Cece D does Shambhala-When it Comes to Tackling Your Bucket List, Make Sure You Include A Music Festival!

Me in My Furries, My Cousin channeling his inner Gangsta

It’s been a long time since I shared another Tale from my past, so I think my readers are due for yet another moment to over-share.

If you have been reading Talez From a Broad for some time you would be familiar with how I experienced a bit of a delay with regards to “Living My Best Life”, as I spent the entirety of my 20’s parenting. Those who are parents themselves can attest to the amount of energy, time and sacrifice that goes into that role. It is one of the most thankless jobs in the world, but one of the most essential roles. This can be a heavy weight to bare, especially for those who are doing it alone, or facing the varying complexities that come along with rearing a child. Mine had her own set of challenges, so if anyone can relate, This Broad Can.

I have no regrets in how I carried out my responsibilities and in fact, I never felt like I was ever missing out on anything during that time. In reality, completing University, and building my career, along with having a husband at that time with Multiple Sclerosis left me little desire to take on much more. Read More Here.

Things began to grow around me; my child was now a teen and began wanting her independence from me. My career flourished and my salary began to give me some freedoms to travel more and experience many firsts, including my first “Girls Trip” at the age of 30. There were other things in my life at that time which were not so great either, such as the breakdown of my marriage and mental health as I struggled with my partners moods and cognitive and physical decline related to his MS. I admittedly used travel  and crazy impulsive Vegas Trips to cope with the loneliness and sadness I felt during this period. It was a way to escape and decompress, and I would do it at any cost.

So it would come as no surprise that I’d be game for anything someone presented to me that allowed me escape from the doom and gloom of my home life. Sure enough, my cousin had presented me with yet another opportunity- SHAMBHALA.

Now to those who do not know what Shambhala is let me educate you. Shambhala is an annual Music Festival held during the last week in July at the Salmo River Ranch, a 500-acre farm, in the West Kootenay mountains near Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.  Shambhala Music Festival was born from a vision as grassroots as it gets. On a sunny Labour Day weekend back in 1998, some 500 people gathered at the Salmo River Ranch for a party that showcased local art and music. From those early, heady days, Shambhala grew with enthusiasm by word of mouth, quickly becoming a staple event for the West Coast underground electronic music scene. Today it attracts world renowned DJs and artists and some of the most eclectic, energetic fans in the universe. The festival is fueled by Shambhalove which shines bright to this day. Shambhala Music Festival is cutting edge in its production and does not accept any corporate sponsorship. This allows the festival to retain a true reflection of the people on the dance floor and their vision of what their community looks like. This mission is important to hold down as electronic dance music culture has moved into the mainstream where opportunistic corporations have threatened to water it down. In this respect, this festival’s community is like no other. You will not see one advertisement or corporate logo on the farm.

By 2010, 15,000 guests, artists and crew were coming to dance and be free in the wilds of interior British Columbia. Today, people come to enjoy the festival’s focus of providing amazing art, music and life changing experiences.

Shambhala Music Festival is an annual event not to be missed, boasting six uniquely themed stages, each managed by their own Stage Director. All Stage Directors will book their talent, dream up the stage’s vibe and deliver unforgettable experiences year after year. The festival features the best in electronic and live music from around the globe and our very talented backyard. Ultimately, Shambhala Music Festival is a celebration of music, art and life, steeped in one of the most beautiful festival venues in the world.

“Shambhalove” is a unique community that has grown and strengthened over the years. Through its evolution, one clear value has remained constant – to continue to be the backdrop for an unparalleled, life-changing experience. Shambhala Music Festival is committed to retaining a true reflection of the people on the dancefloor by not accepting corporate sponsorship on a Farmily-run paradise. There is a dedication to foster a caring and inclusive community-based atmosphere, Shambhala Music Festival strives to provide a safe environment to celebrate amazing music, art, culture, creativity, and self-expression. Believing in the power of nature, synchronicity, and the moments in between, Shambhala continues to be a magical place everyone can call HOME year after year – it’s all about the people on the dancefloor!

Now you may be wondering why a 32 year old woman would be enticed by such a festival, especially if she had not necessarily identified as having a “Shamba-love” kind of attitude. In fact, affection and unbridled love from strangers makes me extremely uncomfortable and taps into an awkwardness that is cringeworthy. However, it was the music I was after as I’m a huge Electronic music fan, and in general a lover of all forms of art, music and live shows. I was also comforted by the idea that there was a large group of friends, family and acquaintances that were going. Surely they would protect me from any unsolicited hugs or hand holding.

