Weekend in Montreal

Since we are currently located outside of Boston, we decided to finally take the quick trip up to Canada over Easter weekend. We’d heard a lot of great things about Montreal, and we wanted to see the city for ourselves!

Since the halfway point from Boston to Montreal is in Waterbury, VT, we of course had to start our weekend getaway with a quick pitstop at Ben & Jerry’s. I got Half-Baked, and it was delicious!

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We kept on driving up to Montreal, and arrived at our Airbnb around 5pm. We got settled in after a little snafu with parking, and then decided to go get drinks and then dinner. We went to a small pub where we ordered a pitcher of sangria, and the waitress bought us a round of whiskey shots (and took one with us!) to welcome us to Montreal. Oh, Canada.

From there we walked (a little further than we may have liked, in a bit colder of weather than we originally thought) down to Old Montreal where we had a reservation at Modavie. I had an amazing French Onion Soup, and we enjoyed the live jazz that plays almost every night.

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The next morning I got up (relatively) early, and instead of doing a workout (I didn’t want to wake my husband & friends up) I did some deep stretching. This turned out to be a good idea, since we did a WHOLE LOT of walking on Saturday, and the incline was pretty steep. We ubered over to St. Viateur to start our bagel tour – so, I am not HUGE into bagels (I mean, I like Thomas bagels or even the frozen ones from Starbucks) but these bagels are made with honey water, so they were pretty tasty. I got a cinnamon raisin bagel, and the rest of the group got the original sesame bagels. We also walked over to Fairmont Bagel, just a few blocks away, but I was pretty full from my own bagel beforehand, and let the rest of the group continue the taste test.

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From there we walked to Parc du Mont-Royal, which we totally underestimated in terms of how intense the hike is. It was also snow & ice-covered, which made the trails both hard to climb but also hard to find. My friend had the thought to wear rubber bean boots, and she had a far easier time walking through the snow, whereas the rest of us ended up knee-deep in a snow bank after misjudging a safe trail. We finally made it to the actual hiking trail, and we walked up the rest of the mountain. Thank goodness for the stairs, even though they were basically a straight 90 degrees up. Let me say this: I am in pretty good shape, and I actually enjoy working out everyday, but I had had surgery earlier the weeks before so I hadn’t been able to work out, and I definitely felt that. Still, the views at the top were pretty incredible, and well-worth feeling crappy about elderly people and parents carrying children passing us on the way up.

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We walked down through McGill, and then were on the search for a little candy shop called Squish. This place is the absolute cutest, the packaging is BOMB, and the salespeople were the NICEST. We kept inquiring about how the different gummies tasted, and the sales girls just kept offering samples. Best customer service I’ve ever had in a candy store, that is for sure.

We walked through Old Montreal, and stopped to get lunch at a restaurant inside a fancy hotel, Maggie Oakes. I got a shredded chicken sandwich, my husband got the flank steak. He might have ordered better, but I still got some fries. We had to walk through the hotel a bit to get to the bathrooms (a bit of a trek, to tell you the truth) but it was SO CUTE. Very modern, very airy, very bright. I kind of wish we could have stayed there.

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We stopped for croissants on the way back, and my husband and I also grabbed some macarons. We are heading to Paris this summer for our *first* anniversary, and I am very much looking forward to experiencing Paris after this mini-trip to a French-Canadian city.

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We ate the macarons far too quickly to take a picture! 

Once we got back to the Airbnb, we freshened up a bit, then ubered out to drinks at Bar Darling. Again, super cute and nice, very warm inside. It had a very eclectic vibe, and had some great ciders and french fries. I was starving at this point, so I yelped a pizza place and had a great little personal pizza at Dirty Pizza, which specializes in pizza and poutine. Has to be good then, right?

We went to a creperie after, and my friends got the savory crepes and cider, while my husband and I shared a sweet crepe with homemade jam. Oh my deliciousness.

