Category Archives: Random Musings

Friday Things feat. mix CD’s and care packages from my Nana

Some new things and some things I’ve been meaning to talk about for a few weeks, in list form.

1. The holidays were not enough time for leisuring. Don’t get me wrong, one day shy of two weeks off is absolutely amazing and I am so, so grateful for that. But I had big plans for that time. I was going to read all the books and marathon all the shows and watch movies that I have been meaning to watch for years and play the Sims and write a book and stock up on blog posts and catch up on internet browsing, etc… But it turns out two days (the actual amount of time over the holidays where I was home and available to do those things) is not in fact ample time to do all those things. My expectations of leisure time were too high. Oh well. Next holiday.

2. Remember in the summer my brother’s best friend Dixon made Evan a mix CD?

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So thoughtful.

It is the best CD ever and we frequently listen to it in the car. WELL. Evan decided to repay the favour and made Dixon a mix CD for Christmas.

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He made the cover himself. I cannot look at it without laughing. Pretty good list of songs on here…

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3. Speaking of Evan and his shenanigans, each year for Christmas he and Brotherman like to make a joke gift for their family. Usually they will put ridiculous photos of themselves on a mug or in a snow globe. Here is the photo this year:

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That would be a bookmark they made for their mom. They even laminated it! And Evan actually looks like Elf!!! Oh, it kills me.

4. Over the holidays, some of our lady friends spent a night over at my Bestie Lisa’s parent’s while she was visiting. We didn’t do very much but it was a very, very fun evening.

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Now, Lisa’s mom has a thing for Santas.

No really, she has a lot of Santas.

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I counted, and throughout the house there were 106 Santas. Funny though, for the amount of Santas I would say they were very artfully arranged and actually subtle. I said this to Lisa and she was like “SUBTLE?! There are 40 just on the fireplace, how is that subtle?!” I honestly didn’t notice until someone pointed out there were a ton of Santas. It’s not like I walked in there and was like “OMG SANTAS EVERYWHERE!” I never felt like the Santas were in my face or anything. It made me wish I had more Santas in the condo. I liked them.

5. Winnie’s face when we arrived home from our winter getaway and she had been alone for a few days (don’t worry, Brotherman checked in on her every day). Note: we also left her alone for Christmas.

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Here she is saying “F you guys. If you ever go anywhere for that long again I will poop on all your belongings.”

6. My Nana did not have a very good day yesterday. She just did not have any strength and was not feeling herself. She called me and asked if I could come see her because she had a few things that she urgently needed to give me. Here are the things:

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Werther’s, a pen, tape, goat’s milk soap, Halls, and cookies saved from meals! The cookies are maple flavoured too, so I know they are delicious! Unfortunately I cannot eat them right now because Whole30. But I was in tears, this just killed me. What a peach. I think I will save the care package as-is, forever.

7. As I was leaving my Nana, it was TV time so all the residents were in the main room positioned around the TV in their wheelchairs. As I was walking through, one lady grabbed my hand, kissed it, and yelled “OOOOH, I just love you!!! You are hired! You can start at 9 tomorrow!” I was surprised, so I just thanked her and said I’d be there. And then the lady beside her said “She doesn’t know what she’s saying.” So I guess I don’t have a new job then…

8. This can stop any time.

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Have a great weekend!

Whole 30, Day 6

I mentioned briefly last week that Evan and I are doing the Whole30 program for the month of January. I’m sure many of you have heard of it and already know what it is, but my mom didn’t and people’s mom’s somehow seem to be my blog’s target audience, so a brief explanation just in case.

Basically, the Whole30 is a strict version of the Paleo diet. For 30 days you can have meat, seafood, eggs, (lots of) vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats like oils, nuts and seeds. Nothing processed. Whole foods, and foods with minimal ingredients that you are able to pronounce. Which all sounds great, but just let me get to the bad news… You cannot have:

  • Dairy
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Sugar (of any kind, artificial or real, and that includes honey)
  • Alcohol
  • MSG, carrageenan or sulphites

For 30 days. It is a nutritional reset designed to make you aware of how certain foods affect your body and make you feel. It will undoubtedly change the way you think about food, and maybe even change your life. I’m leaving out some rules, but you can find them all here.

