Investing made simple: The basics you need to know

When it comes to investing, I used to have no idea what I was doing. I would give my husband access to my funds and put my trust in him. However, I recently decided I should start to learn a thing or two about investing, since it is one of the smartest things anyone can do with their money.

 By investing in assets that will produce income, you are setting yourself up for a more secure future. However, before you start investing, there are some basics you need to know. I wanted to share some important concepts that I have learned about investments and a foundation of knowledge that will help you make an informed decision about your money. 

Compounding

Compounding is the process of earning interest on your investment, as well as on the interest that has been accumulated over time. This can be a powerful tool for building wealth, but it only works if you reinvest your earnings back into your investment. For example, let’s say you have an investment that pays you $100 in interest each year. If you reinvest that $100, then the next year, you will earn interest not only on the original investment but also on the $100 from the previous year. This can quickly snowball into a large sum of money over time. Compounding is one of the most important concepts to understand when it comes to investing, yet it is often misunderstood or overlooked by novice investors. When you are first starting out, it can be tempting to cash out your earnings and spend them. However, if you want to build wealth through investing, you need to let your money work for you by reinvesting it.

 

Risk and Return

All investments come with some degree of risk, which is the chance that you could lose money. In general, the higher the potential return on an investment, the higher the risk. For example, investing in stocks generally has a higher potential return than investing in bonds, but it also comes with a higher degree of risk. Before making any investment, you should always consider your risk tolerance. This is your ability and willingness to lose money in pursuit of a higher potential return. If you are someone who is comfortable with taking on more risk, then you may be willing to invest in assets like stocks that have the potential for high returns but also come with a greater chance of loss. On the other hand, if you are someone who is not comfortable with taking on much risk, then you may want to invest in assets like bonds that have a lower potential return but also come with a lower chance of loss. No matter what your risk tolerance is, it is important to remember that all investments come with some degree of risk.

 

Diversification

Diversification is a risk management technique that involves investing in a variety of assets in order to offset the risk of loss. By investing in a mix of asset types, you can minimize the impact that any one investment may have on your overall portfolio. For example, if you invest only in stocks and the stock market crashes, then your entire portfolio will lose value. However, if you have a diversified portfolio that includes stocks, bonds, and other assets, then the crash in the stock market will not have as big of an impact on your portfolio’s value. Indices are a type of investment that can offer diversification and help manage risk. Diversification is an important tool for managing risk, but it is not a guarantee against loss. Even a diversified portfolio can lose money if the markets decline sharply. However, diversifying your investments can help to reduce the overall risk of your portfolio and make it more likely to weather market fluctuations over the long term.

 

These are three key concepts that every investor should understand. Compounding, risk and return, and diversification are important tools that can help you build wealth over time. By understanding how these concepts work, you can make informed decisions about your money and invest with confidence.

 

5 Essential ways to take care of your physical health

Every since becoming a mom things have gotten quite hectic to say the least, and sometimes it’s really hard to find enough time in the day to get all my chores and tasks done. It has become easy to let my physical health slip. It’s not always easy to find time for the gym or make healthy meals from scratch let alone with a baby to take care of. However, taking good care of your body is just as important as taking good care of your mind. Here are five ways you can take better care of your body and feel great about yourself.

Exercise regularly

Exercise is one of the best ways to stay healthy, with multiple benefits. It can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers. It can also help reduce stress and improve your mood. Exercise can take many forms, so you don’t have to join a gym. Instead, you can go for a walk, swim, ride a bike or do gardening or housework. If you are new to exercise, start slowly and build up. You don’t want to injure yourself. If you have health issues, check with your doctor about the best types of exercise for you.

 

Make your own meals and eat together as a family

Healthy eating is an easy way to stay healthy. Make your meals from scratch, rather than buying processed or junk food. You will know exactly what’s in your food and what’s not. If you have children, make mealtimes a family affair. It’s a great way to bring your family together and get everyone talking. If your children are old enough, get them involved in making their own meals. This will help them learn about healthy eating, which is essential, as teaching your child about healthy eating from a young age will help instill good eating habits in them. It is also vital to make your own meals, as you know exactly what is going into your food and what isn’t. You can use organic produce, free-range eggs, and low-fat, low-sodium ingredients.

