The End of 2020 – A New House, Old Friends and So Much Stress

Ryan and Eva in front of the new house.

So 2020 has ended and I’m a month late on this post. To be fair we were buying a house and getting everything figured out over January so I did my best here.

But hey, now it’s 2021! We have just moved into a house we bought, we got to celebrate New Years Eve via Discord with our friends and even though we are stressed, it seems like things are taking an uphill climb.

I look forward to showing you guys our new home and bringing you along with me for renovations, painting, decorating and of course, baking! It will be wonderful to be able to have my own kitchen that I can do what ever I want with. Ryan is excited to have a “nerd room” and I can’t wait to set up my office again. (I am writing this on my phone).

Before and after under kitchen sink.

Renovations are going well, though a bit slower than I had hoped. Who knew that framing is difficult and water is an angry beast?

All in all 2021 looks like it might be a good year in our household. Even though there is always dread and anxiety in my brain I feel like having a little more independence will be good for us in the long run even though home ownership is incredibly stressful and frustrating. Did you know it costs $700.00 to have your pipes augured? I don’t even own trees, the city does but I have to pay to not have my basement flood because of their stupid roots! It makes no sense to me but hey, that’s what owning a house is. A lot of frustration and confusion.

Ryan and Eva renovating the basement.

All in all January was a very stressful but productive month and February looks to be on track to be about the same.

Boss Lady Energy

Intimidating Women

Do people call you scary? Intimidating? Loud?

Then we have something in common. 

I see myself as a sweet lady but other people seem to see me as some tough biker lady who doesn’t spend her days baking and day dreaming of adopting dogs. Externally I understand that I wear mostly black and I stopped smiling at strangers when I moved to a big city because it was inviting the wrong kind of attention (I grew up in a town where a smile and a good morning was normal, but when I moved to Edmonton I found out that smiling at most people will lead to them asking inappropriate questions). From a distance maybe I even look mean.

I didn’t realize how intimidating I am until people started telling me that I am. My old roommate, friends, ladies at the bank and even neighbours.

I realize though that I am a loud person. I speak freely and my opinions are not something I hide but rather enjoy talking about. I speak with my shoulders back and I am physically larger than most women. I have cold blue eyes and I understand that some people still see tattoos as a bad thing. Combine all that together and you get the kind of person who scares people even though I’m not trying to. 

Not long ago my friend made an outdated joke while I was in the kitchen and I realized the amount of power I hold due to being intimidating woman because all it took was me to lift an eyebrow for that man to sit right down and apologize for the inappropriate jest. There is a balance to this though. I do not find joy in intimidating others, actually when people make that commentary it hurts. I don’t want to be known that way, I want to be known as someone who is kind and loving. At the same time though, I like that being intimidating makes my conversations easier and more direct. People don’t waver in conversation with me and my questions are answered promptly and respectfully. 

While there is power in intimidation, I don’t think it is wise to actively try to intimidate people nor do I think anyone is always scary. When I am frosting cupcakes I don’t think anyone would be intimidated, but when I’m swinging an axe, I can see why people might want to keep their distance. 

We now hear about girl boss moves, female empowerment and using our voices to make the world better and I want to see that become the norm. Be loud, take up space, call out bullshit and support the people around you in a healthy and sustainable way that is built on respect and empathy. Use your loud voice to help other people, to speak with and listen to those around you. Shine bright. Know your worth and understand the choices you make are your own. No one else can make them for you, so 

If you want to be a kick ass working mom, then do it! We see women at the top more and more and we are slowly changing to understand that a woman with kids isn’t worth less than a man with kids. 

Photo by Alina Vilchenko on

You want to start a company? Do it! Employ others, build communities, provide worth and profit from your drive. 

You would rather travel the world freely than have kids? Good! Go find yourself and explore the world, engage in culture and find joy in your travels. 

Be proud of being loud. Be proud of who you are and you are becoming. Be kind and embrace life. 

Reviewing My Hot Sauce Collection

Hey guys, today we are looking into all of the hot sauces I own. I did this based on flavour, not heat measures. I believe that hot sauces are only good if they taste good, and I tried to recommend foods that these sauces can be paired with. Please enjoy and let me know which is your favourite sauce or recommend new sauces to me, because I love sauces and will likely buy them off your recommendations.

I can not tell you how long it took to write this, as I re-tried every sauce to be accurate and it did give me a very strong stomach ache after ingesting 20 sauces in a row. I strongly recommend never doing that. It’s okay though, because I love hot sauces, so below are somewhere around 40 sauces that I have and have taste tested for your reading pleasure.

Paddy O’s Potion is a very mild sauce with a watery consistency that makes a wonderful vinaigrette for salads. Its prime flavour is carrot, though the grapefruit can be found in the medley of flavours and there is a sharpness with the vinegar.

