July 20, 2016

One Year Later

We've been in our house in Calgary for a year now. Well, 13 months to be exact. And while there was some back and forth going on between Edmonton and Calgary in the few months leading up to us moving into our house, I feel like the date we moved in marks our official day in Calgary. Or at least mine and Sully's.

{Our old house}

Anyway, in some ways I can't believe it's already been a year! I feel like so much has happened in the past year that it can't possibly have only been a year. It feels like we've been here for much longer, but  these past 13 months have also flown by. Whenever Jim and I make a big move, we always say, we'll give it a year. It takes a long time to settle in, get your bearings and figure out if this new place can feel like home. (The only exception to this "rule" is our move to Montreal. We knew within a few months that it was not the place for us!).

Before we made the big move to Calgary, we talked about it incessantly. Was it the right move for us? Was the timing wrong? Would I regret giving up my friends, my job, and the proximity to my family? Since Edmonton is my hometown, I was giving up the most by moving. But when this opportunity to move came up, I knew it was meant to be. Something about it just felt right and I knew it was going to work out. And since I was the one staying home to raise our son, who was I to tell my husband he couldn't follow his career ambitions? We also knew a move was most likely inevitable in our future, and I wanted to do it before our kid(s) were older.
Throughout this past year, Jim frequently "checks in" with me, asking me to tell him how I honestly feel about the move. Am I happy? (Yes), do I like our neighbourhood? (I do), do I miss Edmonton (not really), what do I miss about it? (see below), and would I ever want to move back? (probably not).

The truth is, I don't miss Edmonton. At least, not the city. Of course I miss my friends and family. And sometimes I miss the ease of a city where everything is in place for you (your hairdresser, your doctor, your gym, your chiropractor, your dentist, etc.). Having to re-find those things in a new city is always the most challenging and stressful for me. But you do what you gotta do! I do know that despite these inconveniences of moving to a new city, moving BACK to a city you once lived in (or grew up in in my case) is never the same as the first time you lived there. And we've already moved back to Edmonton once before. I really can't see us doing it again.

I think the best thing that happened to me with this move though, is the community I have found. I'm not sure what the difference is, but when I moved to Calgary, I discovered a huge online presence from Calgary bloggers and if there's one thing that I love about blogging, it's the friendships I've made because of it. When I knew we were moving for sure, I started to reach out to Calgary bloggers more in hopes of developing some sort of friendship. It all started with running in the Calgary Marathon and just kind of snowballed from there. What I didn't expect though was the actual real-life friendships I have made. Some of my closest friends right now, I met through blogging (which can be really weird to explain to non-bloggers, but it's true). I have made friends here with women whom I get together with to do all sorts of things, like have playdates with our young children, run in races, and go to movies, take fitness classes together, celebrate birthdays, and watch The Bachelorette on Monday nights. Our blogs may have brought us together initially, and I'm thankful for that everyday, but these are women I would genuinely want to hang out with even if we didn't blog anymore.

{Calgary Marathon 10K 2015}

Other than that, I truly believe that life is what you make of it. At the end of the day, I really only need Jim and Sully to be happy. But how I choose to spend my days, and how we choose to make the most of our new life here, that's up to us. Sure, I could sit at home and feel sad that we moved and that I miss "x y z" about Edmonton, but what would that accomplish? A cranky wife, a bored toddler, and a husband full of guilt for moving his family, that's what.

Instead, I choose to be happy.

I choose to enjoy what this move has brought us. A bigger home, the ability to stay home with my son, new friends, new places to explore (places we would never visit being 3 hours further away in Edmonton), the mountains, a better commute for Jim, and getting to spend more time with my Aunt and her husband.

I choose to be thankful. That my husband has a job, for our home, for the health of our family, and for the friends I have made.

I choose, most importantly, to make the best of a situation. Life isn't always easy no matter where you live. There are going to be hard days, tiring days, long days, days I wish I lived next door to a family member, days I feel lonely and days I wish I could crawl back into bed and hide. That's just life. So I push through those harder days and embrace the good days.

Life is what you make of it. Calgary has been really good to us, there's no denying that, and while I never, ever thought this was a city I would one day live in, I'm happy that we are here.

{hiking in Bragg Creek}

Do you think you can be happy anywhere?

What defines happiness for you?

July 13, 2016

A Slice of Brie Book Club: July's Pick!

Hello Book Clubbers! July's book choice won by a landslide, so I hope everyone is looking forward to reading Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley! It looks fun and easy - another perfect summer read.

A Slice of Brie Book Club

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Sisters Cassie and Sid Sunday have not done a bang-up job of keeping in touch. In their defense, it hasn’t been easy: life veered in sharply different directions for the once-close sisters. Today, beautiful and big-hearted Sid lives an expat’s life of leisure in far-off Singapore, while harried, iPhone-clutching Cassie can’t seem to make it work as a wife and a mom to twin toddlers in Manhattan.  It doesn't help that Sid spurns all social media while Cassie is addicted to Facebook. So when Sid issues a challenge to reconnect the old-fashioned way—through real, handwritten letters—Cassie figures, why not?  The experiment exceeds both of their expectations, and the letters become a kind of mutual confessional that have real and soul-satisfying effects. And they just might have the power to help Cassie save her marriage, and give Sid the strength to get her life back on track. But first, one of Cassie’s infamous lapses in judgement comes back to bite her, and all of the letters wind up the one place you’d never, ever want to see them: the Internet...

