Come for the Fashion and Food, Stay for the Book Reviews

Over the last couple of years, I re-discovered my passion for reading. As an English teacher, I’ve always loved literature, but caring for two young children and teaching full time never left me much time for it. The pandemic, as well as having a medical emergency last year that forced me to slow down and rest, really helped me fall back in love with reading, and here we are – Self-Care Summer, aka the summer where I work out every morning, and binge read on my deck all afternoon.

I’ve been doing book reviews on my Instagram for a while now, but I really wanted to share more about my favourite genres and highlight some recommendations more in-depth here. It’s really funny how your hobbies and passions evolve over time. Back in 2018 and 2019, I used to love going out, spending my summers at events, restaurants, partying, etc. I considered Instagram my hobby. Fast forward years later, and very little of that is on my radar. I’m so content to stay home and just immerse myself in an amazing read. So without further ado, here are some of my top picks.

Historical Fiction:

Let’s talk Kristin Hannah. She is certifiably the most talented historical fiction writer out there. Her books are full of relevant information about a place and time that I personally don’t know much about (for example, the Great Depression in the above mentioned The Four Winds), and she gives her characters so much depth and realness that you can’t help but become insanely invested in their story. Another great book by her is The Great Alone, which I highly recommend. I also loved The Stationary Shop, by Marjan Kamali, because it was a love story, but set in a time of political turmoil in Iran, which I knew nothing about and found riveting as a sub-plot.

Contemporary Romance:

When and how I became a fan of romance novels is a mystery to me. Honestly, I just love how much of a brainless escape they provide, and I typically finish them in a day or two. These are some of my recent faves. Every Summer After was amazing because it was set in Ontario, The Love Hypothesis was the perfect balance of smut and comedic nerdiness, and Ties that Tether was beautiful, because it offered insight into cross-cultural romances.

Memoirs:

I just love memoirs because I find other people’s lives fascinating. One day I want to write one. Here are two of my favourites. Between Two Kingdoms is Suleika Jaouad’s story of her battle with leukemia and being on the brink of death. It was a jarring read, and made me very aware of my own mortality. Surviving the White Gaze is another riveting one. Rebecca Carroll does an amazing job of painting a vivid picture of the hardship in her life being a black woman adopted by a white family.

Thrillers:

I saved the best for last. There’s nothing quite like a good thriller for me. I live for being on the edge of my seat, and the more messed up, the better. I won’t go through these selections individually, but No Exit by Taylor Adams is my top pick (just don’t watch the sub-par made for TV movie version of it that recently came out). If anyone has thriller recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them. I’m currently reading The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, and it’s roped me in quite fast, so I’m looking forward to reading more.

And, a bit of shameless self promo; feel free to follow me on Instagram if you’re looking for more recommendations: @theathleisureteacher

Say Hello to my New Addiction

By now, it’s a well-known fact that I’m a coffee fiend. Every morning, promptly at 6:30 am, I have my first cup, and its warmth, aroma, and flavor single-handedly get me amped for my day. I usually add some collagen and a little dairy-free creamer, but I recently discovered a little packet that does much more in terms of taste, nutrition, and convenience.

Behold, Allo.

Allo is a protein powder for hot coffee. It contains 10 grams of hydrolyzed whey protein. TEN! All you have to do is make your hot coffee, mix the single serving packet into it, stir and enjoy. It’s so quick and easy, and it’s elevated my morning coffee in ways I didn’t think possible. Whereas my coffee and breakfast combo used to keep me full for 3-4 hours in the morning, with Allo I now stay full for about 5 hours, only feeling my tummy begin to rumble for lunch around 11:30 am.

They have two products that differ slightly. One is the protein powder creamer, which comes in flavours like vanilla, caramel, and hazelnut. The sachet has 80 calories, and the powder dissolves beautifully with no clumps. It froths the coffee a little, and gives it a rich flavour so you don’t need to add any additional dairy or creamer. My personal favourite is the caramel! The other product is protein powder on its own. One sachet only has 50 calories, but packs the same 10 grams of protein into it. It also comes in flavours like caramel and vanilla, but there’s a natural flavoured option that doesn’t alter the taste of your coffee. With this protein powder, I did add an extra splash of my own creamer, just because I like my coffee a little milder and not quite so bold, but the protein also dissolved beautifully into the cup without clumping.

