She Let Go

Hello beautiful souls…

I’m travelling this week, truly practicing the digital nomad lifestyle in preparation for my upcoming trip to Europe in a few weeks. So, haven’t had recipe testing time in a bit to share with you.

But I do have a gem that I found using my meditation app that is simply beautiful. It’s a poem that is elegantly read by John Siddique and written by Safire Rose.

Many people are feeling some intense energy lately. As we add things into our lives with open hearts and love, sometimes (oftentimes), it’s necessary to let things go. To truly love and value yourself, it is so important to lovingly let go of people, things and situations that do not align with our values. As hard as it may be.

If you are in this boat, I offer you this…to sit and reflect on. I hope it serves you as much as it does me.

 

Brooke Simmons

Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

“We are so materially well off, yet so psychologically tormented in so many low-level and shallow ways. People relinquish all responsibility, demanding that society cater to their feelings and sensibilities. People hold on to arbitrary certainties and try to enforce them on others, often violently, in the name of some made-up righteous cause. People, high on a sense of false superiority, fall into inaction and lethargy for fear of trying something worthwhile and failing at it.”  – Mark Manson

 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good LifeThe Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was just ok. I enjoyed parts of it but as a whole it didn’t land for me.

A lot of this book was funny, (if you can stomach a s**t load of swearing), and somewhat educational, it was a series of short stories…(some true, some may be true?), of examples of how f**ked up we all really are. There was some data interwoven to back it up and some of it was pretty decent learning.

Proof that we’re all f**ked up isn’t what bothered me. I just found myself thinking “oh, another story time” every time the author started in on a long drawn out story, that didn’t REALLY have to do with not giving a f**k at all. In fact, I’m not sure by the end of this, I’m any wiser on how not to give a f**k.

Perhaps that’s where the subtle part plays in.

A few parts that were valuable reading were the topics on entitlement – (called “You Are Not Special”) – a reminder that it plays out in 2 ways: “I’m awesome, give me special treatment”, or “I’m a victim, give me special treatment”, which is far more common.

The romantic love/boundaries part I also found was well done. Basically, healthy love involves boundaries, healthy rejection, and taking responsibility for their own issues and not taking on their partner’s. Entitled and unhealthy relationships is the opposite. Pretty basic, but he does a good job at summarizing it and observing how entitlement also weaves into toxic dynamics.

The rest wasn’t earth shattering, and again, not sure where the “Not Giving a F**k” comes in. There were parts where I laughed out loud, but I’m easily amused at really foul language.

If you are looking at a direct strategy on how to give way less f**ks, read The Sedona Method. If you’d like a funny and entertaining account of how effed up and complicated we all are as humans, this is the book for you.

View all my reviews

Brooke Simmons

Book Review: YOU are a Badass by Jen Sincero

“You are perfect. To think anything less is as pointless as a river thinking that it’s got too many curves or that it moves too slowly or that its rapids are too rapid. Says who? You’re on a journey with no defined beginning, middle or end. There are no wrong twists and turns. There is just being. And your job is to be as you as you can be. This is why you’re here. To shy away from who you truly are would leave the world you-less. You are the only you there is and ever will be. I repeat, you are the only you there is and ever will be. Do not deny the world its one and only chance to bask in your brilliance.”

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome LifeYou Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars.

I really enjoyed this book! I feel like the author and I could have been buds in our 20’s…I could relate to her rebellious nature. The information here wasn’t anything new per se but I really enjoyed the way it was presented and laid out. She did cover quite a few topics in this book. It was also pretty funny and overall motivating.

View all my reviews

 

my read shelf:
Brooke Simmons's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Brooke has
read 5 books toward
their goal of
18 books.
hide

 

I should really get my reading butt in gear.

Brooke Simmons

Defining Your Fears with Tim Ferriss

6.5 years ago, I read a book called the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss that quite literally changed my life. That sounds dramatic and cliche and it wasn’t like I had a real epiphany from the book. But it sparked an idea that took off, and years later I am a self employed location independent business owner (which means I could quite literally work anywhere in the world with an internet connection). So yeah… corporate sheeple job to business owner with major flexibility. That’s a life changer.

