Moving up in my world…

So, very exciting news this week – I got a new house!! You already know that I sold the house I owned with my ex earlier this month, and I felt like it was time to put down some roots and get myself an actual home. I feel like I’ve been in transition with my housing situation for years. My ex and I moved in together after dating for two months back in 2009, and lived in a cute 2 bedroom apartment for a year before buying our place in an up and coming neighbourhood with big plans to renovate it. We lived there for a few years, but when I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2012, we moved in with my parents so that there would be more help for me in dealing with the challenges that came with this new diagnosis. We stayed there for over two years before we split, and I moved into a transition apartment in the attic of an old Victorian home, while he moved back into our house to finish the renovations so we could finally sell it 🙂 As you can see, I’ve basically been house-hopping for 7 years!

I don’t think I realized until this week when I got my keys just how much I’ve been wanting a place to call a home. A place that I can decorate, and make my own, and make new memories in. There’s something about a fresh start that doesn’t seem quite as fresh if you don’t wipe that entire slate clean, and I’ve got me a brand new slate on my hands!

This adventure is made even more fun and exciting because it’s the first time I’ll really be living on my own! Like, without a bunch of other units in the same building as me that is 😉 I’ve been trying new things all year, and this marks probably my biggest accomplishment to date, because it’s the one that scares me the most. If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that when it scares me A LOT, it’s always TOTALLY worth doing!

So move in date has come and gone! I’ll transition into my new place over the next month (I like to roll into change sloooooowly lol) but in the meantime, check out this crazy amazing view from my back porch!! My besties and I enjoyed not only a beautiful sunset to commemorate my first night in my new place, but we also got to kick it to an amazing Canada Day fireworks show in my front yard aka the Bayfront 🙂

 

Dance, breathe, dance some more…

So you probably know that I’ve become a liiiiiittle bit obsessed with dance again over the past year, but I’ve taken that love to a whole new level with an amazing place called The Academy of All Things Awesome that I “discovered” back in May. Rather than offering aerobics-type dance classes (which I still love btw), they offer weekly classed based on specific artists, songs AND dance types! It all started with a little dancehall class, carried on through a Janet Jackson series, Sean Paul series, a one-off of a killer Robyn tune and now we’re rocking some amazing Beyonce and Yo Bangers classes! It has become a place I go to for exercise, for positivity and to just seriously dance my booty off!

I feel so lucky to have found something I love to do SO much. Honestly, when I started this blog I just kind of thought I’d work through the weeks and see what happened…then, I rediscovered my love for DANCE! It’s not that I didn’t want to continue on with other new activities, it’s just that I love dancing so much I want to do it as much as possible!

When I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis I never thought I’d be able to move again like I can now…seriously, I thought it was a death sentence for my body. What I’ve discovered is that movement makes my pain BETTER. I’ve lost 70 lbs (holla at ya!), re-engaged muscles I haven’t used in over a decade AND my arthritis is better than it’s ever been – seriously, how awesome is THAT?! How amazing to find something you’re so passionate about that makes you feel physically and spiritually AMAZING?! Honestly feel super blessed every day 🙂

So here’s a fun video from one of my favourite classes…a little Janet Jackson throwback! We learn these routines in 1.5-2 hours, and then film them like the rock stars that we are! Each week we learn 1-2 new songs, and repeat the process…never. ending. fun. Tonight, I learned my most technically challenging routine yet (some Missy Elliott in the house!!) and while I haven’t seen the video yet, I know we all KILLED it! Such an awesome way to engage with new people in the community and share something we all love so much! Can’t wait to share more videos with you as these awesome classes continue! XO

The travel itch is real…

So as some of you know, the house I own with my ex is on the market right now and we’ve got a conditional sale on our hands…woohoo! As we wait for the conditions to be waived (keep your fingers and toes crossed for me), I’ve started thinking about what it’ll mean to not have this house hanging over my head anymore. It’s been 6 years of financial and emotional struggle with this property, and while I know I should be getting excited about the freedom of not owning it anymore, I find myself struggling with what I’ll do next. It almost feels like I should have some specific fresh start planned, but I don’t really know what that should be. So, I will travel while I figure it out 😉

I’m beyond excited to be planning several trips right now, including some serious overseas adventures that will surely be the stuff dreams are made of! I’m looking at an all-inclusive in June (somewhere warm and sunny and fabulous down South), and then Orlando in July for a work conference, Calgary and Banff in August for a work opportunity and then some mountain exploration and finally a trip around Europe in September. I’m planning to hit up England, Ireland, Scotland, Amsterdam and Iceland (hellooooo Northern Lights bucket list!)…FUN FUN FUN!