Of course when I first heard about the Whole30 my immediate thought was fad diet, no thanks. You may be thinking that right now. So before you hear my thoughts on it so far, please know that I am not a dieter. I don’t think I have technically ever gone on a diet. There are so many ways to eat these days and I have turned up my nose at all of them: low carb, no carb, vegetarian, vegan, high-protein, keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, breakfast shakes, only shakes, juice cleansing, food delivery service, the same thing for breakfast and lunch but then you switch it up for dinner… Seriously, everyone will recommend something different, so how in the name of pizza are you supposed to know what and how to eat?!

My method of eating has always been…

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(Inspiration obviously from Allie Hyperbole and a Half for her original Clean All The Things)

But in moderation.

But here comes the problem with moderation. Who is the moderator? It’s me, and I am doing a crap job of it. If I’m at home and have healthy groceries, great, I’m a healthy eater. High fives all around, self-congratulatory pat on the back to me. Otherwise, if there is food in front of me I will eat it. I used to be 80/20 healthy/non-healthy ratio (ish), but that is dangerously slipping. I don’t know where I’m at anymore. Around the holidays? 100% gluttony. If I’m at a party, I’m stalking the food table and I’m eating all the cheese and all the dips.

So I am doing the Whole30 for several reasons:

1. I feel gross and b-word (rhymes with floated) after eating about 90% of the time. It is so often now that it has become normal.

2. I have never done any sort of experiment to see how certain foods are affecting me. I think that it is very good to be able to know how the food you are putting into your body is affecting your body, so that you can make informed decisions about what you are eating. Maybe cake is making me feel bad. Will I still eat the cake? Probably. But maybe I won’t. Maybe I will only choose to suffer from the cake if it is homemade vanilla cake with buttercream icing. At least I will know what it’s going to do to me and I can make that decision, rather than continue to EAT ALL THE THINGS and feel gross, but who knows why! It could have been any number of these delicious things!!!

3. I should probably simmer down on the wine drinking. I doubt anyone would call me an alcoholic (to my face…) but it would not be a bad idea to cut it out on the weeknights.

4. My go-to snack is some sort of cheese in or on some sort of bread-y carb. This needs to change.

5. It’s the best time to do it. Something like this is absolutely not sustainable for me (they don’t even recommend doing a Whole365 because it is too difficult to make it work), and I just don’t think I could pull it off in the summer. Or any other time when a lot of social things are going on. It is VERY hard to eat out and it requires a LOT of food planning and preparation (which, I am actually really enjoying). But after the holidays is the perfect time. I feel fully gross after stuffing my face for weeks that I don’t want to look at chocolate right now anyway. And also I was off last week so I had several days to get into it.

6. Lose some weight. Of course. It’s not a priority, honestly, but I am not skipping out on cheese and wine for 30 days and not losing some weight. It better happen.

Evan and I are now on day 6, and it’s going really well. I am so glad he’s doing it with me, it makes it so much easier! My holiday bloat (ughhh that word is so awful) was completely gone in three days, and I am already feeling more svelte. Our dinners are very similar to what they usually are (minus when the kitchen reno was going down, that was some dark eating times right there). But I felt better after eating almost immediately. There was no gross feeling. Though Evan and I are both pretty on par with the timeline of how most people feel while doing the Whole30.

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Kill all the things was Day 3 for me though, and feeling like I needed to nap all day was on Sunday (which worked out well). And I TOTALLY felt like I had a hangover on Day 2. I think from all the sugar detox, because we went nuts eating all our chocolate from Christmas until New Year’s Eve. The last two days though, I have felt amazing.

I will just go ahead and answer the obvious…I miss cheese and homemade chocolate chip cookies. But not as much as I thought I would, surprisingly, and I do feel very satisfied. Here are the kinds of things we’ve been eating so far:

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1. Steamed salmon with lemon slices, sweet potato with coconut manna (or coconut butter, and OMG SO GOOD!!!!), and Evan’s green bean salad (whole green beans cooked, tossed in garlic, oil + vinegar and salt and pepper and then cooled).

2. Lots of giant salads with protein like hard boiled eggs, walnuts, avocado. This one tossed in a lemon garlic dressing I made.

3. Stuffed peppers with ground beef, cauliflower rice (grated cauliflower), compliant marinara sauce (just no additives, no Prego, it has sugar!)