If you needed any additional incentive to try Allo, I’ll let you know that there’s zero grams of sugar in both products because they’re sweetened with Stevia leaf extract. They’re also gluten free, so I was able to share the Allo love with my Celiac best friend! Also, I love that the individual packets are travel friendly. We leave for Mexico in a few days, and I can’t wait to bring them with me to maintain my nutrition at the all-inclusive.

Check them out on Instagram at @alloyourcoffee, and their website at www.liveallo.com, and do let me know if you try their protein powders. I’d love to hear if you enjoy them as much as I do!

On Turning 40

Welp. I can’t believe I’m finally putting this one into words. Having summers off as a teacher is a double edged sword, because even when you’re super relaxed, you’re also bored and have tons of time to ruminate on your life and the direction it’s going in.

So….I’m turning 40 in October.

And it’s literally consuming my thoughts, because holy f*@# you guys; I’m old. Like, emotionally I used to feel 25, or maybe that was just pre-Covid times, but now I actually feel old. In my body. In my brain. In my BONES. There’s nothing like a year and a half of instability and parenting around the clock with no social outlet to make you acutely aware of all your grey hairs, aches, pains, wrinkles and general misery.

Whenever I tell people I’m turning 40 this year, they say, “oh well, at least you’ve accomplished a lot.” And yes, this does bring me some comfort. I’m happily married with two kids, a 9 year old girl, and a 6 year old boy. I have the “Million Dollar Family,” as they say, and now I also have the million dollar home, because we upgraded from a townhouse to a large, newer detached home two weeks ago, and I’ve never been more proud of us. I’m well established in my teaching career, having been at the same school since 2010, and of course now I also have this well established social media life, and surely that gives off the illusion of having my shit together.

But being accomplished doesn’t detract from the number being a hard pill to swallow. I want my age to stay with a 3 in front of it, not a 4. The 4 is symbolically a new chapter for me, and one step closer to real, legit middle-agedness. Many say your 40s are amazing, as your children gain newfound independence and you get some freedom, but I don’t want it. I want my babies to stay little forever, and I don’t want to age, and I don’t want my parents to age either.

Anyway, I’m going to plan a massive rager at my new house in October. If you’re reading this, you’re invited, because only 3 people will read this. We all know I don’t actually have any friends. I think I’ll rent a food truck, and do some sort of Mexican themed fiesta with tacos and margs and honestly, it’s gonna be LIT. And yes, I’m aware that 40 year olds can’t say that word, but since I teach teenagers, I will use the Gen Z slang forever, and I’m certain it’ll be okay.

Okay, off to get Botox and fillers, k thx for reading…bai!

At least I don’t look 40. Right? RIGHT? RIGHT????

2021 Thus Far

First blog of 2021. Damn, that’s hella embarrassing. In the spirit of transparency, I’m only writing today because I was charged my annual fee for the domain this morning, and it made me realize I need to actually use this blog. So, here we are.

Going into 2021, I had so much hope. Over Christmas last year, I read that Canada was going to get vaccines in January, and I felt such relief and optimism for the year. Little did I know, that the vaccines would barely arrive, take months to be administered, and then have the second doses be delayed for 16 weeks instead of the 3-4. We were in lockdown then, and I don’t think I could have predicted that many months later, we’d still be in lockdown, due to a massive surge in cases because of deadly Covid variants and a premature re-opening in February and March. Ontario is literally such a shitshow.

The shitshow was magnified exponentially when I suffered a pulmonary embolism in February. For those who don’t know, a pulmonary embolism is when you have a blot clot, and it travels to your lung artery and cuts off blood flow. It can be fatal if not caught early. I suspect you’re going to want to know my backstory for this, so here we go. Last June, I went on birth control. I’d never previously been on it because I already have existing risk for clots due to a chronic condition, but every doctor I consulted told me it was okay to take it. So I took it. In early February, I went for my usual deep tissue massage. My RMT is incredibly strong, and I have a high threshold for pain, so we’re a perfect pairing. Or at least, we were. The next day I woke up with debilitating pain in my side, and I thought she had dislocated a rib. It was a few days of pain and spasms, but I pushed through and even kept teaching, because going to the hospital during the second wave of a pandemic was something that sent my anxiety through the roof. The pain subsided, and I had about a week or maybe even two of relative normalcy, until I didn’t. One morning I woke up with shortness of breath. As the day (days? It’s a bit of a blur) went on, the shortness of breath got worse, and I started to get chest pain in my left side, just under my heart. Again, I pushed through, shot some content somehow, until I called my mom and told her I thought I was having a heart attack, and she told me to go to the hospital.