 

Use alternative healing therapies

Sometimes we get so busy that we don’t even notice how stressed we are. Stress is terrible for our health and happiness, so it is essential to find ways to manage it better. There are many different alternative healing therapies you can use to reduce stress, including yoga, meditation, massage, and even going to physio for specific injuries and ailments. These are all forms of self-care and will make you feel calmer and happier. They are also great for your physical health, easing pain, reducing blood pressure and boosting your immune system.

Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. It helps us manage stress and improves our mood. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. If you are struggling to get enough sleep, try a herbal sleep remedy. Make sure you have a peaceful, dark environment and switch off your phone an hour before bed.

Don’t forget to breathe and have some mindfulness time.

This was one that really helped me throughout my pregnancy and now I am working on continuing my breathing practice postpartum. Breathing exercises can help you cope with stress and anxiety. They are great for your physical and mental health. They can lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your mental health. Try having some mindfulness time every day. Use this time to meditate, do yoga or just be still. Use this time to reflect on what you have achieved and what you would like to achieve the next day.

Taking care of your physical health can be just as important as taking care of your mental health. Luckily, it’s easy to do all of these things, even when you’re busy. From going for walks to making your own meals, there are many ways to improve your health. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do everything at once. Start with one thing, and over time you’ll build a health routine that works for you.

xo

Mia

7 Ways to cope with the overwhelming reality of being a new mom

It has been 5 months since we welcomed our son Max into the world and our lives have changed drastically. While we are over the moon in love with our new family member, it is still such a learning process when you are responsible for the well being of another person. There have been moments where I have felt stressed, overwhelmed, and I am not going to lie, even a bit resentful towards my partner, but the more I talk to other new moms the more I realize that this is completely normal.

I wanted to share some ways I have been able to cope with becoming a new mom that has helped me learn how to enjoy our little bundle of joy.

 

Set Boundaries And Say No

My whole life I have been a yes person, I say yes to everything and find myself overwhelmed and exhausted, so when we welcomed our baby I realized how important it was to set boundaries for yourself and say “no” to things that you can’t deal with right now. Try your best to set some boundaries and politely decline offers that are too much for you at the moment. Or if someone does want to come and see you and the baby, don’t be afraid to ask if they can also help out around the house or with some tasks.  You can’t do everything and be everything to everyone. You have to be realistic about your limitations. Take care of yourself and your baby in your own way. That is your top priority. So do things at your own pace and in your own time.

 

Create Routines For You And Your Baby

At the beginning you are just trying to get through each day and you and your baby are getting to know each other, but as you two get more familiar with one another you can start creating some routines or your family. Routines are perfect for new moms who feel overwhelmed by all the unique responsibilities of having a baby. While it’s important to allow for some flexibility with new routines, you can use them as a guideline to help you get into a more organized and relaxed routine with your baby and your new mommy life. Try and integrate activities that help you mentally, like exercise. And there’s no better exercise than walking. And it’s easy to do as a mom with stroller-friendly walks that get you moving together. 

 

Try Not To Get Too Overwhelmed By All The Advice

There is a lot of advice out there on becoming a new mom. But try to remember that everyone’s different and all babies are different. You have to decide what is right for you as a mom. You’re just a new mom who may be going through some challenges. With that in mind, you should try not to get too overwhelmed by all the advice out there. You just have to do what is right for you as a new mom.

 

Don’t Compare Yourself To Other Moms

This one is extremely hard, especially since where I live in Squamish there are so many young families and it is hard not to compare yourself and how you and your baby are doing.  You may be feeling guilty that you don’t have the same “perfect” life as other moms who are also new moms. Maybe your baby isn’t sleeping through the night, or you are struggling with breastfeeding but that is ok! Do things at your own pace and in your own way. Find what works for you as a new mom and your baby. It’s a journey that all moms go through in their own way.

