Book Review – The Thirteen | That Night | Undone

I have been doing A LOT of reading this summer and I thought that today I would round up my favourites!

Ok, let’s be honest I feel like I have done a lot of reading, but in reality I only read a couple of books. (Include all of the teaching resources and curriculum I have read, and that is like reading a whole library am I right?) The good news is, I really enjoyed the novels I read over the last couple of months, and I think other people might enjoy them too! I know I am not the only who stands in the isles of Chapters or Indigo researching every book I pick up to see if it’s worth the $22.50CAD.

Side note: I almost never pay the full price of a book. All of the books I am mentioning in this blog post were found in the “Fiction Under $10” or “3 for $10” section at Indigo. I truly believe you can find some gems in those sections! But don’t get me wrong, if everyone and their mother is raving about a book and it is full price, I MAY cave.. maybe.

The Thirteen by Susie Moloney

I read this book rather quickly, but I found it slightly difficult to get into. I bought it because I have a thing for witches, they intrigue me. I loved the Witches of East End series so I thought this might compare. It features the common mother-daughter relationship coupled with poverty, which was interesting in itself. The plot also includes a circle of woman who’s relationships are so odd and out of this world (literally) that is was a little difficult to follow. If you enjoy stories with mythical characters and an adult twist, you will enjoy this one. Caution: This novel is not appropriate for children. Grab it here.

Undone by Cat Clarke


WOW. This book captivated me from the beginning, all the way to the end. This book goes into the terrible reality of teenagers who live with secrets. Secrets about themselves, secrets about others, secrets that ruin lives. More importantly, the book shows how someones secrets, once revealed and not respected, can turn lives upside down. This was a real eye opener for me as to what happens with teens, and how far they really will go to prove something. Grab it here.

That Night by Chevy Stevens

Guys, this book is a must! I hear this author has another book doing the rounds that I may need to pick up. The story revolves around a couple (Toni and Ryan) who were convicted of murdering Toni’s sister Nicole. The book had an amazing ending that I did not see coming, and that was extremely satisfying! Pick it up you will not regret it! Grab it here.

Until next time,

Change | Why it’s Good for the Soul

– The Pathway to Positivity

Some people crave it, others are afraid of it…

Change. Physical, mental, spiritual. It is all the same. It is taking something that has remained the same for a long, long time, and somehow changing it. Seems simple doesn’t it? Sometimes, this shift is self-inflicted, you yourself has decided that something in your life, within your being needs to change. Other times, there is an outside source that forces a change to happen. We have all been there, and sometimes we are afraid of change. I am here to tell you not to be.

Lose the fear

Fear is doubt, and doubt is what negative energy feeds on. It’s ok to have a moment where you feel vulnerable about something that is happening in your life, whether it was your choice or not. But, try not to give it more than that singular moment. When we lose the fear that is tied to our change, we tell the universe that we expect only good things to come from our new experiences.

Try it next time, embrace the change, lose the fear and expect great things.

Feed your soul

In the 21st century we focus so incredibly hard on feeding our bodies so they grow strong and pure! What about our souls? We can get used to our lives and the experiences we have day to day. Change gives us a healthy shock to the system, and leaves us feeling grateful! Grateful for what we had before the change, and for what is next to come.

I leave you with this simple thought…

Would you be completely happy with your life if someone told you, you would never experience change again?

Until next time,

 

Fall Clothing Haul | Affordable Fashion

Happy almost back to school/pre-fall season everyone!

Back to school time can be stressful and exciting! Back to school supplies, clothes and all the other fun stuff can really add up! For teachers like me, it is important to get great staple pieces that work in and out of school, without breaking the bank. Being a self-proclaimed affordable fashion guru, I hunted for a variety of items perfect for this coming season!

I collaborated with my good friend Stevie on this post. Some of the items featured she purchased, while some are my own. For reference, Stevie wears a small, her shoe size is a 7 (shoes were true to size) and is 5’3. Send her some love.

