July 28, 2016

Thinking Out Loud {#10}: Yoga Class Musings

It's been a long time since I've linked up with Amanda for a Thinking Out Loud post, and since they are some of my favourite types of posts to write and read, here you go! The random thoughts and going-ons in my life!

1. Working out hasn't been a priority in my day to day life ever since summer rolled in. I'm not sure if the hot weather is to blame for my lack of motivation or that my routine was thrown off by having lots of visitors these past two months, but whatever the reason, I haven't been going to the gym. I knew I needed to get myself back there so yesterday I committed to going once Jim got home from work. I decided to take a BodyFlow class at GoodLife Fitness and I was reminded of how much I love that class. You might not break out in a big sweat, but it still gets my heart pumping, and I'm always surprisingly somewhat sore the day after. It's really such a great class and I think I'm going to try and go 3 times a week for August. I'm not really feeling BodyPump right now, but that's ok, it will be there for me when I am.
2. Speaking of BodyFlow - for those that aren't familiar with it, it's a combination of tai chi, Pilates and yoga, and it's similar to other Les Mills classes in that a class is released every three months, using new music and new choreography. Anyway, the class ends like a traditional yoga class, with approximately 10 minutes dedicated to shavasana. I don't know about you, but this is my favourite moment of the class! Plus, I believe it to be beneficial to your practice. But you know what I notice every time I take this class? Almost everyone leaves before shavasana starts! (And some leave during it!). I don't get it! It's also kind of rude to the instructor and the other participants to leave nosily during what is supposed to be a relaxation period. Yesterday, the class started with 14 participants, and by the end of shavasana, there were only four of us left. FOUR!

3. Ok, one more thing I need to get off my chest about yoga classes. Why do people insist on wearing their socks during the class? And I'm not talking about proper yoga socks. I'm talking about people who don't take off their gym socks and then struggle to keep their feet in place during the poses. Again, I don't get it?
4. I think I committed the biggest sin at the gym yesterday and I'm kind of embarrassed about it. Since I was going just to do a yoga style class, I didn't wear socks and just slipped on my Toms for the drive to the gym. When I got there, I'm so accustomed to following rules and taking my shoes off, that I did so and I walked into the gym barefoot. (I'm cringing just writing this). Of course, as I was queued up outside the class waiting for it to start, I noticed my faux pas, as everyone was just walking  into the gym with their outdoor runners/flip flops on. I felt so foolish and embarrassed since I was literally the only person in barefeet. Also, gross, I know. I'm sorry, it will never happen again!
5. Keeping with the "theme" of this post (which wasn't planned, I just write what comes to me!), I have to share something adorable that Sully does. For a while there, I was practicing a lot of yoga at home up in my bedroom. Sully loved when we would do yoga together and now he always goes "Mama! Let's do yo-ya!", and then he gets down and does a plank, a v-sit, pike sit, straddle and tuck sit (left over knowledge from his gymnastics days!) It's the cutest thing ever and I need to capture it on video before he stops calling yoga "yo-ya".

Questions for you!

Yogis: Do you leave before or during shavasana in class? If so, why??

Do you go through phases of favouring one type of workout class to another, or do you always stick with what you know/like? 

*This post was written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador program, 
however all opinions expressed are my own.

July 26, 2016

An Extra Long Weekend with Gramma

This weekend was extra special because we got to spend it with my mom. She arrived late on Thursday night, and then left this morning, which is why I'm just getting around to writing this post now. We hadn't seen my mom since January, so her visit was LONG overdue. And as a nice surprise, she brought along my grandma for the visit! My grandma lives out on a farm north of Edmonton, so I don't get to see her very often at all. Sully was over the moon to have Gramma and GG here, and he never let my mom out of his site for very long!
Friday, Jim had to head off to work, so we hung out at home with my mom and grandma. The weather was beautiful and in the afternoon, my aunt and her husband joined us. We ordered Chinese food for supper, and Sully thoroughly enjoyed being surrounded by so much family. He even got to go on two walks with my aunt and her little dog, Oliver, who Sully calls "Aw-we", which I think were one of the big highlights of his day! Sadly, I have no photos from this day. I really need to step up my photo-taking game!