If you're new to book club, then welcome! You can read more about book club in this post, but here's the gist of it:
  • Book Club for Keep Me Posted will be on Tuesday, August 16. My post with review and thoughts, along with some discussion questions, will go live the morning of. I know summer is busy so I figured an extra week to read this book would be nice.
  • Come visit the post, share your feelings and opinions on the book and participate in the discussion! (Of course, participation isn't mandatory - you're more than welcome to just read along quietly!)
  • There will be a link-up for bloggers who have written their own review post, or have reviewed the book in another post. You can use this graphic to link back, or grab my button from my side bar. Writing a post is totally optional and not mandatory.
an online book club for all readers
  • EVERYONE is welcome! You do not have to have a blog to participate. My blog is just the space where I host the book club, but I encourage everyone to join :)
  • On August 16, we will vote for September's book pick. If you have any books you'd like to suggest for voting on, please let me know and I will try to include them!
  • Most importantly, have fun! There's no pressure or obligation to "sign-up" or "RSVP". You can choose to read the book now, or closer to the date we meet to talk about it. It doesn't matter to me! 
  • For my local friends: there are 12 copies of Keep Me Posted at the Calgary Library, and there are currently 7 copies available at this time, so get your holds in! You can also order this book through Chapters (<---affiliate link), or Amazon

I hope you'll be joining us this month! If you have any questions, please ask! Otherwise, happy reading and see you back here in 5 weeks to discuss Keep Me Posted! 

July 12, 2016

The Books I've Been Reading {10}

I read eleven books in May and June (I missed posting in May), so I will try to keep my mini-reviews brief! Most of the books I've reviewed in more detail on my Goodreads and if you click on the book title in the post, it will take you to them.

Adult Fiction book reviews

1. The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry: I read this for the Literary Ladies Book Club, and I'm so glad I did. It was a completely unexpected read, but I really enjoyed it. Full review here.

2. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan: An enjoyable listen on audio (much like listening to his standup). I'm a big fan of Gaffigan's work and this book did not disappoint. I think the things he talks about are hilarious and oh so relatable, especially if you have kids.

3. The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami: I first read this book almost 16 years ago and decided to re-read it for one of my book clubs back in May. I have to admit, it didn't have the same impact as it did when I first read it. It's a bit of a bleak story, about an Sripathi, an older man living in India who has to travel to Canada to bring his 7 year old granddaughter back to India after her parents die in a car accident. I was hoping for more between the relationship between Sripathi and his granddaughter, but the story focused more on Sripathi and his struggles.

4. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy: I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority with this one when I say I didn't love this book. I just found it boring. I listened to it on audio, and I found I wasn't eager to get back to the story in-between each listening. I wasn't moved or touched by any of the characters. It just didn't affect me like I know it did a lot of other people.

5. Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt: This was May's book for my online book club and it hooked me from the get-go. Our main character, Estelle, wakes up one morning in the hospital, only to find out that her 7-month old daughter, Mia is missing. Estelle can't recall any of the events leading up to her daughter's disappearance or how she ended up in the hospital. I enjoyed the twists in the book and didn't see any of them coming. Full review here.

6. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield: I loved this book. It was so different than anything I've read in a really long time. A beautifully written, gothic tale about secrets, twins, and the ghosts that haunt our souls.

7. Exposure to a Billionaire by Ann Menke*: Another Literary Ladies Book Club book pick. Unfortunately, this one was a bit of a bust. The premise was interesting (a young woman lands the flight attendant job of a lifetime, working for a billionaire and flying all over the world on his private jet), and I was intrigued by the "life of the rich and fabulous", but the execution just wasn't there. The writing was too choppy and read more like a play by play of events rather than a novel.

8. The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay**: This was a really cute and entertaining story about 4 sisters who embark on a journey in Vaudeville in attempts to provide for their family. I knew nothing about Vaudeville - what it was or what it all entailed - and this book provided a fascinating look into that era. I found it difficult at first to differentiate between the two narrators (two of the sisters), but eventually they all found their voice. While there were moments of anticipation in the story, it was definitely a more light-hearted historical fiction novel.

9. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah: Oh my word, this book ripped out my heart and touched my soul. I have never, in my life, ugly cried like I did with this book. I was an emotional wreck for two days after reading this book. But it was so, so worth it. If you love historical fiction about WW2, then you need to read this book.

10. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn: Dark and twisted, I can't say I loved this book, but I couldn't put it down. It was an uncomfortable read at times, and so much rawer than Gone Girl. It's dark, gritty, and intense, but it's a well-written story about Camille, a reporter who goes back to her small hometown to try and uncover the true story behind the murders of two young girls. Everyone in the town has secrets, including Camille.

11. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: Something compelled me to re-read this book last month (it had been a few years since I first read it), and I'm so glad I did. I loved it just as much, if not more, this time around.

Phew! Well there you have it. Eleven books in the last two months - not too shabby if I do say so myself. Now I have to crack down and start working through my list for Erin's book challenge!

Also, if you'd like to participate in my online book club for this month, come back tomorrow for when I announce which book we are reading! If you want more info, check out this post.

What have you been reading lately? 

Do you like to re-read books? 

Linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books!

*I received a copy of Exposure to a Billionaire from the Morgan James Publishing. All opinions are my own. 

**I received an advanced copy of The Tumbling Turner Sisters from Simon & Schuster Canada. All opinions are my own.