Outfit details are below the pictures, and everything is linked where possible. Happy fall shopping!

Outfit Details:

This beautiful short sleeved cardigan is from Winners! The thing I love about Winners, is you can find some real gems! However, I have learned that if you wait on something, and then decide you want to buy it a few days later, it likely will not be there anymore. Hence, you snooze you lose. So, head into your local Winners or Marshalls!

These loafers (featured in nude and black) were a steal at Ardene! I am talking BUY 1 GET 1 50% OFF. Bonus: On their website, these loafers are now 70% off $19.99!

Outfit Details:

This basic cardi tho! It is the ultimate staple! On sale for $45 right now at Old Navy (Teacher clothing HEAVEN) and it is a total must. Stevie also told me she plans to pick it up in multiple colours she loves it so much!

Outfit Details:

I cannot get over this vest. It is a gorgeous olive green colour, perfect for fall. Stevie bought it, I bought it … even my mom bought it because it was on sale for $11 at again … Ardene! I plan on wearing mine open like Stevie is here, or as a dress with a belt and leggings. Online it’s listed as BUY 1 GET 1 50% OFF, but in store it was 70% off, so it may vary from site to store.

Outfit Details:

How cute is this blouse! Perfect for work or school, it is classy and comfortable! I couldn’t find this exact one on the Ardene website, but I linked a similar one here.

Outfit Details:

Similar to the blouse previously mentioned, this one is great for the season we are in right now. Say you want to look professional and put together, but it’s hotter than Jamaica in July? This is the little number for you! Pick it up at Ardene for BUY 1 GET 1 FOR $1. (Yes you read that correctly, no Ardene is not going out of business) 

Outfit Details:

These shoes will be the shoes for my fall teaching wardrobe! Again they are at Ardene for BUY 1 GET 1 50% OFF. So, I paid $30 for two pairs! I’m sorry, but I paid more for my dog to get his hair cut last week. YOU CAN NOT BEAT IT!

Please follow this blog for more on affordable fashion, teacher fun and all things lifestyle! Thank you for visiting and come back soon!

With love,

#YOGAEVERYDAMNDAY

Our bodies are amazing. They get us through our everyday lives, and we push them to their limits sometimes. Some of us push our bodies farther than we would care to admit. Depending on the job that we have and the lifestyle we lead, we can put our bodies through a lot. So how do you thank your body? How do you give back to the amazing vessel our souls are given to live this life in.

#yogaeverydamnday

I do yoga. I try my very hardest to practice a little bit of yoga everyday, but let’s be honest sometimes you need to switch it up. I do however try to make sure that I am getting some exercise every single day. Our bodies work hard for us so we need to work hard for it, to ensure it gets everything it needs to be healthy and strong. This includes our minds, something that many of us forget about. (GUILTY) Yoga is not only fantastic for the strength and flexibility of our bodies, but also our mind. Our mental health is becoming more and more important in todays society, therefor it is crucial that we take time out of our day to say thank you to our bodies, and our minds, for getting us through the day.

Tone it Up

Katrina and Karina from Tone it Up not only have some of the best yoga routines but they are quick and highly effective. They help you strengthen and tone every part of your body, while centring your mind. Here is one of my favourite yoga routines from the Tone it Up ladies!

➰ Tone it Up Website

➰ Tone it Up YouTube

A lot of the times, I want a more rigorous workout so I lift weights or I do one of the other Tone it Up workouts. Tip: On the Tone it Up website they have a tab called the Daily Workout. Here, they tell exactly what workout to do giving you pictures or videos! Check it out here. Regardless of the workout, I try to do centre myself at the end, doing a small yoga sequence. I thank my body for all it does, and thank the universe for my many blessings.

Until next time,

Stephanie

 

The Pathway to Positivity | Manifesting Using Vision Boards

Linked at the bottom of this post, you can find other blog posts in The Pathway to Positivity series. 

