Makeup Brush Storage Ideas


I just wanted to do a quick post to share with you how I store my makeup brushes. This is not my original idea as I saw it somewhere (I can’t remember where) a few years ago when I was trying to find a better way to display my brushes. Before this I either had them sitting loosely in a taller glass container or stuck in a drawer and I found that both ways were not ideal because I was always having a hard time finding the brush I wanted to use…especially with the smaller and/or shorter ones. They would always annoyingly disappear into the abyss that was my makeup brushes!

The idea I came across was to fill a glass container with unground coffee beans which work like how sand or gravel would in terms of holding the brushes upright in place when you push them into the container. Coffee Beans also smell great (unless you hate the smell of coffee) and they are a really beautiful  and rich dark brown colour. The beans do stop smelling (unless you really stick your face in) after a few months so if you love having that coffee smell in your makeup area you would have to change the beans out every few months.

To add some extra glam to the beans you could mix in some glitter or instead of using coffee beans you could use coloured gravel (like what you see in fish tanks), other types of small decorative stones, glass stones or beads, coloured sand etc. There are really so many different things you could do depending on what type of look you are going for.

You could also change up the shape and size of the glass container you are using. Mine is just a simple cylindrical shape but I have seen rectangles, cubes, triangles, hearts, ovals…all kinds of things. You could really easily and inexpensively make this your own!

Anyway I hope that you might find this helpful if you have been struggling with trying to find an effective, easy, attractive and inexpensive way to store your makeup brushes.

I would love to see pictures of your creations if you decide to try this out!

All the best!



Festive Holiday Swag Tutorial


Yes, another tutorial! I promise this will be the last one for awhile but I wanted to use up some of the leftover greens and things that I had from my Festive Holiday Planters. I hate to waste something when with a little bit of effort I can make another beautiful item to add to our holiday decor.

This tutorial was my Youtube video for Vlogmas Day 4 which if you are interested in checking out you can find it at the very bottom of this post.

I made 2 identical outdoor Holiday Swags (I still can’t believe that is what they are called but my research keeps pointing me in that direction in terms of naming what these pretty bunches of greens and ribbon are). I have them hanging on either side of our garage door which is a pretty traditional place to put them I think. I see quite a few of them out in our neighbourhood already.

I chose the red accent pieces for them so they would tie into/coordinate with my Holiday Planters. I just love how pretty all this fresh greenery looks displayed in front of the house!


Materials Used:

  • Western Cedar (I had a bundle I purchased just for this project as well as some leftovers from my Holiday Planters)
  • White Pine (this was leftovers from my Holiday Planters so I thought I would incorporate it)
  • Red Mesh Ribbon
  • 2 small stems of artificial red berries
  • Florists Wire
  • Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
  • Scissors
  • Wire Cutters
  • Measuring Tape

My finished Swags were about 24 & 1/2 inches long and I made them to be roughly that size because that is what was proportionate to where they were going to be hung on the outside of the house. You could make yours shorter or longer, wider or thinner, whatever you prefer and/or works best for the area you plan to hang them.

You could also use different types of greens than I did or use a larger variety and/or different placement. If I had any of the Silver Fir leftover from my Holiday Planters I probably would have found a way to incorporate that as well. You could also use a totally different type of ribbon. I see a lot of Swags made with velvet ribbon instead of mesh ribbon. I think burlap ribbon would also look pretty if you were going for a more rustic look. You can also buy a pre-made bow instead of making your own like I did.

There are also so many different accessories you could use, the variety of berries to choose from seems endless and you could also add maybe a poinsettia flower or pinecones or glitter leaf stems etc. There are just so many options to make these your own and change them up every year!


Cost Breakdown (in Canadian Funds):

  • $5.87 Western Cedar (I am only including the cost of the bundle I bought specifically for the Swags as I costed the leftovers from the Planters into that project already)
  • $0.00 White Pine (I accounted for the cost of this in my Holiday Planters already and what I used here was just the leftovers)
  • $4.71 Red Mesh Ribbon
  • $2.09 Two Stems Red Berries
  • $1.98 Florists Wire
  • $0.00 Glue Gun & Sticks, Scissors, Wire Cutters, Measuring Tape (I already had all of these items on hand)
  • Total Cost: $14.65
  • Price Per Swag: $7.33

*The Cedar and Pine I purchased at Lowes and I purchased them at 20% off. The Mesh Ribbon, Berry Stems and Florists Wire I purchased at Michaels and they were all purchased at 50% off. I should have enough Mesh Ribbon and Florists Wire leftover to use for next year and I hope to use the Berry Stems again as well.








I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and feel inspired to try making these on your own! They are fun to make and look so beautiful hanging outside the house.

Happy Holidays!



Festive Holiday Planter Tutorial


It is day 2 of Vlogmas on my Youtube Channel and today’s video was a tutorial on how I made my outdoor festive holiday planters for the 2015 holiday season. If you are interested in watching the tutorial and maybe attempting one of these on your own you can check out my video below at the very bottom of this post.

