My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

Better than NyQuil

So on my stay-in-bed-fight-the-killer-cold weekend, I really craved something soothing. I made myself a drink that a friend taught me in university. I’ll give you the basic recipe (which I used) and then a bunch of extras you can add as you like. This drink is like a virgin hot toddy and it makes me sleepy so time to get started!


To a large mug add two TBSPs of honey, two TBSPs of lemon juice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and enough boiling water to make a full mug. You can change the amounts of every ingredient to make this drink suit your taste buds. Stir vigorously and enjoy! Simple and soothing in the time it takes to boil water.


There are any number of extras you can add to change up this drink. Here are a few suggestions:

  • maple syrup (instead of honey)
  • tea (go for decaf if you need some extra sleep)
  • ginger
  • orange juice
  • sriracha (I haven’t tried this but some people swear by it)
  • booze (not By Design, but sometimes a shot of whisky goes a long way)

Try this the next time you are under the weather. It helped me sleep and calmed my cough so I was able to forgo pharmaceuticals for this little cold. If you have your own recipe, drop me a message below and I’ll post your recipe too.


Sick of being sick


The stuffy nose, the scratchy throat, the fatigue, can it be that time of year already?


Don’t make fun of me. This may be the saddest selfie I’ve ever taken.

So I moved to a new school this September and with a new school comes a new crop of kiddies rife with every disease imaginable. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but they are germy, so, so germy. Unfortunately my immune system had its teeth kicked in this week and by Friday I began to suspect I had fallen prey to the common cold.

There are tons of cold remedies (natural or chemical) but in my experience, the best remedy is always rest. A cold is the body’s way of getting you to slow down while it cleans up your immune system. If you’ll excuse me now, I hear my pillow calling.

My Muscles Hurt and I Love It

My Muscles Hurt and I Love It.

One of the great things about being on WordPress is that I get to follow and read other people’s inspiring stories. When I’m feeling down or having trouble getting motivated, seeing someone else do well can remind me to appreciate how far I’ve come. It makes me feel less alone. This post is from one of my favourite blogs The War in My Brain. Here she shares a simple story about her new-found love of exercise. I hope this blog (and everything I post) serves the same purpose for you. I hope it makes you laugh or smile and keeps you moving forward in your journey. Much love to you all.

I Am Who I Choose to Become

I Am Who I Choose to Become.

This post really cheered me up today. I hope it does the same for you. For those of you who don’t know, I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder so I know how this person feels. I don’t want to be defined as ‘anxious’. I want to be me. My anxiety is part of who I am now but I hope it won’t be forever. I’m fighting every day to overcome it. I can’t control every part of my life but I can choose to be happy. That’s what Think by Design is all about.

Move by Design Seminar

I attended the Move By Design seminar recently and I wanted to share my experience for anyone who hasn’t attended yet. This is a class that focuses on hands-on mobility. You will be moving, stretching and learning in this class. That being said, if you choose to attend do wear comfy clothes, don’t wear shoes. Also, you don’t have to memorize everything you hear and do because you go home with a PDF of all the activities and videos of the movements so you can continue moving by design every day.

Dr. Joel lead this class and he outlined the purpose of the seminar. Essentially, we have moved away from patterns we are designed to do. Babies are born knowing how to move in healthful ways. Over time, we lose the connection to the way our body is supposed to move through work, stress, injury, and laziness. But, it’s a misconception that we have to lose that mobility with age.

As we began to stretch, he stressed that the goal is to do as much as you can the best you can. There are lots of modifications to assist everyone, regardless of experience or injury. No one is too young, old, injured, out of shape (or too anything) to participate in mobility.

No one is too experience to do this class either. I’ve been with the gym and under chiropractic care for a number of years and I still learned new things in this class. As I moved through the exercises, I heard more cracking and popping in my body than I’d ultimately like. Parts of my body sounded like Jiffy Pop, while other parts sounded like an old pencil sharpener. Yikes, I guess I’ve been a bit lax in my gym mobility.

We moved through stretches from the top of the head, right down to our feet. Dr. Joel suggested we do all of the upper body moves at our desks to keep mobile at work. I can only imagine the looks I’ll get in the English office doing these moves. Ah well, it never stopped me before. Besides, health has to rank above what people think. Maybe some of my coworkers will want to join me! This was a great review to kick my lazy butt into better mobility at the beginning of each class. Afterwards, I feel stretched out, leaner and I slept peacefully that night. I highly recommend this seminar. You could integrate these moves into many parts of the day. I know that’s what I plan to do.

September Free Class


Ok folks, the next free class is in ne week. Come try CrossFit. Bring your family, your friends, your co-workers, strangers you pull off the street, (ok, maybe not that last one, but everyone else). You’ll never know until you try how much better you can feel.

Lesson Learned

Lesson Learned.

