Eighteen

 

Tomorrow is Monday!  The dreaded Monday…  I’ve never really understood why Monday’s are so hated, honestly.  Some weeks I’m wishing for a holiday only because I feel less accomplished than I’d like to…but I don’t have it out for the day like so many others seem to.  What’s to hate about it?!  It’s the beginning of a new week – a fresh start!

It can be tricky to transition from a day of relaxation to getting the gears back to work, but I always find that what I choose to wear has a great affect on my mood.   Maybe for ‘Motivation Monday’ we need to focus on dressing the way we would like to feel, and cultivating that feeling through fashion!

I watched Eat Pray Love again the other day, and one quote stuck out to me more than ever.  It states:  “You have to learn to select your thoughts the same way that you select your clothes every day.”  What a revelation!  I feel like the two may go hand in hand – choosing your thoughts with intent, but also intertwining those thoughts and feelings with your wardrobe choice.  Dress in a way that makes you feel motivated to GET OUT THERE and GET ER DONE!

Wide leg slacks have always been a favourite of mine, both inside and outside the office.  As a more petite woman, I feel like they add length to my legs (which I will take however and whenever I can!).  They also bring with them so much comfort, and from previous posts, you know that I love me some comfort in my wardrobe!
I received this wool trench for Christmas and it’s fast become one of my absolute favourite pieces.  This jacket is SO warm, which is a must in our Canadian climate; it allows me to stay stylish even on the coldest of days.  I fell in love with the structure of it before anything else.  It fits like a glove, and its symmetrical lines are to die for.
A great bag is always a complement to a great outfit.  I’ve spruced Louis up with a scarf to give him that extra *pop* he was needing.  It’s a great way to spice up an older bag, and even the smallest addition (such as a scarf or a keychain) can give you the impression of a whole new bag!

What are your favourite ways to make Mondays more Merry?
(Perhaps a little unintentional alliteration?)

Seventeen


It’s Saturday.  Does this also mean that it’s date night?

If you’re looking for a little inspo for a last minute idea, I’ve got a great look for you.  For me, date nights are special and I always want to look my best – but that doesn’t necessarily mean dressing ‘fancy’…I still want to be comfortable!  Who says you can’t dress up comfort?!

If you want a look that’s casual chic, grab these: a fitted, dark wash denim, a statement piece top (ie: this insanely sweet H&M top that I’m wearing – that feels like it should be hanging in a gallery instead) and your fave coat to accompany it all.  I always love to add a great pair of heels or booties to complete the look and give it that ‘dressy’ vibe.  There’s something about a good pair of heels that makes any piece of clothing feel that much classier.

Details:
Top -> H&M (in stores now!)
Jeans -> True Religion Joey.  These are my GO-TO jeans.  Fashion doesn’t have to be expensive to look amazing, but investing in a great piece or two is wise.  These jeans may have been a little pricier, but they’ve been in my closet for years (5+) and they’re still going strong.
Boots -> Call It Spring
Trench -> GAP
Watch -> “Jacqueline” by Fossil
Lip -> I’m not usually a lip girl, but I find that I always pull this combo out when I want to wear something.  Both by MAC, Liner in Whirl and Matte Lipstick in Velvet Teddy.

 

 

Sixteen

In keeping with the conversation on mental health and wellness from yesterday, I want to focus today’s post on things that make me happy!  Sometimes we don’t realize how much emphasis we put on the things that bring us down in our lives – let’s work to shift that focus onto the things that lift us up, that make our hearts giddy, that brush a smile across our lips!

So here we go – a few things that make me happy:

