Thankful Thursday 14: Home(body)

Welcome to the fourteenth instalment of my Thankful Thursday series, Home(body)!

This week I’m focusing on gratitude for home and everything it entails: my home city, being home from my vacation, my home (apartment), and as I refer to in my title, my act of being a homebody.

Here’s my Thankful Thursday for the weeks of July 20 – July 26, 2018!

Things I am thankful for over the past week:

  • I had a busy first day back, and it really helped me get over the fatigue of the long drive from Calgary and get back into the swing of things.
  • This past weekend, I participated in the 24in48 Readathon, which I really enjoyed. I ended up reading for 17.5 hours in 48 hours between Friday and Sunday. You can read about my experience on my book blog.

    Starting off the readathon in style on Saturday morning. And I’m still obsessed with my sloth mug.
  • The weekend was also filled with rugby! Friday to Sunday was the Rugby World Cup 7s, so that was on pretty much all day each day.

    My life looked like this for most of the weekend.
  • Andrew and I played golf again at the Stanley Park Pitch & Putt!

    It was a beautiful morning!
  • I had a couple of appointments this week and those often cause me a lot of anxiety but they went well. And now I can breathe a sigh of relief that they’re over!
  • On Monday, I biked the seawall to one of the quieter beaches to sunbathe and read.
It was a beautiful day!
  • My best friend and I went to high tea at Honey & Salt (one of the restaurants at the new Parq casino in Yaletown) and it was delicious. We also walked home and I finally got to see the beautiful umbrella installation near Yaletown-Roundhouse station.
    Not pictured: The two crêpes that were also included.

  • On Wednesday morning, I went for a run and got treated to a beautifully calm sunrise.
  • Wednesday was also my husband and I’s third wedding anniversary, which is always a really happy day.

    Image by Sean McGrath.
  • Andrew is an excellent gift giver, and he usually tries to go super literal with the traditional anniversary gift each year. This year, he told me it was difficult to find “tanned leather hides” (you can Google it), so he went whole hog with a bunch of leather items, themed around our upcoming travel and of course, colour coordinated to our wedding. New, much-needed purse, purple leather manicure kit, portable jewelry case (with a hidden compartment for necklaces), leather pencil-case, teal leather clutch (also much-needed), luggage tags, and bracelets for future Canada days together.
He’s a keeper.
  • Finally, today I started doing a new workout program as part of my half-marathon off-season cross training. It was hard, but I know it was a great workout, so I’m going to keep at it!

And the theme for this week, Home(body)!

This week I’ve felt a really big sense of gratitude for everything that is home to me.


First, I pretty much invariably feel thankful for Vancouver any time I go away. I love to travel, but dang I love my city. Every time I get home to this place, even when I’m sitting in the same place in traffic for twenty minutes because of a road closure (what happened this time), I fall in love all over again.

Home is also a person for me, my husband. Even just being away for a week reminds me of all the reasons why I love him so much. As they say, absence makes the heart grow stronger.

Returning home after being away also makes me remember how much gratitude I have for our little apartment. It’s not new, or modern, and it’s definitely not spacious, but it’s ours. Our personalities are everywhere in this little space, and I’ve spent 8 years curating it into a place that makes me so happy. My book nook. The couch by our window with the view I love so much. My desk. The library. My plant babies. There is so much for me to love about this place, and I need to remind myself of this the next time I scream about needing a dishwasher or not wanting to go down to the basement with the laundry.


Finally, I’m really thankful to be able to be a homebody at this point in my life. I’ve spent most of this week in my apartment. Yes, I’ve exercised outside. I’ve gone to the beach. Hung out with a friend (twice). Had four appointments. Gone out for food with my husband (also twice). I’ve visited friends and their adorable kids. I’ve played golf. But really, I’ve spent at least 90% of my time at my desk, cleaning my apartment, in my bed, on my chair in my reading nook, or on the couch. I’m really trying to take the time to journal, write, read, and think. To spend time just being with myself, and learning and growing. I’m getting cozy. I’m relaxing. It’s definitely been much-needed. And I’m thankful for it.

There you have it!

So, that’s my Thankful Thursday list for this week. I hope it inspires you to make your own, and get on that gratitude train!

Peace and love,


Thankful Thursday 13: Road Trip

Welcome to the thirteenth instalment of my Thankful Thursday series, Road Trip!

This week I’m focusing on gratitude for the road trip to Calgary that I have done annually for the past two years (this is now the third time).

