Micro-homes to be the New Norm?

Are you spending endless hours at the office in order to make your mortgage and bill payments?  Well, if you are…you’re probably not alone.  When did our society become so consumed with having HUGE houses with even bigger mortgages?

My husband and I fell victim to this societal trap a few years ago.  We thought that since we had been married for a few years it was time to move on to the next stage in our life and purchase a bigger home.  I’m not sure why we felt the need to do this, especially considering we had a perfectly comfortable and beautiful one bedroom home.  This place had everything we could have ever wanted…it was brand new and had granite counter tops, an enclosed patio, in house laundry and a huge master bedroom.  Yet, we still built a house that was WAY too big for our family of 2.


This became even more apparent when we would spend endless hours cleaning the house and cleaning rooms that we hadn’t even set foot in.   Majority of the time we were using our kitchen, bedroom or ensuite.  The space we were using was very similar to the layout of our previous house.

This house proved to be even more unnecessary when we realized it would put a strain on the amount of travelling we would be able to do that year since the mortgage payments were significantly higher and the upkeep was a lot more effort.

Paying for this house became even more frustrating when we began notice how often we were actually home.  Like I said, we love travelling, exploring the city and going out to concerts and movies, sitting around a house isn’t our idea of a fun time.

Don’t get me wrong, this house was stunning.  It was everything I thought I had wanted in a house, however, we were never happy being there.  After about two years we decided it was time to move on.  Against the advice of many close to us, we put up the for sale sign and began the house hunt again.

We decided we wanted to start doing more things again instead of having more things.  Having things did not make us happy…in fact, it had the exact opposite effect.

Luckily, we were able to successfully sell our house and we decided to downsize back to a one bedroom.  This time we were going to live the loft life.  We had exactly 800 square feet and we absolutely loved it.  (In hindsight, we probably should have splurged for the two bedroom considering I ended up getting pregnant quickly…but if we did, we wouldn’t have so many stories to share)!

Loft Life:

Not only was it easy to clean and maintain, it was very economical.  We were still able to entertain guests and we were within walking distance to the downtown.  These were the perks that we quickly forgot about when we were searching for the bigger house.

We had to get creative to store our clothes, kitchen items and personal belongings, but it wasn’t difficult to do at all.  IKEA became our best friend!  A few months later, we had to get even more creative when we decided we were going to stay at the loft for the first few months after having our daughter.

Again, this was surprisingly easy to do.  People were shocked when we told them that we decided we wanted to stay at the loft for a while even after the birth of our daughter.  Did people forget that a newborn really doesn’t need that much space?  It’s not like she was suddenly going to get up and start wandering around at two weeks.

For our family, this was the perfect decision.  It allowed us to focus 100% on our new baby and not worry about keeping a house clean and tidy.  Everything I needed was within a few steps which made keeping an eye on my daughter even easier.  She’s a very strong sleeper now as well, which probably has a lot to do with the fact she didn’t have a room with a door to fully close to block out the noise.

Once we were ready to move, we decided it was time to stay in the city and we had always wanted to do some renovations ourselves, so we decided to find a fixer upper. I think it’s clear we love chaos!

Now, instead of trading stories about square footage in houses, we share stories about travel or activities we’ve done with our daughter.


“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late” – Shakespeare


En route to Colorado
May 2014

We wanted to leave earlier for Buffalo to get to the airport hotel, but I ended up getting stuck trying to finish some items up for work. We didn’t get to leave until around 8pm…We thought about cancelling our hotel room and just leaving at 12am or 1am to head down to the airport…..in hindsight, we should have!!!! At least we now have a laughable story to share.

We arrived at the Marriott hotel late at night.  We ended up keeping our hotel reservation because we wanted a place to park our car while we were away.  The website indicated that parking would be complimentary.  However, upon arrival we were informed that although the wording can be confusing, the parking is only for the duration of the hotel stay unless an additional fee is paid.  This was a frustrating start to the trip, but nothing was going to hold us back from enjoying our time in Colorado.

