Friday, December 02, 2016


I have so much gratitude lately . I am totally full of thankfulness . Each day there are so many things that I am thankful for and I feel blessed to be in that situation 

That being said -nothing ever makes me more thankful than missing a close call on health . To actually be given good news by a doctor instead of the anticipated bad news .
Today was that day for me 

For the last month Bear has been having almost constant  quite sever stomach aches after eating . We have all been trying to find a pattern , rhyme or reason to this but have not been successful .
He also lost 5 lbs in 3 weeks - not a great sign for doctors in combination with symptoms and family history of disease 

Finally we called doctor and took him in on Tuesday . Due to a family history of Chrones disease in family the doctor wanted him tested and celiac disease too . For some reason I freaked out over these possibilities - especially Chrones . We have had such bad medical news over last three years almost ever time we see a doctor that to me if she wanted him tested - that meant he would be diagnosed . So often in last three years has been hard and bad medical news for our family and my mom . I am just used to bad news 
So I fretted and worried and read 70 articles on these conditions . Sleepless nights last night and felt sick to my stomach myself knowing that the shining star  and such a wonderful guy of our family could have these diseases . I know can seem dramatic ( but maybe not to many of you !) Seems like we all have our things in life that we worry lots about . We all worry about different things that can obsess us ( health , work , kids behavior , divorce , environment etc ) 
Health  of my family is mine .

And then this morning at 11am as I was just about to turn off my phone for 1.5 hrs in  restorative yoga class to try and relax myself and keep sane - the phone rings 
And it has caller id of doctor 
And she says that he does not have Chrones disease !!!! Yay !!!

All the rest of tests come in next week only ( celiac etc ) but I am just so happy we have ruled out the family history one .

I have never had such a peaceful and wonderful yoga class in my life 
And how quickly our minds forget about our worries and go back to the " normal " stuff like grocery lists and work .
That yoga class felt like a gift 
A medical break made me feel so filled with gratitude as we have felt over the last few years that we haven't had much of a break 
Today was ours :)
And then my mind wandered to all the poor people who didn't have great news about their kids today 
Next week we get rest of the results but for some reason I am not half as worried as I was about today
So we still have the pain and issues to deal with but we know he will be ok probably and will in my mind anyways be food allergies or intolerance or IBS vs serious lifelong disease category 

And it meant everything to me today to just have a little break 


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

TLK's Favorite Things

You know how Oprah writes about her favorite things? Well Tarina Lauren Kate (me!) is going to do the same thing 

Given that I just got back from 10 days of vacation. ... Given that I have a massive presentation  tomorrow that I need to prepare for... And given that this blog will allow me a few more cherished minutes of procrastination ... My blog won't be as good as Oprahs . Not even close 
It won't have pictures or even the proper names of the things. I just don't have time. It will simply be a list of what I like a lot lately.

Objects and things are not that important to me in general. I am not a “thing " type of person. Lately more and more I am realizing I am perhaps I am a little more than I thought. I am very attached to certain particular things usually that are super comfy or make me look good or are practical and save time. I like comfort and style. I alsos like to splurge every couple of years on a bonus gift for myself if I had a great work year and that's when I buy the brand name stuff that feel a little (alot!) indulgent.

So here is my (pretty useless but pretty fun) list 

1 - Lululemon maraschino wool grey track pants. Soulkeeper and I both got them last year Black Friday on the sale rack each and both wear them almost daily. I especially love them when over my workout clothes in the mornings. Last winter I lent them too my mom for 2 months to try and make her feel better as an act of love 

2 - My Hunter inserts socks for Hunter rain boots. Mine are black with faux fur and I use them as slippers. I adore them and my friend inspired me to use them this way when she visited at the cottage 

3 - Black and grey thin, stylish amazing cardigan wrap sweaters that I got in Vancouver at this funky store on a business trip. They go with anything and also roll up into a little ball in a small purse. They are cozy, stylish, warm and sweet. So glad I bought two!

