100 Posts Later – Staying Home and Being Productive

About a year and a half ago I started this website to give myself a place to write for others, try to provide information and at times, humour for other people. Well my 100th post came out a couple days ago, making this my 101st. This one is a life update of sorts. Talking about projects we are working on and things we want to start after this whole worldwide issue has been resolved.

This time has been stressful for everyone, but instead of focusing on all the stress and fear, I want to talk about the good things that have been happening. I have an autoimmune disease, so I am a little more nervous about current events right now, so I haven’t left my home in weeks at this point. That may seem like something that would drive me nuts, but I like my home and I’ve spent years making it into a comfortable space I am happy in.

I got to start new plants. Just before the isolation recommendations went out, I picked up some pots and herb seeds. During these weeks I have watched my Thyme, Green Onions and parsley burst through the soil and grow like weeds. It has been a lovely experience as I haven’t grown herbs before nor have I gotten anything to grow from a seed so this is a double win.

Working on videos. About a month ago I went hard on filming videos for my YouTube channel, which resulted in a catalogue of videos to edit and upload. During these weeks inside, I have convinced Ryan to do a lot of videos with me as well so I’ve spent a lot of time recording and editing lately, which has kept me kinda busy.

Working on the podcast. For those of you who don’t know, Ryan has a podcast ( Optimist vs Pessimist) that we also pre-recorded for due to schedule changes, which happens to have been a very lucky thing. So editing those and getting them online has also been a good project to keep us busy. Because Optimist vs Pessimist is a nerdy podcast, I have had the opportunity to jump in a few times to chime in on Marvel and DC as well as hosting trivia for the boys. Though we can’t record any new episodes for a while due to the Optimist (Ryans friend Carlos) not being a resident in our home it shouldn’t be too long of a break due to all the recording we did a couple weeks ago.

Writing this blog. I love writing here as it gives me an outlet to share information and satisfy my desires to write. I’ve written 100 posts on this blog already, which is amazing to me. It doesn’t seem to me like I’ve written anywhere near that much, but here we are! I do wish I was a little more consistent with my writing, but lately I’ve just felt really drained and anxious, which makes it much harder to get content out of my brain and onto the blog.

Baking. I love baking and have since I was a little girl, and as much as it’s nice to have the free time to bake, I also have to stop myself from baking often. Because there is only two of us in this home and there is no good argument for eating bread, cake and cookies daily, I have to limit my time in the kitchen. Usually I take advantage of our weekly company to bake, providing treats for our guests and limiting our intake of calories, but without the ability to push my food into the stomachs of others, I just can’t convince myself it is reasonable to eat that much sugar.

Video Games. Ryan and I have spent a lot of time in the evenings playing video games together. By together I mean I play my game on the Switch as he plays the Soulsborne games on the PS4. Yesterday I convinced Ryan to stream himself playing Dark Souls 3, so if you are a fan of watching that kind of gameplay, click here to get to his Twitch channel (I am in the background as he plays, commenting and talking about previous Dark Souls and From Software games). Aside from streaming Dark Souls, we have been playing Jack Box games with our friends because we have the games on our PS4 and our friends can play on their phones in their own homes. To make the best of it, we live stream the game to Twitch for them to play with us and have an open Discord voice channel to talk to each other. It has been a great way to be social without endangering anyone.

All in all, we have been trying to make the best of a bad situation and doing our very best to follow the social distancing measures put in place. I don’t want to see this spread any further and if the best thing to do is to stay at home, then that is what I am going to do.

Let me know what you have been doing to keep yourself entertained during this time and please feel free to share advice for others.

Great Cosmetic Gifts This Christmas

Not everyone loves make up, but for those who do, these products will definitely put a smile on their face Christmas morning.

I’ve always looked at make up as “one size fits all”, and while for the most part that is true, there is a way to shop for others that makes it inclusive. For example, buying baby pink lipstick or neon blue eyeshadow for individuals who tend to stay to more neutral tones makes the gift less useful for the individual receiving it.

This list is filled with easy gifts, guaranteed to be used and enjoyed!

Going Coconuts Collection – Colour Pop

This beautiful collection is comprised of a 9 shadow pallet filled with neutral tones, three pressed shadows that glimmer and shine, two bronzers, four lip tints and a two piece lip care kit! These beautiful, neutral toned items are great for medium-dark to light skin tones! It comes in at $67.00 CAD and you can find it right here.