Our room was nice enough for an airport hotel and the bed was comfortable…obviously a little too comfortable as we missed our flight!  Lesson – when setting a cellphone alarm, make sure the volume is on.  Or, an even better take away, use the hotel’s wake up service.

We woke up just as our morning flight was rolling out on the tarmac.  I called JetBlue in a panic and they were absolutely wonderful!  They got us on another flight leaving later that day.  We had to pay a small fee, but it was worth it.  After grabbing a few more hours of much needed sleep, we headed off to the airport to catch our rescheduled flight.

I love traveling through the Buffalo International airport.  It is always a quick and enjoyable experience.

Finally, a few hours later, we arrived in beautiful Colorado!


The car rental company had rented out most of their “small” cars since we had missed our initial pick up time…however, we travel very light so we didn’t need a large car.  We searched around the lot frantically until we found one final vehicle remaining. A cobalt blue Fiat.


I was obsessed.  I’ve always wanted to tour around in a Fiat and let me tell you, this car was a lot of fun.  Parking was a breeze and gas was cheap, we couldn’t have asked for anything better.


Our first night we stayed in Denver.  We stopped at the first hotel we came across and it ended up being beautiful.  The room was huge and spacious (it even had an extra living room, huge walk in closet and two bathrooms).  The price was very reasonable and it came with a stunning roof top pool.

The next day we toured around the city and then drove over to check out Red Rocks.  The amphitheatre clearly gets a lot of use.  People were doing yoga and cardio while others just sat and observed the beauty of the scenery.

We had breakfast in Morrison, CO (I don’t think it’s possible for this little city to get any cuter…).  While we enjoyed breakfast we waited for some tumbleweed to roll by.  We felt like we were in a Western movie.


Colorado is absolutely breathtaking.  The rolling hills and mountains accompanied by the lush greenery made it a place we will never forget.

Our next stop, Colorado Springs.  Another amazing city.  It was absolutely picturesque and my camera could not keep up with all of the photos!

We drove around to check out the area and the Garden of the Gods and then decided to grab a hotel room, somewhere close by.  We never wanted to leave this city.

We stayed at the Garden of the Gods Club and Resort.  Not only was it very reasonable it was also relatively close to Red Rocks and it had the most amazing views I’ve ever seen.  Our room was huge and had a gorgeous balcony with these views…

This place is truly paradise.  It took us about 1.5 hours to get back to Red Rocks for our concert (it was rush hour traffic and a crazy rain storm).  The Fiat got us there safely!   Red Rocks is organized so efficiently.  The amphitheatre staff were awesome.  We quickly found a parking spot and then made our climb up to our seats.  We were about 15 rows back.  Hands down, this was the best concert we have ever been to.  We saw One Republic play and they definitely knew how to get the crowd pumped up.

A few days later we decided to take the Fiat up Pikes Peak.  This was well worth it.  I think it was about $10.00 to enter (very reasonable)…and yes, we did make it to the top in the Fiat!

We went through crazy weather changes and at times we could hardly see the road.  Next time, I would wear better shoes (and not my flip flops)…

We cannot wait to get back to Colorado.  There’s still so much more to see!

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First Comes Love…

Our wedding day was one of the most amazing days of my life.  Don’t get me wrong, we had some bumps along the way, but for the most part it was smooth sailing.

I attribute all of our wedding success to being extremely laid back throughout the months leading up to it.  I understand the importance of being very organized and prepared for the big day, however, maintaining a carefree attitude will ensure your day goes off without a hitch!  (Even if it doesn’t – you’ll find ways to laugh along the way).


It’s safe to say that something will go wrong at one point or another on your wedding day.  Maybe it’s not the weather you were hoping for or the decorator miscounted and didn’t provide enough decorations/table settings/ chairs and so on.  All in all, all of the above are so inconsequential, they shouldn’t even fluster you for a second!

When you look back on your day, all of those minor things will NOT be important and they will remain as the stories you tell for years to come after your wedding.  So, remember… take a step back and try to laugh or shrug it off.

Here are some tips to help you avoid unnecessary stress and worry before your big day!