4- A ring my husband bought me last year with a blue stone and silver setting. I wear it on right hand and love it. Last year I put it in a Jewellery cleaner and ruined it. I finally got to it this month and has it redone and only cost 20 dollars since not an expensive ring. Love it 

5- My new Joe  Fresh little winter coat from Loblaw’s that has a hood and can roll up into a pouch that doubles for a travel pillow on a plane. Love it. 2/3 kids are stealing it from me almost daily 

6- A new coat I found at love on sale that is soooooo awesome for winter for casual. So so gorgeous and comfy but was one size too small for me . I asked tailor to add a leather panel on both sides to make bigger and it is more than perfect now. And he is so cheap - was only 25 to do the alteration and coat was 100 (normally 300!!) I love a great and cozy deal 

6- I splurged last year and bought myself a Michael Kors knapsack for travel and work and the makeup case that goes with it. It is so beautiful. Even better that I got at 50 percent off since a friend was working there 

7- Bought a Coach work bag and Coach purse and Coach wallet all matching 2 yrs. ago and best thing I have ever done. Feel so good in them all 

8- My back pillow wedges ( have one for home and one for cottage ) for a person like me who has back and neck issues and loves to read and work in bed it is a lifesaver 

9- Coco. It's not mine but I bought it when Chase was born. He is almost 19 yrs old and sleeps with it every night. We have real coco and cottage coco as a backup. It a teddy bear face on a silky blanket and it is the cutest sweetest thing I have ever seen. He proudly displays is on his bed 

10- Our fleece sheets on both beds cottage and home 

11-My little flower earrings my mom bought me for bday in three different colours. Such an Ingrid Bergman classy look 

12- My neutrogena coloured lip balm with sunscreen 

13- My agenda. I have the perfect formula for me. Complex yet simple but perfect for my life 

14-My fleece cream shawl at cottage that I wrap around me when cold (can tell it's snowing here today!!)

15- So many of my bathing suit cover-ups. I love them and pretty much collect them

16- My no shoulder blow in the wind amazing photo black beach dress. I bought it in Turks and Caicos a few years back and it is perfect for beach photos with my fave cream and black headband 

17- Bagel cutters are pretty cool 

18 - I love my iPhone 6s 

19- my little  weird guys  with weird wild hair all over the house that you squeeze and says "  hope you have have a stress- free day today !! " 

20 - Michael Kors black high boots with zipper that never ever go out of style and that I get compliments on by strangers. Have bought two pairs now and have also changed the heels three times bc I wear them so much 

21-my laughing Buddha. Right beside my dad’s urn on the mantel piece (no ashes!!)

22- All my comfy beds, Bali beds, throw covers and pillows and good books 

23- My pillow. Bought in duplicate thank god as don't make them anymore. Also lent that to my mom to try and make her feel better as an act of love 

24- a brown and turquoise necklace I love with turquoise earrings that I wear on the beach 

25- Last but not least my two pairs of Gucci sunglasses that 6 yrs. ago we found in Italy for Mother's Day on our trip with Bear. Was a huge indulgence and splurge and 4 months later I lost one pair :(( I tried to repress it. 5 yrs. later ( last month !!! ) Soulkeeper’s daughter found them wedged under the car seat when she looked for the rock she dropped (a long story). Then put them on backseat and didn't mention and then Bear found them BC he was embarrassed of how dirty the car was and cleaned seat before his girlfriend sat on them!!!! I have my black classic Gucci Italian sunglasses back!!! Five years later!!!

That's it for now although I am sure I forgot lots of stuff. Themes here?
Like Brand names
Did I mention comfort?

That's all folks!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Slice of Paradise in Unit 105

Our view from the condo!!!!

Such a great place for a romantic getaway

We just came back from A trip in Turks and Caicos for 10 luxurious days . We rented a condo on the beach at the Villa Renaissance Unit 105 . If you go to Turks ..... Don't walk - run to rent this amazing condo !

We were a little nervous to be honest, as we have been going to the island of Turks for approx 15 yrs now yearly and 10 of them have been spent  at the same condo down the beach which a colleague of ours owned and which he then sold . We were anxious to see if we could find a place that would feel as good for us .

