Sunday, November 20, 2016

Pushing forward into the unknown.

It’s been a strange past few months. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something has felt very off. Maybe I could blame the cosmos. What happens to us when our heart flutters, our mind races and sleep becomes disruptive? I feel like maybe at some points each of us could be extras on The Walking Dead.  No need to worry though, it's just our friendly neighbour anxiety; the growing epidemic plaguing us all.  The horrible feeling that creeps up when you think you finally have a grasp on this thing called life, only to have you catapult into a mess of over-exaggerated emotional turmoil and physical discomfort that make you wonder if something is seriously wrong.

Why do we really try when we know that we're going to fail miserably, or at least that’s what our mind tells us.  Oh and yes let's beat ourselves up and never give credit for accomplishing huge hurdles. I think we all want the same things in life and to surpass unfortunate visitors who try to claim our well-being. "They taught you lessons in life.” Yeah, I don't think we needed the lessons, I never needed them, but you can't always get what you want. These experiences can make us more hyper-vigilant sometimes to perceived threatening situations. I believe learning to become resilient is one of the best tools for our mental-health toolbox, but one that is very hard to acquire without constant modification.

Don't we all just want someone to love us?  To find someone who is proud of us, and won't hide us from the rest of the world. The beautiful life is and will always be subjective, but the desire to look forward to growing old gracefully in each other’s arms seems comforting and not all that far-fetched. However, in the flux of self-loathing and self-empowerment, it's like we ask for too much, yet settle too long for much too little.  We live with those painful scars, the fleeting moments of happiness, and that constant whisper that we are never good enough for anything or anybody.

Then we have friendships. Sometimes we build long-lasting connections and other times, we grow apart. The growing envy takes over as you see others who have held onto friendships since their childhood or even high school years, while you cannot even keep a gold fish alive for more than a few months. For some of us, we make the conscious effort to avoid taking graduation photos for the year book and our silhouette on the page has the caption underneath "missing in action." Why even bother attending graduation either, just to put on a smiling face, hug everyone and share all the wonderful memories that never happened? Yep, we are not all hypocrites.

Even in adulthood now, it’s the same drama, people are just older, more jaded, less educated, and popping out kids they regret, with the only consolation of getting into a drunken stupor to forget how pathetic their lives really are. Talk about soul-draining.  Then you get the phony bologna's who are sweet to your face, act like their lives are perfect, and back-stab you in the worst possible ways. We love them dearly (note my dripping sarcasm) because we strive not to ever be like them.

My trust meter is low and so I have disconnected myself a bit in order to process all the thoughts and feelings and to allow much needed rest and space.
"Love is like a barren place, and reaching out for human faith is like a journey I just don't have a map for." - Savage Garden-To The Moon And Back
September passed, then came October, followed now by November. Maybe we are all going through an existential crisis and not aware of it. The feelings could be very subtle or just take hold tightly and our fight-flight response is in limbo. It will pass, just like hours in a day.

I’m turning 36 years old in a few weeks, and I feel like life has passed me by.  Feelings though don't equal facts, which is often a tough pill to swallow. In reality, I know that I have accomplished a lot so far and will continue to make strides, even if they are itty bitty ones right now.  It may not be the same accomplishments that other people can gloat about, but my achievements and sacrifices do mean something.

I don't think we should ever hide who we are.  I know that the only limits I have are the ones that I put on myself. It's a long and daunting process to begin again, but well worth it.  I'm trying to explore, live more freely and make life purposeful on my own terms.

The wavering support that one may get in life shouldn't be diminished.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Just One More - Hacksaw Ridge

We have watched a lot of movies lately in the theatre, but I think the one that stands out for me the most right now is Hacksaw Ridge.

Director, Mel Gibson, hit this one out of the park, showing the utter brutality of war. Visuals were stunning and the emotional impact of this film will leave you speechless for a while.

Not bearing arms seems like a death wish, but you have to applaud someone for their strong convictions and ability to not back down, even under the most terrifying circumstances. From my viewpoint while watching the film, "God" was not the driving factor in his decision. I know there is a lot of debate when it comes to faith/religious beliefs, so this is just my opinion. Go check out the movie and make your own judgement call.

Regardless, Andrew Garfield was incredible in his role portraying real-life hero in EVERY sense of the word, Desmond Doss. In some scenes, he reminded me a little of Forrest Gump. Hugo Weaving and Vince Vaughn deserve praise as well for their acting roles.

With humanity in a fragile state, "just one more" never meant so much.



Sunday, November 13, 2016

Day-Tripping in Kingsville, Ontario.

It's been a nice distraction to close up our computers and get out and explore. There are so many places we haven't been to, so these day-trips that we've started to take are really a lot of fun and truly showcase the rich history of our region.

Recently, Bill and I took a lovely trip to Kingsville and visited the Canadian Transportation Museum and Heritage Village, complete with our own personal tour guide! Neither of us are big car enthusiasts, but it was very interesting to learn about the car industry then and now.