Crystal Hot Sauce is a true Louisiana sauce with a sharp vinegar flavour that is followed with mild heat. It makes for a wonderful wing sauce and bakes well on chicken breasts. If you like franks, this tastes very much like it with the addition of a tomato flavour. If you wanted a spicy gumbo, this is the perfect sauce for it.

Dirty Dicks has a vulgar name but a sweet flavour. It has a lot of fruit flavours as it has mangoes, bananas and pineapple in its recipe, but it is evened out with garlic and tomato, which makes it a wonderfully balanced sauce. It’s sticky, sweet and moderately spicy that can be put on just about anything. Hot dogs, pork, vegetables and cheeses all pair wonderfully with this sauce.

Once again with the vulgar name but a sweet taste. This Caribbean Dream sauce embraces smokey flavours mixed with the richness of a thick mustard. It’s sweetness comes from the pears, peaches, apple and pineapple in the recipe that are counterbalanced with smokey habanero, mustard and apple cider vinegar. This sauce sticks me as good for sandwiches, meats and roasted vegetables.


El Yucateco produces a lot of hot sauces, but their Chile Habanero is a smokey masterpiece perfect for ground beef, grilled fish and roasted potatoes. It has a strong smokey flavour that veils most of the vinegar flavour in the sauce. The flavour is simple as it tastes almost entirely of habanero and garlic which makes it versatile, as garlic and habanero compliment most flavours.

Marie Sharp’s Belizean Heat is another Louisiana style hot sauce without the strong vinegar flavour that has a good tomato flavour backing it up. The lime comes through subtly as do the carrots, making it an upgraded version of Franks.

Rogue is a sweet and fruity sauce with heat to back it up. The pears in the sauce come through quickly and the heat follows up in seconds. It mixes well with mayonnaise to make a quick and simple dip for vegetables and chips.

Bigfat’s is a company that leans into smokey flavour and this one follows suit. With a strong chipotle flavour mixed with smoke makes for a fantastic addition to meats.


Black Garlic and Carolina Reaper has strong heat, deep pepper flavour and is very versatile. This sauce goes well with just about anything. With the flavour being nearly entirely that of peppers, it can be added to most dishes, as it won’t muddle the flavour while adding heat. There is a slight black garlic flavour with it’s caramelized umami, but it is by no means overwhelming.

Ako Miso is perfect for anything that needs umami and soy flavours. It is great in ramen, on fish and in rice dishes with fish in them. Not versatile outside of this realm, but if you like this flavour palette, it’s worth purchasing.

This sauce doesn’t actually seem to be a hot sauce as there is little to no heat in it. It is milder than Sriracha and Franks. It does have a pleasant tomato flavour that is perfect for adding to a boring or chunky salsa.

Truff brings the earthy flavour of truffles into your sauce. While the flavour could be compared to a sweeter and spicier bean flavour, there is a complexity to the sauce that makes it incredibly delicious. The consistency is thicker than most, making it an excellent sauce addition to pasta as it sticks well. This sauce is often unfairly judged on its first tasting due to the unfamiliar flavour of truffle, but you will quickly change your mind and learn to love it.


Shaquandas has a sweet pickle flavour that is complemented with the carrot, tomato and lemon that sneak along with it. While it is a sweeter sauce, I have enjoyed it coated on baked chicken, on pork and as a dip for chips.

The first thing you taste when you try Kat’s Eye is the smokey lime flavour. It’s a simple sauce that uses cilantro as a driving flavour force. If you enjoy smokey flavour and herbaceous notes, this sauce is for you.

The driving flavour is this sauce is tomato, but it doesn’t outshine the turmeric, mustard and carrots that make up the rest of the flavour. A mild and versatile sauce that is rightly held in high opinion.

As you might have guessed, the more potent flavour is the ginger. It pairs well with the scotch bonnet to make this mild sauce that pairs well with jellies, cheeses, cured meats, chips and mangoes.


Joy Ride is a simple and mild sauce that tastes mostly of bell peppers and oregano. It’s simplicity makes it incredibly versatile as it is a good addition to every meal I have added it to. It is also thin enough and flavourful enough to make for a lovely salad vinaigrette.

A very strong tomato flavoured sauce that has a little heat. It marinates chicken well.

This sauce stays true to its chipotle flavour, adding a little smoke and sweetness that balances the whole flavour well. It is a little spicy but makes a great addition to chicken burgers, fries, sandwiches and cheeses.

The first time I tried this sauce it nearly killed me with heat. To this day I think it is a very hot sauce that bites without any sweetness to even it out. If you like a sauce that is harsh and very peppery, this one is for you.


Dawsons is the one sauce I have where I can taste an oil. The first thing I taste is olive oil, quickly followed by sugar and habanero. It has a sharp vinegar heat that we find in Louisiana style sauces.

