Time for Some Self Reflection

Hello my fellow blog lovers,

We did it, we are officially into the Fall season and I can not wait to break out my leather coat, jeans, boots and lap up all the applely, pumpkiny, spicy, colourful goodness that is Autumn here in Ontario.  It is also a perfect time to reflect and let things go both physically and emotionally, as it would seem to be that is how I am feeling as of late.

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Allow me to explain…

Lately, I have been feeling both physically and emotionally sluggish and almost a resistance if you will, has been going on inside of me.  It has been a struggle to focus and stay motivated for both my professional and personal life.  I was just chalking it up to the hot weather or being tired from doing too much, but I don’t think that is what is going on.

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Old fears of not being good enough or pushing myself outside of my comfort zone have decided to rear their ugly head once again and I can not figure out why.  Then it hit me, as I have been working on the first module for my Yoga Certification Training for my spiritual, emotional and physical work, I have also been working on my Law of Attraction for Business for my professional work, and I think by raising my vibration and tapping into my own intuition, a powerful cosmic shift has begun to move inside of me.  My old safe ways of thinking and feeling are being disturbed and are being pushed off balance and they are pushing back with a vengeance, not going down without a fight.

Blogging and sharing with all of you every week has given me an outlet to share how I am feeling in my life at any given moment; my thoughts, feelings, stories and emotions all bare for all to you to see and relate to. For that I am truly grateful.  But, it has also forced me to look within myself and acknowledge those thoughts and feelings and not dismiss them as irrelevant or something to bury out of shame, guilt or fear.  You see my business has grown quicker than I thought it would and I can feel that I am on the precipice of breaking through that bottle neck of just existing by keeping the balls in the air to flourishing, learning and evolving into the business I know and want her to be.  But, the thought of succeeding scares the crap out of me, if that makes any sense?  Failure sucks, we all know this, but it is what I know and it is what I find a twisted comfort in.  I know right, CRAY CRAY!

Fear of the unknown and being off kilter generally will stir up feelings of fear and trepidation of not being good enough inside of me, as this has been my general emotional life pattern. As the trees begin to change their colours and they begin to fall to the ground, I too need to be still and let go of any and everything that is not serving me emotionally, spiritually and physically.  I am feeling the need to purge.  Anything that I haven’t used or needed in the last 6 months is getting the ole heave hoe.  Look out closet I am looking at YOU!

Next week, I am going on a business trip or ‘workcation’ to Vancouver and I think this will be a perfect time to take myself out of my usual routine and surroundings and really shake things up a bit.  I will take some time in my new environment to be still and look within and listen to what my body, mind and spirit are trying to say to me and have the courage to roll with the new changes.  It is going to be a roller coaster, but I am ready to strap myself in and weather the ride no matter how many sharp twists, turns and bumps that may occur along the way.  I will stumble, misstep and retreat, but I will always get back into the ‘saddle’ so to speak and continue.  I didn’t come this far to come this far as they say. I am and I think we all are a work in progress just in need of a little tune up.  I hope you and the rest of the world are ready for my upgraded version of Dina 2.0!

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Thank you once again for coming along with me every week, reading my stories, anecdotes and ramblings, that NEVER goes unnoticed!  But, before I go, I would like to ask you all one thing, what is your favorite thing about Fall and do you take it as a time of year to do some self work, be still and look within?  Can’t wait to hear your feedback!

 

Until next time,

Love & Light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

 

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Autumn in Ontario =’s My Roasted Butternut Squash & Pear Soup!

Happy Tuesday My fellow Blog Lovers!

Another week is upon us and for the first time I am sensing that ‘fall’ feeling all around me, the cooler weather at night, the trees are starting to bloom into their glorious colourful hues of autumn and my need to cook is definitely bubbling.

