Toronto Christmas Market & Distillery District

Toronto’s Distillery District is a year-round destination, but this December, it was particularly enticing; the entire District was transformed into a European-style Christmas Market, complete with a massive Christmas tree (they literally call it “Massive Christmas Tree” on the website!), old-fashioned carolers, and little stalls selling German treats like gingerbread and bratwurst.

If you didn’t get to partake in the holiday cheer this year, live the magic through these photos.

Just because the holidays are over, doesn’t mean you should skip the Distillery District. Its restaurants, shops are galleries are open year round, and the authentic Victorian buildings and cool art installations are more than enough reason for a visit.







101 in 1001

101 in 1001

I’m taking on the 101 Things in 1001 Days Challenge (also known as Project Zero).

The Challenge:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (i.e. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past- frequently simple challenges such as New Year’s resolutions or a ‘Bucket List’. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

Start date: 9 August 2016
End date: 7 May 2019

My list:


1. Visit Finland.
2. Visit Germany.
3. Visit Thailand.
4. Visit Iceland.
5. Take my mom to St. Maarten. (It’s her dream destination!).
6. See the Aurora Borealis.
7. Take a solo trip (the first time since I was 23?).
8. Visit Newfoundland.
9. Visit 5 states I haven’t been to before.
10. And Puerto Rico.
11. Visit Charleston, SC.
12. Visit the Gone With the Wind museums.
13. Start my own campfire.
14. Go camping in Autumn.
15. Have a campfire cookout with hotdogs and marshmallows.
16. Swim in Lake Ontario 5+ times in one summer.
17. Visit Bali.
18. Explore Florida more extensively. (Specifically Miami, the Keys and the Clearwater area).
19. Visit 3 Ontario provincial parks.
20. Visit 3 American national parks.
21. Celebrate Canada’s Sesquicentennial birthday.
22. Celebrate the 4th of July. With fireworks and BBQ.
23. See a seal or sea lion in the wild.
24. Take the train.
25. Visit Savannah, GA.
26. Visit Boston, MA
27. Visit New Orleans.
28. Visit Miami.
29. Visit Austin.
30. Visit Peggy’s Cove.
31. Go tailgating. (Go Buckeyes!)
32. Visit 3 museums I’ve never been to before.
33. Visit a beach in Toronto that I’ve never been to before.
34. Go to the ROM (Toronto, ON). I haven’t been since I was a kid!
35. Swim in the Atlantic ocean, Pacific ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
36. Visit Kitchener, ON to learn about my late paternal great grandfather and our German heritage.

Health // Spoonie Stuff

37. Get my weekly ropivacaine shots at least once without having a panic attack. (I have a phobia of needles and these needles are particularly huge and painful!).
38. Get the teeth that ME/CFS has damaged, fixed.
39. Help another spoonie pay for her medical treatment.
40. Recover all the files from my old computer.
41. Get a high quality wig or extensions.
42. Find the right treatment for my OCD. (In process).
43. Adopt a dog. (Registered Emotional Support/Service Animal?).


44. Post at least weekly at The Spoon in the Road.
45. Be a guest blogger on someone else’s blog. “Fat and Happy” at Yes & Yes.
46. Go to the Selective Mutism annual conference with my mom/mental health coaching business partner.
47. Speak at an event or conference.
48. Host an event or class.
49. Get published in a (physical) newspaper or magazine.
50. Host a giveaway.
51. Create a masterpost about running businesses while living with chronic illnesses.
52. Update my writer site.
53. Invest in TSITR business cards


54. Go to the ballet.
55. Go to the opera.
56. See a musical or play in Toronto.
57. See a show on Broadway.
58. Take singing lessons.
59. Watch 5 French language films.
60. Watch 5 documentaries. a) Hamildoc. b) To Joey, With Love. c)  A Sloth Called Velcro.
61. Stay at a Bed and Breakfast.
62. Dress up for Halloween.
63. See a burlesque show. (It’s been way too long!).
64. Meet up with 3+ friends I’ve met online, in person!
65. Take a class.
66. Ride a Ferris wheel.
67. Read biography or memoir of 5 people who inspire me. (Ones I haven’t read yet!). a) Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.
68. Hike 3 km in one day. (Before I got ME/CFS, I was able to hike over 15 km in a day).
69. Get a tattoo (provided I’m healthy enough, of course).


70. Start bullet journalling (again).
71. Try Project Life.
72. Try Line a Day journaling.
73. Make a vision board (on poster board! Pinterest doesn’t count this time!).
74. Try the Pomodoro Technique.


75. Make my own bath bombs.
76. Make soft pretzels.
77. Make latkes from scratch.


78. Buy something at Courage My Love
79. Invest in another pair each of Rayban glasses and sunglasses.
80. Invest in Tieks shoes.
81. Get a new laptop.