My husband dropped me off at the hospital alone, obviously, and I was seen immediately. They did an echo to check for heart attack, ruled it out, and then I had a serious of other tests. Eventually a CT scan revealed MULTIPLE embolisms of extensive size. Even the doctor was shocked, because he had said initially that I was “probably fine.” I was not. I stayed one night in the hospital, and came home with blood thinners, which I will likely be on the rest of my life because I’m now considered “a clotter.” Usually clots happen when trauma or injury occurs, but mine was considered a freak occurrence, and so I’ll need to be closely monitored to avoid recurrence.

Fast forward to present time. I’ve been off work since then, focusing on my recovery. I’m going back in 2 weeks, because I finally feel strong and healthy enough. I’ll likely be teaching virtually, but I wish I could go back to in-person teaching for even just a few weeks. I really miss it. Here’s a photo dump of some recent happenings because I’ve been keeping myself busy despite being off work…

Lots of walks with the kids to break up the misery of virtual school. They’ve been so unhappy not being at school, so I do my best to keep them afloat.
Instagram partnerships like this recent one with What A Bagel to ensure I still have things to do at home. I’m grateful for this little side hustle because it keeps me preoccupied.
Little outdoor outings here and there for sanity. I almost never go out, and the weather has been especially crappy, but if I see a friend from a distance for an hour, even just once a week, it fills my cup and gives me strength to come home and be with my husband and kids for every other hour in the week.
Finding solace in nature.
And CBD, obviously. And meditation. And journaling. And therapy.

Obviously there has been so much stress and trauma for everyone over the last year and a bit, but I really believe the long term implications of this on our mental health are HUGE. I try to remain hopeful and optimistic, and I’m really working to manifest the second half of 2021 being much better than the first half. The US is fully vaccinated and they’re already out there living their best lives again, so I know we will too…eventually. We just have to stay strong, and although strength has been diminished over this never-ending pandemic, the light at the end of the tunnel will make it all worth it.

Takeaways from 2020

Hi. It’s December 24, 2020, and I felt compelled to write a lil somethin somethin before this year of complete and utter misery is over. There’s no dancing around it; 2020 was horrendous. Over 1 million people died of Covid-19, and the entire world spent the majority of the year in lockdown. BUT, I think it was a year of self-reflection and growth for many, and today I’ve chosen to focus on these positives for me and my family. Don’t think I’m negating the sickness (both physical and mental) and devastation, because I’m not. I acknowledge it and mourn for all those suffering. But here’s what I’ll take away from this year.

  1. I can be a much more hands on mom (and wife).

Okay, so full disclosure, 2018 and 2019 were spent away from the home a lot. Once my Instagram took off, I got very excited when I was invited to events and tastings, so I’d go out REALLY often. Towards the end of 2019, I started experiencing Instagram related burnout, and became much more particular with what I said yes to. 2020 was great for me in that it forced me to be home and be a more hands on mother and partner. I did most of my collaborations from home, and was able to really bond and spend quality time with the kids. Yes they drove me crazy being in close proximity 24/7, but we all really became so much closer as a family. It’ll be interesting to see which direction I go in once this pandemic is over. I’m either going to go hard as hell (think, the TikTok that goes “Club, another club, plane, no sleep, another club…”) OR I’ll find a nice balance of being social and being out and still spend tons of quality time with my family. Only time will tell.

2. Exercise is truly the best way to alleviate my anxiety.

This year, I essentially bought a home gym. I got a spin bike, downloaded the Peloton app, and bought a weighted barbell and weights. Basically, my favourite form of cardio and my favourite form of strength training. Sure, they were relatively costly purchases, but I made peace with knowing I’ll likely never step foot back in a gym. And honestly, my workouts were my saviours. I don’t know what kind of headspace I’d be in if I didn’t have endorphins and sweat.