— COFFEE, or maybe I should say “cream and sugar with a splash of coffee” as I am a Tim-Horton’s-Triple-Triple-kind-of-girl.  HA!
— Popcorn.  It’s actually probably unhealthy how addicted I am to popcorn.  I am that person who goes to movies literally JUST so I can get popcorn… most of the time I don’t even care what movie I’m watching.  LOL
— Peanut butter and chocolate (specifically white).  This list is off to a good start, as so far it only contains food items – which definitely make me happy.
— Seasons, and the changing, evolving beauty that they bring.  I love that I live in such a diverse climate.  I get to witness the birth, aging, death and rebirth of everything over and over again.  To see this cycle around me is such a humble reminder that from every loss we can be renewed once again.
— Laughter.  Those moments that rumble deep in your gut, surging up through your chest and bursting out the door of your mouth… you know, I really think there is something to the old adage “Laughter is the best medicine.”  Especially when you engage in laughter with others 🙂
— Friends/Family.  This is the obvious cliche, but it’s so important in life to acknowledge your tribe and be grateful for all they bring you.  Family isn’t always blood.  Your circle consists of who your soul connects with, those who love and appreciate you for who you are, and who lift you and bring you to the best version of you possible.
— Theatre/Film.  I love the arts so much.  I was very much involved in them throughout school.  Being on a stage is such a natural thing for me.  It’s a great expression of truth, and I love witnessing the growth of this expression in other performers – whether on stage or in film.  I’m a HUGE movie buff.  If I’m not roaming the lands for great deals on awesome pieces, you’re more than likely to find me watching a play or a flick.
— Writing.  Ahhh, all my other writers – I bet you can relate to this 🙂 The older (and wiser) I get, the more I appreciate and am thankful for allowing myself to undress onto a sheet of paper.  There’s something so therapeutic not only about emptying your thoughts and ideas onto a canvas, but also in the physical act of penmanship itself.  I adore cursive, and it’s one of the greatest things I look forward to teaching my future children.
— Dancing and ZUMBA!  Growing up a dancer,  movement has always been a part of me.  I danced my whole childhood and well into adulthood (from 6 to almost 22!).  When I quit my dance studio, I just felt lost.  A fire inside of me was snuffed out.  Enter: Zumba Fitness!  For real, Zumba gave me meaning again.  It brought my light back; it got me back to dancing down the aisles of Walmart and Home Depot (lol I dance EVERYWHERE I go). I have been participating in Zumba for around 4 years now and it’s one of the most entertaining, enjoyable things I’ve been a part of.  After a long week, it’s the one thing I look most forward to.  So many smiles and laughs, and sweat! Who can ask for a better combo?! 😉

What is it that makes you happy?

15

Speaking of Zumba, I’ve decided to showcase my favourite Zumba style.  These pants bring one thing to mind:  This is how I roll, animal print pants outta control … Fun fashion definitely does not stop on the streets.  Don’t be afraid to bring it to the gym with you!  I love drop-crotch pants … I lovingly refer to them as my ‘diaper pants’ (HAHA) but honestly, they are SO comfortable.  For Zumba they make me feel like I’m part of an awesome hip-hop group -which in a way I kind of am- and it makes the class that much more exciting.  Get your thrills wherever you can, ladies and gentlemen!!! 🙂  I own these pants in black as well, and usually those are my go-to’s for class;  when the sweat starts pouring, lighter colours are sometimes not the best choice, you know because…. well, I’ll leave that image to you!  I altered one of my favourite Victoria’s Secret PINK tees (for better ventilation mostly), and I never leave the house for class without my Cons in hand. NOTE: If you have bad arches or just need more support for your feet, I recommend not dancing in Converse shoes.

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Fitness can sometimes be gruelling, so aim to make it fun whenever you can!  I encourage you to bring a little more of “you” to your style choice the next time you head to the gym!  🙂 See how it makes you feel!  You’re already hella awesome for working on building a stronger you, both in mind and body – give yourself room to have a little FUN with it!  ❤

Fifteen

bell4

#BellLetsTalkDay

There are so many different sides to this story.  So many depths, and facets to mental illness.  So much behind the stigma, and so much more behind the warriors who are challenged by it every single day.  This is just the view from my side of the fence.

Handle With Care.”  There are times that I wish I could affix this label to my forehead before leaving my house.  Some days it would just make things so much simpler…but I’m not looking for pity or sympathy.  I simply seek to find understanding, just as countless others do.  Understanding that we are humans.  That we having feelings and emotions.  That we have an organ that has carved a different path for us than others.

I’ve been told that I come off as a very confident, put together person, and some days I’ve honestly had to laugh at that sentiment.  “I’M confident and put together?!”  Tell that to the laundry basket of mismatched socks sitting in my closet…  Or the crumpled pile of kleenex that didn’t quite make its way to the garbage tin.  I am not always confident, or strong.  I have moments where I feel more fragile than a dried rose petal.  Sometimes these moments last for just that, moments.  Sometimes they last for hours, days, weeks.  I’m not ashamed of the days that my sun doesn’t shine quite as brightly, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of yours either.  Yin does not exist without yang.  My light does not compete with the dark that sits beside it, or the fleck that rests within it.  They are both a part of me, a part of my life, and so I am learning to love both of the halves that make me whole.  I am seeking a better understanding of my inner self so that I can more appropriately share that with others; to break through the glass plate that separates us from each other.  To remove the barrier, to create dialogue, to lift the stigma off and my fellow warriors up.

