Mike and I purchased our home over two years ago now, and it has been a work in progress ever since. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this place, and will continue to forever. Everyone tells you that when you buy a house, the work never ends…and it’s true. However, the way I see it is that the more work you put into it, the more memories you make, the more proud you are to call your place home, and the more your house truly becomes a home.
Perspective is a really funny thing, especially when it comes to everyday life. The world we live in is big, beautiful, and has so much to offer. We are all truly lucky to be here. I, for one, am insanely thankful for the opportunity to be living on this earth surrounded by some pretty spectacular human beings. I would definitely say that I am a glass half full person most of the time, however, I haven’t always been, and it has taken me a while to get to the place where I am now. Life isn’t always easy, especially for some, but it is perspective that will always bring you happiness at the end of the day.
I’ve always been the kind of person who likes everything, or at least likes to try everything. I’ve never been a picky eater, and I’ve always pretty much eaten everything that’s been put on my plate. I grew up dancing as my primary source of physical activity, but I love yoga, cycling, running and the list goes on. I love getting my hands dirty working on home renovations, but I also love planning events with fancy details. I’m a huge fan of hiking and being in the country, but I also adore the city life and one of my all time favourite travel destinations is New York City. Most people would think that it’s great to be well rounded, and it’s nice to like a lot of different things, however, in my experience it’s proven to be a little challenging at times as well.
As the big 3-0 lurks around the corner, I am starting to notice those lifestyle changes I never thought I would. I used to poke fun at my parents for staying in to watch TV instead of meeting up with friends for dinner, but now I totally get it. Weekends went from sleeping in and casually making your way to brunch with your girl friends, to waking up super early with your mind speed cycling through your long list of chores. Weekdays are like marathons where you get up early to hit the gym, speed home after work to walk the pooch and toss supper on the table, possibly throw in a load of laundry, just to end up passing out halfway through some new show you’re trying to watch. Thankfully a lot of my friends are going through these changes at the exact same time. Slowly but surely all of my best gal pals are buying houses, getting married, and introducing the clan to their new mini-me’s. It’s all amazing and oh so exciting, but adjusting to the longer periods of time in between get together’s, and how most conversations now start with “I miss you” has been especially tough for me. As our lives get more and more full with responsibilities, it leaves less time for those long amazing coffee dates, and weekends away with our most favourite friends.
All that said, I am so grateful for the time we all do spend together, and the amazing new experiences we have as young adults! Instead of week night dinners out, we have epic cottage weekends as a huge group, big backyard summer BBQ’s, and amazing dinners/game nights at rotating homes. Although it’s not as frequent, or as intimate it’s still wonderful to see those faces I know and love so much. Lucky for me, I have a husband who also values time well spent with our friends, and is always making time to plan our next big cottage weekend or games night!
It is definitely hard to come to the realization that we are all getting older, and that our priorities are shifting from fun to finances, face-to-face time to literal FaceTime, and fancy nights out to family nights in. I am the first to admit that I don’t adjust to change particularly well, and that every “i miss you” text breaks my heart over and over, but I certainly find comfort in the fact that this almost 30 year old is in good company. Everyone in my circle speaks of the same changes, and although some adjust better than others, we are all going through it together. As adulthood continues to creep its way in, I realize more and more how fortunate I am to have such an amazing group of friends. Jobs may take them to new cities, new additions may occupy their days, life’s everyday challenges may get in the way here and there, but despite all the changes and new priorities we all continue to express our importance in each others lives in new and different ways. Regardless of our new found busyness, it’s important to sometimes slow down, and realize that less is truly more. Those seemingly infrequent moments together should be cherished, and fondly remembered for years to come. After all, true friends are those that make it seem as though time stands still when you’re with them. Each time you meet feels as though no time has passed at all, and you pick up seamlessly, exactly where you left off.
Sending all my love to my friends near, and far who are truly more like family. I love all of you from the bottom of my heart.
For some reason, this year`s pre-Christmas hustle is seemingly more exhausting than years past and it`s not just me feeling this way! Originally I thought, well it`s probably just post wedding blahs, or maybe all of the hospital visits to see my grandpa, but I have come to realize that this is definitely not the case. It seems like everyone around me has the same response to the daily question “how are you today?” and that answer is almost always “I am exhausted”.
It seems to me that although our days as adults are more scheduled and routine than our teenage years, we are increasingly more exhausted, and feel totally overwhelmed trying to fit in any extras. You would think that only having one steady job versus 2 fast paced part time gigs, and full time schooling would be less tiresome, but sadly it isn’t. Between the daily commuting to and from our 9-5’s, cooking, chores, errands, and appointments there is hardly any time left for ourselves. Now this paired with the time change/nighttime blackout starting at 5:00 pm, everyone and their dog is feeling bogged down and sluggish.