On Saturday, Jim and I took advantage of my mom being here and headed out when Sully went down for his nap so we could run a bunch of errands childfree. It's amazing how much you can get done when you don't have to lug a toddler in to each store with you! We arrived home around dinnertime and spent the rest of the evening hanging out with Sully and my mom.

Sunday at noon, we had a mini photoshoot booked, so we headed north to Confederation Park for that. It was so hot out that we didn't stick around to explore after our photos were done seeing as how I had failed to pack a hat or sunscreen for Sully. We passed Peters' Drive-In on the way home, so we stopped there for a late lunch. I honestly can't say if I've ever been there before or not! Their milkshake (we got chocolate) was amazing! And their onion rings were perfection too. Just the right amount of batter to onion ratio.
We headed home after that and I ended up having a nap while Sully napped. That evening, Jim took me out for dinner to The Italian Farmhouse in Bragg Creek. It was such a quaint little place and the food was amazing. The menu isn't overwhelmingly large, but it was still hard to decide what to order. I ended up going with the Braciola Di Maiale, and Jim got the Pollo.
{stuffed pork chop with apple & fig in an apple cider & sage sauce,
with beets, broccolini, pumpkin & garlic mashed potatoes}
{prosciutto & sage stuffed chicken breast, topped with a marsala demi-glaze, with the same sides as mine}

After dinner, we drove to two near by campsites just to check them out, and as we were about to leave the second one, I asked Jim to stop at the washroom for me. When I was walking back to the truck, Jim goes "we have a flat tire"! Not the words you ever want to hear at 930pm on a Sunday night, in the woods, where you have no cell service! Luckily, my husband is smart and handy and he had the tire changed in about 20 minutes, just as the sun was setting. Neither of us has ever had to change a flat tire before so it was actually kind of a good experience to go through. We were exhausted by the time we got home, but not tired enough to not watch one more episode of season 2 of Bloodline - we only have one episode left and I'm so sad!
Yesterday was a quiet and lazy day. My grandma has been at my aunt's since Saturday, so I just spent the day hanging out with my mom and Sully. I headed off around 630pm to my weekly Bachelorette girls night at Ange's place. And that pretty much brings us to today (Tuesday). My mom left before lunch today, and then because I was feeling sad, I hustled Sully out of the door and off to the library and then to the grocery store. It was so nice having my mom here even if the visit was much too short. I'm already looking forward to when she can come back!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! 

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. 

July 11, 2016

Weekending: Stampede Parade, Movies & Family Time

I have trouble getting these posts up the night before because Sunday nights are usually reserved for movie watching or catching up on our latest show on Netflix. Last night was no exception! We watched Paul Rudd's newest flick on Netflix (a Netflix original), The Fundamentals of Caring, and it was so good, guys! Sweet and funny with that total indie vibe I adore in movies. But it was classic Paul Rudd with his usual demeanour and humour.

Anyway...backing up!

I kicked off my weekend early Friday morning when I woke up earlier than I ever do, in order to meet up with Ange and Jen to take in the Stampede parade. I was out the door by 8 a.m. to catch the train downtown along with the rest of the people in Calgary. Let's just say, I'm lucky I get on the train at the very first stop it makes. It was packed by the second stop!

We met up at Ange's place, then walked to Starbucks before carrying over to the end of the parade route (where it's usually a bit less busy according to Ange). I wouldn't know, this was my very first Stampede parade experience. I decided not to bring Sully along since he's not an early riser and I wasn't sure how crazy the crowds would be. While the parade was neat and something different to do, I have to be honest for a minute here, I don't really understand the big deal about it. I mean, going to it is one thing, but people literally camp out the night before just to get a spot sitting on the curb! THE NIGHT BEFORE! This isn't 1995 and lining up 3 days in advance for Michael Jackson tickets! This is just a parade, people.
We hung around watching the parade for just over 2 hours (we didn't see it all since we were at the end and starting to get really hungry), and then we walked over to The Beltliner for brunch. Their steel cut oats with walnuts, raisins, goji berries and fresh fruit was calling to me so that's what I ordered, and I am serious when I say it was the best bowl of oatmeal I've ever had. So delicious!
The Beltliner YYC
After brunch, the three of us headed south and caught a matinee showing of Me Before You. The movie was so good, I cried a lot (which was to be expected) and I almost wanted to just watch it all over again as soon as it was finished. The casting was perfect!