Check Out the Shambhala Gallery

Now given that I had already been exposed through friends to a lot of the Calgary “Burners”- A “burner” to me is someone who has been to burningman & somehow feels a sense of kinship with the other people that go there. Someone who in addition to dreaming of being back in Black Rock City, internalizes any combination of the following traits: – free-range creativity. – having fun with your life.

While we did not always share the same passions and priorities, I envied their lifestyle. They carried what it was that I perceived as what it may feel like to be free. Free to make choices that felt good for them, free from financial constraints that dictated their lives, free from a lot of the responsibilities I carried in general. And while there are some festival go-ers that are just like me- these guys are the real deal. As in they live to make money to go to the next festival to be with their community and nurture their paths to feeling whole and fulfilled.

So as the weeks lead up to the festival, I would be schooled on everything Shambhala. The one thing I did not have was a tickle trunk of Shambhala costumes. And while this is a hub for acceptance- you would stand out if you were not naked or dressed like a flower girl cross bred with a cyber punk that was experiencing an identity crisis as a Furry. And as person who takes wardrobe selection very seriously I had some shopping to do. This task would prove harder than initially anticipated- its hard to find attire like that whereby it doesn’t look contrived or that I raided the Urban Planet clearance section looking for everything neon. I was starting to consider Nudity as an option- at least I knew where to find pasties. I was successful in deriving my own twist on wardrobe and made it my own. I may have overindulged and bought the Spirit Hood, which I would later love myself for. Firstly, With every purchase of a Spirit Hood, they donate a portion of profits to the conservation of endangered animals and their habitat. Secondly, it just so happens that this place mid summer not only gets insanely hot, but it also gets bone chillingly cold at night- and when your naked, you need to keep your extremities warm.

Ida and My Cousin

The next bit of planning that was required was the accomodations. At the farm, there are a few options that you can stay. You can stay off the Farm and enter the festival daily while enjoying a hot shower and all the other amenities of the 1st world. If you are staying on the grounds, you can either tent it or trailer it. Seeing as I didn’t have a trailer, nor would anyone trust a group of festival goer’s with theirs, a tent was our only option. I was lucky to have recruited my good friend Ida as a tent mate. Ida not only was a Shambhala veteran, but also could appreciate my vision to create a little Oasis where we could actually sleep feeling good and not hate our life choices in the morning. We had brought full fledged blow up twin beds, plenty of cozy down comforters and down pillows, both scoffing at the idea of crambing into a sleeping bag. We packed Tylenol, wet wipes, band-aids,cleaning products, nutritional snacks and electrolyte drinks that would foster regularity as to not experience any kind of bloat…seeeing as nakedness may occur. Level Expert.

Our tent was lit up by carefully placed colorful lanterns that created an inviting ambience when seeking refuge from the masses. The only downfall was the placement of our tent, where it sat along one of the main routes in the camping area. I had not anticipated the number of people that would topple into our tent as I’d hear nitrous cartridges get sucked into their lungs, and consequently would find their way onto my tent and inadvertently in bed with me. I’ve never encountered so many strangers in bed until this weekend.

And for those who aren’t sure what I’m talking about, these uninvited guests were doing Whippets- also known as whippits or whip-its, a term used to describe the nitrous oxide charger that is used in whipped cream dispensers. These whipped cream canisters help push out the whipped cream, but they are not always just used for dessert. Because the nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” in whippets can have euphoric effects, some people will inhale the gas to get high. Although breathing in gas from a whipped cream dispenser may seem harmless, whippet abuse is a type of inhalant abuse. It can be incredibly dangerous and even fatal. This would be my first time seeing this in my life. It would go on all night. Not my Jam, but someone else’s peanut butter.

I don’t think “roughing it” was ever in my nature- and while our tent set up was clearly superior than others less fixated on their comforts, it was hot AF during the day in there and still so cold at night. Oddly, one night my cousin and I wound up in someone else’s camp who had hammocks that we wound up in. I woke up with a layer of frost on my body while he woke up with two girls in his, keeping him warm. Until this day we still do not recall how we got there, or who those girls were that obligingly saved him from frost bite. Additionally, my cousin may argue this, but I am the better looking of us, so you’d think I would have been blessed with some human blankets as well?

