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40 Weeks to 40 on Throwback Thursday: My 40 Favourite Songs

March 26, 2015

I love music. It shapes my mood, lifts my heart, sets my foot to tapping, and serves as a backdrop for my life.

Right now, in fact, as I take a break in my work day to get my thoughts out onto virtual paper, I’m listening to a Songza playlist called Soaring Morning because I was in need of enlivening and “Soaring Morning” sounded like exactly the right fit.

40 Weeks to 40 & Throwback Thursday My 40 Favourite Songs - mostlyfitmom.comThe countdown to my 40th birthday continues, and today I’m sharing a list of my 40 favourite songs. These are the ones I sing along to when I’m driving down the highway across these open plains, I dance along to in my kitchen as I’m putting away the dirty dishes, I bop my head to when I hear them in the grocery store and I’m deciding between baby kale and baby spinach. They are the songs that I listened to on my clock radio in the basement bedroom of my parents house when I was a teenager, that I sang along to as I danced with my high school boyfriend, that I absolutely had to include on all of my running playlists because they make me narrow my eyes and go for it. They are the soundtrack of my life, entangled with the most important of my memories. Enjoy!

  1. ACDC – Thunderstruck
  2. The Knack – My Sharona
  3. Counting Crows – Mr. Jones
  4. Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
  5. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Fishin’ in the Dark
  6. Roxette – Joyride
  7. Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
  8. Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
  9. Poison – Talk Dirty to Me
  10. Bon Jovi – Wanted Dead or Alive
  11. ABBA – Take a Chance
  12. Madonna – Material Girl
  13. Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire
  14. Kenny Loggins – Footloose
  15. Living Color – Cult of Personality
  16. Motley Crue – Kickstart My Heart
  17. Nelly Furtado – I’m Like A Bird
  18. Tom Cochrane – Life is a Highway
  19. Elton John – Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)
  20. Dixie Chicks – Ready to Run
  21. Foo Fighters – Learn to Fly
  22. Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer
  23. Rihanna – Don’t Stop the Music
  24. Bruno Mars – Grenade
  25. Bruno Mars – Locked Out of Heaven
  26. Usher – DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love
  27. Pink – Raise Your Glass
  28. Pat Benatar – Hit Me With Your Best Shot
  29. Heart – Barracuda
  30. Honeymoon Suite – Feel It Again
  31. Justin Timberlake – Sexy Back
  32. The Killers – When You Were Young
  33. George Michael – Faith
  34. Ke$ha – TiK ToK
  35. Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way
  36. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
  37. Sara Bareilles – Love Song
  38. U2 – Desire
  39. Starship – We Built This City
  40. Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian

Which songs bring up your fondest memories?

My Core Desired Feelings

March 23, 2015

Have you read The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte? I finished working my way through it over the weekend, with the assistance of my life coach and a group of like-minded women, and it was totally enlightening.

The premise of The Desire Map is that most of us go about setting our goals in a backwards way, by setting out what we want to accomplish, hoping that we’ll get to the feeling we want in the end. LaPorte proposes a different approach: figure out what you want to feel (a.k.a., your core desired feelings) and then establish your goals to align with those desired feelings.

The message of this book resonated with me completely because this is exactly the kind of thing I’ve been working on with my life coach (which is probably why she recommended the book). Over the past several months, I’ve been examining and shifting my thoughts, and my feelings have followed.

Using the workbook portion of The Desire Map, I worked through each area of my life, identified what was working and what wasn’t, brainstormed three core desired feelings, set out what I wanted to do, experience and have in each area of my life, and recorded four main intentions/goals for the year ahead. It took several hours of listening in on my thoughts, conversation with my life coach, and bouncing ideas off the four other women who were also working through The Desire Map. We discussed kids, joy, anger, and bangs, among other things, and really dug deep to come up with three words that would describe our core desired feelings for the year.

My three words? Abundance. Enliven. Confident.

Abundance to me is about feeling like I have enough time, money, and energy. Time for my kids, husband, family, and myself. Money to travel, have a comfortable home, no debt, choose exactly what I want to do for work without restriction, explore my interests, have freedom. Energy to exercise, explore my interests, and share with my husband and kids.