Materials I used:

  • 2 large ceramic planters. These are planters I already owned that I use for my summer annual flowers
  • Potting soil and Sand. I filled the bottom half of the planters with the potting soil (which I had leftover from the summer) and the top half with the sand (I purchased an 18 kg bag from Canadian Tire and used about 3/4 of it)
  • Fresh cut Silver Fir, White Pine, Western Cedar and Dogwood Branches (these I purchased at Lowes)
  • A variety of accessory pieces to use as nice pops of colour and sparkle in the planters. I purchased these all as artificial pieces so I can reuse them for the next few years if they hold up. For the 2 planters I used in total 2 poinsettia flower stems, 3 red berry stems and 4 gold leaf stems. I had also purchased some red mesh ribbon but did not end up using it. (All of this I purchased at Michaels)
  • Wire Cutters, Scissors and a Cerated Knife all of which I already had in the house. I had also purchased some florists wire from Michaels but did not end up needing it.


Cost Breakdown (in Canadian funds):

  • $0.00 for the 2 Planters (I already had these)
  • $0.00 for the Potting Soil (I already had this)
  • $6.28 for the Sand (I have 1/4 of the bag left)
  • $4.89 for the Western Cedar (I got this for 20% off)
  • $6.99 for the Silver Fir
  • $4.79 for the White Pine (I got this for 20% off)
  • $4.79 for the Dogwood Branches (I got these for 20% off)
  • $18.51 for the accessories used (poinsettias, gold leaves, berries)
  • Total Spent: $46.25 to make 2 planters
  • Total Price Per Planter: $23.13

*I did not include the cost of the Red Mesh Ribbon and Florist Wire in this breakdown because I did not use them in the planters, however I will be using them in another project very soon which I will be making a tutorial for and will include the cost of these 2 items there.

I did get the majority of the accessories from Michaels for 50% off. I almost never buy anything full price from Michaels as they are always having sales and they always seem to have a coupon running that gives you 40-50% off of one regular priced item. As well they often run coupons for anywhere from 20-50% off of your entire purchase.


White Planter







Green Planter








I hope you enjoyed and found the tutorial helpful. I just love doing projects like this! I find them to be so fun and relaxing so if you have even a little bit of the crafting bug in you or like to explore your creativity I urge you to give something like this a try for the holidays this year. You will get so much satisfaction in seeing your beautiful creation(s) every time you go in and out of your house.

Thanks for stopping in!


November Favourites!


I have yet to address the topic of beauty on my blog and I have just completed a Youtube video for Day 1 of Vlogmas which was about my favourite beauty products for November 2015, so I thought why not make a corresponding blog post as well.

These are my top ten products from November and in reality most of them are actually in my top products all the time and would make the list over and over again. Of course that’s not very interesting so I better work on coming up with some new ones to add for next time!

So here we go (and in no particular order):


Kirkland Signature Daily Facial Towelettes


These are from Costco and I love them for removing my makeup at the end of the day. They are Paraben free and Hypo-allergenic and I have personally found them to be very gentle and hydrating on my skin. They are a nice large and reasonably thick towelette and I find them to be just as effective if not better than a lot of the more expensive versions out there. I usually find that one is enough to get all of my makeup off. They come in a box of I believe it is 4 packages of 30 and 2 packages of 15. I find them to be a great value and they do go on sale for a few dollars off at Costco every couple of months.


Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion With Cooling Menthol 


I have been using this lotion for years now and really love it. It was recommended to me by a friend to help with my dry itchy legs caused by eczema. The cooling menthol just calms the itch and burn right down which is such a relief! I have tried dozens of lotions and this is the only thing that works for my legs other than the steroid creams from the dermatologist which I prefer not to use. This is also just a great hydrating lotion for your entire body. I have found this at basically any grocery store or pharmacy that carries Aveeno products which in my experience is the majority of them.


Bath & Body Works Gentle Foaming Hand Soap


I LOVE Bath & Body Works Gentle Foaming Hand Soap! You will find it next to every sink in my house all the time. I always make sure to stock up when they have good sales. They have so many amazing scents and along with a big stable of regulars they are always featuring scents that come and go with the different seasons and major holidays. Winter Wonderland is my current favourite winter scent, it smells like sweet and delicious candy!


Victoria’s Secret Angel Gold Perfume


This is my current go to and everyday perfume. I have been using this one off and on for a couple of years now. It has been “on” now for probably about 6 months. I tend to change up my perfumes quite frequently but this one is one of those I always keep around while others come and go. Victoria’s Secret actually has a lot of great perfumes several of which I have tried. They seem to be good quality and reasonably priced. I also think the bottle this one comes in is so pretty!


Formula X For Sephora


Formula X For Sephora is a nail polish drying spray. You just spritz it on about 1-2 minutes after you have finished applying your nail polish and top coats. By the time it evaporates from your nails (which is pretty quickly) your nails will be dry to the touch. Not quite ready to go back to your normal activities but dry enough that you can start to move around very carefully. I am SOOOOO impatient when it comes to letting my nail polish dry so anything that helps speed up that process is worth it’s weight in gold in my books. It is so frustrating to have your nails all nicely painted and then end up smudging them before they are hard dried! I of course buy this at Sephora.


