The beauty of Less Stuff

A new year usually brings some resolutions for most of us.  Aside from the obvious of wanting be more healthy or more active, we also look for ways for our lives to be easier.

We feel the need to organize and declutter our belongings.  We go through items and decide whether we have used them over the course of the last year and then decide if we will use them in the future.  We rationalize the items we want to keep that hold sentimental value or that we hold onto ‘just in case’.  Not that this process isn’t helpful; many of us find it necessary to feel more clear and able to move onto the next year with a clean slate.

The problem is that we make room by getting rid of stuff, only to fill it with more stuff.  It is different stuff, but stuff nonetheless.

So what if we didn’t replace the items with other items?  What would happen to us?  Would we feel like we were lacking something?  or…would we feel like we were freer?

In the past I have tried to stick to the rule of  ‘if I buy something, something else has to go”  If I bought a new sweater (well…used more like), then I would have to give away a sweater I hadn’t worn in a while.  This kept the growth of stuff to a nil.  However, this year I am going to try to learn to live without the replacements as well.  If I get rid of a sweater, there will be no need to get another sweater for example.  The purchases will only be necessity based.

Using this logic, I am assuming, I have mostly what I need (aside from food obviously), so I will check in on occasion and let you know how I am doing with this.  The goal in this little experiment is to acknowledge that we have way more than we need.  The result I hope is that without replacing items I give away or purge from my home, that the temptation or ‘need’ to replace will wain.  With that, less stuff happens.



Lady Bird Review~Spoilers!

There are spoilers…so if you haven’t seen Lady Bird, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

For a date night this weekend, we saw the movie, Lady Bird , and although I hate to sound like every other review, it really was as good as they say.

AND…if you are of a certain vintage or you have seen Pretty in Pink  you may agree with my assessment that Lady Bird is a beautiful rebirth of this classic.

For the purpose of this review, I am assuming you have seen the 1986, John Hughes classic about Andy (Molly Ringwald), who is a beautifully unique girl facing her final year of high school and the need, or want to fit in.

I came away with some similarities between the two story lines.  I am NOT saying there is any plagiarism here, nor am I dismissing the talented Greta Gerwig’s writing or her directorial debut. If anything, Gerwig has made her Pretty in Pink more complex and dives deeper into the intertwining relationships we have throughout our lives.

So I hope you enjoy these few examples of each film that compliment each other allowing us to enjoy both equally.

  1. Mother figure. Although Andy’s character doesn’t have a mother figure present, we get glimpses of the challenging relationship she has with a woman who chose to leave her and Andy’s father.  We see Andy in many situations where her mother would have been the person she would be turning to for guidance, and she is literally unavailable to do so.   In Lady Bird, Christine (Lady Bird) and her mother have a troubled relationship, which is the main focus of the story.  Her mother is emotionally unavailable for her and there would be scenes throughout the movie where Lady Bird would turn to her and she would show no support.  Both characters have a deep love for their mothers but also need to grow to understand why they are the way they are.
  2. Father Figure. Andy, in Pretty in Pink, has a wonderful relationship with her father.  She has become more of a parent to him when his wife leaves and Andy is left to help pull him out of a deep depression.  He is her emotional support even though he is an emotional wreck himself.  He is lacking in drive for himself to be able fulfill his dreams but believes wholeheartedly in his daughter and he is  her biggest cheerleader.  Lady Bird’s dad is similar.  His career did not go the way he had hoped over the years and subsequently loses his job late in his working life.  He is left depressed and feeling hopeless while his wife works double shifts to keep their modest home running.  He is the heart of the home, like Andy’s dad, and Lady Bird knows that he is her ally.  He believes in her and understands her need to explore the world, perhaps fulfilling his need to explore that never was realized.
  3. The best friend.  Both movies have the unwavering best friend, who by association doesn’t make them cool in the eyes of the cool people at school.  Duckie, Andy’s best friend is a unique individual who can’t help but be himself, which is completely different from most at school.  Andy and Duckie make fun of the ‘preppy’ kids who have money and are more popular but would love to be in their shoes for just one day.   Lady Bird’s best friend is Julie.  Julie, like Duckie, also is unapologetically herself.  Her and Lady Bird dream of the living in the ‘rich’ area of their home town.  Julie has been there for Lady Bird and likewise, through their childhood and now, as they enter adulthood.  They know things will change after they graduate but their bond will not be severed because of what the future may hold.  Together they have made their way through a difficult childhood and a not so popular time in high school.
  4. The ‘cool’ guy aka ‘the wedge’.  The bonds between Andy and Duckie are tested as is the relationship between Lady Bird and Julie when the cool, popular guy shows some attention.  Andy struggles between her loyalty to Duckie and her feelings for Blaine, the preppy, rich guy that finds her intriguing.  She finds herself having to chose and also feels that she is never going to be good enough for Blaine because of where she lives.  She is embarrassed by where she lives and the state of her home, much like Lady Bird, who lies to Kyle, one of the cool, rich guys, that she ends up crushing on.  She lies to the rich, cool group just for fear that they will not like her if they knew where she lived.   For both Lady Bird and Andy, their best friends are left out in the cold for the brief moment of being one of the popular kids.  Duckie and Julie are forced to watch their best friends from the side lines as they forge new friendships with people they never liked before.  Ultimately, they are both let down by the guys they fall for when the differences in their social status are bigger than they can deal with.  Andy, however, will find that Blaine may just be one of the good guys when he redeems himself at the end (an ending I was truly never happy with).
  5. The Dress.  Prom night means getting a great dress.  For Andy, it means creating something from bought second-hand, as she had done for most of her wardrobe.  She creates an original dress that, of course, is pink.  Her father is in awe of her talent and beauty the night of prom.  Even though her relationship with Blaine seems to have imploded at that point and her friendship with Duckie seems to be in disrepair, she goes alone to the prom.  Duckie, the loyal friend, is there to walk her into the prom as they had walked through their childhoods together.  Lady Bird also has prom to deal with. She and her mother buy a second had dress that her mother alters to be more ‘prom like’. Lady Bird’s family is stunned by how beautiful she looks, even her mother and normally ambivalent brother. Lady Bird gets picked up by Kyle even though at that point they would have broken up when she finds out just what he was really like.  Kyle and his friends decide they are too cool to go to prom so she asks to be dropped off at Julie’s house.  She finds Julie at home alone the night of the prom and their relationship rekindles when Lady Bird helps her get ready.  They walk into prom and at each other’s sides, just as they had been throughout their lives so far.

