out of date, as it has exchanged hands several times and has received multiple renovations. This allows the location to be the perfect combination of history and practicality. If you’re not looking for Ottawa homes for sale and are simply looking for temporary residence while you visit the city, then you can’t go wrong with this hotel. 

Getting Through The Holiday Season After A Loss

You may have noticed that I haven’t written in awhile, and there’s a really good reason for that. At the beginning of November, my mother died. Technically she was my stepmother, my mom died when I was 5, but she’s been my mom since I was 8, and I’m 42 now. Our relationship was complicated, and the blow I suffered at her loss was surprising and profound.

She had a heart attack at the beginning of November. The day after Halloween, actually. Halloween was the last time I saw her. Her heart attack was major and the doctors did everything they could, including placing her in a medically induced coma in order to try to lessen brain damage. We were by her bedside for an entire week before we finally had to say goodbye. She never woke up.

There are a lot of things I could say about that, what it was like to go through that, but right now I wanted to try to give some advice on what helped me get through the holidays, in case anyone else out there is looking for help. Because right after we lost her we had to get through both of my sons birthday parties (they turned 4 and 6), Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve. For me, these were especially difficult, not only because of the typical reasons, but because of our relationship, the holidays were the best times I spent with her, and because of her crippling anxiety, they were some of the only times I spent with her.

My first piece of advice for you in getting through it is to lean on others. The day after her heart attack my dad insisted I still have my 4-year-old’s birthday party. I’ll be honest, I don’t really remember it. I was still in shock I think, but my dad said that she wouldn’t have wanted us to postpone, that our lives couldn’t go on hold. So we moved forward. New friends and old friends of ours were there. They brought the food, they put up the decorations, and they made sure that his birthday was super fun for him. I wasn’t capable at the time of organizing anything (very unlike me), so I let go and let others handle it for me. That was the best thing for me at the time, and it all worked out.

I have a therapist and I talk to her about once a month. I have anxiety and I find it helps to have those discussions to maintain good mental health for me. Getting into therapy is my next piece of advice. Even if you don’t know what good it could do, you need to understand that navigating grief can be tricky. It’s not just a set group of steps you complete. It has ups, downs and sideways’. It comes and then it goes and then it comes back again. If you don’t want regular therapy, you can look for a group that focuses on grief. Oftentimes they are little to no cost as well.

My husband gave me my third piece of advice for you. Normally I am crazy for Christmas. Typically the day after Halloween I’m ready to decorate, and it takes everything I have to wait until after Thanksgiving. But this time, there was nothing where that feeling usually was. No excitement, no happiness, and as my therapist stated, no joy. And she was right. The thing that was missing was my joy. I told my husband that I didn’t feel like myself. That I was trying everything I could think of (watching my favorite holiday movies, staying after church to help decorate the sanctuary, listening to Christmas music) but nothing was working. That feeling just wouldn’t click. My husband said, “Forget about the click. Just keep going through the motions.” And he was right. That was what I needed to do. Once again, the world couldn’t stop. I still needed to create Christmas for my children. And so I did.

My therapist’s advice? Don’t overdo it. She advised that I do as much or as little as I felt like. She told me not to put too much pressure on myself. That the joy was missing, and that it was normal. So don’t push yourself. I would say I put up a little over two thirds of what I normally would do for Christmas. This year I didn’t put up our Christmas village, the tree in our front room (we still had another tree up in the living room), nor did I decorate the staircase. When I felt like I didn’t want to do anymore, I stopped. Because not only was I missing my joy, but I was tired. Grieving is hard work and it’s exhausting. And I allowed myself to just have a break.

Another thing that helped me was switching things up. Every year after my kids open their presents, my parents and my brother would come over and we’d open more gifts. I couldn’t stand the thought of her not being there, so this year we had Christmas in our family room instead. And instead of everyone going to my Grandfather’s house (her dad), they all came to our house. Changing things up a little took the edge off of her not being there. It wasn’t the same situation where her loss would have been so profound. It was a different situation and that lessened the blow for us.

My final piece of advice it to just feel it. Don’t try to push it down or ignore it. If you need to cry, do it. If you don’t feel like doing something, don’t. But be very careful that you don’t shut down. Depression can be a quick follow up when we are grieving, and it can be very easy to let it pull you down. You don’t have to force anything, but you can’t let it bury you. The important thing is that you realize that life goes on and as it goes on the grief will subside. It will become less heavy. It will come less often. So in the meantime, don’t let it suffocate you. Keep getting up, facing your day, and getting through it. Don’t worry about the click. Just keep going through the motions. And eventually, you will come out the other side.

Five Interesting Facts About Ohio!

I’ve lived in Ohio my entire life. I love it here. I love the people, the seasons, and the weather. There’s so much to do in Ohio, and there are some incredibly beautiful landscapes to see. I love living here, and thought it might be fun to share some interesting facts about my state!

Ohio is definitely a state worth visiting. Planning a vacation there will be a treat you’ll remember. There are so many fun and different things to do; it’s no wonder that people who visit sometimes wind up staying. The state truly has something for everyone, whether you are into the outdoors, history, or even culinary delights.  

You can have the convenience of city life while paying the real estate prices of the county. Just take a look at some of these Cincinnati houses for sale that may inspire you to make Ohio your new home. If you still need convincing, check out these five interesting facts about Ohio.

Mother of Presidents

Ohio is the birthplace of seven US presidents so far. Eight if you include William Henry Harrison.  Although Harrison was born in Virginia, he lived most of his life in Ohio. And two of the presidents, Ulysses S Grant and William McKinley, are on US currency.  

Longaberger Basket

One of the craziest tourist attractions is visiting the Longaberger Basket Headquarters. While this doesn’t seem like a crazy place to visit, the seven-story building is built to look like a basket, complete with handles.  If you are visiting Ohio, you must make time to check out the “Big Basket” as the locals call it. There are even tours that you can take of this wacky building. 

Wall of Gum

Another weird thing that Ohio has to offer is the Wall of Gum. This is located outside the Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop in Greenville and has been around since 1934. Tradition is that you stick your gum on the brick wall of the building before eating. This has been going on forever and is a famous attraction. Bonus is the Maid-Rite has an excellent burger and other delicious options that have made it a favorite among locals for over 60 years. Make sure to check it out and bring a pack of gum!


Ohio is known as the Buckeye State. Ohio has a considerable population of Buckeye trees in the Ohio Valley. The buckeye tree produces nuts that look like the eye of a deer, hence the name. Locals believe that carrying a buckeye in your pocket will bring you good fortune. And of course, locals cheer for their Ohio State Buckeyes!

Birthplace of Rock and Roll

Rock and Roll did begin in Cleveland, Ohio in 1952. DJ Alan Freed was the first DJ to promote a rock show that took place at the Cleveland Arena. That’s why it was a natural choice for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. This museum is so big you can make a whole day or two out of it. You can even check out a live show if you are lucky enough to visit during these individual performances. If you have never visited this museum, you should put it on your destination wish list. There are tons of cool themed restaurants and hotels located right around the area that you can check out.

These are only a few of the incredible things that Ohio has to offer. If you are ever in the area, or there is something happening here that you are interested in seeing, I highly recommend a visit! I think you’ll find the state to be beautiful, the people to be friendly, and you’ll find that there is so much to see and do!