5 Essential Oils You Should Have

essential oils and medical flowers herbsAromatherapy has many benefits, some of which include easing depression, inducing sleep, and easing pain. I have had insomnia since I was a teenager and it continued into my adult life. I tried almost everything under the sun, including steeping passionflower tea, but nothing worked. A student of mine recommended aromatherapy, so I looked into some different brands of essential oil. It took a really long time for me to finish my research on essential oils, so I am going to write a few posts about all the research I have done and give it to you!

First, I must write a disclaimer that I am NOT a doctor or a specialist on aromatherapy, I’m just sharing the information I found in books and online from Dr. Axe. I also highly recommend that you talk to your healthcare practitioner if you plan on ingesting essential oils, as they need to be food grade. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should also refer to your doctor.

Here’s a list of the “emergency oils” I have on hand at ALL times.

  1. Lavender Oil (Lavandula Officinalis). I was never big on lavender before, but after doing my research, I found that it is one that you must have on hand; here’s why: Lavender is great for relaxation, so it’s good for sleep, anxiety, and depression. Lavender oil is also antibacterial, anti-spasmodic, stimulates the immune system, and is somewhat of an analgesic (natural painkiller.

    Lavender oil helps stimulate the growth of new cells and prevents scarring. It’s also   good on your skin for burns, eczema/inflamed skin (acne, allergies, athlete’s foot, sunburn, wounds, bug bites, and bee stings). From what I’ve read, you can use lavender essential oil undiluted on your skin for these things. Lavender is so versatile that it’s best to always have it on hand because it can fix almost anything.

  1. Grapefruit Oil (Citrus Paradisi). Who doesn’t love the smell of grapefruit? I’m obsessed with grapefruit scented everything! Citrus oils are generally great for lifting depression. It helps with jet lag or travel fatigue, and fatigue in general. It can help with lactic acid from overworked muscles, ease stiffness and it has a cleansing effect on the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, and lymphatic system (helps rid the body of toxins).Citrus oils have a shelf life of about 1-2 years, so if you don’t use them often, I recommend keeping them in the fridge, which will help them last longer.
  1. Peppermint Oil (Mentha Piperita). I love the smell of peppermint as well! It can be used in a spray water bottle with water to help deter rodents and insects. It can help with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), bad breath, focus and energy, fatigue, breathing problems, allergies, and headaches. Whenever I have a headache, I use a few drops of peppermint oil and eucalyptus in my diffuser. A recipe for headaches: 2 drops peppermint oil and 2 drops of lavender oil, rub on your neck, shoulders, and temples. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please don’t use it or talk to your healthcare practitioner.
  1. Eucalyptus Oil (Eucalyptus Globulus). This oil is amazing if you have trouble breathing for any reason. If you have a cold or stuffy nose, this oil can help clear your sinuses. This oil is also great for aches and pains from fevers/colds/ or from working out. Add 2 drops of eucalyptus oil to 1 tbs. of vegetable oil or any other carrier oil and rub on the affected joints/limbs/areas and wrap yourself warmly.

    (Carrier oils are oils used to dilute essential oils that can’t be used directly on the skin. There are many to choose from such as coconut, vegetable, sweet almond oil, and jojoba oil to name a few popular ones).

  1. Rose Absolute (Rosa Damascena). Rose absolute is stronger smelling because of the way it’s extracted. There is a huge list of benefits of rose oil! It can be used for anxiety and depression, it can help reduce inflammation, great for treating wounds as it protects from developing infections as well as shield you from viruses, can reduce spasms in muscles, cramps, and in the respiratory system. It’s an aphrodisiac if you have a low libido or disinterest in sexual activity. It’s also a great astringent to strengthen gums and hair roots. It helps tone the skin and prevent wrinkles/help with the loss of firmness of skin, contract muscles, intestines and blood vessels.

    It also helps with scars that come from from acne, boils, pox, stretch marks, etc. Rose oil is also good for people that suffer from hemorrhaging as it helps speed up coagulation and clotting of blood. Helps with headaches (as long as you use mild concentrations, otherwise it could have the opposite effect as rose absolute is very strong), it can also help you feel energized and happy.