Manifesting, it is a beautiful thing, if you know how to do it correctly. I talk all about the basics of manifesting in this blog post. There are many different ways you can manifest your dreams and goals, vision boards is just one of them.

What is a vision board?

A vision board is a collection of pictures that depict the things that you truly desire. The idea is that you gather photos that explicitly show your goals, showcase them in a way that work for you, and ensure that they will be visible to you during your everyday life. We know that we have to envision what we want, so by starring at those things during the day, it only increases our level manifestation. Every time you look at your vision board you automatically begin to see life with those goals. You imagine what it would feel like, and be like. These are exactly the sentiments we need to be feeling and thinking, to get the most out of manifestation.

How to create a vision board?

The images you choose to use for your vision board should be relevant to you. Meaning that, if I want to be successful in my career, I am going to choose a picture that pertains to my job (Business for example) I might include a picture of someone in a board meeting, and I am at the head of the table. This example is specific to my job, and shows the exact goal I want to achieve.

On the other hand, depending on the goal, you shouldn’t be too specific. If you want to go on a glamorous vacation, don’t narrow your horizons to a certain place. I would include a photo of a beautiful beach or resort, making sure that the name of the place etc. is not included. This allows your mind and the universe to bring opportunity to you, in a large scale. If we narrow our expectations down too far (in this case) we are limiting the universe and our minds. It is like asking a friend to go to the store and buy you some ice cream, only you didn’t tell them which kind. Maybe your friend will bring you a few options, because you weren’t specific. See what I am saying?

Putting your vision board together

It sounds silly, but include yourself in the images as best as you can. The point is that you are looking at your future! If you can photoshop your name or yourself into the image DO IT! It will only make things that much more effective. If this is not possible, it’s ok, do what you can. Remember, the goal is to include pictures that make you think of the things you aspire towards.

Below is my vision board. It is a rustic entryway piece I found at HomeSense, and it is my perfect vision board. Don’t forget, you should put it where you will look at it the most. This is where we hang our coats, put on our shoes and leave our keys, so we see it at least twice a day. I also included the reasoning behind every image on my vision board. I hope it helps you think of photos you would like to include and how to depict your goals.

  1. A house – Marc and I are saving for a home. This is just a picture I selected from google of the general type of home we like. I am thinking of adding another picture of a condo, seeing as we are open to either option.
  2. Marc and I together – This picture was taken at my friends wedding last year. We had a lot of fun and we had so much love for each other. These are the feelings I get when I look at that picture, so I continue to envision that love and happiness in our lives.
  3. A vacation – This image is of a tropical vacation, something Marc and I may want to do over the winter season. However, I am currently debating on changing this photo out to include a scene in Nashville. We have recently decided that our families will be going there in around a year. So, if I include Nashville on our vision board I can manifest that vacation rather than a tropical one. Seeing as Nashville is more likely to occur in our situation.
  4. A For Sale Sign – This is where the magic happened. I used the Paint program on my MacBook to add Marc’s name to the for sale sign. Marc is a real estate representative in the GTA and we manifest his success on a daily basis.
  5. A classroom door – Again, I used Paint (simple but oh so useful) to add my name to the classroom door. My goal was to have my own classroom for the coming school year. By adding my name I added myself into the equation, making it easier to envision my future. However, you may notice I did not include a grade on the door. This is because I was not specific in the grade I wanted to teach, and I did not want to limit the scope of possibility. I was open to teach any grade! I just so happened to be fired for a grade 5 classroom position.
  6. and 7. Our grandparents – I included photos of my grandmother and Marc’s grandfather during a time when they were happy and we were all together. When I created the vision board, both were battling a medical illness, so we would envision them happy and healthy like they were in the pictures! I am happy to report they are doing amazing.

I hope this helped you think about your own goals and wishes for yourself and the people you love. Don’t forget that you have the power to take control of your life. You can change the things you are unhappy with, even if it seems impossible.

All you need to do is envision it, work for it, and believe it.