Every person has a past, a story.  Whether that story is available in the public library for checkout or in a private home library depends entirely on the person.  Each of us fights our battles in our own way.  Some people eagerly share their stories, while others have a hard time even reading it to themselves.  Whichever way you face your own battlefield each day, know that you are not alone in your fight.  We all have our battle wounds.  You are NEVER alone, and it is OKAY to not be okay.  Each scar is a reminder that we have survived.  We have overcome.  We have conquered.  We are BADASS.

Living with mental illness is not easy; in fact, it’s incredibly difficult.  To always be fighting an internal battle that no one else is witness to;  to carry not only everything heavy within you, but to also have the extra burden of the stigma that society has created towards it.  It’s like carrying around a backpack full of textbooks that nobody else can see. It is arduous and punishing, and you are NOT alone.  We are in this together.  Do you know how remarkable and courageous you are to wake up each day and fight against the demons within you?

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness, or are just prey to the trials that life brings – always remember, it is okay to not be okay.  Every single one of us is faced with struggle at some point in our time on this Earth.  Every single one of us has a strength within that we are unaware of.  You are a warrior.  You CAN conquer.

As we open up the lines of communication and start our conversations, let’s remember one thing – something that one of my favourite blondes delivers on a daily basis:
“Be Kind to One Another.”

I encourage anyone out there struggling to seek help in a way that you are comfortable with – whether that be a hotline, a doctor, a friend or family member.  There are avenues out there available to you, and people out there who want to help.  ❤

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The shirt and bracelets in this post are from a pretty awesome little Canadian company, founded on the East Coast, called Wear Your Label.  I first stumbled upon them last summer and fell in love with what they set out to achieve – and are surely on the fast track to doing so.  They’ve created a clothing line to get the conversations about Mental Health Awareness flowing, while giving back in support of mental health initiatives.

Check them out at www.wearyourlabel.com or on social media @wearyourlabel !

 

Fourteen

Happy Monday, world!

Recently I saw Dirty Dancing on Broadway Across Canada.  I LOVE the arts and theatre, as does my family – so much so, that we are Season Ticket holders.    It’s become a little tradition for my mother, grandmother and I to attend these shows together.  I hadn’t watched the movie for ages, but watching it on stage was so nostalgic and lovely!  I went home and watched the film after because I had forgotten how moving the story was (and how catchy the tunes are!)… it was incredible to see it played out live – and that lift!!!  Overall, it was so well done and I would HIGHLY recommend anyone who gets the chance to see it to take that chance.  Even the actors looked so similar to who they were portraying from the film – Johnny looked and sounded so much like Patrick Swayze it actually started to freak me out a little bit.

Generally for these shows people love to dress it up fancy.  It’s sort of like going to the opera, though less ball-gown-esque.  I see and admire so many amazing looks, but for myself, I usually stick to something “business casual”.  Opting for a soft blazer with a single pocket tee and a darker wash, bootcut jean are always a great choice!  I added a pointed leather bootie to finish the look off, keeping that caj feel.  Ya feel me?  Sometimes I swap out the jeans for a great pair of black pants, or the tee for a more relaxed button down, but that all depends on how I’m feeling that particular day.  Or hour, or minute…

I also couldn’t resist purchasing this (hilarious*) hoodie from the merch stand.
*I’m a regular Zumba junkie (any Zumba fans out there?!!), and spacing is a HUGE issue in our class.  For some reason, I always seem to find myself in a football huddle, so I chuckled to myself when I first laid eyes on this hoodie; my immediate thought went straight to, “This would be PERFECT to wear to Zumba class”… Needless to say, it did NOT go over well initially –LOL- but after a brief explanation of it’s origins, others seemed to get a kick out of it as well 🙂

Thirteen


When the winter temperatures begin to mild here in Canada, I get super excited.  By mild, I mean instead of -30*C, it jumps to between 0*C and -10*C – that’s shorts weather here… haha!  We’ve actually been really lucky this season so far, as we haven’t had too many really cold days.  One of the things I dislike the most is having to layer really heavy articles of clothing to keep warm.   There’s an old Danish proverb that states, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”… Well, I have to agree, but there’s only so much a girl can layer on while still looking fab!

Last night was one of those days where I just felt like dolling up and hitting the town.  I was so grateful for the warmer temps – that means I could delve into my skirts!  I tend to be a bit of a fashion chameleon – going from one end of the style spectrum to the other – and this outfit definitely brought out the “Rocker Girl” side of me.  I grew up a country girl, but that doesn’t mean I’m exclusive to it.  Play around with your style, ladies! There’s no rule book for this – and if by chance somewhere there is, throw it out the damn window.   Have FUN with your fashion!