A sweet pickle flavour that’s mixed in a chipotle flavour that mixes beautifully with mayonnaise to make chip dips and it marinates well on chicken.

This is a truly unique sauce that brings a lovely minty flavour forward on a herbaceous base. This pairs so well with pork, especially cured pork. The spicy level is perfect for nearly everyone.

This is an incredibly hot sauce that should not be used unless you are very used to very spicy food and shouldn’t be used undiluted. It has a simple earthy pepper flavour that lends well to mayo based sauces and mustard bases.


The primary flavour that comes through on this sauce is the cherry flavour. It isn’t overly sweet and it has a lovely minty-ness. It pairs well with hard cheeses and the odd dessert item.

This sauce is the perfect blend of sweet sauce, smokey flavour and almost chipotle. It comes together to taste like a fantastic hot rib sauce.

This is my absolute favourite Louisiana sauce. It has a strong smack of tomato, followed with sweetness from the sugar, a little kick of tamarind, a bite from the vinegar and a great smokey garlic flavour.

This sauce is not good. It actually tastes like battery acid.


Very simple sauce with a earthy pepper flavour. It is very hot and should not be used by those who can’t tolerate spicy food.

A very fresh habanero and pineapple favour that hit hard with heat, the sweetness sneaks in and it ends in a smokey finish.

This sauce has the indentical flavour to the 708 7 Pot. Its a sweet chipotle flavour that is marginally hotter than the original 708.

A simple sauce that includes oranges, carrots and tomatoes to combat the heat of the ghost peppers in this recipe.


A strong sauce with a simple blend of ginger, cayenne, habanero and guava. This sauce uses an extract so expect a strong burn.

This is an interesting sauce that combines avocado and ginger to little success. I find it to have a dirt flavour mixed with a vinegar bite that just isn’t pleasant.

This sauce has a sweet blueberry flavour that is matched by a wall of heat. I haven’t found a lot of good pairings for this sauce outside of making dips for plain chips.

A smokey sauce that has a creeping sweetness. Don’t be fooled though, the heat builds slowly but steadily. It has a bit of an artificial flavour that makes it hard to pair.


A neutral sauce that has sweetness equal to heat and savoury taste. With mustard, sesame, onion, garlic and honey, this sauce makes for an excellent wing sauce.

A sauce with a very natural medley of pepper flavours that doesn’t compromise heat. With lime and garlic it is a very versatile sauce that adds a healthy amount of heat.

A well balanced sauce that has strong heat, a natural fruit sweetness and a raw pepper that makes for a great sauce.


A sauce that immediately hits with some spicy but follows up with a mild honey and pineapple flavour. Its simple and yummy.

Book Review : Let That Sh*t Go – Nina P and Kate P.

Initial Reaction

I have just finished the first thirty pages, so I am going to write this before continuing. The structure and tone of the writing is playful, a little vulgar but honest. There is no feeling of “this is a scam” or “this couldn’t possibly work” when they talk about taking control of your observational mind (a recurring message in the book) because I recognize that that is something I do and I know the difference between my “chatty brain” and “observational brain” from living in my own head. I can see the value in building up the mental force and skills to become a stronger observer of my minds needs and reactions rather than being emotionally driven into being actively chatty to myself. I look forward to continuing to read, which I am going to do right now even though it is incredibly late and I should really be in bed.

If happiness existed in objects or experiences, then the same objects and experiences would make everyone equally happy.

Nina Purewal & Kate Petriw ; Let That Sh*t Go, (Page 8)

Score : 7/10

While I think the book has a good overall message, there is a finicky part to it. Nina Purewal minored in Psychology but majored in Business. This is a little questionable to me as she didn’t specialize in psychology or even major in it, so her book immediately becomes more of a “personal recommendation” rather than a “professional opinion” to me.

Kate Petriw is also a business lady with Bachlor of Commerce, Marketing and Sustainability from McGill University as well as Environmental Communication Planning from Duke University. Neither of these are psychology courses, though the communication planning does focus on changing human behaviour through study and evaluation. Again this does not leave me with the impression that I am reading a professional book meant to aid individuals as much as a passion project between two Toronto women who touched on the subject from different angles and related the material through anecdotes.

Now while I have said this seems like less of a professional book, I still think it holds water and can help people through their anxieties and interpersonal issues, hence why I rated it so high.


Notable Moments

“Menial tasks will become calming ones”

Nina Purewal & Kate Petriw ; Let That Sh*t Go, (Page 23)

This stood out to me. They were commenting on how mentally speaking yourself through your tasks helps keep you in the moment and I realized that I did this when I was driving to keep my mind from wandering when I was in a bad mood. The idea of tasks becoming calming also rings true to me as I think of how much I hate washing my hair, but when I turn it into a treat to give myself a good scalp massage it feels very soothing.