The minute we walked into 105 that feeling  disappeared. The view was truly breathtaking and since a first level condo your balcony ( and even kitchen ) are one with the ocean . You see it all right in front of you in all its glory - you hear the waves - you smell the sea . You feel like you are at home ( but way way better ! )

There are so many nice little touches in this condo and it all feels so cozy and welcoming . The guestbook where we flipped though and read what a great time previous guests have had and what restaurants they recommended . Breakfast table that feels right on the sea to eat breakfast and eat dinner and play cards on . The such tastefully chosen and comfy furniture which is all cape cod beach type style and makes you want to live there forever .

The ocean is the best in the world

We thought this was such a sweet touch

I loved that the books made me feel like home

The way the kitchen faces the ocean so that when you are cooking you can see the ocean . Or the bookshelf where there are many vacation books for your enjoyment and where you can leave your own favourites after you are done to add to the collection 

In the master bedroom too all is designed for your comfort down to the little jewellery tray on the vanity table to store your necklaces and the big shower to both rinse off together after a sunny day on the beach .

 Cape Cod Beach Style in the master with a great view onto the pool


Loved the two level balcony

Even an extra little private couch space . The balcony is huge!

It was fun cooking in the open space looking right onto the ocean!

You just never want to leave 

The hotel itself was very accommodating too . In the other condo we always slept outside on the deck so they brought us a little roll-away bed where we came out in the early morning for our last hour of sleep on the deck. We asked for cushions for the  beach chairs and they delivered them within minutes . The housecleaning was included daily which was a nice treat since we did a lot of cooking there and this helped a lot with the dishes . 
The people who worked there are super friendly and nice and you get to know them all . And they even have floating mats for the ocean ! So we decided to leave ours there to add to the collection for others to enjoy .

Second bedroom for friends and staff made the beds into a double bed when they arrived:)

The little roll-away we requested for sleepy early morning by the sea

Hubby showing thumbs down on our last day in protest of going home!

Second level balcony with fabulous cozy cushions

Memories were built in Unit 105 for us . We rented the second bedroom for a few nights and had friends come and join us for part of our stay . That was so fun and a first for us to share that getaway we do every year pretty much the same two weeks in November . We ate meals out together at great places , and made a chicken curry one night at the condo with key lime pie and cards . We had amazing custard doughnuts  from the nearby patisserie one morning and as I write this I am actually very seriously craving one again !

We had talks on the outside furniture and on the inside furniture . We laughed , bonded , planned , shared and built memories of a lifetime in that place as four friends.

In our days alone as a couple we did much of the same . Nothing to me is better for a a marriage together than getting away alone without the kids . Has been 20 yrs now for us married and we have never missed a year as a couple getting away somewhere beautiful alone. This year was extra special for us as we have reinvented our selves in so many ways this year both individually and together . We have grown , changed for each other , become more intimate both emotionally and physically , are both just in a place where we want to be our best selves for each other . I think we are realizing just how precious 20 yrs is and what awesome but hard work it is to hang onto it all . We are treating this bond together as the rare and precious gift that is is .

When I said in my last post that we are more in love  in the last 6 months than when we met - I truly was not joking . We are . And I am so grateful . It is not luck at all - it is damn hard ( and beautiful ) deliberateness and work 

So starting out fresh together at the Villa Renaissance Unit 105 was very fitting actually . A new chapter for us ... A new beginning in a lot of ways . Sharing vacation with friends for the first time . Having our almost 19 yrs old son  actively participate in the care of our other two teens along with my amazing Mom was also a first . Discovering a new place that we can call home each year when we visit .

We already started making a list on the plane home of when we want to go back and with whom ! Top of our list (of course) is to one day share this again  with Savvy and Yucca . And my brother and sister in law one day , and the Soulkeepers , and my mom . Maybe even the kids one day ( although then it would be more of a family vacation and this is our couple time for us  )
We loved the 4 night formula of having guests arrive in the middle of our stay and having the first couple of days alone and the last couple too . It was magical and perfect actually . And the great part is you only pay for the second bedroom the nights you use it.

Our wonderful buddies!!!!