But please for not one minute, allow my 42 year old self try to convince you that I did not have the time of life. My tone may come cross that way only because as I reflect upon this experience, exhaustion floods my body at the thought of enduring this Party Marathon. It was in fact nothing short of a marathon fueled by the exhilarating light shows which is the most important aspect as every stage curates their own lineup with their own budget. It was sometimes difficult to choose between the stacked line-up of artists but for the most part where you go is dictated by the vibe you are after.

My favorite somewhat underrated thing about the permanent infrastructure is that there is seating everywhere. On the outskirts of the stage areas, there’s benches on almost every tree. You can be fully immersed in the stage and the sound, but be taking a break. I would always have someone with me to roam the winding paths between stages, sometimes getting lost within the flow, as if I was floating on the Milky Way. Every now and again I’d come across a Super Nova that would explode with Bass Drops that would vibrate through your body, heightening whatever high you were on, even if it was just life.

The mornings I would take advantage of the quiet calm, in adddition, Ida and I would use this time to bathe ourselves in the river using all the banned soaps and shampoos our bodies needed. With the backdrop of the Kootnay Mountains and our earthy bare asses, it could have been the perfect Irish Spring Commercial. Food trucks and Coffee vendors were empty and I’d fuel my body with most delicious coffee and nourishment required to take on the next 22 hours of play that lay ahead.

During the day we’d lay out and sunbathe topless while a random penis would hit my peripheral vision. By the end of the weekend, genitals would not even stir a second look. By this point, I think the Shambha-Love was soaking into my being, and admittedly I may have even broke through my awkwardness- bursting my personal bubble space entirely. I now shared a bubble with 15,000 people- and I tried to hug them all.

And while the use of substances at this festival is something that is common practice, it should not overshadow that this festival is a haven of soul-filling activities. Jarett Lopez from The Daily Hive captured quite a few of those things in 17 things you can only find at BC’s Shambhala Music Festival.

We did not last the entire weekend, but in all fairness we went hard in the paint and took full advantage of everything Shambhala had to offer. We all agreed that we had gotten what we wanted from the experience and were now wanting to return to our responsibilities with pleasure. The concept of using a flushable toilet, showering with hot water, and sleeping in our own beds carried a renewed sense of appreciation. The troubles in our lives, especially mine felt a lot less heavier than the looming idea of festival activities for another 22 hours straight.

Every now and again I get a whimsical thought that maybe I would do it again with some significant adjustments in order to accomodate the decade that has lapsed since I attended last. An airconditioned trailer would be first on the list, fully equipped with all the ammenities. I see no other way. As we enter another year of a pandemic, the liklihood of this year being the year affords me more time to consider thankfully.

Looking Back on Fall Date Nights in YYC:Dome Dining Edition..Down The Rabbit Hole We Went

Date nights are always a fun opportunity for me to get dressed up a, throw on a Burgundy Jewel Toned Lipstick and venture out to a new eating establishment we haven’t been to yet. I get nostalgic thinking of when my mom and dad used to go out for dinner which was often saved for special occasions like a birthdays or anniversaries. My mother always had a flair for rich vibrant colors, and would accessorize her long royal blue coat with a ruby or emerald broach pinning her silk scarf against the lapel. Her cheeks freshly rouged as she shuffled me into my black patent dress shoes smelling of Shalimar and Oil of Olay.

It’s only to be expected that I’ve followed a similar pattern of pomp and circumstance on date nights. My boyfriend Tony is well programmed in his responses to my questions around appropriate dress attire where he’ll simply say:

“Wear whatever it is you’d like to wear!”-Smart Boy

It should also come as no surprise that I’ve been extremely overdressed on multiple occasions, but chalked it up to sometimes Truck Stop Diners with world famous pie deserve the opulence.

According to its Website:

We’ve had a couple of mentionable dinner dates in the last several weeks. We finally had made it out to Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, located in a historical site in Fish Creek Park, Calgary Alberta.

According to its Website:

“The story of the Bow Valley Ranche is nearly twelve decades long. Throughout its many years, the house has always had a reputation for holding unforgettable parties. It began with a few characters who were critical to the development of Alberta’s cattle industry, the Big Four. In fact, the idea of the Calgary Stampede may very well have been conceived within the walls of the house.