I don’t know if it was the Flavours festival that was just here in Port Colborne this past weekend; I actually did a live taste test of the Donair & Tabuleh dish from The Smokin Buddha from the festival, check it out here:

https://www.facebook.com/dinaarsenaultdigitalstrategist/videos/681213318698276/ 

or just my inkling to stock up and get me and my family ready for the cold and unforgiving winter season, which according to the Farmer’s Almanac it is supposed to be a doozy this year. I find my mind and my taste buds are leaning towards my most favorite and flavourful fall creation; my roasted butternut squash and pear soup.  This has to be my go to creation every fall, when the squashes, apples and pears are in great supply and begging to be transformed all around us here in the Niagara region.

Now this recipe has evolved every time that I have made it, my taste buds, creativity and what was available in the house have made it a chameleon of sorts but always delicious.  It can be sweet or savory, that flavour profile is entirely up to you.  Again, as I had mentioned in my previous recipe posts, I do not always give you amounts for spices etc as my Mother and her Mother and so on were taught to cook by feel and I also like to leave that part open to your own flavour likes and your own creativity.  So break open your hot apple ciders, or cups of tea and pull up a chair and let’s begin the process of making my delicious;

Roasted Butternut Squash & Pear Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 Butternut Squash
  • 2 White Cooking Onions
  • 2 Apples
  • 2 Pears
  • Maple Syrup
  • Brown Sugar
  • Butter
  • Chicken Stock
  • Heavy Cream
  • Cinnamon
  • Allspice
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • Salt & Pepper

Note:  I have used leeks instead of onions, fresh ginger instead of powdered in the past.  I have also substituted one of the butternut squashes with an acorn or a small pumpkin and I have also substituted molasses instead of maple syrup as well and each substitution lent itself to another evolution of the recipe.  Again, use your imagination and play with the it.

Also, if you are vegan or vegetarian, use veggie stock and or instead of heavy cream use almond or coconut milk.  However, since both of these milks are sweet, use less of the brown sugar and maple syrup to counteract their sweetness.

Directions:

Peel, core and de-seed the butternut squash, apples, pears and onions and cut into smaller pieces and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle salt & pepper and the spices over the mixture. Dollop butter over top of the veg mixture in all the corners, edges and in the middle. Sprinkle the brown sugar and maple syrup over the mixture.  If you are going for a more savory taste in your soup use less of the sugar and maple syrup, if you like it more sweet add more.

Pour the stock over the mixture until it comes up about half way up the baking dish.  Place the baking dish in a 375 degree oven and bake until soft, sporadically tossing the veg mixture while cooking so it does not stick and burn to the bottom of the dish. Remove the baking dish from the oven, careful not to burn yourself.

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Let it cool slightly, blend until smooth.  I use my Nutri bullet, but I have used a submersion and or high powered blender in a pinch and they worked great.  If you find that there is not a lot of liquid left from baking, simply add a bit more of the stock when you are blending. Place the blended mixture in a pot and slowly add the heavy cream and blend until you get the consistency you desire for your soup.  Ladle into bowls and serve.  To add some crunch you can toast the seeds from the squash and sprinkle on top of the finished soup. Delish!

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This recipe both freezes and cans great, just don’t add the cream if you do.  Add it when you serve.  I can not wait for you all to get cooking in your own kitchens and give my soup a try!  Let em know how it goes and what were your own ‘twists’ did you do to make it your own!

Thank you once again for taking the time to read my ramblings every week, that never goes unnoticed.  But before I bid you adieu, let me ask you, what is your go to recipe in the fall that you and your family love?  I would love to hear!

 

Until next time,

Love & Light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

Dream On…

Hello fellow blog lovers and followers,

Another week has come and gone and here we are already in the second week of September!  Is it just me or is time just seem to be speeding up not slowing down as we get older?  Sorry, showing my age again, I promise I won’t start complaining about my aches and pains and having to get up to go pee multiple times in the night, welllll not in this blog anyways, I make no promises 😛

OK onward and upwards to today’s blog post, this week, something stuck me or I had an Aha moment ala Oprah and it came to me, dreams change, at least mine have.