Essie Nail Polish in Madison Avenue 


This Essie nail polish is SO pretty. It is a shimmery pinky purple colour that goes on so nice and smooth. I don’t always love Essie nail polish because I sometimes find with their really light shades you have to put on so many coats and it ends up looking horribly streaky but with Madison Avenue that is definitely not the case. All it takes is the standard 2 coats of colour and it looks fabulous. This is a great everyday wear colour as it is not to bright and bold. Just enough to give a nice pop of colour without being to in your face. You can usually find Essie products in most mainstream drug stores as well as really anywhere that carries a variety of nail polish brands.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion


This has been my go to eyeshadow primer for years now and for good reason! This primer goes on so nice and smooth and keeps your eyeshadow in place all day, no creasing. If I am wearing eyeshadow I always have this underneath. The tube seems small but a little bit really goes a long way. I always buy this at Sephora but I’m sure you will find it anywhere that carries Urban Decay products.

                    Buxom Lip Gloss in Katie


No, I do not like this lip gloss just because it is called Katie! This is such a pretty light pink shimmery colour. It is perfect for everyday wear, goes on nice and smooth (not sticky at all) and has a nice peppermint taste. I always buy this at Sephora.

NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in Perfect


This NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss is definitely my favourite drug store lip gloss line. It goes on nice and smooth and doesn’t feel sticky. “Perfect” is a really pretty light pink shimmery colour, very similar to Buxom’s “Katie” but just a little bit darker. This is also great for everyday wear and is super affordable. I buy it at London Drug’s which is a large drug store chain in Canada. I know there are a lot of various drug store type retailers in North America that carry this though (not sure about anywhere outside of Canada and the United States).

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Dollface


I REALLY love the Tarte Amazonian Clay blushes and Dollface is my favourite colour out of the whole line. It is a really pretty light pink colour. Great for all skin tones but I am very pale so this works especially great for me. These blushes are really concentrated so you don’t have to use a lot but depending on how dark you like your blush you can layer a little or a lot! I love how nice and smooth this goes on and stays in place. I buy this at Sephora.

So there you have it, my top ten products from November 2015. Let me know if you have tried any of these products and what you think of them!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back again soon!


My Baby Story: How we told our families the pregnancy news!

One of the most exciting parts of pregnancy is getting to tell all of your loved ones the wonderful news! Although I found out I was pregnant on December 23rd, 2013, we decided to wait until I was 3 months pregnant before telling everyone. As many of you probably already know, it seems to be a mainstream agreement among doctors that during the first trimester you are more likely to miscarry than during any other trimester. We just couldn’t stand the thought of telling everyone the amazing news and then having to retract it and add all that extra disappointment and grief onto what we would already be feeling. So as hard as it was to keep that secret, we waited.

Our families are fairly spread out so we weren’t able to tell everyone all at the same time or in person and therefore had to come up with a few different ideas to make the announcement. We of course definitely wanted to tell our parents in person so we arranged to do that on a weekend in mid February of 2014. That was 2 weeks shy of the 3 month pregnancy mark but it was the only weekend we were going to be able to work out getting to see both sets of parents on the same weekend for quite some time.

How we told my husband’s parents:

The t-shirt we purchased for our dog Watson. (Picture from zoeysattic on Etsy)

My in-laws live locally so we are easily able to see them in person but my parents live about a 5 1/2 hour drive away from us which means if we go for a visit we need at least a weekend to do so (a day trip is not generally a reasonable possibility). We didn’t want to tell my in-laws and then have to wait weeks to tell my parents so we found a time that we could do it all on the same weekend.

Quite often when we go on road trips my in-laws will take care of our dog Watson for us while we are away. So we arranged to drop him off at their house on Friday night and told them that it was so we could get an early start on the road to my parent’s house Saturday morning. I had a doctors appointment Friday evening so my husband and I (and of course Watson) met up after that and headed over to my in-law’s house.

I had pre-purchased a little t-shirt from a shop on Etsy called zoeysattic that we were going to put on Watson that said “I’m going to be a big brother”. My husband and I agreed that after going in and talking to his parents for awhile I would excuse myself to take Watson out for a bathroom break walk before we headed home and on the way back in the house from the walk I would put the t-shirt on him and let him run back into the house since he always heads straight for either my mother or father in-law on the way in. So that’s what I did!

Watson ran up to my mother in-law first and her first reaction to reading the t-shirt was to ask if we were getting another dog to which my husband and I both just smiled and said no. Then she figured it out and was of course super excited, as was my father in-law once he caught on. The only other grandchild on my husbands side of the family was already 3 years old at the time and she lives about 3 hours away from us so they were so excited to finally have a grandchild who lives so close and that they can see all the time.

How we told my parents and brother:

The bags I made up were similar to these but without the lollipop and I sat a fortune cookie on the top layer before sealing the bags with ribbon (photo from

As planned we headed to my parents house on Saturday and arrived a couple of hours before supper. What I had done for them was put together a little cellophane bag for each person (including my husband and I) made up of various layers of pink and red candies (since Valentine’s Day had just passed). I placed a fortune cookie on top of the last layer of each bag and sealed the bags with ribbon. I had used tweezers to remove the fortunes from each cookie and replaced them with custom fortunes I had made. For example, my families fortunes said “I can’t wait to meet you in fall of 2014 (Grandma, Grandpa or Uncle)”, depending on who that particular fortune cookie was for. I placed various heart stickers on the back of each bag so I could remember which bag was supposed to go to who when the time came since they all looked the same otherwise.