In 1896, cattle rancher and businessman William Roper Hull purchased property along the Bow River and built a sprawling ranch house. The ranch became a centre for refined social activities, as he entertained many local and foreign visitors there. Among the activities popular with the guests, tennis and the outdoor pool were crowd favourites, as you can see from the pictures below.

Hull owned the house and property until 1902, when it was purchased by Patrick Burns, a successful cattle rancher who eventually became a senator. Almost a century later, local residents Mitzie and Larry Wasyliw created the Fish Creek Restoration Society in 1995 for the purpose of restoring the Hull residence. In the summer of 1999, the ranch house was opened as a fine dining restaurant.”

Bow Valley Ranche is a fine dining resteraunt and we were celebrating our common-law anniversary, which is a thing for some of us fearful of marriage!

September 28, 2020 gave us an abnormally warm evening and looked forward to clutching on to the last few days, hours and minutes of outdoor dining we could. We had also been aware that they were hosting the Foodies in the Park Series : Wonderland Dome Dining which we will return to experience on October 23rd, 2020. Stay tuned for that!

We strolled along the pathway leading up to the impressive farmhouse, lined with old fashioned street lanterns. It reminded me of the scene in Mary Poppins, Bert and the children went to the park and broke into song singing:

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious !

Amazon.com: Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Edition: Julie Andrews, Dick Van  Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns

A quaint little fountain in the middle of the Ranch House’s garden marked its way before we arrived at the steps leading us onto a porch that wrapped its way around the house. I knew that was where I wanted to sit for dinner, and we were led to a discreetly placed table

We started our dining experience with a hearty helping of Oysters on the half shell, fresh grated horseradish, lemon and mignonette du jour. On our first date, we had worked our way down 17th Ave, Bar and resteraunt hopping with our last stop being Market. There we drank cognac and ate Oysters until we ended up taking the party back to my place *wink *wink- So it only made sense to indulge.

For dinner I had the Smoked Gouda & Wild Mushroom Stuffed Chicken with macaire potatoes, asparagus, tomato confit and roasted peppers. Tony had the Rougie Duck a L’Orange, with Russian Blue mashed potatoes, green beans, baby carrot vichy. Both entrees were delicious, however we had a little giggle over the plating of his food, specifically his Russian Blue Mashed Potatoes.

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We ended our evening of with a dessert of truffles that were on the house. Our waiter was so excellent and quite charming, ensuring our glasses remained full or if we needed anything in the most cordial of ways.

It was a beautiful way to finish up a gorgeous September.

Last night we ventured North of the bow River to SS106 Aperitivo Bar, and Italian Kitchen nestled in the heart of Crescent Heights on Edmonton Trail.

According to their Website:

“SS106’s name derives from the SS106 which is a 491-kilometre highway on the Ionian coast in southern Italy, stretching between the towns of Reggio Calabria in the west to Taranto in the east. While the highway offers incredibly scenic views of beaches, ancient coastal towns and the sea, it is also known as one of Italy’s most dangerous roads, due to tight turns. However, Domenico (the owner) wanted to change the highway’s reputation right here in their hometown of Calgary.

SS106 Aperitivo Bar was opened to create the Italian lifestyle here in Calgary. The Italian lifestyle is very social and every Italian visits their local bar daily even if it’s just for a quick espresso. Many people who have not traveled to Italy have a perception that Italian restaurants are only quiet and candle lit. In Italy many Italian restaurants & bars are very social, happy and louder. SS106 Aperitivo Bar has brought a piece of Italy to YYC.”-Website

And loud it was! It made me long for my girl gang and a time during pre-pandemic days where we’d sit for hours, drinking, laughing and taking no particular notice of the other diners around us regardless of how racey the topic was.I could see the owners vision at work as small groups of diners grazed over plates of Charctuterie, Olives and Pasta.

SS106 makes all their pasta in house and lived up to its charm of not trying to be anything else but just that. A perfect spot to drop in, fill your belly, and try one of their craft cocktails. I enjoyed an Apertivo called the Busted Negroni-Cinzano | Campari | Prosecco | Soda.

We ordered the TAGLIERE (BOARDS) Fromaggio and Calamari to start which were pretty standard and tasty. For our entree’s I had ordered the Gnocchi ai Funghi which is their House-made gnocchi served in a gorgonzola cheese fondue with seared mushrooms. Tony ordered the Fusilli Calabresi pasta served in a tomato sauce with parmesan cheese, which I ended up wishing I had ordered with its nicely spiced, well balanced sauce.Alternatively they have pizza’s as well that perhaps I will try next time. It was a nice time and I was happy Tony had come across this place for our date night. The service was awesome and quick, and very Italian!