After this we walked around to find this “hidden bar,” where we waited in line for about a half hour, and I was getting super tired, kind of cranky, and still hungry (so I probably didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I could have). Once we got inside, it was pretty cool, with a great vibe and a snake-y bar. The coolest part was when we asked about the whiskey bottles hanging above our heads – the bartender told us that people can buy a bottle of whiskey, and then have it whenever they come back. Some of the bottles were almost empty, while others were basically full. Overall, pretty cool.

The next morning was our last morning, and our friends did Easter Mass at the Basilica of Notre Dame, and we got early croissants and then an Easter Brunch at my favorite place in Montreal, Brassiere 701. 3 courses, along with mimosas. Let’s just say, it was wonderful. 

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My FAV place in Montreal – Brassiere 701

On the way home, we stopped in Waterbury, VT once more, trying to go to Cabot Creamery. Unfortunately for us, it was Easter Sunday, so they were closed. We ended up at this little cider farm down the road, and it was perfect. We brought back some Vermont maple syrup and cider jelly (which we enjoyed on waffles this weekend – YUM!).

It was a great weekend trip, and I’m excited to keep our adventures going. Where shall we venture to next?

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Change is mostly good

Yesterday I had a very minor, routine surgery. Both doctors had told me that it was  purely preventive, and nothing to worry about. Too bad for me, I am a worrier.

I am a huge worrier. Anxiety eats at me on a daily basis, where I push it to the side, until it completely and utterly overwhelms me to the point of an anxiety attack. These are real, these are scary, these leave me in a complete sense of disarray. These anxiety attacks were happening more and more often, until I finally realized I could do something, anything, about it.

I chose to get back into fitness and wellness. I joined a workout program that I was able to do from home, daily workouts for 30 minutes each – I probably have a little more free time than other people, but that doesn’t mean I need to be at the gym for hours. 30 minutes a day, workouts that pushed me to get sweaty and get active, all in the comfort of my own place. I really enjoyed these workouts.

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These workouts even helped me to become a morning person. If you had asked me, even in January, if I thought I could get up an hour early and get my workout in before I start my work-day, I would have LAUGHED in your face. I really like my sleep. But I will tell you, even in the first few mornings that were rough – waking up, getting out of bed, washing my face & brushing my teeth, then drinking my preworkout liquid luck – I got my workout in, I got my workout done, and at the end, I felt powerful. This early morning workout routine has really helped me; I am seeing great physical changes, but, even more importantly, I am seeing inner change, with my mental health.

So, back to the surgery and me being a worrier. Again, very minor and routine procedure, but nothing about me likes medical procedures. I HATE blood – like I can’t get my blood drawn without passing out, or throwing up. During the surgery itself, I was doing okay because I made sure I wouldn’t be able to see the surgeon working, but I did almost have a panic attack. I knew it was coming, I started to feel very warm/hot, and I needed to move. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t move, because I was in the middle of a surgery. I had to just lie there. And then I made it through. I didn’t throw up, I didn’t pass out, I made it through.

Today is my recovery day, and the first day in about 2 months that I haven’t worked out. I know this doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but to me, working out has really become my lifeline. It is helping me stay normal, and even more so than that, I believe it is making me a happier, more positive person. So I am rather nervous what 2 weeks of not working out is going to do to my mind, body, and outlook on life.

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So far, I have had a bit of advice from friends and family – to take walks, to listen to podcasts, and to read a few new books. If you have any other advice you may deem helpful, please, do pass it on. It really could be such a positive in my life.

I thank you in advance for reading this far, and if you do have something, please leave a comment below.

My Rambling Thoughts

There are a lot of things I have learned this past week. I have learned that when I listen to a podcast and read a new book on my commute to and from work, the time just goes by so much faster. I have learned that waking up just a bit earlier will help you avoid the frenzy of when you are running late for getting to the bus at your usual time (who woulda thunk, right?). I also learned that more people are going through this weird time in their lives where they feel a bit lost, they feel bit down, they feel like their life doesn’t have meaning. And here I thought I was the only one. In learning this, I have been able to get better. And that is wonderful.

