Saturday, December 20, 2014

Namasaturday 03: #JustBePresent

In these last crazy days before Christmas, it's easy to loose track of the present in our focus on preparing for the big day. Last minute gifts to buy, gifts to wrap, cookies to bake, houses to clean, people to visit all leave us rushing around from place to place without stopping to focus on the path and the moment.

That's why the hastag #JustBePresent has been all over the yogis of instagram this month. And yoga is certainly great for putting you mind in the moment when your in a class or on your matt.

But what about the rest of the time. I mean I certainly won't fold myself over into downward dog in the middle of my work Christmas party. But you can take some lessons from the matt anywhere you go over the holidays.

How to Just Be Present this Christmas.

1) Root firmly through all of your toes. Take a minute to practice Samasthiti or Equal Standing Posture by standing tall, weight balanced evenly between both legs. Root down into the floor by thinking about the way each of your toes, the ball and heels of your feet are in contact with the ground. This even works in those painful red heels that looked so perfect with your party dress. Doing this reminds us to stay grounded, and gives a momentary break from the rush and the moving to appreciate the moment.

2) Focus on your breath. Practice Pranayama or Yoga breathing. Maybe you won't make the darth vadar sounds in the back of your throat, but when your running around your house like a chicken before guests arrive, taking a step back to focus on your breathing can really slow things down and put them into perspective. Maybe it's ok that you didn't dust behind the down stairs sink, and that your bedroom is a mess (close the door). Take a second to breath and remember that the holidays are about spending time with the people you love, and who will love you back regardless of whether the table settings are perfectly aligned.

3) Look at things from a different perspective. We all love yoga inversions. So while you could do a head stand in front of your tree and enjoy it from the bottom up. You can also try to change the way you look at the holidays. Put yourself in your child's point of view and remember the things that made Christmas so special to you when you were growing up. Maybe it was stringing popcorn and cranberry garlands with your cousins? Bring back an old tradition. Surrounded by all the opulence of the holidays, try to look at Christmas through the eyes of the less fortunate, and donate some of the toys your kids have grown out of, or volunteer your time serving dinner at a shelter. There are so many ways to look at the holidays, take a moment to invert your perspective.

If you celebrate Christmas, then have a very Merry One. If you don't then best of wishes over the holiday season, and I'll see you all in the new year.


Inverting my own perspective at Lake Louise on December 14th.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Saw this quiz/survey thingy on Bex's blog, and had to fill it out myself. Also it reminded me of the Barenaked Ladies song Four Seconds, so here's the youtube video for that.

1. Four names that people call me, other than my real name:
  • Turner
  • Turnz
  • SARS (yes like the disease -shakes head)
  • Squirrel (Kevin only)
2. Four jobs I have had:
  • Shoppers Drugmart  employee
  • Sea Lamprey Control
  • Environment Canada Freshwater Mussel Immunotoxicologist
  • Grad Student, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cardiovascular Research
3. Four movies I have watched more than once:
Clearly there are way more than four here, so I went with the Christmas Movies I watch every year.
  • Elf
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • A Christmas Story
  • Love Actually
4. Four Books I recommend:
  • Yes Please (Amy Poehler)
  • Bossy Pants (Tina Fey)
  • Let's Pretend this Never Happened (Jenny Lawson)
  • Grace's Guide (Grace Helbig)
5. Four places I have lived:
  • Orangeville, Ontario (Birth through first year of life)
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (age 1-18)
  • Hamilton, Ontario (18-23)
  • Calgary, Alberta (All of 2010, Sept 2011-present)
6. Four Places I have been:
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Hawaii
  • London (UK)
7. Four places I would rather be right now:
  • On a beach
  • Hiking somewhere lush
  • Curled up in front of a fireplace
  • Curled up in my own bed
8. Four things I don’t eat:
  • Spicy food
  • Moderately Spicy food
  • Foods other people consider mild but have a tiny kick
  • Large pieces on mushrooms in things
9. Four of my favourite foods:
  • Garlic
  • Cheese
  • Perogies
  • Deep Fried Ravioli's
10. Four TV Shows I watch:
OK, it's an embarrassing list, but these are the only four show's I'm keeping current on this year, everything else I binge watch on Netflix later.
  • Grey's Anatomy
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • The Biggest Loser
  • America's Next Top Model
11. Four things I am looking forward to next year:
  • Mud Hero blog meet up (I stole this one off Bex's list, but I can't wait too!)
  • Wanderlust in Hawaii
  • Kevin finishing Med School and finding out what city we'll live in next
  • World Microcirculation Congress in Japan in the fall.