I dig Tim Ferriss.

I also dig his podcast – he is focused on productivity and habits of the worlds most interesting and successful people. Obviously, I like productivity and habits too.

A Powerful Tool

A few weeks ago, while surfing around YouTube, I saw that he had done another TED talk. (If we’re being honest, I’m kinda over the TED talk thing, but that’s another story for another day). But since it’s Tim, I decided to watch and I wasn’t disappointed.

I’m going to let you watch it yourself, but to me it was profound. It was vulnerable. It spoke to everyone – from people who suffer from mental illness, to every day people trying to get through a challenge or plan their future. And it offered a tool that we can all implement in our lives today to start breaking down and defining our fears – and consider this before setting goals.  This. Was. Powerful!

 

I hope you find as much value in this as I did.

Brooke Simmons

3 in 1 DIY Facial Toner

DIY Toner RecipeOne of the things I removed from my skin repertoire many years ago was store bought facial toner. Number one, it’s an extra step. Number two, they are often filled with icky things I’d rather not be putting on my skin…like alcohol, preservatives and other chemicals that I can’t even pronounce.

But one day, while fiddling around trying to create my own make-up setting spray, I realized my new little product could work as a great toner as well. I’ve been using it ever since and see the difference when I don’t.

The best thing about this DIY toner is that it is fully customizable to your skin and the seasons. I make it a bit differently in the winter than in the summer. It’s also totally chemical free. It’s also cheap to produce. You can also use it as a make-up setting spray AND skin refresher spray (hence the 3 in 1). I definitely take advantage of it mid day if I’m running all over the place.

You DO need to get a spray bottle for this though…trust me. I love and use Infinity Jars for my cosmetic stuff because their glass jars filter out ultraviolet light and help preserve whats in them. My go-to jar for the toner spray is their 30ml Fine Mist Spray bottle – works like a dream for this purpose.

I spray it on my skin when damp. This helps hold in moisture due to it’s ingredients.

Here is my current toner recipe. I am going to break down the benefits of the ingredients below, and also give you some variations you can try with your own skin.

3 in 1 DIY Facial Toner Recipe

In a 30ml glass bottle add:

  • 22.5ml Orange Blossom Water (easily available in the International isle of many supermarkets and health food stores).
  • 6ml Distilled water
  • 1/8 tsp Vegetable glycerin
  • 5 Drops of lavender essential oil – use a good quality EO here…I like oils from Aroma Foundry.

Shake well before use.

Ingredient Break Down:

Orange Blossom Water is super gentle for sensitive skin and has a beautiful light smell. It’s moisturizing properties and soothing effects on sunburn make it a good choice for the summer time when our skin gets more sun exposure.

Alternative: Rosewater – has anti-inflammatory properties as well as controlling excess oil.

Vegetable Glycerin is a non-negotiable ingredient in this toner. This natural triglyceride has a wonderful way of moisturizing skin and also acts as a humectant, which means it preserves and pulls in moisture. It has a sweet taste – you can eat it (but why?), and is water soluable even though it’s texture is almost oily. If you have oily skin though, don’t let this scare you…it’s small amount in this batch will help your skin, and won’t clog pores.

Lavender Essential Oil is my favourite essential oil in the whole Universe! I could smell lavender all day every day. Besides that, lavender oil on skin has soothing properties to heal and reduce irritation and redness.

Alternatives: 

Dry Skin

  • Rose
  • Chamomile
  • Neroli
  • Geranium
  • Lavender

Sensitive Skin

  • Basil
  • Rose
  • Chamomile
  • Neroli
  • Lavender

Oily Skin

  • Geranium
  • Tea Tree
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Lemongrass
  • Clary Sage
  • Bergamot

To your beautiful skin!

Brooke Simmons

Banana Lavender Muffins

 

I think when it comes to anything lavender, you either love it or hate it. I am obsessed with it. Lavender everything please. The colour. The smell. It runs in my diffuser constantly. So one time at an event, I ate something with lavender in it. And I was hooked on now baking with it.