Enliven is about feeling active and vital, savouring the small things, feeling alive, being energized, feeling happiness and joy, being light, practicing gratitude and appreciation, being enough and growing toward more, being open to new things and people, feeling inspired and uplifted.

Confident is about feeling strong and powerful, not fearful, being sure of myself, owning my own opinion, owning my choices, being unswayed by others, knowing myself, making up my own mind.

Going through The Desire Map process was hard work and absolutely worth it. I feel so much more clarity about what I want to focus on over the coming months and know that I will dig through The Desire Map again.

What method do you use to set your goals? Are you familiar with The Desire Map?



Spring Bucket List

March 21, 2015

It’s the first day of spring and there is fresh snow on the ground. I do live in Saskatchewan, after all. Snow is not a surprise. True spring, with trees budding and bulbs poking through the earth, will arrive in May in these parts.

Though cool weather is still my reality, I want to embrace the spirit of invigoration that comes with the season and really LIVE this spring. Here’s how I’m making invigoration a reality.

Spring Bucket List -

1. Clean and organize a single drawer. The idea of spring cleaning my whole house is overwhelming to me for some reason, and that’s not the feeling I want, so I’m picking an easy win and targeting a single drawer.

2. Download ten new songs and create a new life soundtrack to celebrate this season of renewal.

3. Eat an Easter Creme Egg or some Mini Eggs.

4. Sweep off the front step and put away the winter mat.

5. Buy some tulips, for at home and at the office.

6. Bake a lemon meringue pie and enjoy sharing and eating it.

7. Go for a walk. Throw on some splash pants if need be.

8. Roast a bunch of asparagus. I like use olive oil, salt, and pepper and finish it off with a touch of balsamic vinegar.

9. Pour yourself a glass of sparkling water and add a slice of lime or lemon.

10. Practice a sun salutation or two (or ten, or one hundred and eight).

11. Enjoy a pretty sunset.

12. Whip up a batch of white sangria.

Do you have any spring traditions? What are you itching to do now that the days are getting longer and warmer?

10 Things About Me

March 19, 2015

10 Things About Me -

1. I get migraines. Like the one I had tonight. Sleep, the dark, and ibuprofen help.

2. When I was about 12, I was holding one of those sparklers that go on the top of birthday cakes and the tip of it fell off onto my hand. I still have a giant scar in the webbing between my pointer and middle fingers on my left hand.

3. I really dislike shopping for clothes.

4. I consider the number four to be my lucky number, even though I don’t really believe in luck.

5. I weight almost thirty-five pounds more than I did when I started this blog.

6. I’ve stopped reading celebrity gossip blogs because they weren’t adding anything good to my life and freed up time to do stuff I really enjoy, like blogging and meditating.

7. My current favourite breakfast smoothie is a thin mint smoothie: milk, chocolate protein powder, spinach, and mint extract.

8. I love Hawaii and dream of owning a house there one day.

9. I’m not very girly, but I do love sparkly eye shadows from Urban Decay.

10. My current obsessions are chalkboard anything and touches of gold.

What’s something about you that most people don’t know?

A Simple Way to Show Appreciation at Work

March 18, 2015

I’ve noticed a big shift in my outlook on life the past several weeks. The sun seems brighter, I’m smiling more, and I feel greater appreciation for those around me.

A lot of the gratitude I feel flows from the work my staff does and how they are present at the office. My staff has a big part in my day-to-day life, since I spend so much of my time at work, and the fact that I work with such great people makes me happy. In short, I’ve got some fantastic team members and really could not do my job without them.

A Simple Way to Show Appreciation at Work -

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated Dental Assistants Week. I wanted to do something special and personal to celebrate the work that my dental assistant does. I used a multi-pronged approach: We went out for lunch as a team, I brought my staff coffee, and everyone made a list of 10 things that they appreciate about my dental assistant and we presented the lists to her.