Love Lust Disco Shadow Palette – NYX

This ten colour palette boasts his high impact shimmer in its gold and bronze tones. There are two other palettes in this line as well. One is your rose palette, the other is an icy tone with shimmering blues and cold whites for that high glamour glow. Each palette is $25.00 and can be found here.

Spray Your Grace Baking Spray – Beauty Bakerie

This setting spray is paraben free and incredibly cute! It has ginger and aloe extracts to soothe the skin and it comes from a smaller, independent cosmetic company that not only creates beautiful cosmetics, but is very devoted to charity work and contribution. This spray comes in at $18.00 and can be found here.

Rose All Day Palette – Karity

This $25.00 palette has a lot to give, coming hard with a combination of fine shimmer, matt and sparkling powders. This could easily be a go to palette for just about anyone. The company boasts that their products are cruelty-free, long lasting, ultra pigmented and have minimal fallout! You can find this palette, right here.

Rose All Day Kit – Winky Lux

This lovely little kit comes packing with six high pigment shadows which come in four different finishes as well as a colour changing lip balm that changes to match your skins pH. Not to mention an adorable bag to go with them! This kit comes to $30.00 and can be found here.

12 Piece Elite Set – Firma Beauty

These brushes will blow you away. With firm handles, the softest bristles and great quality, anyone would happy to receive them. This twelve piece kit + the brush box comes in at $74.99 and can be found here. I have to say I own a few firma brushes and they are my favourites.

In The Nude Eyeshadow Palette – Makeup Geek

This nine shadow palette hosts matts, shimmers and foiled textures that compliment most skin tones. It comes from a cruelty-free company and is vegan. It comes in at $29.99 and can be found here.

Jolly Holiday Mini Velvetines Set – Lime Crime

These beautiful red toned liquid lipsticks come together to give beautiful coverage and bold colour. From more nude to bright red these will be suitable from the office to the dance floor to a wonderful date night. Coming in at $47.99, they can be found here.

Bright Lights, Big Hollywood Glamour Kit

This little kit packs big glamour with its deep shades of red, a lip pen, a wonderful mascara and a light grey and silver shimmer shadow that will pull a winter look into the spot light. It comes in at $57.00 and it is an online only pack. You can find it here.

Not everyone loves make up, but for those who do, these products will definitely put a smile on their face Christmas morning. If you have any other products you want to share, please do in the comments.

Yummy Banana Muffins

Makes 24 large muffins.

I guess I’ve been on a bit of a baking spree this week, including some deep fried Oreos and rum balls, and this was the last little baking project for the week as I just can’t have more treats in the house right now. Anyways, I had forgotten to cut up and freeze 8 bananas a few days ago, so I threw them in the freezer intact to make banana bread. I realize some people just let the banana ripen on the counter then smash it up to make banana bread, but I prefer freeze and thaw them as they turn to an almost liquid state when thawed out that makes it so incredibly easy to mix into the batter.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • butter or pam spray to grease pans

Let’s Get Baking

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Mix all wet ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Gradually mix in all dry ingredients.
  4. Grease each muffin hole with butter or pam then fill 3/4 full with batter for large muffins, or 1/2 full for small muffins (like in the pictures on this page).
  5. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes depending on size. Remove from oven when a toothpick inserted comes out clean or once golden brown.
  6. Best served warm with butter. Can be frozen. Should be kept in an air tight container after cooling.

Let’s Talk

I thought it would be nice to talk about cooking and baking for a second here. All the recipes I post on this blog are things I’ve made. I often find very bland recipes for great foods that just need a little more kick or that are using too few essentials. For example, the recipe in my old cookbook for banana bread required a whole cup of sugar, 2 eggs and no cinnamon. By playing around and making the recipe my own I find we get better results. I can also say, any amount of sugar required in a recipe (aside from doughs) can be cut down to reduce calories.

I love trying new recipes, and I love throwing things in a pan that I think will taste good together and if you have any suggestions or recommendations for recipes to try and enjoy I would absolutely love to hear them!

