Thursday, 4 October 2012

Big Birthday Love

Here it is. The day I've been waiting for. The day others have told me to fear. The day I should (apparently) be hunkered down in bed, with a blanket over my head, crying and wallowing in my sorrows. Today is my 30th birthday.

There, I said it. How scary does that number sound to you? If you haven't reached it yet, are you terrified? If you've passed it, was it all that bad?

I've been doing a lot of soul-searching on this topic over the past few months. And I think I've come to the conclusion that I'm okay with it. Actually, I'm better than okay. I'm (dare I say it?) a bit excited!

This has been a phenomenal year for me. I completed my Yoga Teacher Training, and have begun to teach part-time. I've been able to travel, to Myrtle Beach, SC and Los Angeles, CA, along with a few other little weekend getaways throughout the year. Adam and I have been to four amazing concerts so far, and we have two more lined up before the year is over. I've spent time strengthening my marriage, and also learning about myself. This has been a real year for self-discovery. I've spent plenty of time with family and friends, having fun and making memories. I've been busy making big life decisions, and plans to realize my dreams. I've laughed so hard I cried, and cried so hard I didn't think it would ever end. And I don't regret any of it for a moment.

I've had so many great experiences and opportunities this year, and I'm so excited to see what comes next. I know that more great things are right around the corner, and I can't wait to see what the Universe has in store for me next. Life is good, and I feel very blessed to be able to share my happiness with those around me. "Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."

I want to thank all of you who took precious time out of your day to send me a birthday wish. As small as it may seem, it means the world to me. I'm sending out a virtual hug to each and every one of you!


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Welcome Fall

I'm a summer girl. There's no doubt about that. I often joke that I'm cold from October to April, which is why I never turn on my air condintioning! Everyone I know thinks I'm crazy, but even though it was one of the hottest summers on record, we only had the air on a grand total of about five times all summer, and those times I was overruled by Adam. (If I lived alone, I could sell the unit for extra cash...) Even on those days that it's 39C with the humidity, I still love the summer. I'll take a hot, sticky, sweaty day over teeth-chattering, icicle-feet misery any day!

Typically, I spend all of August dreading the return of fall. I waste the whole month digging in my heels, denying to myself that it's actually coming (despite the early arrival of Back To School flyers and fat fall fashion magazines).

I do actually like the fall though. The crisp, fresh air. Crunchy leaves. Last few sunny days. New sweaters. Return of routine. Comfort food. Tea. Candles. Thanksgiving. My birthday. See? It has it's redeeming points. I guess what I dislike the most is that fall means that winter is on it's way. That's a whole other post, but basically I have no use for winter after January 1st... :)

This year I'm making a real effort to the beauty in fall. I'm trying to embrace the cooler temps, and find some fun things to do (instead of hibernating early!) So far, I've made homemade Chai tea concentrate for lattes at home. I've been collecting carb-heavy recipes that just beg to be eaten on the couch under a blankie. I'm pinning outfits featuring scarves and boots like crazy! I even had a pumpkin protein smoothie today after my power yoga class... This fall I want to smile more, get out into the fresh air more and just generally enjoy every day that I'm lucky enough to receive.

I hope that you're seeing the beauty in the new season as well. Cheers to fall!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

My Summer in Instagrams

It's fair to say that I'm in a bit of denial over the fact that summer is on it's way out. I like the fall, don't get me wrong. Nice cool, crisp days and pretty leaves. My bday, and Thanksgiving turkeys. Pumpkin-flavoured stuff. It's all good. It's what comes after the fall that's a problem. I don't wanna talk about it though. That's why I've decided to share my fave summer Instagrams with you... If you're on Instagram too, follow me @erindbarker! Here we go!

The day I graduated from my Yoga Teacher Training Program!
Tree Pose at my Grandparents' farm :)

Our nieces - Makhyla and Maicie

My first yoga photoshoot

Adam and I at Echo Beach
for the Sam Roberts concert

LA collage

If you ever go to LA, make sure you eat at Joan's On Third.
There is nothing more delicious in the known universe!

Um, I like beer?

El Matador Beach in Malibu

Miller chillin' at the cottage

An amazing rainbow 
We had an amazing, fantastic, beautiful summer. One with great memories that'll get us through this long, cold winter. I'm so grateful for all the wonderful things I got to see, and the great people I got to spend time with. And if I'm being totally honest, this fall isn't shapin' up too bad either ;)

Monday, 20 August 2012

Manifesto Monday

If you're anything like me, you could use a little inspiration on a Monday. Okay, a lot of inspiration. I was prompted to write my own manifesto for a contest (which I did not win, btw), but I'm glad I jumped on the opportunity. It was inspired by the good folks at Lululemon and Tiny Devotions. Both companies have very cool, very motivating manifestos which you can read here and here.