4. Eggs, leftover half stuffed pepper, homemade guacamole.

5. Big salad topped with compliant tuna salad (I made my own mayo using this recipe – it’s delicious and it took literally five minutes), and also sunflower seeds.

6. Grilled pineapple with coconut oil, cinnamon and walnuts. At the time I thought it was one of the best things I have ever eaten, but it’s possible that’s because I hadn’t had sugar for three days.

7. Egg frittata with seasoned ground beef and vegetables, guacamole on the side.

8. Eggs, potatoes, veggies in olive oil, avocado on the side.

9. Spaghetti squash with Evan’s grandma’s meat sauce (made by Evan and so good). The spaghetti squash was really, really good. I was so full but actually felt good after eating this, where normally with spaghetti I’d have to take a nap or something.

And not pictured, but coffee with coconut milk (I would usually use almond milk but it has carrageenan in it) and a bit of cinnamon.

Evan also received The Veggetti for Christmas from my brother Eric and his girlfriend Kenya (THANK YOU GUYS AGAIN!!!) and it works WAY better than both of us expected, so we have been cranking out the zoodles.

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ie: the zucchini noodles. They are not too bad at all.

So we have been eating very well, as you can see. But we’re still in the new and exciting phase. I’m sure I’ll be back in a week to tell you about how I hate everything and I just want to eat an entire block of cheese like a banana. And I just need to complain that I cannot find bacon without sugar ANYWHERE! Why does all bacon need to have sugar?!

The biggest struggle I think for me for me is that I have always been the girl who eats everything. My friends used to (lovingly) refer to me as the garbage disposal because of this. Like if you don’t want your food toss ‘er over here ’cause I’ll take it for ya. So to go from someone who leaves no food uneaten to being that girl who makes all the special dietary requests, no dairy, no grains, no beans, no sugar, oh, are there sulphites in this? THEN NO. … That’s tough on my food ego. We’ll see how that goes. But I’m doing it. I’m in it now. Only 24 more days until this happens:

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And God help me if I feel anything but amazing after I introduce cheese back into my life in 24 days. I am not sure a life without cheese is a life I want to be a part of.

Have you done a Whole30? Considered doing a Whole30? Think the Whole30 is a cult? TELL ME!

Music for Cats (and other things that are less exciting)

It was another pretty low key weekend around here, which is all well and good. I am enjoying the leisurely weekends while I can as it is almost The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year and the next couple of months will be busy with all the holiday things. I’m excited for that.

The most noteworthy thing that happened this weekend was Evan found this wonderful CD downstairs in the recycling room, where people leave things they don’t want:

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Such an amazing find. It was still in the package! Happy freakin’ birthday to Winnie, that lucky kitty!

We also got a new stove this weekend. Well, new to us, not new new. I mentioned last week that we are preparing to redo the kitchen in the condo, and this beast has been needing to be replaced for a long, long time:

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Super top of the line right there. I think it is original from when the condo was built in the ’70s. One of the knobs is missing, the timer doesn’t work, there’s no oven light, and it takes about a million years to preheat. But it still works fine enough so replacing it wasn’t a big priority, we were going to wait until we did the kitchen. We originally planned on buying a brand new stove, so Evan and I started a “stove fund” a couple months ago, consisting of $5 bills that we would add to every time either of us had an extra $5 in our wallets. We have regular savings and stuff, but we thought this would be a good idea for the stove specifically.

Just for “fun”, on Saturday night we were perusing Kijiji and we found this stove in our area for $200.

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Quite a big step up from our current stove… Though we originally wanted a new stove, this one was attractive to us because it’s stainless but it still has the coils (I am not a fan of the ceramic stove surfaces because I find they stain easily and are in general difficult to keep clean). And we only plan on being in the condo for another couple of years or so, it’s not our forever home, so we were probably going to get the most inexpensive new stainless stove we could find, and I’m sure that would still be at least $600. One day we will get a very nice stove, since we cook so often (by we I mean Evan), but there’s no point in investing in that now – for the same reason we will not be doing granite countertops or anything fancy in the new kitchen…we just will not get that kind of return on our investment when we sell this place.

Anyway. Short story made very long, we were interested in that stove. So we made arrangements to go and look at it yesterday morning. All was well, it looked as advertised, and the sellers didn’t murder us, so we paid with our $5 bills (which was funny), loaded that baby up in Evan’s truck and brought it home.