This is just my mind getting stressed. I notice it, and I understand why I might be stressed, but really, there’s no reason to go down this spiral for the tenth time.

Nina Purewal & Kate Petriw ; Let That Sh*t Go, (Page 31)

This quote required the context of the “observational mind” which is the internal voice we have that comments. I like the idea of being self aware enough to recognize when you are leading yourself down a dark spiral in your mind and actively working to stop that spiral from taking hold. I think there is a lot of merit in working against your anxieties and depression internally, no matter how frustrating and exhausting it can be.


Replacing your negative thoughts for a day, a week, or a month is just the beginning. It takes content effort and awareness to change these thought patterns and create new ones.

Nina Purewal & Kate Petriw ; Let That Sh*t Go, (Page 83)

I also agree with this sentiment. It is as irritating as it is true. Mental fortitude and health are not short battles easily won, but rather wars that last lifetimes that must be conquered slowly and mindfully.

Closing Thoughts

While I enjoyed this book I do not think it is one I would re-read any time soon. The sometimes crude natural of the writing is a little jarring as it is not written for a young enough audience for that language to catch hold and seem mature. As the intended audience is adult, the crude language seems immature for the audience but perhaps the editors for the book thought it would help the book stand apart. While one could argue that with a title that includes “sh*t” in it, I should have been prepared for cursing I do not agree. Since the asterix was included I thought the loud design of the cover was simply to attract the eye of a reader who is tired of titles like “The Secret” that coddle the reader into a fairly comfortable mentality while reading.

Aside from language, the constant recollections and commentary being mixed together was a good choice that I felt helped the narrative of the message to be more easily understood by the audience. All in all, I think you should read the book. I know I am going to lend it out to a few people, which I only do if I think the book is good.


I would love to hear your thoughts on the book in the comments below!

The Cardigan, the Shirt and the Splendid Jeans

Hello guys! If you know me you know that I love fashion, but I don’t live by labels or trendy items. As a plus sized woman I don’t often have a lot of selection when purchasing in person and most trendy, lower cost stores don’t carry my size. This makes keeping my wardrobe up to date a rather expensive endeavour. Honestly though, even if I could afford to fill my closet with every new piece, I don’t find a lot of this years fashion suits my body type or size. I am not one for showing off my stomach and this year has been another year of crop tops and side split dresses. When I do find sales on clothing that suits my body I buy because I don’t know the next time I will find something again.

This week we had a little time to wander around so Ryan and I visited the mall. By sheer luck this coincided with the first time I wore this adorable floral skirt. I bought it last year and after a day of wear I will never put it on again. The skirt may be cute but paired with the shape of my hips and the shape wear I chose, the skirt was jumping six inches higher than I wanted it to as I walked, showing off my black shape wear and my butt if I didn’t keep a hand on my skirt.



I quickly grabbed a sheer black sleeveless dress shirt from Ardenes for $6.14 (who does now carry a small selection of plus sized pieces in their Basics Collection). In the spirit of wearing more colour though I asked Ryan to pick out a sweater for me in Urban Planet that wasn’t black and came back to find him debating between a peach and maroon cardigan. Not a sweater but he insisted that I would look “super cute” in it and to be honest, I think he was right. It was $12.00 which I think is a pretty good price for a gilet length knitted cover, though I do wish there was a little more volume to the bottom to give it a nice a line effect. I do think a triangular white lace insert in the bottom centred could give that shape while also making the piece unique.

Eva Blakeman – Cardigan

I also wanted to get a cute pair of boots while we were there but due to “no try on” policy combined with their “final sale” shoe policy I just couldn’t justify throwing money at a pair of shoes that I couldn’t even try on.

The splendid jeans though, man am I happy I found these bad boys. It feels like it’s impossible to find jeans and I know I am not the only lady who has cried in the fitting room trying to pull any self esteem together while trying to button the pants. In this case I was very lucky as I couldn’t try on the jeans in store but they fit beautifully. I did the old trick where you pull the top of the jeans around your hips to see if they will fit and it worked. I love stretchy jeans in the warm months and these have really good diagonal and vertical stretch. I can pop down into a squat without any strain in the fabric. Did I mention these jeans were $20.00? It is so hard to get fun jeans under $60.00 a pair and these bad boys (in a size 16) are awesome!


Today wasn’t just a couple of clothing items as I got my hands on three books! The first being “The Fork, The Witch and the Worm” which is a series of short stories that take place after the events of the Inheritance Cycle written by Christopher Paolini. For those who didn’t read the series, they are also known as the Eragon Series. The first book had a large blue dragon on it and if you are under 30 I would wager you saw it in your junior high and high school libraries. I have read and re-read the books many times as I love the universe and when I found out there was a little more story I had to get a copy. I have read 50 pages so far and it is almost exactly what I wanted to read without being the story I expected. A good middle group between fan service and genuinely adding to the story.