 

I’m Too Old for That

 

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When we are young, we dabble in a variety of different activities. Some we continue into our teenage years and then stop, some we quit before we even reach thirteen. As soon as we enter university, most of us are so preoccupied with studying, working, and spending time with friends and family to really entertain hobbies or even think about them. When I was in university, there were a lot of clubs that I wanted to join, but school never came easy for me, so I had to spend every moment studying my butt off.

When I was a child, my father introduced me to skating. My parents taught me to skate forwards, and a few weeks after, I watched figure skating on TV. That’s when I saw Elvis Stojko and knew that I had to get lessons. My parents took me to skating lessons in the evenings and at 6 a.m. every morning, I would beg my dad to take me to the rink so we could get some more skating time in. I completed my first CanSkate class and moved up to the next level where everything was too easy for me, so they immediately moved me up to the third level. I don’t exactly remember what happened, but after the season was done, I told my mom that I wanted to quit. Many years later, I asked her why I quit, but she told me that I had never told her. I honestly can’t remember why.

For years after that, I was notoriously known as a “serial-hobbyist” girl. I tried a variety of other activities that I kept up for a short time, got bored of it, then moved onto the next interesting thing. I took gymnastics, quit and moved onto piano, then quit because drums looked more interesting and aggressive. I switched to guitar after a couple of lessons, then quit shortly after. When I was twelve, I played soccer for one season, but never went back. Then, I entered high school and took up cheerleading, which I quit after one year.

After that, I didn’t pick up any new hobbies, but continued to write furiously into the wee hours of the morning. One of the only hobbies that I continued into adulthood. It wasn’t until I first entered university that I picked up guitar again and started teaching myself. I even bought myself an electric guitar and an amp. I still play on and off, but I can never really focus on it because it makes my wrists hurt too much. Once I graduated from university, I picked up photography and I still dabble in it here and there, but not every day like I used to a year ago.

In 2010 my entire life changed. I saw Daisuke Takahashi skate for the first time and I was blown away by his form, grace, and fluidity. He was better than Elvis, better than Evgeni Plushenko, and I fell in love with figure skating all over again because of him. That same year, I started skating again at the arena every week, sometimes twice a week.

I was stressed a lot because of school, but any time I tied up my skates and went out on the ice, I forgot about everything else. I was able to escape my crazy life, and at the time, dramatic. After I graduated, I couldn’t skate as often because of working two jobs like a maniac to afford living on my own and saving up to move to Japan (which never happened, by the way). I moved back to my parents in 2013 and lived there until 2014. It was also then that my figure skating world turned upside down when Daisuke Takahashi said that he was retiring.

I continued to watch figure skating, but it wasn’t the same without Daisuke. My heart wasn’t in it as much, and all I could think about was watching him skate. My heart ached for the ice and the feeling of release, which Daisuke gave me when I watched him. I lived through him, but because he no longer competes, I had nothing except a huge hole in my heart, regret.

I regret giving up skating when I was a kid. It was the biggest regret in my life and I was pretty depressed over it for a while before I finally decided that I needed to take matters into my own hands. I had just turned thirty in April, but I didn’t care. I searched high and low for a group that offered skating lessons to someone with the skills that I have, and found my “ skating family.” I skated for one month during the spring season. I knew that I would be moving again later in the year, so I didn’t sign up right away for lessons because I didn’t know how far they would be from my new place.

As soon as we got settled in the new place, I signed up in late October and started skating lessons again in November. I’m currently doing the Winter season, and I’m going to sign up for the Spring season (April and May), and I’m even considering either getting private lessons through the summer, or going into dance lessons (ballet or contemporary) to keep myself active during the off-season.

It’s impossible to describe how I feel when I enter the arena. The smell of the arena, the feeling of the cool air on my skin. The moment I put my skates on and get out on the ice, the sound of my blades gliding on the ice and the cool air rushing in my face. Sure, I’m the oldest in the group because I’m almost 31 and everyone else is either sixteen or eight, but I don’t care. I love skating so much and I have gotten used to the girls that I skate with, that it’s now.