3. Alcohol is a destructive coping mechanism.

Dw Aperol; I still love you…

In those first months of quarantine (March to May or June, let’s be real), I was having a drink almost every evening, as a reward for surviving the day. This wasn’t healthy for my body or my mind. It’s funny how when I went back to teaching face in face in September, I started having a drink only on a Friday evening or not at all. When my mind and body are occupied, I don’t feel the need to imbibe (imbibe is the weirdest word, amirite?). Generally speaking, I think it’s so much more important to confront your feelings (anxiety, fear, stress, whatever) and not gloss over them with booze.

4. I can do my job remotely.

And look like a major dork while doing it.

Never in a million years did I think I’d have to learn the technology that so many of my colleagues were already using. Google Classroom and Meet were so beyond my realm of comprehension. But I’m actually low key happy we were forced to work from home, because I *had* to learn, and guess what? The learning curve wasn’t steep at all. Turns out, if you can use Instagram to grow a following of 15,000, using Google tools to teach your classes is pretty intuitive.

5. I don’t NEED to be social.

Okay so I really LIKE being social. Not so much at work (hermit who marks whenever she’s not teaching 4 LYFE), but on weekends. Seeing friends for coffee, meals, shopping, drinks, etc. is a part of my life that I value. But I don’t NEED any of it. Sure, I miss my friends, but I’ve learned I’m an all or nothing kinda gal. You won’t catch me doing any sort of Zoom hangout ever, because it doesn’t fill the void of face to face interaction for me. In the early days of quarantine, I’d Facetime friends and family and do Zooms, but I stopped in April or May because it didn’t hit right. While I do hope I can resume semi-normal socializing at some point in 2021, I recognize that I’ll be okay if I can’t.

So there you have it; my 2020 takeaways. If you’ve read this far, many thanks and much appreciation. Cheers to 2021 – it can’t get much worse than this past year, so we’re all golden.

Absorbing the Mental Load

Forgive me if this is all over the place. So is my brain. Also, this blog won’t actually have any photos in it, so if you come here for the visuals, you should probably just press that little x at the top right of the screen right now.

I’ve been back at work full time now for about a month. During this time, Ontario has also entered the second wave of the pandemic, and cases are at an all time high. My kids are back in school as well. Truly, I savour every minute of knowing they’re at school, socializing (from a distance), and learning from a more qualified teacher than me (I’m great at teaching Shakespeare, but I can’t teach little kids to read and write). Every day we’re in school is a good day, despite the constant lingering fear that one of us will contract Covid. I mean, it’s in the schools. It could happen to us. I’ve stopped looking at that ever-growing list, because simply put, my heart can’t take it.

My first few weeks back were such a rush of excitement and exhaustion. Having been out of the building since March, it felt amazing to sit at my desk, greet my students in the morning (albeit half of them), and teach face to face. Even the afternoon virtual component of this hybrid model is fun for me. It’s crazy the types of engaging dialogues you can have with students virtually, when everyone is committed and invested.

But in the past week or two, the initial excitement has worn off, and teacher burnout has ensued. A big part of this is my students need me. I have 72 of them this semester (which is actually a small number compared to the 90 I’ve had in previous years), and they all email me with questions, requests for support, etc. I’m the one who they turn to not just for academic support, but emotional support too. I absorb their stress, burdens, and anxiety. I am their guide. And to be frank, during this time, that is entirely too much for me.

I’m really struggling to compartmentalize everyone’s emotional and physical needs. My students’. My own. My families’. Not to mention all the brands I partner with on top of all of this, which is essentially a third job beyond teaching and parenting. My brain can’t absorb this mental load, and I often wake at 5 am on the dot, panic-stricken at all I have to do that day.

So what gives?

Do I put my Instagram job on hiatus? No, because I’ve just been offered some amazing partnerships. Do I go to sleep earlier? I mean, you can’t go to sleep earlier than my already ridiculous 9 pm bedtime. I’m not really sure how to proceed without the inevitable crash. This isn’t long term sustainable. Usually I have a vacation to look forward to, but alas, that isn’t in the cards for a long time to come.

Basically I’m reaching out to all of you. Not to unload (well, okay, to unload a little), but to hear if you have any suggestions. I already practice so much self care, but it isn’t helping me stay afloat.

If you’ve made it to this part, I genuinely want to thank you for reading. Athleisure Teacher, out.