The second book is very much not a fictional story but it is a useful tool. I think most adults I’ve ever met could get something out of reading “Let That Sh*t Go” but Nina Purewal and Kate Petriw. From a quick peruse while standing in the book store trying to stay away from other patrons, I gathered that the book concentrates on mindfulness and mastery of your own consciousness, which I can say is something I dearly need. If I love the book I’ll make sure to write about it in the future. This style of book, the self-help, had always seemed to dull to me until I read “Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferris. That book changed my view on the non-fiction narrative that these books often follow in a fractured state. I also think the shift from books that were ornate and called something like “Self Care for the Modern Women” to things like “Get Your Sh*t Together” has made an impact on sales within in my generation. Being a “millennial” *shudder* means bold statements and ruthlessness catches our attention more than kindness on the cover. Uh millennial. I don’t know why the news still portrays millennial as 18 year olds who can’t figure out their taxes… if you aren’t of my generation, we are not children but rather adults in our mid twenties to our late thirties. Yes we react more positively to this kind of marketing, but I believe a lot of that has to due with our perception of modern imagery. We have returned to the “pop art” era where bold colour choices in simple designs paired with bold black text embodies the late 2010’s and early 2020’s. Anyways..


It was a fun and unexpected trip that was very fruitful for me, but not so much for Ryan, who got a coffee but none of the books he wanted due to them not being in stock in stores in our city.

If you want to chit chat about this post or about anything else, please feel free to comment below and I will get back to you as quickly as I can.

Salt Scalp Massages

Oh I wish I had known about these way sooner! I don’t think my scalp has ever felt so clean and fresh before. When I get my hair cut professionally they get somewhat close to this feeling. This post is a story about the adventure my scalp and I went on today.

Okay so today I was feeling just like garbage and I realized my mood wasn’t going to get better. I had a hard time deciding to do anything, so I spent a lot of the day laying on my bed doing nothing. It was just going to be a slow Sunday. About halfway through the afternoon I decided I was just going to invest some time in my mental health instead of laying around like a sea slug, so I ran a bubble bath.

Now since I hadn’t given myself a lot of self love for a while, I did not hold back on the quality of my bubble bath experience. I lit about 20 tea light candles and put them all around the bathroom and the side of the tub. I poured eucalyptus bubble bath into the water and I even supplemented it all with a little coconut oil in the bath as well. This was going to be a good bath that would satisfy me though ambiance, scent and feeling. I slid into the warm water and for a while I just read. I have been reading “Let That Sh*t Go” by Nina Purewal and Kate Petriw, a wonderful book for adults who just can’t seem to win against their anxious brain.


After a while of reading and practicing some mindfulness techniques I thought to myself “I want a facial massage, and I deserve to have one” so I looked up a very nice massage video (linked here) and followed step by step how to do a Chi massage. I don’t necessarily understand Chi, but the massage was soothing and it helped me release the very tight muscles in my jaw that I think are contributing to a near constant head ache I have going on now.

I may not understand Chi, but I do understand the immediate relief I felt upon doing to massage. My neck hurt less, my jaw released and even my shoulders let go a little. I think that massage therapy would do a better job than a self massage, but for today, I am very happy with what I got.

Photo by Burst on

Anyways, once all that was done I thought about my poor scalp and how I have neglected it lately so I looked up common scalp cleanses and saw about 50 videos on salt scrubs. I snuck through the house to the kitchen and poured myself a nice bowl of both Himalayan and iodized table salt, then snuck back to the bath, only leaving many wet footprints as evidence. Thankfully no one got hurt due to them, but I did step into my own wet footprint in my socks later which seemed apt.

I split my hair down the middle and started scrubbing in the salt. I think it took around 30 minutes for me to scrub every inch of the scalp, but it was so worth it. I used the tips of my fingers and slowly worked the salt into my roots with a medium pressure. The skin felt so alive, it almost felt like it was thrumming as the blood felt so close to my skin. If you were wondering what scrubbing salt into your head feels like, it feels like the best head scratched you’ve had. At this point though I recognized that I had a bowl of salt in my hair, so I laid back into the water and let the salt dissolve in my roots as I drifted slowly in the warmth of the bath.

Photo by cottonbro on

Now was the time for shampoo, so I loaded up my hands and took my sweet time cleaning all the oils, left over salt and debris that the salt has scrubbed off my scalp. I massaged for about 10 minutes, and I noticed just how much hair was coming off my head. I didn’t panic, I know that in the last couple days I just haven’t taken care of myself. I kept making plans but like was ignoring my scheduling, so simple things like taking a shower had to take a back seat this week. So once all the gunk and hair had been scrubbed I ran water over my scalp until there was no way anything was left in my hair and I applied a little but of mouse before roughly towel drying and brushing out my hair to let it air dry.