What I’m trying to say is that, if you enjoy doing something and it makes you happy, why does your age matter? You do things to bring joy and light into your life, so just get out there and do it. The worst feeling in the world is always wondering “what if” and having a huge hole of regret. It’s better to try than to not try. Never let your age discourage you from doing the things that you love.

 

Finding Time to Meditate

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In our busy lives, it’s hard to remember to stop and take a breather. With work, family, and other responsibilities it’s far too easy to ride the momentum and not take a break. Since I started working as an ESL teacher, I’ve been working, working, and working. In fact, I even got two other part-time jobs on the side, which are my own businesses, but it adds up. I usually work until my body and my mind are so worked up that I feel like I’m going to have a mental breakdown unless I take a vacation. I’ve been that way even before I started working! It all started back in university while studying for exams. I wouldn’t eat lunch until I was finished studying up to a certain point. By that time, it was already dinner or way past dinner. I still manage to do the same thing now, especially on the weekends. It’s a really bad habit that I’ve had a hard time quitting!

Last year I bought a fitness tracker called the Leaf by Bellabeat. A fitness tracker that looks like a piece of jewelry and the nice thing about it is that you can set timers on the app, especially to tell you when you’re not being active enough. The Leaf will vibrate or pulse every hour or every few hours, depending on what you set it to. When I’m at the computer busy with editing or writing, I tend to forget the time and so I rely heavily on my Leaf to notify me when I haven’t been active for two hours. This reminds me to take a break, get up and stretch, and get away from the computer. Depending on what time it is, it also reminds me to eat! This tracker has helped me in so many ways, including meditating. The accompanying app has a section for meditations that have varying times, usually within the three-five minute range. I’ve used a couple of the guided meditations, but the app that I love the most is called Insight Timer. This app has thousands of meditations for you to choose from and the best part is that it’s ALL FREE! I found one woman that I listen to every single day and her name is Bethany Auriel-Hagan. She has a really gentle and soothing voice, which helps calm me.

Now, I heard many good things about meditating, but I never thought that meditating was for me. My mind is always running at 2000 km/hr and never slows down, even when I want it to! I tried yoga many years ago and found that even while doing something so calming my mind was still all over the place. This is why I eventually stopped doing yoga. However, after I was laid-off from work, I noticed how much better I started feeling when I could sleep on my own schedule and wake up whenever I wanted. Another thing that I noticed was that I was a lot happier as well. I never really realized how exhausted my job makes me until I was laid off for a month. It was during this time that I did a lot of soul searching and realized that I was overworking myself and making myself sick. It was also around this time that I decided to do meditation and yoga as well as pursue other creative endeavors. I decided to make 2017 about my wellness and creativity, so starting January 1st I began meditating and doing yoga.

Here’s what happened briefly:
Day 1: I did a meditation to help me sleep. I didn’t think that this meditation would help, it was seventeen minutes long and I had worn my earphones to listen to this soothing guided meditation. To my surprise, I don’t even remember what the meditation was about because I fell asleep after five minutes! I was amazed.

Day 3-4: I started meditating in the morning or in the afternoons and I noticed how much more refreshed I felt. I was still tired, but I felt like I had some more happiness inside of me that made it easier to go about my day regardless of how tired I felt.

I did these meditations as well as a variety of others for sleep and found that I fell asleep easily! It was amazing because I’ve suffered from insomnia since I was a teenager! Yes, my mind still wandered off, but with the soothing music and gentle voice, I was able to slowly push away all those unwanted thoughts and focus on my breathing. The first few days weren’t that easy, but somehow I managed to fall asleep.

Before I knew it, thirty-one days had passed and I never missed a single day of meditation! I was surprised at how easy it was for me to fall asleep, which was one of the reasons why it became so easy for me to meditate every night before bed. Yes, there were times that I was interrupted, but eventually my boyfriend got in the habit of allowing me to have my “me-time” or “downtime” just before bed.

