Ideas, inspiration & resources for creatives, writers, & entrepreneurs

I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK

I spend at least an hour every. single. day. sitting at my laptop writing. But many days it’s way more than that. Sometimes I’ll write the whole day and into the night.

vicki writing 2 vicki writing

For as long as I can remember I have always desired to write a book. I never knew what I would write about, I just knew that I would write it. I wanted a book that I wrote to go down in history, even if it was just my life history. I wanted that book (or many books) to be there at some point in time as a part of my reality. I wanted to be a writer.

Sometimes my desire to write took a backseat to whatever else was going on in my life. But the desire always remained there somewhere and manifested itself in different ways.

When I was really little I used to write a journal that I entitled “Dear Mali”. In it I wrote about my life like any young girls does, talking about mom and dad and my siblings, about my favorite colors and songs and dreams. Mali was a make-believe African girl the same age as me. I used to write what her life was like too. She would reply to my letters talking about my life, telling me about hers. Since I didn’t really know what Africa was like I made up her life purely from my imagination. Her life was a lot harder than mine, but as her make-believe best friend I helped her get through tough times. I kept writing this way for an entire year, filling two hardcover journals and 2 notebooks.

As I got older I stopped journaling for a few years, but picked it up again around the age of 14 when I had my first boyfriend. I remember being so full of emotions and questions and excitement, all of which I felt I couldn’t share with anyone, so I started writing again. The journals from this stage in my life are a bit of an embarrassment for me to read now. Over 200 pages writing about boys and obsessing over all the minute details.

In high school my journals started to develop into something deeper. I started to really question myself and my values, the things I had been taught, and what I wanted to do with my life. I started to write about things like my struggle with religion, about self discovery and how I could be my best self, about my aching desire to travel and get out of that small town, about my lingering pain over my mother leaving home when I was nine, and my own beliefs and ideas about what love really is and if people are even meant to be monogamous.

Following high school, I moved to Kenya for a year and every day filled pages and pages with my thoughts on the world around me. Africa was a mind-blowing, life-changing experience for me and writing helped me to manage all my emotions and confusion and even anger. By the time I came home, I had 3 very thick notebooks filled with notes from my brain.

Still Writing book surpriseBut something happened following Africa, perhaps it was just life, school, work, and the daily grind, but I stopped writing for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I did A LOT of writing in university, but no personal writing. Once I graduated, I remember sitting with Oscar one morning, thinking about “what to do” with my life and I told him, “I feel, like I’ve always felt, that I need to write a book. Not just pages in my journal and not just an article in a magazine and not just some ramblings on a blog. I feel like I need to write a book.” But when Oscar asked me about this desire of mine I soon realized I don’t even know what I would write about. At that point I didn’t think I even had anything of value to share that could fill that many pages.

My husband, believing that I was always meant to be a writer since we first started dating, has always encouraged me to pursue a life of words, but self doubt and fear and perhaps laziness and a little lack of commitment have always kept writing as a hobby. He still encourages me to this day. In fact last month he surprised me with this book (image to the left), Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life. I came home to find it delivered to our door.

For about a year in crossing over form 2012 into 2013 I got back into writing very seriously, making most of my money freelance, but like most things in my life…I got bored with it. The writing that paid well was writing I didn’t really want to do. And now for the past year, but mostly in the last six months I’ve been so busy with my new job as Creative Director at Compendium that my writing has taken a backseat again. I still write at least an hour a day, but it’s mostly for this blog or a few freelance gigs that I actually still enjoy.

But I still always think about writing a book. For someone who has spent so much of her life writing, you’d think I’d come up with something substantial at some point. Maybe not. Maybe writing has just been a part of my life as much as it needed to be.

I still don’t know what I would write about, but I want to write a book before I die.


MY THIRD TRIMESTER (WEEKS 27-30)

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetSo I decided to split my third trimester post up into 4 separate posts because I am just learning so much and have been developing so many new ideas and perspectives that I felt the need to start writing now.

I have been powering through some great pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding books, articles, and videos as well as talking with some really inspiring, intelligent, and helpful women – my sisters, doulas, lactation consultants (yes this exists!), and prenatal nutrition and fitness instructors.

I can’t wait to share more of this wonderful experience and continue to hear and learn from others.

So here we go, weeks 27 -30:

 

WEEK TWENTY-SEVEN
Baby:
Sofia my love, you are sleeping and waking at regular intervals now, which I just love because I know when to expect your dance moves. Ah yes, your dance moves. I have also started calling you Tiny Dancer because it really feels like you are shakin what your mama gave ya in there! I hope this nickname sticks cuz I think its just the damn cutest.