As my assistant opened her gift and began to read what the team had written about her, I could see her begin to glow. Her smile got wider and brighter, and she told us that the appreciation lists were the best work gift that she has ever received. Score!

Check out the worksheet I made to document our appreciation for her.

10 Things I Appreciate About -

I definitely think that the process of practicing gratitude as a team was a worthwhile one. I’ve often read that people feel unappreciated at work and will leave jobs for that simple reason. Not only do I want to avoid turnover, but I also want to encourage the people around me to recognize each other for the work that they do in order to create a more harmonious, happier place to spend our days.

In what way are you recognized for the work you do?

Another 13 Tips for Getting Good Grades in University

March 17, 2015

My school days are behind me. And that is a really good thing.

Studying to do well on tests in not currently on my radar. And that is also a good thing.

When I was into getting good grades in university, I did, and I was a mom of two young children to boot. If I can do it, you can, too.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my top 10 tips for getting good grades in university, and today, I’d like to share a 13 more nuggets of wisdom.

13 Tips for Getting Good Grades in University -

1. Find a comfy place to study.

If it’s the library, great. If not, that’s cool too.

Minimize your distractions (avoid TVs and the internet), look for good light to help keep your energy levels up and minimize eye strain, use earbuds/headphones or earplugs to cancel out the noise of people around you.

2. Get comfortable with feeling tired.

There will be certain times in the term when you will be exhausted. Be prepared for it and know that it won’t last forever.

3. Build in downtime.

You can have fun and enjoy the “college experience.” Hang out with your friends, go see movies, workout, practice yoga, and get outside. Also try to eat healthy meals. Keep in mind, though, that you (or your parents) are paying your school to learn from them, so take it seriously. You will have time for fun after you graduate, too.

4. Cut back on TV (and video games and mindless surfing).

You really don’t need to watch 10 different TV series every week and gaming isn’t going to help your average, either. A little screen time is fine, but set a timer so you don’t get carried away.

5. Choose treats as rewards.

Sometimes you need a little extra motivation. Reward yourself if you meet your study goals. Put in three solid hours of studying? Go buy a magazine and chill out for 30 minutes. Got that paper written on time? Treat yourself to Starbucks. Whatever floats your boat.

6. Treat it like a job, and be a workaholic.

Start work in the morning, take a lunch break, work in the afternoon, eat some supper. It was important that I was successful in this, so I studied every evening, too, which gave me more time with my family on the weekends (though I did work on the weekends, too).

7. Decide what your goals are.

Mine were to get into dental school, so I was shooting for a 90% average and geared everything toward that. It worked.

Maybe yours are to explore different subjects, and that’s cool, too. If you’re there just to be there, you’re probably not going to get that much out of the experience, and that’s a pretty expensive waste of time.

8. Memorization is fine.

I’ve heard lots of people say “memorization isn’t learning.” Whatever. Memorization is a way to hold stuff in your brain as you learn it. if after you take a class you can’t recall the info in 5 years because you memorized it, no big deal. You probably didn’t need that info anyway or now have the background skills and knowledge to look it up and refresh yourself, anyway. And the people who insisted they “learned” it rather than memorizing it probably don’t recall the information, either. The point is that some stuff you simply have to memorize in an effort to develop a foundation in a subject.

Look up mnemonics and memorization strategies online. They can be helpful when you’re writing an exam and make it easier to recall the info so that you can focus on getting out what you know about the subject and get an awesome grade on the test. This frees up time for the stuff you really have to think about.

9. Understand that university is not the same as high school.

If you want to do well, you will need to study.

You will fail if you don’t do the work or don’t do it well enough.

You are driving the bus and can choose your path: studying and good grades or fun and mediocre ones. It’s unlikely that the small amount of effort you put into getting good grades in high school will result in the same grades in university.

When you’re 20, four years seems like a long time. I can assure you it’s not. You can, and will, have fun later, too.

10. Find like-minded study companions.

Sometimes you might be sick and have to miss class, or your grandma might die and you have to miss school to go to her funeral. Whatever happens, it’s good to have someone you can count on for notes. That means someone like you, who is paying attention in class. Look to the front rows for people who are actively listening, taking notes, and maybe even asking questions and then sit next to those people and introduce yourself. It’s easier, too, if they look friendly and possibly your age (I was a mature student, so I tried to choose people who were also older).

