Shake it up 

When I save up enough Optimum points, I like to use them on higher end cosmetics

Recently I purchased Lancôme Matte Shaker lip-colour ($29) in Kiss Me Cherry. 

I love the formula, it goes on so easily and I can live my lips and fill them in with the tapered sponge. It dries in about a minute, and looks fantastic without feeling too uncomfortable. It is not the longest lasting Matte lipstick I had, after about four hours I have to redo, but I am happy to give up extra lasting power for such a comfortable and great-looking lip color!

My response to an article about showing up

Interestingly, I read this article shortly after my last post.

See article here 

I read this article last week and it really spoke to me. As somebody who’s had more than her fair share of crisis over the last few years, and some good events too, I can say that I definitely agree with much of this article. Mostly that it is very surprising who shows up, and who doesn’t. I have been both touched and hurt by this, multiple times over. A few years ago I was in the middle of a crisis, and started to have a crying panic attack in my car outside of our local supermarket, unable to even face doing the shopping. I texted three of my closest friends, hoping one of them would come to me, not a single one did. I’ve let that go, but I’ve never forgotten, because I know I would’ve been there in a heartbeat. I still remember when I finally went home, over the panic attack but heartbroken by what an awful person I must have, but nobody would take the time to come to me, (or even ask if I can come to them if they are stuck at home alone with the kids.)

To me, when your friend needs you, you be there. I won’t say that I’m a perfect friend because I know I’m not, but I do try to be a good friend, and I do try to be there for friends in need. I’ve left work early to comfort friends in a crisis, I’ve left home in the middle of dinner to pick up a friend’s child and drive them to a lesson, I’ve left my family at the last minute because somebody called on me, and I’ve checked in on friends when I know they’re having a hard time, and I’ve done everything I can to be there to celebrate good times with my friends.  

In spite of that, one thing I do disagree with is the idea that only good friends show up, or that hard times teach you who your true friends are. 

I mean in theory that sounds great and true, but in practice I just don’t think so. I don’t think it’s necessarily always the good friends that are there for you, and the bad friends that aren’t. I think really it’s just that some people are better at it than others. Some people know what to say and do, others don’t. 

Indeed, I would even go so far as to say that sometimes it’s the bad friends that show up. The friends that thrive on drama, that are curious about how someone in a crisis is doing and can only find out by showing up, that have their entire self worth tied up in how generous and giving they are, or that do things for others with strings attached. 

However, I do think that we as humans are always learning and growing. There are lots of different ways to learn. Sometimes through experience, sometimes through articles, somethings just come to some of us naturally.

I think, perhaps, the cardinal rule is to try to be the type of friend you wish to have. Not because you want it to come back to you…I’ve learned that it doesn’t…but because it’s a good way to be. 

Being there 

Something I’ve been thinking a lot over the past year and a half is what kind of friend I can be when somebody is going through something like I did.

Before I got cancer, I never really knew how to help somebody that needed help. I didn’t know what to do when somebody was in a crisis. I always tried to be there, to check in with people, to do what I could, but I have a feeling I often got it wrong. 

In going through my own crisis I’ve learned a lot, so here’s the advice I’m going to share. 

1. Don’t say “let me know what I can do” because I can almost guarantee that they won’t (this isn’t just me, pretty well everyone I’ve spoken to about this has said the same thing, that they never specifically asked for anything of people that said this). When someone says that it’s very hard to know what they mean; what would be too much and what wouldn’t. Instead think about what you can realistically do that would be helpful, and either offer to do that specific thing (take the kids) or, if appropriate, just do it (drop off food or gifts).  

2. Don’t make your offer turn into work. If you offer to bring someone dinner don’t ask them loads of questions about what they want and where to get it; instead ask if they have any dietary restrictions, maybe ask if they like a specific restaurant you have in mind, and then arrange something. Unless you know for a fact that this person or their family are very picky, they will be happy to have a meal that they can eat with minimum effort on their part. When someone is too sick, tired, or traumatized to prepare dinner…the last thing they want to do is put a lot of thought towards what someone else is offering. During a crisis, sometimes just thinking is too much work. When I was in chemo I used to joke that I just needed someone to micromanage me!

3. Don’t be offended if your idea of help is rejected. If you offered to do something for someone and they say no or suggest something else instead, that’s OK. The whole point is to be helpful, and what you think is helpful may not be what they want or need. Some people love having visitors, others don’t. Some people love having help with the housework, others find it intrusive (as much as I hate doing laundry, I never wanted help with laundry because my basement is a mess and I didn’t want people going down there). Some people want help with the kids, other people want help with the house so they can focus on the kids.  

3. Do remember that the most important thing you can probably do is to be there. I greatly appreciated people that remembered when I had chemo and texted me during (to occupy me if was bored) or afterwards to see what I needed or how I was, the people that wanted to know how I was doing and reached out to me personally to check in, the people that offered to visit and came and sat with me when I was bored and lonely, the people that remembered to include my family and kids in their plans, and asked about my chemo schedule and when I’d be feeling well so that I can be included as much as possible…planning events when I’d be up to it.

4. Don’t be scared to talk about the crisis, no matter what it is, your loved one will let you know if they don’t want to talk about it. Also, don’t be afraid and scared to talk about other things…your loved one may just want the distraction of discussing issues you’re having at work or with your in-laws or whatever. There’s an assumption that going through someone going through a crisis doesn’t want to hear about other people’s problems, but in my experience that’s probably not true. It’s nice to be spoken to like normal, but try to be aware of cues when it’s too much. 

5. Remember that crises often last a lot longer than it seems. Often people are there and helpful at the beginning, and then they slowly back away and we are left alone. I remember everybody asking what they can do for me when I was diagnosed, and there was nothing I wasn’t even having my surgery for another month! By the time I was in chemo and certainly by the time I was in radiation, a lot of people had already drifted away. 

Recent tasty eats 

I love sharing lots of tasty meals and treats, showing that vegan and gluten free eating doesn’t have to be un-enjoyable! Eating out can sometimes be a challenge…but there are loads of amazing recipes out there to make at home, and even out of the home there are usually options. Although sometimes (not always)it takes a bit more work…I can honestly say I enjoy food and eating now as much as ever! Although I a the only one in the family who is both vegan and gluten intolerant…about 80% of the time they eat what I do (occasionally if I have leftovers for myself I will make something with dairy or eggs or gluten for them) and there are no complaints!

Avocado pasta from Oh She glows

Chickpea quiche from Trinity’s Conscious Kitchen (I mixed up the veggies a bit)

Sweet potato risotto from Health Voyager

Berry crisp from Minimalist Baker (I used strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)

Kimchi Fried rice (my own recipe- a cup of vegan kimchi with a pile of basmati rice, added crumbled tofu seasoned with nutritional yeast and Indian black salt. Pan fried in cooking spray with a splash of sesame oil and topped with roasted sesame seeds

Since I was downtown last week, I decided to stop for lunch at Hogtown vegan, where I indulged in the delicious nachos!