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Looks pretty nice! Again, that wallpaper is from the 70s. Back when chevron was cool…

After we cleaned it and set it up, Evan got right to work testing it out and made lasagne, his grandma’s recipe.

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Pretty delicious. The new stove is winning.

On our way back from the stove adventure we went out for lunch at our favourite pho restaurant, Pho Com Vietnam.

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I strayed from my usual noodle dish and went with the traditional beef pho. I don’t know if I will ever order anything else again.

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It was so, so good. I want to eat it every day.

And those are all the…exciting…things. Sorry for the lame stove post. Hope you had a great weekend!

Technical Difficulties and BAHAMAS!!!!

On Friday evening my friend Sherrie came over for a sleepover. I was pretty excited as it’s been a while since we have hung out one on one.

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We ordered pizza and had a lovely date night.

Evan was out with Brotherman and two of their other friends at the Just for Laughs Toronto Comedy Festival, which was all fine and great, except every time Evan is away and I try to watch a movie or something I end up running into some technical difficulties.

First it was the Playstation. I wanted to introduce Sherrie to Toejam and Earl but one of the controllers wasn’t working. So I did what I do when something doesn’t work and I texted Evan for troubleshooting purposes.

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Eventually we got it and all was well.

Then later we wanted to watch a movie on the projector (we have one attached to our ceiling which projects onto our blank white wall across from the couch, it is awesome for movie watching and probably the reason we never go to the movies), so then this happened…

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It wasn’t plugged in because the Playstation was plugged into the projector’s outlet. THEN when we figured that out, the box that the projector plugs into to play the movie (we call it Spock because the memory stick that plugs into the box is a Spock stick) also was not working.

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So basically nothing was working because nothing was actually plugged in.

This really does always happen when Evan is not here. As soon as he leaves all the technological systems seem to fail on me. I consider myself to be pretty tech savvy (I am a Millennial after all) and at my current job (and also a previous job of mine), I am the tech person in the office. Really only because our office is so small and there was no one else to do it. So you’d think I would understand when something isn’t turning on it’s probably because it’s not plugged in. It made me feel very smart and confident in my technical abilities…

Sherrie said watching me trying to figure everything out was more entertaining than any movie we were going to watch.

The rest of the weekend was pretty low key, just a bunch of errand-running and packing because… WE ARE GOING TO THE BAHAMAS TODAY!!!!

Please don’t confuse me with some kind of fancy person who jets off to the Bahamas on a whim. This is actually a WORK TRIP! It was a Christmas present from my CEO, for my entire (small) company. If we made our revenue goals last fiscal year then our staff got to go to the Bahamas for four days. We did, so we do! AND we get to bring our spouses, which means Evan is coming along to the big coworker party. I haven’t exactly been in a “party” setting with my coworkers, so we will see how this unlimited booze thing goes. My rule of thumb is you can go ahead and get intoxicated, as long as there is someone who is the drunkest. This way someone else can make a fool of themselves (hopefully it’s not Evan) and can take the attention away from you. So there will be no rum punch pong on the beach. I will not be having a repeat of that day in Jamaica, when I was the drunkest.

It’s a quick four day trip, so we are back on Thursday evening. I am SO EXCITED! I’ve never been to the Bahamas, but I have always wanted to go. We are staying at the Sandals Royal Bahamian.

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Come to meeee!!!

I don’t know when, if ever, I will get to stay at a Sandals again (they fancy!), so I plan to enjoy every second I have there. I will be eating all the things and doing all the swimming and the snorkeling and the beach leisuring.

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I am 100% not wearing pants until Friday.

See you in a few and have a great week! (Oh and if you have stayed at this resort feel free to leave a comment about how amazing it is. I will have wifi so I can still do some blog stalking 🙂 )

32 (MORE) Reasons Why Evan is the Best Ever

Happy Birthday to the amazing Evan, who is turning 32 today!

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Last year on his 31st birthday I wrote 31 reasons why Evan is the best ever, and after I published it I was all “man, am I going to have to top that every year?” but as the year has gone on, I realized that I wanted to. Last year I wrote that just before we moved in together, and since that happened I honestly think of something every day that I could add to the list. I’m sure my friends are pretty sick of hearing about how amazing Evan is all the time, and the beautiful thing about the internet is if you don’t like reading it you can just click X and get out (or you can start a thread on me on GOMI, but I am a secret hamcat so I may join you in the snark).