I thought I'd share mine with you. I posted it inside my closet door where I can see it everyday, for a little dose of encouragement and positivity in the morning. Try writing your own, with things that really mean something to you, so that it gives you a sense of purpose everytime you lay eyes on it.

Here goes:

There is no fear. There is only love.  Open mind, open heart.  Being grateful is the answer to all of your problems. Tea will make you feel better too. Dress like yourself. Choose clothes and jewels that make you feel uniquely you.  Do yoga and breathe deeply. Savour the sensations that your body feels while it is finding strength, openness and space.  Feel the peace flowing through you.  Walk in the fresh air. Look around you. Marvel in the amazing-ness that nature possesses. Marvel in your own amazing-ness.  Smile. Know that your smile is infectious. Know that it will spread to others – guaranteed.  Laugh. Feel that positive energy swirling around you. Feel that you are on the verge of something fantastic.  Grab on tight to life and never let it go.  You won’t regret this for a moment.

Happy Monday friends :)

Saturday, 11 August 2012


Lucky me, I've just returned from an amazing trip to California. The hubby and I went to Los Angeles for 5 days and I've spent every day since my return plotting how to get back there! We've been very fortunate this year, as this is our 2nd vacation. We went to Myrtle Beach in March on a family vacation, but this one was just for us.

This has already been a huge year for me, with graduating my RYT and beginning to teach a few nights a week, in addition to my regular job. I've been very lucky to have some extra free time this summer to enjoy the amazing weather and do some soul-searching about my future plans. I had dreams of our trip to LA being a time of connection and bonding for Adam and I. A time of reflection, but also a time to carve out a new path for our future. It turned out to be exactly what I needed it to be. Not only were we lucky enough to spend five busy and adventurous days in our favourite city, but we had an amazing time just being together and exploring. That's my favourite thing to do on vacation - get a little bit lost, and then see where life leads you. (Provided you have a GPS handy, just in case!) We hiked, did yoga, shopped, enjoyed a number of cold brews on a number of beautiful patios, experienced the oceans and the mountains, ate great food, people-watched, even checked out a couple of Open Houses (just in case)! And most importantly, we did it together and have so many beautiful memories that will get me through this long, cold Canadian winter! (Well, that, and my new Free People sweater! lol)

I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience this fantastic city a second time. I feel a bit greedy as we were just there last spring for our 5th Anniversary... but when opportunity knocks, you are wise to answer. So that's what we did. And I don't regret it for a second.

That's the best part of life, I think. When you can say you really took it by the horns, and didn't waste a second. Nothing feels as good as that.

I hope you're lucky enough to have some memories from this summer that make you smile a giant, genuine, uncontrollable smile :)


Friday, 20 July 2012


I had a great Nutrition class on Wednesday. (Wait. To fill you in, I'm taking a 6-week course called Nutrition 101 at Live With Spirit.) Okay, so it was great this week. The topic was Mindful Eating, ie. not letting your emotions dictate your eating habits. This is definitely something I think most people can admit to doing. Whether it's boredom, anger, or stress, just to name a few, I'm sure we can all say that at one point or another, we've indulged a bit too much when we're riding an emotional wave.

We began the class with our instructor, Pam Elek, leading us in a meditation to help us quiet our minds and relax after a long day. She then spent some time talking about positive affirmations. (If you're not familiar with the concept of affirmations, you may want to check out Louise Hay for some expert information.)

Pam had us choose something in our lives that we were currently working to improve. We wrote it down on a piece of paper, and folded it up for later in the class. Then we listened to twenty minutes of Louise Hays' "You Can Heal Your Life" book on cd. I found it to be really powerful stuff. Basically, the idea of positive affirmations is to change our thinking patterns. For most of our lives, we've had thought processes that were ingrained in us by our parents and others at a very young age. A lot of this is negative thinking, maybe stemming from that time a boy on the playground told you that you have a huge nose. So, since you were 6, you've hated your nose. Maybe you don't even remember why you hate your nose. You only know you have an ugly nose. It's all about breaking these negative and often destructive thinking patterns, so you can move beyond it to create your best life.

After we listened to the beginning of the cd, Pam had us go back to our piece of paper, and turn that goal into an affirmation for ourselves to use. For example, "I would like to focus on clean and healthy eating" can become "I respect my body, and I treat it only with love and kindness." Or "I need to get a new job" turns into "New doors are opening for me all the time." In choosing an affirmation, you have to be specific. It needs to be in the present tense and you need to revisit it (writing it and saying it aloud) many times a day.