Mama:
We’ve been in San Francisco this week for Oscar’s annual company meeting. I’ve been visiting art galleries, shopping with my mother-in-law, writing on my laptop in cute cafes, and just exploring San Fran a lot on my own.

I had a really interesting talk about childbirth one night at dinner with some of Oscar’s colleagues from Holland. It was wonderful to talk with men so engaged in the topic of childbirth. They talked about how their wives all had home births and that this was not only the norm in Holland but the preferred method by most Dutch parents. In fact, Holland has the highest percentage of natural home births in the western world. The Dutch attitude is that pregnancy is not an illness or an injury and that home births are normal, safe and better for the mother and child in many ways. One gentleman talked about his wife’s 3 births all being very serene and gentle, a “loving and private family moment in our own home”. And after all I have read, listened to, and learned in these past 8 -10 months of intentionally gaining more knowledge on childbirth, I’d have to agree with the Dutch. I see no need to medicalize birth unless there are actual medical complications. A gentler, more natural birth is better for both baby and mama in so many ways. I could go on and on about the benefits, but rather I’ll just tell you to read this.

I also think it was really good for Oscar to hear opinions like this from men that he respects. He’s never even considered a birth outside of a hospital, but I think now he is starting to understand what I’ve been telling him – that my body is meant to birth this baby and perhaps we don’t need cold linoleum floors, fluorescent lights, beeping machines, IVs, and strangers in order to bring her into this world. Nor do we necessarily need a doctor either to “deliver” her for us. I can birth her myself, of course with the assistance of a trained midwife, in the comfort of our own home, surrounded by the only people we actually want to be there.

Sadly a home birth is just not an option for us anyway as we couldn’t get a midwife. They are in high demand in Manitoba and we have been on a waiting list since I was only 4 weeks pregnant. We are still talking to our doctor about our other options to see how close to our ideal birth plan we can actually have this baby, even if at a hospital.

IMG_6581 Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

WEEK TWENTY-EIGHT
Baby:
Hey smarty pants. This week you have started developing billions of neurons in your brain and with more brain tissue developing, your brain is very active now. I would just die to know what you think about or how you think at all.

Mama:
Arrived home to a house with no water and had to stay at my sister’s this week. Cold weather and freezing water caused my water pipes to crack. It could have been much, much worse so I’m grateful for the minimal damage. But I can’t wait to get back in my house and in my own bed. It’s been over a month and a half outside of my own home.

I was feeling enormous this week and with that a bit of discomfort. Headed back to the gym at the end of the week which is already helping a lot to making me feel more comfortable and energized.

Oh and my belly button finally popped out! You can see it in this photo below. I don’t know why, but this had me very excited.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

WEEK TWENTY-NINE
Baby:
Hey Sofie doll. So I figured out why I have been madly craving cold milk-like drinks lately. Supposedly your head is growing bigger to make room for your developing brain and you are soaking up all my calcium! Doc says 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited into your hardening skeleton each day. Soak it up baby. I’ll just keep downing kefir and almond milk for you.

Mama:
Random stuff from this week:

  • I got a new exercise program and nutrition plan from a prenatal nutrition and fitness instructor. I have been doing this all week and am surprised at how challenging it is. But I love a challenge and I loooove the way I am feeling.
  • I learned that Mexico has the highest rate of Caesarean surgeries in Latin America hovering around 70%!! Why the heck are we cutting babies out of women’s bodies at this crazy rate!? Women’s bodies, and all female mammals are built to birth their babies! I understand there are medical circumstances where caesareans are definitely necessary and sometimes a case of life or death. But I refuse to believe this is the case 70% of the time. To be honest, I am not surprised by this statistic though. Saddened by it, but not surprised. When I was in Mexico nearly every woman would ask me, “How are giving birth?” implying that there is more than one way. Some would even outright ask me, “So will you have caesarian or try it the natural way?” So different than the way the Dutch responded. When they found out I was having my baby ina hospital, many were like, “Oh no, why? Is something wrong with your pregnancy?” Personally I feel so honored to be a pregnant woman right now. I am so excited to experience giving birth to a human being. As painful as it may be, as much as it may change my body – neither of those things are anything compared to this remarkable gift I have been given. I would only have a caesarian if it were absolutely medically necessary. Why would I want to give up on this most incredible life experience?
  • Watched (and loved) this:
  • Still practicing the meditation and breathing techniques I learned from the Hypnobirthing book I read a couple weeks ago. I wish I had more time before Sofia will be ready to enter the world so I can continue to practice this. It so happens that I am not very good at quieting my mind. As soon as I begin to meditate, my mind begins to race. :(
  • Did a lil photoshoot in my home with my talented photographer sister April. Here are a few sneak peak photos (more to come):

IMG_6668 140202VMMat0024Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset 140202VMMat0144

She is so freakin talented right?! Just lovely shots. Looking at these photos reminds me of how different I used to perceive pregnancy. Earlier in my life I feared what pregnancy would do to my body – the weight gain, the stretch marks, the widening of the hips etc… But I just simply don’t think like that anymore. I just couldn’t. This is so amazing and I feel so lucky to be a woman. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I don’t think I have ever loved my body more than I do right now, even with the extra 20 pounds. I love my full breasts, my giant belly, and all the curves. And obviously I’m not ashamed of a little nudity either, especially when so tastefully done.