Stay tuned for our next date nights in YYC : FoodiesintheparkWonderland Edition

Don’t forget to follow my Instagram @BPEYYC & my Facebook Page:@shegotthatBPE

Bedroom Escape Day: A list of Bedroom Activities for When the World is Sucking too Badly

My bedroom has always been my safe haven, my Cubbie Hole of Bliss you could say. And not just because for the obvious reasons *wink *wink, but there is something to be said about the calming effect it has on my spirit when I just need a break. Over the years I’ve mastered the art of soft lighting and luxurious textiles that caress my weathered skin, hungry for some solitude and kindness. Now that the snow has fallen my desire to batten down the hatches has grown even more so, drawing my blinds closed until the Spring.

As I mentioned before, by no means do I associate time to my bedroom as a place where I skulk and withdraw from Joy. In fact its where I come to recharge, free myself from the distractions and negativity in a space I can control. Every now and again I use it specifically for a day when I need to filter out the world a bit and get some reprieve from the ugly; Calgary weather included. When I’m in my fortress of solitude I don’t just lay in my bed with my covers pulled over my head like you may have imagined. In fact it may be some of the most productive time that I spend with myself. Some may wonder how is it possible to stay so busy and entertained within such a small space let alone by oneself. Well let me put you on to some simple ideas that you may want to consider next time you want a break from the world.

This idea came to me almost 10 years ago and has stuck ever since. It was rooted in nostalgia originally from my days in high school and university where we’d rotate stacks of fashion magazines. It seems like when social media took over and magazines/gossip could be accessed more readily online that the fascination with print died. In a genius move, I brought it back for days like this. I’d buy the Cosmopolitan, People, Vogue, and Rolling Stone to name a few. I’d read them from back to front like I had 20 years ago because we all know the juicy stuff was in the back. I love coming across the perfume tester pages so that I could rub its papery fragrance all over me like I was headed to a 7th grade dance hoping to score my first French kiss. But what is a stack of magazines without a bag of Twizzlers- its not so grab two!

Run yourself a professional bath- my bathroom is open concept so technically its still in my room. The decorative candles bordering your soaker tub that may have a layer of dust on them-Light those Puppies! For gods sake candles are meant to burn, and they aren’t an ambient accent unless they are lit sis. Next, throw on some kick ass jazz or whatever tunes get you singing along sorrowfully. For me its Nina Simone, Lana Del Ray, Tash Sultana, or my ultimate fave; 80’s Hair Band Ballads. Those you can really murder the best with your angelic voice as loudly as unnecessarily possible. I love a good ol’ sing along to some Guns and Roses Don’t Cry. I imagine you’ll remember lyrics that you hadn’t sang since you were backcombing your bangs and getting spiral perms. When your done, make sure you moisturize the hell out of your body with every miracle cream that’s under your sink and lay there butt ass naked until every fragrant globule of magical serum is absorbed. You may look like a buttered biscuit, but guess what, buttered biscuits are delicious.

Make yourself a snack platter you can graze on all day. It needs to be complete with all the cheeses, meats, dips, olives, bits and bites. Include some fruits to cut the salt intake, it will make you feel like you are indulging in a healthy way. Hell, even make yourself a jug of spa water and finish that up to ensure you are adequately hydrated as the goal here is to rejuvenate and recharge.

Do something creative whether its writing a blog, sketching, brainstorming interior design ideas, or coming up with small business ideas. These often can manifest themselves into bigger goals in the future that could materialize into new passions. Perhaps write a poem, or get out an old cute note book and jot down some free thought words. Let your mind go a bit and do something maybe out of the ordinary. Maybe you like nail art, try doing something different with your nails by watching a you tube tutorial on it. Or learn a new braid and practice it in the mirror. These are all little things that we often too busy for in our lives to consider as being alternatively mindless but pleasant ways to spend time with yourself.

Play dress up. Get into that closet of yours and drag out the items you don’t wear often. Try to put new outfits together with these items that you can get excited about when you emerge from your Cubbie of Bliss. In fact while your in there, organize a weeks worth of outfits ahead of time. If your up for it you can take it up a notch and do a full runway show, documenting how freaking amazing your style is and celebrating your ability to repurpose that sequined blazer you wore once at a new years party 5 years ago. Sequins never die queens.

