I received a Blogger’s Award Nomination

I will confess, I don’t normally do these sorts of things. Mainly because I don’t like making people feel forced to answer questions. But Discovering Your Happiness,¬†the blogger who nominated me for the Awesome Blogger Award, asked such interesting questions that I couldn’t help but wanting to answer. So thank you, Anita, for the nomination and the awesome questions that compelled me to answer ūüôā

What is the Awesome Blogger Award?

This award was created by Miss Maggie over at dreaming of Guatemala! And she says: ‚ÄúThis is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.‚ÄĚ

Rules of This Award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you & include the reason behind the award
  • Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader
  • Answer the questions your nominator gave you
  • Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers
  • Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer
  • Let your nominees know that they‚Äôve been nominated

Anita’s Questions

What part of the world are you from?

I’m originally from Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada. But for now, I call the small town of Arnprior home.

What made you start your blog?

I decided to start a blog when I went to Barbados for an extended stay in 2015. It seemed like a great way to keep family and friends up to date on what I was doing. Plus, I wanted to be able to record my experience so I could come back and read it later.

What is your favourite movie?

Hmm…..I haven’t seen it in ages, but Dead Poet’s Society, with Robin Williams.

Have you traveled, if so where?

Oh yes. I’ve been to England, The Netherlands, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Greece, France, Cayman Islands, Mexico, Honduras (Roatan Island), Curacao, and Barbados.

What is the meaning behind your blog name?

It comes from the length of time I spent in Barbados in the summer of 2015. I was there for 161 days, hence 161 Days in Paradise.

What is a fun fact about you?

I love collecting cookbooks. Which is funny, because I often just throw things together when I cook. I don’t often USE the cookbooks.

Do you believe in life after death?

Yes. Since the deaths of parents and grandma, they’ve all found ways to contact me. In fact, I blogged about it here:¬†Encountering Lost Loved Ones

What is your favourite food?

Favourite individual food…probably pizza. Favourite cuisine: anything Thai.

What do you do to calm the mind?

Lately I’ve tried a whole bunch of stuff. But listening to music seems to be the most consisitent way I have of calming my mind.

What is your proudest moment?

This is kind of tough. So I’m going to pick three. The first is the day I graduated from University. It took me a long time to get my B.A. and I even managed to do it cum Laude. The second would the day I graduated from college with my Chef Training Certificate, also with Honours. And lastly, the day I got on a plane to live in Barbados for 161 days.

My Nominations

I’m totally copping out on this. I nominate any blogger who reads my blog and feels like answering the questions I ask below. Frankly, I think anyone who takes the time to set up a blog and maintain it is AWESOME. Go you!

My Questions

  1. How long have you been blogging?
  2. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
  3. What is the best concert you’ve attended?
  4. Do you like pineapple on your pizza?
  5. Would you prefer to scuba dive or sky dive?
  6. What do you typically eat for breakfast?
  7. Do you have any pets?
  8. What is your favourite childhood memory?
  9. What is your favourite T.V. show?
  10. What is your biggest fear?

Anyway, anyone who wants to play, go to it.


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Meet one my of Hobbies: Sewing

I think I might slowly be getting myself back. Today I decided to tackle a sewing project. Even though I just bought some lovely new clothes this past weekend, I do have lots of gorgeous fabric that I have plans for. So, I taped together a pattern and started cutting pieces.


Getting started on a dress (Sunshine Dress by Patterns for Pirates)

Now, I haven’t been sewing for very long. Back in grades 7 and 8, I made a pillow and sweatshirt for Home Economics class…but I haven’t really touched a sewing machine since then. Over Christmas, I got the brilliant idea that I wanted to start making my own clothes. Let me tell you, I’m really slow at it. I don’t have a lot of space so I don’t have a great table for cutting fabric or patterns. I lean over my bed, which is horrible for my back. But working on the floor is even worse on my knees. So I slowly cut fabric and take lots of breaks. This afternoon I got the bodice mostly assembled. Mostly. I’m fighting with pinning the neckband on properly. And tomorrow I’ll fight with the arm bands. And hopefully get the skirt cut out. Maybe. We’ll see how it goes.


