Who are we without the people who have raised us?

It is in sadness and guilt that I write today’s blog. I found out this morning that my grandpa had passed away.

Before we moved to Canada my grandparents raised me. They lived with my parents and my siblings during the years my parents both worked full time. And while we had moved to Canada I maintained a close relationship with them, visiting them every other year, talking on the phone and even writing letters.

It has only been the last five years, the years of my growth, that I have not kept in touch with my grandpa. I had grown ‘busy’ trying to develop a career and building a life that I thought I had to live. He had stayed here with my aunt’s family and yes I knew this time was coming near. I took him for granted and distanced for the sole purpose of avoiding this huge feeling of loss right now – as I had when I lost my grandmas. But now instead of just feeling loss I’m feeling guilt, sadness and a sense of confusion. Who have I become?

The Filipino culture is so entrenched with the concept of family. I used to go to my cousin’s cousin’s birthdays, new years etc. Living in Vancouver has made celebrating every possible occasion difficult due to the expenses. How can I go out and celebrate everything when I need to constantly work to afford the lifestyle I want? And how can I develop my career if I have to consider so many other schedules into my work week?

I hope to change all this, to find my Filipino core and re-start spending more time with my family. For now, I’m left feeling so sad and so so guilty.

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Out with the old, in with the new? What is new?

Every year as December 31st hits we’re all faced with this sudden urge to create resolutions and goals for change in the upcoming year.  It’s as if  ‘January 1st’ is some magical day.

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Maybe my thyroid medicine isn’t working or I’m just suffering from my lack of Vitamin D but why do people wait until the end of the year to make choices that would benefit themselves in the long run? As each friend asks for my resolutions or goals it makes me cringe to think of falling in line with social norms (yet again) to reassess what’s wrong with my life and think about what/how to make it better.

Yes, I haven’t been in the best of moods. The lack of sun and my thyroid gland, that I had never paid attention to for all my life, all the sudden now demands 100% of my attention. Most people who know me can tell you about how painfully optimistic or chipper I can be at all hours of the day and even at trying times of the year.

For the last few weeks I have not been ‘myself’. I notice my lack of energy in socializing, my lack of ambition to further my career or even motivation to pursue my hobbies. I stopped taking my Vitamin D sprays – not too sure why but I feel pretty blah again. And in my head I begin to wander down the spiral thought process of life and its purpose.

What is the purpose of life? Some live it to leave a legacy through work or family and others live it to experience every nuance life has to offer.

I binge watched a Netflix series called Mindhunter. The show is based on two FBI Agents interviewing and analyzing the mind of serial killers. It’s so fascinating to hear about how other people view life and see how they perceive themselves along with the world around them. Granted, this series is fiction.

But how do people develop their perception of life and its purpose? As the new year rolls around how do we create these ‘new’ goals – what are they driving us towards?

All questions I’m sure we all as ourselves.

Winter blues

It’s sunny and beautiful in Vancouver this December. The holiday tunes are out in full swing on local radio stations and store fronts are decked in all the tinsel ornaments you can find. Typically at this time of year you’d find me crafting in my corner, chatting away at my networking groups and feverously shopping at the local gift store. This year is a little bit different.

This year I was given a bit more responsibility at work, I got married then flew out of town for work the next week and… my thyroid was literally knocked out.  I told myself I wasn’t the type of bride that went nuts to go on diets for a one day event (as opposed to building better long term lifestyle habits). I ate all the healthy things, supplemented occasionally and tried to maintain physical activities. September hit and it seemed that I had actually done the opposite. My body literally felt heavy and tired – worse yet my mind was tired.

After seeing my naturopath she immediately put me on natural thyroid medication (my choice). She recommended some rhodiola and ashwagandha plus tonnes of vitamin D. I’m definitely seeing a perk in my mood but overall – as Facebook reminds me my past holidays – I’m noticing that this year is different.

pexels-photo-699372I will admit, I am feeling far better this week than last (might also be from all the sun?). And so I start to think about those who do feel the blues this season. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, and not everyone loves the idea of consumer gifting – with the current environmental issues all the wrapping paper/packaging being used at this time could understandably cause more damage.

Do you celebrate Christmas? And what are you doing to support the environment through gift giving?

 

Holy Basil Batman!

So my wedding day was amazing. It was loads and loads of fun – it went by far too fast.