Lately, I have been finding this particularly hard because one of the big ticket items I set aside for my day-to-day hustle is exercise. I used to be incredibly active…I was a competitive dancer from age 4 to 17, and I continued to use the gym throughout university. Although less vigorous after my dancing days, I remained pretty routinely active up until the last year or so. I love running and yoga, but finding the time and motivation has been increasingly more difficult. A short jog with Emma here and there, or a casual hot yoga class every few months is not enough for me, so I have decided to make some changes in hopes of boosting my energy, and ridding my permanent case of the Monday’s.
Last week my mom and I tried our first aquafit class, and it was all sorts of awesome! Despite originally dragging her to the class, she ended up loving it, and even asked if we were going again this week! Obviously the answer was “Heck YES!” My mom hilariously pointed out that I was a tad younger than the rest of the class. She thought this would be a big negative in that the workout wouldn’t be challenging for me, but she couldn’t have been more wrong. The cool thing about aquafit is that is it as easy or as hard as you make it. By the end of our 45 minute class I was feeling my abs not only from the workout, but also from laughing so hard at how ridiculous my mom and I looked struggling to keep up with the others!
Along with weekly aquafit, I’ve decided to commit to the gym, and follow a fitness plan I’ve attempted in the past. The workouts are only 28 minutes long, 3 times a week, but apparently that’s all you need! They are exhausting but truly amazing, and I am super excited to get back at it. Although the motivation will be hard initially, I am determined to get into a healthy routine again! Plus, on the bright side, a good friend of mine living in Toronto is also participating, so we can keep each other motivated by checking in via text!
If you’d like to check it out, the fitness guides can be found here!
You’re certainly not alone if you’ve been feeling a little demotivated lately, so now is the time to break the regular routine and spice things up a little. Whether it’s a new exercise regime, or plainly setting aside some “you time”, hopefully it will add a little kick in your step and happiness to your week.
Here are a few photos from this past summer when I was able to take full advantage of my grandma’s awesome backyard to squeeze in a few 28 minute workouts. Hoping these photos will jump start my enthusiasm for getting back into shape and feeling energized again!
For as long as I can remember my weekends have always been jam packed full of activities. It would be a rare occurrence to find me curled up on the couch in front of the TV for hours, and when I met Mike my action packed weekends went from busy to bananas. Errands, major house renos, outdoor activities, hosting suppers, family visits, getaway weekends, wedding planning (for us and others), etc…you name it; our weekends were packed from morning to night. Go figure; I married a person with the same “ants in your pants” lifestyle as my own.
While on our honeymoon, Mike and I spent many evenings chatting about how excited we were to come home, and veg for a little while. We both seemed to forget about having similar discussions in the past related to adopting a more “relaxed” lifestyle, and then failing miserably to pull it off every time. Nevertheless, this didn’t stop us from dreaming about weekends at home with our meatball, enjoying long walks at the park, and spending our evenings cozied up by the fireplace watching our favourite shows.
Upon pulling up to the house, and dragging our luggage into the garage, these dreams very quickly came crashing down, as we found out my grandpa had fallen that morning, and was rushed to the hospital with a broken hip. It was a hard smack back to reality, but we were both so thankful to be home to help out. The whole family piled together to co-ordinate visits, as well as lend my grandma an extra hand around the house. To be expected, things were absolutely crazy (especially in the beginning). However, to my surprise, this whole misfortune actually forced us to slow down a little, and to leave some time for last minute changes in plans where we might be needed. Although it’s not the most relaxing of situations, we were lucky enough to have a weekend of puttering around the house, and enjoying last minute/low key plans. I walked the meatball with an old friend and her tiny furry pal, watched my new favourite show with my sister-in-law, enjoyed a night out with the fam at my uncle’s restaurant, did a little shopping with my great aunt (she came down from the U.S. to help out with my grandpa), and had a huge family brunch on Sunday in between everyone’s hospital visits. Oh! and the highlight of my weekend was waiting by the phone to hear the best news ever…. One of my oldest BFF’s is having a baby, and it’s a BOY! Although the link to live stream their 3D ultrasound was a dud, which was a huge bummer for me (and them obviously), I am still beyond excited about my slow cooking nephew!
Check out her adorable baby announcements! …
All in all, the unexpected semi-slow down before the holiday season has proven itself to be a nice treat, and truthfully, a much more realistic weekend pace for Mike and I. We are neither the tortuous or the hare, but we are enjoying this race we call life nonetheless.