I headed home after the movie, exhausted, both from all the walking and standing, but mostly from the crying. I hung out at home for the rest of the evening, catching up on The Mindy Project while Jim went to Stampede to see Walk Off the Earth.

Saturday I was still feeling tired, and I had a headache for most of the day that would just not go away. I didn't get up to much that day, other than running some errands with Jim and Sully. Jim went out to watch UFC that night, so I had a google video chat date with Becky and Ange. I didn't even know this was a thing, but it was really fun! We chatted for two hours before calling it a night. I watched the movie Mother's Day afterwards (so disappointing!) before heading to bed.
Sunday was another low key day spent at home. Sully wouldn't nap despite seeming to need one, so we packed up and headed out to Fish Creek Park to walk along the river and let him throw rocks in the water (one of his favourite things to do). I feel like it's so rare that I get any good, non-blurry photos of him these days so I was pretty pleased with these one's we caught. And yes, I'm sharing all of them! Haha.
After we got home, we had dinner, gave Sully a bath, and then crawled into bed to watch The Fundamentals of Caring. And just like that, another summer weekend has come and gone!

Local Friends: Do you go to the Stampede parade every year? 

Tell me something fun you did this weekend! 

July 07, 2016

Books & Babes

Adult fiction recommendations

Hey there friends! I'm back, with the lovely Allison and Becky, to talk about our favourite recent reads and what we're looking forward to digging into this summer. So get your Goodreads open and get ready to add some books to your TBR lists! (Psst...if we aren't friends on Goodreads yet, we should be! Add me here.)



As I was going through my read books in Goodreads, it quickly dawned on me that I’ve read a ton of books since we last met up. While I’m never one to turn down talking about a book (or books), I thought it best if I focused on the books I loved the most. 
Adult fiction recommendations
FAVOURITE: I can’t really pick a favourite out of my favourites, since all 4 of these books were so incredibly different, yet I enjoyed all of them immensely. The Nightingale left me an emotional wreck during and post reading of it, but it was worth the heartache and all the tears. That book touched my heart, my soul, and I can’t imagine ever forgetting about it. Like Allison, I adore historical war fiction, and The Nightingale has now claimed the number one spot for me in this genre. The Love that Split the World is a YA novel and was so completely unexpected. A little bit of magic, spiritualism, time-travel, psychology and folklore, not to mention a serious nod to fans of Friday Night Lights, I really enjoyed this book (full review here). Me Before You was a re-read for me, and I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, the second time around. Now I just need to muster up the courage to get through the movie (cue all the tears). And lastly, The Thirteenth Tale. This book also touched my soul, but in a completely different way than The Nightingale. It’s a Gothic, historical fiction novel, and I think it’s the most beautifully written book I have ever read. 

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Finally reading the sequel to Me Before You, After You. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson, because it sounds awesome and the movie is coming out staring Jason Bateman (love him) and I have this thing where I try really hard to read the book before I see the movie. Plus, I scored a hard copy for $3 at Chapters the other week.



I admit that June was a slow reading month for me. I took my very first DNF of the year with The Book Thief. I usually love WWII era books, but after two attempts, I just was not loving this one. The Little Paris Bookshop was a book club pick and while it piqued my curiosity, it wasn't a page turner and seemed to take forever to get through. Then we hit The Royal We, from Brie's online book club, followed by Me Before You, and a page turning thriller, and suddenly my to-be-read pile was disappearing quickly. 
Adult Fiction Recommendations
FAVOURITE: It's a definite tie between The Royal We and Me Before You. I adored both stories intensely. I guess you can say I'm a hopeless romantic with a soft spot for a good love story. However, I love a good thriller just as much and both The Farm and Remember Mia had me frantically turning pages to find out the truths of both stories. 