My guy

Our last night may have been my favorite - although it was depressing to have to pack and leave . We discovered bicycles and took them out for a late dinner in the village  at our fave little local place . We looked so cute (if I do say so myself) with the wind in our hair and these big Mary Poppins like baskets in front of the bikes . It was like  from a movie 

All that to say Unit 105 at the Villa Renaissance in Turks and Caicos is truly remarkable and beautiful and I would recommend it to any couple or family looking for quiet , relaxation , natural beauty and wonder , great food , the best beaches in the world  and a feeling of home and warm and welcome .

So take your computers out and book it blog readers and let me know what you think when you go ! Just don't book the middle weeks of November as they will hopefully be booked by us :) We sent an email to the property management on our last day asking them to contact the owners for us to hopefully come up with a great win win deal where we can come back the same weeks every year ! 

You know where to reach me if you book your stay . Make sure to let me know . Then I can be really really jealous that you are there and I am her back at my real home !!!

I promise you won't be disappointed in this slice of paradise.

Sp pretty at night in front of the pool

A perfect place for love to grow and flourish

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sharing Life Together

Sharing it all Together

( i will do a post with many pics when back home )

Sister Savvy and Mr yucca joined us for 5 days in the beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands. Was a first for us to travel with friends on a beach vacation . It was very very fun
We always watch so many other people on vacations with friends and always wondered if we would like it . We do ! ( well with these friends anyways ! )
Was the perfect amount of time for us as half vacation we are alone and half with our buddies

As my bday gift my Hubby got an extra room at the condo we  rented for 4 nights . It is such a beautiful condo right on the beach and was super fun to share it . We have been to the same condo for the last 10 yrs that a client of hubby owned and we got a super deal on . This one we found once he sold . We are overall very satisfied and not missing the old one as much as we predicated we would . Our friends being here made it even more special of course

Moments to remember :

Yucca card game !!!!! We played cards ! Two times!!

Me peeing my pants out of laughter while playing cards

Savvy literally running away from cards to the beach in the rain

How seriously the boys took cards
How much we won cards
How calm mr yucca is explaining the rules and all of us giggling

The waitress who asked " i dont think i should ask this but why dont u drink ???"

Me wanting Savvy to give weird waitress her sparkly selfie stick ( before she messsed up )

Weird waitress in general . And weird silent pool boy

Hubby saying was too hard to text me to ask if we had travel insurance ( had to be there ! )

Crappy calamari

Yucca  trying to figure out the complexities of my crazy food fears

Keylime pie

Sunsets and jacuzzi at the Palms

Somehere cafe

Turks kabob curry sandwiches and leftover falafel

Strawberry crunch ice creams


Lots and lots of diet coke

Walks on the beach in the dark

Swimming in the pristine water

Talking about our combined 8 kids

Best custard hot fresh donuts ever

Live on skinny mirror!!

Me forcing everyone to do a photoshoot and them feeling annoyed but then grateful :)

Me being known by name at front desk ( maybe not in a good way ? )

Real estate and medical marajuna richness ideas

Us sitting on the coattails of our friends very smart money and real estate brains

Savvy being scared by the romance novel i lent her

Sleeping in ! Sun ! Beach !

Screw PG !! Hahah

Lovely friendships and memories for a lifetime

I wish they didn't take the great weather and sun home with them though . Two days now of quite horrible windy rainy weather . I pray for some sun tomorrow for our last day !!!


Friday, November 11, 2016

Honey on Toast

Honey on Toast

In yoga I heard this analogy

I thought long and hard last night here in turks and caicos and realized it applies very much to me....and my marriage

I have been married 20 yrs and been with My Protector for 22 yrs. its hard work. And its beautiful . Its both
And I am like a  little ball of frozen honey being put on a hot piece of toast fresh from the toaster. I defrost and melt slowly but surely in my own sweet little way- bit by bit and deepening the softening until i am spread evenly and softly all over the piece of hot toast.

That is me . That is us.

