Tuesday, 9 December 2014

And the winner is...

Sorry for the delay on this post friends!

Yesterday ended up getting a little crazy and I was a little frazzled. So I struggled to find the time to sit down and finalize all the contest details.

You guys were really excited about this one, and I wish I had more to giveaway. But alas, I only have the one. So without further adieu, the WINNER is... Amelia Lockhart (aka @this_teacher_runs on Instagram). Congrats girlie!

Amelia please email me ksibabishop@yahoo.com and so I can coordinate the shipment of your prize.

Hope you guys are having a great Tuesday!!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The 10 Most Important Lessons I Learned Before My 30th Birthday

Earlier this week I described my twenties as a period of tumultuous transition. And I very much stand by that statement. But they were also a period of profound personal growth. 

I celebrated my 20th birthday in the midst of an existential crisis. I spent the day curled up with a bowl of ice cream, crying, while watching Winnie the Pooh, and wondering what it all meant. I remember feeling like my childhood was over and I didn't have any of the necessary answers to face this big bad world as an adult.

So on the eve of my 30th birthday, I am struck by how different I feel facing this new chapter. I still don't have all the answers. But I am comfortable enough with the person that I am, to know that I don't need them. 

I have learned some important lessons about  - myself, the person that I want to be, life, and the journey that I am on - to feel ready for whatever comes next. These are the 10 most important lessons I learned before my 30th birthday.

1. Your health is your most valuable asset.
The truth is, without your health, you have nothing. It is a reality I have faced many times over in my 20's. And it was just as profound the last time, as it was the first. So appreciate, nurture, and protect it.

2. Love is one of life's most beautiful gifts.
Very few people would describe me as a lucky girl. But I have been lucky in love. I found that genuine, unwavering, amazing kind of love. I had found my safe place to fall. I had found my perfect place to grow. I created a place where I could love and be loved whole-heartedly and unconditionally. And I often find myself wondering what I have done to deserve all of this.

It truly is one of life's most beautiful gifts. So if you find it - hold on to it, fight for it, and cherish every second of it.

3. You can't please everyone.
I assure you, I have tried. I have long been a people-pleaser by nature, but as I enter my 30's, I have learned that it is impossible to do so. And that is okay. If you do the best you can, likely you will please a LOT of people along way. And the criticism of those you don't, will matter less.

I have learned that the more you love the person you are and the decisions you make, the less you need others to love them. So speak up, assert yourself, demand respect, and stay true to you.

4. People often mistake kindness for weakness, but it requires a lot more strength to be kind.
The world is a hard place. And many people walk around with a chip on their shoulder. So it often confuses those people when despite it all you chose to be happy. It would be easy to let the darkness swallow you up, but you are stronger than that.

5. You won't always get what you want.
No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don't work out the way you want them to. We all have expectations. We all have an idea in our heads of how our life is "supposed" to be. But sometimes those very expectations can hinder us from seeing what is already right in front of us.

Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we change our minds. But we always end up where we were meant to be.

6. Cherish the simple things
There are monumental moments in life - those are the moments you remember and the moments that will shape you. But it is the beautiful simplicity of the days in between that need to be cherished.

Those quiet moments when you fall asleep next to your husband. Those days you get a parking spot right next to the entrance. That instant when the sunlight hits the window just-so. Those moments where your heart is peaceful and a smile creeps across your face. Those are the moments. Those are the moment I will try to live for.

7. Perfection is Overrated.
Perfection and nothing less - was what I hoped and strived for in my 20s. Today I have come to realize that some of my best qualities stem from less than perfect circumstances. And the things that make me, well me, are all of my scars, battle wounds, and perfectly imperfect parts. To be honest, those are probably the parts I love best. (*a far cry from the girl who picked her wedding dress solely based on the style most likely to hide her scars*)

You can always strive for progress, but perfection is overrated. Embrace what make you - YOU. Chose to honor yourself - mind, body, and spirit. You are worth it.

8. Honesty is profoundly important.
Especially with yourself. It sounds simple, but it is actually incredibly difficult. It is hard to be honest about your actions, your motivations, your mistakes, and your short-comings. It is hard to be that critical, so sometimes a proper sounding board is required to reach said honesty. ("Hi Hunny") But that honesty is critical - because it helps you grow.

9. Life is short - take nothing for granted.
It is a hard lesson to learn, but it may be one of the most important. Life can change in an instant. Take time to appreciate what you have while you still have it.

I admit to being guilty of living in the future - thinking about the next day, the next week, the next 5 years. It is easy to get bogged down and worried about what is coming next. And while it is important to strive and to dream, you can't worry your life away. Sometimes we need to simply breathe and be grateful.

