"This media we call social is anything but, when we open our computers it's our doors we shut..."

This video was such an eye opener for me. I am so bad for clutching onto my phone for fear of missing a message or a notification. I scroll through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram more times a day than I can count. I have full conversations with friends through texts, when, with just a little effort I could be spending time with them and physically laughing out loud. I am always so anxious to share my pictures online rather than absorb the moment that I'm in. I put conversations on hold as I'm filtering, sharing and checking back for 'likes' as if it really matters that people know what I'm doing or where I am at. As if it really matters if they approve. My phone has found a place on my counter as I cook, near the table as we eat, and on my nightstand as I sleep.

I'm going to challenge myself to be less present in the social media world and more present in the real world. I have way too many books to read, too many places to be, too many things to see, and so many people in my life who deserve my undivided attention.
Yesterday I took a step in the right direction by putting my phone where I couldn't see or hear it as soon as I walked in the door. I was home with my husband and didn't need to be a part of the group texts or watch the snap chats that were blowing up my phone. I wasn't expecting it to be so extremely difficult to cut myself off from the friends who were trying to connect with me; for just those few hours between coming home from work and going to bed, I felt as though I was missing something. Maybe I'll just look at my phone real quick... I wonder what the girls are doing... What if something is wrong? This feeling only confirmed that I am way too dependant on that little device and I desperately need to get a grip, because surely, if there was anything wrong I wouldn't be informed by a snap chat.

I took it a step further today. I deleted the social media apps from my iPhone because I don't need to check Facebook, Twitter or Instagram a hundred times throughout my work day, while I'm driving in the car with G, or when I'm meeting friends to hang out. I even asked G to do the same so I couldn't so easily get my fix using his phone, and I have yet to reply to the thirty-seven text messages I received last night. Thirty-seven messages and get this, not one of them was urgent or pertinent to my well-being.

I can't deny that I truly love how social media is a window into my life and the lives of friends and family near and far. It's connected me with people I'd never connect with otherwise, and it allows me to keep family and friends in the know. I can't deny that I truly love the random text messages I get from my husband throughout the day or the fact that just a few texts amongst friends can plan a date in less than five minutes. And yes, I'll admit to getting a certain thrill out of sharing a photo of an impressive meal I've created... But there needs to be balance, everything in moderation, right?

Going forward, taking baby steps, I'll keep my apps installed on my tablet only. This is limiting me to only having access in the evenings when I'm home in my WiFi zone. Hopefully, even then I won't feel the need to check in so often. As for my Blog, being that it's never consumed my time or energy to the point of neglecting anyone else, and being that it's my escape from routine, a therapeutic outlet to express myself and a tool that's helped me grow as a person, I don't feel it's something I need to part with. However, like everything else, I will sign in when I'm not taking time away from something or someone important. I'll find a place to set my phone when I'm home to relax, and I'll find other ways to cure boredom when I'm sitting in a waiting room or trying to fall asleep. I'll keep my phone in my purse on outings, and although I will still snap a few pictures, the new me won't make sharing those photos an immediate priority.

Ultimately, I don't want to be a dumb person using a smart phone. I want to learn, explore and grow as a person from experience. I want to connect with people and be present, and I want the same for my future children. I don't want them to miss out on opportunities to meet new people, experience something new or witness something special. I don't want to read the fifty ways to achieve happiness when I can figure it out myself.

All I have to do is look up.
Rachel Emmilee

Celebrating 2 Years Married With...

sunshine * a trip to the city * day drinking * quality time with friends * waterfront hot dogs * late night ice cream * an afternoon spent picnicking on citadel hill * strolling along spring garden road * chocolate covered coffee beans * poutine * bbq * a relaxing massage * a king sized bed * patio drinks * coffee and word puzzles in bed * our first swim in the ocean this summer * a day spent on the beach * lots of love

Using Activated Charcoal To Whiten Teeth

If you came here looking for shocking before and after photos of my teeth, you'll be disappointed to learn that there aren't any. I didn't feel comfortable zooming up on my mouth and taking a photo prior to brushing let alone sharing it with the entire world, but believe me I did see results. What would I have to gain by lying?

I stumbled upon a link via Pinterest that said using Activated Charcoal can quickly and safely whiten your teeth. Curious, I dug a little deeper and found hundreds of before and after photos (most of which were modified beyond belief) and several testimonials that boast amazing results. See, I'm one of those gals who is constantly looking for ways to whiten my teeth at home. I've tried everything the drugstore could offer, like the whitening rinse, toothpastes, whitening strips and whitening mouth guard applications - not to mention umpteen home remedies. What I didn't try is giving up drinking coffee or red wine, so I'm not really doing myself any favours now am I?