Gratitude – Pandemic Summer Edition

Hi hi hi! It’s been a minute since I last wrote a blog just for sheer pleasure, so I decided it was due time. Last week I was having the most lovely convo with a former student, and I realized “my purpose” for all of this public stuff, and it’s my passion for writing. After the conversation, I commit to writing more, in the hopes that I can one day compile all this nonsense into a memoir, or novel of some sort.

This summer has obviously been weird. Let’s just address that before I get into my spiel about how great it’s actually been regardless. At the height of the pandemic, everyone was saying, “summer 2020 is canceled,” and I was so depressed. As a teacher, my two months off are SO SO SO SO sacred. Like, I’d definitely sell my first born to ensure I can be a lady who lunches for at least 6 weeks. (Scratch that, you never read it, please don’t call CAS on me.) Anyway, I secretly mourned the loss of my summer back in April or May, so it was very surreal in mid-June when the economy started opening up, and we all realized, “WOW, we might actually get to enjoy ourselves to some extent this summer.” But, it’s obviously a smaller scale enjoyment, with many precautions and safety measures.

Despite staying local and wearing masks everywhere we go, we’ve been doing quite a bit! My kids have become accustomed to our new lives, and have been so happy 1. spending so much of the summer as a family, and 2. doing the things we didn’t do for four months, like patio dining at restaurants, as well as going into stores and seeing friends again. Seeing their smiling little faces as they get to experience some normalcy again fills me with so much joy. The things we took for granted before are now so cherished by all of us.

Liv's birthday

We enjoyed my daughter’s 8th (!!!) birthday on the patio at NextDoor, and they brought her the most indulgent chocolate sundae I’ve ever seen.

Nature Hike

My parents also bought her a Fuji Instax camera for her birthday, so we’ve been enjoying some nature walks to take some photos.

Now let’s talk travel. Obviously planes are not a thing this summer. I decided to forego my annual summer trip to NYC for a road trip to Bayfield, Ontario, population 62 (or maybe less, I dunno, it’s the smallest town ever). This was a tough one, folks. The frantic energy of NYC in the summer just calls me, and not going kind of hurts. BUT, I take comfort in knowing the city I love isn’t itself at the moment. A blogger friend of mine was there visiting and she posted stories of the empty subway, Times Square with tumbleweed rolling through, and stores and restaurants boarded up, and my heart broke. I sincerely hope the cities I love, and the world in general, can recuperate after all of this. Mentally, physically, economically, etc. It’s just all so tragic.

Anyway…Bayfield. Okay, so it’s not my fave little town and there are much cuter ones (Prince Edward County, Muskoka, Collingwood), but we decided to try something new. It’s a 2.5 hour drive, and there is one strip of restaurants and shops, but DANG the restaurants are amazing. Also, we snuck onto the private beach, and it was well worth it. No one was remotely close to us, and it was clean and quiet.

Bayfield 2

Just casually pretending I actually ruin my hair in pools.

Bayfield

The requisite blogger beach shot.

Bayfield 3

Y’all wish you had a forever work wife as amazing as mine!

July was honestly so fun and relaxing. I feel so grateful for all the little things we’ve been doing and it’s truly been the perfect balance of self-care/time to myself, and family time. August is shaping up to be amazing too. We have a little family road trip up to Ramada Jackson’s Point to celebrate my son’s 5th birthday, and we are also celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in late August, with a stay at a hotel downtown and dinner at an incredible restaurant! My philosophy this summer has been to LIVE. To be present, mindful, and soak it all in (safely), before the reality of “back to school” (whatever that will look like, let’s be real, a total sh*t show), and possibly a second wave.

Are you guys enjoying your summer and making the best of a really weird time? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Athleisure Teacha OUT.

resolveCBD Review

For those of you who have been reading my blog for the last couple of years, you know my summers are typically pretty chill. All the anxiety and stress from the 10 months of the school year completely diminishes for me, and I live my best life as a lady who lunches, while my kids go to camp. There are shopping trips to NYC. Road trips to Wine Country. Well, not this summer. Due to the pandemic, summer is looking pretty different this year, and while I’m still making the best of it, my anxiety is raging.

Enter resolveCBD.