10. I still have a lot to learn.
I have learned a lot from my 20's. But no one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the has all the answers. And I certainly don't profess to.

I know more about myself now than I did 10 years ago. But I have still have a lot of living to do. I will make mistakes. I will say and do things I shouldn't. But I am okay with that. We grow. We change. We learn. That is the beauty of life.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Birthday #PolarM400 Giveaway

This Friday is my 30th Birthday. And while I know 30 can often be a difficult number for a lot of people, I am so thankful to be starting a new decade, that Friday can't come soon enough.

I think my 20's can best be described as a period of tumultuous transition, and I am not sorry to leave all of that behind. This past decade has been filled with some of my highest highs and my lowest lows - all of which have helped make me the person I am today. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned. But I am striving for Peaceful, Happy, and Healthy Future. And I am hopeful that this is what 30 will bring.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned in my 20's is that health is something earned, and almost never given. And that health is very much something worth fighting for.

Part of managing my condition is my responsibility. And I know I don't have the luxury of taking my health for granted. So I train and try my best to eat healthy as a way to take care of my body and to take an active role in my treatment plan.

And my trusty Polar Heart Rate Monitor has been with me all the way along. I would not be able to train the way that I do without it. I have been testing out and loving the new Polar M400, and since it is my Birthday I want to be able to share the gift of health and happiness with you!

So today I am giving away 1 Black Polar M400 (without Heart Rate) for my Birthday!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I started my journey with Polar with a little basic FT2, and I must admit the technology has come a LONG way. So I am excited to share the latest and greatest with you!

Training Features:
  • You can customize your profile with up to 50 different sports.
  • GPS - it is lightning fast!
  • Smart Calories - important for fueling and endurance training
  • Tracks Personal Bests - it gives you little trophies (which I must admit I like!)
  • Auto-Start/Stop
  • Easy to Program Interval Timer - both time and distance
  • Training Targets and Running Index
If you are like me then you probably do a pretty wide variety of sports/fitness activities. I primarily run, but I also train for triathlon, cycle, do Yoga, BodyPump, weight training (well I am trying), spin classes, and swimming. The list goes on, so being able to customize all of those activities and track them all separately has been awesome.

And if you have ever stood outside on a freezing cold morning waiting for a GPS signal, than you know how important it is to have a speedy GPS. The longest I have ever waited to date is 1 minute and 11 seconds (I timed it).

I also love the "Back to Start" feature offered by the Polar's GPS. When you flip to the "Back to Start" screen an arrow appears to lead you back to where you started your route. I have used this a ton when I am traveling, and I have also needed to use it a couple of times when I got turned around in the trails. It helps you feel a little more confident when you are running a new route or running in a new city all together.

Activity Tracker:
  • Tracks your activity 24/7 giving you information about steps and distance
  • Tracks your sleep and breaks it down into Restless vs. Restful
  • Inactivity Alerts to remind you to get moving

I didn't think the activity tracker would be very important to me, because I consider myself to be an active person. But one the things I noticed is that I often mistake being mentally busy with being physically busy.

I spend a lot time traveling for work, but I am stationary for the majority of that travel time. So while it may feel like I have been on the go all day, I often don't move as much as I think I do. Having the Activity Tracker visible kept me honest and focused on getting the necessary steps in throughout the day.

Technical Features:
  • Heart Rate Training and Zones
  • 9 hour battery life for continuous GPS and HR
  • rechargeable battery
  • updateable software
  • easy sync via Polar Flow with Bluetooth Smart technology
The contest will be open until Sunday December 7th at 11:59pm
I will announce the winner on Monday December 8th.

Cheers to a new year! A new decade! And lots of health and happiness!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

** Disclaimer: I work for Polar Canada. But I have been a Polar user for the last 11 years and all opinions about this product are my own.**

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Surgery Update

Because this Pre-Op Look deserves a Selfie!
Well friends, despite being bumped by 2 weeks and having my OR time delayed by 3 hours on Tuesday, Surgery 7 is done and dusted.

I have done this enough times, that generally I don't get too fussed about these days anymore. And this particular surgery is more of a non-surgery-surgery.

One of my wires had displaced itself. You could see its outline fairly prominently just below my scar. It popped out very soon after my last surgery, but by the time I got to the OR on Tuesday I knew I was on borrowed time. My left side was almost constantly swollen. And the wire was only covered by a very thin layer of skin and dangerously close to breaking through. So I was just happy to get this all taken care of.