LOOKING FORWARD TO: I'm really looking forward to giving the much talked about The Nest a read while I'm relaxing on a mountain beach with my family in the next week. I think I'll be taking a trip to the used bookstore later today to see if I can find a copy of After You and then hitting up Chapters for any last minute summer reads I might need for vacation



Oh. So it seems I didn't get up to a lot of reading in the past few months. I definitely thought I read more but I guess getting ready to move, packing, vacation, baseball season, and moving sort of got in the way. But, I have a shady back patio and a comfy chair and a new library card and I am ready for weekends indulging in great books.
Adult Fiction Recommendations
FAVOURITE: If you know me - or have been reading this blog for a while - you know I am horrible at picking one favourite. Especially with three books I really liked and one I liked but a smidgen less; I feel bad for the one. Ok, big girl pants. I adore historical war fiction so it is no surprise I devoured and loved All the Light We Cannot See, Somewhere in France, and After the War is Over. Want to read Jennifer Robson? Read the books in order; they follow the same characters. Remember Mia was good but it has been compared to Gone Girl (um, no, it was nothing like it) so, I went in thinking I wouldn't love it because I LOATHED the sociopathic thriller that was Gone Girl. It was better than expected but not as great at the others.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Jennifer Robson's third book, Moonlight Over Paris, and a whole slew of summer books I have on hold at the library.


Have you read any of our favourite books? Thoughts?

Favourite summer reads?

What are you looking forward to reading this summer?

July 06, 2016

A Slice of Brie Book Club: The Royal We (& Next Month's Book Pick)

Hello Book Clubbers!
On online Book Club for avid readers

Even though I disappeared last month, I hope some of you still read June's book and are ready to talk about it! The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan has been on my to-read list for months, so I was pretty happy it was the book of choice this time around. If this is your first book club with us, then just a heads up that spoilers are fair game since this is a discussion (and not just a review). At the end of the post, I will have a few questions to get the discussion rolling, but you by no means have to answer them. If you have a blog post in which you reviewed or discussed The Royal We, there is a link up for you!

Also, there's a poll at the end of this post, so make sure you vote for next month's book! If you're new to A Slice of Brie Book club, in a nutshell, it's an online book club for fellow book lovers. A place to talk about a chosen book from the comfort of your own home/computer! Everyone is welcome (so tell your friends!), and you definitely do not have to have a blog to participate. Every month, we vote on which book to read for the following month. The poll will stay open until Monday night and I will announce the book next Wednesday. No commitment to join, but if you've ever wanted to join a book club, this is a great place to start!


Ok! So on to The Royal We! You guys, I adored this book. Absolutely, 100% adored it. I'm not going to go into too much detail about what it's about, but in short, it's basically a fictional re-telling of the love story between Prince William and Kate, except in this case, their names are Prince Nicolas and Rebecca (Bex). The book spans over a decade, starting with how they met (Bex is an American and decides to take a semester abroad at Oxford, and Nick resides in her dorm), to all the in-between ups and downs of their courtship and relationship, and ending (and beginning) with the eve before their big wedding. Bex, with no doubt in her mind that she is madly, truly and deeply in love with Nick, can't help but wonder if everything she is giving up to be with him (her privacy, her normalcy, her job, her citizenship), is well, worth it. 
Online Book Club discussion: The Royal We

I'm not sure if I loved this book as much as I did because I have a serious crush on the real-life Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but this book fulfilled that obsession I have with them. While the facts and events in this book are so different from things that actually happened during the dating years of Prince William and Kate, the similarities were enough that I couldn't help but picture them while reading. It was so exciting to be pulled into their world - a world I can't even imagine getting a glimpse of, let alone being a part of. The characters, while not without their faults, were all fantastic and everyone was so well developed. I truly felt transported into the pages of the story while reading it.