 

Make Time For Yourself

Becoming a new mom often means that you’ll have less “me” time, if any at all. If you’re feeling this way, take some time for yourself. Find time to take care of your mental health by doing things you enjoy. Time for yourself lets you recharge your batteries and remember that you’re not just a mom. Joining group activities like yoga classes is a great way to take time for yourself and be social. Try signing up for different groups. I love taking an hour to myself even if its mommy and baby workouts where we go together. And don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. I am lucky enough to have my mom in town to let me take some breaks.  

 

Find A Support Network Of Fellow New Moms You Trust

Living in Squamish, I am so lucky to have a wonderful support network. From a great group of other new moms, group activities catered to new parents, and even a medical group called Mountain Maternity that is on hand to help out in the first six weeks, but we are pretty lucky here and so it’s important no matter where you life that you find your own network. Having a support network of fellow new moms that you trust is important for your life as a parent. They can help you feel less alone, stressed and overwhelmed with everything about having a new baby. Try things like joining a mommy and me group or organizing a neighborhood playdate with other new moms in your area.

 

Celebrate The Small Victories

Becoming a new mom is a fantastic journey. But it can also be a bit scary, overwhelming and even frustrating at times. It’s normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed right now. So give yourself a pat on the back. Being a mom is hard. And you’re doing amazingly. Celebrate all the little wins. 

You got this mommas

xo

Mia

What you actually need to pack in your hospital bag

Once you hit your third trimester you may start thinking about what you need to bring in your hospital bag. If you are like me, you might be working on this in your second trimester. Let me start off by saying this blog was definitely a learning experience – and I hope I can help some soon-to-be-mommas learn from my mistakes.

I read all the blogs and packed everything that anyone said I might need. I packed, and unpacked, and repacked my hospital bag a dozen times and then when my mat leave started a week before my due date, I packed and unpacked some more. I was driving myself crazy and by the end of it all I had a full bag, as well as my husband, and baby and did we use half of the stuff we took to the hospital? Absolutely not.

So I wanted to break it down for you all into items we actually needed while we were there and some nice to haves as well as items that the hospital was able to provide so you don’t need to bring your own.

Must haves 

 1. A water bottle with a straw: I found this extremely helpful to keep me hydrated. Since contractions can be very intense my husband was able to help me drink in-between each one.

2. Toiletries: I went to shoppers and got the mini travel items so that it would fit easily in my bag. Make sure you have a toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash wipes (easier than face wash), deodorant. I also packed dry shampoo in case we would be there fore a few days and hair ties to keep my hair back during labour and nipple cream to help after labour as we were attempting breastfeeding.

3. Long phone charger: My labour was 13 hours and so I definitely needed to charge my phone but there is likely not going to be an outlet close to the bed so make sure to pack a long phone charger

4. Snacks for you and your partner: The hospital won’t provide food for your partner so it is good to have some snacks on hand. I was also desperate for some fuel as my labour went on because going 13 hours without any food is difficult. Try get easy to digest snacks that will give you a lot of energy like nuts or dried fruit. I also found gatorade extremely helpful .

5. Lip Balm: It is extremely dry in the hospital and so having lip balm nearby was key. I used it as much as I used the button to up my epidural.

6. Comfy coming home clothes: Your body is going to go through a lot over the next few days, you don’t want to try and throw on jeans and leave the hospital. Pack some loose fitting clothes.

7. Slippers or warm socks: After labour it is likely your feet will get swollen as your body starts to release liquids, on top of that you want to be as cozy as possible and you are likely going to be encouraged to move around a little bit to avoid blood clots so slippers will be a huge help.

8. Wallet and health card: This is pretty obvious but when those contractions hit you won’t really be able to think about too much so make sure you remember to bring your health card info.

9. Nursing clothes or comfortable robe: If you plan to breastfeed you will likely be attempting to do that right after giving birth and so it is nice to have some comfortable clothes that have easy access for breastfeeding.

10. Coming home outfit in baby in different sizes: We knew we were having a large baby and so I brought outfits for him in both newborn and 0-3. I also brought a ton of swaddles that didn’t get used because the hospital provide us with some while we were there. We also gave birth in the winter so we made sure we had a hat and gloves as well.