Anyway, if you do enjoy reading about cheesy love things every once in a while then gather your cats, settle in, and read on.

32 (MORE) Reasons Why Evan is the Best Ever

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32. He is Mr. Community. He is friends with nearly everyone in our condo building and he seeks out situations where he can help out and be a good neighbour. A man in his 80s left a note on the bulletin board in the parking garage asking for help with his computer, Evan saw this and called him immediately offering his assistance. Evan is now not only his resident IT support, but also his friend.

31. Along those same lines, we rent our second parking spot from an old lady in our building (who actually just passed away, so that is very sad). Evan would go down every month to pay her for the parking spot, and she would invite him in and make him a drink. Three fingers of rum, straight. He would sit with her and chat for about an hour while he drank his straight rum, and it is especially heartwarming because she did not have any other friends in the building that we know of and I don’t think anyone else took the time to talk with her.

30. I am routinely in the elevator with older ladies in our building, and this excited outburst is a common occurrence: “Are you Evan’s girlfriend?! OHHHHH!!!! He’s such a nice boy!!!!” Yes, yes, I know.

29. He picked up two of those reaching grabber things so that we can pick up garbage when we’re out on walks in our neighbourhood (we have a lot of litterbugs in our neighbourhood). We definitely plan on using them, but in the meantime Evan has been using them on Winnie. And she loves it.

Winnie loves being touched SO MUCH that she doesn't even care what tools you use to get the job done. #catsofinstagram

A post shared by Lindsey Evanoff (@happyorhungry) on

28. He uses surprising words/phrases to describe things and it always catches me off guard and makes me laugh unexpectedly hard. I mentioned last time that he calls people who are acting crazy a coconut. If we are in a crowded public place he will say that it is a banana plantation or a coconut factory. We were at the cottage and we were watching a group of people in this pontoon boat that they CLEARLY just rented because they obviously did not know what they were doing (they lifted the motor up while it was still running), and after watching them for a bit Evan said “Man, it’s like watching a box of doughnuts.” I didn’t even know what it meant but it made me laugh for a long time. One time I asked him to describe someone he had met and he said they were a “vegetable lasagne” (which is actually from Seinfeld), so I asked him to elaborate and he said “like a limp noodle. Plain Yogurt. Just…dull.”

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27. He will always offer me the last bite of whatever we’re eating if it’s really good. Or the last chocolate. Or the last slice of cake. Or the biggest piece. Or the best piece. Always.

26. I mentioned this before, but he’s clean. And it’s worth mentioning again because I noticed this before we lived together and I thought it might be an illusion, but it isn’t. I notice it even more now. Our condo is always neat. He makes the bed, he puts his clothes in the hamper, he does laundry, he cleans the kitchen and bathrooms, he does the dishes/loads the dishwasher, he’s a freak and he LOVES to vacuum. When we have cleaning days, we do it together (but in truth he is more neat and more thorough than I am).

25. He does not procrastinate. He is on things immediately. I briefly just sort of mention something that maybe we should do sometime, Evan picks up on it, and it’s done. He just gets it done. I have never had to nag him about anything…actually, I don’t even know if I’ve ever had to ask him to do something. He notices the toilet paper roll is empty, he fills it. The bathroom garbage needs to be emptied, he does it. His family mentions they want to redo the wood on the side of the driveway at the cottage sometime, Evan is on it and he is picking up that wood immediately.

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And he is looking hot doing it.

24. One evening he asked me how I would feel about having a ceiling fan in our dining area to replace the overhead light. I said I was down. The next day I get home from work and the fan is installed and running.

23. Last year when I went away for work for three days, I came home and he and Brotherman had redone our master bathroom.

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It was a quick fix and they did it on the super cheap, but it was so horrible before. It hadn’t been updated since the 70s. I appreciated it so much. I was SO excited. It was like While You Were Out! (the tile hadn’t been grouted yet in the above photo, so ignore those dark grout lines)

22. When my Bestie Lisa was visiting recently we were planning on having a best friend night here in the condo. Evan was totally welcome to stay around, but he knows we are loud when we get together (we basically just sit there and scream at each other) and that we had a lot of catching up to do, so instead of crashing our party he and Brotherman went to the cottage for the night just to get out of our hair.