So, I leave you with this….watch both….notice the similarities…notice the differences…and you will love both.  Yes, one is 30 years old now, and sure, some things are dated, but Pretty in Pink lead the way for movies of its kind.  Lady Bird has taken the reigns and amplified it up to 11. (again, you will get this if you are a certain vintage).  Thank you Greta Gerwig for giving us a beautifully done movie that has reminded me of another film that I hold close to my heart.

Here is the trailer for Lady Bird, in case you haven’t seen it. (Although you shouldn’t have read this if you haven’t)


Wordless Wednesday

Hey guys!

If you follow us on Insta, you may have seen some wordy stuff the last few days that we hope you have enjoyed.  Today, I bring you Wordless Wednesday.

This is a collaboration of visual and audio art.  The visual artist is Rachel Berriman

Rachel is a Concordia graduate from Montreal, Canada.  The audio art comes to you from Connor Jessome, a graduate of McGill and York Universities.  They have blended their talents to give you a soothing and mystical experience that we hope you enjoy.

To see and hear the whole collaboration,  please click here on link.

A visual taste is below…:)  (for some technical reason I couldn’t get the audio and visual to work on here)

Please feel free to share.


Daily Prompt: Relocate

It has been a while since I participated in the Daily Prompt but this one I felt was one that stood out to me and I felt compelled to write!  Which, I guess is the whole idea of the Daily Prompt!

Relocating can bring about so many contrasting feelings.

Excitement about the unknown and new adventure that you are embarking on.

Sadness that you are leaving what and who you know and maybe love.

Anticipation of what is to come in your new surroundings.

Anxiety about the future and what it holds for you.

We have relocated a couple of times over the years.  We stayed within our own country, so the familiarity of our surroundings were slightly different but nevertheless, it was not home.

Some places grew to feel ‘home like’ and we even think we would have been quite happy had we stayed.  Work transfers brought us back home to Hamilton again and out and back a few times after that but we always made our way back to Hamilton.

The last time we returned, we knew we would stay put.  Our kids were of the age where they were forging new friendships and were all in school and we didn’t feel right about upsetting that balance in their lives.  Little did we know, that coming back home again would mean so much to us.

We grew a new love and appreciation for our home town (well technically my home town but my husband’s long time home).

As much as relocating is a great way to experience life outside your comfort zone and learn new surroundings, to know there always a place that you hold in your heart as home is a very special thing to have.  We were lucky to be able to come back to ours and share it with our family.

I would like to share with you a poem I wrote a while back after returning home to Hamilton.

Home to Hamilton.

The rusting carcasses of the steel mills where the sweat of the iron workers ran like the rushing waterfalls of the city, line the shores.

The north end neighbourhoods emerge out of the wasteland to expose their colourful, vibrant selves alive with the generations that call it home.

In the East, development spreads like wild fire; closer and closer to the vineyards of Niagara. What was once a village has blossomed to encompass all levels of our region.

Escarpment divides and unites at the same time.

The landscape has been altered. Where there were farms, we now have homes.  Where there were fields, we now have stores.  Where there were trees, we now have roads.

We question if the metamorphosis was necessary, yet we are drawn there with no remorse.

To the West, where entrance was once exclusive, now embraces all cultures, ethnicity and ages to its mature tree lined streets.

Trails run through the city’s weakened wilderness.  They are arteries that lead to the heart of the city.

Downtown. Avoided by some, cherished by others.

At the water’s edge, the sailboats’ rigging clangs against the masts.
The breezes blow into the open doors of the galleries guiding the lovers of art.
The smells of the multi cultural cooking fills the air.
The flow of people lead to the park in the core where those who want to be themselves can.

The vast contrast of steel mills and waterfalls, of industry and art, of academia and labour blend to become our home.


via Daily Prompt: Relocate

Giving Tuesday

You all know Black Friday….Cyber Monday…..but here is a day that we can all benefit from and get behind…

Giving Tuesday!

