baking · books · lifestyle · Vintage Lifestyle

Christmas Baking & Gifts

Hello everyone:

I wanted to share with you all some photos of the baking I did for Christmas as well as some of the gifts I received from my family.  I also bought myself some gifts with the money I was gifted from my family.  I am not a big spender so buying myself some housewares was a treat and many of the purchases were items I had my eye on for years.

Firstly, I will start with some of the baking I did.  My husband and I, for the past two years, have decided to opt out of the Christmas rat race.  In doing this, I decided on primarily homemade gifts for our family members.  I made the cookies shown below, as well as soup and chocolate bark for my family members.  This will be a tradition I continue to do as it is not only heartfelt, but it a big part of my values to eschew the modern consumerism of this holiday.  This has been a big change for me during this time, but choosing to purchase and gift more consciously is very important to me.

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Mince pies and mince pinwheels made with the leftover pastry
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Chocolate dipped shortbreads
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Molasse crinkles, thumbprint cookies, and earl grey sugar cookies

Below are some of the gifts I purchased for myself or are from my family members.  I am very fortunate to have been able to purchase or be gifted these items and I hope you find them as beautiful as I do.  My mother also gifted me a new electric blanket as my previous one died (probably from all the love and use).

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A beautiful rose doiley from Wheaton’s (the cake stand was previously gifted to me from my sister-in-law)
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I am a big fan of Susan Branch’s blog and artwork so I decided to order the newest edition of her first cookbook.

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Quilted star placemat from Wheaton’s (tea set previously gifted to me from my Husband)  I had been longing for these placemats for years.
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This is a condensed version of Mrs. Beeton’s original household management.  As a lover of all things domestic and Victorian, I was glad to find a copy of this book for a good price and look forward to trying some of the recipes.
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From my Husband who clearly knows my love of Wuthering Heights
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Brooch made by my sister-in-law.  Her Embroidery Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TheStitchingKitty

Thank you for having a look at my blog.  A lot of changes are coming and I hope you come back soon!

Sincerely,

Jacqueline

history · lifestyle · religion · Uncategorized

Living our calling

This may come out as word vomit, but I have been pondering a topic ever since I found the documentaries on nuns I spoke about last time.  It has taken me this long to write, so bear with me.

Something annoyed me when watching these documentaries – the comments.

Now I know that we live in a world where everyone is spewing out their thoughts and feelings all over the place.  We now know how all our neighbours feel about Trump, gay rights, and we all know what we ate for dinner.  So it shouldn’t have annoyed me as much as it did, but I have been annoyed for weeks.

Most of the comments went something like this:  “their beliefs are stupid”, “they should be doing more with their lives instead of sitting inside praying all day”, or “they are wasting their lives”.

You catch the drift.

But the thing is – does it really matter what these nuns are doing?  The solitude, the prayer and communion with their god?  People have been doing this for thousands of years or more.  Many some people may have thought it was stupid even then, thousands of years ago, but I suppose we didn’t have the internet to tell us so.

We as a society, especially in the Western world, have been taught a set of beliefs that we are to live our lives by.  We all know them.  But these ladies aren’t getting married, aren’t having children.  They are praying.  They are taking care of each other.  They are learning about themselves and about the god they took vows to serve.

But we need to look at the bigger picture – this isn’t just about the nuns.  It’s about conforming to the standard mould we have been given.  Why are we as a culture so concerned about the lives of others?  I am not saying I am blameless.  I have definitely shared my opinions on things others were doing that I believed to be stupid or useless.  But is anything useless?  If you receive a calling in life, why not take it?  Why not use every bit of your energy to work on that thing?

Most of the humans I know are unhappy because they believe they need to be doing the opposite of what brings them joy.  And they then point out all the things wrong with the people doing things they love.  Lack of money, specifically.

In my opinion, these women – these nuns, they are brave.  They have stripped themselves from all possessions, from all pacifiers.  They sit in prayer and contemplation for hours every day.  They probably have seen the darkest places of their souls.  They can be who they are.  No makeup, no frills, no outside rules of conformity.

Perhaps we are to take a lesson from them.  Let’s strip away the superfluous in our lives and decide to live the life we want.  To play by our own rules.  To stop letting these invisible guidelines dictate who we are.  No one is you, no one can live your life for you.

And to those who leave silly comments on nun documentaries, maybe you could be doing better things with your time. 😉

Thanks for reading.

Jacqueline

lifestyle · minimalism · self-help · Uncategorized

The Measure of Success

I want to continue being crazy; living my life the way I dream it, and not the way other people want it to be.

-Paulo Coelho

Five years ago, I thought I had made it.  I graduated from college.  I was 21 years old and engaged.  I moved from a small town to a small city.  I had a term position at a large law firm as a legal assistant.  I remember taking the ferry to work the first day, and my building came into view.  It was a picture of the epitome of success.  Men in suits, women in heels, pressing the button to go up the elevator on a double digit floor.  It smelled like prestige.