Our plan was to tell them the news right after supper. I handed the bags out when it was time for dessert and to keep them from suspecting something weird was going on I just told them that I had bought these from someone at work whose child was selling them to raise money for a sports team of some sort. They just bought my story without really asking any questions.

My mother was at the kitchen sink doing dishes and cleaning up from supper and my father, my husband and myself were sitting around the kitchen table talking (my brother wasn’t home yet). To get things going my husband and I started opening our candy bags and took out the fortune cookies to crack them open so that hopefully my father would do the same. Once we read out our fortunes which were just the ones that originally came in our cookies my father started to open his. He read it a few times to himself and finally caught on to what his fortune meant and got a big smile on his face and looked at us and just winked since my mother hadn’t opened hers up yet (she was still busy with the dishes). He asked her to come and sit down and open her fortune cookie but she was focused on her work and resisted so he was persistent and said well at least come over here and read my fortune. She was finally like “ok ok fine” and came over and read his fortune. She immediately caught on and got VERY excited. My mother has been begging for grandchildren literally since the day we got married so this had also been a very long time coming for her.

When my brother eventually got home we were all still sitting around the table and had his candy bag set out on his place setting so he sat down and immediately started opening it to get at the candy. We didn’t have to prompt him to open his fortune cookie, he just went for it. He also caught on right away and was very happy and excited. He was really looking forward to being an uncle.

How we told my husband’s siblings: 

The picture we emailed to my husband’s siblings

We drove home from my parents house the next day (Sunday) and when we got home we thought we better get right at it and send out an announcement to my husband’s siblings who unfortunately all live many hours away from us. We decided to email them the picture you see above with the two hands together in the shape of a heart. The date in the centre was my original due date and we also actually had put in the bottom right hand corner of the picture “R.S.V.P and our phone number”.

My husband has 4 siblings and within a few minutes of sending the email we started getting group email responses and phone calls with essentially the same exclamation of “Does this mean what I think it does?!!”. They were all so excited to hear the news that there would be a new addition to the family very soon.

So that is how we made the announcement to our families. We waited until I was officially out of the first trimester to tell the rest of our extended family and friends, although I am pretty sure our mothers snuck in telling a few Aunties before they were supposed to. All in all it was a great, happy and exciting experience for us and the only thing I would have changed was maybe somehow getting the family reactions on film.

I will leave it at that for this one. I hope you enjoyed the story of how we announced my pregnancy to our families and come back again soon to check out the story of my actual pregnancy, premature emergency c-section delivery at 27 weeks after I became gravely ill, NICU experience and experience of bringing home a premature baby.

If you are interested you can also check out my Youtube channel for the video version of this story as well as the rest of my baby story.

Thanks for stopping by!


My Weight loss Journey: Stats Update #1



Hi guys! I finally have stats update #1 for you. It has been 3 weeks since I posted my starting weight and measurements and the time has gone by really quickly for me. So without further delay here they are:

Original Stats From: November 6, 2015

New Stats From: November 27, 2015

3 weeks has gone by already!


Height: 5 feet 7 Inches

Obviously this isn’t going to change! 🙂


Previous Weight: 180 pounds

New Weight: 175 pounds

Down 5 pounds


Previous Waist: 34.5 inches

New Waist: 33 inches

Down 1.5 inches


Previous Hips: 44 inches

New Hips: 43 inches

Down 1 inch


Previous Bust: 39 inches

New Bust: 38.5 inches

Down 0.5 inches


I am very happy with my progress so far as I really feel like this is the easiest 5 pounds I have ever lost. I also did not have an expectation that this was going to be some quick fix lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks type of thing. I want this to be a new way of life for me and something I can stick to. If I can achieve slow and steady weight loss while feeling perfectly content with how I get to eat everyday then I have no reason to complain. On a side note I was also super lazy these last 3 weeks and honestly didn’t get any exercise in at all other than chasing my little one around. So starting Monday I am really going to try to get myself on some sort of regular fitness routine.

What I am thinking of doing is a higher intensity, 20 minute or so fitness video, 5 days a week. I am going to use a different video each day for every 5 day cycle just to keep things varied and interesting. I plan to use videos from a variety of my favourite Youtube fitness gurus because they are effective, plentiful and best of all free! I hope to incorporate strength training and cardio and they will all be routines I can do at home in my living room using my own body weight or free weights that I already own. I will try to remember to put up blog posts regularly to let you know which videos I am really enjoying and how I am doing with reaching my goal of working out 5 days a week. In all honesty however, I am really trying to keep up an attitude where I do not beat myself up for missing a workout here and there. Life is to short for that!

In terms of my eating and sticking to the Starch Solution I have been doing pretty well. Like I said I feel like this is the easiest 5 pounds I have ever lost and it is all because I have been sticking to my high carb, low fat, plant based diet at least 90% of the time. I never feel like I am going hungry, I never feel deprived and I don’t feel like I am “dieting” to lose weight. I get to eat foods that I love and I get to eat them whenever I feel hungry and until I am satiated.