Since we’ve had the usual long, cold grey winter here in Canada, now that the temps are starting to rise, and the sun is starting to shine again, I feel like I should bring out all of my summer things! And heck, why not get eating it again.

Lavender is one of those things where a little goes a long way. You don’t want to pile a whole big mountain in your food to have it end up tasting like a bar of French milled soap. Having a subtle hint of this flower adds a lovely, floral, bougie, maybe even slightly peppery flavouring. Especially to sweets – which sounds weird but it actually works.

I found lavender flowers in the tea section of my favourite local organic supermarket. You can also obviously use fresh from your garden if you have. And yes, this makes a lovely lavender tea as well, perfect for pre-sleeping:

Lavender flower tea

Back to these muffins, a friend of mine who is notoriously cranky about food, came over after I had made a batch of these. 3 were gobbled up in one sitting which to me confirms that they are deeeeeeelish.

Also, if you have bananas on hand but they aren’t soggy ripe like they should be for baking, try Jill’s hack here by ripening them in the oven. Works like a charm!

Print Recipe
Banana Lavender Muffins
Course Breakfast, Snacks
Cuisine Summer
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 20 Minutes
Servings
Extra Large Muffins
Ingredients
Course Breakfast, Snacks
Cuisine Summer
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 20 Minutes
Servings
Extra Large Muffins
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line or grease a muffin tin. Either a large 6-spot muffin tin, or a smaller 12-spot muffin tin.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly mix together half of a tablespoon of lavender buds and a teaspoon of sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a food processor or large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
    Banana lavender muffins - mix the dry
  5. In a separate bowl mash the over ripe bananas.
  6. Combine all of the other wet ingredients.
  7. Pulse or fold in the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
    Lavender banana muffins - stir well
  8. Divide equally amongst cups. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. When the muffins come out of the oven, sprinkle with the lavender/sugar mixture. Set on a wire rack to cool
    Lavender banana muffins cooling
Share this Recipe

Enjoy these and the taste of warmer weather!

Read With Me!

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/59043211-brooke-simmons

I’m not sure if i’ve told you this or not, but I do love a good book. I love to learn. I’m curious about a lot of things. This is where my book addiction comes into play. Now, I’m not the fastest reader on the planet. I’m not one of those people who can polish off a book in an afternoon. Some books I read faster than others – especially books I can’t put down which become my all time favourites like this one, this one and this one.

Over on Goodreads (my profile is here, let’s be friends), I have set a goal for myself to read 18 books in 2017. (I’m on #5). I’ve decided to start posting my book reviews here. Bare with me…this isn’t something that comes naturally. The first one will be a little thin. But hopefully I will get better at it.

Have you set a reading goal for this year? Have any book selections? I’d love to hear them.

Welcome, Goober!

About a month ago, we added a new member to our family. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve been bombarded with pictures and videos of our new little adorable dirt taxi. I introduce (duh da da dahhhhh)….Goober:

 

Goober was a rescue. It’s clear he had a home, likely with children based on his reaction to them (he loves them on TV and in person), and I would bet someone in his family owned a diesel truck. No one claimed him despite many, many efforts for a long time. He was alone in a lonely shelter, that also doubled as a fire hall in the middle of nowhere. It makes me sad to think about it actually.

Goober is my third lifetime rescue, and after a few experiences, I would honestly not do anything else. They may come with a small amount of baggage, but they love hard and are very appreciative of a warm, snuggly home. After casually looking at the PetFinder ads for several months, I knew Goober was meant to be ours when I stumbled upon his ad. I felt the same way when I found Charles:

Charles the Rescue Dog
Charles was an older dog we rescued and he passed away in 2014.

 

If you are considering your next fur-family member (of any sort) I would definitely urge you to start with considering a rescue. They are often wayyyyy less inexpensive than “buying” a dog, usually have a vet check done (not in Goober’s case, but I was ok with that to get him out of there), and if you are willing to put some time and effort into basic training, make amazing family companions. PetFinder is a great place to start.

Love from Goober…and

 

Boundaries and Difficult People

Boundaries and Difficult People

Recently, I’ve had a few instances in my life, that (in my head) go like this:

Me: Puts up a fence to protect time/space/work/family/etc. etc..