Here’s my Thankful Thursday for the weeks of July 13 – July 19, 2018!

Things I am thankful for over the past week:

  • Early in my visit to Calgary, we went to watch my cousin Ty’s soccer game and I got some time with his family’s dog, Kobe. I just love him!
  • Dad, Sharon, and I went for wing night at their local pub twice, and it was super delicious.
  • I spent almost every afternoon reading and sunbathing in the back yard on a lawn chair, finishing 5.5 books!
  • I got to see everyone in the family at least once, which rarely happens because they’re often travelling in the summer!
  • One of those visits was a fun little trip to Fish Creek with one of my cousins and her two kids! We skipped rocks by the river and sat down for ice cream at Annie’s.

    It was beautiful by the Elbow river, but buggy!
  • On Monday, we went to Waterton Lakes National Park. We intended to go down for canoeing at Cameron Lake, but when we got there it was closed because of bears! Instead, we sat on the beach by the main lake for lunch and then got ice cream at a place called The Big Scoop. It was lovely anyway!
    The view of the lake from the beach.
    My view laying down on the beach looking up.

    Toasted S’mores and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream in a waffle cone from The Big Scoop.
  • We got some more family time (and Kobe time!!) later in the week.

    He’s a little ham!
  • He squeezed between Dad and I on the bench.
    His head was too heavy to hold up apparently, so he laid it on the table.

    Really into the scritches from Sharon.
  • Dad, Sharon, and I got a few runs in, even though it was super super hot! It felt good to be able to move my legs.
  • This beautiful sunset!
  • There’s a new movie theatre out by my parents’ house, and the seats are AMAZING. There’s a button you push and then they recline electrically!

And the theme for this week, Road Trip!

I know this post has pretty much all been about my road trip already, but I have a few things to be thankful for about the road trip specifically.

First, I just really love the drive. It takes me about 11.5 hours (with three quick pee/coffee/snack stops). I take my own lunch and snacks also so that I don’t have to wait a while at Tim’s for food. Most people exclaim various things about my craziness at doing a drive that long all in one day/alone. They also express surprise that I enjoy it, but I really do. I’ve always loved driving (as long as it’s not in heavy traffic). It’s almost meditative for me, but I assure you, I stay focused and safe.

Another thing I love about this long drive is that I pre-load over 100 podcasts into a queue on my phone and plug it in before I get going. As you probably already know from reading my other posts, podcasts are an obsession of mine, and long drives are a great way to get caught up. And if I’m not feeling something, I just skip on ahead using my radio controls!

Finally, if you’re going to do a road trip, the drive between Vancouver and Calgary is one of the best. You get a great rip (if the weather is good) on the Coquihalla Highway, where the limit goes as high as 120km/h. The ride through Glacier National Park and Roger’s Pass is stunning. The mountains and forests are gorgeous and ever-changing. It’s the opposite of boring!

Overall, this year the construction was the least intrusive that I’ve ever seen it. I only had to stop a couple of times, whereas last year I remember sitting and waiting for 15-30 minutes in some places. And the weather was pretty good. Fairly rainy on the way over to Calgary but not so much that it slowed me down, and absolutely beautiful on the way back to Vancouver.

There you have it!

So, that’s my Thankful Thursday list for this week. I hope it inspires you to make your own, and get on that gratitude train!

Peace and love,


My 20 Favourite Podcasts of 2018

I’ve mentioned this before here on Lexical Abandon. Now I’m saying it again: I’m obsessed with podcasts.

What are Podcasts?

Podcasts are audio shows. They can be narrative, fiction, non-fiction, news, quiz shows, science, education, comedy… the list goes on. They’re like TV but only for your ears. Or radio shows that you can download for free and take anywhere. You can listen to them anytime, and you can save favourite episodes. You can use your phone’s dedicated Podcasts app, such as “Podcasts” on iPhones. Other options are third-party apps like Overcast, Audible, or Stitcher. Usually podcasts run in seasons, with a new episode being released either weekly or bi-weekly for a certain period. You can even set up your phone to auto-download new episodes, so you don’t have to go searching for new stuff or memorize when things come out.

Why do You Like Them so Much?

I started listening to podcasts around February of 2018, about 14 months ago. It quickly became an obsession that is only continuing to grow. Listening to podcasts is almost akin to meditation for me. I most often listen to them while driving, running, showering, doing chores, and playing mindless games on my phone. Listening to music is something I used to do while doing these activities. However, I love getting to give my brain some extra simulation. Podcasts have taught me and introduced me to so many things over the last year or so. I hate to waste time, so I love to feel like I’m doing two tasks at once.