The same people also might have study tips they’ve gleaned from other people they know who have taken the course or might have caught something you missed in lecture. This will help you learn and get a better grade.

11. Organize your notes by date.

This means writing the date on the top of your notes. It’s a simple step that can make a huge difference in keeping track of your information.

I liked to my notes into a binder once a week, but would sometimes get behind and catch up when studying for an exam, and that’s okay. If you don’t do this regularly, the risk is that you’ll lose your papers or they’ll get crumpled and unintelligible.

I liked to use loose leaf and a clipboard, because I wouldn’t have to carry separate notebooks around for each subject. I would just have replenish my loose leaf stock periodically. This meant my bag would be lighter and my back happier.

12. If you think a prof missed a point in your exam or paper, bring it to her attention.

Don’t be a dick and demand a higher grade.

Instead, go and ask for clarification. “Dr. So-and-So, I wanted to ask you about question 3 from the exam. When you went over the exam answers, you said xxxx, and I wrote yyyy, which I thought was the same thing/the proper response. Could you clarify for me what I could have written to make my position clearer?” Even if you don’t get a bump in your grade, you’ll learn something about what the instructor is looking for. Also, sometimes the instructor is more flexible in what she is looking for than what her TA was grading for, so consider that, too. I had more than one instance when my answer was correct but the TA was looking for very specific wording (or maybe wasn’t particularly knowledgeable), so I didn’t get the marks, but when I talked to the prof, she saw that my answer was correct and so my mark went up.

13. If you need good grades to get into a particular program, you can talk to the prof about what you can do to get a higher grade in his class.

This typically works best after you’ve gotten to know your instructor a little. I feel like I may have gotten slightly higher marks in a couple of classes from sympathetic instructors because they knew I was doing my best in their classes and they were a little more generous with those percentages.

What’s your number one tip for doing well in university?

10 Things You Can Do To Feel Good RIGHT NOW

March 16, 2015

Sometimes the daily grind feels like a little too much, but not in a “life is full” kind of way; more like in an energy-sucking, soul vampire kind of way. Your stress levels rise and that need for escape and for downtime will surface and this statement will pop out of your mouth: “I need a vacation.”

I’m delighted to report that this statement hasn’t crossed my lips in quite some time. Right now, I’m working with a fantastic life coach and have really worked at shifting my life so that I’m not feeling overwhelmed, I’m not drowning in stress, and I’m taking care of myself on a daily basis through meditation, yoga, regular exercise, and a gratitude practice. My need for a vacation has morphed into the desire for one. It’s less about escaping and more about living life to the fullest.

Holidays away are fantastic. There is something life-affirming and heart-opening about venturing afar, seeing new things, and removing yourself from your usual routine. I’m partial to beach destinations myself.

Vacations don’t typically happen at the instant that you want them to, though. They take planning, money, and a break in your schedule.

If a holiday isn’t in the cards for you right now but you feel like you need a lift, then you’re in the right place, because here are 10 things you can do RIGHT NOW to feel good, pretty much instantly.

10 Things You Can Do To Feel Good RIGHT NOW -

1. Take 3 deep breaths, in and out, belly-deep.

2. Go outside, or simply look out the window and absorb nature.

3. Drink a glass of water. You can throw a lemon slice or a couple of berries in there, too.

4. Turn on a song that you can sing or dance to (or both). I’m currently loving Shake It Off by Taylor Swift.

5. Write down 10 things that you appreciate or feel grateful for. If 10 feels too hard, start with 3.

6. Meditate. Need some guidance? Try or these suggestions from

7. Practice legs-up-the-wall pose.

8. Step away from the couch, computer, or TV and move your body in whatever way feels good.

9. Stretch. You might want to start with your neck and shoulders.

10. Smile, or laugh. Even if you have to force it, it often turns into the genuine article.

What gives you an instant boost? What’s your favourite vacation destination?


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