The history behind the Claddagh ring is so incredibly sweet. Nestled in a love story, the Irish ring today still symbolizes love – but also friendship and loyalty. If you look at the ring you will see the heart in the center – representing love, while the hands represent friendship and the crown stands for loyalty. The Irish Jewelry Company offers this beautiful piece in Sterling Silver and an array of birthstones for you to choose from!
I happen to be part Irish, but you don’t have to be in order to love and wear the ring! My husband grew up in a primarily Italian area, and when I received my ring from The Irish Jewelry Company he told me about many of the girls he knew when he lived there wearing Claddagh rings. Some wore them as a sign that they were “taken” but many also wore them for friendship! The Irish Claddagh Ring can be a symbol of love or friendship. It can be purchased as a gift, or for yourself! Here are a couple of pictures of me wearing my ring. One up-close shot, and one from a YouTube video I made where I happened to have it on.
I love this ring. It’s incredibly lovely, as well as special because it houses my birthstone and it represents my Irish heritage. It’s extremely comfortable to wear and the cut of the stone is super sparkly! Visit The Irish Jewelry Store today and look at their beautiful jewelry! They feature the Claddagh ring but have so many gorgeous Irish and Celtic jewelry pieces that you’re certain to find something you love!
My stepmother and I had a complicated relationship. This was mostly due to her mental illnesses, the worst of which was her crippling anxiety. Because of that, we had a lot of discontent in our family. It’s hard in the moments to know how to handle things sometimes. Mental illness causes so many hurdles and problems for the people around us in addition to ourselves. I know this first hand since I, too, suffer from anxiety and OCD. Luckily I have recently found a medication that has helped immensely. My stepmom never got that lucky. It wasn’t for lack of trying, believe me. She tried every medication they suggested, tried every self-help book and article’s advice. Nothing helped. When her anxiety wasn’t at it’s worst, usually in the evenings, she would come up with fun things she wanted to do, ideas she wanted to try, and goals she hoped to accomplish. But come morning, the anxiety would come back, rendering her incapable.
A lot of that I didn’t know. When she was alive I only saw the frustration that she caused us. I was crippled by the abuse she inflicted on me, and my brother, in our childhood. In adulthood I didn’t know if she was trying hard enough to push past her anxiety. I didn’t understand why she was so controlling of every aspect of everything. I knew she had anxiety but I didn’t really understand how hers was different from mine. A year and a half ago, she died. She was young, only 61, and she had a sudden heart attack. It was a shock to everyone, and in the moments, and days, leading up to her death, I prayed that she would live. I hoped that maybe she would get a reset. I hoped that, while in a medically induced coma, her brain would rewire and she would wake up without that part of her. Maybe she would get another chance – we all would. But she never woke up.
The loss hit me harder than I could have ever imagined, and I realized I was grieving for many, many things. One of them being that we never had the relationship that we both wanted. Another being that she didn’t get to live the life that she had always wanted. And by talking more with my father, by going through her things, I got to know her in death, feel closer to her and more understanding of her, better than I could in life. I consider this a huge blessing and I have faith and hope that she knows it. I hope she has heard me and seen me and knows that I love her, and that I learned to understand her. Finally.
Her anxiety led to a lot of things, and one of them was the beginning signs of hoarding – which is a facet of mental illness. She would purchase things in hopes of one day using them, but never did. When she died my dad asked me to go through the things she had placed in my old bedroom. Bags of brand new items, just sitting there in their bags, with their original receipts, unused. Clothing, home decor items, sunglasses, even presents for my children. Things she bought for the future she hoped for – the one she never got. We donated a lot of the items, some we gave to family members and close friends, but some we kept. Some of them I kept, to have a connection to her I suppose. But also so that they would be used. Be cherished. She bought these things because she loved them but she saved them. She set them aside to use for a day that never came.