WEEK THIRTY
Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetBaby:
You are about 3 whole pounds now! I’ve gained 20 in total so far. Average baby at 30 weeks is about 15.5 inches long, but our doctor says you are very tall. In fact she thinks you are 17 inches long. You can be tall. You can be short. Just be whatever you are and I’ll love you my dear.

Mama:
So I finished reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I absolutely loooved this book! It has opened my eyes to many truths about what it means to birth a child and how so very capable I am to do this and how wonderful this whole experience is and will be. I just feel so incredibly blessed to be a woman right now. A pregnant woman. I would definitely recommend this book to any expectant mom. In fact, it would be good if the whole Western world read this and made changes in the way we think about and treat the entire birth process.

I took this selfie above to send to my husband who asks to see pics of my belly from time to time when he’s away on work trips (he’s just too cute). But look at that happy round mama! I am so in love with being pregnant. I love having her inside me. She reminds me everyday to be a better person.


RE-THINKING FOOD

I have been very surprised with all the mental changes and shifts that have happened to me since I got pregnant. One of those thought shifts has been in the way I think about food. It seems that all my decisions regarding food have become a lot more serious and a lot more about real health as opposed to just keeping weight off.

I used to think, “What’s one diet soda?” or “Diet products are always better than their full fat, high calorie counterparts” or “Organic food is just too expensive.” But more and more I have been feeling like I just can’t afford to think like this anymore. My health and the health of my family is just too important. It’s not just me I am making decisions for. Oscar eats the food that I make and my baby is receiving everything I put into my body and when she is born she will also eat the food I set before us. It’s my responsibility to ensure we are getting healthy, nutritious foods in our bodies. So lately, I’ve been thinking a lot more like this:

chemicalIt’s not just since I got pregnant that my ideas about food have been changing. I’ve just been taking these ideas a lot more seriously since then. But it has been many years of learning (and relearning) what is good and not good for my body and what I really want from the food I eat (besides having it taste good). There was a time when all I really wanted from food was for it to taste good and not make me fat.

Now all I really want from food is for it to taste good and for it to actually BE good for my body.

Here are some infographics I’ve found useful in making decisions about food for myself and my family:

food water vitamins

water

organic

Over the past year we’ve made a lot of changes in our home regarding the food we eat including:

  • Don’t eat microwave popcorn! I recently bought a new hot air popcorn popper. Read why microwave popcorn is so bad for you.
  • Don’t consume aspartame (aka no more diet sodas) or sucralose (Splenda) or refined white sugar.
  • Eat more organic.
  • Eat less meat, specifically red meat. This is a harder one for my husband, as a result of growing up in Mexico and just generally loving being a carnivore, has a hard time considering any meal complete without a large portion of meat.
  • Eat more locally grown/raised foods. We recently registered for two awesome local farmer food delivery programs. The first one, Fresh Option, delivers organic, locally grown produce right to our door. The other, Harvest Moon, supplies organic, humanely raised meat also from local farmers.
  • Replace (most) dairy milk with almond milk. I say most because I eat a lot of kefir and greek yogurt which I just love and don’t want to give up.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast every morning. I used to just have coffee and toast or just coffee. Oscar used to eat fried eggs with deli meat every morning. Now, and for a long time, we eat either egg white and veggie omelettes or oatmeal with fruit and nuts.
  • Drink warm lemon water every morning.
  • Eat all natural peanut and almond butters.
  • Eat raw honey. I love honey. I eat peanut butter and honey on toast on a weekly basis. About a year ago I switched all my processed honey over to raw honey after reading articles like this one describing the shocking differences between processed honey and raw honey.
  • Eat raw organic coconut oil everyday. Why? Read this.
  • Eat raw veggies everyday. Between breakfast and lunch our go-to snack is raw veggies (carrots, celery, snap peas, bell peppers, cucumbers, broccoli etc…) and a homemade veggie dip made from greek yogurt and Epicure seasoning. I usually pre-chop 3 or 4 containers of vegetables at the beginning of the week so that we can just grab them and eat them whenever hunger strikes.
  • Don’t eat processed deli meats. This will be a hard one for us to get used to that we’ve just recently started because we like to eat a lot of sandwiches. Instead, we plan on making our own pork and beef roasts or cook chicken and thinly slice these meats for sandwiches.

