26 Apr 2012

Jessica: She Rocks

First off, I want to thank TOI for allowing me to be part of the She Rocks Series!

I’ve always been independent. I went off to college at 18 and never moved back home. I took care of myself from then on, having my own money and buying anything I needed. I was proud of myself for doing my own thing; a lot of friends from high school were still living at home and not going to school. As a young girl my Grandma would always tell me to be independent and not rely on a man to take care of you.

I got married and moved 12 hours away from family and friends. I knew I still had to do my own thing. I love to spend time with my husband, but I wanted to meet new people and find something that I enjoyed doing. I felt like I needed to keep busy from dwelling on missing my family. I have always loved to read so I joined a book club with a friend from work. It was nice to get out of the house and mingle with other ladies and build new relationships.

Since having our daughter, I have to admit, I don’t do much for me, being a working Mommy I feel guilty leaving her. A couple things that make me feel good is getting my hair done or buying new clothes. I am starting to finally read again and plan things with friends to do things for myself. Motherhood has been a big adjustment; it is hard to balance being a wife and mother and still finding time for you. I find planning things when my daughter is sleeping or even meeting up with a friend for lunch during the work week makes it so much easier to do things for myself. I am lucky to have a husband that supports me for being me, weeks after our daughter was born, he pretty much kicked me out of the house, he told me to just go to the store, I did not want to leave our daughter, but was exhausted and he could tell I was getting cabin fever. It felt so good to get out and do something on my own even if it was just for an hour. It is important to keep your individuality no matter what stage of life you are in, I think for me, it’s been very hard since becoming a mother but I don’t want to lose who I am as an individual, after all my daughter isn’t going to be at home forever!


jessica Jessica is a twenty something mother and wife. Married to her husband for over two years after dating for 10 years. After almost a year of trying her and husband extended their little family with the addition of Aryana, their adorable daughter, born May 2011. She documents her life journey at Pregnancy Journey.


25 Apr 2012

A Room With a View

I just got back from Italy, after a week of a wonderful hectic hiatus.

AOI saw her granny, my mother, for the first time. grannyAOIshe loves to be carried around.

she also meet another uncleuncleAOI they looked so sweet together.

I believe the time was appropriate, not too soon not too late.

I enjoyed more shopping, this time i bought only three pairs of comfy shoes shoes and few body products which I will share in future posts.

for the first time I sat at the window of our rooms, the sun shone on me, the wind cooled the room, i read a book while my baby was taking an afternoon nap.italiansun it felt good, it made me wanna keep that house for our future Italian summer holidays.

i enjoyed these views from different windowsarzview1

arzview4 arzview3arzview5azrview2

I don’t think I’ve ever seen my hometown under such splendour. it was so green and i couldn’t get enough of the valleys. i guess this is the case because in Canada we live in the prairies.

19 Apr 2012

Alida: She Rocks

Woman. Wife. Mother. Those are the words I have used to describe myself for such a long time. Whenever I am faced with having to fill in a bio or profile those are the first words that come to mind. I see myself as all three, but, they always stay in that order. I am a woman first. I got married at the age of 18. I remember being so thrilled that I could identify myself as a wife. And I still feel that way. When our first child came along I was 24. Being the mother of a living human being overwhelmed me at times. It was a daunting task to be faced with...mothering. As my sons grew I faced many days when I could not think my own thoughts. I would be interrupted by the boys or by my husband. They didn't do it on purpose. At least I kept telling myself that!

After my husband graduated from seminary and our youngest son had turned one year old, I went back to college. I knew that I needed to do something for me. I knew that I needed to think again...and not be interrupted. It was vital that I become a better person, so that I could in turn be a better woman, wife and mother. Taking classes did that for me. Doors opened in my mind that I had closed off for years. I grew up with 4 brothers. I was raising sons. I needed to explore my femininity, my spirituality, discover my talents, and begin thinking my own thoughts again.  

I made a point to get away when I needed to mental health days.  I would take off early Saturday mornings and spend time at the beach with my journal and my thoughts.  Each quarter I would go to a nearby convent that rented out rooms and spend a whole day with my journal and a few books.  I would write out goals, dream about the future, and think about what I wanted to think about.