Just the other day I was telling my husband that I wanted to get new silverware. We have had ours for many, many years. We didn’t get any because he didn’t want to spend the money when the silverware we have works just fine, albeit a little bent and scratched. Yesterday my dad stopped by and dropped off a huge set of silverware – 80 pieces. It includes serving sets and desert forks, and it’s truly lovely. Brand-new and still in the box. She had bought it to use one day. A few Christmases ago I bought her a gorgeous silverware box to put her new silverware in. It was something she said she wanted and must have purchased the silverware around that time. When my dad dropped off the silverware he also dropped off that box – and once again I was thrown into that feeling of missing her. And of feeling so sad that she never got to do all of the things that she wanted to. To never use all of the beautiful things that she bought.
So I got our “nice” silverware set and brought it into the kitchen to use as our “new” everyday set. And her lovely set is out of it’s packaging and in the wooden box I bought for her years ago. It will be in our dining room and we will use it, each time in remembrance of her. In addition to learning more about her and coming to a better understanding of her, I have been able to forgive her. And with that, I have the relationship, and love for her, that we couldn’t get to while she was here. I continue to grieve and have cried while writing this – but I do so with less regret and more compassion. She always loved my writing and was so proud of me when I started this blog. I hope that wherever she is she will see this and know how I feel. And that I am cherishing her things like she never could. And every time I use that silverware, look at that box, wear her sunglasses, or let my eyes fall upon some of the decorative items my dad has dropped off over time, I’ll think of her. And I’ll remember not to wait for the right time to use something or to do something. I’ll do it now. I think that’s how she’d tell me to live. I love you Mom. And I miss you. So many of us do.
Our Place is one of my favorite brands – their company is a small business that gives back to the community. Their products are created with the best quality and are customizable to suit your kitchen decor! I’m sure you’ve heard of their Always Pan – but in addition to that and many other incredible products, they’ve added knives and a gorgeous cutting board! They recently sent both to me and I want to share them with you now! I will also be sharing a video so you can see them as I unbox them, as well as a code to get 10% off your entire order!
The beautiful cutting board is made from walnut and doubles as a serving board and/or charcuterie board. It has a juice trench to keep juices from leaving the board, and the black walnut is so pretty I want to keep it on display in my kitchen!
There are three different knives currently in the collection: The Precise Paring Knife, Everyday Chef’s Knife and Serrated Slicing Knife. What’s extra exciting about the knives is that you can choose the color of the handle! They are currently available in Steam, Char, Blue Salt and Spice. My collection pictured here is in Steam.
The knives are made with a patent-pending handle for the perfect grip and the blades are made from premium German stainless steel. (They each also come with their own storage sheath). Here are the additional colors they are available in, so you can match them with your Always Pan or to your kitchen design!
I’ll place a link here for you to order and if you use the code MEGANG10 you will get $10 off your order! If you plan to get all three knives, then search the site for the bundle. You will save an additional $25 that way, along with the $10 from my code! https://www.pntrac.com/t/2-443206-183572-217808
Here is the video of my unboxing of the products. Let me know on YouTube if you have any questions!
I have 4 beautiful, incredible children. Each one is so unique and brings me so much joy and happiness. There is a 15-year age gap between my oldest and the next one. For a long time I didn’t know if I’d ever have another baby, and then the next three came, every two years, until we decided our family was complete. Our daughter, our youngest, was adopted, but only 8 days old when she came home to us. I was always very careful to pay attention to the end of something. After reading a post about never knowing when it would be the last time you would pick your child up, or nurse them, or lay them in their crib because they grow so quickly, I made sure I paid close attention and marked each occasion in my mind. I couldn’t stand the thought of never knowing it would be the last time. So today, when I realized a milestone had happened without me noticing, it caught my attention and has me thinking. I realized that we no longer need the staple that has been by my side for the last seven years: the diaper bag.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us are pretty choosy when it comes to the diaper bag. After all, it will be with us pretty much ALL of the time if we aren’t at home. For me, I wanted something stylish and timeless, that I’d be able to use for years. I chose one from https://kalencombaby.com/ – Kalencom is a company based out of New Orleans, LA – the city my granddaddy hailed from and one that’s close to my heart. My husband and I Honeymooned there and so, when I saw the bag I loved and where it was from, I knew that was the one. The bag I chose was this one, and it lasted this whole time:
I thought it would be perfect for a boy or girl, and the quality was there. So for 7 years, through 3 babies, this was the diaper bag. It made every single trip with us. It was there for the zoos and the hotels and the car rides. The shopping trips, the holidays and the fun adventures. It carried the supplies for my three youngest babies. And then, apparently, without me even noticing – it became obsolete.