I told our friends the other day when we alll went out for a friends dinner in response to them asking how it feels to be married 20 yrs to the same person " that i think we are more in love in the last 6 months than we ever were"
They all started laughing

I was maybe joking? But in my heart i knew i was not . It was all true . Much more in love emotionally, physically and just plain all over . We worked hard for this and this was our prize. I said  it again that yes this was  actually true

They still giggled

But yet i knew it was true . I did this work- i know

Some people come into marriage with their stuff together and fairly complete. Secure , safe and stable. Having lived in families  with two stable parents or one single stable parent without mental illness and MS and wheelchairs or threatned suicide or a sense of danger looming around the corner .  Both of our childhood homes were very very loving and wonderful in so many ways (especially mine! ) but neither were easy in any way. Neither felt secure or predicatble in any way .  There was not a sense of " everything will be alright " because it clearly was not on many days .  Worry was always there. Having a carefeee childhood was not on the agenda . It built some great relationships and some very strong resilience and character but it didnt make honey melt into the toast. It took work and smarts and confidence and character to be that child - those children- when your parent is sick- and it is not out  in the open  and you can talk about it all -the world  doubly doesn't feel safe and secure . When you have to build that future from a very young age and figure it all out . Thank goodness for my strong strong attachment and love with my mother, as without her i dont think i would have ever been able to become honey at all. My Dad wasn't a reliable parent at all, yet he lived with us and loved us  as was a good person in so many ways and was not open to feedback at all . It made me doubt myself so often and feel guilty for not being able to love him more . He was there always but i had no way to relate to him so much of the time

So there are many of us  , My husband  and i included who come from childhoods where we have not yet melted for many many reasons including the ones above  and for others many different  and  far more extreme circumstances than our own

And we defrost in marriage  and discover ourselves there with our new environment
Some faster than other
Some way faster than others
Many don't defrost at all and still feel unsafe and let go
Some chill on their own
Others turn to honey in a new partner's arms
Many go on to just stay cold or chilly
Many warm up a bit
Many warm up alot
And many for years day by day melt completely and eventually and finally

And the toast is there to catch them as they finally sweeten and soften all over . As they finally perceive that the world might be there to actually catch them and they begin to trust and be carefree in the safe arms of someone who loves them and has both the strength and willingness to hold on tight and never let go
Some it takes days , others months and others years or even decades
Some never do

No matter what
No matter what happens

It is a miracle that this can take 20 yrs isn't it?
I laught out loud too at this

Most people i know describe their marriages as a slow decline starting out wonderful and going slowly downhill from there  to an acceptable and comfortable place
I describe  mine as a slow very slow incline of getting better and better as i myself feel more at peace with myself and the world around me- like a child letting go of the clutch that her fists have become . Trusting the world and her heart as it matures. Trusting myself and my heart

I chose wisely , very very wisely and have had the strongest partner in my husband anyone could hope for straight from the beginning. The strongest co parent and career partner  and home partner
Now its time to discover safety amongst eachother and loving and letting go and letting in . Its time to let the work speak for itself and let ourselves melt into one another
To grow individually and return safely home
To blossom  apart and blossom again together
To be as two and to be as one

Me melting like a ball of frozen honey on warm toast
How good it feels to be melted
Which what i assume will be forever
He is the toast that has always been warm and ready to catch me
He is one patient piece of toast
He is still here
I am here
Sweetness prevails

Sunday, November 06, 2016

What Makes up a Best Day?

When I give seminars and workshops on life work integration or boundaries and balance - we often do an exercise called “Best Days and Worst Days”
 To me- it so important to know what actions, decisions and feelings are necessary to make a day stand out as extraordinary.

Today was a definite best day for me. I want to record and remember it.

Why was it the best?

We were all 5 together and had been more than 5 weeks we had not been at cottage together 

We actually had a Friday night together as of 9pm after hip hop and went to pick up Beauty for a Thai express dinner and fun drive to cottage with lots of cool conversations  (we never have Friday nights together)

We all slept in today 

We went door a great lunch at our old family cottage that we used to share and spent time with hubby’s sis and bro-in- law 

That cottage holds so many precious memories for our kids and each time they visit they run from room to room looking for new stuff that has changed. They talk about all their childhood memories. All the smells and the sounds. The nature, the lake, the furniture. All of it. Makes me feel that it was all so so worth it those weekends packing and unpacking with three little kids . Warms my heart to know they still get to visit and is part of their legacy of memories 

Us and our great extended family

Us at LDF but with kids taller than me!