11. Car seat: This will literally be the only test before leaving the hospital. Make sure you know how to put your baby safely in a car seat.

Nice to Haves

1. Your own pillow: Yes the hospital will have pillows but you could have a long labour ahead of you and a few nights in a hospital bed so I appreciated having my own pillow

2. A sleeping bag/blanket for your partner: Hospitals can get quite cold and who knows what the sleeping arrangements will look like. We didn’t end up needing the one we brought because the hospital had quite a comfy chair for him but it was nice to have it in case.

3. Your own towel: We didn’t stay long enough to need a shower, but depending on what kind of birth you have you may be in the hospital a few nights and having your own towel can be comforting.

4. Portable speaker: Depending on what kind of birth plan you have it might be nice to have some way to listen to music while you are in labour. We forgot our speaker and ended up sleeping most of the labour anyway (thankful for that epidural) but I have heard it has been a useful tool for many families.

5. Laptop or tablet for your partner: Again my labour was fairly long, 13 hours and so my husband downloaded a few shows ahead of time that he could watch on the laptop.

6. Essential oils: There is a lot going on when you are in labour – especially the pushing stage (and a lot coming out of you aside from a baby – just managing expectations here). And so I really loved having the essential oils on hand to keep a calm feeling in the room and also to have some nice distracting smells.

7. Wipes: Hospitals will provide you with some but the hospital we were at in particular didn’t have wet wipes and so it was handy to have our own.

Don’t need/hospital will provide

1. A portable fan: We definitely packed one and it took up a ton of space, but the hospital provided us with one. You may want to ask ahead of time if one will be available because this was a nice to have for sure especially when you are getting hot flashes during labour – and pushing is hard work.

2. Diapers for you and your baby: I spent hours on youtube searching the best postpartum underwear only to be given diapers of my own after labour. They had plenty for my baby too and even gave me some of each to take home with me. Oh and they will also have padsicles on hand for postpartum pain.

3. Sitz bath: Sitz baths are lifesavers postpartum so I bought one for myself, but the hospital actually provided me with one.

4. Nightgown: I got a cute one because I read on a blog that you would be more comfortable in you own nighty during birth – but here is the thing, there is so much going on I didn’t even notice if it was more comfortable than a hospital gown, and with all the chaos you will be ripping it off at some point to have skin to skin with your baby once they arrive.

Now every labour is going to be different. We were lucky in the sense ours was pretty straight forward and we only had to stay one night at the hospital. You may need more or less depending on how long you will have to stay, but if it doesn’t all fit in one bag – you have likely overpacked my friends.

Good luck mommas you got this!

xo

Mia

 

Why gestational diabetes was a blessing in disguise

I remember hearing from friends how awful the diabetes test was. You would have to drink this disgusting sugary drink and then have your blood taken to see if you had developed gestational diabetes during your pregnancy. I didn’t know much about gestational diabetes, and honestly didn’t think much of it because I didn’t have any of the predispositions. I am extremely active and a normal weight, there is no diabetes in my family, I was under 35 and this was my first child. I thought I would go into the test and be told everything was normal. I was wrong. Soon after my first test I got the call from my doctor saying the first test was inconclusive and I would have to go back for a longer and more intense test.

Then I got the phone call I really didn’t want to hear, I tested positive for gestational diabetes. I was in a store and I just broke down in tears. Fear came over me, what did this mean for the pregnancy? What did this mean for the baby?

My doctor told me the next steps would be meeting with a dietitian to come up with a game plan. I would also have to start monitoring my blood sugar levels.

On the call, there were several other women who were also in the same boat as me. The dietician went over how we wold monitor our sugar levels and gave us some tips on how to eat properly, as well as some GD friendly snacks we could try.

The next week was brutal. I had to test me levels six times a day, poking my finger before and after every meal. Writing down everything that I ate, and making sure I was going on at least a 15 minute walk after every meal. Despite my best efforts, sometimes my sugars would spike and I would feel extremely discouraged. I felt pity, guilt, and overall sadness that what should be one of the happiest times in my life was becoming a time of constant monitoring, worrying, and fear.

