Freebie Friday - Valentines Edition

All you love happy souls, it's finally your time of year. Valentines Day.

I thought I'd help you celebrate your love day with some little love notes. For both of you ;)

The Dirty Little Notes have been out of production for over a year now, but every now and then someone asks me for some. Nothing is ever really gone. Because how could I ever say no to people who just want to get down and dirty?

the original Dirty Little Love notes

So I made downloaded sheet of the 8 most popular sayings which you can download here

(please note that this image is for personal use only, not for resale but feel free to share this post with your lovely friends!)

Happy Love Day!


Giving up the To Go

So I'm going to be starting another regular post here that I haven't quite been able to come up with a name for yet. But that's ok, because we can get started without an official name. I mean, really.

This new section is going to combine 2 things I'm passionate about, that really kind of tie into the same thing. They both revolved around the coolest place on earth. The Arctic. You all know I lean towards the environmentalist side and I always try not to be that preachy type so I've come up with a solution. Most people just have no idea of their impact and think that they have to give everything up at once to make a difference, but there are a million and one little things you can do to make a difference. That's where this feature comes in. Every week I'll share some little thing you can do to lesson your impact on our beautiful planet.

Now the second thing that ties into the section? You've heard rumblings about a trip. An adventure in the works. That involves The Taiga. You'll be hearing that word around here quite a bit and well with each greenie tip you'll be learning a wee bit more about this adventure and this place.

some of my on the go cups! - as much as I love my Vancouver cup, it's all kinds of plastic, might be time to replace that one...

Todays tip is more of a pledge on my part and gentle encouragement for others. I'm pledging to give up to go cups FOR GOOD. It might actually surprise you that I haven't done this already. For the most part yes, I have, I usually make my own drinks. But sometimes I get lazy and grab a to go tea (or latte or sometimes hot chocolate - always with whip) in that horrible cup - I mean I do get up ridiculously early and as much as that is my choice some mornings just fall aprt. Some days I forget to prep and that's when all hell breaks loose. Laziness is the evil to most of our nasty anti-environment doings, and honestly I believe in the practice what you preach philosophy so shame on me for this bad habit. This is my pledge to never again use a disposable cup. Even during Roll up the Rim! Who's with me (or who's already given up to go's for good) Another thing I'm giving up is the restaurant to go containers. Now I know some of my friends are going to roll up their noses at the fact that I might come to dinner with them with my own containers, but you know what, I'm ok with that. Some of my favourite restaurants still use styrofoam containers and considering I almost always have to take some home with me, I am most definitely not ok with that anymore.

Recently I saw this episode of CBC's Marketplace (in rerun) on how the big guys are scamming us with their in-store recycling bins (Yeah I'm looking at you Tims and Starbucks in particular) Don't be fooled by those recycling bins, it would appear that both of these chains toss everything in that bin in the garbage bin. That's just wrong, if you aren't going to actually recycle then don't lie (yes I am aware this is naive thinking) Just own it and let the people decide if they actually want to continue being your customers.

Besides, I have a great selection of mugs, so there are absolutely no excuses. No excuses.


TEST challenge

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed some rather personal pics going up. And the hashtag #WeBeTest.

There's a very good reason behind it. My lovely friends of The Toronto Etsy Street Team (or TEST if you will) are doing an Instagram challenge for the month of February. For a number of great reasons. To help bring awareness and promote local Toronto makers, artists and vintage curators, for our followers to help get to know us a bit better and for the team mates to get to know each other. We're a team of well over 1000 members now and that's a lot of people to keep track of. Putting some faces and interests to each other helps us all bond. Happy Happy Joy Joy! Group hug time :) Wow, image a 1000+ person group hug. I couldn't be in the middle of that one. I bet it's in the Guinness Book of World Records somewhere though.

But back to us. You can follow along by searching #WeBeTest on Instagram, and of coarse you can follow me for all the challenge and other thunderpeep fun times. And below is a list of the daily prompts we are all following along with.


February thunderpeep Book Club

It was tight but I just finished Wildwood. Finished it last night. Because January went by really fast.