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Also, because we have been eating so badly we have decided to do a healthy week where we are allowed to cheats at all to get back on track with our usual diets and health goals. Summer is fun because we go out a lot more and attend a lot more events, but even tonight we had burgers, chips and hot dogs for dinner because we were out at a family event. And I would be lying if I said there wasn’t dessert.

I’ll be telling you guys how our health week goes, I have concerns that now that I’ve been snacking on sugary treats, pop and fried foods that it will be difficult to go back to my salad and chicken tomorrow.

How I Successfully Quit Smoking

From the age of 13 to 22 I smoked daily, and at times I was smoking over a pack a day. I would sometimes try to quit and make it maybe two days without nicotine before I gave up.

Like many young people, I wanted to fit in with the friend group I had. They were a misfit group and they all smoked and swore and I was excited to be part of their group. Over time I started smoking to fit in with them, and I kept that habit for nine years. From the age of 13 to 22 I smoked daily, and at times I was smoking over a pack a day. I would sometimes try to quit and make it maybe two days without nicotine before I gave up.

At the age of 19 I was introduced to chewing tobacco. I actively chewed for three years along with my smoking. With constant nicotine in my blood stream it was obvious quitting cold turkey was not going to work for me. I was breaking two physical habits along with the actual addiction.

A few of the men I worked with were using vapes, and I started asking them questions about how it made them feel, if it quenched their cravings and they all said it did. Now I realized the vape would not allow me to break the physical habit, but it would allow me to ween myself off the nicotine. My lungs had becomes constantly tight, I had an awful cough every morning and phlegm constantly coated my throat. I knew my health was suffering due to my choice to continue smoking and something had to be done about it.

My Vape

I decided to quit in circumstances where I would be less tempted to break. I waited a few weeks until I returned to school, where we had limited smoke breaks and it was very inconvenient to go out for them. There was also only a few smokers there, most people were also vaping. This really did help limit my exposure to temptation.

The hardest part for me was while I was driving in the morning. I have had the unfortunate habit of chain smoking while driving, and the vape really helped me with that. Every couple minutes I can pull a drag of the vape instead of constantly inhaling smoke.

Now over time I have brought down my nicotine content in my juice. I started with 30mg, and am now down to 3mg. I rely less and less on the vape now, and can comfortably go more than half a day without any nicotine. I plan to continue weening myself off the nicotine.

This whole journey of quitting has taken 2 months to date, and has been the most successful method for me.


25 Things You Should Do Before You Turn 25

Time flies by and it would seem that opportunities and experiences slip through our fingers. There are so many things you can do in your youth that become more difficult as time marches on, so here are 25 things you should do before you turn 25

1. Attend a Broadway Show

Whether you see it in New York, or on tour, take the time to see a wonderful piece of theatre.

2. Live Alone For A While

Spending time alone with your own mind and body can be a difficult thing to do, as you become comfortable with yourself it gets easier, but without the time dedicated to getting to know yourself, it’s much harder to see where you want to go in the future.

3. Dye Your Hair

Whether you dye your hair something drastic, pastel or a simple colour, you might find you feel fierce and confident with a new look.

4. Get Your Health In Order

We all know the doctors tell us we need to get our health in order as soon as possible. They also say your mid twenties mark when it becomes more and more difficult to lose weight. Get your health in order, eat nutritious foods and avoid junk food.

5. Complete Post Secondary Education

Whether you chose to go for your masters, a trade ticket, engineering or a bachelor, do it while you are young and your mind is still flexible.

6. Write Your Will

Your will is certainly not a fun document to write up, and in your twenties it does not need to be very long or complex, but it should exist to facilitate affairs for your family should something unfortunate happen.

7. Host A Family Gathering

Spend the day preparing appetizers and a meal you are proud to feed your loved ones. There is a simple joy in feeding others, it is giving to others with your efforts. Feeding others is a lovely way to show your love and respect for them, not to mention give the usual hosts a night off to enjoy the company of the family without having to slave in the kitchen all day to accomplish it.

8. Volunteer

Spend some time helping others. Whether it’s working with the homeless, children, elderly or neighbours. One of life joys is seeing appreciation for your deeds.

9. Attend A Festival In Your City

Whether it’s the Lighting of the Trees, a live music event, a food festival or an arts appreciation event, attend some. See the bright life of your city and enjoy the atmosphere of the event.

10. Read Tools Of Titans – Tim Ferris

Reading this book allowed me and a few of my friends some guidance and advice on how to live healthier and more productive lives. It is the one book I would recommend to every person in the world.

11. Enjoy A Meal In A Highly Rated Restaurant

Save up and enjoy an incredible meal. Take the advice for pairings and immerse yourself in the experience of fine dining.

12. Go On A Roadtrip

Grab a friend or your partner and spend a week sight seeing. Remember not to drive if too tired and enjoy some road trip snacks! Make sure to take pictures and cherish the memories.

13. Attend Live Music

Whether it be a festival in town or a concert you’ve been dying to see, enjoy the enthusiasm and energy of a crowd while you jam out to some great live music.

14. Sing Karaoke At Least Once

Face the fear of singing in public. It’s difficult and takes a lot of courage, things that require you to get past your discomfort are character building to say the least.

15. Hike A Mountain

Karaoke takes a little emotional discomfort, but hiking a mountain creates physical discomfort and requires dedication to the task. Surely a good exercise for strengthening your body and mind.

16. Visit A Gallery

Immerse yourself into the arts! Visit your local art gallery or museum and enjoy learning about the history that lives within the walls of such places.

17. Attend A Live Sporting Event

Whether you love sports or not, try to enjoy the event. Watch the crowds energy flow and take part in the excitement.

18. Watch Live Comedy

Whether you attend an internationally known performer or your local comedy club the evening is enjoyable. Laughing with friends by your side and a drink in your hand is surely one of life simple pleasures.

19. Have Your Portrait Taken

Whether to hang in your home, send to another or to be used for business purposes, it’s worth having a professional photograph of yourself.

20. Hang A Painting Of Yours

Take the time to paint something you are proud of and display it in your home. It brings a feeling of accomplishment as well as a comfortable and familiar feeling to the room.

21. Take Your Parents Out For A Nice Dinner

Take your parents out for a lovely diner to show your respect and appreciation for them.

22. Break A Bad Habit

Your health deserves your attention, whether you drink a little much, smoke, or eat junk food too often, it’s time to give up a bad habit and increase your health.

23. Learn To Drive

Even if you live in a city where driving is not necessary or even common for transportation, it is a valuable skill to hold. Take the time to learn and be licensed.

24. See The Northern Lights

Take the time to see one of natures true wonders. The Northern Lights dance so beautifully across the sky that they can trap your gaze for minutes at a time. The move so gracefully that you can’t tear your eyes away.

25. Write Something

Whether you write a journal, a blog, a short story or a poem, write something. Allow your thoughts to flow out of you. It’s a good exercise to maintain literacy and work your mind.

Let me know in the comments how many of the above you accomplished before turning 25, or some other things you think should have been included in the list!

10 Simple Ways To Strengthen Your Relationship

10 Simple Ways To Strengthen Your Relationship – Written Together by Eva and Ryan

Love is a war all on its own without all the external issues that plague modern relationships. With the rise in glamourizing infidelity, social media and the decline of open and honest communication relationships are becoming harder to maintain. Let’s go over 10 simple things you can do to strengthen your relationship.

1. Build mutual interests together.

Your relationship started with connection. Find a few things you really enjoy doing together, such as watching a show, a sport, hiking, photography, paint events, car meets or anything else you both enjoy doing. Make the time to do these things once or twice a week and discuss the activity afterwards to understand each others perspective on the activity.

2. Ask more questions.

Relationships take compromise and selfless actions. Ask your partner about their day, how they feel about things, what they would like to do and take their response into consideration. Remember that your partner deserves your consideration and compromise, and making decisions without their best interest at heart does not promote a healthy and balanced relationship.

3. Make time to be sensual with your partner.

Physical intimacy is important in a relationship, but sensuality is often over looked or lost over time. Couples become complacent and over time their intimate time becomes short and repetitive. Take the time to light some candles, throw on some sensual music and engage in massages, sweet trailing kisses and passionate love making. Each person varies in what they enjoy, so tailor it to your partner. Enjoy the build up of the tease and shower your partner in respect and affection.