Let me explain…

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As some of you may know or I have said it here in passing, my first love has always been film making.  The glamour and mystique of the big screen struck me at a very young age when I was watching The Wizard of Oz one day.  If you haven’t seen it, GO SEE IT, rent it, (yes we used to rent movies), download it or Netflix it, it still holds up today with elements of whimsy and make believe.  I knew that at a young age I wanted to be a part of ‘that’, in what ever capacity I could.  Fast forward, getting my Honours Communications Degree from Brock University, my Broadcasting Diploma in Radio, TV and Film from Niagara College and living out in Vancouver for many years, trying to live the film making dream but STILL having to say, “Do you want fries with that?” in order to survive.  I realized that my dream may need to be reevaluated or at least adjusted.

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Me shooting a VLog (Video Blog) for a client

 

Like it or not, the Canadian film and television industry is a tough nut to crack even for the seasoned pros.  Canadian film making phenom Anne Wheeler, once told me during an interview I had with her for my final thesis project about Canadian woman filmmakers;

After I finish every film project, I have to start back at square one hustling for funding for the next one”  

We are a public funded based industry unlike the US who is primarily based on a studio system.  There are pros and cons to both and I won’t get into them here, but when you are ALL fighting for the same money, the unknown Indy filmmaker generally gets lost in the shuffle.  So, when I finally came to the conclusion that I was always going to have to have a day job, I figured why not find one that I can utilize my experiences and knowledge I had already acquired from the Film & TV industry, and voila here I am working in Public Relations and social media management!

So where am I going with all this you ask?  Well, recently I sat back and realized that I hadn’t had the craving and need to write a film script in quite some time. No really I used to thirst for it!  And it got me thinking, was my passion gone?  Was I never really supposed to be filmmaker?  Was it all a lie?  And this is where Oprah, gave me a car…. Kidding 😛

No this is where I had my Aha moment; I am not craving it because what I loved the most about film making and script writing I am actually already getting from my PR work, telling the human story.

Every day when I am managing the social media platforms for my clients, I am telling their own unique story, all the while building communities and relationships around them and their brand online. I mean how freaking cool is that!  I have a hand it not only telling but creating multiple human stories every day.  Essentially, my dream evolved as I and my life did.

For the longest time, I equated my identity as film maker.  My quirky creative tendencies, my eclectic taste in music, art and avant garde traditions.  I felt like the Jackson Pollock of the 1990’s if there really ever was such a  thing. But, what I have come to realize all these years later, is that I can still wear the doc martins (and I do), have the funky glasses (yup got those) and wear the wild coloured hair (about to make a comeback) and still be ME, but a more mature and evolved Me. Today, my identity is Digital Media Strategist and that is still pretty fucking cool too! I know I am not the same person I was 20 years ago, hell I am not the same person I was last week. But, my core values and desires have never wavered and they never will.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I still wouldn’t jump at an opportunity to collaborate and create films if given the opportunity, in fact acknowledging this revelation has reignited my desire to do just that.  Just now, I can do it for the sheer love of it and not because I need to pay the rent, that, I already have covered. 🙂

If any of you are interested, here is a film short called Redemption that I wrote, directed and produced and was shown in the Reel Women International Film Fest in LA in 2007.

Warning: there may be some abuse triggers for some in it.  Please click the link and tell me what you think!

Again, thank you for coming along on these blog rides with me every week, I hope that my writing has given you a pause for thought or made you think or feel in some way.  I am always so grateful for your support in taking the time to read my ramblings every week, it does not go unnoticed I assure you.  But, before I go, let me know have any of your dreams evolved or changed?  Have new ones replaced them?  I would love to hear!

Until next time,

Love & Light I send to each and every one of you always,

Dina xxoo

Self Care is Not Selfish

Hello Blog Lovers,

Well here we have it, another season is upon us as we slide past Labour Day and into September.  Fall colours will soon be blooming, cooler days, boots and sweaters and a perfect time to reflect and take stalk of where we are and where we would still like to go for the remainder of 2016.