Pairing a simple black and white cropped top, with my high waisted button down skirt and my all time favourite leather jacket, brings out the rebel side of my personality.  This skirt, by the way, I picked up at H&M on Clearance for SEVEN.DOLLARS.  Yes, you read that right.  Fashion doesn’t have to break the bank!  My boots from Dune London are making a comeback … but honestly, you’ll see a lot more of them because they are probably THE most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn.  Finishing off the look, I’ve included some of my favourite accessories in complementary colour schemes – Quattro G Perforated Crossbody Bag by GUESS and my beloved Jacqueline Gold-Tone watch by Fossil.

Most of my wardrobe is neutral.  I love working with neutrals as it gives me more room to play around with textures and patterns.  What are some of your favourites to work with?

Phone Case: Ardene
Cologne: Atelier Cologne , Collection Azur, Cedre Atlas (Sephora)
Lippy: Buxom Lips in Amber

Twelve

 

Thought Train Tuesday:

Today I’ve decided to include another one of my personal writings.  It’s something I’ve had swishing around in my mind for a while now, and it feels more appropriate than ever.  I see so many people, women especially, competing with one another and trying to tear each other down.  Why?  We are all unique and full of worth in our own special ways.  We need to see each other through, to lift each other up.  Look around – you probably see beauty and quality everywhere around you.  In architecture, in automobiles, in flora and fauna, in clothing and accessories – so why not also in people?   Think of the world you live in as a giant art hall.  The people around you are moving exhibits.  You’re not going to love every person, but appreciate them either way; appreciate the qualities that you love in someone, and appreciate that you might not feel connected to others.  Art is evolutionary; artists hone their skills over years and years of practice, failure and accomplishment.  Appreciate then, too, that the moving exhibits around you are the same.

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“What people in the world think of you is really none of your business.” – Martha Graham

I have no desire to be perfect.  I find it an insult to my character to be referred to this way.  To be perfect means to have reached an end, to stop – stop growing, stop learning, stop evolving.  I am flawed, in many ways, and I am wonderful in many others.  Nothing about me is perfect, but I am a priceless masterpiece.  I am a work of art.

Art is meant to be flawed; that is what makes it incredibly beautiful.  It displays proudly every ridge and crooked line.  It doesn’t pick and choose what it shows.  It doesn’t care what you think because it doesn’t matter.  Your opinion doesn’t change it.  It simply is, alive and raw, and giving a damn for no one.  You may notice every out-of-place element and conclude that this renders it ugly, a monstrosity.  No matter; though you disagree, its beauty remains intact.  Strong and steadfast, under scrutinizing light, it does not falter.

What if we all began to see ourselves as works of art?  Our souls are the artist of our bodily canvas.  None can take the beauty that is subjective to your opinion alone.  After all, what others think of you is none of your business.  What you think of you is, and you’re still beautiful and strong; you possess unwavering merit.

XXOO

PS:  I am OBSESSED with these incredible DUNE boots that I just acquired.  Fun, creative sunnies from SunglassSpot – TONS of adorable styles, and super super affordable.  Also, featuring my favourite jacket from Le Chateau – I’ve had so long I could probably say that it’s vintage haha!

Eleven

 

I did it.  I’m a yogi – as of almost 2 weeks ago.  …. Albeit, a SUPER noob yogi, but a yogi none-the-less!  I’ve participated in yoga in the past, but I never could make the commitment needed both physically and mentally to make it a permanent thing.  It’s something I’ve been thinking of revisiting for a really long time now – I was just afraid to take the first step.   This year, I decided that I’m going to do whatever it takes to become a better, more authentic version of myself – so I took the plunge and signed up for an entire year.  I know, I almost peed myself….but I figured, go big or go home, right?!

The studio I’ve joined is so great.  Almost all of their classes are beginner oriented, and the instructors are so lovely.  I’ve really been enjoying my time there, and I know this may sound crazy, but I’ve actually been noticing some pretty significant changes already.  I don’t know how or why it happens, but yoga practice and meditative breathing changes you.

When life gets stressful, I’m usually one who goes straight to “worst possible outcome” and then I park myself in my worry chair, and rock forever on the front porch.   Since I’ve begun classes, I’m noticing that each day it gets easier and easier to stress less, and gently guide my mind in a more positive direction.  I’ve noticed myself being more kind to my reflection; instead of spewing words of hatred and loathing, it’s becoming natural to speak to myself out of love.  To recognize the qualities I look for in others, and manifest them within myself.  I’m also learning to project this new-found light of love on those around me.

I’ve learned coping skills in the last two weeks that I never would have thought of in my entire 28 years.  I’m learning to see my life (and myself) in an entirely new perspective, and it’s so amazing.  Gratitude.  Self-Love.  Appreciation.  Calm.