So is Activated Charcoal and why will it whiten your teeth? Well, it's a substance that acts as a block against unwanted toxins by preventing them from absorbing into your system and eventually flushing them out. It's most commonly used to treat cases of poisonings and overdosing, and can reduce upset stomach and diarrhea. All those nasty unwanted toxins attract and bind to the charcoal instead of pumping through your bloodstream, and make their way out of your body. Most gas masks and water filters contain Activated Charcoal as do many beauty and teeth whitening products, and it can also draw out the sting or itch from a bug bite. It's said to whiten your nails if you work it into your manicure, and if that's not enough, it can treat pimples and other impurities if used in a face mask. Still not buying it? If it can filter the air, our water, and draw toxins and chemicals out of our body, why couldn't it do the same for our skin and teeth?

I had to see for myself. I followed the steps below and I'm happy to say, I absolutely saw a difference. My husband even noticed my teeth were brighter! I wouldn't go as far as saying my teeth are turbo white, but I can certainly see that surface stains from coffee and wine were brushed away and my mouth felt fresh and cleaner than ever before. I'd call that an effective teeth whitening method, wouldn't you?

Using Activated Charcoal To Whiten Your Teeth

  • Purchase a bottle of Activated Charcoal capsules at your Pharmacy or Natural Food Store. $18.
  • Floss your teeth.
  • Break 2-3 capsules on a clean surface, preferably in a disposable rinsing cup.
  • Wet your toothbrush and then dab it in the Activated Charcoal.
  • Gently brush for five minutes covering fronts, backs and sides of your teeth. Dip your brush often to get a good concentrated amount of charcoal in your mouth.
  • In this case, DO NOT SWALLOW. You can and should swish the charcoal and saliva around to cleanse your entire mouth, but we want those toxins out not in.
  • Don't be alarmed by the mess this will make on your sink, counter top and face. It will appear black and messy in your mouth and you will be tempted to rinse right away, but don't worry, it will not stain!
  • After five minutes of brushing, start to dilute with water by rinsing your brush and mouth several times.
  • Finally, apply toothpaste to your brush and brush like you regularly would until all traces of black disappear and your mouth is clean. This should take just a few minutes.
  • Repeat this process every few days or as often as you wish, as it is not harmful to your teeth or gums.
I hope you have the same results!

Rachel Emmilee

*This is not guaranteed to work for all people. The effectiveness of this teeth whitening method depends greatly on the current health and state of your teeth. Seek professional guidance if you are concerned of risks involved with using Activated Charcoal, especially if you are pregnant or currently on antibiotics or medication.*

Summer 2014 - Bucket List

This past weekend while sipping cold Somersby Ciders and enjoying our view, I put together a summertime bucket list. I hope to tick each and every item off this list before the end of August, but if all I can manage to do is what you see in this picture, I'd be fine with that.
* Relax on the beach as often as possible. Pack a lunch, drink cold beers, listen to summer classics and soak up the sun.
* Eat and drink on a patio whenever there is an option to do so.
* Relax in a hammock.

* Try Sushi for the first time.
* Go camping with my girlfriends.
* Be a regular at our local Farmer's Market.
* Make my own iced coffee.
* Say yes to being outside, walking, exploring and relaxing with my feet up. On week days especially, I need to learn how to shake the tiredness I feel after work and remember that house work can wait...
* Go on a spontaneous road trip with G, no real plan of where we're going or what we're going to do, but time to do it.
* Play a game of soft ball.

* Take advantage of having a clothes line, get in the habit of hanging clothes out to dry.
* Watch the sun come up.
* Make a new friend.
* Spend an afternoon skipping and playing hopscotch with my niece, and teaching the kiddies fun games I used to play outside.
* Play a game of beach volleyball.
* Buy new sneakers and break them in.
* Spend the night in an open field, sleeping on the back of a truck with lots of pillows, blankets and citronella candles. Just me and G, a sky full of stars and our favorite playlist.
* Watch fireworks light up a night sky.

* Spend the day at Magic Cove (A local paradise)
* Hit up as many community festivals as possible.
* Stop at yard sales and flea markets.

* Plan a picnic.
* Skinny dip. You'd think this would be easy considering we own a pool, but believe it or not, I did not skinny dip once last year.
* Arrange a photo shoot with my hubby.
* Go hiking.

* Stand under a waterfall.