As I mentioned before, I have a busy life too, but I found a way to incorporate meditation into my life. If you commute to work by train or by bus, you can find short meditations to listen to on your way. At first, it’s difficult to concentrate on your breathing and other things because your mind is racing, but eventually you’ll find that it gets easier. You will also find that it helps change your mood as well and possibly even your perspective on things. I used to worry about so many things and stress over them as well, but ever since I started meditating, I find that I am calmer than I was before. I also got back into yoga, so these two practices are doing a lot of good to my body, mind, and soul. I feel happier, calmer, and less burnt out.

My recommendations for you are to find those short moments that you have time to just sit still and breathe. Even if that means setting a timer for every X amount of hours, you at least can take a few minutes to yourself to meditate. If you’re at home with the kids, it could mean waiting until they have a nap to sit down on the couch and rest, even if it’s just for ONE minute. Perhaps it’s busy at home, but maybe you could lock yourself in the bathroom to meditate for 2-3 minutes before you take a shower. You could even take a bath and meditate, just be careful to not fall asleep. You will be surprised at how even just a few minutes a day can make a difference in your life and wellbeing.

Remember, you have to MAKE TIME for yourself. How can you look after others if you aren’t taking care of yourself?

Meditation for Beginners: Baby Steps

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If you’re anything like me, you research all the different kinds of meditation techniques our there or you’ve downloaded a ton of apps onto your phone. Great, you’ve got all this information at your fingertips, but you have no idea where to start. The more you look, the more overwhelmed you get, and the more discouraged you are to try meditating. That, or you just have trouble meditating in general.

When I first started meditating, I found that my mind was exceptionally busy and it was impossible for me to stop the hurricane of thoughts rushing in my head. It took me a really long time to learn how to focus so that I could do meditations without letting my mind wander. I want to share some of the tips that really helped me.

  1. Just breathe. If your mind is too busy to focus on any guided meditation, put some soothing music on (or sit somewhere quiet/use earplugs) and just breathe. In your mind, think about this: breathe in through the nose for a count of five-eight, whatever feels natural to you. Hold for five-eight counts, then release through the nose or mouth for five-eight counts. Focus on the counting, on breathing in as much air as you can, and releasing all that stale air on the exhale.
  2. If the breathing technique doesn’t work, or even it does, try this one: Go for a five to ten minute walk. It doesn’t matter where you go, in the park, down the street, etc. The key to this exercise is noting how you feel while you are walking. Once outside, begin taking mental notes on how the sun feels against your skin. Is there any wind? How does the wind feel? What other things do you feel as you are walking? Try to keep your mind focused on how you are feeling and what you are feeling as you complete this walk.
  3. Another technique that sometimes helped me is listening to relaxing music. Go toy YouTube or Soundcloud or whatever you like and find some relaxing music, something that you think is nice and soothing. When you’ve found something, sit somewhere comfortably and close your eyes. Listen to the music and focus on the sounds. Is there a piano? A violin? Are there any nature sounds like running water, thunder, the ocean, birds, etc? Focus on all the things that you hear. If you can, begin noticing how the sounds make you feel. Do you feel a little more relaxed? Do you feel happy, sad, or angry? Then, if possible, dig a little deeper to discover what makes you feel that way or why you feel that way.
  4. Find something to look at that calms you. For me, a picture or video of the ocean waves crashing against the shore, the sound of running water in a Japanese garden, or even just watching sakura (cherry blossoms) is calming. Focus on this picture of video (with or without sound, if a video) and just watch/look at it. Start at the top and work your way down as you notice every little detail about it. In your mind, describe the detail. For example, if I’m looking at a photo/video of cherry blossoms I might think this: The sky is a beautiful shade of blue and the tree’s dark bark contrasts against it. The long branches, reaching out everywhere with pale pink, delicate flowers. Green leaves pop out among the clusters of pink. Stray petals of pink cascade onto the ground when the gentle breeze caresses the tree. The petals are raining down onto the ground in pink “drops.” The trunk is dark and sturdy, deeply rooted into the ground. The green grass peeks out from under the blanket of pink petals…etc.
  5. Find an object and hold it in your hands. For example, I have a small figurine of a wolf, which is my favorite animal. I can hold it in my hands and look at it, noticing all the intricacies of this figurine. Examining it, noticing how it feels in my hand (light or heavy, rough or soft, etc.) the colors that are used, the detail in the eyes or mouth. Run your fingers over it and feel the texture in your hands.
  6. Do stretches. Find a mat or somewhere where you can stretch. Focus on the movements that you are doing and the counting. Stretch out your neck by placing your chin down towards your chest. Hold for ten seconds, then slowly move it up and around in circles, very slowly. When your ear is against your shoulder, hold it for another ten seconds before you continue to move around. Do this again when your other ear reaches your shoulder. Move to your shoulders, raising them up and down, then around in circles one way, then the other. Next, stretch your arms. Lift them above your head, grasp your right wrist with your left hand, and pull your right arms gently towards the left so you feel a stretch in your arm and your right side. Hold for ten seconds, and then do the same to the other arm. Bend forward like you’re trying to touch your toes, let your arms hang loose towards the floor or rest them on your legs. Hang there for a moment, and then slowly raise yourself up vertebrae by vertebrae while you head remains down. It is the last thing to come up. Next, do a lunge and have your arms where it’s comfortable for you. Hold the pose for ten seconds, or more, depending on how you feel. Do the same to the other leg. Lift your left or right leg up slightly and rotate the ankles in a circle, slowly. Repeat on the other side.
  7. The last recommendation I have is writing. Get out a notebook or open a new word document and just let your mind take control of your fingers as you write whatever comes into your mind. Don’t think about it, just let your hands move and write/type out words on the paper/screen. You might write how you’re feeling, or the thoughts that are troubling you or that are running around in your head. Use this as an emotional release for you and focus on the paper/screen and your emotions. Keep writing until your fingers stop. This is a good way to clear your mind before you start meditating.