I just wanted to highlight a couple that are close to our hearts here at Crave…


Ladybird Animal Sanctuary

Ladybird Animal Sanctuary’s Mission:

Ladybird Animal Sanctuary is a unified voice for abandoned, abused and neglected animals in our community. Together, through a system of volunteers, foster homes, educators, animal lovers and exceptionally generous people, we aim to eliminate the unnecessary suffering of domestic animals in our local high­-kill shelters. Ladybird rescues cats, dogs, small animals and even farm animals­ and we never shy away from rescuing senior animals, those with costly medical issues and the so­-called ‘hard to adopt’. Through our success stories, we know that every life is worth saving and that a loving home is just around the corner for these deserving creatures.

Based out of Hamilton, Ontario, there is no “physical” sanctuary but they rely on many volunteers to foster these animals.  They also rely on donations to be able to pay for veterinary bills, food, and many other costs that are associated with rescuing the animals from high kill shelters.


Ladybird Animal Sanctuary has many ways you can give today; from monthly donations to super cute gift ideas for the holidays.   Please click on the link ‘Ladybird‘  to help sustain this much needed effort in the Hamilton area.

We would be remiss if we didn’t include one of our favourite places on Earth…Piebird Farm Sanctuary 

Piebird Farm Sanctuary

From its beginnings in 2005, Sherry and Yan have built a safe haven and loving home for many animals that were sure to face a life of misery and eventual certain death.  Over the last 12 years, not only have they resurrected a beautiful farm house into a Bed and Breakfast, they have built an amazing cottage for guests to stay.  The animal friends along with Sherry and Yan, are the ultimate hosts at this peaceful setting.  Home to goats, chickens, roosters, turkeys, ducks, bees and kitties, this piece of paradise shows just how these animals are meant to live their lives.

To keep this wonderful place going, please consider donating by clicking the link, ‘Piebird‘  There is also an online store if you are looking for some super gift giving ideas. Just click on ‘Shop‘  OR…how about a destination gift for someone…or yourself?  Booking is easy online for a stay at the B&B or cottage.

These are just a couple of places we wanted to share for Giving Tuesday.  We know there are many, many more charities that are helping people in need as well as other animal charities.  We hope you find one that speaks to you and if these do, that is awesome!

Happy Giving Tuesday!!!

A Gen X’rs look at Minimalism


Minimalism isn’t just for Millennials anymore.

Nor is it for their (most) parents, the Baby Boomers (they get everything). The funny thing is that even though these two generations probably don’t see eye to eye on a number of issues – and Yes, I am generalizing, I know – they have both embraced Minimalism for many of the same reasons.

It just makes sense.

Less stuff = More life

Minimalism, or at least the new trending hashtag of Minimalism, was propelled out of necessity from a generation that was finding the ever increasing costs of housing, food, and transportation were not matching their starting salaries after graduating from University, especially if they are laden with student debt. Upon finding this ‘less is more’ way of living, and Instagramming this way of living, the retirement approaching Baby Boomers started to realize that this new approach may be exactly what they need in their lives.

Now, I am stating the obvious when I say that the Baby Boomers who have embraced Minimalism probably are still in much better financial shape than the Millennials who found themselves as minimalists by necessity. The generation who lead the exodus to the suburbs and the 4 bedroom house with double garage are now sitting in their 2500 square foot homes as empty nesters and wondering what their retirement years will look like. (Again, I am generalizing) By living as minimalists, they can live with less stuff in smaller apartments or condos in order to afford to travel and check off their bucket lists.

But what about the Gen X’rs?

Those of us born between 1965-1984 are still very much in the middle of their working lives. Since the youngest of this group are still in their early 30’s, they may just have finished their education or are just starting out with families of their own. The older X’rs probably still have children in school, living at home and are still a good 10-15 years away from retirement.

How can minimalism work for Gen Xr’s?

As a Gen X’r with three kids, all of whom are now living out of our home, as of this year. We are parents of a university student and one who has completed (at least for now) university and one who is following a passion for art and working full time. We are very new to the this empty nest, although, truth be told, the door tends to be a revolving one for a few years before they actually leave, and we are more than ok with that.

Generation X by name, is sort of this lost generation, heck, we don’t even have a cool name to put to us. The generation is between “go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, buy a house, work for 30 years and retire” and “I want to find my passion and live it. All we have is today”. Believe me, it is a confusing place to be. We are often caught between two different lives we ‘think’ we should be living. If we compromise with either view, we are letting ourselves down and inevitably we are letting down others who are counting on us. The chronic sense of disappointment to those who ‘wanted more’ for us and those who think ‘we deserve more’ leaves us in limbo; unable to act for fear of making the wrong choice.

Here is where I think Minimalism can help us out.