Over this past Labour Day Long Weekend, I had the opportunity to just get away and have a ‘girls weekend’ away with my Mom not far away, just in a little cabin overlooking Lake Erie right here in Niagara called Sunrise B&B Cabin on the Lake.  Seriously, where was my life before AirBnB!

In these past few years I have been concentrating on creating experiences with my Mom as opposed to just sharing material things.  Being poor growing up, it was the memories of talking, playing games, laughing, getting out in nature and sharing stories that were my fondest ones, not the toys or clothes I got, which in those days were few and far between.  I want to get back to that and in essence maybe make up for the time lost sharing and creating our own unique memories while living so far away in BC for so many years.

I brought my laptop and was still working while there, ahhh the life of an entrepreneur. Finally, got my work done and took a much needed break and poured myself a glass of wine and took a walk down to the lake and sat on a rock , listened to the waves hit the rocky shoreline, felt the cool wind blow through my hair and the warmth of the afternoon sun hit my face, and in that moment I finally took a breath and just became centered and present in this precious moment.  As I exhaled, this rush and wave of emotion came over me, I was truly present in my gratitude.  In that moment, things became clear, and a quote from one of my clients and good friend Michela Quilici  of Q Consulting, Marketing With A Purpose whispered in my ear, “Self Care is not Selfish”  Woahhhhhh game changer people – I finally GOT IT…

In my effort to always be there for my clients, my Mom, stepdad, friends, loved ones, general humanity I tend to forget about me and what I need to ‘fill myself up’ so I can reboot and recharge and be able to get  all of the things I want and need out of my life so I can give those things back to all of you.  Taking a moment in the day to just ‘Be’ is paramount for my well being and it is not selfish.  I mean I had heard this hundreds of times before and like most of us just filed it back in my brain where we store all the things we want to research further, but generally don’t because of our already enormous ‘to do’ lists.

Like most women I am a care giver, I am always looking to take care of everyone first and get to me later or most of the times not at all because I am too tired or burnt out by the time ‘Me Time’ actually comes around.  Taking a brief moment which was supposed to be a vacation anyways for me and my well being was not only needed but it taught me and reaffirmed that I matter, and my wants and needs do as well.  In that moment, I decided that for the rest of the weekend I was going to be present with my Mom, talk, laugh, eat, drink, take in the gorgeous scenery and tranquil surroundings just like we used to do and ‘fill myself up’ with all this goodness and just breathe, and that is just what I did.

Side note:  If you are looking for a local place to just get away for a few days that is not only reasonable but beautiful and tranquil then you MUST book at the Sunrise B&B Cabin on the Lake where I stayed! Leigh and Paul the owner go above and beyond with their hospitality. Warm, friendly and Leigh will cook you a feast for breakfast.  No seriously, we generally would only eat half and save the rest for lunch, that delicious and plentiful.  You can check out the cabin and my views here:

But I digress, back to the topic at hand…

Will I be able to ‘schedule’ these moments when I get back to the grind of everyday life?

Well, for the first time I have put them into the schedule and have consciously made my focus to now make them a priority.  It is a start and I am certainly a work in progress. They say writing down your goals is really giving your dreams a deadline, so here we go, moments of gratitude and self reflection each day, you have officially been penciled in…

Both Mom and I were fully changed from this shared experience of scheduling some ‘self care’ and we both look forward to making many more with each other. fullsizerender-1__large

Thank you again for taking the time to read my weekly blog posts,  that never goes unnoticed.  But before I go, I would like to ask you, what activities do you schedule through out your day to practice ‘self care’ for you?  Do you schedule breaks and eat your lunch away from your desk, or take a moment to just breathe and practice gratitude? Or it could be something else, I would love to hear!

Until we meet again,

I send you love and light always,

Dina xxoo