Random Person: Acting kerfuffled, starts up a bulldozer and immediately bulldozes the fence down.

Me: Picks up lumber, resurrects fence.

Random Person: Throws a temper tantrum and fires up their bulldozer again and demolishes the fence.

Ok, it’s dramatic, but it’s a funny scene in my head and really a metaphor for what some people do with other people’s boundaries.

Essentially, boundaries are the roped off areas in various facets of our lives, or distances we set to protect our well being. They are not walls. You are not blocking anyone or yourself.

You are simply stating, “please don’t step on the grass”.

Boundaries are as unique as we are. When communicated clearly, they teach people how to treat us, and how we expect to be treated. They protect our time, energy and our lives.

My fiercest boundary right now is surrounding my time. It’s a daily issue as I have multiple balls in the air every day. I have to make time to be a mom, a lover, a collaborator, a friend, a healthy person, a fur-child mama, someone who has enough sleep (…or else cray cray), a business owner, a client partner, a creator, a sales person and etc. etc.  Also – if I don’t get unstructured free time away from my laptop and phone, my creativity shits the bed – so add in “nothing time”.

You get it. You are busy too.

So basically, time is very, very important to me.

I feel like communicating a boundary clearly to other people (and even ourselves) from the get go is the easiest, (but not always possible) solution. At home for my teen, I set out a list of behaviours that won’t be tolerated without serious risk of losing privileges. At work, I set out some clear guidelines in a FAQ document and communications guidelines for my clients.

When a boundary has been crossed without the pre-communication, sometimes its best to gently let the person know. People don’t know what they don’t know. Reasonable people will totally respect your wishes without a second thought and they probably didn’t mean to overstep on purpose.

Difficult people may put up a fight.

Or they may pull a guilt trip, or throw a reverse psychology nunchuck at your head. Sometimes they will punish you in silent ways. Difficult people may also apologize when they’ve crossed the line, but continue fire up the bulldozer over and over again.

Dealing With Bulldozer Drivers

My first course of action with bulldozer drivers is distance. They get less of my time, energy and resources. This is not coming from a bitter place, but of a place of efficiency and self care. My life needs to happen, and drama and bulldozed boundaries tend to fuck up my day and could jeopardize my work.  Sometimes I let them back in little by little and give them small pieces. If it’s repetitive, it’s time for a good ol’ 5 steps back, and an unemotional evaluation of the relationship. Is it time to peacefully end? It may be. Sometimes people just won’t care. No matter how much we have faith that they will. And that is something that needs to be looked at, because continually feeling like your boundaries are disrespected will get exhausting.

Other times it’s impossible to end a relationship, at least immediately, and this is where some real tenacity and loyalty to yourself plays a big role. My suggestion is to not stir the pot, but also assert yourself where you need to. And also remember you may need extra energy when dealing with certain people or situations…so be kind to yourself.

Setting Boundaries

Boundaries that are clearly communicated to other people should not be threatening or manipulative.

“If you don’t to X then Y will happen to you” or, “if you don’t conform to my demands then I’m not going to help you with X”. Those two statements have nothing to do with boundaries and everything to do with control. The boundary differs by saying “I really want to help you, but you aren’t really respecting me (my time/my energy/my home/my love) right now”.

If we’re going to be honest here, then I need to say that I have also inadvertently stepped on other people’s boundaries. Being late is one that comes to mind.  While sometimes unavoidable, it does send the message that my time is more important than yours. It sucks to wait for people…I understand. I’m aiming for better.

I’m aiming to be more self aware and curious as to how my behaviour could be affecting other people’s boundaries.

Creating boundaries is not the most difficult thing to do, it’s enforcing them and having to have conversations that could bring up emotions in yourself or others that is tricky. But it’s something that is so needed to maintain a healthy, busy, abundant life.

I have some questions for you to ponder:

Where are you feeling that boundaries need to be made in your life?

Where are you feeling that you may be pushing other people’s boundaries?
Brooke Simmons Blog 31 Ways to Sunday