Some of the other benefits I have noticed so far from this way of eating have been drastically increased energy levels, clearer skin and the eczema which I have on my legs calming WAY down. I have suffered from chronic crazy itchy legs from eczema for about 13 years, often to a point where it effects how I sleep, and right now it isn’t bothering me much at all. I really hope that eventually I might see it go away almost if not completely!

Anyway I will leave it at that for now and if you have any questions just ask! I will try to get up a post very soon with some good detail about my go to meals at the moment. To get more frequent updates on some of the things I am eating check out my Instagram account as I post food pictures on there quite often.

Until next time!


(P.S. I finally have my Youtube channel up and running. I only have a few videos up there right now and none of them weight loss/diet/fitness related yet but those ones will start coming soon!)

My Baby Story: How I found out I was pregnant


I am currently working on a couple of posts describing my birth story and illness which was triggered by my pregnancy and caused the delivery of my daughter at 27 weeks. These are tough for me to put into words and are  unfortunately not the happiest stories to tell so I thought it might be fun and a bit easier to first post a couple of the positive stories around my pregnancy as it truly was a great experience right up until its abrupt end!

For as long as I can remember I have desperately wanted to be a mother and have a bunch of my own children. My husband and I had been married for just over 3 years prior to my pregnancy which was a LONG wait for me but we both had very good jobs and wanted to hit some specific money savings targets before I was to go on a maternity leave and quite possibly not be going back to work at all (at least until all the kids were in school full time). We both had stay at home moms growing up and that was a really awesome experience for us so it was important to us to have the same for our children if possible.

So after 3 years of saving money, impatiently waiting and killing time (on my part) by watching countless videos on youtube of other women’s TTC (trying to conceive) journeys, pregnancy reveals, weekly pregnancy updates, gender reveals and birth stories it was finally my turn, we were officially trying! So when I found out I was pregnant on the evening of December 23rd, 2013, I was absolutely giddy with excitement and joy. That was without question one of the happiest days of my life!

The first day of my cycle that month was December 1st and by December 23rd I had a few symptoms that could have been due to pregnancy (sore breasts, light cramping and mild nausea) but I was still several days away from my expected period. My cycles are generally 27 to 31 days with ovulation usually occurring anywhere from day 10 to 14. So these symptoms could have also been due to the almost imminent arrival of Aunt Flo.

This was the first month my husband and I had been “TTC” so even though I didn’t want to get my hopes to high that this was really happening already I sure had my fingers crossed. I had some cheapie ovulation and pregnancy tests I had purchased online and my husband was at a hockey game with his brother that evening so being home alone with nothing better to do I decided I was going to take an ovulation test just for fun. I had read somewhere that sometimes an ovulation test will pick up the pregnancy hormone and show up positive even though you are obviously not ovulating. I had a ton of the ovulation test strips and only a handful of the pregnancy test strips so I wasn’t to worried about wasting an ovulation test. I had absolutely no real expectations for this test. I mean I was only on day 23 (and if memory serves me I was only about 12 DPO or days past ovulation), I was using evening (not first morning) urine and I was using an ovulation test not an actual pregnancy test. So anyway I peed in a disposable cup and dipped the strip, turned the test upside down so I couldn’t easily sneak a peek, set a timer and walked away for 5 minutes.

Well to my complete shock when I came back to look at the ovulation test it was without a doubt absolutely positive. The test line was just as dark if not darker than the control line. I had only ever seen that on my ovulation tests when I was actually ovulating. This got my mind churning. I wasn’t sure whether or not I really believed that an ovulation test could show positive for pregnancy as well. I had kept the leftover urine in the cup (just in case) so I decided to dip another ovulation test and now also one of the pregnancy test strips. I again flipped them over to keep from peeking, set the timer and this time paced anxiously for 3-5 minutes.

When I came back I checked the ovulation test first and again it was definitely positive (test and control line were the same) so I rationalized that the first one was probably not just a bad test. I then checked the pregnancy test and OMG there was a faint but definite test line next to the control line and anyone who knows their way around a pregnancy test knows that this beautiful little test line just has to be visible to mean it is a positive test! I of course screamed, cried, laughed, giggled, bounced off walls, jumped around the room and danced with the dog who was looking at me like I was crazy by this point. What an amazing feeling!!!

After awhile of letting it all sink in the skeptic in me surfaced and said “ok Katie, we need to confirm this with first morning urine and a more expensive non-sketchy internet purchased test”. So I quickly ran to the pharmacy and purchased a First Response pregnancy test so I could take it the next morning before work which would be Christmas Eve day. I didn’t want to tell my husband until I was absolutely sure and it was so close to Christmas I thought it would be fun to wrap something up under the tree for him to open Christmas morning to tell him the news.

I took the First Response test the next morning (December 24th) and to my complete thrill I got 2 pink lines! The test line was even almost as dark as the control line. On my way home from work that afternoon I decided to stop at the pharmacy again but this time to pick up a clear blue digital pregnancy test which says “Pregnant” on it when it is positive (I wanted it to be super easy to understand when my husband looked at it). I also picked up a little newborn sized onsie that was red and said “Made in Canada” on the front. My plan was to fold the onsie around the test, which I would take early the next day on Christmas morning, and then wrap them up and put them under the tree for my husband to open along with his other Christmas presents.