Two weeks in, I knew this isn’t where I wanted to be, but I had to be here, you know, for the money.  And everyone else told me I was successful, so I should be happy, right?  I had a great opportunity.  This was supposed to be success.

That job ended.  I got another.  I left that job because I went home crying more times than not.  There was a lot of pressure.  I didn’t fit in.  I sewed up my cardigans when they ripped because I couldn’t afford a new one.  I pretended I had more than I did.  I had created a false self to survive.  But I was successful.  I should have been happy.

I got another job.  This job was busier than both of the other jobs combined.  I needed help and management didn’t listen.  I started having panic attacks in the toilets at work.  I started waking up in the middle of the night, worrying about the next day at work.  Wondering if I had forgotten to do something.  I gained more weight.  I started having health issues.  I created another pretend me to survive.  But I should have been happy. I was successful.  I worked for a big accounting firm now.

I left that job one day with two weeks notice and the next week I had another job.  I started as a temp, making next to no money, doing odds and ends.  I worked for the government now.  People were sure to tell me I made it.  I got a term, and then another.  I made more money.  My friends made comments about it, my parents were so happy.  I still work there now, but the thing is, the story has never changed.  Anxiety, panic, overworking.  Crying almost every day.  But I am successful – because other people decided I am.

The point of this tale is to say that societal definitions of success aren’t necessarily true.  Climbing the economic latter has very little to do with happiness and everything to do with social acceptance.  The more money you make, the easier it is to be accepted, the easier it is to be loved.

It is a harsh reality but we are judged based on what we make.  When we meet someone, the first question we ask is “what do you do?”.  This is not the question of what do you do for fun.  It is the question of what do you do for money so I can decide how much you will mean to me based on your income only.

I have judged people by what they make, I still do subconsciously.  But I have now decided this means nothing about a person, the money they have in the bank. People are all valuable irrespective of money in the bank.  My life has just as much worth as Bill Gates.  My life has just as much worth as that homeless man hustling for money on the street.  The worth of human life does not increase or decrease.  It just is.

This is the year of change.  Let’s all remember to not judge one another.  Let’s make positive changes to move forward, through the discomfort into our own version of success. Your parents, your grandparents, your neighbours, your spouse, your kids – their opinions are not yours.  Own your success, own your vision of your life.

It’s time to live life for ourselves.

Jacqueline

lifestyle · minimalism · motivation · self-help · Uncategorized

Living an intentional life

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

What does living an intentional life mean to you?

I have been asking myself this question for a while now.  I have also made a few observations.

We currently live in a world where other people’s opinions of us hold a greater weight than our own opinion of ourselves.  Facebook likes, Instagram hearts, twitter retweets, snap chats.  All these things can be constructive, can help us keep contact with people, can help businesses grow.  But realistically it is a drug – the new crack.

I am guilty of scrolling and scrolling through my social media feeds.  I am guilty of ignoring my spouse because I choose to read about other people’s lives instead of focusing on my own.  And I am not sure if that’s okay with me anymore.  At what point do we realize that social media is becoming a hindrance, rather than a benefit to our lives.

I have decided to remove myself from Facebook for a month, maybe even forever.  I prefer blogging or Instagram over the constant complaints and rants that Facebook holds.  I challenge all of you to remove one form of social media for your life for a month to see what happens.  To see if your life changes at all.

For now, I intend to live my life more intentionally.  Purging the excess of my life and using only what is necessary and what creates positive growth.  This includes more reading, more cooking, more time with my husband, more time in nature, more exercise, more meditation.  Less comparison, less negativity, less stuff.

This sounds like a great plan to me.

Thanks for reading.

Jacqueline

lifestyle · motivation · self-help · Uncategorized · weight loss · Writing

Happiness Habits

If you want to find happiness, find gratitude.
– Steve Marboli

Hello friends.

What are your happiness habits?

A few years ago I probably would have rolled my eyes at someone if they asked me that question.  But the more I study the people who have created great lives for themselves, I realize that they all do what I call happiness habits.

Mimi and Alex Ikonn, Tony Robbins, Oprah, Marie Forleo… They all start their day with gratitude.  They are also immensely successful.  Is this a coincidence?  I don’t think so.

The thing is, especially if you live in the Western world, we are so fortunate.  We have big homes, beds, tooth brushes, heating, ample food, money, and clothing.  Even the poor are rich compared to the homeless in other countries.  But we complain a lot.  Most people I know complain all day – myself included (working on this BTW).  Most people do not take any time to be grateful, to feel the gratitude inside them for all that we have.

I decided to create a daily practice to state 10 things I am grateful for in the morning and before I go to sleep.  I also ask my husband three things he is grateful for every day and we share these together.  This way we reflect together on how fortunate we are.  Its a nice change to focus on the positive especially when we live in a world that is focused on the negative.

If you do not have a practice of gratitude, I suggest you start one.  See how you change your perspective of the world.

Thanks for reading.

Jacqueline