This year I will turn 49. One year closer to fifty. We recently celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, our children are adults, and we are empty-nesters. As a woman, a wife, and mother I feel grateful to be able to say that I have a full life. I am truly grateful to have been born a woman. And to have had a richness of experiences that have moulded and shaped who I am today. I have a great marriage, I raised incredible children, I have traveled to 8 different countries, I have memories to last a lifetime, and I have people that I love to share them with. And as a woman I have needed that...because while I love being able to think my own thoughts...I don't want to keep them to myself.  I value having people in my life to share them with!   


Wife to Tom since 1981, mother to Nathan and Spencer,missionary in Belize, lover of traveling, reading, and piping hot cups of raspberry tea.  She began blogging at Blackpurl’s Knitpicking in April of 2005 to chronicle their experiences of life abroad. They began their journey in Russia and they are currently located in Belize. They work to eradicate the sexual exploitation of children/youth and run a counselling office for abused and hurting children, teens, and women.


17 Apr 2012

Budleigh Salterton – Devon – England - UK

yesterday the weather was sunny, we went for a day trip in a near by town, Budleigh Salterton.

devon4 i love the view from the hilldevon3 this B&B is overlooking the sea, such a lovely place to stay if you are looking for romanticismdevon2though it was sunny, it was also windy, so i tried to wrap myself warm

devon6lovely gallery, right?devon5how about this museum? devon7this is the house in which Sir John Everett Millais, one of British famous painters, painted his famous paint Boyhood of Raleigh.

Source: google.co.uk via TOI on Pinterest


to finish

this is the sound of the place, wind, sun, and see enjoy :)

14 Apr 2012

Hello From Britain

Did you miss me?

If you read my twitter update and my note at the end of yesterday’s feature, then you know that you I am in Britain and we were in London doing what every good Londoner does on daily basis. SHOP.londonshopping I went shopping the second day I was in city {I will show you what I bought in a different post}. We weren’t jetlag. AOI was doing fine with her naps and feeds. I carry her everywhere but her aunty J. was with us so she had the chances to cuddle her on the streets of London. london3I am here for a quick update and to say that I am with my inlaws in Devon, whilst my hubby is Bangladesh and this is the view I wake up to and I am loving:  view   Have a great weekend and stay tuned for more updates.

xoxo, TOI

12 Apr 2012

Mrs Pancakes: She Rocks

I am over the moon that TOI has started this amazing series.
I loved the name, SHE ROCKS, immediately because as women we do rock in every single way.
Thank you TOI for giving me this opportunity to reminisce a little.

Since being married, i have become my husband's wife, his Mrs. 
When we have children someday, i will become a mother. 
Before that time i was a College student. 
And before that i lived at home and was my mother's child. 
But somewhere in my twenties, after College and moving out of my family's home,
i remember this carefree young lady who was fearless, motivated
and always on the go with my friends. 

One of the ways that made me fearless was through my travels. 
I LOVE to travel and traveling was definitely what made me fearless and made me ROCK!
I was definitely happy to write this post because it allowed me to reminisce.

I traveled to Europe several times in my twenties and one of my fondest memories
was going to London, Italy, Switzerland, and Paris all in one trip. 
That was perhaps one of the most funniest trips of all time. 
I was MOTIVATED to maximize my time in Europe as much as possible and it was beyond fun!

Another time i ROCKED was when my girls and i took a trip to Maimi. 
The Miami was unforgettable because we had a blast as friends
and were able to experience two new places that were beyond this world. 
We were even invited to a basketball game by an NBA player as his personal guests.
  How fun is that!


Miami Skyline!
We went to Barcelona on a total whim and had such a fun time.
We went out dancing every night
until 6 or 7 in the morning and sleep throughout the day. 
Needless to say we didn't see much of the city in the day BUT we did a lot.
The people were friendly, the sangria in the mid-afternoon was amazing and the city was a blast.

Sagrada Familia

Looking back i am reminded of all these amazing moments that made me ROCK!
These times in my life remind me that i can still be that fearless and motivated on the go young lady.
And because i am his Mrs, a mother, a daughter, a student doesn't mean i can't still be that girl who completely and utterly ROCKS!