Just a few pics, lots more here: Day-tripping adventures with Bill
All photos taken by Melissa F. Arditti (please contact me to use any photos)


1930 - Ford Model A Roadster with mannequins!
Photo by Melissa F. Arditti
Rolls Royce!
Photo by Melissa F. Arditti
After our tour, we decided to grab a bite to eat before heading back to Windsor. We went to popular spot of Kingsville called Jack's Gastropub. A nice little pub-style restaurant with what they say is "a 'finer' approach to casual dining."  Right now they have a great Fall menu, but I will say that if you arrive earlier than 5 pm (certain items on the menu clearly state "serving after 5 pm") they are sticklers and the chefs won't prepare those entrees until then because according to the server, everything is made fresh. I must say, it's a little pretentious and even the server thought it was a silly rule.  Bill was salivating over the meatloaf, but we were early-birds and so we were out of luck. Darn, maybe next time.

The pub was pretty packed with people coming and going. We had to wait for a bit until a table was free. Once seated, we noticed people who were dressed to the nines (wedding parties and business gatherings) while others were in ball caps and t-shirts, chugging beer with their buddies

The menu was smaller than I had expected, but still had some good choices. They had comfort food with their own twist (harvest mac and cheese looked quite temping!) as well as local fish, chicken and lamb. Looking at the menu, prices felt a bit steep, so that is something to take note of.

Our server was attentive and friendly, so no complaints there.

Onto the food. I had a delicious quiche which was one of the specials. I know it looks weird with how the crust completely fell apart, but that's how it was served. Honestly, it was so flavourful that I didn't really care. It was freshly made and so you can appreciate it for the imperfect presentation.

My quiche with side salad
Photo by Melissa F. Arditti

Bill's meal was the Canadian Club:  Grilled chicken, maple-cider mayo, sliced apple, cheddar cheese and smoked bacon on a grilled naan bread with a side of coleslaw.  Lip-smacking good!

Canadian Club
Photo by Melissa F. Arditti

For dessert, we shared the apple-cranberry crisp with vanilla ice cream. A nice combo of sweet and tart with the cooling effect of vanilla ice cream. A challenge to eat in this little ramekin, but ended the meal perfectly.

Apple-cranberry crisp with vanilla ice cream.
More than enough for 2!
Photo by Melissa F. Arditti

After dining at Jack's, we were ready to make our way back to Windsor with satisfied bellies! I would definitely recommend stopping in here after exploring some of the sites that Kingsville has to offer.

Make sure to check them out on Facebook too!


Jack's Gastropub gets 3/4 Purple Muse's. 




Sunday, October 30, 2016

Berry Goodness with Patience Fruit & Co

Dried cranberries usually have a distinct tart taste but these ones by Patience Fruit & Co are quite the opposite, which I believe is from the sweetened apple juice. I am also amazed at how plump and juicy they were compared to just a regular dried cranberry that you'd buy at the grocers or at the bulk food store.

These were tasty in my oatmeal this morning and due to their sweetness, only a few were needed, mixed with some apples.  I would definitely recommend this product and would enjoy trying out the other varieties, like the blueberries.

Thanks to Social Nature for this yummy treat!
#trynatural

Morning oatmeal breakfast.
Look at how plump those cranberries are?!

Patience Fruit & Co - Cranberries get 3/4 Muse's

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Bravo for Beanitos!

I am always on the look out for a tasty snack and while shopping at the grocery store recently, I saw a display of chips from an Austin, Texas-based company called Beanitos.  As the name suggests, their products are solely made from beans!  Many “chips” nowadays seem to carry a long-list of claims, everything from being gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan friendly and containing no artificial colours/flavours etc...  So in all honesty, this is nothing really earth-shattering that I haven't seen before with labels. However, let's say you're a diabetic and get a snack attack, so instead of reaching for something that will spike your blood sugar levels, these are low on the GI scale, so a much better choice.

So are bean-based chips are a good alternative? Yes! Beanitos offer a nice variety of bean chips, so there is something for everyone to eat from your plain-jane eater to your more adventurous spirit who is seeking intense flavours.  Personally, I liked that these Original Black Bean chips contain a good amount of fibre, protein, low in sodium and cholesterol-free, so your heart is going to be happy. :)

Beanitos Original Black Bean
#vivalabean

Photo by Melissa F. Arditti

Digging right in!

Photo by Melissa F. Arditti

I am quite pleased with my purchase!  These bean chips are delicious and will definitely fill you up. If you're not a fan of sea salt like me, don't worry because you can barely taste it. They are not greasy at all which is a huge plus and I loved scooping them up with the homemade mixture I made of avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, green peppers, red onion, extra virgin olive oil, and spices.

Like any type of bean, eat in moderation! This was a satisfying snack for a rainy October day that offers a lot of nutritional value and will surely be on my future shopping lists!