I suppose 2020 could be partly to blame. We didn’t really go anywhere over the last year, and during that time our youngest turned 3. Now she’s almost 4. As I said, I was always very careful in marking milestones. In making sure I didn’t miss a thing. It was important to me. I guess it’s not a big deal to a lot of people, but my babies didn’t come easily – so I wanted to make sure every moment was cherished and acknowledged.
Today, when I was cleaning some things out of the back of the minivan, I went to move the diaper bag back into it’s usual resting place, in the back, behind my son’s seat. And that’s when it hit me – I didn’t need it anymore. I stood there for a moment wondering when I had even used it last and I couldn’t recall. My daughter has mostly potty-trained and only wears a diaper at night now. Gone are the needs for having diapers nearby or a change of clothes. The need for Curad to soothe a diaper rash or nursing pads or bottles. The security of having a pacifier, rattle or teether nearby. Those days are over. I felt a funny pull of sadness when I went through the bag. Not much remained inside, but there was a tube of ointment for rashes, a far-too-small diaper, and even a baby spoon. I tossed the baby spoons long ago, so seeing that bright little plastic thing kind of got to me. There was also a bib inside, and a small toy dinosaur.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want another baby. I’m well into my 40’s and, as I said earlier, I truly felt a completeness the day we brought our daughter home. The past few years have been a wild ride – full of fun and laughter and love. And believe it or not, I don’t miss having a baby. I said to my husband, just the other day, that I’d been changing diapers for seven years straight. Seven years! And I am ready to be done. I look forward to my daughter finishing out her potty-training and moving on from that phase of my life. And I wouldn’t want to go back to the nighttime feedings and the no sleep and the constant attention that they needed. But for the first time in awhile, I suddenly missed it.
I realized that, while I’ve been careful to cherish the moments, it won’t be possible to catch them all. Because I can’t always know when it will be the last time. Even with very careful watch and planning. Because they truly do grow up so very fast. And because, like all things in life, I don’t have complete control. It was a nice reminder to me of a time that, while not long ago, is definitely over. And that hurt, just a little bit. Because while I’m proud of how well they are doing and how much they are learning and how big they are getting, they will, in so many ways, always be those tiny babies that I worked so hard to bring into our world. That I held and fed in the quiet of the night. That I love so incredibly deeply, beyond measure. And realizing that that part of my life, of Motherhood, is over, feels a little sad.
I cleaned the diaper bag out and I added it to the pile in the back of the van that’s going to be donated, along with the clothes my daughter has outgrown. It feels odd to have such an attachment to objects, doesn’t it? To touch and see them and be taken right back to another time? I love the magic of that. And I loved that diaper bag. I’ll try to pay a little bit more attention from now on, so maybe I won’t miss the next one. But who knows? These kids keep me pretty busy.
You won’t be surprised to read the next few paragraphs if you know how much I love Our Place! I’ve stated these facts before, but here they are again if you haven’t seen them yet! There’s a lot to love about Our Place’s products. They recently sent me their newest Always Pan, and here’s why you will want one too!
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.
I have several Our Place products in my kitchen. But my absolute favorite product is their Always Pan. Here are some of the specs on it!
Exclusive non toxic, nonstick ceramic coating made without potentially toxic materials like PFOAs, PTFEs, other PFAs, lead, cadmium, toxic metals, and nanoparticles.
Nesting beechwood spatula with integrated spoon rest
Custom stainless steel steamer basket
Sturdy aluminum body for fast, even heat
Lightweight construction (3lb body)
A modular lid to let off steam when you want to and lock it in when you don’t
Pour spouts, because nobody likes a mess
Dishwasher safe (please hand wash your spatula)
Compatible with all cooktops
10” diameter, 2.7” depth, 2.6qt capacity
Photos by Our Place, shown here in ‘Spice’
While it states that it is dishwasher safe, I’ve always just washed mine by hand. It literally takes 2 minutes – everything comes right off, I’ve never had to scrub at it or soak it. The pan is available in Spice (pictured above), and the following colors as well:
Our Place states that you can replace your fry pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest with the Always Pan. I can tell you with complete honesty that this is my all-time most preferred pan, and the one I reach for every time I’m going to cook! I’ve had it for 7 months now and it’s my absolute favorite. And launching TODAY, Our Place has added this BEAUTIFUL Lavender color as well!! It’s available starting today, and if this is the one you want, I’d order it. The new colors tend to sell out quickly when they are released.