This surgery was especially different because it was just done under Local anesthetic. It sounds slightly unnerving, but it actually makes your healing time a lot faster. So this is probably the most alert I have ever been for a procedure. And I was lucky to have the Chief anesthesiologist in charge of my meds.

I have become a frequent visitor of the OR lately, and many of the doctors and nurses I see are folks that I have seen before. I spent the ride down to the OR laughing and chatting with the Anaesthesiologist - Dr. O'Leary is an extremely funny man. He explained that I would be fairly alert throughout the procedure, and that there may be a period time where it would feel a bit painful, because of the timing of the meds. He said just to let him know and he would sort it all out for me ASAP.

They gave me some drugs when I first got situated on the table. So I felt a little loopy immediately, but otherwise okay.

I have gotten into the habits of giving pep talks before my surgeries now. I like to remind them that I really don't want to come back, and that I have other life goals I am trying to accomplish.

So in my loopy state, under the drapes, I remember telling them that "I am trying to buy a house".
And that "my husband and I would like to start a family someday".
And that "I really hoped this would be my last visit for awhile".
I also remember saying, "that this is starting to not feel very good".
And then waking up 15 minutes later all stitched up and on my way to recovery.

It was one of the strangest experiences I have had, but I must confess I woke up feeling really good all things considered.

I am home now watching girlie movies, reading books, and searching for the perfect Christmas cookie recipe - feeling really lucky. The staff at Toronto General were amazing. And the most difficult part of the whole ordeal was having to wait an additional 6 hours for my second round of antibiotics (re: not difficult at all).

This particular surgery has been one of the most seamless OR experiences I have ever had. And I am hopeful (so very hopeful) that #7 will be lucky #7, and that I can spend a little less time at the hospital for a little while.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 20 November 2014

I Mustache You Some Questions

I was tagged by the lovely Heather from Where's the Beach in the latest blogger survey/question type posts making its rounds on the interwebs. I have not done one of these posts in a LONG time, so I am game! So let's do this!

1. Four names that people call me, other than my real name.

1. Siba/Sibs - growing up there were 2 Krysten's in my elementary school class, so everyone started calling me by my last name. All my girlfriends still call me this. Or they get creative and come up with funny hybrids of my new hyphened name - Bishba or Sibop are favs.
2. K - I have never really gotten Kris, but for some reason K is how everyone likes to shorten my name
3. Darwinian Fail - yep, I picked this name for myself. And it never fails to make me laugh when some asks "Are you Darwinian Fail?". Yes I am.
4. Kooks - this was what my Dad always called me as kid. Pretty sure it is play on kooky - aka wacko/crazy woman. I was a pretty high energy wee one.

2. Four Jobs I have had

1. Waitress/Bartender - I think everyone should be in the service industry at some point in time. You learn a lot about people and the importance of kindness and manners
2. Camp Counselor
3. Program Coordinator for Harmony Place Support Services
4. Communication Enrichment Coordinator for adults that use Alternative and Augmentative Communication
(* the last 2 were what I did in a different life before I got into the sport industry. And there are days that I still miss it)

3. Four Movies I have watched more than once

1. Princess Bride
2. Titanic (swoon Leo in the 90's)
3. Pulp Fiction
4. The Notebook (it gets me every time!)

4. Four Books I would recommend

This one is tough for me, as an English Major. I am constantly reading and have a ridiculous, over-stocked bookshelf in my living room to prove it. But these ones I have read over and over again, so let' go with these...

1. Steinbeck - The Grapes of Wrath (I would argue the best written book of all time)
2. Hemingway - Moveable Feast
3. Margaret Atwood - Alias Grace
4. Jo Walton - Tooth and Claw

5. Four Places I have lived.

1. Toronto, ON
2. Port Colborne, ON
Yep, I lived here for a while. And yes, it was as magical as it se2. Port Colborne, ON
3. Essex, UK
4. Kingston, ON

6. Four Places I have been.

1. Santorini, Greece
2. London, England
3. Barcelona, Spain
4. Florence, Italy

7. Four Place I would rather be right now.

1. Paris, France
2. anywhere in Italy
3. on the beach
4. having a nap

8. Four things I don't eat.

1. Grilled Salmon (all other salmon is fine, but not grilled)
2. Sheppard's Pie
3. Roast Beef
4. Cabbage Rolls

9. Four of my Favourite foods.

1. Pizza
2. Carrot Cake
3. Chicken Wings
4. Sour Patch Kids
(yes I am aware they are all unhealthy. But they are all delicious!)