  1. Begin by doing a regular rotation of ‘if one things comes in, one goes out’. We have tried this and it works really well. If we are in need of a new article of clothing in particular, we only replace, and not add to the the wardrobe we have. This allows us to be more choosy with our purchases and also to look at what we have and eliminate the things we are not using. By doing this, we can keep hold on storage that is necessary. We don’t need the extra bin or closet because we are still keeping the same amount of items in total.
  2. If you have kids, re-use items as the child grows out of them. I think this pretty much goes without saying. There are plenty of items that kids just don’t wear out. They grow out of clothing and shoes and sporting goods way faster than they wear them out. So use them for the next child in line. When you get to the end, if they are still in working condition, there are definitely places to donate gently used items.
  3. Buy used if you can. Why we have the need to buy everything brand new, pay full retail (or even sale price) is absurd. Just like the previous recommendation, there are people who have donated items to local vintage or resale stores that are in perfect condition. This not only saves you money, but also teaches your kids that brand new is not always necessary.
  4. The bigger house is not always necessary. This one may rub people the wrong way. What I mean by this is that as soon as we have our first child, then maybe start planning for the next, we think we have to have 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. We have this misconception that we have to have closets as big as some bedrooms are and ensuite bathrooms with a shower big enough for a party of 5. I am not begrudging anyone for wanting to purchase a bigger home for whatever reason they have, but this purchase is one that ends up giving people the most stress. The way I see it is that while the kids are small (0-6) they are basically in the same room you are most of the time. When they are 6-16, they may want some of their own space, which may constitute a room for them to hang out in. Then from 16 and up they are usually in and out of the house, and eventually leaving to go to college or university or work. Some move out when they go to school at 18 and never move back. So if you look at the time line, they are really only in need of their ‘own’ space for about 10 years. Take my word for it, the 10 years goes by fast. I guess what I am trying to point out here is that if the purchase of ‘too much’ house will cause you stress or require you to spend more time away from it to pay for it, then maybe it is just ‘too much’ house. Find one that fits you because when your kids leave, the echo is deafening.
  5. Your kids don’t want you crap…or your parents’ crap. This sound callous, I know. I am sure there will be things that I leave to our kids that they will cherish. There are things I have from my own parents that I cherish and couldn’t imagine getting rid of, but the china, crystal, knick knacks, silver serving pieces, and costume jewelry are literally collecting dust. I ended up with my Grandmother’s china and crystal and my Mother’s silver serving set. I also inherited a set of blue collectable plates that hung in my Mom’s kitchen. After years of storing them in a cupboard and moving them each time we moved, I decided to wash them and use them as daily dishes. They are completely mismatched but now they are in regular rotation in our daily dishes. The china and crystal gets used whenever we have a family dinner and yes, it gets washed in the dishwasher. The silver is in a box. Still. The thing to remember is that they are things. Things don’t hold the memories we associate with them, the memories are in us. Sure, there are always going to be items we just can’t part with, but if we were to use the money we spent on these things for experiences with the people we are leaving them to, they would be able to carry that memory forever.

I am not a person who tells people how to live their lives. I don’t begrudge anyone who wants the newest iPhone or the expensive pair of shoes. If those items are bringing them joy, without causing them stress later, then who am I to judge how someone spends their money.

The path of Minimalism is a very personal one. We need to use the tools that work for us in our own lives.  Minimalism for a Gen X’r may look completely different than for the Baby Boomer or Millennial, but by adopting some of the tools for Minimalism while still in our working lives, we may find that we gain something we can’t buy…time. The more effective we are in living a meaningful life and using our free time to engage in that life, the time we spend and the time we have becomes more valuable.

Instead of living to pay for things we may only use for a short time, look at the time it will take away from living to pay for them.

As a Generation X’r, we find ourselves in a unique place in history. We may be stuck between two diverse generations, but it may be us that leads the way to a happier, less stress filled future.

The Tragically Hip-A Thank You

As many of you know, or at least those of you from Canada, the day we knew was coming finally made its unwanted appearance this past Wednesday.
Gord Downie; singer, activist, poet, Canadian in every sense of his being, passed away from terminal brain cancer.

I hesitated re-blogging this post from 2016 and I was going to write a new post just to say good bye, but as I read through it again, I realized that as we watched those final concerts back in the summer of 2016, we all said our collective good byes. We knew we would never meet the same way again. We just hoped that some day we wouldn’t have to know it was so final.

I take this time then to say thank you to Gord and his brilliant, yet ironically, fragile brain. Thank you to his band mates for sharing him with us. Thank you to his family and close friends for giving us this time to say good bye.


As a Canadian, we have things here we hold dear. Tim Horton’s. Hockey. Healthcare. Tragically Hip.  If you’ve grown up here, or have moved here, even if you don’t listen to their music, The Tragically Hip have created what would be categorized as Canadian Rock for 30 years.  When I say Canadian Rock, in no way do they compare to Nickelback, so don’t go there.  For those from the US and other countries, you probably know some of our other well known bands like The Guess Who and Rush.  Although lyrically they have Canadian-ness about them, there is just no comparison to the poetry of Gord Downie, The Hip’s front man using that metric.

I write this with the assumption that those who will read this may not be from Canada and may not be familiar with The Tragically Hip.  For those who don’t know, we, as a country…

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Empowerment through Empathy~Me Too

The ‘Me Too’ campaign is nothing new.  It was started over 10 years ago by Tarana Burke, founder of Just Be Inc. which is a grass roots movement out of Philadelphia that focuses on the health and well being for women of colour.  The ‘Me Too’ campaign began as a way to help survivors of sexual assault .  The ‘Me Too’ campaign was started to allow those who were victimized know that they were not alone and had support from others who had the same experiences.

It was important for me to preface this post by making that clear.  This is not a campaign started by Hollywood.  This is not a campaign started by young, white actresses to bring attention to a long time creep of a producer.  This was started for women of colour to know that they are not alone.  This campaign was started by survivors to help other survivors.