Thanks TOI, i definitely needed that reminder!

bouquet11 Mrs Pancakes. blogs at Adventures of Team Pancakes, where you can find the ramblings and experiences of Team Pancakes as newlyweds! Why Mrs. Pancakes? Because her man loves him some good and fluffy pancakes!
Thank you Mrs. P for the lovely post.
I am currently in Britain and I can tell that travelling with baby is adventurous but it makes me feel good and I can tell I am still that woman who loves to travel and take pictures to remember where she is on holiday.Devon1

7 Apr 2012

Eating for Two

These days I wish I was still pregnant and still conscious about what is good and bad nutrition. When I was pregnant I was conscious about my health and learnt about what to include in my diet to have a healthy pregnancy. The following nutrient superstars were my number one priority nutrition choices, they are rich in vitamin and mineral, tasteful and healthy for baby and mummy.

Fruits – Mangoes are chock full of vitamins A and C and also potassium. They are also quite the versatile fruit, delicious in a smoothie, salad or soup. Kiwi is overflowing with vitamin C and even offer laxative benefits. Enjoy in a smoothie or straight from the source. Avocados are a pregnancy superfood. They are bursting with folic acid, the quintessential pregnancy vitamin, along with potassium and vitamin B6, which helps with morning sickness. It is a high-fat fruit, however, so be mindful of your intake.

  • Vegetables – Broccoli is another food rich in folic acid along with vitamins A and C and some calcium, which is great for baby. Add it to dinner, throw in your stir-fry, or dip on the go. Carrots are a crunchy favorite for many, offering plenty of fiber and vitamins A, B6, and C that help develop baby’s eyes, bones and teeth. Much like broccoli, these can be eaten as a snack or sliced and diced into dinner, salads, or baked goods. Spinach is unstoppable in the nutrients department. Full of folic acid, iron, vitamin A, and calcium, you can serve it steamed or, for those who need it disguised, slip it into lasagna or other dishes. Red bell peppers have a number of similarities to carrots in the nutrient department. Vitamins A, C, and B6 make this veggie great to snack on or add to your dinner in multiple ways.
  • Grains, Oats and Nuts – Oatmeal can start your day out right as a warm breakfast or added to muffins or cookies. Enjoy the fiber, vitamin B, iron and numerous minerals. Add flax, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, to your granola or in a smoothie with other great fruits. Nuts, like walnuts, are another small snack that will provide the necessary minerals and vitamin E to your diet. Top your salad, add to your banana bread, or snack on a handful. Just watch out—they can be high in fat and sneak up on you in the calorie department. Whole wheat bread or pasta provides you with the carbohydrates you need for energy and include grains full of fiber, iron and minerals. Brown rice is a nice alternative as well.
  • Dairy – Yogurt is a wonderful source of calcium, protein and folic acid while providing the added bonus of active cultures to stave off stomach issues. In a smoothie, paired with granola, or as a substitute for mayo, yogurt can be eaten anywhere and anytime. Milk really does your body good. Famous for its calcium and protein, this source of vitamin D can wash down breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For those unable to enjoy milk, look to orange juice and other substitutes for sources of calcium.
  • Seafood – Fish is full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids baby needs for development. However, avoid seafood with high levels of mercury, such as swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, or shark. Salmon, cod, crab, tilapia and shrimp are safe to consume while being mindful of amounts.

My doula says nutrition is just the beginning, at the moment she studying for her sonographer/ultrasound tech degree to be able to help more. Our world is lucky to have all these advantages to their disposition, because in easy steps we can learn the miracle of pregnancy, I wish every woman in the world had that opportunity.

I was reading these websites What to Expect and Mayo Clinic.

and I felt the urge to write something about pregnancy.

6 Apr 2012

BFF: What I Want For/From My European Holidays

i can’t wait until Sunday., i feel like i don’t want to do anything else.

i have my soul already in Great Britain and Italy. i can see myself in the shops of London, sightseeing the city with AOI and my SIL, or at home in Devon with my in-laws and sister in law, whilst hubby is in Bangladesh for work. i can also see myself and AOI at home in Italy with my mum, my brother. my mind eyes can see my mum carrying AOI everywhere. i can see AOI and me in the piazza of Vicenza, my hometown. Showing her off to all our relatives and friends. we will go sightseeing in Verona.  meantime hubby will be in Austria (Vienna) for a conference.