It’s great to be able to listen to podcasts while also getting stuff done or while doing an activity like running or driving. Those are times when I can’t actually do anything else, so it’s awesome. I also find really inspiring. They really help me feel motivated to write, journal, be introspective, and work on my blogs.

So, What are Your Favourites?

So glad you asked. This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but I’ve narrowed down my top 20 podcasts. I also added a couple of honourable mentions for specific categories. Considering I now subscribe to 166 podcasts, this was no small feat.

In no particular order…

    • Homecoming, by Gimlet Media. Written by Eli Horowitz and starring Catherine Keener and David Schwimmer. This is a fictional narrative about a rehabilitation project run by the US Department of Defense.
    • Reply All, by Gimlet Media. Hosted by Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt. A podcast about all things weird and interesting on the Internet.
    • The Pitch, by Gimlet Media. Hosted by Josh Muccio. Startup founders pitch their companies to real investors.
    • Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me, by NPR. Hosted by Peter Sagal and Bill Kurtis. A weekly, hilarious news quiz show.
    • Not by Accident, by Sophie & Astrid Harper. A non-fiction narrative about choosing to be a single mother.
    • Science VS, by Gimlet Media. Hosted by Wendy Zukerman. The podcast version of mythbusters, Science VS determines the validity of various topics.
    • Nancy, by WNYC Studios. Hosted by Tobin Low and Kathy Tu. A podcast about all things LGBTQ+.
    • Modern Love, a WBUR Podcast. Hosted by Meghna Chakrabarti. Public figures read essays published in New York Times “Modern Love” column, and Chakrabarti has conversations with the authors.
    • Conversations with People who Hate Me, a Night Vale Podcast. Hosted by Dylan Marron. Dylan has phone conversations with people who have said hateful things to him on the Internet.
    • Endless Thread, a podcast by WBUR and Reddit. Hosted by Ben Brock Johnson. It explores compelling Internet stories found on Reddit.

Phew, That’s 10! So here are 10 More…

  • Ear Hustle, a Radiotopia Podcast. Hosted by Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods. A podcast about life inside the walls of San Quentin State Prison.
  • Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, hosted by Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile. The hosts discuss Harry Potter chapter by chapter as if it were a sacred text.
  • Vancouver is Awesome, by Glacier Media. Hosted by Bob Kronbauer and Lindsay William-Ross. An outlet of the Vancouver is Awesome website, the two hosts talk about all things Vancity.
  • Warm Regards, hosted by Eric Holthaus. Co-hosted by Jacquelyn Gill and Andy Revkin. A podcast talking about global warming.
  • WorkLife, a TED Podcast. Hosted by Adam Grant. The host is an organizational psychologist who is working to find out what makes work better.
  • Caught, an NPR podcast. Hosted by Kai Wright. A deep dive into children’s experiences with the juvenile justice system.
  • The Chasing Joy Podcast, hosted by Georgie Morley. Georgie interviews awesome people to get to the root of joy.
  • Sounds Good with Branden Harvey. Part of Branden’s “Good Good Good” company, Branden interviews all kinds of inspiring people creating positive change in the world.
  • Slightly Problematic, hosted by Bailey Carlin and Erica Esper. Two friends who talk about some “slightly problematic” topics in hilarious fashion.
  • Self-Care Sunday with Kayley Reed. A minimalist media project that comes out only on Sundays and interviews awesome people about self-care.

Honourable Mentions

These podcasts don’t necessarily make my top 20, but they’re really great. They also fit into categories that are pretty saturated. So I think it’s impressive that they’re favourites for me.

Best True-Crime Podcast: They Walk Among Us, by Benjamin and Rosie (last names not provided). This podcast tells stories of UK true-crime.

Best Limited-Episode Podcast: Unburnable: The People vs. Arctic Oil, a RadioWolfgang podcast. Narrated by Cormac McAuliffe (9 episodes). It covers a court case against the Norwegian government. The people want to stop drilling of new oil in the Arctic.

Best Historical Podcast: The Secret Life of Canada, hosted by Leah Simone Bowen and Falen Johnson. This podcast is fairly new. It features untold (and gruesome) stories of Canada’s colonial history.

See you in October!

I’ve decided I’ll do this every 6 months or so. I discover new podcasts all the time and love to share my obsession, because they’re so awesome!

Happy Listening!

Peace and love,