This is an excellent message for anyone trying to Live by Design. You can’t do it all. You have to rest too! I have trouble remembering this so I reposted this blog as a reminder to us all.

Making time for play

Being an anxious person, times of change cause me stress. Even positive changes, like returning to my job or getting married, increase my anxiety.  As I prepared to return to work after a summer of working on healing my mental state, I began to experience symptoms of anxiety, (body aches, headaches, trouble sleeping, irritability, etc.) I wasn’t sure how to battle these feelings and their associated physical symptoms but frequently I felt like I needed a break.

While in Stratford with my fiancé one day, I looked into the window of a toy shop and saw a marble run kit.


When I was little I always wanted a marble run. My cousins had one and I love building the towers and then listening to the marbles clatter and swish through my creation. My parents never got me one, probably because I had toys enough toys for two or three children. However, in that moment, I suddenly wanted a marble run more than anything.

Well, I’m a grown-up. I have money. I can buy pretty much any toy I want, (very mature, I know). So I bought it and a bag of glass cat’s eye marbles. I ignored my fiancés’ puzzled look and packed my toy into the trunk of my car, feeling satisfied.

For the rest of August, every time I felt anxiety pressing down on me, I escaped to the cool dark of my basement and built my towers, just like when I was a kid.


Something about building up a structure, running the marbles through it, breaking it down and then building it up differently brings me a peace I can’t even explain.


My take home message here is that you should make time for play. It doesn’t matter what type of play, but make time, by yourself and with your family and friends. I didn’t outgrow my anxiety, although I’m working to control it. Why did I ever think I outgrew playing?

I’ve been into the belly of the whale…

…and I have returned.

London Bridal Show 2013

London Bridal Show 2013

I volunteered to join the West London CrossFit team and talk to brides about my experiences with Life by Design this weekend.

I am a bride-to-be but I am also terrified of other brides. They are just so intense…and shiny white. I can’t seem to muster the devotion other brides have to place settings and coloured place cards.

So all I had to do was hand in my ticket and walk from the door to the CrossFit booth. Could I manage that? No. I’m one of those people who always makes eye-contact. The bridal professionals descended upon me and before I knew it I had entered countless contests, (so many people have my email!) By the time I found Ben I was carrying a bag full of brochures and free-bees and munching on a tiramisu, (not by design, but heavy on the rum so thank you London Bridal Show!)

After that kerfuffle, I did have a lot of fun hanging out with the team and talking to brides about Living by Design. I’ve included a few snapshots I took of the event, (including our sexy CrossFit team!) I’ll make sure to post Life by Design’s next appearance so you can come out and visit us.

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Lunchbox Ready.

This is actually my lunchbox but I don't often use this one for work as it is too small!

This is actually my lunchbox but I don’t often use this one for work as it is too small! It is cute though!

I have had the pleasure of packing school lunches for myself starting from when I was an elementary school student and I’ll be packing them until the day I retire.  Now that I teach, I really have to think about how I eat at school. I rarely have more than a few minutes to shove some food in my belly and the staff room is a den of sweets and trans fat laden foods to share. The school cafeterias are claiming they are offering healthier lunches but most of it is still grain-based and junky, (sandwiches and pizza, just without French fries as a side option).

In anticipation of the new semester, I got out my grocery list and coupons and headed to the store to stock up on my lunchbox favourites. Here’s what I keep in the house to make lunches easier:

  • veggies, veggies, veggies, (salad is so easy to pack and cut up veggies make a good mid-morning snack)
  • fruit, (especially apples, berries and anything in season)
  • Crazins, (my favourite salad topping)
  • boneless, skinless chicken breast, (great to pre-cook and chop onto salads)
  • small cans of tuna (plain or lemon pepper to avoid mayo)
  • eggs, (for making hard-boiled eggs)
  • pepperettes
  • soup, (in the past I’ve bought a lot of soup but I’m going to try to make more soup this year to avoid the high sodium and preservative contents of the canned or boxed stuff)
  • celery and peanut butter
  • small cans of V8 low-sodium tomato juice
  • Greek yogurt, (I take it in small containers with a little honey on it, great for when I’m craving sweets)
  • unsalted, roasted almonds
  • spicy, roasted chick peas
  • organic dark chocolate
  • sesame snacks

I also carry my water bottle and a tea thermos from David’s Tea. This is the best thermos because it keeps my tea hot all day for those mornings when I don’t have even a moment to sit and sip.


My lunch habits have changed as I eat by design more and more. I used to eat granola bars…a lot…like one a day. But it’s so difficult to find them without massive amounts of sugar and corn syrup. I tried to look up recipes to make my own but most of them also contained corn syrup in large quantities. If anyone knows a decent recipe, post a link below. I still miss granola bars now and again.

Feel free to post your school lunch ideas below. That way we can get new ideas and avoid lunchbox letdown!

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