But I am also daydreaming about what I can buy while in London.

For my hair I needforhairlock gro, conditioner, shampoo, rosemary oil, herbal oil

for my body and AOI’s delicate body i need forbody

then I want to buy few things, these are the items i have in mind.forfashion

i can’t contain myself. in our spare bedroom i have all the items i want to take with me but i haven’t even packed.

i better go back.

5 Apr 2012

Hanna: She Rocks

Is there life after having 2 babies and gaining 100 pounds???

I'm living proof!
This is me!
Hi there, My name is Hanna and I am so honored to be here guest blogging.
It's so nice to meet you.
Today, as part of She Rocks series, I am going to share my weight loss journey with you.
I hope I can inspire some of you who have had a baby or two and found yourself stuck in a rut, struggling with weight and just not feeling like you can rock yourself anymore. I have been there and back my friends. I have lost 113 pounds and am so excited to share my story and inspiration with you.
Here I am with my little loves. My son little Milton is just over 2  and Ginger is 12 months. I'm a busy lady!
Meet my husband, big Milton!!!
So this is how my story begins.......
1. First, we were a happy couple!!!!
2. Then we fell in love and got married.
3. Then I got pregnant........
4. Gained 100 + pounds........
5. And had a beautiful baby boy.
My life was forever changed in more ways than one.
First of all let me say that I honestly feel like my life had truly just begun with the birth of my children. I have love for them like I never knew existed. I often feel like my heart might burst with joy when look at their shining little faces.
However, this is what I looked like with my first born. Then I got pregnant again 4 month later. WOW! I was pregnant for 2 years straight.
The wonderful news was I was a mom and had given birth to a healthy baby boy and girl. The not so wonderful news was that I had become obese! Yes, obese. Not exactly how I wanted to describe myself but was the honest truth.
Honestly, when I was pregnant I thought I was so big because of the baby not realizing that when the baby came out I was going to be just as big. I was completely shocked at my size. When I looked in the mirror I had no idea what I was even looking at. I felt like I was trapped in someone else's body; a very uncomfortable body.
Brutal Honesty of what being Obese feels like:
  • My thighs rubbed together and I would develop a rash if I didn't have pants between my legs at all times.
  • I had little bumps in my armpits where I would shave because they would rub against my upper arm and chafe.
  • I couldn't cross my legs
  • My back ached; I could barley lift my new born baby without throwing my back out
  • I was always sweaty, especially under my breasts
  • I felt disgusting; I have never been so uncomfortable in my life.
  • I was embarrassed. I would run into an old friend and they would kind of look at me like "oh that poor girl used to be so cute but now she had kids and look at her" I HATED THAT!!!
  • I had stretch marks ALL over my abdomen, thighs, upper arms and even down to the back of my shins because I had gotten so big.
  • Nothing fit. I wore PJ’s and plus size maternity clothes for a VERY LONG TIME!
  • I stopped caring totally about my appearance; Never making an effort to look nice.
  • My wedding rings didn't fit and I had gained so much weight some of my shoes wouldn't even fit.