Christmas morning arrived and I nervously waited as we slowly got through opening the presents under the tree. I was trying to save the “special announcement” present for last since it would be hard to focus on anything else once that one had been opened up! I thought I was going to go crazy as my husband finally slowly opened it up and started to look at what was in the package. I knew he had figured it out once a smile started to cross his face. He kept excitedly saying “holy cow, already?! That was fast!”. He gave me a big hug and a kiss and we enjoyed the rest of what was one of the most memorable and wonderful Christmas holidays we have ever had!

Stay tuned for more happy posts on how we made the announcement to our families and how my pregnancy went up until I became ill. I will also get the birth and illness stories completed and up as soon as I can.


My Weight Loss Journey: Explaining my diet for weight loss and better health in general – Part 3 of 3

**To read this series from the beginning you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here**

In this final part 3 of the series I want to talk about the Starch Solution, how I came across it and why I decided to go this specific route. 

I know many of you are going to scream and shudder when you see the words “Starch Solution” on this page because for some reason we have been trained to think of carbohydrates as something evil, waist expanding and untouchable. I myself was definitely guilty of thinking that way about them and really quite unhappy about it because I love carbs, especially potatoes, and the more I restricted them the hungrier I felt and the more I wanted them. I am not really sure why it never fully occurred to me before that perhaps the carbs were not the actual problem….maybe it was the crazy high fat butter, sour cream, cream sauce, hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, cheese, mayo etc. that we put in, on and around them. When I think of carbs I think of things such as vegetables, fruits, grains and potatoes all of which are for the most part nutrient dense, low in calories, low in fat and low in sodium. And these were the things that I was supposed to believe were making and keeping me fat??? It just doesn’t make sense!

So when I was first starting to think about making the transition to a plant based diet I was all over the internet looking for resources on how to do this so that I am getting in all of the vitamins and minerals I need such as iron, calcium, protein, vitamin B12 and so on and so forth, as well as optimizing my intake of healthy foods all while losing weight. Initially in my mind I was thinking “oh great, here we go again with trying to survive off of no dressing salads and non-starchy vegetables”. No matter how unhappy you feel about your body it is hard to get excited about a new way of eating, plant based or not, when you think you are going to be hungry and unsatisfied all the time.

With these negative thoughts in my mind I decided to head over to Youtube to check out some weight loss success stories, as these often help keep me motivated. I stumbled across this video with a before and after photo as the video thumbnail showing this girl’s 55 pound weight loss. What especially caught my eye is that this girl had pretty much the exact same body type as I do! She was a bit heavier than I was but in a way I felt like looking at her before photo was like looking in the mirror. And even better she looked fabulous in her after photo so I of course had to check it out. This girl was Hannah Janish (High Carb Hannah on Youtube).

I probably spent well over an hour sifting through her videos which were a lot of documentation of what she ate to lose the weight, recipes (she has great ones) and explanations as to why she eats the way she does. Luckily for me it turned out she was vegan, so of course following a plant based diet, and after having gained a lot of weight on a diet called Rawtill4 had discovered and switched to The Starch Solution by Dr. John A. McDougall, which was how she lost all the weight. I was so intrigued because in her “what I eat” type videos her meals looked delicious and were centred around starchy foods (rice, beans, potatoes, pasta, bread, and other whole grains and starchy vegetables). Basically all of the “evil” carbs I loved and felt satisfied by but had been avoiding because I thought they were making and keeping me fat. I NEEDED to read this book to see what this was really all about. So off to the library I went and since I am writing this post here today obviously I was hooked!

As I cannot properly do the information justice here, I really recommend that if you are interested in looking into this way of eating for yourself or just learning more about it that you read the book and/or check out Dr. McDougall’s website (here) which has all the basic information and background on the Starch Solution for free. A great start on the website would be to choose “Education” from the menu bar and then choose and read through “The Free Program”. There are also tons of Youtube videos of conferences, meetings, interviews etc. with Dr. McDougall speaking about the Starch Solution, why he believes so strongly in it (backed by scientific evidence), and how to follow it.

Without going into all of the science and evidence as to why this is an amazing diet for a healthy life (Dr. McDougall is the expert on that so please defer to him there), in a nutshell the Starch Solution is a way of eating that is low fat, plant based and each meal and snack is centred around a starch or combination of starches. For example potatoes, whole grains (ie. rice, quinoa, barley, oats, millet, wheat), beans, corn, and other starchy vegetables (ie. carrots and peas). This is all of course rounded out with non-starchy vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and so on and so forth. Oh and yes…you can eat bread and pasta! There is no counting calories or restriction on how much you can eat or how often but you are supposed to listen to your body and follow what is called “intuitive eating”. This means only eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. This does not mean stuffing yourself silly until you feel sick! If you are like me it may be a bit of a process learning how to eat intuitively and really listening to your body’s hunger cues. In the past I have definitely been guilty of eating just because I was bored or craving something, even if I was not actually hungry. I have also been guilty of eating until I am way to full for the sake of finishing what was on my plate or because what I was eating was so good I didn’t want to stop.