My in-progress Sunshine Dress

I do think it will turn out really nicely. And I will look fabulous in it.

Posted in day-to-day life, Hobbies, Show and Tell | Tagged , | 3 Comments

My Blog is 2 Years Old!

My blog,¬†161 Days in Paradise, is 2 years old today! When I started this blog, I figured only family and friends would follow it so they could see what I was doing in Barbados. I never really thought that other people would follow my blog. But I’m so glad you all decided to hop on for the ride.


Happy Birthday to my blog!

I love sharing things here. And I’m always so touched and honoured when someone tells me that something I’ve written has really spoken to them. I know lately I’ve really been focused on mental illness, but that’s only because in the course of my own struggles, I’ve found that we still need to talk about these issues more. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and all other mental illness are still so badly misunderstood.

But I am trying to not be defined by my mental illnesses. I am more than that. I’m a traveler, a music lover, a reader, a knitter, a seamstress, a hopeful grower of plants, a baker, and a cook. And I will admit, as a cook, I love that my recipe posts are my best posts.

Since recipes ARE so popular, that’s how I will end my blog’s second birthday post. I got it into my head that I wanted potato salad today. So here’s the recipe:

Recipe: Potato Salad with Feta, Black Olives, and Peas


  • handful of medium potatoes, washed but not peeled, and cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 scant tbsp of pesto (I used the stuff in the jar)
  • a few drops of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
  • 8-10 black olives, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup or so of frozen green peas, defrosted


  1. Bring the potato pieces to a boil in salted water. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes (you want the potatoes cooked through, but not mushy)
  2. Drain, and rinse the potatoes in cold water to stop cooking. Set aside to drain completely
  3. In a small bowl, combine yogurt, pesto, lemon juice. Stir to combine and then taste. Add salt and pepper as needed
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine cooked potatoes, yogurt dressing, feta, olives, and peas. Stir to combine, cover, and put in the fridge to allow flavours to blend.

Potato Salad with Feta, Black Olives, and Peas

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Picture Post: My New Clothes

In a pleasant turn of events, I was able to get all 5 items that I had put aside. I’d forgotten that the store was having a Surprise Discount sale (you put your hand in a bowl and picked a slip, with a discount of 10%-50% off your total purchase). Well, I ended up getting 30% off! So I did a bit of math, figured I had plenty of food for the week, and decided to treat myself to some fabulous clothing. Yes, I’ve been learning to sew, but I’m not very fast and now that we are slowly getting some warmer weather, I really needed some summer pieces. So, here’s a little fashion show. The pictures aren’t great but they’ll do.

Outfit 1 (shirt is a new purchase, pants are mine):


Pretty new turquoise shirt. 

Outfit 2 (all new)

I will confess to being surprised that I bought white pants. But I LOOOOOVE them. They are so comfy.


Ultimate summer outfit. Bring on the patios!


Outfit 3 (all new)



Love this shirt! It hides all the bumps!

Of course, we’re now supposed to get rain and cooler temperatures for the next few days. But I am all set for when summer truly arrives!

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Picture Post: A Day in my Life

Last night, after dinner, I watched a storm darken the sky. The clouds rolled in and I could see the rain threatening.


Storm clouds in the Arnprior sky (May 18, 2017)

As soon as I snapped that picture, I thought that I should probably close my windows. Which was hard to do, because my apartment was so hot and the breeze blowing in was so cool. But I could see the rain approaching. And I figured when it hit, it would hit hard. And I was right.


Rain hitting my balcony door

This morning I took the commuter bus into Ottawa so I could visit my 96-year old great-aunt, Audrey. She is Grandma’s older sister. And since Grandma’s death, I think Audrey and I have gotten even closer. I love that we can sit and talk about current events, politics, sports. While Audrey’s memory is sometimes a bit fuzzy, she’s really amazingly sharp. And conversations with her are a lot of fun. I spent the day with her, until it was time to head downtown to catch the commuter bus back home.