We had our unplugged ceremony at St. Patrick’s Parish on Main St and our reception at the Permanent on Pender St. Our day was just as magical as every bride imagines it to be.

All day my beautiful bridesmaids kept asking how I was feeling – if I was nervous or anxious and all I kept saying was that I was excited! Before the ceremony I could see the nervous jitters my girlfriends had and even before the speeches my hubby and my maid of honour felt the same. I felt as cool as cucumber! Thanks to the Botanica Holy Basil Phytocap I was able to experience the day as relaxed and in excitement as opposed to being nervous and sick.

I really can’t rave enough about the Botanica Holy Basil and the Ashwagandha. I took these the week of and the day of the wedding. Both came to the rescue! I highly recommend these herbs for all brides!

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Tomorrow is the Big Day!

A year’s worth of planning and a lifetime worth of love starts tomorrow!

It is so surreal that this day is finally here. As someone who has planned and executed numerous events, wedding planning was not fun for me. The event goals were different and success metrics depends really on the day itself.

As an event planner, I am anxious and thinking about the timeline with all the moving pieces. This morning we are tying up last minute and loose ends. The majority of today will be spent having a nice lavender bath and a calming facial.

As the bride, I’m excited and can’t wait to celebrate my love to an amazing guy with my closest family & friends. In the months and days leading up to this special day I’m reminded how many wonderful people I have in my life to be thankful for. I have been showered with so much love and affection.

And while I’m excited and so happy for this day to finally come, I can’t shut my eyes on what is happening in the world around me. This is not to put a damper on my mood or the wedding but mother nature is demanding to be treated with respect. Nuclear missile testing and ignorance to global warming and other environmental issues are not to be joked around with. There are hundreds of people stranded on islands in the Caribbean with most inhabitants having had lost their homes and all their possessions.

So despite the weather forecast for tomorrow, I am grateful for the rain to come. I’m thankful for the relief it provides for our BC wildfires and only hope that it pauses for an hour or two (for our photos!)

 

 

 

Wedding Gift Giving

As the date draws near I post this in hopes that my wedding guests might perk up their ears…. A wedding is a huge celebration carefully thought through by the bride and groom, well in our case anyway! This includes the aspect of gift giving.

Like most couples getting married within this decade, Adam and I have lived together for pretty much two years now. Contrary to traditional weddings back in the Philippines, we don’t need a fresh set of household gifts as we have and currently use a set of pots and pans or vacuum. We’ve made clear to our guests that we value experiences over material objects. We prefer cash gifts but I couldn’t very well ask for cash at my bridal shower, so we had ended up creating a gift registry.

It was only this week that I found out about Zola – the all in one cash and gift registry! If I had found about about this site sooner it would have saved me all the headache of setting up a Honeyfund (only to have found out that they only accept payments through PayPal and no other Canadian bank) and then succumbing to having set up a registry at another well known home goods retailer.

A gift registry makes it easy for the bride and groom; no longer are the happy couple given gifts of bone china or silverware – items of which are never used. Most couples who live in the city don’t really have extra storage space for that bread maker or rocking chair. We created our registry for those who absolutely HAVE to gift a material object.

Why are cash gifts ideal? It requires one person to carry cash gifts versus the 5 that will need to take wrapped gifts home. Again, as a couple that already live together, it is just far more ideal to know that our family & friends have gifted us with funding our honeymoon.

So while we do have a gift registry I do hope that our guests take into account the fact that we are very happy with all our belongings and if they absolutely MUST purchase a gift to please keep within the registry. Check out Zola’s tips on registry gift giving below.

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The two month countdown…

There’s only two months left until I officially become Mrs. Reynolds.

The event planner in me is thinking of all the things that still need to be done from the seating chart, the music list to the very tiny small details. Reviewing the decor to ensure my green, gold, creme and coral/blush motif works well together. The BlackTux Rental Company has put this beautiful color swatch together that basically mirrors the color motif I’ve planned for my own wedding except with slate grey suits and a more coral toned blush.

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The other part of me is trying to get serious. Getting married isn’t just a party or a huge event, it’s a commitment of a lifetime. I’m so thankful to have found my better half, someone who continually leads me to grow and development.

My goal this month is to finalize all the details and complete the pieces so that I get to savour the weeks leading up to my wedding and how huge of a deal this really is!

How did you make sure you had all your to-do’s ticked off in time for the wedding?