You can use the Always Pan to braise, sear, steam, strain, saute, fry, boil, serve and store. What I love most about it, aside from the fact that nothing sticks to it, is that the sides are so high. It’s replaced my need for my skillets! I only keep them around in case I need to cook more than one thing at a time. It’s also SUPER light, which is great for my arthritis. In addition, they look GORGEOUS hanging in my kitchen!
I recently wrote a blog about some films that I enjoyed more than the books they were based on. I think typically we tend to enjoy the book more than the film, but not always. And the three I discussed in that blog far surpassed the story in the book for me. But that’s not typically the case. Today I was thinking about a particular book and it’s film and it inspired me to write this blog. These have been around quite awhile, so not new information, but they were three easy examples for me to write about. As usual, I will try to give my opinions without giving anything away about either story so as not to ruin them for you if you’d like to go back and visit them.
The first is one of the first Stephen King novels I ever read. This was probably over 20 years ago. As you can see, my copy has some wear and tear. This is a fairly scary story, and one that I recall being a page-turner. I read it fairly quickly and really loved it. So when the movie came out I was really excited to see how it translated. I really loved the interpretation of The Stand – but if I recall correctly, that movie is 6 hours long. It’s not easy to get one of King’s books to translate well because the things he puts into your head are far more horrifying than I think can be brought to life at times. Not only that, but his stories are incredibly lengthy sometimes, and it’s tough to get all of that information into a movie. Even knowing all of that, however, and not expecting a miracle, I was sorely disappointed in the movie. I just didn’t feel it was that well done, and it didn’t do the novel – or its characters – any justice.
I love Toni Morrison’s books. No one writes like her and her stories truly take you on a journey. I cried reading Beloved – I was so moved by the characters and the hearbreak. The fear and the uncertainty. This novel moved me so much that even now, over 20 years after reading it, I think about it from time to time. I only read it once. I don’t think I could take reading it a second time. I keep it in my library at home though. It’s one of the most moving things I’ve ever read. So when I learned a film was coming out, I was beyond excited. Hearing that Oprah would be in it made it all the more exciting. At the time, I loved Oprah. We went to see it in the theater. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations. It’s not that it’s a bad film. But as you often see in interpretations, things get lost. The film isn’t bad, but the book is so, so much better. The emotions and experiences are easier to absorb when you read Morrison’s words – with this one something is definitely lost in translation.
Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark
Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark is 100% one of my all-time favorite books. It is truly horrifying. The stories are terrifying and the illustrations are so disturbing that more recent publications feature newer, less unsettling imagery. Apparently someone decided it was too scary for its intended audience – children. I read it when I was in 4th grade. I couldn’t ever remember seeing anything like it. I wasn’t like most kids though. I was a fan of horror films and looked everywhere for scary books too. This one blew my expectations out of the water. Years ago my brother bought me this one, with all of books in one. Luckily he got his hands on it before they changed the illustrations. Our favorite part. So you can probably imagine how excited we were when we learned that a film was in the works. We were curious how the would take a bunch of short stories and poems and turn them into a movie. Well, it turns out, they didn’t. They chose a few of them and built a story around a group of kids. I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to give anything away. The movie just came out in 2019 and my brother and I went to the theater to see it. We were definitely not disappointed. It is a well-done film. The acting is good and it’s just scary enough. I even let my kids watch it at home, on DVD. But there is no possible way to truly capture the horror of those original stories and illustrations. I just don’t think it’s even possible. In this case, I did like the movie. Enough to go and buy it even though I’d already seen it, and I’ve watched a few times. Of the three discussed, this is the one film that, while it didn’t live up to the book, it definitely didn’t disappoint. In fact, a second movie is in the works with the same writers and director signing on and I absolutely can’t wait to see it!
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 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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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 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.
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.