These exercises really helped me learn how to focus. I’m the type of person that needs to do a variety of things in order for my mind to clear, or even learn, for that matter. I need to see, touch, hear, and write. Maybe one of these works for you, or maybe two work for you. Perhaps all of them work for you. Whatever it is, just keep doing it and when you feel like you’ve got the hang of one or two, or all of them. Try meditation again, whether it’s by yourself or guided meditation.

Some apps I really recommend
1. Atmosphere. This app has a variety of sounds and music to help you focus on sounds from a variety of different environments.

2. Calm. This has some background sounds like birds and water. It has a button for deep breathing that tells you when to breathe in, hold, and breathe out in case you need to see it rather than count it. They also have a “learn the basics” of meditation. It gives you seven days of meditation. Day one tells you what it’s used for and you start your first session. It’s a good guided meditation for beginners. The only thing I don’t like about this app is that you have to pay for other features and meditations, but for a beginner, those first 7 days are a good place to start.

3. Headspace. Many people really seem to like this app, including Emma Watson (if you care). It’s also a good place to start for beginners and you get “Take 10” free, which are 10 free days of meditation. It’s kind of a cute app that lets you add friends, see your progress, and has a timeline that you can view or go back to. I don’t like this app because it’s voiced by a man with a British accent. I love British accents, but I find that listening to a man makes it harder for me to concentrate and causes some anxiety. You also have to pay for more content.

4. Stop, Breath & Think. This is a cute app as well with some drawings. It asks you to check in before meditation on how you’re feeling and it gives you a list of recommendations based on how you feel. Once you finish meditating, it asks you to check in again with how you feel. You gain awards by meditating for certain amount of minutes/hours and for logging in every day. It also lets you view your progress. Some are free, but most meditations are paid. So, if you like to do different meditations every day, you might get bored with this one fast since your variety is limited as a free member.

5. Pacifica. I haven’t really played around with this one a lot, but it’s kind of neat. You log in your mood and it gives you a list of suggested activities to do: for example, I said I’m “good” so it recommended take a moment to relax, journal, set a goal for today, complete a healthy habit, and post to the community. I selected take a moment to relax and it gave me a list of meditations that I can try, a few are free, but the rest are paid. You can track your sleep, exercise, add daily habits and set daily reminders.