Put on an old 80’s movie and fall asleep to it. Go sweetly into a wonderland of REM sleep that’s influenced by the movies white noise guiding your Adventures in Babysitting, or perhaps a day off with Bueller. For some reason I feel like these naps are best had in jeans…odd suggestion I know, but how often do we get to sleep in our day clothes? I find denim warm and all encompassing, holding me together like a hug I consented too. There is an underlying feeling of unfamiliarity napping in the daytime with my clothes on…it’s laziness coming to fruition, not something I personally can always enjoy without guilt. But in the Cubbie of Bliss, there are no rules and there is no guilt because here you can spend the day however you wish.

So as you can see I have some unique ideas tailored to my own personal comforts and quirks. They are merely a guide to ignite your own exploration around finding ways to be with yourself if you struggle to sit in isolation but feel weary from the world around you. In fact I came across an article in Forbes stating that there are 7 Science Based Reasons Why Should Spend More Time Alone.

According to Amy Moren, a psychotherapist and the international bestselling author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do there are a multitude of studies that tout the benefits of solitude.

1. Alone time increases empathy. 

When you spend time with a certain circle of friends or your co-workers, you develop a “we vs. them” mentality. Spending time alone helps you develop more compassion for people who may not fit into your ‘inner circle.’

2. Solitude increases productivity.

Although so many offices have started creating open floor plans so everyone can communicate more easily, studies show being surrounded by people kills productivity. People perform better when they have a little privacy.

3. Solitude sparks creativity.

There’s a reason a lot of authors or artists want to go to a cabin in the woods or a private studio to work. Being alone with your thoughts gives your brain a chance to wander, which can help you become more creative.

4. Being alone can help you build mental strength.

We’re social creatures and it’s important for us to have strong connections with other people. But, solitude may be just as important. Studies show the ability to tolerate alone time has been linked to increased happiness, better life satisfaction, and improved stress management. People who enjoy alone time experience less depression.

5. Solitude may reduce behavior problems in kids.

When you carve some solitude in your schedule you show your children that being along is a healthy thing to do. And research shows kids who learn to by themselves are better behaved than other children. Be a good role model and teach solitary skills early.

6. Being alone gives you an opportunity to plan your life.

Most people spend a lot of time planning weddings and vacations but never plan how to get the most out of life. Spending time alone can give you a chance to ensure there’s a purpose to all of your hustling and bustling. Quiet space provides an opportunity think about your goals, your progress, and changes you want to make in your life.

7. Solitude helps you know yourself.

Being alone helps you become more comfortable in your own skin. When you’re by yourself, you can make choices without outside influences. And that will help you develop more insight into who you are as a person.

Thank you for continuing to read, follow and comment on my unique brand of crazy tales and thoughts! Lett me know in the comment section what you love to do in solitude!

Correspondence From the Past- Remembering my Father, and the Beauty Behind Letters.

As a mother of a 20- something year old I have to say that I was never the type to hang to too many memento’s of hers. I would keep the random cute drawing, a report card or too, and few baby items that I felt one day she may appreciate. As it stands right now, she has no interest in any of it- so therefore I am obliged to hang on to it until perhaps 10 years from now she still will have no interest in it.

I have moved so many times over the last 15 years that the opportunity to unload and let go of stuff has become customary. I often tell myself as I’m offloading this stuff that if I did not remember I even had it, I probably do not need to hang on to it. So basically I Marie Kondo the F*** out of my house on a monthly basis.

That was until I had my elderly mother move in with us.

When we moved into a much larger home you would think that after having moved her from British Columbia only a year before that she would have very limited belongings.

Wrong.

This woman has kept everything…as in she still has my reward for “Participation” ribbons. Mementos of my mediocre attempts at anything academic or athletics. My mother also loves to hang onto cards from anniversaries, birthdays, thank you’s…she has boxes of these cards. In addition, the family heirlooms and antique furniture that do hold value, however in the context of my own love for more contemporary décor, stick out like a sore thumb. But at the end of the day I tolerate it obligingly- my mom deserves to be surrounded by the familiar things she has grown to love and cherish.