So anyway, to me the Starch Solution sounded fantastic. Yes trying to keep things very low fat can be challenging but more importantly and what wins out for me is that I find starchy foods to be the most comforting, delicious and satisfying. They keep me feeling full longer so I actually end up eating less at the end of the day and I don’t feel deprived which is such a relief. In the past when I have eliminated carbs and tried to live off of mostly non-starchy vegetables and lean meats I had to eat so much to feel full and then felt hungry again in no time at all. It was so frustrating! If I can lose weight and feel fabulous while still eating as much mashed potatoes and gravy as I want (low fat plant based versions of course) then I am in! (Oh and stay tuned because I have a vegan gravy recipe that is super low calorie, super low fat, easy to make, from scratch  and that is just as good if not better than the real thing.)

Well there you have it, this ends my 3 part introduction to my new way of eating. I hope it has been somewhat interesting and might be helpful to someone else out there wanting to make a change or try something new. I am happy to answer any questions I can about all this so please don’t hesitate to ask. Moving forward I will try to keep you up to date on what I am eating and any changes if any to my plan along the way. I am excited to also start sharing some of the amazing recipes I have come across and formulated to keep me on track and excited about this journey!

Happy Eating!


My Weight Loss Journey: Explaining my diet for weight loss and better health in general – Part 2 of 3

**To read part 1 of this 3 part series of posts on my diet you can do so here **

In this part 2 of the series I want to talk about some of the challenges and successes I have had so far in transitioning to a plant based diet and what I predict may be some challenges in the future. 

I started transitioning my diet away from eating animal products many months ago so this isn’t brand new to me anymore and I have already faced some challenges and difficulties and learned a lot along the way.

The first step I took in making this change was to stop eating meat but was still keeping dairy and eggs in my diet. I didn’t find this step overly difficult for the most part as I really was not a huge meat eater to begin with and quite honestly except for maybe a couple of meals during the week I felt like having to prepare meat wasn’t worth the effort. I did however always really enjoy, as unhealthy as they are, the occasional hot dog, bacon cheeseburger or crispy chicken burger so still today if I smell something like that cooking my head sometimes immedietely  goes back to saying “man I could sure go for one of those!”.

The second step, which was more difficult and continues to be the most difficult for me, was to remove the eggs and dairy. Aside from the more obvious eating an egg, a slice of cheese, butter on your toast or sour cream on your baked potato for example, it is a bit mind blowing how many products out there have eggs and/or dairy in them. From condiments, to sauces, to baked and packaged goods, junk foods and so on and so forth. It really made this whole process seem a bit overwhelming. How was I possibly going to be able to this?

Well I took a walk down the “natural foods” type aisles at my local grocery stores and found that there are a lot of alternatives for meat, eggs and dairy out there, some of which are essentially just “mock” versions of animal based products, and many of the them (at least the ones I have tried so far) are actually quite convincing! A lot of these products are however quite often just as loaded with fat, calories and sodium etc. as the animal product based versions. That is why you may know some people in your own life who decided to become vegetarians or vegans that are still just as overweight or even heavier than before they made that change. Just because you don’t eat meat, eggs or dairy doesn’t automatically mean you are going to lose weight! If you eat a diet mainly comprised of high fat, high calorie, nutrient deficient, processed and junk foods there is a really good chance you are going to gain weight regardless of where these foods come from.

I am trying to eat whole and minimally processed plant based foods so for the most part I am trying to avoid these unhealthy and processed “mock” foods. However if I am cooking the odd meal where I am trying to make sure I keep it totally plant based but want it to taste like it contains animal products and am planning on just indulging versus ensuring this is healthy for me, sure I will use these alternatives. If I am totally craving a hot dog then I will eat a veggie dog and if I am making pizza and really want that cheesy texture and flavour on there I will use a plant based cheese. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to keep on track over the long term! You will also always find in my fridge a plant based mayonnaise (we like the Vegenaise brand) and plant based margarine (we like the Earth Balance brand). I am following a low fat diet and these items are certainly not low fat so when I do use them I use them very sparingly.

So given all of the food options and amazing recipes out there for following a low fat whole foods plant based diet I generally find it quite easy to maintain this way of eating when at home or in a situation where I can easily control the food around me. Where it becomes a challenge is when I am going out to eat at a restaurant and have no control over where we go or when eating at someone else’s house. Most restaurants I find myself at do seem to have a few vegetarian options but these often are still super high in fat and include eggs and/or dairy in them. So if they cannot be modified to exclude those items then although not ideal I will compromise and just try to pick out the best vegetarian option they have. I find the bigger challenge actually to be when eating at someone else’s house. I am just not in a place yet along this journey where I am confident or comfortable enough to exclaim to my family and friends, most of which eat a typical North American/Western diet, that I won’t eat what they have made because it contains meat, eggs or dairy. I am so uncomfortable with being “that” person so I just gratefully eat whatever has been prepared for me.