82. Try In-N-Out.
83. Try piirakka.
84. Try pistachio ice cream.
85. Try 5 (more) new foods.
86. Try 3 locally owned coffee shops in Toronto. Find a new favourite?
87. Treat myself to a Tiger Bowl at Fresh.


88. Take a language class. French? Finnish? Spanish? Yiddish?
89. Learn hand lettering.


90. Go to a renaissance fair.
91. Go to a food festival.
92. Go to the cherry festival in Traverse City, MI.


93. Pay off my debt.
94. Make $13,000
95. Make $33,000
96. Make $113,000.
97. Get my opal ring resized.
98. Buy a condo with my mom.
99. Buy an airstream.
100. Put a dollar into my savings account for each goal accomplished.

101. Make another list as soon as I complete everything on this one!

As I accomplish goals on this list, I’ll update this post.

Have you tried the 101 in 1001 challenge?


5 Things I Learned In June

Key West Lighthouse. By Cristo Vlahos.
Key West Lighthouse. Image by Cristo Vlahos.

I’m feeling inspired by Modern Mrs. Darcy to share a few things I learned this past month.

As a frequent (as frequent as possible, anyway) traveller and avid reader and writer, I love discovering new things, whether through conversation, books, movies or museums. So here are a few of the things I learned this June.

1 Key West, FL (which has been on my must-visit list for a long time!) is closer to Cuba than it is to Miami. Mind. Blown.

2 Apparently Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is very common in women. I am one of many living with this embarrassing, painful condition. At least we’re not alone.

3 Tammy Wynette and George Jones lived not far from where I am right now, in Lakeland, FL.

4 Cat Wine is an actual thing that exists. I’m tempted to make a cat pun, but I’ll leave that to the company’s purrfect marketing team.

5 Sometimes it’s better to skip ‘sorry’ and say ‘thank you’ instead.

What did you learn in June?

Am Disabled. Will Travel.

travelling while disabled

I sometimes wonder if I’m really cut out for a life of long-term travelling. I’m largely a homebody, my frequent medical treatments keep me in a near-constant few mile range from the hospital, and travelling  when you’re not an able-bodied white person who’s at least middle class has its challenges.

But then I remember the rush I get when a plane takes off, or when I see palm trees for the first time in a long time, or exotic birds, or food you can’t eat anywhere else. I love meeting new people. I love soaking up all the things that make each place the same as home, and everything that makes it different, and then writing about it later.

I can’t give up on a travel, no matter how hard it gets. Aren’t the things you love worth working for?

How To Do It All (Really!!)

You can do it all.

I know that sounds a little unrealistic: You have a business, a job, a social life, a family, some hobbies. Lots of responsibility. So little time. And, if you’re a regular at The Spoon In the Road, you probably have a disability. How are you supposed to juggle all this stuff? (I know my cane means literal juggling is out of the question for me!).

As a sufferer of ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), I have very few ‘good’ hours each day, before I have to rest. With so many things on my plate, how can I possibly get things done, and still have time for fun?

Enter How To Do It All: The Revolutionary Plan to Create a Full, Meaningful Life, by Linda Formichelli. Linda introduces the radical idea that a little stress is actually good for you. You have two choices: go through life as stress-free as possible, but have little in the way of memorable moments and funny stories to share. Or, set out to achieve something special, go on wild adventures, and just accept that stress is part of a life well-lived.

As spoonies, we’re already pretty well-acquainted with stress: We have to count our spoons, measure what little energy we have and make educated guesses about how tired and sore we’ll be tomorrow versus how happy and accomplished we’ll feel today.

In a way, we’re already living the “D.I.A.” lifestyle, without even knowing it.

How To Do It All offers concrete plans for making time and finding energy to do what’s important to you, explains how stress is actually your friend, and inspires you to go out and make your desires reality.

My only complaint about this book is that it doesn’t take into account that some of us don’t have 24 hours in a day (so to speak). While the average person can sleep 8 hours, work 8 hours, and spend the rest of their time on their goals, a spoonie needs to take things slower. We might not get through the entire book’s 12 desires within 12 months (as suggested in the book’s introduction). We simply can’t go at the same speed as our able-bodied counterparts, and that’s okay.


No matter your ability, you can do it all. Just go at your own pace, and enjoy the outcomes as well as the ride.

How to Do It All: The Revolutionary Plan to Create a Full, Meaningful Life — While Only Occasionally Wanting to Poke Your Eyes out with a Sharpie by Linda Formichelli is out now. Buy it in print or kindle here.

Full disclosure: I was a beta reader for this book and received a complimentary copy. However, this has not impacted my opinion.