Dress shopping

Go with a small group of people so you’re not bombarded with many different opinions.  Bring the people you can trust to give you honest advice but also those who will be happy with whatever you choose.  After all, it is your day!


Selecting your Venue

Pick a venue that suits your needs, your guests’ needs and really highlights you as a couple.  We selected a venue that was at a public park we use to visit growing up.  It was close for all of our guests, reasonably priced and would hold the amount of guests we were inviting.


Selecting your Guest List

Be very selective about who you are inviting to your special day.  Don’t invite someone just because you think “you have to”.  Same goes for friends of your parents.  When it comes down to the big day, you want the group to be your core friends and family.  It becomes especially awkward when your parents are introducing you to their friends on your wedding day.  Make sure you are selective about the guest list.  Try and picture these people and see if you can envision them in your life a few years from now.  If you don’t think they will be, exclude them from your list.


Hair & Makeup

Go in with a vision but remain open minded.  I wanted something that would be off of my face (in case it was windy out during photos).  I knew I wanted some type of low bun, but I wasn’t concerned with anything beyond that.  I’m not a professional hair stylist and I won’t pretend to be one…so I was happy to allow the professional to do what she does best! Same went for makeup.  I typically don’t wear a lot of makeup beyond some mascara every now and again, so I wanted to stay true to that on our wedding day.



This is a great place to spend the extra money.  An awesome photographer will ensure you get the best pictures and will capture all of the fabulous memories.  These are memories you will want to cherish and look back on for many years to come.  It’s also a lot of fun to get creative with your photos.  Our wedding happened to coincide with Kitchener’s Oktoberfest so we wandered down after our makeup was done to capture a few shots of the group before finishing getting ready.  This type of spontaneity makes for some great shots!


Formal vs Informal

My husband and I were very excited about having an informal relaxed wedding.  We found a fabulous officiant and served our food at different stations throughout our venue.  We wanted something a little bit different.  Sometimes a seated meal can feel long, awkward and tiring.  Instead, we mixed it up by serving a pasta bar, slider bar and spring rolls throughout the hall.  This kept people up and mingling and enjoying the atmosphere instead of being forced into awkward table conversations.


These are a few things that worked really well for us.  I’ve seen weddings where the bride was a complete micromanager and couldn’t sit back to enjoy the day because she was so stressed about everything going perfectly.  Sometimes the imperfect parts are the best memories.

All in all, have fun and cherish every second!



A Summer in India

2013 – New Delhi, India

After being approached by my work to travel to India to train new staff at our Gurgaon office, I spent a few days mulling the idea over.  I was feeling very anxious as we would be scheduled to be away for 6 weeks.  It was nerve racking because Shawn and I typically travel together… it’s very rare that we travel solo.

I was excited to go as it would be a great adventure and I was ready to give India another chance.  Shawn and I discussed it at great lengths and then I decided to go.

We left in early July, when the temperatures were already scorching at home, so I couldn’t even imagine how warm and humid it was going to be in India.  My family offered to drive me to the airport so we could relish in those last few moments together.  We enjoyed lunch and then said our goodbyes.  Thankfully, the customs line was moving quickly as I got onto the plane just as the final boarding calls were being made.

We stopped over in Brussels, stretched our legs and got back onto the plane.  It was a long flight but they made it extremely comfortable and the food was very good.  I slept for majority of the flight and watched a few movies.

We arrived to New Delhi during the night.  The airport was very nice, modern and relatively new.  We were greeted by hotel staff from the Crowne Plaza, they took our bags, brought us to our SUV and gave us some water bottles.  It was extremely hot and humid.  The water bottles were definitely a welcomed treat.  Traffic was crazy which was surprising considering we arrived during the night.  We made it to the Crowne Plaza and the security team checked under our SUV and under the hood of the car.  The security team was extremely cautious and very zealous.

Our rooms were spacious and very nice.  Despite my initial fears of travelling alone, the hotel was amazing and the friendly staff made me feel very comfortable.