Our homework this week is to spend 5-10 minutes per day meditating, and also to say and/or write our new affirmation at least 15 times per day. So far I've only been doing it for two days, but I've been saying mine aloud in the car and in front of the mirror, and I've written it on several pieces of paper and taped it up around the house as a constant reminder. As a personal goal for the rest of the summer (or longer if the habit sticks) I've decided to choose a new affirmation for myself each week. I'm very excited to do this, as this summer is a major time of self-discovery for me.

Hope you are all having some time just for yourselves this summer, and enjoying every minute of it!


Monday, 2 July 2012

Coco Love

You can call me the Sparrow Foodie today, if you don't mind ;)

One of my fave things to do when I have time off is to experiment in the kitchen. I like cooking anyway, but it's so much fun when you've got lots of time to really make a mess and try something new. So when Adam and I are home with nowhere else to be, we cook.

This long weekend we've made Huevos Rancheros (you're missing out if you've never had these!), some delicious steaks (marinated for hours), Caprese Salad Bites (Thank you Pinterest), grilled chicken breast, goat cheese and strawberry salad (goat cheese pretty much makes anything delish), homemade pizzas (deluxe and margherita) and this morning's Oatmeal Pancakes. I've made these before and they are phenomenal.

I'm beginning to get more creative with my recipes, mainly because of my goal to eat healthier. One of my main switches so far, has been from using veg oil or canola oil, to coconut oil. The health benefits of coconut oil are abundant, and I began the switch when I read about how heating olive oil at a high temp causes the oil to become unstable and to produce cancer-causing free-radicals. For years, I've been cooking with olive oil. I realize now that it should be used as a flavour-enhancer after the cooking is over. Enter coconut oil. Organic, unrefined, cold-pressed is best of course. It's got plenty of cosmetic uses also, so you'll be getting your money's worth from that jar. Add to the fact that it's got a shelf life of up to two years, and there's really no reason not to try it out! Find it at your local health food store.

Now back to those pancakes... My recipe is adapted from Chef Michael Smith's "The Best of Chef at Home" cookbook (one of my faves). Keep in mind that the coconut oil will add a slight coconut flavour, and there's nothing wrong with that in my eyes. Next time, to make the pancakes even more tropical, I'll substitute coconut milk for my regular or almond milk (I just didn't have it on hand today). Here's the recipe for you, and feel free to experiment yourself :)

1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat, grain or almond flour
1 cup oatmeal flakes
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon or nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups non-dairy milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp honey
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, and begin to combine them with the dry ones. Stir until smooth, but don't overmix the batter. Spoon the batter into a preheated skillet. Watch for bubbles on top; this will tell you when your pancakes are ready to flip. (Tip: You can get ahead of a hungry crowd by stashing the cooked pancakes on a plate in a warm oven.) I added sliced bananas and plenty of maple syrup to mine :) Happy Canada Day long weekend!

Saturday, 30 June 2012


Just taking some time today to relax and just be.

Living in the present is not an easy thing me! I'm a planner. A list maker. A worrier. An imaginer. I spend so much time putting together my vision for the future, that I often miss out on the NOW. I'm hoping that I can learn to just concentrate on the present without putting so much effort into planning for things that may or may not happen. I'm so afraid that I'm going to wake up one day and realize that I wasted all these great, young, tight years of my life worrying about being greater, younger and tighter, while I was actually perfect just the way I was, and it slipped away from me.

I'm going to use this (beautiful, sunny, amazing) long weekend to cherish the moments that I have right now, rather than stress about next week at work, or other foolish things that I have no control over. And really, you tell me which sounds like more fun?

Enjoy your time with loved ones and know that tomorrow will bring you exactly what you need.


Monday, 18 June 2012


Hi there,

So it's official. I've graduated from my RYT200 Yoga Teacher Training course!!! It feels so great to be finished, although if there's one thing that I've learned, it's that you're never really done learning... Already, I'm searching for my next course to take to increase my knowledge, and my creativity when it comes to teaching.

Luckily, I've been blessed with a few teaching opportunities already. I'm so happy about this, because it means that I've already got a bit of experience to help me on my way. I've been teaching 3 classes a week for a couple of months now, and it's helped me tremendously (especially with my nerves!). I'll have a bit of downtime this summer, and I'm really looking forward to working on my own practice, and making some big life decisions over the next 2 months.

I'm also super-excited about my upcoming trip to LA this summer! Going with the hubby, and planning to spend some time together just enjoying the view (literally and figuratively). I've already tracked down some yoga classes for us to attend, including a daily outdoor yoga class in Runyon Canyon, overlooking the city. There is also tons of great hiking and (obviously) beaches. We plan to explore, reflect, discover and reconnect. CAN. NOT. WAIT.