As I have mentioned in a few of my previous posts, 2018 is all about making 2018 better for me. A lot of last year, and other years past, have seen me grappling with choices I have had to make recently. My college major was History, with a minor in Secondary Education. All of my life, I thought I would be (and dreamt of being) a high school history teacher. Why on earth would you want to teach history, it’s so boring, and high schoolers are the worst! Yeah, I’d heard that all through my life. Why are you going to teach, you’re never going to make any money from that! Yeah, that one too. It was more about how I felt about the work, and I always thought I loved it. I thought I was good at it. I was.

When I moved out East, I did it for one reason, and one reason only. I moved over a thousand miles from my friends and family in order to support my then-boyfriend and his dream. We had decided the year before he left to begin his studies, that I would join him after his first year. I had a teaching certificate in Illinois, and spent countless hours browsing for potential positions in the area we would be living, but every posting I saw had the words “Masters Degree Required,” or, just as bad, “Masters Degree Preferred.” I did not have a Masters Degree. I graduated from the University of Illinois in 2014 with a Bachelors Degree. A great accomplishment! The first of my family to get a Bachelors Degree from a 4-year university. I was SO PROUD of myself, and so were my family members. But it wasn’t going to help me out when I decided to move halfway across the country and support my boyfriend while he worked out his dream. Mine took a back seat.

The above has been running through my head for the past few months, more often than I would like to admit. It has gotten me down in the dumps, it has made me begin to question a lot of things in my life, and it has just been an overall tear-inducer. It has been a rough few months overall. I tried not to let this show on the outside, at all. I tried my best to conceal it from even my now-husband (then-boyfriend, from above). I was emotional a lot. I say emotional because it would change constantly – I would go from a little sad, to angry, to PISSED, to apathetic, to RAGING, to crying incessantly. It was not pretty. We were starting to think about where the next few years would take us – 2020 seems far away, but its only 2 years until my husband graduates and will need to find an academic position, somewhere. I was feeling anxious all the time. My current job relies on scheduling. We know what is happening through May 2018, and are starting to plan for Fall 2018, and Spring 2019. My schedule at work is locked in. And I know where the extra work will come in to play. I don’t know when or where or what we will end up at when my husband finds a position in 2 years. I like to plan. So that is terrifying to me.

The combination of all these thoughts, feelings, the unknown, everything – it was wearing me down. I found myself on the couch most nights after work, sunk in and binge-watching Netflix. Hey, this is not a bad thing – it’s totally enjoyable. But it got to the point where that was my every single day. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know what I could do about it, if I wanted to do something about it. I had been following a few new people on Instagram on and off for a couple months, and they were all coaches for this fitness thing. And they all seemed SO HAPPY. Yes, I know, social media shows you exactly what others want you to see – not necessarily exactly what is going on behind the scenes. But at this point, I was kind of at the point of no return. I needed something.

Fast-forward to today. I have been following the workout program for 2 weeks, and I am feeling great. Not just because of working out, which is great with endorphins (any Elle Woods fans out there?!), but also because I have been receiving some amazingly positive feedback and encouragement from posting daily on those social media sites. People are telling me that I’ve motivated them to start working out, and to KEEP IT UP! Wow, these people have NO idea how much those comments truly mean to me. All I know is that I like what I’ve been doing thus far, and want to continue. It is helping me in each of my issues – working out releases endorphins, making me happy right after; I am eating healthier so I am feeling better in general; I have my husband working out with me so we are both in it (YES!); and I am receiving a lot of positive reinforcement from family, friends, and even strangers on social media. Literally, the best thing about this is the SUPPORT SYSTEM I have! It’s incredible. Who knew how helpful that could be? I didn’t realize it until it happened to me. And now I want to keep it going.

This isn’t to say that I haven’t had my bad moments since I made my goals for 2018 to be about stepping out of my comfort zone, of doing things I had been long-thinking about, and actually put them in action finally. Some days are bad, some days I’m sad, some days I’m overwhelmed. But so far, I am trying to make it a thing for me to see the positive side of it. And it is helping me out A LOT.