Basically, I just felt horrible inside and out. I felt very unattractive. I would hardly let my husband touch me because I felt so ashamed of my body. I stopped wearing make up all together. I wore my hair pulled back every single day and always was in old ratty PJ's. It was so depressing and really unhappy.
I have heard over and over again in my life that "you should just love who you are no matter what size". I love that and I think it's a great sentiment but the honest truth is for me I couldn't love myself in that condition. What's there to love about not feeling good? It wasn't just about me. But I wanted to rock for my health, happiness, husband and my kids.
It wasn't long before I knew I had to loose the weight and not just a few pounds, I knew I needed to loose A LOT, and so my journey began.........
I was motivated and darn right DETERMINED to loose this weight.
Here are a couple before and after pictures that I hope you find inspiring.
Starting out is the hardest part of the whole journey. Losing 100+ pounds is a very daunting task to say the least but I am just an average, everyday woman and I did it. That means you can too!
I did it completely on my own. I never joined Jenny Craig or weight watchers. I didn't take diet pills, have surgery or starve myself.  I just had a vision of who I wanted to be and I made that vision come to life, Again, you can find my detailed plan {HERE}.
I think it is important to think about it long and hard before committing to something like this because it is a long journey but it is VERY attainable. If you have a little will power and a little discipline you can make it happen.  It's important to set a reasonable, realistic goal and you can read more about that in my {GUIDE}
Many women who desperately want to loose weight will come up with a list of reasons why they don't think they can achieve their goals so I just wanted to let you know that there is always a way. Here is how I dealt with many typical obstacles while trying to loose weight.
Common Obstacles:
  • NO CHILDCARE.   I am a full time mom and a full time nurse. I have no childcare whatsoever. I made time to exercise anyway. I bought a double stroller and a baby carrier and I walked everyday. You don't need to go to a gym to loose weight. I did while taking care of 2 babies under the age of 2.
  • FULL TIME WORK.  I also work full time as a nurse, 12 hour night shifts to top it off. You must make time to prepare food for yourself to bring with you to work so you’re not tempted to eat the junk in the cafeteria.
  • A SPOUSE WHO WON'T FOLLOW THE SAME MEAL PLAN AS YOU.     My husband eats pretty much everything I don't eat. He eats sweets, breads, potatoes, pastas. He eats whatever he wants. So no big deal. Prepare meals that can be shared by both like prepare chicken, mashed potatoes and broccoli. You eat the chicken and broccoli and let him eat everything else. You'll be surprised how easy it is to make it work. 
  • NO TIME. I worked full time and was a full time mom during my entire weight loss plan. My best advice is to be prepared. ALWAYS, keep snack friendly food around the house and carry it with you wherever you go, fruit, almonds, cottage cheese are great examples. This way you won't be tempted to binge on whatever food is lying around the house.


I have dieted many times in the past and this is the first time in my life I have lost this amount of weight in the healthiest way I know how. I never felt hungry or deprived.
My best advice is BE KIND. BE GENTLE. FORGIVE YOURSELF and then jump right back on that wagon and try again. Consistency was my greatest tool.
A few more tips:
  • Be grateful everyday
  • Just let it go
  • Remind yourself how amazing you are, this is hard work
  • Talk about it, accept praise from others, if you work hard, you deserve praise. It feels so good
You can find a more detailed outline in what I did physically to help lop off the pounds in my original post but after I reached about 140 pounds I started running. I didn't want to start running sooner than that because I didn't want to get injured so I power walked 2-5 miles a day with the kids for months and months and months! Then I started running!
I have had a life long dream to train for a full marathon. 5 years ago I trained but got injured 3 weeks from the race so I did not finish.
Well... I started out slow and it hurt like hell for about 3 weeks but I kept pushing through it and now I run 30-40 miles a week.
Last weekend  I flew to New Orleans and finished my first 1/2 marathon. I ran it in under 2 hours which is a great time. Crossing that finish line was the most gratifying experience I can imagine!!!! Inside I was was bursting with pride and joy!!!!! I feel like I can accomplish ANYTHING!!!!!!!
My Face says it all!!!! 
In 7 weeks I am going to run the full marathon, 26.2 miles. I am extremely excited. To come from weighing 245 pounds to weighing 131 pounds (which mind you is mostly muscle now) is AWESOME!!!!!!
I feel better now, after having 2 babies, than I have ever felt in my life. A few days ago my husband told me I look better now at 33 years old, after having 2 children then I did when I was 18 years old. WOW!
Not only am I in love with being a mother but now I can truly enjoy my kids and feel great about myself. What a great example for my kids as well. They see their mom as healthy, happy and radiant. That is a wonderful thing my friends.
I truly hope that I have helped to inspire at least one of you to give it a try. It is possible. It is doable even with kids and work and every other crazy thing life throws at you, because every woman rocks.
You can find Hanna anytime over on her blog {bouffe e bambini} where she posts lots of fun recipes,  some cute pictures of her babes, and some fun fashion stuff.
She is a busy mom of two toddlers, a full time critical care nurse, runner, blogger and wife.She’s a busy lady!!!
She is passionate about inspiring people to feel at their best weight and she would truly be happy to answer any questions or just chat about how difficult weight loss can be. Feel free to email her anytime at "www.bouffeebambini@hotmail.com"
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