10. Four TV shows that I watch.

1. Walking Dead
2. Doctor Who
3. Orphan Black
4. Most Reality TV - I can't resist the drama

11. Four things I am looking forward to this year.

1. Buying a House
2. Christmas (always)
3. Hopefully making it a whole year Surgery-Free
4. Getting back into shape again post-op

12. Four things I am always saying.

1. "Fair Enough"
2. "I hear what you are saying" (it is the psychology degree at work there)
3. "I love you"
4. "Have you heard about the new Polar M400"

13. Tag 4 people...

1. Alan - aka Sweating It Off
2. Kierston - aka Candy Fit
3. Lindsay - aka Cotter Crunch
4. Amanda - aka Run to the Finish

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

#WIAW - A Day of Eats

I regularly participate in the lovely Peas and Crayon's WIAW, but I rarely show a whole day of Eats. Mostly because I use Wednesdays as a day to share recipes. But also because day in and day out my Eats are pretty boring.

9/10 times you can guarantee I had eggs and a potato for lunch. I probably had the same things for breakfast all week, maybe even all month. So it seems silly to show you the same thing each week. But I figured since I hadn't done one of these in ages, it might not be too hopelessly boring. So here you go, this is what I ate Monday!

Coffee (always coffee, probably x3) and Greek Vanilla Yogurt topped with my new favourite granola Rainforest Banana Nut by Bakery on Main. It is dairy and gluten-free, and more importantly it is delicious. I used to eat yogurt all the time for breakfast, but last year with my tummy troubles I had a hard time finding a yogurt that agreed with me. But recently I discovered Liberte Greek Yogurt and I have been back on the yogurt band wagon.

2 eggs scrambled, a roasted red potato, and Green Juice. There is no picture of the potato because it was in the oven, but I was too hungry to wait for a proper photo haha. I pretty much eat this everyday, or at least when I am not on the road for work.

A red pepper with Ttaziki. And a Soy half sweet Gingerbread Latte.

Panzanella Salad topped with Calamari.

Apple drizzled in raw honey and cinnamon. I will slice the apple up, top it, and bake it for 10 minutes. It tastes like apple pie and is perfect when it is cold outside!

Happy Wednesday Friends!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Let's Have Coffee

Hey Friends!

We have not done one of these in awhile, and there has been lots going on behind the scenes. So grab a cup of coffee, or preferably something delicious in a red cup. Get cozy and let's chat.

How are you guys doing? Are you getting excited for the Holidays? I am almost done my Christmas shopping and feeling pretty on top of my Santa game this year. And with my surgery rescheduled for the 25th I wanted to make sure I got as much done ahead of time as possible.

A lot has been going on around the Bishop household lately.  The biggest news being that we have started House Hunting.

We waited until after the Marathon to get started, because we knew we would need the extra time, and that was an understatement! The Toronto/GTA market is crazy! We are often going out twice a week to look at places, but so far...Nothing.

I was secretly hoping that this process would be seamless and we would find our perfect place on our first time out. But I am learning it is not quite so easy. So I am trying to patient. And I am hopeful that the right one will come along sooner rather than later. It would be nice to start a New Year in a new place, but we shall see if the stars align. How long did it take you to find your first house?

I would also tell you that I had a slightly stressful appointment with my cardiologist a few weeks back. If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed some slight dramatic/angsty posts surrounding my recent doctor's appointments (*pardon my EMO outburst*). I thought I was just going in for a routine check-up, but he wanted to seriously discuss my long term treatment plan.

He actually suggested getting rid of my Pacemaker/Defibrillator. Which sounds good in theory, but is actually kind of terrifying for me.

I have had my ICD for over 11 years now, and I almost can't remember what my life was like without it. So even though the robot heart isn't ideal, I understand the draw backs, and I also know that I get to live a very happy, active life the other 95% of the time.

My Cardiologist has suggested managing my condition with something called a Sympathectomy. The research I can find on this type of treatment is mixed, I have lots of questions about the potential side effects, and there is also no guarantee that it will work.

So if there are any Long QT-ers out there that have experience with this type of treatment I would love to hear your thoughts if you are willing to share?

I am planning to have some consults and do some research, but I am not ready to dive into another medical crisis just yet. And at this point I don't need to.

After my little tweak on the 25th I should be good to go for a little while, and I need the break. (*like really need it!*). Mostly I just have other things I want to do, and I would generally like to spend less time at the hospital. So for the time being I am going to be on a fact finding mission, and when the time comes that a decision is required I will know what I want to do.

That pretty much sums up what has been going on around here.
What would you tell me if we were having coffee today?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,