At this moment, as I type this, my hair is still drying but my scalp feels lighter and my hair seems to have more volume, so I would guess that my hair was being held down by product residue and dirt near my scalp and I just got used to it being that way.

I think I will implement salt scrubs into my hair care, though I imagine only once or twice a month. I would 10/10 recommend trying it out for yourself! I would also always recommend sinking into a warm bath with a book when you’re having a bad day, as it always seems to help me out.

Thank you so much for reading, I really appreciate your time. Please feel free to comment and share your experiences in the comments.

Mindfully Quitting Nicotine

Hey guys! If you guys remember, over a year ago I went from smoking cigarettes to vaping. While yes there is a lot of debate over the health problems caused by both methods, we are talking about quitting today, not which is worse.

Photo by Flora Westbrook on

Why did I quit?

You might be thinking, “For your health of course!” and you would be wrong. Not that I don’t care about my health, but it is lower on the priority scale than money. With the pandemic funds have gotten tighter and I can’t justify such an expensive habit anymore. The average cost of me vaping per month was around $200, which isn’t something to sneeze at. Thats more than my phone and internet bill added together.


Was it hard?

Yes. I don’t think anyone wants to mislead quitters into believing quitting will be a stroll in the park. It sucked really bad for the first four or five days, though the third is just as bad as everyone has told you it is. I wept, I screamed, I apologized, I hid, I sat on the floor and I drank a bottle on wine on the third day. Thankfully my fiancé was very understanding of the chemical insanity that was happening in my brain, which made it a lot easier. There is a headache that seems to be ever present, your limbs feel weird, your heart might even seem different. I found I was sweating like crazy from the increased circulation in my body. I did suffer insomnia during the first 4 days, which did not help my mood.

Photo by Manav Sharma on

Now, a week later, I feel more stable but there is still definitely something left over in my brain that is making me feel a bit off. I am still having some troubles with sleep, but from what I can figure that’s quite normal for nicotine quitters.

How did you quit?

I used our modern way of quitting. I bought a vape and reduced the amount of nicotine from 60mg down to 0 mg over a period time. This means that right now I have my vape with me, but there is no nicotine in it. This has made it easier for me to quit nicotine, as I am only breaking the chemical addiction while leaving the habitual side alone for the moment. This is a slower way to quit, but it’s the only one I’ve managed to make work.

I tried to quit smoking cold turkey and failed many times, then earlier this year I tried to quit vaping overnight and failed once again. For me, this has been the only method where I have made it to day 4 without nicotine. As of right now I am on day 8, so things are going well.


Why is this called Mindfully Quitting Nicotine?

That is a great question. The answer lies in how I decided to approach quitting this time. I accepted that I was going to be a little unstable and set up my personal life to accommodate that for a little bit. I informed most people of my decision and requested they leave me alone unless there was an emergency so that I wouldn’t snap at them during a bad moment or have them inadvertently stressing me out.

That worked pretty well and I don’t believe anyone took offence to being cutout for a week to help me quit a habit that could very likely cause cancer in my lungs.

At home I decided it was better to have the support of my man on the worst days even though they would be difficult for us as a couple to make it through. This was a good decision as my fiancé had been there when I failed and knew better this time how to console and distract me. He also knew when to walk away and let me stew in anger over how much my head hurt.

Where is the mindful part? I’m getting there!

I decided that after the first 5 days I was going to be stronger than my angry brain. I wasn’t going to let other people or the calls of addiction bring me down. I decided that daily walks, comedy routines and reading would be part of my daily routine in order to help me stay positive and motivated. I also decided to practice more self control over my emotions, which to be very honest with you, is not something I have worked on since I was a teen. That has been difficult, but ultimately it needed to be done whether I quit nicotine or not. Being stale, not improving, not working on bettering myself, it’s just not good for me. Not to mention how annoying it is to be an emotional individual in our current world. I get so rilled up by all that is happening that I can’t focus on issues that are right in-front of me that demand my attention.

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on

I don’t think this is a great way for everyone to quit, but for me, dog pilling mental health, physical health and addiction all on top of each other to be dealt with simultaneously has been working. I hope I have the strength to maintain it until the month is up and my brain stops acting like a chemically highjacked fool.


I tried to keep this fairly light hearted, but in all seriousness, quitting any addiction is really hard and if it is something you are suffering though right now, I hope you know how much stronger you are than your addiction. You can do it and I sincerely hope you achieve your quitting goals.

If you want to leave advice or commentary on quitting nicotine in the comments I would be very happy to read them!

Isolated Glow Up

Nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. Please contact your doctor before making changes to diet or lifestyle.

Like a lot of people, I have been in my home due to the virus. There has been a lot of discussion about “glow up” during this time, which is an encouraging idea for bettering health during a time where it’s likely people would likely be depressed, anxious and over eating.