Of course we still eat greasy tacos when we’re in Mexico or indulge in chips and pop every once in awhile and during the holidays we don’t hold back on all the delicious baked goods. But these things are not part of our every daily life.

I don’t really believe in being overly strict because the truth is that food is a pleasure and when you are too strict about it, you strip it of the pleasure point. But I do believe in making healthy lifestyle choices and eating to nourish and give energy to your body. It can be hard (I will always love fizzy drinks, candy, and chocolate), but as long as the unhealthy things remain a rare treat to be indulged in once in awhile and not what you eat for nourishment on a daily basis, I think you’re on the right track to looking and feeling great and giving your body what it needs.

We have found what works for us, but as I said earlier, eating and living healthy is a case of always learning (and relearning).


LIFE LATELY…

Being pregnant. Sometimes I feel like just being pregnant is something I do everyday. Not something that is being done to me. Does that make any sense? It’s just that no matter what I am doing, whether working, shopping, exercising etc…my mind always drifts back to this little girl inside me. I have a hard time concentrating because all I can think is “oh my god! In 2 short months I am going to be a mother with a daughter!” So I find myself spend most of my free time reading articles and books on pregnancy and parenting. I’ve become quite a hermit, preferring to just stay in and just be with her (even though technically she is with me wherever I go) and read or prepare my home for her arrival.
140215VMMat0040 140215VMMat0142
(Photos by April Plett Photography)

Playing around with different manicure styles – short nails, long nails, french manis, backwards manis, press ons and nail stickers. I never used to like long nails, but I was really loving this pink mani and the nails are a lot longer than I’m used to.
MANNY

Dealing with cracked water pipes from freezing temperatures and the resulting holes in my walls and the mess left by the workers. Oh and then our sewer backed up in our basement. :(
IMG_6622 IMG_6605 IMG_6604 IMG_6592

Enjoying a relaxing night with Oscar at Winnipeg’s newest boutique hotel, Mere. Our water had to be turned off for 48 hours due to the construction going on so our insurance company paid for us to stay at a hotel. So of course we chose one of the nicest ones our tiny city has to offer. The bathrobes felt like towels for newborns – sooo soft. We also had a lovely dinner (courtesy of our insurance company as well) at another new place, Cibo Waterfront Cafe. We ordered mouthwatering antipasto and I craved wine all night long.
Processed with VSCOcam with t2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with t2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with t2 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with t2 preset greg gallinger cibo waterfront

Shoveling too much snow day after day, but happy to see these two love birds enjoying themselves.
Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset IMG_6108

Eating like a bird again when Oscar is away on work. With no one to cook for, I end up eating an almost completely raw vegan diet at home.
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset fruit snack

Admiring my husband. Two (of many) things I love about this man: His brains and his bod. Here he is teaching Masters and PhD students in a University lab. I didn’t understand a word of the all the scientific jargon, but it sure was sexy watching him share his knowledge. And here he is pushing himself at the gym. He used to say he works out to stay fit for me. Now he says he does it to stay fit for our daughter. I’ve been replaced.
IMG_6003 IMG_6312

Preparing for the arrival of our daughter – painting her nursery and building her furniture. Look how tiny my baby bump is in that photo! I am easily 3 or 4 times that size now. She grew so fast!
Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset oscr

Braving the cold for a winter-y photoshoot with our friend Ryan.
IMG_6316 IMG_6317 Oscar Vicki snowy bench 2 edit

Loving my new vanity table and mirrors. No more standing to do my hair and makeup.
Processed with VSCOcam with m6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Stretching out my very pregnant body at the gym, in the early a.m. when no one is around.
Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Displaying my jewelry on this lovely, handmade jewelry stand that my sister made me for Christmas. It is so pretty, but it is also really sentimental. The plates she made this from are from my mom’s old china set. She inherited the china but decided to give all her sisters a part of it. I just love it! She is so talented and creative. She just recently started her own company, Little Feather Designs, sewing the most adorable children’s clothes and blankets.
Processed with VSCOcam with m6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with m6 preset


DISCLAIMER

I believe in giving credit where credit is due. So if at any time you see work that is improperly credited on my site, please let me know and I'll be happy to update the information right away! Similarly, everything you see and read here, unless otherwise noted, was created by me and should be credited appropriately if shared somewhere else on the web. Thank you!