My List of Awesome

  • Looking through your basket of Tasimo discs for a coffee and just when you think you're all out, you flip a disc right side up and there it is. One last coffee.
  • When you eye an item in the grocery store you needed but forgot to put on your list.
  • Crawling into a perfectly made bed... Even better, a bed made with sheets and blankets fresh out of the dyer.
  • When your new Scentsy bars arrive in the mail.
  • When you open the dishwasher to unload the clean dishes but someone got there first.
  • When you enjoy a book so much that you flip back through the last few pages to make sure you didn't miss anything.
  • The day after you house clean when you can sit and relax and not feel overwhelmed with things that need to be done.
  • The few minutes in the morning when you can quietly admire the person sleeping next to you  before they wake up.
  • Being handed a cup of coffee just the way you like it, without even having to ask. 
  • ... Or being handed that cup of coffee before you can even get out of bed.
  • ... Or enjoying that cup of coffee in bed.
  • The feeling you get after you rearrange the furniture and d├ęcor in a room and like the new arrangement more than the old. 
  • Waking up knowing it's pay day.
  • When you get a notification from your eLibrary telling you the book you've been waiting to read is finally available for you to borrow.
  • The taste of a cold beer after you've worked hard outside.
  • ... Or the taste of a cold beer, period.
  • When you realize you have hours of your favorite TV shows recorded on your PVR. 
  • When your employer thanks you and tells you you're doing a good job.  


Married only two years and already having a problem in the bedroom...

In the early years of our relationship we always had a television in our bedroom. Together we either lived in a noisy city or a shared home, so the television not only drowned out unwanted noise, but more importantly (although I find it hard to understand) it helped G fall asleep. All of his life he had a television in his room and to this day he insists that listening to it distracts him from his busy mind and puts him to sleep. In those days, convinced there was no changing this weird lifelong habit of his, I learned to live with the noise and flashing lights in the wee hours of the night...

Then a couple of years ago I realized I needed to nip this issue in the bud. Not only was it beginning to drive me insane, but a television in the bedroom has proven to have negative affects on a marriage and I wanted no part of that. And so, I took matters into my own hands when we were given a fresh start in a new home by setting up our room without a television, making it as cozy and relaxing as possible. My hope was that a new space would mean new ways and believe it or not, it worked...

For an entire year our bedroom was a peaceful hideaway for sleeping, relaxing and of course the obvious. Like it should be, it was a quiet space where we were forced to pay attention to only each other and focus on rest. The sound of silence was beyond relaxing. The crickets, the thunder and rain, the howling animals in the distance... Who needs nature music when you live in the country? I finally got what I wanted and the surprising part of it all? G managed just fine. We could never, ever go back to the way things were...

Then one lazy Saturday morning, this idiot decided it would be fun to hook up the television for a one-day-only movie marathon in bed. Now fast forward a year... The damn television is still perched on top of our dresser and depriving me of a good night sleep! What was I thinking? I mean, who gives a recovering alcoholic a beer? He's right back to his old ways and I only have myself to blame!

In his defense it's not always on and it doesn't take away from the obvious... yet. But it sure does take away from my beauty sleep, and that's not going to fly with me much longer! It never fails that I'm waiting until he's snoring before I can turn everything off and finally relax. I feel I have tried everything. I have asked to have it removed from the room and I have preached that if he went without it before he can do it again. I've even threatened to remove it without warning, but knew that would only result in me dragging him off the couch every single night. I have tried ear plugs, and an eye mask and even a power off timer but nothing seems to work.

Can you offer any advice?


Super Spinach Salad

With a salad like this getting your recommended 8-10 servings of fruit and vegetables is a breeze. Packed with super foods, your body will think quicker and work faster as the endless amount of vitamins, minerals and nutrients work their magic in your body! After I eat this for lunch, I feel totally refreshed and energized for the remainder of my work day.

Spinach * Avocado * Hard boiled egg * Strawberries * Mushroom * Cucumber * Feta Cheese * Shredded cheddar cheese * Crispy onions * Almonds * Creamy Poppy seed dressing


Crunchy Baked Chickpeas

Drain, rinse and pat dry canned chickpeas * Spread over a foil lined baking sheet * Drizzle and evenly coat with EVOO * Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice * Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes * Store in a re-sealable container or bag at room temperature for a few days * Enjoy!

(Experiment with a pinch of cayenne pepper and chilli powder for a spicy treat, or honey and cinnamon for a sweet treat.)

Chickpeas are packed with fibre and protein which will kick hunger in the butt, keep you feeling satisfied longer and help with weight loss. They also boost your energy because they're high in iron and they lower bad cholesterol levels. There are so many health benefits to eating chickpeas, so roast them to snack on, add them to salads and soups, and make them the star of a delicious party dip. Hummus doesn't have to be bland and boring, blend with roasted vegetables, garlic and spice, and enjoy the entire dish guilt free!

Rachel Emmilee


Progress Report: What am I doing to accomplish my goals?

New here? Check out this post where I admit my unhealthy habits have caught up to me. I set goals to become more active and made changes to my diet, sleeping patterns and attitude in general. I became tired of feeling tired, uninspired and out of shape so something had to be done. Being a healthier, happier person meant making changes and finally taking control.

So far in the exercise department...