6. Meditation Music. The name says it all. You have 12 choices and you can set a timer for any number of minutes or hours, you can change the volume in the app, and pause it.

7. Leaf for Bellabeat. This app is used with your Bellabeat Leaf or Leaf Urban. They have a variety of meditations and breathing exercises that you can do. I don’t like the breathing exercises because the pace of breathing is WAY too quick for my tastes and I feel like I’m going to hyperventilate. The meditations are okay, but I don’t use them anymore because I found an app that I prefer, which is #8. Leaf lets you track your meditations and set a meditation goal for the week. I track my meditations using this app as it allows you to choose the start time and how long you meditated for.

8. Insight Timer. This app is my FAVORITE app. I use this app every single day! During the day, at night, etc. I love this app because there are thousands of FREE meditations that you can use and bookmark. There are tons to choose from! Categories include sleep, pregnancy, music, breathe, accepting and letting go, forgiveness, healing, etc. You can search for anything you want. You can also add friends, send messages, bookmark meditations, and keeps track of your total time, averages, and when you log in. You can also get stars for completing x amount of days that you’ve used the app in a row.

Still Missing Review

featured-book-still-missingA while ago, I had a student that recommended this book to me by Chevy Stevens. I had never heard of her before, but I decided to give it a read since he talked so highly about it. I also wanted to read more suspenseful novels. Well, I picked up the book from the library and DEVOURED the book. From the moment you start reading, you are sucked into Annie’s living hell and what happened to her. It’s bone-chilling and terrifying at the same time. Some parts were hard to read, but I couldn’t stop! I stayed up late into the night reading this book. Since then, I’ve become obsessed with Chevy’s writing. She is phenomenal! Here’s why:

  1. Annie is believable because we can feel her emotions as we are thrown in the roller coaster that Annie has to live through, day-by-day. Annie’s frustrations, anger, and even sadness are raw and real. Her desperation in the events that follow make our heart pound and even feel sick. Her logical response to the situations presented also make her strong and made me think: if I’m ever in a position like this, I hope I’m smart like Annie.
  2. Chevy’s words flow. That’s almost enough said right there. From the moment you read the first word on the page, you’ll find that everything flows together. There’s nothing in this book that ever made me feel like I wanted to hurl the book across the room or wonder how a character could be so stupid. Chevy has a talent at making her characters believable as well as their surroundings, fictitious or not. Chevy is also incredibly gifted at telling a story without giving us unnecessary information that does nothing for the plot. Everything is delivered in a nicely written package, from start to finish. I’m not even joking. It’s been a very long time since I’ve raved about someone’s ability to tell a story that’s so real, I often forget everything else around me. Chevy’s words are captivating, gripping, chilling…the list is endless.
  3. The endings are realistic. Not just with this book, but all the other ones that she has written (which, I have read, of course). The characters start out one way, go through a series of situations that transforms them into someone completely different. We see it with every story, but Chevy has a unique way of letting us see that change. We don’t just see it, but we feel it. The fact that her characters are realistic enough to transform into what they are at the end makes reading the ending more satisfying. It’s not always a happy ending, but there’s always something that’s been accomplished or some sort of realization that the character comes to that helps propel them in the direction they need to go.
  4. The suspense is real. By that, I mean that everything that happens in her books has made my heart pound and my palms sweat. When I read books, I usually don’t get so worked up because I find that it’s easy to distinguish myself from the characters as well as their fictitious worlds. However, Chevy creates such suspense that continues to build throughout the story that I hardly realized that I was tense in anticipation. There were a couple of night where I couldn’t even sleep because I couldn’t stop thinking about what was going to happen to Annie next. There are a couple of chapters that made me feel so tormented that I had to keep reading because I knew I couldn’t end the chapter there. THAT’S suspense. I read a lot, but not even Diana Gabaldon’s books make me want to read the whole thing in one sitting. (That’s what I mean by unnecessary writing. Diana’s got a bunch of stuff that I would have edited out, whereas Chevy manages to keep everything we need to know and never strays once from this formula).
  5. Do you really need more reasons to pick up this diamond of a book? It only took this ONE book to have me hooked on her writing, craving more. I went to the bookstore and bought ALL the books she has ever written. She also has a new book coming out this year and you can pre-order it. Are you kidding me? I’m all over that stuff.