I have taken part in both sides of this. Early in the isolation, we definitely over ate and I gained weight and felt pretty bad about treating my body so badly. After a couple weeks of damaging our health, Ryan and I sat down and committed to holding each other accountable for our eating habits. Unfortunately during a bout of painful cramps and heavy bleeding I broke down and ate a fair amount of ice cream and Ryan has allowed himself cheat meals, something perhaps I should have also done to avoid eating a massive bowl of ice cream.

Photo by Somben Chea on

I have lost ten pounds since we started taking care of ourselves again. Mostly due to cutting down sugar. I am very bad once something is in the house. If there is pop in the fridge I will always reach for it before water. My coffee and tea both get a heavy handful of sugar. So Ryan hid the pop from me and I have avoided tea and coffee since we started this diet. This has always been a reliable way for me to the control of my diet when I fall off the wagon, which happens more often than I would like to admit. Cutting out drinkable sugar is a massive change, not to mention kicking caffeine at the same time. The first three days can be difficult as my brain is pounding, screaming for caffeine and my mouth adjusts to the real food that doesn’t taste of salt and sugar.

My water consumption went from 8-10 oz a day to 16-24 oz of water a day. Some people would say that isn’t enough water, but for me, that’s all I can make myself drink unless I go for a very long walk. I also went back to an old favourite of mine. Chicken and Rice soup. With very low amounts of sugar, sodium and carbs it is a fairly good meal for weight loss for me. I try to eat fruit and vegetables every day for nutrients, but the majority of my consumed calories is in the form of soup. I chose to use way too much water in my soup to fill my stomach without adding more calories, which works very well at subduing my appetite.

My daily reading has also increased a fair amount. I normally get to sit and read for half an hour to an hour a day, but now I get to read up to two hours a day, which is really good for keeping my anxiety lower.

Photo by Negative Space on

I’ve also taken a lot more time to caring for my skin. It is recommended that people in isolation bathe daily, which has lead to a drastic increase in baths for me. I take my bath time to do my skin care, as a lot of my products need to sit on the skin for a little while to be effective. So I get to relax, chug some water, treat my skin to hydrating treatments and twice a week to exfoliation as well as twice a week microneedling. My skin is much clearer, less pigmented and my fine lines and dark circles have been improving.

Exercise. I wish I could say I’m doing well with this, but every time I go for a walk the bones in my feet get very angry and my left foot swells up for a couple days. I know that this is because my sneakers don’t fit the shape of my feet well. They are very cool rainbow nike sneakers that I received as a gift that are pretty darn good gym shoes, but unfortunately after about an hour of walking in them, my feet just don’t like them. I would love to get different shoes, but as the stores are closed, I can’t try on the sneakers which is very important to me. I can go for shorter walks, under 7000 steps per walk, which aren’t nearly as effective for weight loss.

As for exercising at home, in my apartment building I have two families with young children who live under me who complain immediately if I do any exercise in my home. This seems a little unfair as I don’t call and complain about their screaming children who jump around and shake my floor all day, but unless I want to be evicted, I can’t do much in my home.

So I believe this time, while unfortunate, has given me some time to focus on my own health, both mental and physical. I recognize I am lucky in a lot of ways during this time as my fiancé has worked under essential employment during this time. I realize I am lucky to have a partner I can talk to every day and family I can call. We have devised ways to play games online with all our friends together and I have definitely FaceTimed with friends to have a drink together. I believe we will come out of this time with a lot more appreciation for the people in our daily lives and the freedoms we often take for granted. I know this is a very optimistic view of the situation, but thinking about the dark side of it all makes me very anxious so I am trying to focus on silver linings.

Let me know what you’ve been doing during this time and leave suggestions for things to do in the comments!

A Tour Of My Desk

My desk, like many peoples, is my central command. It’s where most of my day is spent and for that reason it’s important that it’s a comfortable space for me. For the purposes of being honest, I did not clean up or tidy up before taking pictures, as that would feel disingenuous.

Eva Blakeman – My Desk Tour

From left to right I will go over my desk and talk about the things that are on it. First up is my trusty water bottle that follows me every minute of every day. I started doing this years ago to ensure I was drinking more water and not reaching for a pop or juice in the fridge. By always having it with me, I naturally reach for it. I do often use Mio to flavour my water as I am not a natural water craving person.

OPI avojuice hand lotion. This has been a staple hand cream in my home since I was a kid. My mother loved it and passed that love onto me. It smells great, has a light texture and it just makes me happy.

My pile of sticky notes. In the interest of honesty there were a lot more sticky notes stuck to the bottom of my computer, but I took them down for privacy reasons. The bottom of my computer and the wall beside my desk is always covered in sticky notes that vary from deadlines, ideas, projects and the odd quote. I do colour code them, pink being for this blog. Yellow is for podcasts (to listen to OVP click here). Green is for appointments and orange and blue are for everything else. I like my little system even though it often looks messy.