21. He cleaned up for Lisa’s arrival, he tidied the kitchen, vacuumed, and he made our bed all nice. Then he texted me to let me know he left an extra (new) toothbrush and toothpaste in the bathroom in case Lisa needed it.

20. He and Brotherman installed the backsplash in the kitchen at my work.

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19. When we were staying with my mom in BC earlier this summer he fixed all the things in her house. No one asked him to, he just noticed that the toilet seat was loose, so he found her tools and tightened it up. The faucet in the bathtub was leaking, so he went out and got her a new one and installed it. Etc. etc.

18. He is the easiest traveler in the world. When we were galavanting around BC and Alberta, we were so busy every single day. I had us on a pretty packed itinerary. I have a feeling that Evan would have preferred to leisure around a bit more than we did but he never complained once. He was always up for anything and he was always very happy about it. I know he had one of the best trips of his life and was grateful that we did as much as we did.

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17. The shadow boxes he got me for Valentine’s Day.

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I am not the one who has been populating those with content. That’s all Evan right there.

16. He made me a really awesome stocking for Christmas, and it included this mug.

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15. He’s the most thoughtful gift buyer ever. He really listens when I say I like something or I want to do something (hence the Lion King tickets for my birthday). He and Brotherman do a lot of work around our condo building and they were painting the outside of the parking garage and the retired Super was helping them, just because he wanted to. They wanted to get him something as a thank you to let him know they really appreciated it, but they couldn’t figure out what. They brainstormed and brainstormed. Then his walker broke, so they decided to buy him a new walker. He LOVES it and he uses it all the time.

14. He makes coffee and breakfast every morning.

13. Ahem.

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No explanation necessary.

12. He sends me pictures of Winnie and Bolt when I’m away. His love for Winnie especially just melts my heart.

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11. I also love how he looks after Bolt and Winnie. He feeds them, cleans Winnie’s litter, takes Bolts for walks. So do I, of course, but he will do this also without my asking. It warms my heart that he takes care of them.

10. When he makes dinner (which is often, which is awesome), he packs it up for my lunch for the next day.

9. Speaking of dinner…

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I love it.

8. And every time that I make him dinner he tells me it is the best dinner he’s ever had.

7. He tells me I am beautiful every. single. day. Usually it is when I am not looking beautiful, as in I just woke up. Last night when I got home from work I immediately changed into my comfy home clothes and put my hair up and when he saw me he said “Look at you! You look so beautiful right now!”

6. He puts in effort to get to know the important people in my life. My family, my friends.

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He even puts in effort to get to know the important people to them. For example, when we were at my Bestie’s parents on Labour Day weekend, he spent a lot of time chatting with and getting to know her parents, and Corina.

5. This is maybe something that I love about our relationship in general, but we have a very similar schedule and are on the same page. We eat dinner together every night, we go to bed at the same time, we wake up at the same time, we eat breakfast together while watching the Weather Network. It’s simple, and I know it wouldn’t work in every relationship, but I really like it.

4. This is the first time that I have felt like I have a genuine partner in life. Evan is my teammate. Every day he does something, even a small gesture, to make my life easier and he genuinely always has my best interests at heart. Always, always! I cannot tell you how absolutely refreshing this has been!

3. He listens to everything I have to say, no matter how mundane it is.

2. He is respectful and confident and thoughtful and genuinely so nice to everyone. He goes out of his way to make people feel comfortable. My brother has a friend who is a bit shy and socially awkward, and Evan went out of his way to talk to him about things they have in common. I could tell it made the guy feel more comfortable and come out of his shell with us. People, in turn, genuinely really like him.

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1. He loves me. He genuinely really loves me.

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Every day he makes me feel like the luckiest girl on the planet. I wish that everyone has someone in their life who is as great as he is.

Happy Birthday Evan! You are THE BEST. EVER.

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If you would like to hear more reasons why Evan is the best ever, there are 31 right here!

Red Flags in a Relationship

I need to preface this by saying that I am not a relationship expert. However, I am now 31 years old (young!) and I was not lucky enough to meet the man of my dreams in school, or even right out of school. This means I dated around and have dated many men who were not right for me. And, unfortunately for me, I have firsthand experience in the area of unhealthy relationships. Though that might be fortunate because I actually think I needed to experience those relationships to understand what I want and genuinely need in a partner…

Maybe you were lucky and met your match early in your life, but maybe you were like me and needed to figure yourself out first. And figure out what you wanted. And figure out that the people in your early years of dating weren’t winners.