12. Four things I am always saying:
  • In answer to the question how are things 'Busy'
  • In answer to the question how is grad school 'Busy'
  • In answer to the question how if life 'Busy'
  • BLORFT (see Tina Fey quote below)
But seriously, despite the busyness, and the stress, and the blorft, things are great, and I can't wait for the holidays. I'm not a fan of tagging specific people, so whoever wants to borrow this post idea go right ahead.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Black Friday Shopping Spectacular

Well really it wasn't that spectacular, but I did get a couple good deals (and paid full price for something too).

First off, can we take a second to reflect on how ridiculous Black Friday has become here in Canada. I mean we all know its bat sh!t crazy in the States, and pretty much has been since the dawn of time right? I mean isn't the tradition that the Native Americans brought corn to the hungry pilgrims and then everyone camped out in front of Walmart with their pepper spray, and little Billy got trampled in the rush for a play station the next day. And that boys and girls is the history of thanksgiving.

But in Canada we celebrated our turkey day ages and ages ago! We don't have a last Thursday in November holiday. But we do apparently have Black Friday now.

And it didn't always used to be this way.

I grew up in a boarder town (shout out to the Soo), and ever since I was a little kid, Canadians by the bus load (literally, they arrange buses for these shopping trips) would cross the boarder on Black Friday morning, and go shop the sales at the outlets in Birch Run and West Branch (oooh Michigan). My mom and her friends go down every year, although often a week before or after, when there are still good sales to be had, but significantly less risk of bodily harm.

But in the last 3 years I watched Black Friday in Canada go from "Yeah some stores are going to have sales, especially places the sell electronics." to "malls are all opening early, even the teashop has a sale going on, and hold on to Billy's hand because things are about to get crazy."

Maybe I'm exaggerating, but I mean this year we had a pretty gross bit of snow storm and rough road conditions and the mall was at least twice as packed as it was last year.

But there you have it, I was definitely at the mall (despite my should have known better instincts) and made some purchases and observations.

Shopping list this year included:

-New Laptop
-New winter boots
-New winter coat
-Lululemon .....well just because

The new laptop.

My hunking 3 year old Toshiba, originally purchased regular price $300, so you know it was a quality computer, crapped out this summer. We tried to revive it, and got it working again, but it's been running in a 'I might just die completely at any second' way since. So I decided I'd go out on the Monday before Black Friday to shop around, so if there seemed like there was going to be an awesome deal, I'd be ready.

And that's how I found out about VIP at Future Shop. The sales rep in the computer department took down a list of the computer's I was interested in, along with my price range and phone number. He told me that if any of them went on sale for Friday, he'd call me when he saw the flyer on Wednesday, and we could make a VIP appointment on Thursday so I could buy it without the crush of the crowds or waits in line.

Long story short, I got the Lenovo Yoga I'd been coveting for the last year, for a $180 off, and I love it already. (It's still on sale through December 4th online).

Isn't it fun? it runs Windows 8.1, has a touch screen, and hinges all the way around. Plus it fits in my bag, and doesn't weigh a tonne.

New Winter Boots and Coat

My old boots and coat combo were a Christmas gift from my mom in 2009, right before moving to Calgary for the first time in January 2010. The Sorrel boots and Roots jacket have gotten me through some pretty cold winter days since then, but it was finally time for replacements.

For the boots of course I went back with Sorrels, the beautiful Joan of the Artic's in slate grey.
For the coat, well this was a tough one, you see I have a theory about winter coats. I think that because people have gone nuts and started spending 600-700 bucks on Canada Goose Jackets on mass last winter, this year all good winter coats are suddenly crazy expensive. I picked up four or five that I liked that were at least $400. Yeesh.
Finally I settled on this one by Columbia, which was marked down $100 bucks off to a comfortable $200 price range.
I even tested it this weekend (with the boots) when I walked to Tim's for breakfast in the feel's like -30 weather. Nice and toasty warm without sweating under your layers.
Lululemon.....Just Because
Lulu does a respectable amount of marking down on Black Friday (in store only I think?) It's like the hoard a months worth of regular mark downs and then put them all out on one day. This year however, it was pretty clear they produced merchandise specifically to be marked down on Black Friday. And most of it looked a little sad, like it was not quite up to Lulu standards. This included a pair of all black (waste band included) astro pants marked down to $49. Half of what they usually cost. So even tho I didn't need them I tried on a pair. But I'm going to be honest, the fabric didn't feel quite right. It was heavier than usual, and felt stiff. Maybe this is just status quo since all those issues with see through black pants, but I suspect this was just an example of lower quality merch produced to be put on sale. There were also some ugly sweater jacket things, and these flimsy wrap shirts that I had no desire to try on.
But do not doubt the might of the Lululemon marketing machine, because the night before Black Friday, this went up on their instagram

And I was all like, Lululemon and sparkles!!!!! Yep, I want that. And so I bought something at full price, on Black Friday, and that's what I have to be thankful for.