Hoping you all have some opportunities to enjoy the view this summer as well.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Link Love

This is a short and sweet article from MindBodyGreen called Don't Try Yoga Until You Understand These 3 Things

These are definitely things I'll pass onto any of my friends and family who are thinking about getting into a yoga practice... just a heads up!

Friday, 20 April 2012

This Too Will Pass...

This has been a bit of a crazy week. Last weekend, I had Teacher Training Weekend #8. There was a lot of introspective discussion and personal growth activities to help us to look inward at the direction of our lives. For some reason, I found this to be a particularly difficult weekend to handle, and all the self-discovery really made me quite emotional. On Monday at work, we got some terrible news about a friend of a co-worker. Also, our courier informed me that his cat (whom he has had for 15 years) was in surgery and things didn't look good for the outcome. These two things, combined with my emotional state left over from the weekend, made me feel very down. All of a sudden, a good friend of mine, and former co-worker, walked through the door for a surprise visit! That was all I needed to completely break down into tears. We ended up having a nice visit, but the first day of my week was mostly not a happy one.

The week ended up getting a bit better - my husband, brother-in-law and his wife came to my Tues night class at Live With Spirit, so it was great to have some happy support there with me. I had asked the class to send out some positive and healing energy to someone who they knew who might neeed it, and my sister-in-law later informed me that she had sent hers to me! I think it worked because by the end of the class, I felt very strong and grateful.

The rest of my week went quite a bit better. I taught my 2nd private class, had a nice visit with my Grandparents, picked up a new purse, and enjoyed some unseasonably warm weather.

For anyone wondering, the private class I began teaching last week went really well, and seems like a nice group of women. I think I'll enjoy watching their practice week after week.

Here's hoping this coming week is better than the last!

Namaste, ERIN

Monday, 9 April 2012

Nerves Abound

So, I have had many new opportunities come my way since I last posted. For one, I am now teaching on a regular basis at Live With Spirit in Brooklin. Let's call it Long-Term Temporary, since the original teacher is still off recovering from an injury. I have a small class there for a Core Power Class. I am desperately trying to put all of my education to work, but still find I have plenty of nerves accompanying me to class each week. I try to be prepared, to help ward off some of the nerves that come from the unknown of teaching a class. I still can't help but wonder each week how many (if any!) will show up to my class...

Secondly, I have been offered a chance to teach a private class at a corporate office in Whitby. I know zero details as of yet, except that it will be a one-hour Power Yoga Class... and they don't like "yoga" music! So, in preparation for this week's first class, I have spent a few hours tonight creating my class plan, and also a new playlist with some modern songs, which I really hope will help to keep the students motivated and energized. I feel pretty good about both, but only time will tell.

I have such a hard time with nerves, especially when taking on something new. I have also been struggling with a lot of negative self-talk lately and that really doesn't help the whole confidence issue! I have been trying to find some useful articles and quotes to help give me a push in a positive direction, so I will just keep on reading (and re-reading) those until my first new class on Wednesday night is over!

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Back to Business

I want to start by apologizing profusely for my absence for the last few months! I have been spending some solo time making some changes to my life, and lots has been going on in my personal affairs, so dealing with all that has taken loads of time. The good news is that I'm back and ready for action :)

I am officially 50% done my Yoga Teacher Training, having completed my 5th of 10 weekends in January. I am so excited to become a certified RYT200 graduate, but for now, I'm working on improving my teaching skills and learning as much as I can.

I have begun to teach the women at my office for practice, some of whom have never done any yoga before! We have a 1hr class one night a week after the office closes where we all roll out our mats in the waiting area and stretch out the stresses of the day. It's really fun to share something that is not just great exercise for the body, but also helps to calm the mind. So far they all seem to be enjoying it, and everyone keeps coming back week after week, so I can only take that as a good sign :)

Also, last week for the first time, I subbed a class for Sheree (my Teacher Training instructor) at her studio, on a night she had somewhere else to be. It was my first time teaching with real students who didn't know me (and get paid for it!) The only way I can describe it is "terrifyingly awesome". I was so nervous, but well-prepared. Also, I was lucky to have a pep talk from Nancy, a recent graduate of Sheree's program, who was teaching a kid's yoga class in another part of the studio at the same time. I feel like it went really well, and am looking forward to doing another one.

I've just gotten home from teaching at the office tonight, and we had a great class. I didn't have time to prepare a class for tonight, so I had to wing it, and it went great! We had a lot of fun, and (shockingly) my timing was right-on... which I find to be one of the hardest parts of doing a class for me! I feel really positive, optimistic, and grateful tonight, and I just wanted to send some of that love and good energy out into the universe to you all!

Thanks for reading, and I promise to be back soon!

Namaste, ERIN