Of course, I also find the life of the Royals utterly fascinating and I enjoyed that look into what their life is most likely like to some degree. I especially enjoyed reading about all the work and effort that went into grooming Bex to become the wife of a Prince. I've always wondered how many people are truly behind the scenes in Kate's life and just how much "help" she has. Wouldn't it be wonderful if she had a blog (were she allowed to!)!? Or her own Instagram account? And by that I mean, an account where she posts the photos and gives us glimpses into her everyday life. 

But more than that, I just enjoyed this story. Even if there was no Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in which this novel got it's inspiration from, I still would have loved it. The love story had me in tears at times, and even the side relationships felt real and I was just as invested in all of them. I liked that things were often messy in their life and relationship and that their love spanned years, not just days and months. So much growing up was down in this book, and I feel like that's so rare in contemporary romance. 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU! (Feel free to discuss in the comments!)

1.  Would you be able to give up large parts of your life to marry into an establishment like the Royal Family? Is love enough? Well, let's be honest here, I'd love to be in Kate's shoes - I mean, I'm pretty sure we've all fantasized about what it would be like to marry a prince, haven't we?! I don't believe love on it's own is enough, but I truly felt convinced that what Bex and Prince Nick shared (love, friendship, honesty, compassion and loyalty) would get them through the toughest of days. So yes, in a similar situation, I like to believe I could marry into such an establishment given the right circumstance. 

2. What did you think about Bex's twin sister, Lacey? Do you think her reactions and how she handled herself in regards to her sister dating and marrying a Prince were justified? I had moments where I loved Lacey and moments where I wanted to shake some sense into her. I was horrified when she dropped out of medical school just to be a part of her sister's lifestyle. BUT, I also think it would be really tough to be the twin-sister of someone dating an actual Prince. It would be weird and I admit, I'm sure I would have major moments of jealously. I think Lacey made some very poor mistakes, but I think she needed to find herself and figure out a way to be more than just Bex's twin sister. 

3. Would you have given up your citizenship just because the Queen basically told you to? Do you think your citizenship is important enough to fight for, or is it a compromise that you would be able to make? This is the one thing that bothered me about the book. Not the fact that Bex decided to go ahead and sign the papers to give-up her American citizenship, but once she signed those papers, even though Prince Nick told her not to, it was never brought up again! I like to think, if I was in her shoes, my Canadian citizenship would have been more acceptable to the Queen, haha! 



Here are the choices for July's book club pick. Feel free to vote, even if you aren't sure you can participate. Really, you can read the book at any time before we meet to discuss it, so you don't have to decide now if you will have time to read it or not! I will announce the winner next week and you'll have 4-5 weeks to read the book. 

A Slice of Brie Book Club

Links to check out these books on Goodreads: Everything, Everything, Keep Me Posted, & Still Mine

*Local friends: the first two have copies available at the library, but the last one has a waiting list. 

And now to vote!

Happy voting! Don't forget to link up your posts so that I can check them out! 

July 05, 2016

...Is This Thing On?

Well, hello there! I have to admit, I'm feeling a little shy writing this post after a month long break. I know I said that my posting would be infrequent in June, but I didn't entirely plan to be so completely absent. There were a lot of things going on in June, and we had my in-laws for a good portion of the month, but overall, I think I just needed a bit of a break! It feels weird to just dive back into posting more regularly though, at least not without a little "catch-up/Hi I'm back/I missed you, did you miss me?" post. So that's what this is. To let you know I'm alive, I'm well, and I'm back! I've missed this space, and even though I tried to keep up with reading of other blogs, I've missed this community.

I also have lots of posts that are long over-due, like some book related posts and a couple of race recaps, but I will get to those in due time. For today, I thought I'd do a bit of a Currently type post, and remind everyone that tomorrow is Book Club Day and I'll be posting about The Royal We. You can read more here if you need a refresher, but I hope my absence didn't impede any of you in reading the book! I can't wait to talk about it!