Lunch at LDF was just so fun and simple and cottagy with our toast on the wood burning stove, the walk to the stream and the open space all together 

The happiness and closeness of all three kids. They don’t just like each other- they adore each other (on best days anyways!) Seeing them laugh on the sofa and hug and cuddle just like when they were little. Three little bears

One thing I can say about our kids -they are very affectionate and have never lost that with age. Beauty sometimes not but sometimes yes. She has always been showered with hugs and cuddles from her two brothers whether she likes it or not!

Cant believe he is almost 19! I remember him as a little tiny guy on this balcony in a diaper riding his red truck around and around

Seeing Hubby share Peru with his family. Seeing how interested and proud they were of him 

Feeling the closeness of my children. The inside jokes they share with me, the looks and smiles we share, the affection and understanding. Seeing what we have grown together 

The love of cottage life a shared passion for all 5 (well maybe 4 but she still likes it a lot but doesn’t dare admit it!)

The comments that both boys made that they felt sad that their adult cousins did not come to dinner weekly with their own parents. Making it clear to us they share the same visions of their futures as we do and staying close and connected on a weekly basis.(lets see id they actually stick to that!)

The great conversations in the car and the debates 

Not getting killed as we came an inch from running over a deer on the highway!

Getting to our own cottage and all sitting and reading or texting or blogging or watching movies by the big fire

We love our old cottage-but we love our new one too. Especially tonight when it looked like this on the lake!!!

Bear coming and declaring that he was going to be volunteering in medical clinic, hospitals or dentist clinics. Out of the blue. And asking me that moment to compose the emails with him to reach these opportunities 

Seeing how polite and kind and interesting all three kids are with other adults. And being so proud of how they have grown up. When with us they often don’t show this side-but with others adults it is clear as day 

Feeling like we did something right (as often we feel we did it all wrong) feeling like the way we raised our kids was good. And feeling good we didn’t impose things on them often, but that they still came to their own decisions about great stuff like being motivated in school and volunteering etc. . They are three good eggs 

And all of this made possible by?? No phones today at the cottage!!!!!
 This was a best day. Don’t come around too often but when they do I savor every single moment

(I need to post these one the same day I write them. Already it is Sunday evening less than 24 hrs later and it is not the best day anymore! Full of cleaning and organizing and tons of hard work and the kids are hyper and agitated and screaming and swearing all over the place!!!)

oh well it was great while it lasted:)

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Emotional Vulnerability Rules!

You know how everyone says as you get older you get wiser too . It is really really so true .
I am still learning every single day and wiser than I have ever been . I can't even imagine how much wisdom older people have inside of them .

Life .. Truly is our biggest teacher 

The biggest lesson I have learnt over the years ? Be emotionally vulnerable with those you love . Be true . And most of all feel your feelings . The good the bad and the ugly . Don't just talk about them - feel them .

This may sound obvious to many but it wasn't for me . Has taken me years of deep therapy to get here and it feels so good . I have had professional therapy , and lots of informal therapy from many of my friends who are way more emotionally aware than I am . I have also opened up many other friends and colleagues and family with my new found skill and maybe inspired them to do the same .

Soulkeeper provides me some serious tough love and because of her I have grown as a wife , mother and friend . It feels so good .

It's so much more refreshing to lean in than to lean out in love . To communicate fully and be fully human . I have worked so hard to get here . So many years 

Pain demands to be felt 

If there is anything ( and I think most of us have many things ) that you feel is too hard for think  about or feel ... Run ( don't walk ) to your nearest professional or great friend and let it be felt . This is my absolute strongest advice and took me years to do myself ... 

I could talk about pain and problems endlessly . My problem was feeling them . 

Now I can do both 

I had a situation in the last few weeks that brought out rage in me . True rage . Usually rage is felt like sadness to me . Tears and sadness . As I sat on the chair and spoke to my beloved therapist yesterday  that I have not seen in two years there were no tears at all . They were gone . There was rage only and it felt good to express it without fear or judgement . 

Pain demands to be felt 

And the wiser we are the more we get this . I wish had not taken me 45 years