My stapler is hidden behind the sticky notes, but my calculator gets an incredible amount of use. Yes I know my computer has a calculator, but as I do my budgeting and everything else at my desk, it’s just faster to use a physical calculator.

My jar of pens. Once again, there is colour coding at work here. Black is for non specifics, purple is for the blog, red is for YouTube videos (you can check out my channel by clicking here). Blue is for work schedules. The colours don’t match the sticky notes, but I did bring in the pen system before the sticky note system.

Eva Blakeman – Desk Tour

Continuing from left to right. My sketchbook is always waiting for me to make weird doodles or sketch designs in. Lately I’ve been doing water colour paintings in it. Under the plant stand lives my lip balms and nail polishes. I do often put my polish on while typing as I don’t touch my nails to the keyboard as I type so they dry quickly and don’t smudge while I’m still be productive. Un top of the plant stand lives a Kalanchoe named Kal. I like having plants around but I limited myself to only one on my desk. Beside this is a stack of stencils I use in my bullet journals (which I may or may not have left fairly blank before taking pictures, once again for privacy reasons). In the there level paper shelf, there is no paper. It holds a lot of tabs, washi tape, almonds, pistachios, sticky notes, glass cleaning cloths and odd bits and pieces. The two bullet journals both serve different purposes. The one on top is my schedule for my personal life and content creation as well as where I log things like car maintenance and birthdays. The one underneath is where my budget and work schedule live. I will not be showing that one, but I do actually stack them like this to save space on my desk while still having access to them.

There it is. The unglamorous desk of a blogger. It’s not fancy, and as you can see by the laptop behind my computer, we share an office. Our desks are back to back so while we’re in the office we can see each other and communicate easily. I would show you the whole office, but at this moment it is too disorganized to do so. As the office has a closet without doors, it’s where we put pretty much everything that doesn’t have a home which has lead to piles of boxes, supplies, salt and suitcases. One day maybe I’ll give an office tour, which would be nice because we have so many neat things in here.

I hope you enjoyed it and perhaps you feel less bad about the state of your own office. Yes it’s important to be clean, but organization is a commitment my office and I have yet to make. I hope to see you in the comments!

Trying A Bunch Of Hot Sauces


This past week Ryan and I decided to taste increasingly hot hot sauces together and it was a ride. Though I didn’t seem to get any ill effects from the challenge, Ryan has a bit of a harder time. It was fun nonetheless.

Sign Up For The Newsletter!

Success! You're on the list.

No Joke hot sauce is not what I would call a hot sauce. It was packed full of flavours that were incredibly reminiscent of salsa. I would be excellent to add to a salsa to add more flavour without any heat.

Red Hot Sauce is a staple for a lot of people. For those who haven’t tried it, it has a very strong vinegar flavour that pairs well with pork and butter. Not a lot of heat as it sits at 450 SHU. I personally find the vinegar flavour effects me a lot more than the heat in this sauce.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on

Siracha, also known as rooster sauce, has a wonderful spicy flavour with a smooth but bumpy texture. It pairs very well with mild cheeses and deli meats, making it a great addition to charcuterie boards. It comes in at 2200 SHU.

Dirty Dicks Hot Sauce may have a vulgar name, but it’s flavour is great. Perfect to add to your burger with its citrus and sweet flavours paired with good heat. Almost tasting of roasted pineapples it is just delicious. It comes in at 21000 SHU.

Son Of Zombie comes in at 24000 SHU and it comes packing with a strong, rich flavour. A honey garlic with a kick kind of taste that would go well with just about anything!

Stay Up To Date For New Posts

Karma was a surprise to us. We ordered the sauces online and they sent it to us for free.It is marketed as a butternut squash flavour but I tasted more fruity sweetness that would pair very well with pork. It came in at 56000 SHU.

Bravado Black Garlic Carolina Reaper sauce tastes nothing like garlic, but did have a fairly strong barbecue sauce scent and flavour. It holds itself at 71000 SHU which is considered to be fairly high for the average person.

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on

Zombie Apocalypse had a great creamy texture and a really rounded out flavour with carrots and and orange really peaking through the habanero and buht joloka peppers. It sits at 100000 SHU and while it has some kick to it, I would recommend it on a chicken burger. The greasiness of the chicken would pair beautifully with this sauce.

Torchbearer Garlic Reaper Sauce has the best blend of garlic and Carolina reaper peppers. It was smooth, savoury and really had a good kick of heat. I can’t imagine the possibilities when pairing this with foods. It does come in at 116000 SHU so the heat might be a little high for the average consumer, but for hot sauce lovers, it is amazing.

Overall I love spicy foods and hot sauces because they make a simple meal into something incredible. Ryan may have suffered more than me during our look into hot sauces but I look forward to trying hotter sauces down the line.