Our shifts at work were from 5pm until 1-2am, which worked out perfectly since we had a lovely pool at the hotel.  I’d spend the day at the pool and then would make my way over to the office.  It was a very relaxing schedule.  The air smelt of pollution and the temperatures were hot but we acclimated very fast.

Everyone at the office was friendly and kind.  They were passionate about work, it was refreshing to work with such a wonderful group.  They were eager to learn and excited about training.

On the weekends we travelled to different markets, shopping centres, temples and finally, the Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal was certainly a highlight of the trip, we left around 6AM to begin the drive.  The hotel packed us a few meals for the day and we hired a driver from the hotel to take us there.  I was very grateful for the driver as some spots along the way felt unsafe.  Not only that, the driving

Upon arriving, we rented an electric car and sought out a tour guide to take us through the Taj Mahal.  It was the most beautiful sight of our entire work “vacation”.  Beautifully landscaped gardens surrounded the area and everything was extremely clean.


I thoroughly enjoyed having the guide with us, he snapped photos for us with our cameras and provided us with a great deal of history.  The Taj Mahal is a definite must see!

Another weekend, we spent some time with our team going to temples.  This was such a humbling experience.


India was incredible and exceeded my expectations.  I hope I am lucky enough to go back again some day!


Back to Land – We’re off to Coogee Beach!

Day 52 – Arriving in Sydney, Australia

It’s hard to believe we had spent 48 days on the ship.  It was the most relaxing yet exciting trip we’ve ever done.  I still can’t believe all of the amazing things we were fortunate enough to experience and do.

December 2nd, we’ve arrived in Sydney, Australia.  On the way to our port we cruised past the Sydney Opera House.  We snapped a few photos and enjoyed the last few moments on board.


The streets of Sydney were packed with cars and people.  It’s another city that reminds me of Toronto.  Grabbing a cab, we cruised to Coogee beach…it didn’t take us too long to get there from Sydney.

We arrived at our next destination, the Crowne Plaza in Coogee Beach. Since we arrived early in the morning, our room wasn’t ready yet.  We dropped our bags off and started to wander over to the beach.  It was a cute quaint city with little shops, restaurants and cafes along the main strip.


The beach was absolutely stunning.  Our first day at the beach was a bit chilly, hovering around 17 degrees so the beach was not busy at all.

Our best friends from Melbourne flew over to visit us.  We went to Sydney to see the Opera House, we went to a Harry Potter display and a restaurant for foods all with different types of chocolate.

We had just over one week in Australia and it still didn’t feel like enough time.  It was the perfect ending to the most amazing trip we’ve ever embarked on.

…Until next time!

Wangi Falls, The Great Barrier Reef, and Skydiving in Airlie Beach

Day 44 – Thursday, November 24th…Darwin, Australia

There was an announcement about a flu that is spreading around the ship.  I’m surprised it’s taken this long for some type of virus to be on the ship – especially considering we’ve been onboard for around 1.5 months.

The ship took quick action to ensure the virus would not spread.  They removed butter, salt, pepper etc from the tables and brought up sanitizing machines.

Thankfully, we’re almost in Sydney where we’re disembarking to do some vacationing in Coogee beach.

It was another sunny and hot day in paradise.  We rode on a coach bus for about 2 hours to get to the Wangi falls.  The falls were beautiful.  You could wander the area and enjoy all of its beauty.

After leaving the Wangi falls we went to see the Florence falls.  Another stunning sight.  While wandering around the falls we stumbled across a swimming area.  People played music and swam in the water.  I wish we had longer here to be able to go for a swim.  However, it was time to get going to check out the termite mounds at Litchfield National park.

The termite mounds were very interesting to see.  They were huge and covered an entire field.  Due to their vast size, it’s hard to imagine termites creating them.

Day 48 – November 28th…Cairns, Australia

We’ve arrived in gorgeous Cairns!  Stunning turquoise waters surrounded us and it was another sunny warm day.  The weather truly couldn’t be any better.  We took a boat ride for 90 minutes to arrive at our floating dock.  It was surprising to see this pontoon in the middle of nowhere.  It had change rooms, a food area and an underwater observatory.

Again, me being terrified of unknown critters in the water, I was very apprehensive about going in. Shawn quickly jumped in and said the water was very warm.  We opted out of getting wetsuits.  It was beginning to be jellyfish season, however our guide said we’d be okay without the wetsuits.


After about 10 minutes of dipping my toes in the water, I finally flopped in.  It wasn’t graceful but I was in.  The coral reef was stunning.  An abundance of colours filled the ocean floor.  We weaved carefully through the different areas being cautious not to disturb anything.

After swimming for over an hour, I was finally getting comfortable.  Shortly after I noticed a reef shark swimming below us.  Naturally, I did exactly what you’re never suppose to do – flailed and screamed SHARK!  As I quickly kicked Shawn and left him behind, I noticed a swarm of people trying to get closer to observe the shark.  Was I the only sane person on this trip?  What felt like a 15 foot shark turned out to be about 4 feet…Still, I had experienced the Great Barrier Reef and I had no interest in going back in.

Despite my irrational phobias, seeing the Great Barrier Reef was amazing!


Day 49 -November 29th …Airlie Beach, Australia

We arrived at the marina around 1:30PM, which was cutting it dangerously close to our 2PM skydiving time.  We decided since our cruise was coming to an end, we’d do something out of our comfort zone.

It was extremely windy so the instructors asked us to wait around to see if the weather would get any better.  We sat around watching old videos of prior jumps until they called us over.  One of the instructors did not want to go up in this weather, however, there were still two instructors left.  They agreed to take us up.  We got suited up in red pants, a harness and our goggles.


We watched a safety video then completed some practice training on the ground.  We hopped into the tiny two seater plane and sat on the ground in between the instructors.  As we took off the instructors attached themselves to us in preparation for the jump.  During the takeoff, we swayed back and forth in the wind..  The suspense was mounting with each sway.  I started questioning our decision to do this.  We got to our desired altitude and the guide and I shimmied to the door and pulled it open.  Staring down, I saw nothing but clouds.  We closed the door and decided to fly one more loop before jumping.  We completed the loop, the dreaded door opened again and it was time.  I went first and Shawn followed shortly after.  Thankfully, this was our order…if I had to watch Shawn jump first, I don’t think I would have gone!

It was the most incredible feeling, tumbling effortlessly through the clouds.  The fall happened so quickly so it didn’t leave us time to panic.

We’re excited to experience more of Australia!

Rafting in Bali

Day 41 – November 21st, 2011… Bali, Indonesia

We arrived in Bali early in the morning.  We had to tender into this port as our boat couldn’t get close enough to a dock.  It took about 25 minutes to get to shore.  The water was very beautiful and a gorgeous blue colour.  I was a little shocked to see quite a bit of garbage in the water though.  Despite that, it still was stunning.

We road on a bus for about 1.5 hours to take a river raft ride in Ubud.  We got geared up with helmets and life jackets and observed a quick demonstration.  Then it was go time…We had to walk down 500 steps to get to the rafts.  I’m not usually scared of heights, however, I am extremely terrified of murky water and the unknowns lurking in it.  The sight of the water petrified me and my legs shook the entire way down, quivering more with each step.  I had to use my paddle to hold myself up and keep it together.  I had to keep it together, especially since the trip was filled with 60 + year olds and they were making out just fine!


The raft ride was an amazing experience.  We got to go through lush forestry and ride alongside stunning waterfalls.  We stopped at one waterfall and hopped into the water to get a picture under it.  It took everything in me to hop in that water.  Needless to say, we took the picture and I quickly scurried back to the raft.

At the end of our ride we were let out at a beautiful resort.  We were allowed to wander the resort grounds and swim in their pool.  The pool weaved alongside the river and had a stone bottom.  The water was so warm and refreshing.

After getting cleaned up we were served a delicious lunch at the main part of the resort.  Even though it started pouring rain, the sights were breathtaking.


The pictures do not do this destination any justice!