The glasses are heavily rose tinted when you are 16 and your boyfriend has a car, I know.

What I am taking a million years to say here is I have been in unhealthy relationships and at the time there were tons of red flags that the relationship was not meant to be. Some things I recognized as red flags and I just glossed over or ignored or made excuses for them. Some I didn’t realize were red flags at all until I was in a healthy relationship. It really took getting into a healthy relationship for me to truly understand how good things can be if you are with someone who respects, appreciates and trusts you.

I know this type of thing has been written about over and over by everyone and all the magazines and every advice website and all the relationship experts…I know. But it’s always been written about and we always have friends who warn us (I did), but when you are in it it’s really hard to recognize the warning signs and see the red flags for what they are. And once you do, it is very difficult to get out of a relationship that you suspect is not right for you. Again, I know, I’ve been there. Especially if your lives are entwined and you live together or own property together, even if you’re not married and don’t have kids. So I am hoping that maybe someone in an unhealthy relationship will see this and realize that they deserve better.

Here are some big relationship red flags, and many of the ones I ignored over the years, in no particular order (mainly towards men, but only because that’s my experience – I’m sure it works both ways):

1. Having the same argument over and over

Arguing is one thing, but if you and your partner continually fight about the same issue without being able to come to a resolution or even a compromise… It’s not the issue, it’s a fundamental difference between you. In my experience the repeat fight without resolution stemmed from the fact that we were so opposite that our entire personalities conflicted with each other, so we would never be able to understand where the other was coming from. We were fundamentally different in the ways that really mattered. Sure, opposites attract and all that, but you can be opposite in many ways and still share important values and be on the same page.

2. Getting angry about little things

Say, for example, you accidentally drop a plate of food on the floor and the plate shatters and the food spills everywhere. If your significant other freaks out and yells at you, RED FLAG. No one meant for that to happen, it was an accident. It’s not like you purposely threw the plate on the floor, stomped on it, and then did a happy dance around it. If your partner overreacts to the little things like that, it’s going to be a problem. How will they handle something major?

3. Jealousy and/or Controlling Behaviour

There are so many examples of this, but I’m putting them under one umbrella. Basically, does your partner constantly worry that you are going to cheat on them? And do they take that worry out on you? Examples can include:

  • Hacking into your email/Facebook/whatever.
  • Grilling you when you work late, or are late getting home from something.
  • If they make you feel like your entire day needs to be accounted for.
  • Acting jealous towards other men you know or talk to.
  • When you’re telling a story and you mention another guy, your partner gets fixated on the guy (but who’s the guy? did you talk to him? did he hit on you?) so much that he completely misses the entire point of the story you are trying to tell. This then causes you to censor what you tell him. And if you are ever called on the censoring (ex – “You never told me there was a guy there!”) you will be battered with questions about it.
  • They don’t compliment you (because they don’t want you to feel good about yourself because then you may cheat on them, of course), but they may say “Hmm…you look better than usual today. Is something going on at work?” As in, who else are you looking hot for? You must be cheating.
  • Trying to control the way that you dress – ie: your skirt’s too short, your top’s too low, your pants are too tight. Not okay.
  • They make you feel guilty when you have done absolutely nothing wrong.

4. They don’t appreciate your unique qualities

I have always really liked the colour of my hair and I don’t want to mess with it. An ex of mine tried to convince me for years that I would look hotter if I dyed my hair dark. And my favourite compliment that I hear from other people is that I am funny. An ex of mine did not think I was funny, and would routinely tell me that he just didn’t think I was very funny. That’s cool, I’m sure not everyone does…but you know it’s something that I like hearing and that you are hurting me when you say that, and you know it.

5. They are not supportive of, or don’t value, the other important relationships in your life

The first time your partner meets the people in your life who are important to you, they should be wanting to make a good impression. If instead they get mad about something trivial and cause a big scene in front of everyone…well, that’s a really obvious warning sign that you should not ignore. They may try to excuse that behaviour, too much to drink, your friends are acting “slutty”, whatever it is…but there is no excuse for acting that way.