From what I have read over the last few days, Ms. Burke was given kudos for starting it, but I will guarantee most people think it is was started by Hollywood.  She has been asked about the trending hashtag and has responded that  “It made my heart swell to see women using this idea – one that we call ‘empowerment through empathy’”  

The ‘Me Too’ hashtag has taken over social media over the last few days in light of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.  Women (and some men) from all over the world are including themselves as part of this movement by tagging their social media sites with this hashtag.  In order to bring attention to how wide spread the problem of sexual harassment and abuse is all over the world and in all walks of life, the ‘Me Too’ campaign allows for those who may not have spoken out before, to have a voice.  This collective voice will hopefully reach out to those who may have crossed lines in their own lives and give them a chance to reflect and change their behaviour.

I have read many stories posted by friends and strangers regarding their own experiences.  I have seen responses showing support from men and other women.  I don’t know the numbers, but this hashtag is everywhere you look.

The popularity of this hashtag is sad on many fronts.

Most of us didn’t know anything about this campaign until it was brought to us by Hollywood.  The fact that this campaign was started 10 years ago to bring empathy and support to women of colour and is trending now that Hollywood has taken hold of it, is just a glimpse of a bigger issue.

Why wasn’t this campaign viral when Hollywood wasn’t involved?

Why does it take a popular white actress to make this a movement?

These questions make us (and by us, I mean white women) uncomfortable.  We know why.  We were incapable of showing the support when we thought is wasn’t about us.

Now, I know this campaign is serving a greater good.  I am not dissing on the campaign as it is being used now.  Like I said, the popularity of this hashtag is sad on many fronts.

The fact that we (all women) have been lead to believe that we should put up with, feel guilty about, and ignore verbal or physical harassment or abuse is deplorable.  We have been told that ‘boys will be boys’ for too long.

Men need to be told that there is no tolerance for this type of behaviour.

Boys need to be educated on what is acceptable and what is not.

Girls need to be told that they will be believed.

The campaign began by Tarana Burke over a decade ago is about ‘empowerment through empathy‘ If we truly believe in this model and we are posting ‘Me Too’ to our own social media accounts, let us all really understand that statement and use it everyday.

The ‘Me Too’ hashtag is not meant to be a fading trend.  If you really believe in the intention, then live it.   Empathy means to be able to feel what someone else is going through; to feel what they are feeling.

If we have any chance of the ‘Me Too’ campaign making a long lasting difference, we need to embrace and remember its initial intention.  Then, and only then will we be able to make the changes necessary to make sure there are no more victims.

So instead of posting my own ‘Me Too’ experiences, which I had initially planned on doing, I will say ‘Me Too’ with the intention of empowering through empathy.  I will use this as opportunity to listen and feel.  I will use this opportunity to look beyond my own experiences and reach out to others who are struggling with their own.

To Tarana Burke, you are the backbone of this movement and for everyone who is taking part, and for this we are grateful.



A Geek’s Guide to Running

The world of a runner is strange to some. We have weird and wonderful quirks that we seem to grow proportionally to how many years we run.

I have been a runner for 28 years. So that tells you just how long the list of quirks are for me.

Recently, I was asked to run a ‘Learn to Run’ clinic. The program is to take 8 weeks and end up with the ‘students’ to go from newbie to be able to run/walk 5 kilometres. I decided to use a run/walk combo as to lessen the occurrence of injuries. Although I don’t use this method myself when running, I still adhere to taking the walk breaks when you need them; I just don’t time them.  Bottom line; if you need a walk break, take one.  There is a danger is taking too long of a walk break or too slow of a break so just make sure you get the feet moving again quickly.

I wanted to put together a few things I have come to realize over the years. Call them tips or rules or 12 useless ideas about running, but the reality is that most of us will just be recreational runners. We are not looking for any record setting PB’s here. We are looking for a way to stay healthy and enjoy an activity that can bring thousands of people together or where you can enjoy your solitude.


Here are my 12 guidelines for the running geek in you:

  1. Just run. I know that sounds so simple, but that is all there is to it. If you feel like running 1 kilometre or 10 or 20, you are still a runner.
  2. A 10 minute mile is the same distance as a 5 minute mile. Ok, I stole that one but I believe it. It isn’t the time (ok sometimes it is, but most of the time it isn’t) that is important. The distance. The distance. The distance.
  3. Watch The Barkley Marathons at least once in your life. I am not even going to go into why, just do it and you’ll figure out why when you watch. Then you’ll probably want to watch it again.
  4. Shoes matter. They do. Sorry but you cannot go cheap here. You can cheap out on all the fancy running gear like fancy jackets, pants and fuel belts, but you can’t cheap out on your shoes. Your joints will thank you 10 years from now.
  5. Yes, you can run in the winter. Sure, there are days that are not conducive to speed, and there may be days that it is not a good idea because of icy conditions, but the cold is not a reason to not get out. Layer up and get outside. Your mind and body will thank you immediately following that run.
  6. Trails are amazing. If you can get into the trails, give them a try. The soft cushion of the trails are great for your joints and not to mention the rolling hills are great for conditioning. Just realize that you will definitely be slower when running in the trails if you are timing yourself.
  7. Take pictures. Ok this may sound weird but I have been able to get some great photos (on my phone) during a run. The sunset. The lake. A flower. Seriously stop and not only smell the roses, but take photos of them too.
  8. If you are out for a run and someone is running towards you who is also out for a run, a simple wave, peace sign, or nod is imperative. If they don’t reciprocate, that’s on them.
  9. Sign up for a race. I know this may seem daunting, especially if you are a beginner, but the experience is worth it. Maybe start by just going to watch a race. Check out the diversity of people that are running. You will be amazed just standing at a finish line of a 10km (or marathon) and see people that are Just Like You. Most people are NOT elite athletes. It is amazing to watch them too but you will never be more inspired than when you watch the mid to back of the pack finishers.
  10. You are not a jogger.  Please don’t let anyone tell you that.  If you are running, you’re a runner.  I honestly have no idea what a jogger is so please don’t use that language with me.
  11. Get a running buddy.  Yes, there are times when the solitude of running is exactly what I need, but my running partner (shout out to Rayanne!) and I have been running for probably 12-15 years and I can honestly say she has kept me going all these years.  We have ran, talked, laughed and raced together.  The friendship of a running partner is unique in that you truly see each other at your best and worst. I am very lucky to have one of the best around.  And NO, you can’t have her.
  12. Finally, the most important thing to remember is if you do a race, never, ever wear the race shirt the day of the race. You earn the shirt once you have completed the race. You can wear a shirt from a previous race, if you finished it. But not until the race is done, the race shirt stays in the kit.