Anyway...I'm not sure if I'll do a big recap of our month of June, but here's a look at what I've been up to:


I read a ton in May, and a few good books in June. Basically, I was a reading machine. Which makes sense since time I would usually devote to blogging I spent reading. It's been nice to just blast through some books that I've been wanting to read for ages. Some of my recent favourites: The Nightingale (I was a blubbery mess for two days); The Thirteenth Tale (touched my soul); and Me Before You (a reread that I enjoyed just as much, if not more, the second time around).


My eating always seems to get out of hand when we spend time with Jim's parents. More cookies and chips makes their way into my home than I would like, and I even baked more this past month than I have in the last 6 months (a baker I am not). After Jen wowed us with these Lemon Creme Crumb Bars at Bachelorette night a few weeks ago, I made them myself, and while mine didn't look that pretty, they sure were tasty. I also made these S'mores Bars on the weekend, but I wasn't too impressed with them. I'm not sure what I did wrong. I followed the recipe exactly but they didn't turn out as soft and gooey as I was hoping for. And to balance things out a bit, I made these Lemon Poppy Seed Quinoa Breakfast Cookies, but I will not be making them again. They taste ok, but I feel like I'm forcing myself to finish them now so that they don't end up in the garbage. Because said recipe called for my purchasing a $14 dollar jar of Cashew Butter and there ain't no way I'm throwing that in the trash!


I binge watched the second season of Grace and Frankie on Netflix and I'm so sad I have to wait forever now for another season. I just love this show, and I think I liked this season even more than the first. We watched a few movies while my in-laws were here, including 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi and really enjoyed it. Plus, John Krasinski is in it and that should be reason enough for you to watch it!


In June, we went to Waterton for a night, Canmore for the day, new parks, the zoo and we even took Sully to his first theatre movie.


Jim's dad helped us knock off some home renos, including a new privacy screen built onto our deck, and closest organizers built into two upstairs closets and our main floor closet. It's definitely handy having a carpenter for a father-in-law! Sully's new room has been painted, the new closet built and I found curtains I really like (no easy task!). Now we just need to move him in, which I think is going to require us dismantling his crib to get it through the doorways, something I am not looking forward to!


I confess, I haven't been working out, and the last time I set foot in the gym was sometime in May. Motivation is clearly something I struggle with and it just doesn't come easy for me. I'd like to blame summer and the hot weather as I'm more likely to choose reading a book on the deck then heading down to the basement or the gym for a workout, but I know those are just excuses. I'm okay with it though. Maybe June was just an entire month for taking a break from life. Is that a thing other people experience? Sometimes when life feels like it's go-go-go, I just stop everything. I'm actually a bit amazed that I still read as much as I did, because even that hobby often sees a break from me when I'm overwhelmed by life just in general. This is starting to sound morbid and sad. Life is good; I don't really have anything worthy of complaining about. I think it's just a lack of managing my time well, and then trying to balance family time in June with me time. I will find my groove again...


My days with Sully. This has got to be the most fun age ever so far. He's a delightful little chatterbox, and his ever-expanding vocabulary continues to amaze me on the daily. He still has an epic temper tantrum here and there, but for the most part, he's a pretty easygoing toddler. Right now, his current obsession is puzzles and he will literally do them all day if I let him. I've even pulled out some more difficult ones that I was saving for when he is older, and he completes them in minutes. Over and over and over he will do them. I have to admit, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree here. I LOVE jigsaw puzzles too, and when I do allow myself to do one, I become obsessed with it!


That there was such a thing as a decluttering fairy. I feel like every corner of my house needs some serious decluttering and organizing action and I just don't even know where to start. So I don't. Nothing like dealing with a problem like ignoring it, huh?


Being back! Hopefully finding some time to spruce this page up a bit (a long overdue goal), a wedding in August, and seeing my mom in a few weeks. I haven't seen my mom in months so we are long overdue for a visit.

Tell me something fun you did in June!