More recently my mom decided to introduce a new desk into her room so that she could house more of her stuff and perhaps alphabetize her cards and categorize the bill statements she has hung onto since 1995. As she was going through her things she had come across some letters from my father when he had taken a job overseas in Tanzania. Read Here about those adventures! Part 1 and Part 2

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Mom and Dad- August 2011

Now if there was anything to ever hang on to this would be it. My father passed away in August of 2016 after a long battle with organ failure complicated by dementia. For about 10 years prior to his death, my father had deteriorated and what was left the man I had remembered had been long gone. So when my mom came across these letters to her, I was able to revisit a time when he was vibrant, humorous and the father that I had grew up with. I had long forgotten this side of him, as the decade prior to his passing was overshadowed by so much stress and worry while we advocated for placement and my mom was left as a caregiver.

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Dad on the Sailboat he built–1990
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University Graduation 2007

Before his health declined my father was a hard worker- in fact a workaholic. He was determined to provide for his family-despite some underlying mental health and addiction issues that I’ll save for another time. My father had served in the Canadian air force, taught college Electronics engineering, was a boat builder, woodworker, and avid fisherman. He worked all over the world, and one of his last jobs brought him to Tanzania as mentioned.

Here are some of the excerpts from his letters that I will hang onto without a doubt. Hope you enjoy!

Mgololo, Tanzania 1991
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Love You Dad- Miss You.

Organizing Spaces for the ADHD Mind: How to Optimize Your Wellness

Spring is time where I utilize the surge of energy that typically comes about during this time of year where the signs of Winter have begun to dissipate. It’s also the time where I tend to purge and tackle the corners and baskets of things I have acquired over the months, which can be significant as a busy career woman who just so happens to be diagnosed with adult ADHD.

Home organization is a skill that can be learned by anyone at any time, however it took years for me to understand its purpose in my life outside the of the obvious benefits of a well organized home. Sure, its great to know where to find things, and lets not forget the aesthetics of it all where people have capitalized on it like The Gals of Home Edit who had a YouTube Series thanks to Reese Witherspoon.

Check Out Other Series: 9 Shows That Will Help You Be More Organized

And while these are popular I often feel like its easier said than done if you don’t have an ADD/ADHD mind. You see ADHD is a spectrum disorder that manifests through the eight executive processes of the brain:

  1. flexible thinking
  2. working memory
  3. self-monitoring
  4. task initiation
  5. planning
  6. organization
  7. impulse control
  8. and emotional control.

Basically, the executive functions of the brain help you plan, organize, and complete tasks.

If you have ADHD, and are trying to organize your home, it’s likely that you are struggling with one (or more) of these executive functions, which makes home organization especially challenging. Challenging, but not impossible. These processes at any point in my day are activated, and consequently working to grab hold of the the reigns, often switching direction. at the drop of a hat

So not only is it important that I nurture good habits such as scheduling my days; often down to minute detail in order to stay productive and on top of things, I also need the order visually to get it all done. But there are only so many hours in the day, and lets not forget we need to allow time to live and have a good time. This was mentioned in Attitude Magazine-Inside the ADHD MIND, where JUDITH KOLBERG suggests to Ditch perfectionism when organizing one’s home.

Judith states “I have not researched the link between perfectionism and ADHD, but I have seen it many times. Perfectionism appears to exacerbate executive function deficits. If I have two clients with the same ADHD symptoms, and one is a perfectionist, it is harder for the perfectionist to get organized. Start a project with the understanding that perfection is not the goal, progress is.”

While I am guilty of getting fairly hyper-focused on a task at hand, the fruits of those tasks can help to decrease the anxiety that comes along with feeling flustered or chaotic in my brain. This is not true for all as everyone is different, and perhaps do better with an entirely different strategy to mitigate the spiraling that can occur in our busy minds.

For myself mornings are particularly important as I need to physically and mentally set the tone for the course of my crazy day in the world of Child Protection Social Work. At any point in my day, it can take a drastic turn, whether I have a pile of new assignments, an emergency apprehension, court appearance, or stuck in a snow bank on the side of rural road with no cell service. So if at 7am my blood pressure soars through the roof because I can’t find that one pair of pants that goes with the boots that I’ve already decided upon were going to make me the Boss Ass Bitch I need to be that day. It could be, and has been my unravelling all before I’ve even managed to eat my Cheerios.