So, what do I make of the first book in the Wildwood Chronicles. Honestly, I thought I would love it more. It was good, and I will read the other books. But it was missing something. It just didn't have any kind of charming quality. It did have lot's of adventure, and any story with talking animals, and a woodland war should be just my thing. But there you have it. What I did love, were the little illustrations dispersed throughout the book. And the maps on the inside covers. I love those little details.

This months book: The Shining

You might think this an odd choice for February, but I borrowed this from Steff a few months ago and really should be getting it back to her. Plus it seems less creepy in February. Now, I've seen the movie a dozen times, so it's not like I don't know the plot. But everyone tells me this book is just so much better than the movie (and the movie was pretty great) So here we go. Let's hope I can still get lot's of sleep this month...

What about you guys, what's on your reading list right now? If you're on Goodreads we can be friends and share our reads too. You can find me here.


Calling out Bullshit

A couple of weeks ago I was excitedly going on to a friend about how awesome my week had been - not because I'm lucky but because I put good shit out there and it boomeranged right back to me - and after I was finished, she told me I would be a great motivational speaker.

I'm sorry, but what? 1 - I hate public speaking. I am just way too awkward in front of folks to be motivating anyone. 2 - Who on earth would pay to listen to me to go on and on about anything or anything (other than my friends of coarse, because they are pretty great) But really, my blog readers do that every post (and Thank You for enduring my wordy posts all you lovely readers) and I do love blogging (you can kind of see where this is going right?) So... I thought that this could be a fun new regular feature on the blog. Some motivational thunderpeep chats. I do have a brand new take on life that is working out pretty great for me. I’m not talking about sparkly motivational quotes, because Pinterest has enough of those. But positive little nuggets of inspiration to remind us all that life really is what you make it. (ok so that was kind of cheezy, but at least no sparkles) Move over Tony Robbins, thunderpeep is about to take over!

Story #1: I know this person who is not a bad person. They can actually be quite funny and insightful. But they also kind of remind me of Linus from the peanuts cartoons. Or maybe even Eor from Winnie the Pooh. One of those characters that seems to have a grey cloud following them around. They always have some story of someone who has wronged them. Of all the bad luck that seems to only fall on them. How the world is just against them. There is just always SOMETHING!

Well I call Bullshit on all this doomsday. If you never see the bright side of life you're going to grow old and miserable long before you actually hit old age. Yeah, sometimes the world can be a dark and overwhelming place (trust me I'm an environmentalist, it's very easy to get sucked into doomsday thinking) And when you become more in tune with it, it can start to feel like a hopeless place. But that feeling - that is 100% your doing. You let it in. You let it take hold of you. You can kick it's ass to the curb. Shitty shit happens. To all of us. Other people are creeps a lot of the time. But if you just move on, let it go and focus on something better you'll have a much happier day for it. That person who cut you off on the drive in, maybe they legit didn't see you. It happens. To all of us. Maybe they are rushing because they are late for the job interview of their dreams. You just don’t know. They didn't cut you off just to piss you off (and if they did, well that's on their karma why let it bring you down?) Let it go, you and your car made it to work in one piece - why dwell on what could have happened?

And for those people who want to get all up in your happy bubble, the old advice of our grandparents still stands. Kill them with kindness. The world needs more kindness anyway.  We can all learn to be nicer people and maybe one day we won't need these talks.  And honestly if someone is being shitty, because maybe someone was shitty to them, and you just smile at them or hold a door or whatever, you might just make their day better. And they'll pass that on to the next grumpy pants. And then we're all just hugging it out. Ah.... I do love hugs.

Now, because I think my awesome positivity-meter comes from my maternal Grandma, I am dedicating these posts to her. That's a picture of her at the top of the post, on one of her adventures. She was seriously the coolest cat in town. I'll have to tell you more about her in the upcoming posts. I still also have to come up with a name for this feature and of coarse a totally rad graphic, but there's loads of time for that.

Also, since I have taken on this new no bad bullshit attitude, I have to say life has handed me some pretty great rewards. Goodness boomerangs back at ya ;) Oh my goodness I really do sound ridiculous sometimes. Grandma would be so proud!