    My recommendation: stop reading my blog and go get the book. I guarantee you won’t regret it! Just be prepared for some sleepless nights and to experience suspense like you’ve never experienced it before! If I could, I’d give this book a 100/10 because she’s that amazing. She’s Canadian to boot. Yay for us Canadian writers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outlander S2 + Dragonfly in Amber

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Before the second season of Outlander came out, I read the book. I will admit, I was really excited to read it. About a 1/4 of the way through it I became really bored. Without giving any spoilers, there were a lot of details about “other things” that didn’t really interest me as much. I was really hesitant about watching the second season, but come the first episode I was amazed. They changed a lot, but they did it in such a way that made the story telling so much better. Don’t get me wrong, I love Diana Gabaldon’s books, but the first half of book two was REALLY slow. I think that it could have been better if she had bits and pieces of both worlds to keep up engaged. That being said, that’s not ALL the screenplay writers and director changed. I was expecting certain “things” to happen later in the series, but I was hit in gut when they showed two particular scenes. I won’t mention which ones they are, but one was enough to render me shaking and going through the same emotions while the other…well, I was in shock at how they did it. I was watching the episode with my boyfriend and I wasn’t expecting it to happen in that episode, I tried so hard not to cry, but after the show ended I was balling my eyes out and curled up in a ball.

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The really nice thing about the screenplay writers and the directors is that they come up with really creative ways to show us Diana’s world and characters. So far, I have liked what they have changed and I don’t disagree with anything, except one particular scene in Season 1 that they really SHOULD have included. I was pretty miffed that it wasn’t there since I had been looking forward to it. I even agree with the scene that had me crying my eyes out. I hated feeling so tense every episode because I already knew what was going to happen, I just didn’t know if it was going to  be the same on screen or not. That entire episode, I was so tense that I gave myself sore muscles. Just when I thought things were going ok, BAM! I felt like I received a punch to the gut. It makes so much sense to do it the way they chose to, especially since it had quite the effect on everyone. I couldn’t get over that scene for days, even weeks later I was still upset over it. I’m not mad at how they chose to do it, I actually agree with it! Usually, when a director or screenplay writer makes changes that deviate quite a bit from the book, I hate it, but I really enjoy watching what they come up. I hope you do too!

The tension of book 2/the TV series is just as good as season one. There’s lots of drama, lots of lying, intrigue and new characters to fall in love with and despise. Season 2 is by far my favorite for costume design because there’s one scene where Claire is wearing the most stunning dress in the history of dresses. I wasn’t a fan of the length, but the dress itself was absolutely stunning. The best part: Jamie’s reaction to it was just as I had imagined it. It was SO incredible that I actually choked on my drink. All of Claire’s dresses in this season were fantastic! I was drooling over them every single episode and wishing that I could wear dresses like hers in real life. Gah! So fabulous and beautiful! You honestly have to watch the tv show or see pictures to understand what I mean! I’m a huge fan of 16-18th century dresses. If only I could have a wedding dress in that style…

If you thought season 1 had a lot of emotions, you haven’t seen anything yet. Season 2 is a roller coaster of emotion. From suspense, to anger, to heartache, all of the actors portrayed their characters to a T and deserve awards from here to the Sun. They were even more incredible than the first season, if that’s even possible. I was so hyped about season 2 that I even convinced my boyfriend to watch it with me and he pretended that he didn’t like it, but when Saturday came along he was asking me “isn’t Outlander out today?” I was really pleased that he liked it. In fact, he even asked when Season 3 would be starting! Here’s the news, in case you didn’t already know:

Season 3 is set for June 2017! I’m so excited, but at the same time I’m not looking forward to a bunch of scenes that really made me sad and angry. I know it’s going to be tough watching some of those scenes, much like the end of season 1, but it will all be worth it in the end. There’s one scene in particular that I am looking forward to the most and I know I’m going to cry hardcore. I really hope they (the screenplay writers and directors) don’t mess it up because it’s SUPER important. So much emotion involved in this scene. I know I’ll have to have my tissues ready (or to watch it before my boyfriend so that I can at least prepare myself and cry over it by myself-haha). As I stated in my previous post, I’m not one to cry in TV shows or movies unless an animal gets hurt, but Outlander has stirred something up within me…The actors really did a great job in making the  viewers love and hate them and we’ve become so emotionally invested in these characters and this world that it’s really hard not to feel something.

I’m counting down the days for Outlander’s return!

Outlander Season 1

outlander_tv_series_2014-2560x1440I haven’t done a review about this ridiculously addicting TV show that aired in August 2014. I will admit that I had never read the books before I found out about the TV show, but after the first three episodes I went out and bought it and I am already reading the fourth book.

I was really bored one day because there were no good TV shows on, so I was perusing an online streaming site to see if there were any good shows on channels that I didn’t get and I found Outlander. I read the description and as soon as I saw that the main character, Claire Randall, goes back in time to the 16th century, I was sold. I am obsessed with books and TV shows that take place in the past, especially between the 16th-18th centuries. I watched the first episode and learned about the main character’s life and about her husband, Frank Randall, and how they went to Scotland. The first episode shows you a lot of scenes between Claire and Frank that I actually found a bit slow and boring. It’s not until near the end of the episode when Claire and Frank go to the hill of Craigh na Dun that things start to get really interesting. There’s a beautiful scene on that hill when they go there together that is burned in my memory. It’s also my favorite scene from the first episode. The cliffhanger at the end of the episode had me itching for me, so I immediately called up Telus and asked them to add Showcase to my subscriptions!

Episode two is where things really kick off and how we really feel for Claire as she struggles through each episode on trying to survive in a foreign land and century while trying desperately to figure out how she can even get back to Frank. There are numerous things about this show that I love 1) Caitriona Balfe is an amazing actress with the most expressive chin I have ever seen. 2) Sam Heughan is amazing as Jamie McTavish (a.k.a you’ll find out soon) 3) the scenery in Scotland is absolutely STUNNING and made me want to go even more than before! 4) the entire cast of Outlander is incredible.

The nice thing about Outlander is that, while it’s a time traveling drama, it also has some comic relief that is usually provided by two certain characters, and one of them is my favorite character (in the TV show, but not in the book). While there are some jarring differences between the TV and the book, the way they are executed leaves little room for us fans to complain since they did a damn fine job of compensating for it. Example: Claire’s physical description is nothing like Caitriona’s, but her superb acting makes up for it. Angus is completely different in the book than he is in the TV show, but he totally makes up for it and I have a soft spot for Angus in the show rather than the book.

All in all, this is a fantastic TV show! I am not one to cry during movies or TV shows (unless an animal dies), but Outlander had me in tears in season one more than once because of the connection that we form with Jamie and Claire through their acting. Both leads draw you in like you wouldn’t believe and before you know it, the episode is already over. I highly recommend watching the TV show AND reading the book because both are magical.

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The thing about the book is that author Diana Gabaldon openly admitted that she wrote the book without expecting anyone to read it. This explains why some scenes in the book are questionable and were omitted from the TV show (and for good reason). I was quite surprised, however, that these particular scenes weren’t edited out on advice from her editor. As an editor myself, I would have advised to get rid of those scenes, but that’s just my opinion and it doesn’t really detract from the book’s originality or plot.

My favorite thing to do once I got my hands on the book was to read what I already watched and then read a little more in advance, then compare what happened. I loved spotting all the differences in the TV show and I was really surprised that I actually liked the changes that they made. If I talked about the changes that the directors of the Harry Potter films made, I find there are things that I hated and was actually angry about them omitting! That’s beside the point, however. I actually thoroughly enjoy the changes that the director made in the TV show and I hope you do too!

Happy reading and watching! Here’s the opening song “Skye Boat Song:”