As the week went on though I was able to start to make sense of what worked for my body and what didn’t. I was surprised at how small changes made a huge difference: substituting white bread for whole wheat and tropical fruits for local berries. I was luckily able to control my sugar levels through diet.

On top of eating healthier – protein and veggies at every meal with some complex carbs – I was also forcing myself to move daily. On days that I was super tired it would be something as easy as a walk after my meals. But as I started to eat healthier (and I even lost some weight) I had more energy. I continued doing spin and pregnancy safe HITT classes – and to be honest the aches and pains I thought I would have during my pregnancy never came, nor did the third trimester fatigue.

On top of feeling healthy and energized during my pregnancy I also felt like my birth and recovery was a lot easier thanks to all the exercise I was doing ahead of time. When it came to pushing during labour I felt strong and in control. Post birth my body felt really good. I wasn’t in pain and was able to get back to walking and exercise fairly quickly. I was also back to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty quickly because of how active I was ahead of time.

Yes, being diagnosed with gestational diabetes was scary and yes it was hard to cut out sweets when I was dealing with endless pregnancy cravings, and yes it was hard to keep moving when I couldn’t even put socks on due to my giant belly, but overall I actually think there were some positive takeaways. So mommas if you get diagnosed with GD, keep your head high, you got this! And here are some tips that I found really helped me navigate GD.

Ways to cope with gestational diabetes 

1. Find alternatives for your favourite food items

I love toast, so it was easy to substitute white bread for whole wheat. Same goes for pasta. I was also enjoying eating yogurt, granola and bananas. So I started buying greek yogurt instead of vanilla and would add berries instead of bananas. Even switching milk for dark chocolate can make a big difference. Oh and I satisfied my ice cream cravings with halo ice cream (a low sugar option but still lots of different and delicious flavours to chose from.)

2. Find some exciting low sugar recipes

Sure it took a little more effort to come up with dinner ideas, but trust me there are some delicious options out there. I am a big fan of the cooking blog pinchofyum and the great thing is they have a whole section dedicated to low sugar meals and snacks. It made dinner time fun.

3. Stay active while also listening to your body

I am a very active person, but when you have been growing a human for 9 months there are days where you don’t even want to get out of bed. So I would try and find activities that fit my energy level for that day, but I would always make time for me to move. 9 months pregnant I would be doing anything from an intense spin class to just a 15 minute walk around the block. To be honest though on the days I didn’t want to do anything, just getting out for some fresh air made me feel more energized.

4. Don’t forget the snacks

Like I said I am quite active and so there were days that I would go out for hour long hikes and my sugar levels would actually drop too low  and so it was really important for me to find some easy GD friendly snacks that I could bring on hikes. Nuts was a great option and hard boiled eggs was another go to.

5. Eat a well balanced meal

When you have gestational diabetes is it is important to still eat carbs, but just make sure they are complex carbs. During your pregnancy it is also important to eat lots of protein (with GD lean protein should be your go to) and iron levels can suffer so you want to make sure you also have some greens.

6. Drink lots of water

I was so surprised one day when I had a high sugar level before a meal and so I went for a walk first and drank some water. The walk was only 10 minutes but the combination of walking and water made my levels go way down. Water helps dilute sugar and bring down your levels. I would mix it up by adding lemon or a glass of sparkling water, but just avoid adding anything too sugary for taste.

7. Treat yourself every once in a while

This is supposed to be the most exciting time in your life – but pregnancy is also hard and you are working very hard to make this little human, so if you are craving a cupcake every once in a while go for it. Safe splurges kept me sane during my pregnancy (like a little piece of cake at my baby shower).

8. Remember you are not alone

Meghan Trainor, Selma Hayek, and even Angelina Jolie are all human and all had gestational diabetes so try not to get too down on yourself (or feel guilty like I sure did). I found that reaching out to other mommas who were diagnosed with GD made me feel a bit better and sharing tips and tricks with them was always helpful. It was also great to share a glass of wine and a sugary treat once our babies arrived.

Good luck mommas you got this!

xo

Mia