But there are more subtle signs than that. Even just acting irritated when you want to hang out with your friends. Making you feel guilty for wanting to have a life outside of them. I dated someone who made such a big deal every time I wanted to go out with my friends, including my best friend who is like a sister to me, that it got to the point where I didn’t want it to turn into a huge issue so I just wouldn’t go because it was so much easier not to. I almost lost some of my best friendships because of this.

6. Your friends and family do not like your significant other and do not approve of your relationship

Big red flag. These people know you best, and they can see the issues that you are ignoring. They can tell when you are not being yourself. My friends told me that I was not “me” with an ex, and I didn’t see it, but they were right. I was trying to change myself into someone I thought he would like better.

7. He criticizes you and/or puts you down, whether subconsciously or not, and he compares you to other women and you do not come out favourably. Or he criticizes you and says that he is joking.

Your partner should want to lift you up! Putting you down is controlling behaviour – I believe they put you down because of their own insecurities, because they want you to believe you aren’t worthy of being with someone great and they are scared of losing you. If he puts you down in public or in front of friends, game over. If he points to a random girl on the street and says “You know, I really like a good thigh gap on a woman,” look out. No good can come from a comment like that.

And if he makes a comment that bothers you and then says “Babe, just kidding!” Joking around with someone doesn’t give you the excuse to say whatever hurtful comments you want. And especially if your partner is concentrating on something that they know you are self-conscious about. That is not funny to anyone.

8. He leaves you behind

Okay, this one is kind of silly but I need to mention it. I dated someone who, whenever we arrived somewhere in a car, on a date, to someone’s house, wherever, he would get out of the car as soon as it stopped and start walking without me, leaving me to struggle to catch up. It’s not like I need someone to hold my hand wherever we go, but to me this showed such disrespect. Like he didn’t even have a thought for me. I look back on this and I honestly feel it was a metaphor for our entire relationship. It showed his selfishness.

9. Doesn’t respect your boundaries, or your property

If he doesn’t understand that no means no. Get out.

If he is angry and destroys something of yours (example, throws your WORK LAPTOP during a fight). Unacceptable.

10. They don’t look after their own responsibilities

Job, pets, kids. If they don’t take responsibility for the things they are responsible for, that’s a problem. You do not want this person as a life partner.

11. If their go-to response during an argument is “You’re crazy!”

You are not crazy. If something is bothering you, you need to be able to talk it through. Having someone respond to you like this dismisses your opinion and makes you afraid to speak your mind. Maybe your partner doesn’t agree with you, but they should still be willing to hear what you have to say.

12. You feel like you’re walking on eggshells

And anything you do or say may set them off.

13. Similarly, you can’t speak openly

If you feel like you can’t say what’s on your mind for whatever reason (he will become defensive, make fun of you, judge you, etc.) this is a problem. Communication is so, so important. If you can’t speak your mind it will fester until it becomes a big issue and probably cause resentment.

14. Dismissing the things that are important to you

Your goals, dreams, and aspirations are valid. Your partner should support you in your life wants. You should support each other!

15. If you need to constantly reassure yourself of their good qualities

If you are reading through this list and are agreeing with many of these points, but then you immediately brush it off and say to yourself “But he was so nice when he did this that one time!” Relationships like this are not all bad, otherwise why would you be in them? Of course they have their amazing moments, and the people their good qualities. But the amazing moments and good qualities do not excuse the red flags.

16. Your gut feeling

This is a biggie, and a sign that I ignored over and over and over. If you feel like the relationship is not right for you, it’s not. If you have that little niggle of worry in the pit of your stomach, please don’t ignore it.

There are a ton of others, but this is already quite lengthy. I just want to say, these red flags will not go away and get better with time; they will get worse. If your partner doesn’t trust you from the beginning, you may say to yourself “Well, once we have been together for a while and I prove to him that I am trustworthy, things will change.” No they won’t. They will get worse. The problem is not with you, it is with them.

And the biggest GREEN FLAG for me? Feeling like I have a partner in life. This is the first time where I have felt like I have a genuine partner in my life. Someone who has my back, who looks out for my best interests, and who respects me as well as loves me. I can’t tell you how amazing that feeling is.

If you are experiencing any of these things and need someone to talk to, feel free to email me at happyorhungry [at] gmail [dot] com. I’ve been there and I promise things are better on the other side of those relationships.

Any big red flags that I’ve missed? What are some of your deal breakers?