To be honest, I am kind of at a loss where to even begin having that conversation with my friends and family because I fear that many of them will be quite hostile towards the notion of following a plant based diet and will make a big production out of it anytime we have a meal together. I live in a VERY pro-meat eating and anti-vegetarian/vegan part of Canada. My parents and several members of my extended family raise beef cattle for a living so you can possibly imagine how that conversation would go!

Just to clarify as I do not want to confuse anyone, I am not at this time making any kind of proclomations here that I am vegan or vegetarian. From what I understand, those are all encompassing lifestyles that go beyond just the food you eat and that you do not knowingly deviate from under any circumstance. Maybe someday I will get there as I feel my heart leaning that way, but for now I am approaching this purely from a personal health standpoint. I am so not perfect and although I really try my best each and every day to stay on track with eating this way I know there are going to be days and certain situations where I will eat something that is either plant based but not healthy or low fat, or something that isn’t plant based at all. However rather than beating myself up about it I am just going to try to make sure that I get back on track as soon as I can and keep going with it.

I am going to end this post here before I write a whole book! I will try to get part 3 of 3 up very soon which will explain a little bit about “The Starch Solution” which is the specific form of plant based diet I am following. That will end the formal introduction to my diet and then I will get to showing you some of the awesome recipes I am using and what I am actually eating from day to day. If you have any questions or want to know more about all of this stuff please feel free to ask. Check out my “Contact” page in the Menu for my email address and other ways to get in touch with me directly.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


My Weight Loss Journey: Explaining my diet for weight loss and better health in general – Part 1 of 3

How I have decided to change the way I eat as a part of this journey, and hopefully for the rest of my life, would be considered pretty drastic and/or extreme by many. Quite frankly if you told me a year ago that I would be giving this a try I would have said you are crazy, that’s impossible, and not for the reasons some of you may be thinking.

I have no intention of starving myself, constantly counting calories, eliminating carbs or feeling hungry all the time. I have done all of that before and I was miserable! Sure I lost weight but most of the time I was what do they call it now…hangry (thats hungry+angry if you are not up with the lingo). Those methods just weren’t sustainable for me.

The most sustainable success I have had in the past and basically what kept me at a reasonable weight for the past few years prior to having my daughter was following a clean eating lifestyle for the majority of my meals and snacks. No calorie counting or starving, just eating when I was hungry and mostly fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats, low or non-fat dairy and cutting out the processed and junk food (90% of the time anyway). My main original resource for transitioning to a clean eating lifestyle was “The Eat-Clean Diet” books by Tosca Reno. One of the most interesting things I learned from Tosca’s books was that what your body looks like is 80% nutrition, 10% training and 10% genes. That blew my mind! It made me really see how important nutrition actually is in determining how I look and that if I wasn’t going to be moving my body on any given day for whatever reason I don’t need to feel so guilty about I just need to keep my eating on track.

Although successful in the past with this way of eating I am changing things up a bit. Seeing my life flash before my eyes during my illness (stay tuned for a blog post on this very soon) lit a big fire in me that I need to do more to really take care of my health. Not that I could have ever prevented what happened to me but being so sick and in the hospital SUCKED. I don’t ever want to be back there for something I could have possibly prevented if I had just changed the way I fuel my body.

So all that being said, the big change is that I have switched to a whole foods plant based diet. Still essentially a clean eating lifestyle but no longer consuming animal products or products that contain animal products (even lean or low fat). I did not come to this decision quickly or take it lightly. My husband and I did so much reading and research. We read books, articles and research studies, watched documentaries and followed people living this lifestyle on their blogs and youtube channels. For us personally we just kept coming to this same conclusion time after time, for the sake of our health we need to try to eliminate the animal products from our diets the majority of the time if not entirely.

For anyone interested in doing their own research on plant based diets and the benefits of eating this way some of the mainstream resources I found very helpful were:

  • Dr. John McDougall (both his book “The Starch Solution” and his website which has tons of information and free recipes “”)
  • Forks Over Knives (both a book and a documentary which I believe is on netflix)
  • Dr. Joel Fuhrman (both his book “Eat to Live” and his website “”)
  • Dr. Esselstyn (
  • Other documentaries “Hungry for Change” and “Food Matters”

I understand that not eating animal products is still a really hot button issue out there today for many people and for many reasons so please don’t feel like I am criticizing or judging anyone who doesn’t agree with me on this. I get that what we eat and why is a very personal choice that is our own to make. This has not been a super easy transition and I am sure it will present plenty more challenges on the road ahead for various reasons.

So to avoid making this just one massive brain dump of a post, since I have a lot more to say about this before I just leave it to mostly what I am eating, cooking and baking type posts when talking about my diet, I have decided to break it up into a few parts to keep it a bit more organized. In part 2 of this 3 part series I will talk more about the challenges and successes I have encountered so far on a plant based diet and what I predict might be some challenges in the future. Then finally in part 3 of 3 of the series I will talk more about the Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall, how I came across it,  and why it really spoke to me as the more specific version of a plant based diet that I feel fits me personally and will be most sustainable for me over the long term.

So anyway please bare with me on this, stay tuned for more posts to come very shortly and I promise they won’t all be weightloss and diet related!

Until next time,