There are so many places I want to see in this world, but the flying fear has always held me back (as you’ll know from previous blog entries), but now I really feel like I just need to GO…get on that plane, face the fears of the unknown and GO. So that’s what I’m going to do! As Sir Richard Burton said: “the gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” There are so many corners of the world for us to explore, and I think that while we’re doing that, the most unknown corners of our souls become exposed to us for the first time. I am so ready to uncover those mysterious parts of myself, all while exploring the world, meeting new people, understanding the world in a different way, and becoming a more complete human being.

I will OF COURSE be blogging about all these amazing adventures AAAAAAAND I’ve decided to get back to the original mission of this blog, which was to document all the new things I’ve been trying in my life. I’ve kind of set aside writing about these new adventures because I’ve been so busy enjoying them, but as I come up to my one year anniversary of writing Operation: Passion, I want to bring it all full circle. Stay tuned for some new awesomeness in the coming weeks! First up this week – rock climbing!! XO

gladdest moment

not the same

only life

daring adventure

 

pilgrimage

Week 15 – Join an Online Dating Site

Activity: Join an online dating site…eeeeeeeeeeeeekkkk!!!!

Where: Online…I chose Tinder (insert laughter here)

Cost: Free (for this one, some have monthly or yearly fees)

The Story: Online dating or Internet dating is a personal introductory system whereby individuals can find and contact each other over the Internet to arrange a date, usually with the objective of developing a personal, romantic, or sexual relationship. Online dating services usually provide unmoderated matchmaking over the Internet, through the use of personal computers or cell phones. Users of an online dating service would usually provide personal information, to enable them to search the service provider’s database for other individuals. Members use criteria other members set, such as age range, gender and location.

Okaaaaaaaaaaaay, so this should be an interesting one! Mostly because I NEVER thought I would ever join an online dating site…like never ever in a million years ever. My logic? That I’m awesome enough to meet someone in person, and didn’t need to go online and open myself up to all the weirdos out there! And I just didn’t really trust the process…I’ve watched enough episodes of MTV’s Catfish (catfish definition here!) to know what kind of creepy people are out there waiting to trick unsuspecting folks online (click here to see Dr. Phil’s Online Dating Red Flags…or watch any of his shows about this…outrageous shit happens out there!). On top of all these very valid reasons, there was also the most real one…my ex-husband met his new girlfriend (and the girl he cheated on me with) online…no thank you very much indeed.

So fast forward to the beginning of November and I decided I’d give Tinder a try…I have a lot of friends who use the app, and love the ease that you can scroll through potential matches with (I won’t give you a Tinder tutorial, but for those of you not in the know, click here) and since they were singing its praises, I thought “what the hell” and signed myself up. You use your Facebook account to log in and it kind of grabs the last couple of profile pictures you had up there, so I swapped them out for some pics I thought represented me the best and wrote up a short little blurb about myself:

Tinder

Okay, so nothing crazy fancy but it was enough to get started…next comes the swiping. There’s something so incredibly shallow about the whole Tinder “game” that doesn’t sit well with me, and really didn’t from the start. Instead of basing my swipes on appearances only, I made a point of opening up profiles and reading what (if anything, TONS of guys don’t write a profile at all) the men had to say about themselves, and basically if they made me laugh I would swipe right (that means you like them). I set my kilometre distance super close to my house (within 10 km) because I didn’t really know about meeting people further away (and let’s face it, I didn’t want to meet anyone too close to my home town which is about 40 km away lol), but there were still loads of guys available even within that short distance. Like LOTS. I think Tinder is the new “thing” to do for everyone (there are even some couple profiles in there…very interesting stuff indeed!)!

Anyways, I don’t swipe right often…so many pictures of men with no shirts on and weird selfies in public bathroom mirrors…I know Tinder is known as a “hook up” site, and I’m not feeling that…I don’t know what I want right now, but definitely not a random hook up with someone who posts close ups of his abs on a dating site…like for suuuuuuuure not that.  Hilariously enough, in spite of my disdain for all things online dating related, I did “meet” someone on Tinder that I actually really enjoy talking to and think is pretty freaking awesome. We’ve been talking online (and on the phone and on Skype) for about a month now, and I’m incredibly surprised that you can enjoy someone you’ve never met so much! He’s not local right now, so our relationship (or friendship or whatever it is) will continue online for awhile longer, and I’m perfectly fine with that (although I’m super excited to eventually meet him!)…it’s kind of like the perfect re-entry into the dating world for me.  In the meantime, I’m kind of over Tinder…which doesn’t surprise me that much. I never thought it would really be “my thing” but as per the whole premise of this blog, I thought I’d give it an honest go and see what happened.

The Verdict: Although my Tindering days have come to an end, I would definitely recommend the site to anyone who is looking to get into the online dating world. It’s easy to join, there are no intimidating long profiles to fill out, and it’s a great time filler if you’re bored! XO

Week 14 – Take a Dance Class

Activity: Get dancing!