  • We bought a treadmill and I've used it several times, once even reaching the 5K mark. I've also hit the dirt road a few times with G and a running group.
  • I've been busting into squats daily and sometimes several times a day to tone my thighs and bum. In just a couple of weeks I honestly see a big difference!
  • I complete upper body strengthening exercises a few times a week with 8-10lb weights targeting biceps, triceps, deltoids and traps.
  • Because my job is to encourage and provide rehabilitation exercises, I decided to complete the exercises as well. (No brainer, right?) 
  • I've become more conscious of my core and engage abdominal muscles more often.

So far in the healthy eating department...

  • I've been drinking upwards of two litres of water per day.
  • Eating a lot of green vegetables, grapefruits, eggs and loaded spinach salads.
  • I haven't been skipping breakfast and consume four servings of fruit and one serving of dairy in a morning smoothie.
  • We're cooking without added salt, salty seasonings or sauces.
  • Reading labels when shopping and going with the healthy alternative like lean, whole wheat, no added preservatives, antibiotics or hormones.
  • Snacking on nuts, raisins and high protein foods that combat hunger and are nutritious.
  • Choosing red wine over beer or sugary cocktails.
  • I completely removed pop and soft drinks from my diet.

So far in the attitude department...

  • I have convinced myself that I don't need a tanning bed to feel Spring and Summer ready, but I have treated myself to a hair appointment and scheduled a massage for some much needed self love.
  • I coat my body in moisturizer every single night to nourish my skin and combat dryness.
  • I have reviewed pay stubs and bill statements and contacted bill collectors to review the status of my accounts. Reorganizing my debt repayment plan made me feel in control and on the ball.
  • I'm napping when I feel tired and going to bed at a reasonable time and intern, I've been waking up earlier without an alarm clock.
  • I did a total clean of my kitchen re-organizing my cabinets and pantry. Having a perfectly organized and clean kitchen makes you want to spend more time in it preparing food.

In just a few weeks I've been feeling stronger, happier and more motivated. G and I have been working together to make healthy meals and we've been taking turns getting breakfast ready for each other in the mornings. I do struggle with coffee, wanting it twice and sometimes three times a day, and snacking is still a battle. I can't seem to shake cravings for sweets at tea time and chips and dip in the evenings. Still, I'm making huge progress...

... I'm not usually one to toot my own horn, but TOOT TOOT, bitches!
Rachel Emmilee


The Perfect Biscuit

If you have ever visited my family home, or any Cape Breton home for that matter, chances are you were offered a hot cup of tea and a fresh biscuit the moment you entered the kitchen. Biscuits and tea are like, a thing around here. Growing up we always had a fresh batch on the counter and absolutely nothing could beat one fresh-from-the-oven with butter and molasses.

So the question is, can I make them? It only took the better part of a year and a big chunk of change to master it, but I did. On my journey to making the perfect biscuit I learned that quick and easy is best way to go, and that once you find a recipe you like, stick to it. Beware of the old school biscuit makers who all swear by their recipe because your head will spin if you start asking for suggestions. Some use a light pan, some use dark, some use shortening while others use butter. They may recommend using yogurt or milk, maybe sour milk or butter milk, milk mixed with vinegar or just straight water. Some call for sugar, no sugar, salt, no salt... The list goes on and on.
 So like I said, I tried and tried and finally found a recipe that worked for me using the KitchenAid stand mixer. And being the generous gal that I am, I decided to share that recipe with you! Consider yourselves lucky... Giving your biscuit recipe away to just anyone is unheard of where I come from...

1. Clean an old soup can and with your can opener remove both ends. This makes the perfect biscuit cutter with two open ends, which adds air to the biscuit and makes for easy cutting. Clean and keep your new biscuit cutter for future baking!
2. The less you handle the dough the better.
3. Biscuits freeze beautifully. Make a big batch and freeze half, they thaw quickly and are the perfect side to soups and chilli's.
4. Play with the recipe by adding dry ingredients to your dry mixture, and wet ingredients to your milk and egg. For example, sweet biscuits with slivered almonds, cranberries and a splash of almond extract or savory biscuits with cheddar cheese and chives!

The Perfect Biscuit

Preheat oven to 425, rack in middle.
In your mixer bowl use your whisk attachment to thoroughly combine all of the dry ingredients:
3 cups of all purpose flour
7 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
Now add 2/3 cup of shortening and on low-medium speed with the paddle attachment, mix until shortening is combined with flour mixture until it's very fine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cup of milk and one egg.
Now using the hook attachment on medium to high speed, slowly add milk mixture to flour mixture. Quickly, using a spatula to scrape the sides of bowl ensure the mixture combines well. The quicker the better!
With floured hands, roll ball of dough onto floured counter. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough out to an even 1.5 inch in thickness. With a floured biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits and place on cookie sheet. Recycle what is left and without handling too much, cut out more biscuits. Bake for 10-15 minutes watching for a raised biscuit with a golden brown top.

Rachel Emmilee