4. Learn to work as individuals.

Working as a team is important, but working as individuals carries the same importance. Ensure that while you are respectful of each other, that you are capable and confident individuals as well. Being able to be in the same room doing completely different tasks without feeling compelled to speak constantly can be difficult, but it is a sign of capable independence from your partner. Each person has their own interests that should be able to be enjoyed alone.

5. Work together to achieve common goals.

Working as an individual on your own projects is great, but with shared goals take the time to work together to strengthen your abilities of working as a team. These can be things as simple as cleaning the house, getting the groceries or walking the dogs. Larger projects are good too, starting a company, building up investments or home renovations. The only requirement is working together, teaching each other and respecting your partner.

6. Don’t forget the little things.

Over time couples can become complacent with showing small gestures of love and respect. It may seem inconsequential, but “pet names”, inside jokes and kind words go a long way to keep a loving feeling to your relationship. Small gestures like knocking the snow off your partners car, cleaning up the dishes or even making a coffee for your partner go a long way in showing your partner how much you care for them.

7. Resolve your arguments.

The old saying “don’t go to bed angry” is a good one to go by. Resolves your arguments, talk through and find the compromise required in the situation. Though it may take time and tempers are likely rising, try to remember that this is your partner, someone you love and respect and even while upset you should treat them that way. Going to bed angry, or leaving your partner during a fight do not allow for resolution to your issues, it only lets them fester.

8. Breathe first.

In moments of stress, anger or anguish we often reply emotionally instead of rationally. Just remember, breathe first. Breathe deeply before replying or making commentary, as it gives you a moment to compose yourself and think about how your words may affect your partner and yourself.

9. Make an effort every day to communicate.

Making an effort to ensure your partner has support everyday is very important. This doesn’t mean talking hours every day, but simply checking in with your partner and giving them positive attention and support will strengthen your relationship. It also reminds your partner of your commitment and support for each other.

10. Speak honestly.

We all know lying and keeping information from your partner can be harmful. Ensure you speak honestly, but not hurtfully to your partner. State the things you enjoy, the things you don’t like and behaviour you do or do not appreciate. Having honest and open communication with your partner is the foundation of a healthy relationship, and keeping discontent quiet allows issues to fester without being discussed or resolved.

In the end, attention, love, respect and honesty are the requirements for strong relationships. They take work and commitment that can be trying, tiring and difficult. The struggles along the way will ultimately become the points in your relationship that will bring you closer together.

If you have any comments or other ways to strengthen relationships, please put them in the comments!

Who Am I?

Now days I’m working primarily in health and fitness, working occasionally as an Ironworker, but enjoying my time near home with my man and my dying house plants.

Hi, I’m Eva. I thought we could get to know each other a little today.

I am a little bit of an all over the place kind of woman. Not in a messy or unorganized way, but rather in the way where I am constantly trying to do new things, start new companies, work with new people and explore and build on new skills.

At the age of eighteen I graduate college with a diploma for Graphic Design & Photography. At the age of twenty-two I had completed my apprenticeship in Ironworking, became a Journeyman and passed my Red Seal exam, allowing me to work across the country in my industrial field. In that time I started working with soap, which I formulated to be safe for absolutely everyone, as commercial products often have compositions and ingredients that are harmful to people with ailments or of whom are post surgery.

I also started working in health and fitness during this time. Not because I loved fitness, or due to any strong ties to athleticism. I started because I was over weight and needed help getting control of my body and health. Which turned out to be a great thing because I met a great team of women who really supported me, which lead me to start working with a company that allows me to be the one supporting others in their weight loss and fitness journeys.

Over the years I have dabbled in many things. Painting, sculpture, nail art, photography, videography, YouTube and I even tried my hand at being a green thumb (which did not go well at all). I find that with every new skill or path I take I gain a lot more than just a few more pieces of technical knowledge. I find new people, positive interactions and more than anything, communities that I can be included in.

Now days I’m working primarily in health and fitness, working occasionally as an Ironworker, but enjoying my time near home with my man and my dying house plants.

That’s pretty much me. Which means you got a chance to get to know me, and I would like a chance to get to know you. Tell me who you are, what your passions are and what drives you down in the comments.

If you wanted to find me or see what I’ve been up to lately, my Instagram link is just below.

https://www.instagram.com/evablakeman/