Where: My new studio, Soul Sessions

Cost: $100 for a quarterly membership 🙂

The Story: Here’s a fun history of dance in healing:

Another early use of dance may have been as a precursor to ecstatic trance states in healing rituals. Dance is used for this purpose by many cultures from the Brazilian rainforest to the Kalahari Desert. Medieval European danses macabres were thought to have protected participants from disease; however; the hysteria and duration of these dances sometimes led to death due to exhaustion.

Sri Lankan dance goes back to the mythological times of aboriginal yingyang twins and “yakkas” (devils). According to a Sinhalese legend, Kandyan dances originated 2500 years ago, from a magic ritual that broke the spell on a bewitched king. Many contemporary dance forms can be traced back to historical, traditional, ceremonial, and ethnic dances.

So you may recall that I joined Soul Sessions about 2 months ago (yup, seriously lacking in my posting these days but it’s because I’m so busy doing things I love haha!) and started by taking a yoga class which was great but a little too hard for my sore arthritic bones, so I vowed to try out their dance classes and see what happened! Well, flash forward 8 weeks and I am LOVING dance, and everything it’s done to change my body, mind and spirit!

I’ve always loved to dance, for as long as I can remember really! I took ballet and jazz as a child, and always scored high on the floor in gymnastics because my routines were so good. I was also a competitive cheerleader, and always used dance as a form of exercise and release in my teenage years too! I hadn’t done anything with it for years through my twenties until I actually started taking Jazzercise classes (stop laughing!) right before I started having pain from what I now know is psoriatic arthritis in my late 20s.

I was devastated to have to stop back then (about 7 years ago) because I’d finally found something I loved doing that was also keeping me active. I honestly never thought I’d be able to dance again because my illness can really keep me down with pain, but at Soul Sessions I’ve found classes that I can do and do at my own pace when I’m having a hard pain day 🙂

My favourites so far? Dance Fusion (a mix of hip hop, burlesque, latin, caribbean and more!) and Ballet Booty which is ballet for adults! I’m also waiting for the opportunity to try their Latin Legs class that just doesn’t work time-wise for me, but I’m going to get there before the end of the year for sure!

The benefits are tenfold for me. I’ve lost 60 lbs so far this year and I’ve found that this form of exercise is helping me continue to lose and helping tone and re-shape my body which ROCKS! Mentally, it’s an incredible release to sweat out my problems and spiritually I’m really feeling connected to my soul’s passion. It’s really reinvigorated me in a way I didn’t think was possible, and I am so so incredibly grateful.

The verdict: Dancing is something I will continue to do for as long as I possibly can. I’m actually in LOVE with how I feel when I dance, and the freedom of mind that just washes over me. Can’t wait to keep trying out new classes!

Week 10 – Make a Dreamcatcher

Activity: Making a dreamcatcher

Where: At home!

Cost: $46 from Sloan Dream Kits off of Etsy

The Story: Dream catchers are one of the most fascinating traditions of Native Americans. The traditional dream catcher was intended to protect the sleeping individual from negative dreams, while letting positive dreams through. The positive dreams would slip through the hole in the center of the dream catcher, and glide down the feathers to the sleeping person below. The negative dreams would get caught up in the web, and expire when the first rays of the sun struck them.

I’ve always loved dreamcatchers, and can remember having one in my room hanging over my bed even as a little girl. I love the legend behind them, and the idea that my bad dreams (plenty of these in the past 6 months!) can be trapped and carried away by the morning light. I decided this week it was time to take a break from outdoor adventures, and get my craft on again, so I checked out DIY Dreamcatcher Kits on Etsy, and found this little guy to try out:

DC1 DC2

So as complicated as it all looks, once I got started (and watched a Youtube video lol) it was actually super simple to put this beauty together! I did have to do the threading/webbing 3 times because I did it wrong the first time, and it unraveled the second, but third time’s a charm and I had the hoop ready to go!

DC3 DC4

I’m not kidding, I still look at these pictures and can’t believe I did this lol! Such a fun venture into creativity that didn’t have me ripping my hair out (for once). So web completed, time to tie the pieces of lace and fabric provided and start making the streamers:

DC5

The finished product still makes me smile every time I see it, and the pictures I’ll post really just can’t do it justice! If you’re crafty at all, and enjoy the idea of having a dream catcher, I totally recommend you make your own! Mine still needs some feathers glued on (didn’t have a glue gun last night, but I’ll grab one), but otherwise, here’s the finished product:

DC7 DC8 DC9 DC10

And here she is hanging up over my bed (excuse the terrible lighting, but it was like 10pm):

DC6

The Verdict: I would definitely do this again! To be honest, I’d probably source my own materials because I think choosing all kinds of fun, vintage fabrics and lace from second hand stores would make this even more fun. The gal who sold me this kit is Canadian, which makes her super awesomely friendly, and she actually sent me two kits instead of one so I’ll get to working on the second one soon! Head’s up to everyone, I just booked the most awesomely amazing adventure for the week of August 17-23 so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, I have something active up my sleeve for next week! XO