Chat soon friends,
Choosing a honeymoon destination was a very exciting wedding “task” for me…if you can even really call it that. Traveling is something I am very passionate about, and my list of “must see” locations is endless. Lucky for me, Mike is super easy going, up for any destination, and had the same overall honeymoon criteria as I did: a little adventure, a little relaxation, and a lot of sunshine. In the end we had narrowed it down to a few options: a California coast road trip, a Costa Rican rain forest adventure, or a tropical Hawaiian getaway. All three choices were exciting to think about, but given that it was our honeymoon we went with the romantic honeymoon classic, Hawaii.
Set to leave three days after our wedding, and having spent those three days with our out of town guests and dealing with all of the post wedding chores, we hurriedly packed the night before. The excitement finally started to kick in as we boarded our first flight from Ottawa to Vancouver. I was thrilled about the stop over, as we were able to see an old friend (Richelle) from when I lived in the gorgeous mountain capped city a few years back. Richelle, Mike and I cozied up in a pub overlooking the ocean and the towering north shore mountains to enjoy a much needed catch up, and a few rainy day cocktails before heading back to YVR. Although far too short, it was a wonderful visit, and hopefully it’ll only be a matter of time before we’re back in my favourite Canadian city again.
After a long day of traveling, and a few minor bumps in the road, we finally found ourselves curled up in bed ready for a good nights sleep. We ended up staying in Lahaina at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. The property was incredible, and boasted a popular cliff diving spot called Black Rock. It was super cool to watch locals and tourists brave the high jump into the crashing waves. It was especially awesome at 5:00 pm each day when an employee of the hotel lit a tiki torch at the top of the cliff, and gracefully dove off as the sun was setting.
Mike and I spent seven days on Maui, and it was the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation. Snorkeling in Molokini, cruising the road to Hana to the Seven Sacred Pools, participating in a traditional Hawaiian Luau, swimming with sea turtles, sunset dinners, strolling many stunning beaches, and lounging by the Sheraton’s amazing pool were just some of the many highlights from our first week.
With our expectations set very high after our time on Maui, we headed to the airport en route to our next tropical destination; the lushest Hawaiian island, Kauai. And disappoint it did not! Upon arriving at our hotel, the Kauai Marriott Resort, we already knew we were in for a treat. The grounds were immaculate, and the flora was absolutely breathtaking. To top it all off, we ended up with a view of the incredible pool, mountains and beachfront. It was settled, we love Hawaii!
The rest of the week was nothing short of a dream come true. Mike and I paddle boarded in the roaring ocean waves, toured the entire island by helicopter (side note: entering the Napali coast was so beautiful that I cried lol), hiked the Hanakapiai Trail in Napali State Park, as well as the Canyon Trail to Waipo’o Falls where we ventured under the falls for a quick (and freezing) dip before heading back to the trail head. The rest of our time on the island was spent indulging in many delicious Kauai coffees, and floating around in the Marriott’s glamorous pool.We could not have had a more perfect honeymoon, and i`ll be dreaming about those views for a long, long time…
As most people know, planning a wedding and all the surrounding events is incredibly busy. Your mind is constantly being filled with new details while you frantically try and remember to tie up the loose ends from your earlier planning stages. In our particular case, wedding planning was smack in the middle of massive renovation projects, and helping out my sweet grandparents since living on their own is not as simple as it once was. All that said, our lives have been busier than ever, but in the best possible way.
Given all the craziness, Mike and I hadn’t had much time to reflect on our wedding day until our honeymoon when we received a few sneak peak photos from our incredibly talented photographer, Marguerite Belanger.
Taking a peak at the images brought back all the excitement from our wedding day. It was a sunny, crisp, perfect fall day in Ottawa, and surrounded by our family and friends we said I do in the same gorgeous church that my parents had 31 years earlier. Although the day whizzed by (as many said it would), we wholeheartedly enjoyed every minute of it.
Having returned home from our incredible honeymoon in Hawaii, Mike and I are looking forward to taking advantage of the cozy fall weather, and all of the outdoor activities that come along with it. Most importantly, we are excited to be spending quality time enjoying the leaves with our cute pup (commonly referred to as “the meatball”), Emma.
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I'm Jessie, and welcome to Cool, Calm & Cozy!
This space is an outlet for me to connect with my creative side and keep long lasting memories with my family. Writing and making videos of our adventures together is a passion of mine, which I hope brings joy to my whole family presently and in the future!
Hope you enjoy Cool, Calm & Cozy, and thanks for following along!