I wasn’t sure where this post was going to go, but I knew I wanted to post something today. And it is almost like writing in a diary, since I know my blog isn’t seen by a lot of people. And that is okay. And for the people who do end up reading this, I hope it helps. Because any positive reinforcement can mean even the tiniest difference. And even the tiniest difference can make someone’s day.

I Am a Badass

As I mentioned in my post last week, I am trying new things this year. One of those new things is working on myself through personal development. I’ve ordered a few books from Amazon and have begun reading You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I’ll start by saying I never thought of myself as a “self-help” book-reading person, although I love to read. I never thought of myself as reaching out to anyone when times are bad (other than my husband, who I can’t necessarily hide things from, particularly my feelings). There is still such a stigma around needing to seek help, and I am very slowly getting over that hump. Sometimes life is hard, especially in the current political/social/environmental/overall climate. Sometimes we need extra help.

So, back to the new book. I’ve been reading You Are a Badass on my way to and from work, while I’m commuting on the bus and attempting to zone everything out. And I’m learning a lot. I’m trying to stay open to new ideas, which is one of the main tenets of the book. It’s also helping that a lot of what Jen says in the book is all about not caring what other people think, and staying true to yourself. Again, I am trying to be all about trying new things this year. In the past, I have worried a lot about what other people think of me, what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, etc. One of my goals is to move past this feeling, and do things that make me feel good.

As stated above, I am on the lookout for things to make me feel good. Does anyone have a book, podcast, or blog they would recommend? Comment below!

Trying New Things

We are exactly 2 weeks into 2018, and one of my resolutions has already failed. I told myself I would write one blog post per week, and I haven’t done that. It should be relatively easy, since 1. I am always on my phone and/or laptop (now that I have one again), and 2. I’m writing only for myself, since not many people read this blog.

For me, 2017 was the year of a lot of different things. It was the year of new beginnings, since my husband and I got married (#newlyweds!). It was the year of travel, due to said wedding, plus 2 of my best friends also got married (all within a month of each other – summer 2017 was a busy time!). It was the year of new and old, of keeping up, of continuing on, of maintenance. One major goal, mainly for the wedding and the accompanying honeymoon, was to get in great shape. My wedding dress had an entirely open back, and it did highlight my booty (or lack thereof). So my big goal was to make sure I looked and felt like 100%. And I did it. I felt pretty dang good on my wedding day, on the days and weeks leading up to it, and on the honeymoon! We even got some working out done during the honeymoon (crazy, I know). And then at the end of the honeymoon, I got a cold, and basically lost all momentum I had going for me before. Plus, I was now married, had the wedding, and didn’t have a ton of motivation to keep working out on a regular basis. This was a problem, because fitness for me didn’t just mean looking good, it also means feeling good.

2018 is the year where I am going to push out of my comfort zone and try my hardest to keep on going. I am making some changes, and I am going to try my best. I am taking a psychology course, beginning in a week, to try to get back into school to get my Masters degree. I’m nervous, excited, scared, motivated, and a whole slew of other feelings, all at the exact same time. If you have any advice, or inspiration, please leave me a comment (I could use all the help I can get!). I am also stepping out of my comfort zone in the fitness world. I am trying out my hand on Beachbody, which I have heard good and great things about. I need the accountability, the positive outlook, and the newness. I am also scared, excited, and super nervous about this, so again, any advice or inspiration on this end, please go ahead!

That’s it for now, but I am actually going to make a legitimate effort to continue this blog this year. Let’s do this, 2018!

2018 Resolutions

I originally began this blog as a new year’s resolution, as my intent to start something new. Writing is something I have done for years, but I never thought I was much good at it – academic papers and blogging are not very similar. But, like many well-intended new year’s resolutions, it ended far too quickly and with not much out of it.