Until next time,

Stephanie


Other blog posts in The Pathway to Positivity Series 

Manifesting 101: The Basics of Manifesting

How to Start Being a More Positive Person

Kobi’s Accident | #DogMom

Warning: Some of the below information could be upsetting. 

We live in an apartment, a basement apartment where our landlords lived above us. The retell of this story is not about them, or even their dog. It is about the events that landed my six pound shorkie in veterinary care on a mild December night, when it could have been avoided. The thing is, dogs are unpredictable no matter how well you think you know them, and as owners and people we need to take precautions to protect them, and ourselves.

I had went out to get groceries and Kobi was at home, while my boyfriend was at work. It was around 9pm when I returned home with arms full of groceries. Making more than one trip is the biggest hassle, so I loaded up my arms and brought all the bags from my car to our apartment door. Mistake #1: I should have dropped all of the bags, opened the door, and picked up my dog right there. Instead, I opened the door, arms still full of groceries, and Kobi went outside. This was fine as our backyard is gated and he cannot get out. Our landlords dog was out as well (Not unusual, and not a problem seeing as they usually got along) My landlords dog was an approximately sixty pound german shepherd husky mix (I am guessing) Let’s call her Buddy for the sake of anonymity. Mistake #2: Never assume the actions of a dog, yours or another. So, I go into my apartment entrance and just as I am about to put my bags down I hear this sound. It was a cry/whimper that I had never heard before. I turned around to see Kobi in the mouth of my landlords dog.

At this point fight or flight kicked in, or was it adrenaline? I don’t really know, but whatever lets mothers lift cars off their children, that was what shot through me in that moment. I literally threw my bags on the floor and ran to them. Buddy had at this point, let go of Kobi by throwing him on the deck.  I picked him up and immediately thought he was gone, but I wasn’t accepting that. I held him, ran to my apartment and started rummaging through my grocery bags to find my iPhone. I had thrown it in there while trying to be Super Woman and carry all the groceries in at once. Mistake #3: I didn’t close my apartment door behind me. As I sit on the floor with Kobi in one arm, and my other desperately hoping to find my phone among all the groceries, Buddy was coming into my apartment, and jumping over me to get to Kobi. I pushed her out and slammed my door.

I found my phone, called the first emergency vet I could and as calmly as possible, explained what had happened. He told me to come in immediately and he would meet me there. I don’t know how, but it just so happened that this vet was located down the street from me. As I am driving my mind was drifting from “Please please hold on.” to “Oh my gosh, I have to call Marc (my boyfriend) at work” If you have been following this blog, you know we recently moved form Northern Ontario to the GTA and didn’t know anyone else, so I was all by myself with an injured dog, panicking.

When I got to the vets office he was already there and brought us right in. HE IS AMAZING! If you live in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and are looking for a vet, email me and I will give you his name. Anyways, we got into the examining room and this is where I really lost it. I was no longer alone, and my baby was in the hands of a professional who I hoped could help him. The vet determined that Kobi had severe nerve damage to his spine. Kobi couldn’t do anything. The vet was telling me about what had occurred to Kobi when Buddy clamped down on his upper spine/neck. Nerve damage this, 72 hours that, but all I heard was wheelchair. I remember thinking in my head “No Stephanie, your crazy he did not just say that. Kobi is 5 not 50.” But, he did. He said Kobi would need a wheelchair if he did not regain function to his spinal nerves. I LOST MY PROVERBIAL MARBLES RIGHT ABOUT HERE. At the end of our visit, he told me that we were both in shock, Kobi and I, and to keep him comfortable at home for the night, as he was not in imminent danger in his current condition.

So as you do when you bring your dog to the vet, I paid the bill. It was an emergency and after hours visit so i’ll let you imagine what that costed. I really didn’t care though, who does after an ordeal like that. I was just happy to know my dog was going to live. It would be a long road to recovery but he would be ok. We brought him back in the morning as the vet requested so he could do more evaluations and tests. We were very lucky and blessed to find out that he had no other issues. We just needed to wait and see if he would be paralyzed for the rest of his life, or if he would regain the function of his limbs.