Resolve

I reached out to this local company after a few months without CBD, as my sleep wasn’t great, and I just generally haven’t felt my best. Not only does CBD typically help with my sleep, but it also helps with pain management, something that I most definitely need right now, between achy and sore muscles, and a couple of other health issues that I don’t want to get into.

I’ve been using resolveCBD now for a couple of weeks, and it’s been amazing. I take a dropper of the tincture under my tongue about 45 minutes before bed (basically right before I meditate), and it helps me turn my brain off and prepare for rest. CBD doesn’t make you sleepy – it just makes you more even keeled and at peace. This oil has a mild peppermint flavour, and it’s much more palatable than other CBD brands I’ve tried. Since I started taking it, I’ve been falling asleep faster and waking less times in the night. For the last few months, I’ve been ruminating quite a bit for hours after a middle of the night wake up, and that isn’t happening now. I’m able to block out the external thoughts and fall back asleep relatively quickly.

Overall, I’m loving partnering with this company, because they make some amazing products, and I’m proud to support a local brand doing something to help people who struggle with pain and anxiety. Their website is www.resolvecbd.ca, and you can purchase the full spectrum CBD oil here (and even save 10% off using my code RSLVATHLEISURE!), and also get the new CBD pain cream that they just launched here. They were kind enough to gift me the pain cream too, and wow, it’s actually awesome. I was skeptical, but I put it on my sore calves after a run, and it soothed them instantly! Shipping is free on all orders, so this is really a no brainer.

XO,

Athleisure Teacher

Quarantine Coping Mechanisms

As we enter week TEN (insert mind blown emoji here) of quarantine, I thought I’d share some things I’ve been doing that have helped keep my mental health in check during this awful time. It’s no surprise that when this all began, I was not okay. I was pretty transparent about how my anxiety about the unknown was raging, I was depressed due to having my world pulled out from under me, and just generally I wasn’t handling it well. I really do feel I’ve found my stride in acceptance of this as our new normal, and I wanted to share my strategies, in the hopes of helping others.

In Ontario, a lot is re-opening after this long weekend. This does provide some comfort because the government thinks we’re ready to loosen restrictions, but because I think most people will still opt to stay home a while longer, here’s what has helped me:

1. Daily Routine

home workouts

homeschool

We’ve established a really great schedule for the last month or so. Right after breakfast, I head to the mat for my daily workout. Days I don’t exercise, I obviously don’t feel as great mentally or physically. It doesn’t necessarily even have to be high impact, but just 30 mins of low intensity exercise is great for endorphins and helps me mentally tackle the day. It also gives me the energy I need to be productive.

After my workout, we do homeschool for a couple of hours. Truthfully, this is not my favourite part of the day, but it’s so important for the kids because it gives them a sense of normalcy, and ensures they don’t fall too far behind. I’m not the most patient teacher, so I often end up typing while they dictate, but honestly, I’ve made my peace with the fact that we’re “cheating,” because I’m not trying to be at the computer all day while my daughter types one letter at a time. Shhh, don’t tell her teacher.

2.  Vitamin D

this will pass

As part of our daily schedule, we take walks outside every day after lunch. The weather in Toronto is really hit and miss, and most days have either been super cold, or rainy (worst spring ever), but on days where the sun is shining, this is my happy time. I’ve also been incorporating mantras into my daily practice to help me get through this, so seeing that someone has painted rocks with “this will pass,” and other motivating words and phrases, has kept me going a lot of the time where I’ve felt really down. To the kind soul who did this, I love you (unless it’s the neighbor I really despise…I don’t love you).

3. Music

If you follow me on Insta (@theathleisureteacher, shameless plug) and watch my stories, you’ll see I always post a “hype song of the day.” Music helps fuel me in so many ways. I listen to upbeat songs of varying genres to get excited for my workouts, stay positive, energize me, etc. Music helps a lot of people cope, and truly, there is nothing better than an impromptu dance party to get you through hard times.

4. Fueling myself with proper nutrition

healthy food

We do takeout 1-2 times a week, but otherwise we’re eating pretty healthy at home. I have been mostly plant-based for a while now, and only eat meat maybe 30% of the time max. My body craves veggies and carbs, so that’s what the majority of my diet is, and this helps to keep me satiated, and my brain and body functioning at optimal capacity. A lot of people have been baking up a storm in quarantine and finding comfort in that, but yeah, that’s not me. I do snack a lot throughout the day, but I mostly do vegan protein gummies, Greek yogurt, or a fruit for a snack. That being said, if I have a craving, I honor it, and have been indulging from time to time.