For 2018, I am going to try again. It may not work, I may not actually do it, but I can at least try. So, without further ado, here are my 2018 New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. $$$. My goal regarding money this year is trying to make the most out of it. As a twenty-something living just outside of Boston, money is something that goes way too quickly. It seems that I get paid, and then it’s gone. Between bills, groceries, and payments, it just doesn’t feel like the paycheck was even there. And when your husband is a grad student earning a stipend instead of a salary, your money moves quickly. That being said, I am going to try my best (see, there’s that try again) to make sure all our bills are paid on time (which shouldn’t be an issue), that the payments are being made in terms that will help us rather than hinder (student loans are death), and that we can put a little bit away every month for a rainy (or sunny & 75) day.
  2. In 2017, a big goal of mine (and my then-fiance) was to be active and healthy and lose/gain in all the right places. With a wedding dress to look great in, and a Caribbean honeymoon to enjoy, I had all the motivation in the world. Post-wedding, not so much. I really need to get back in the swing of things: join a gym, get my butt to the gym, and really try to be active and healthy. I am not necessarily and unhealthy/in-active person, but I have had too many issues going up and down the stairs at work to not notice that I need more cardio in my life. I am getting a bit specific in this 2018 active resolution, that I am aiming to be able to complete 10 full-body push-ups by the end of the year. We shall see.
  3. My final resolution is to start grad school this spring-semester (aka late January) and do well in it. For this, I am going to need to get a planner and stay organized. One class should be no problem, but this will be the first time I will be going to school since I graduated college. I work a full-time job, 40 hours a week, 9am-5pm, so I need to figure out how I can be a full-time professional and a part-time student. Wish me luck.

 

The resolutions I have made do seem quite do-able, and I sure hope they are. Are you making resolutions this year? What are some of your resolutions?

Happy New Year!

New Year, “new me”

We all start out with great intentions, but I for one can admit that even the best intentions can be waylaid by less-than-impressive actions. I created this blog as a means for me to get out what I was feeling on the good, the bad, and the ugly days … and haven’t quite lived up to my own challenge.

So today, January 1st 2016, New Year’s Day, I’m deciding to re-take on my own challenge of writing my thoughts out on the only paper you can never destroy and cast them out onto the wide old internet. Even if it’s once a week, if it’ll stop the words from running wild in my head, I call that a win.

And since it’s January 1st, New Year’s Day, I shall begin by outlining my “resolutions” for 2016. At least what I *hope* to do.

 

2016 Resolutions

  1. Write 1x per week. Get your words out and about, clear out of your head.
  2. Work out/stay fit. I always start off strong with this one, but this year is about getting into a reasonable commitment with my health and well-being that I won’t just let go by March.
  3. Talk to the people I care about more often. In 2015, I moved out to Boston from the suburbs of Chicago, to be with my then-boyfriend, now-fiance, who is working through grad school at Harvard University. Although I talk to my mom at least once a week, it’s normally from her initiating contact, and I’d like to change that around. Too much has happened, especially in 2015, that I don’t want to have regret in my relationships when technology makes it ever so easy to reach out and say simple things to the people I love.
  4. Save money. Moving out to a new city in a new state halfway across the country made it a bit difficult to do the things that I have been wanting to do – including saving money. I don’t yet have a permanent full-time job out here, which is something else I’m hoping to get this year, but I won’t put that in my resolutions – too much else is involved in that facet of life to put it all on myself, especially after putting my all in that for the past 7 months and not getting all too far. But, I do have weddings and travel to save for, and my own wedding to prepare for coming up, so saving money here and there is something I do have some say in, I just have to push myself a little.

Okay. I think 4 New Years Resolutions are a good start, a lot goes along with the four I chose. We’ll start there, and see how it goes. I’m going to push myself to just be slightly better, and to keep at things. Even if no one else reads this blog, at least I can get some thoughts/feelings/good things/bad things/weekly happenings out onto a better medium than spinning around in my brain and possibly annoying my fiance.

 

Does anyone else have any resolutions they’re planning to keep this year? 2016 is the big time. Let’s do this!