After 28 years of running many kilometres, I may find my legs are moving a little slower these days, the joints hurt a little more when I get up, but the mind still wants to get out and run.  As long as the body is willing to join in, I will be logging the miles.

Monday Product Review!

Bent Outta Shape!  by Lala Soap Company

So I though we could review a few products for you guys.

We are always on the hunt for some new and natural products and when we find some, it is always nice to share with our readers!

The Lala Soap Company is a local (Southern Ontario) company that makes, not only beautiful soaps that are all natural and never tested on animals, but make an awesome product called Bent Outta Shape roll on oil.

I was turned onto this while teaching Yoga one day at Bend Yoga Studios in Dundas, where they carry a number of other products along with this one.  I have a some swelling occasionally with my right knee and usually go the ice, rest, compression route for treating it.  I saw the Bent Outta Shape roll on oil and smelled the tester and it was delicious!  I gave it a try before my class.

The mix of essential oils like Arnica, St. John’s Work, peppermint, rosemary and camphor are combined to not only smell amazing but by the time my class ended, my swelling was gone.  No joke.

The Lala Soap Company has many more products that I know I am going to be trying out. In fact, next week I will review the Flower Power Soap that I picked up this week.

It is always great to support a company that works to make all natural products that work so well.  They do have online purchasing available too if you’re not so local!

So stay tuned for next week and I’ll let you know what I think of the Flower Power Soap…I have a feeling I’m going to love it. 🙂


Home to Hamilton~

Hope you all enjoyed a super long weekend! 

Where ever you may reside and call home, July is now upon us!

Maybe it signals summer…or winter if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere!  

Here in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, we are just past our Canada Day long weekend and into the heart of our summer season.

Val and her family are enjoying a well deserved trip to the East Coast to visit friends and family there.

We stayed local this weekend and took in some sights at the Hamilton Harbour.

The Tall Ships were in port!

We went down to take a look and they were some beautiful vessels!  If they dock near your home town some time, it is well worth the trip to take a look.



For those who don’t know where Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is; we are about an hour from Toronto. I have lived here for most of my life, with the exception of a couple of years and shortly after moving back for the final time, I realized how much I cherished this city.

The city has changed and is changing, as I pondered in my post, Local(s) Extinction.  

I wrote this short prose soon after moving back and read it recently.  There is still much that stands true today and although there is seems to be a surge in our population growth here, the bones of our city remain made of steel.

I am happy to share this with you.  Hope you enjoy it.

Home to Hamilton.

The rusting carcasses of the steel mills where the sweat of the iron workers ran like the rushing waterfalls of the city, line the shores.

The north end neighbourhoods emerge out of the wasteland to expose their colourful, vibrant selves alive with the generations that call it home.

In the East, development spreads like wild fire; closer and closer to the vineyards of Niagara. What was once a village has blossomed to encompass all levels of our region.

Escarpment divides and unites at the same time.

The landscape has been altered. Where there were farms, we now have homes.  Where there were fields, we now have stores.  Where there were trees, we now have roads.

We question if the metamorphosis was necessary, yet we are drawn there with no remorse.

To the West, where entrance was once exclusive, now embraces all cultures, ethnicity and ages to its mature tree lined streets.

Trails run through the city’s weakened wilderness.  They are arteries that lead to the heart of the city.

Downtown. Avoided by some, cherished by others.

At the water’s edge, the sailboats’ rigging clangs against the masts.
The breezes blow into the open doors of the galleries guiding the lovers of art.
The smells of the multi cultural cooking fills the air.
The flow of people lead to the park in the core where those who want to be themselves can.

The vast contrast of steel mills and waterfalls, of industry and art, of academia and labour blend to become our home.

What is living “Intentionally”?

To live ‘Intentionally’.  What does that mean exactly?

There are so many buzz words in our culture these days.

Intentional living.



Conscious living.

We have all heard them and maybe even used them on occasion. But what are we saying.

About this time last year, I was turned onto The Minimalists and their pod casts and documentary, Minimalism.  It came to me a perfect time in our lives as our kids are in various stages and some have left the house and some have come back!  I wrote about this in a blog post, Abundance.  We have come a long way since sorting through things that we had collected along the way and have scaled our ‘things’ back substantially.