5. Staying strong for them

spring 2020

This is a biiiiiiig one for me. My kids will always be the reason I wake up daily and have purpose, drive, and motivation to keep going. I can’t wallow in bed or show my anxiety visibly, because they need me. Sometimes I find myself expressing negative thoughts about all of this in front of them, and then my daughter starts to echo them. I’m cognizant of this, so I make a concerted effort just to project strength, hope, and positivity. Lately we’re starting to realize I will likely be home with them all summer and camp won’t be an option, and although I’m selfishly shattered by this (how *will* I be a lady who lunches with kids in tow?), I’m trying to frame it like “don’t worry, we’ll still have a fun summer.” I know there are many people who will have to continue to work from home all summer with their kids there, and I guess I should just be grateful as a teacher that I likely won’t have to work and will have the time with them.

6. Distance visits

This is a new one for us. As regulations start to ease, I’ve started seeing friends again from 6 feet away. As sad as it is, not being able to hug them or get close, this fills my cup in ways a Zoom chat never will. I also see my parents from a distance, and was so grateful just to be able to sit outside with them last weekend on Mother’s Day. Social distancing is something that will be present in our lives for a long time I think, so getting accustomed to it now is best for me personally. I wasn’t really up for it until last weekend, but now I feel great about it, as long as precautions are met.

Local Businesses I LOVE

With the economy suffering so much from this pandemic, I thought it was a good time to share some of the small, local businesses I support and love. I’ll keep this one concise, and just get started.

  1. DIY Dye

DIY Dye

Maxine is making the CUTEST custom tie dye pieces on Instagram. And did you even survive Quarantine ’20 if you didn’t wear a tie dye hoodie and/or sweatpants daily? I know I didn’t. Go to her order form on her Instagram and get you a vibrant, gorgeous piece. You won’t regret it!

2. KyKy Kookies

EasterKOOKIE_1024x1024@2xGuys, I can’t even with her cookies. They are the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen, and they’re packed with sweetness and flavour. Order on her website (linked in heading); she ships nationwide in Canada and does local pick up in Etobicoke or Vaughan.

3. Yumi Organics

2017-06-30-041_2_600x

Based out of Montreal, this overnight oats company was created by nutritionists and is an amazing start to your day. They’re in ready-made packs; all you have to do is pour them into a glass jar, fill with your choice of milk (I use unsweetened vanilla oat milk), and leave overnight. Nothing makes me happier than waking up knowing my breakfast is ready! They’re delicious, organic, and keep me full for 4-5 hours, so honestly it’s a no-brainer for me. I do have a coupon code for this product too! It’s THEATHLEISURETEACHER15, and it’ll get you 15% off your order. Also, PSA, I like to top mine with cookie butter. Not the healthiest choice, but damn, it’ll change your life.

4. NextDoor Restaurant and Smash Kitchen

NextDoorsmashkitchen

If you’re in the Markham area, these two sister restaurants are still doing takeout and delivery, and are two of the most delicious spots I’ve been to. Both of them are doing weekly family platters (pre-orders recommended), and offering 15% off on pick up orders.

5. Herbaland Gummies

herbaland

This Vancouver-based company makes the best gummy vitamins and clean candy (low sugar, high fibre and HELLA delicious)! I’ve been buying their protein gummies forever as my 3 pm snack, but I recently started taking their supplements (love their vegan calcium, daily multi, and sleep aid), and buying their candy as well. They currently have an initiative to donate immunity gummies to healthcare workers during the crisis, and honestly, I feel so honoured and proud to associate with a company doing such good things right now. Use my code THEATHLEISURETEACHER15 for 15% off their website (linked in heading).

6. Sorry I’ve Got Plants

soba_blue_540x

I love this vegan meal delivery service. Their meal kits are low-waste, easy to make, nourishing, and incredibly delicious. Every week their menus change, and you can choose to order 2, 3, or 4 meals per week. Each meal feeds 2, and it’s really cost effective when you do the math. The produce is super fresh, and they come up with the most creative dishes. I highly recommend!