Slowly, but surely, I’m moving towards where I’m meant to be, and this journey is bringing me so much happiness.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot of progress to make but somehow things just feel so much easier, lighter.  This is something I’ve needed, yet denied, for far too long.  Follow your instincts.  ❤

PS: I went shopping in the ‘big city’ this weekend, and Victoria’s Secret had an INCREDIBLE sale on so I managed to snatch this super comfortable new outfit!  These pants are so awesome – they are thick, yet not too constricting, which means you won’t feel like you can’t breath and your entire bum will not show through in downward dog.  Bonus!

Ten

I’m going to deviate a little bit, and share in this post an excerpt from my book – a collection of personal prose.  I’ve been noticing the last little while a trend, not just in my own life, but in those around me as well.  With the new year, I’ve been making a lot of changes in my life, and this piece of writing can definitely fit that context.  Can you relate at all?

(Side note: reminiscing back a few days ago to the super mild Canadian temperatures because tonight it is FREEZING!  How many more months until summer?!!!!)

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“Backseat drivers.  Those people who hop in to join you on a leg of your journey, and think it’s entirely appropriate to dictate how you drive.  Slow down.  Speed up!  Use your turn signal.  Stay farther back.  You shouldn’t park there.  Turn here – I know a better way.  Some even have the gall to reach for the wheel, as if you’re not in control at all.  Most of us have been this person, whether we’ve realized it or not.  We all know these people; you’re probably holding a name in your mind right now.  I’m willing to bet these same people are also backseat driving your life.

Why do we let people tell us how we should live our lives?  Why do we carry such guilt when we stand up for ourselves?  We don’t want to be a disappointment; it’s not in our nature to cause pain in another.  But what about what YOU want?  We have become so obsessed with tip-toeing around the feelings of others that we completely disregard our own.  Taking care of ones self above all else has been labeled as selfish.  This is false, and this mentality needs to disappear.  You come first;  if you are not taking care of you, then you are doing a disservice to others.  Happiness and content ripple.  Do not allow any other person to dictate how your life should be.  If it won’t satisfy you, if it’s not what you want – don’t do it.  We should never do anything for the sole sake of satisfying another’s wish for us.

Many people have probably told you to get a degree for a job that will make you rich.  It all sounds great, and probably even practical, but is it what you want?  A dollar sign doesn’t make you truly rich in life.  What you want for yourself is important; more important than what anyone else desires for you.  Your life’s road map should be created for you, by you.

If your dream is to become a doctor or a lawyer, then seek that dream.  If you don’t want to go to college, then don’t!  If you want to start a business, become a musician, or run away with the circus, then pursue those dreams.  Seek and listen with your heart; throw all of your passion into whichever direction that leads you.  Let no one tell you otherwise.

When someone tells you that you can’t, scream, “YES, I can!”
When someone implies that you will never succeed, say, “Watch me.”

Take the steering wheel of your life back.  Keep a firm grip.  The only person who can tell you that you can’t is yourself.   But, you can.”

Nine


I’ve been a little busy getting crafty these last couple of days.  I’ve been searching forever for somewhere to organize all my nail polish; my random tub just wasn’t cutting it anymore.  I had looked everywhere locally and couldn’t find anything, and everywhere I looked online it was either not quite what I had in mind, or the price point didn’t match what I wanted to invest.  That’s when I thought, “If you can’t acquire, then create!“… and this is what came out!  I’m so happy with how it came out (thanks to a little help from a pretty awesome guy), but a few things to note if you take on this project yourself:

1) Make sure you actually measure it out, and don’t just assume you can do it “by eye”.  I know this seems obvious, but I was super confident in my skills until nothing fit haha!

2) Make sure you measure BOTH height and width.  After measuring height and finishing the building, I realized that the width was way more than I needed.  Take into account what your preference is; maybe you’d like a wider shelf.

3) COUNT YOUR BOTTLES.  Make sure that what you’re creating is actually room enough for everything required.  Oh man, I feel like such a rookie for this mistake but sometimes when my creative juices flow, I just do (and the thinking trails behind).  I definitely did not count my stock and I ended up about 2-3 shelves short of what I actually needed.

4) Accept whatever happens.  I was so excited about this little project that I just dove right in and left everything to fall into place.  Sometimes, this won’t happen (lol oops!) but learn from it.  Everything teaches us, even things like creating a little polish shelf.  I’ve learned to double check everything beforehand.  I’ve learned how to better plan for something in the future.  I’m also learning to be okay with something if it’s not exactly what I had in mind.  At the end of the day, I still have a shelf that holds what I wanted it to – and my imagination and elbow grease are there to be proud of.

Appreciate what is, and leave what is not.  ❤