Beanitos gets 4/4 Muse's

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Beautiful Autumn

These colours are so gorgeous.
I had to snap a photo of this tree that I walk by all the time.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

My craving has been satisfied with a delicious slice of Farmer's Market Pumpkin Pie.

I forgot the whipped cream, so just sub'ed with some strawberry yogurt on top. Driscoll's raspberries made this pumpkin pie perfect. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, September 16, 2016

8 Year Anniversary

Bill is the most genuine person I have ever met in my life. He is my best friend and lover, and continues to make my heart burst with happiness. Even on my worst days, he has the true gift of making me laugh.

Although it took us a very long time to have our first kiss, it was truly worth the wait.


Happy 8 year anniversary honey!

I love you and I hope to spend many more years together!



Another first.  "Let's go fly a kite!"

Bill surprised me with a wonderful kite flying adventure.



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Katy Kat Collection

Well I had the opportunity to be a BzzAgent for the new and exciting Katy Kat Collection, which was a collaboration with one of the top rated make-up lines; CoverGirl, and artist Katy Perry. These are the goodies I received in the mail!


I chose the following 2:



Kitty Purry lipstick:

Pros:

  • Packaging is very simplistic
  • Good amount of product
  • Lipstick lid snaps shut and stays in place after usage - hurray, no mess in my purse!
  • Light scent, but not overpowering
  • Creamy texture with the shea butter
  • Price is reasonable at $10.99
  • Glides on lips easily with a demi-matte finish that is rather natural looking
Cons:
  • The colour looks a bit different from the swatches online. Much lighter pink colour.
  • You need to apply fairly often since the colour really fades over the course of a day

Katy Kat Mascara  - Perry Blue

Pros:

  • Wand is a good size and offers a comfortable grip
  • Easy to apply product
  • Volumizes lashes to some extent
  • Doesn't clump or flake even in humid conditions (we've certainly had a hot & humid summer!)
  • Understated with little flecks of blue tint throughout my lashes (the other black mascaras in the collection might have shown up more bold, but I wanted to test out electric blue!)
  • Non-irritating after removing with eye makeup remover (at least for me, others may react differently, so just be cautious!)
Cons:
  • Not as dramatic as expected. Several coats needed to really get that "electric" blue to stand out. Probably best with a thick layer of eye liner as well for a bolder look.
  • After a while, your lashes do feel a bit stiff.




Overall I enjoyed trying out these products. I would probably prefer a black mascara as that usually gives a more intense look to my eye without having to use any eye liner at all. The lipstick at first I didn't like because I felt it was too light but I received a lot of compliments and so the colour started to grow on me!  I guess I could layer on another colour and see how that looks too.

Thanks Bzzagent for another fun campaign! :)


Katy Kat Collection gets 3/4 Muse's




*Do you like testing out FREE products and sharing your honest opinion with everyone? Be part of the amazing Bzzagent community!  Sign up here to become a Bzzagent



Saturday, August 6, 2016

A crunchy bite with Flamingo!

Photo by Melissa F. Arditti

It's really great when I come across a product line that offers delicious quality and taste because I know many people are always looking for easier ways to get dinner on the table.  Sometimes it's awesome to cook from scratch, but other times, if you can find a quick and healthy meal option that won't break your budget, why not?

Well I'd like to introduce you to a fantastic company that has been around for over 50 years and sought after by those in Qu├ębec, called Flamingo. Available all across Ontario now too, they offer a large selection of chicken and turkey products that you can see on their product list here: http://www.flamingo.ca/en/products

I have only tried the Breaded Chicken breast Strips so far, but after purchasing one box, I went out and got another because they were so good! Sadly, most of the other varieties seem to be out of stock all the time, so I haven't been able to really experiment with other products, but I would like to.

A few things to mention:
  • Flamingo prides itself on offering many gluten-free options.  Personally, this was not a deciding factor for me, but if you or a loved one does suffer from Celiac Disease, I would highly recommend checking out this brand
  • The bread coating is made from puffed rice! I love the crunchiness too.
  • Far less greasy than most breaded chicken strips that I have tried in the past.
  • Lower in sodium (always a good thing!)
  • Place into the oven for about 20-25 minutes, make sure to flip over half way, cook the rest of the time and you're done.
  • Happy that they didn't stick to the tinfoil like many other frozen food products
  • Bake in the oven the whole batch and then use the rest for leftovers, which turns out great.
  • I really enjoyed dipping them into a honey mustard sauce for added flavour.
  • Breaded and unbreaded varieties are available

My only negative is that the price can be a little high at $10 per box, BUT they always seem to have promotions going on and if you can get a coupon (I lucked out on getting a $3 off coupon) and see a discount sale in-store, you can't beat that! Plus they are a healthier alternative than a lot of other frozen chicken products that are loaded with sodium and really greasy, so that is something to keep in mind.

Flamingo Chicken breast Strips gets 3/4 Muse's