This weekend I planned on Working Out, Cooking a Good Meal, Going to Home Depot, Fencing in My Garden Beds, Taking the Dog for a Walk, Maybe See a Friend, and Planting my Herb Garden. Oh…and Write a Blog. What I actually did was a mish mash of a few of these things, some half done, as new shinier options presented themselves. Who knew all it would take was the need to make more space under my sink for my dollar store haul. And if wasn’t for the repeated explosion of make up sponges, costco size q-tips, and every self tanning bronzer known to man under there falling out, I’d think it was time for a purge.

So as I added more stuff to my hidden stock pile lair, it was a reminder that if I can’t see it, I think I need it, and often forget I already have it most likely by the dozen. Let me remind you that the ADHD mind is forgetful as all hell, so its no wonder I forgot the treasures that were unearthed. It felt like Christmas again, in fact much of my Christmas stocking stuffers were still in there unopened and neglected. As I mentioned before, having things in front of me in a way that corresponds with the sequences in my mind makes things more streamlined.

Lets start with a couple spaces I tackled today, and see if you can relate!

Cosmetics

  1. Dump it all out & Clean Them– Not only will they look better once you put them back, but think about the oils, bacteria, and just overall grime that build up on items that get tossed in your purse often. I know my lids get the gucked up mess on them, random hair, sand, and lord knows what else caked at the base of the lids. Don’t be that person that grows a knew mutant strain of mouth herpes on their lip gloss.
  2. Clean Your Brushes– I know we shouldn’t be having this discussion by now but besides bacteria, brushes also accumulate dead skin cells and oil, which can clog your pores and lead to dull or broken out skin. Clean brushes apply makeup better. Even the best makeup can become streaky and patchy when applied with a dirty brushClean bristles will assure a smoother application.
  3. Proper Cosmetic Storage/Organizers– While you are on a disinfecting streak by now don’t forget to Clean Your Storage/Acrylic Cases too, and perhaps you need more if you find your stuff overflowing. I like to not only organize my cosmetics by type but also by size as to ensure I can fully see all that I have available to me. This is important again for the ADHD mind like mine as I forget often what I have unless it is directly in front of me. Some may say, why have to many options then, and I say MInd Your Business.
  4. Get Rid of What You Don’t Use– This goes for samples, palettes with obnoxious colors that may work for a YouTuber or Make-Up Artist. But if you are like myself, I stick to a pretty basic look, and stay in my lane when it comes to being adventurous with make up and my limited talents. That’s not to say others won’t love some of those impulse buys (another ADHD trait). I’m an Ipsy Subsrciber who has somehow not been able to figure out how to cancel my subscription for two years. Which has left me with an abundance of small make up bags that I like to fill with the make up I don’t use, or didn’t like. Once cleaned/disinfected they make great little gifts for the teens I work with, or alternatively cool donations for Women’s Shelters, Trans-gendered Programming, or Outreach Centers.
Final Product

Closet SPace

  1. Switch Out Seasonal Items– I personally do not have a Kardashian Sized Closet Space, however my shopping habits would suggest otherwise. Which is why its even more important to make room and space in my closet to reacquaint myself with the Spring/Summer Clothing I have before I decide to go buy more. It also helps me get rid of stuff too that perhaps is on its last days, or has seen brighter days. I may have been too distracted to notice a stain on it when it went into hibernation or a hole that needed mending. So when one is reacqainted again we can assess its current status as in Keep, Donate, or Toss.
  2. Assess What Basics You Are Missing -These are the core element of almost every outfit, and because they get worn a lot, prepare your wardrobe with your fave go to’s like my personal favorite, the Alix NYC Essex Bodysuit in a few essential colors. You can stack an outfit on top of these staple items whereby I’m often using my busy mind as I shower to organize the next step of my morning.
  3. Color Wheel Your Clothing/Accessories– Maybe its from all the years of working in retail, but there is an element of pleasure attached with the synchronization of colors. Much how we respond fondly to a rainbow when we see it in the sky, I get the same Dopamine response to rainbow in my closet. Not only that, but when I need a black shirt, my visual orientation isn’t pulled in 20 different directions. My ability to make a decision is made much more simpler when I can see what it is I’m looking for in that moment before it may be pulled in another direction that could very well turn into a pile of clothes on the middle of my floor and a layer of stress sweat forming under my boobs.

Hopefully you found this helpful, or at least relatable- You are not alone in that crazy head of yours. If you liked this post make sure you like, comment and share!

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