But I’d also like to say, I’m nowhere near perfect - no I’m serious - and I have shitty days. But you know what. When I have a shitty day, I just own it. And keep it to myself. And maybe I don’t go out of my way to be nice, but I also don’t spread the doom. I keep that shit to myself. Or I have a really good bitch session, in private, with one of those great friends I mentioned. They usually have something they want to unload back, so it all works out. Then we have a drink.

Feel free to post any topics you would like me to tackle in the comments. I'm here for you.


Winter Camping is back on the table.

Oh I can hear the collective "are you crazy" ringing out across the blogosphere. No, I'm not crazy. Neither is my good friend Amy, who is going with me into the cold wild forest.

Why? Why not?

This question just needs to stop being asked.

You can either be miserable and just try to "survive" winter, or you can have fun and embrace it. Be miserable or be cozy and content.

I read this great article last week, on this very topic, looking into why our Scandinavian friends are so happy and thriving during the winter months. The Danish have a word for it. Hygge (pronounced hooga).

"There’s no direct English translation for hygge, but the word evokes both coziness and togetherness. “It’s not just cozy with a blanket and a glass of wine. It’s also interpersonally cozy—so having a few people with you talking about issues and things you care deeply about. Having some candles lit, maybe a nice warm drink in your hand. Feeling safe and content.”

I've definitely been spending more time hanging out with friends, catching up with old friends. It just feels like this is the perfect time for it. Especially with our lack of snow here in Toronto, I haven't been able to get out and build snow forts or make any snow angels, so what else is a girl supposed to do? Well I'm also getting a lot of work done ;)

But we were talking about camping.

After our disastrous camping trip last May (in case you need a refresher you can read that story here) we decided that we needed to really tackle this winter camping thing. We were originally trying to get a trip going back in November, but we couldn't get a date to work. And really, last November was so mild it technically wouldn't have counted. So the first weekend of March has officially been penned into both our calendars. The tail end of winter really, but we figure there will still be some snow so we can snowshoe and some of the parks have even had skating rinks through the forest. AWESOME! We have also done our research. I thought I'd share a couple of things we've learned and then we can all meet back here in March and see how it all turned out.

Keep your clothes for the next day in the bottom of your sleeping bag so they aren't frozen solid when you go to get dressed in the morning!

Invest in those awesome hand/foot warmers, you can get the big pack of disposable ones (like these) or you can go the planet friendlier route with the reusable ones (like these) you just need to drop them in some boiling water to reset them - easy enough in the am when you are making tea!

Use a yoga mat or any mat really, under your sleeping back to have a layer between you and the cold ground. Or you can be like Amy and bring an old Futon mattress (I did warn you that we are older and wiser now, these are the tricks you learn after many camping trips!)

Keep your matches in a metal tin instead of a plastic one. For many reason, plastic being bad, plastic will also crack when frozen while metal will not. And looks ways cooler! Also to note: matches are more planet friendly than a lighter.

This next one is definitely for me. Don't sleep with your face buried in your sleeping bag. I, like most people, do not like having a cold nose and when sleeping in the outdoors, even in the summer, this is a regular thing. But the moisture from your heavy breathing will cancel out the insulating  properties of your sleeping bag. And it gets icky gross. Trust me, your nose will adapt to the temperature.

Don't be shy. Everyone in the tent should huddle their sleeping bags together (or if you're a couple just zip them together ;) This stops any cold air from coming up from the ground between you. All that body heat will only help keep you warm. Amy and I have been friends for so long that this is not a problem!

If you're crafty, or have crafty friends, make your own flannel sleeping bag liner. I've even found a tutorial for you (here) I am most definitely making one. I will be sure to share pics of it on instagram!

Don't hold your pee. I know, no one wants to get up and leave the tent in the middle of the night. But some good news - it's winter, there are no bears lurking in the woods. So you're pretty safe on that front. But seriously, your body is using up much needed energy to keep that pee warm, so just go for it. And if you really don't want to leave the tent, and everyone is on good terms in the tent, just pee in a bottle. No judgements.

Now we're all ready for a weekend of snow fun!

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