To live with Intention isn’t about depriving ourselves of things we enjoy or not buying anything.  I think it is easy to get into an almost manic state if we believe that if still have ‘stuff’ that we are living frivolously or not minimally or not intentionally.  

After all, what do we do with the things we want to keep?

There will be inevitably things we just plain want.  They may not seem important to someone else, but they hold value to us.  They may be things we use on a sporadic basis or just hold some sentimental purpose that we can’t imagine our life being without.  I think that rooting through the sentimental items is by far the hardest test to date for me. I have things that were my parents’ as well as things connected to the kids from over the years.  Minimalism and the Sentimental Mind post outlines my struggle with this exercise and how I made/making peace with letting go of some things.

Intentional Living to me means that I will choose what comes into my life while being fully conscious of what that item means to me or its usefulness.

To live intentionally is NOT about deprivation; it is consciously choosing what you bring into your life. 

The world we live in and have for many decades now has prided itself on a ‘winner takes all’ attitude.  We hold those up on pedestals who can buy whatever they want and have all the latest toys we wish we could have.  We spend our lives paying for things to fill our lives and think this is bringing us ‘happiness’.  This illusion of happiness is short lived when the next ‘thing’ we need is shown to us.  The cycle of buying, paying, and working for these things soon becomes what our life is about.

By purchasing things consciously and with the intention and the thought that we should be giving to them, more often than not we find that there were things we thought we needed but realize we don’t.

I have always been a fan of Yvon Chouinard , founder of Patagonia.  He brings the idea of “The more you know, the less you need” to his own life and to his corporate culture.  He stresses, not only in his personal life, but within his company, that we need not have the newest and latest and greatest of things as our culture leads us to believe.  We think these things bring us joy, but in reality, they demand payment, not only with currency but with our time.  Time is the one thing that equalizes us with everyone else.  No one person has more than 24 hours in a day.  How much is your time worth?  Time that is for friends, family, adventure, living, and yourself.

So as we set off at the beginning of another summer, we do so with purpose of filling our lives with memories and experiences rather than things that will be forgotten.  That to me, is intentional living.

What does Living Intentionally mean to you?



Dillon’s Distillery Tour!

Val and Nicole on adventure!

To the land where the Gin flows like wine….

We are so fortunate to live some where there is so much to do.  Seriously.  We go in one direction for 45 minutes and we are in Toronto, which has so much to do that I can’t possibly list them all.  We go in the other direction 40 minutes and we hit the wine country of the Niagara Region.

Well the wine region just got a new addition!  

Dillon’s Distillery

Dillon’s is a small batch distillery nestled smack dab in the middle of wine country.  Started by Geoff and Peter Dillon, father and son, as well as Gary Huggins, only a short time ago, Dillon’s has quickly gained a name as a Gin artisan.

The choice to build the distillery in Niagara Region was because of the proximity to fresh local fruit available and also the craft culture of the local wineries that have made the Niagara Region home for generations.

Val and I had both ‘sampled’ their Unfiltered 22 and also the Rose Gin before and decided to make a trip out to the distillery, where staff happily takes you on a tour of the facility.  The staff is very knowledgeable about their products and the processes so go ahead and ask the questions!

After the tour, you are able to do a tasting of some of their products, which don’t just include Gin anymore.  This is the really fun part!

Dillon’s makes a nice variety of spirits to sample.



  • Dry Gin 7
  • Unfiltered Gin 22
  • Rose Gin
  • Cherry Gin
  • Strawberry Gin

OMG…the Rose and Cherry Gin was amazing!  We bought a bottle of the Unfiltered Gin22 (named as such for the 22 botanticals that are infused to the gin) and a bottle of the Cherry for a gift.  We tasted the Cherry and it is delightful!


  • Rye Whiskey
  • White Rye

Other spirits:

  • Method 95 (Vodka)
  • Limoncello – also delish and not as sweet as some others
  • Absinthe – Hello! This is insane.  It is 67% alcohol so you actually HAVE to mix a splash of water with it in order to express the oils that give it the delicious licorice flavour.
  • Orangecello – Didn’t get an opportunity to try this one but sounds amazing.

So, if you’re in the area or looking for a little escape to the Niagara Region, don’t forget to stop in to Dillon’s for a tour (although best to call ahead to see about times).  Well worth the trip and a great side trip for the summer of 2017!

Barrel room
Big Carl

A Fond Farewell~Westdale Theatre

“Of all the arts, movies are the most powerful aid to empathy, and good ones make us into better people.”
― Roger Ebert

Last night we said good bye to a dear old friend.  Well, actually a few old friends, but one old girl in particular that we will hold close to our heart for all time.

We said good bye to Westdale Theatre as we know and love it. She was purchased recently by the Westdale Cinema Group, whose hope it is to give her a face lift and breathe new life into her bones.

The day the theatre was listed for sale, after operating since 1935, our city was at risk of losing its last operating movie theatre of its kind.  One by one, over the years, the theatres of our youth, and my parents’ youth have closed and turned into other businesses or torn down completely.  The chance that this gem would turn into a restaurant or retail outlet or worse, bull-dozed, was enough to make us feel sick at the very thought.

As thankful as we are for the new life she will see, and the fact that she will still be showing some great independent films in her next life, we are faced with saying good bye to her past in order to say hello to her future.

This wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

The Westdale Theatre is in walking distance of our home.  We have enjoyed movies there for about 20 years; ever since we moved into the area.  Showing mostly independent films, we were exposed to so many that we would not have known about if it hadn’t been for the theatre screening them.  Checking to see the latest screen offerings for the week is  a ritual that will be missed.  Sometimes, well, most times, we didn’t even know what the movie was about, we would just pick a night and go see it.  More often than not, we would walk home from the theatre flooded with a gamete of emotions.  The films we viewed there moved us, elated us, saddened us, and got us talking.

I like to think that the impact these movies had on us, wasn’t just from the films themselves, but because of where we were when we saw them.

We saw two movies this last week.  Maudie, with Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, which was a sweet, heartwarming movie about Maude Lewis, the folk artist from Nova Scotia, and Le Havre, a French film from 2011, for the final film of the Westdale Theatre’s life this time around.  At first I wondered why Le Havre was picked as their final film, and for whatever the real reason is, I like to think it encompassed all of what we loved about the Westdale Theatre.  It was quirky, weird, independent and made you smile.  Exactly how you would describe the old girl.

So they say change is inevitable.  They also say change is good. I am hopeful the new keepers of this somewhat sacred place will not venture too far from her purpose as a place to screen movies to those who love independent film.

To the Theatre, you are forever etched into our memories as one of our most cherished places in Hamilton.  Thank you for showing us life in so many different genres.

I would be horribly remiss if I didn’t say how incredibly thankful we are for the staff that kept the old girl going all these years.  We will truly miss you all and wish all staff, past and present, a wonderful future.

I’ve shared a few pics from our last emotion filled evening at the Westdale Theatre.

Local(s) Extinction

Whoa…that’s a heady title..

I know this may not fall in the realm of ‘Crave-Life’ and what we normally post, but I felt the need to share my thoughts on something that is happening in my city.

I live in Hamilton, Ontario.  For most of our readers, they may not be familiar where it is.  Hamilton is about a 45 minute drive to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which mostly everyone reading has heard of in some context.  You may have family there.  You may be a sports fan and know of our Jays, Raptors, or Leafs.  You may have visited or may be some of our Canadian readers who know and love or loathe Toronto.  😉

I like Toronto…or the Six…or T-Dot (that one ages me).  But what ever you call it, I do enjoy Toronto.  I enjoy visiting and going to events like concerts or sporting events there.  I even like to go for dinner.

Hamilton was put on the map from its history as a steel producer.  Steel City.  The Hammer.  Those are just a couple of the nick names it was labelled with over the years.  I know there are few others that are more insulting but I won’t validate those by posting them.

I love my city and I wouldn’t do that to it.

Born and raised here, myself,  in the Hammer, save a couple of years of moving for work, we chose to raise our kids here.  I won’t go into a “why Hamilton is a great place to raise a family” rant so don’t click away yet.  There are enough of those articles around if you want to read them.

My city is changing and I am torn about this change.

As much as I want to be happy, I feel this angst welling up in me that wants to say “put on the brakes!” as we are careening towards the guard rail and off the escarpment.

I love to see people enjoying our city…finally.  For years we were the butt of many a joke.  We were seen as the smelly kid in the class that no one wants to invite to their birthday party.

Not now.

Now we are the preppy new kid that both boys and girls are vying for their affections.

We see you batting your eyes at us wanting us to pay attention to you now. You want us to invite you to the prom, don’t you?  We are eating at the popular kids table, and we are loving it.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy about this.

I would also be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about this.

As an admitted chronic worrier, add this to the list of many.

I worry that we will be unrecognizable one day, like the girl you called plain in high school that shows up at the 10 year reunion with a killer body and hair extensions.

I worry that our beloved locals who have called Hamilton home for generations through the neglect will be pushed out;  the locals that lived where no one else wanted, the locals that know their neighbours and knew their neighbour’s parents, the locals that kept neighbourhood businesses going for decades.

They will pay the price for this ‘progress’

Are we ok with this?

I honestly don’t know if I am.  Like I said, I am torn.

On one hand, with this progress comes a renewed sense of Hamilton pride, which is at an all time high.  People don’t wince when you tell them where you are from. (and believe me, they used to).  Many Torontonians are exploring Hamilton and some relocating to Hamilton because of the obscene price of real estate in Toronto.  We welcome you with open arms, truly.

On the other hand, the increase in our real estate here, mirroring Toronto’s, is pushing people out of homes where they built their lives. Some businesses are finding rent unaffordable as landlords find themselves in the driver’s seat, able to ask an ever-expanding increase in their monthly rental fees.

Perhaps this is naive of me to suggest that we owe it to the legacy locals to ensure they can continue to call Hamilton home.  It is their genuine love for the city and perseverance that gave Hamilton the confidence to undergo this transformation.  They were the ones living here, working here, and fighting for improvements long before the Tapas bars and Wine Lounges were lining the streets.

I recognize the complexity of this situation we find ourselves, with no simples answers to appease everyone.

My hope for my city is that as we emerge out of the rust, we ensure those who kept its heart beating can still call Hamilton home.

We owe them that.

I would normally apologize for the heady post, but I would be lying if I said I was sorry.

I leave you with a short poem that ended up with this post being written.


Rusty steel mills transforming,

Turning into Tapas bars and Wine Lounges

Encouraging the money to visit,

Leaving behind the legacy locals

To scurry from the rising condos.


I better get back to baking!