The pick-up point for the bus is right across from the¬†National War Memorial¬†on Wellington Street. Even though it was very windy, the sun was shining and thought it would be a great chance to snap a few pictures. I don’t often take pictures of my city, but today was such a pretty day, and I was so happy to be downtown, that I couldn’t resist.


National War Memorial (left) and the Chateau Laurier Hotel (right), Ottawa

The¬†National Arts Centre¬†is currently getting a major facelift, inside and out. This¬†CBC article¬†details the changes to the current building. I love going to see performances at the NAC, and even though I haven’t been to one in ages, it was thrilling to see the outside of the new building take shape.


The new National Arts Centre rises in Ottawa

Of course, the other big event going on right now is the Canadian Tulip Festival. Millions of tulips are in bloom all over the city. And they really are beautiful.


Enjoying the sun and the tulips

And on this Friday evening of the May long weekend, I am going to settle in and watch the Ottawa Senators take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. At least, I’m hoping to be able to watch the game. I was messing around with my tv antenna earlier and I broke it. I guess I don’t know my own strength. I managed to snap off a piece.


Oops…I managed to break my tv antenna

I hope you’ve all had a great day. I have. And it ¬†has been a while since I can say I had a truly GREAT day. I’m going to enjoy the feeling. And hope it carries over tomorrow when I go to treat myself to some new clothes.

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Retail Therapy and Window Shopping is Good for the Soul

Today I went out. I went out yesterday too. But yesterday was for an appointment. Today was for fun. Or rather, I made it about fun.

I had to go pick up a prescription and while I waited for it to be filled, I popped into one of my favourite stores here in Arnprior:¬†The Artful Gallery¬†(and yes, it is a Facebook page, sorry). I love the funky, unique clothing that this store sells. And the staff is lovely. A few weeks ago I tried on a t-shirt, and left very disappointed because it didn’t fit. I will admit that since all my clothing fits, I didn’t really realize that I had gained that much weight since this episode began. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Anyway, today I was taking a look at the outside sale rack, when the lovely associate (Penny, I think), popped out and asked how I was doing. I replied “fine,” and she then continued to say that she’d been worried because she could tell how disappointed I was the last time I left the store. And I will admit, I had been. Because I really wanted the t-shirt, but I just felt like a sausage in it. She told me if I had some time, she’d be glad to show me some new stock that she thought would be much more flattering on me.

Now, normally, I hate shopping for clothes. I’m short, fat, and nothing ever fits right. Well, she pulled pieces that made me feel fabulous. I spent over an hour trying on clothes. She put 5 pieces aside so that I could think about them and I will go back on Saturday and try them all on again with a better bra. While I would love to buy all five items, I don’t have $300 to spare. But, I will treat myself ¬†to a couple of items on Saturday. Because I deserve to look and feel good.


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Today I Hate Myself

Today I am filled with anger and hatred. Anger towards, and hatred of, myself.


I hate that I feel like a failure. And I’m angry at myself for believing it.

I hate feeling like I can’t function. And I’m angry at myself for not having the energy to do anything about it.

I hate that my brain lies to me. And I am angry at myself for listening to it.

I hate feeling this way. And I’m angry that I don’t know how to fix it faster.

I have been struggling the past few days.¬†My energy has been rock-bottom and the fact that I’m feeding myself is an accomplishment. Yesterday afternoon I did manage to go for a walk, and then I needed a nap. I have lots of things that I want to do (sew a dress, knit a couple of shawls, reorganize my storage room, clean my fridge, just to name a few), but honestly, they all just seem so overwhelming right now. And then I get frustrated with myself that such mundane things seem so big that there’s no way I can ever do them.

I feel like I’m in a holding pattern, as I wait for referrals to go through for the mental health programs I want to participate in. And of course, they’ll take time to help. Which frustrates me even more, because I want to be better NOW.



Posted in illnesses, Mental Health | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments