September 30-Day Challenge: Develop a Healthy Morning Routine

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I admit that my August 30-day challenge wasn’t exactly a success. My goal to post something on my blog every day was going well until I started travelling during my vacation. With sporadic computer and internet access, it was easier for me to give up rather than try to catch up with a slew of blog posts. I admit it; I was lazy.

I started September afresh and determined to successfully make it to the end of the month with my 30-day challenge. I even started practising for this month’s challenge a few days early, just to get into the groove of it.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am notorious for not being a morning person. I am usually cranky, groggy, silent and/or incoherent, no matter how much sleep I’ve gotten the night before. It’s best to just stay away and not talk to me when I’ve just woken up.

Most mornings start with the alarm going off at 7:00 AM, then hitting the snooze button as many times as I can get away with, until I finally get up in a panic. For the next 45 minutes, I’m racing to shower, dress, do my hair and makeup, and run to the transit stop to catch the streetcar to work. This doesn’t exactly make for a great way to start the day. I’m usually still half-asleep by the time I get to work, and the first few hours at the office are spent in a zombie-like state.

So my challenge for September is to develop a healthier morning routine, where I can transition from sleep to work in a more peaceful and productive way.

This includes:

It’s now Day 8 of the challenge (plus a few practice days), and I’ve been able to stick to some kind of a routine. Not every day includes all of the elements above, but I’ve been very consistent with my morning stretches and eating breakfast (though sometimes it’s a late breakfast/brunch) – I only skipped one day, when I was too sick to get out of bed because of food poisoning.

The routing doesn’t feel natural and automatic just yet, so most mornings are still a struggle. I am able to get up earlier if I’ve had a good night’s rest – otherwise, I’m back to hitting the snooze button nonstop. I’ve remembered to drink the hot lemon water and take my multivitamin most mornings, but not all.

I’m trying to be self-forgiving and not set myself up for failure by being too harsh. Early mornings are really hard for me, but I feel like I’m making progress. I’m aiming for serenity, not disappointment. So far, so good.

I’d love your thoughts – is there anything else I should be integrating into my morning routine?


On Tough Love.

‎"Sometimes walking away has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength. We walk away not because we want others to realize our worth and value, but because we finally realize our own." -Robert Tew


Twice this past month, I’ve had to have difficult/courageous conversations with people I deeply care for. I’ve had to make painful choices and issue ultimatums, and somehow find the strength to stick to my decisions for my own health, happiness and sanity.

I don’t think I would have had that strength just a few years ago. It’s amazing for me to look back and see how much I’ve evolved in recent years. I’ve become much more assertive when I feel that I (or others who can’t or won’t stick up for themselves) aren’t being treated right, whereas in the past I would have mostly remained quiet and passive (or passive-agressive).

This evolution has surprised many people close to me, some of whom aren’t particularly thrilled at the new, more assertive, me. But I believe that if I can’t live honestly and with integrity around these individuals, then I probably don’t need or want them in my life.

It means making tough choices that sometimes hurt. A lot. But when I believe deep down that these choices areneeded to remove toxic situations from my life, I know I’m doing the right thing in the long run.

And if those individuals with whom I’ve had those courageous conversations still respect me, I know they’re exactly the type of people I really want to keep in my life.

RIP David Rakoff.

I was saddened to hear about David Rakoff’s passing yesterday after a battle with cancer. As a huge fan of This American Life, I always enjoyed listening to David’s smooth and soothing voice as he read his hilarious essays on the program podcasts. Last May, I has the pleasure of experiencing the TAL program that was broadcast live to movie theatres across North America, at which David was a special guest. This is a video of his performance on that evening (he is introduced by the ever-adorable Ira Glass):

I remember thinking during the live broascast that David was much thinner than I expected (I imagined someone with a much heavier frame).

I was surprised to read today that Daivd was born in Montreal and raised in Toronto – I hadn’t realized (or I didn’t remember) that he was Canadian. That explains why he had such a wicked sense of humour…

Likes, Dislikes and Pinterest Boards

I’m really getting into the groove of this 30-day blogging challenge thing. I stopped worrying about it so much the moment I realized that my blog posts don’t need to be long, rambling pieces of writing – they can simply include photos, lists, videos, whatever… What a relief.

I’m already thinking about what next month’s challenge could be. And since I’ve been spending so much time on Pinterest this week (hurray for vacations!), I thought I’d put together a 30-Day Challenge Pinterest Board to keep the inspiration flowing.

Today, I thought I’d share a few of my likes and dislikes. Here goes…


  1. Lists 🙂
  2. Literary tattoos (so much so that I recently got one myself)
  3. Jane Austen (see #2)
  4. Grilled cheese sandwiches
  5. Coffee (especially double americanos)
  6. Art and travel journals
  7. Handwritten letters
  8. Quirky, foreign films
  9. Chocolate mint ice cream
  10. Road trips


  1. Clowns
  2. White socks
  3. Selfish drivers
  4. Bad manners
  5. Reality TV (part of the reason I don’t even own a television)
  6. Traffic jams
  7. Crowds
  8. Leggings worn as a replacement for pants (they’re NOT pants, people!)
  9. Misspelled words/Bad grammar
  10. Loud noise

Care to share your lists?

The Week So Far

Reading… The Book of Negroes bu Lawrence Hill. It’s along the same vein as Roots, but written from a female African slave’s perspective – I’m only at page 50 or so, and completely engrossed with it.

Listening to… The Boxer by Mumform and Sons and Jerry Douglas. Entirely obsessed with this song:

Watching… Fun, quirky films that take are set in France: Chocolat, Amélie… They’re inspiring to watch while creating handmade books 🙂

Discovering… I have way too many interests, which makes spending any amount of time on Pinterest dangerous (yet inspiring). Loved discovering so many new-to-me Mexican/American female surrealist artists at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (in Québec City).

Learning… How to do not much of anything all day. And it feels absolutely wonderful.

Loving… The weather in New Brunswick this time of year (25C every day, no humidity…it’s absolutely perfect)! Also loved the road trip from Toronto to NB (minus the broken car air conditioner) and spending a night in Québec City earlier this week.

Hating… The thought of finding out how much repairing the air conditioning in my car is going to cost me tomorrow.  :/

Feeling… Exhausted, but grateful that I can spend the next two weeks relaxing, being spoiled by my parents, taking naps, reading, watching films, spending time with old friends.

Wishing… This vacation could last…permanently 🙂

And what have you been up to this week?

Québec, je t’aime.

A few photos taken this past weekend during my overnight stay in Québec City:

Rue St-Jean

Near rue St-Jean

Portes St-Jean (St. John’s Gates)

Sunday morning at the Brûlerie Saint-Roch

La Cavalière de Charles Daudelin (on the steps of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec)

Poster for the Adventures in Wonderland exhibit at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

This trip has convinced me that I definitely need to spend more time in this beautiful city!