He also informed us that he had to empty Kobi’s bladder for him (TMI sorry) This meant that he was not able to control his bladder, and couldn’t feel when he needed to go, a sign and symptom of paralysis. This was really scary, but he told us that if Kobi could pee on his own in the next 72 hours it was a good sign that he would regain the function he needed to full recover. So we waited, and waited. As you can imagine, trying to encourage a small dog who cannot walk on his own to go for pee on his own, was no easy feat. It was literally a two man job as one person held him up, and the other person tried to see under him… if he was actually doing his business. But then, HE PEED! I had never been so happy to see him pee in my life. It was easily one of the biggest moments of relief in my life.

Nine months later…

Here we are in August, nine(ish) months after the accident and Kobi is great. He has regained about 95% of his limb function and is back to being a happy normal dog. We are so incredibly grateful and blessed. The biggest thing we did to help with his recovery was buy him a little lifejacket. He swims in a river near our house and it has helped to strengthen his right front leg that is still not 100%.

I won’t discuss Buddy or his owners, as they are not relevant. What is important however, is that we need to be aware. We need to know what is going on around us, and not assume that we know how things will play out. I never thought the events of that night would happen, but they did. When it comes to our animals we need to be responsible owners, know our animals inside and out, but also remember that anything can change in an instant.

→Being a Dog Mom

→Follow walkingwithgrace on instagram to see more of Kobi

The Pathway to Positivity | Manifestating 101

Disclaimer: I am not a professional in the field of positive thinking or manifestation. Rather, I practice the method frequently and like to share my input and experiences.

What is manifesting?

Really, what is it? We hear about it, read about it, and sometimes even try it. But, what is it really. Manifesting is believing in your mind that something is truly going to happen. In your mind you ‘manifest’ this desire. Remember that little movie that plays in your head, the one that I talked about in the first post in The Pathway to Positivity? You have total control over what movie play in your mind. Manifesting means that you turn on the movie starring you, and the plot is that you get exactly what you truly want.

How do you manifest?

This isn’t magic, it’s manifesting. You can’t expect to think about your goal and it will just happen. You need to believe it, with every bone in your body. So many people think that manifesting if just the act of obsessively thinking about what you want. This is untrue. The key (so I have found in my experiences) is to envision your goal, or your desire as if it has already happened.

Personal experience:

I had been dreaming of becoming a full-time teacher. At the time I was a part-time teacher, teaching mostly health and music to grade one students. I loved my job, but I knew that I was meant to be a full-time classroom teacher. This desire became my biggest goal in the last year. I would think about it constantly, journal about it and create vision boards (more about this in another post) In doing all of this, I made sure to imagine that my ultimate goal (being hired as a full-time teacher) became my reality.

Now, I wouldn’t sit there and say to myself “I am going to get full-time, I am going to get full-time.” Ok let’s be honest I totally did that, but I also manifested my dream as if it had already come true. I imagined myself getting the phone call from a principal offering me a full-time teaching position, after a successful interview. I would also thank the universe, and truly be grateful for everything I already had in my life. This is a crucial step because without gratitude, we cannot truly appreciate what is given to us in life.

You also cannot have any doubt. I like to think of the universe kind of like any animal that can smell fear. They adjust their reaction towards you based on your perception of them. If you are scared, they can tell. The same goes with the universe, but with doubt. You cannot have any doubt that your desire will not come true (In my opinion and experience) Think about it, when has doubt ever made you feel good or happy? NEVER. Isn’t happiness the goal of all of this anyways? Never forget that happiness is the root of all good.

In short, I did have a successful interview with a principal, and I did get that phone call offering me a full-time position. I truly believe that thinking positively and never having doubt that I would be successful in attaining my dream, is a huge part of why I am in this position today.


Follow via email subscription for more in the series “The Pathway to Positivity”. Future posts will include, how to use vision boards, and journaling to bolster manifestation!