Twenty Four

I don’t know why I always seem to find myself blogging at midnight, but there I was last night – 12:01 a.m. – sitting at my computer uploading/editing photos.

No wonder my sleep schedule is so screwed up.
I decided it was best to just go to sleep and finish the post today.  Even though it IS the weekend, I still need sleep to function!

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I just had the privilege to see Johnny Reid in concert.  If you’re not familiar with who he is, GET FAMILIAR.  He’s the country artist with so much soul that you feel yourself becoming a better person just by listening to him.

Side note: I’m not sure why people are always shocked when they find out I am a country music fan, but there it is…

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Now…usually I will throw on my Justins and take my wardrobe colour advice from Mr. Cash, but I felt compelled to ‘spice things up’ for Mr. Reid.  I opted for a more Classic look – with my fringe close by as always.

(Okay, I left the hat at home, though that was a decision I carried immediate regret for.)

If you’ve never been to a Johnny Reid concert before, you need to add that one to your bucket list.  Whether you’ve heard of him or not, it’s a decision you will not regret.

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I knew who Mr. Reid was.  I was familiar with his wee songs, but I only learned about the man when he lit up that stadium like the Sun.

Now, I’ve seen many an artist in my time.  Music is a huge part of my life, and I go to as many concerts and shows as I can.  Perhaps to just feel the rhythm match my own, or perhaps as Johnny said so eloquently himself – to experience something greater than myself.    Which I can honestly say I did when I entered those doors to his show.

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I was NOT prepared.

Not prepared to laugh so hard because his humour is relatable and so on point.

Not prepared to feel so incredibly surrounded by love, and have it reach my very core.

Not prepared to sing, in such communion, with every other heart and soul beside me there that night.

Not prepared to cry so many tears, for being truly touched with the stories that he shared with us.   Stories that reminded us all that we have so much in common; that we all stood there as one.

 

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I was just not prepared at all to feel so many incredible emotions in one night.  It was an amazing experience; it’s a night I will never forget.  I don’t think I can say I’ve ever been to an event that was so humbling.  You could FEEL his gratitude wash over the space, for every single person there, every time he thanked us all for spending our dollars to see him perform.  It was absolutely dollars well spent.  It is dollars I will spend again and again each time that he rolls through my city.

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I left feeling inspired to pursue my dreams even harder.  To spread love to all around me.  To strive to love within myself just a little more each day.   To share my gifts with as many people as I can.  To do good, and to be good.  ❤

Today, I can more concretely say, Mr. Reid – you are definitely my cup of tea.

 

Twenty Three

Heads up.  
This post is going to be very serious, very long, very personal and probably very controversial.

This past week has been an interesting one, and a trying one, emotionally.  It’s been tough dealing with being sick (thankfully the meds I got have righted that wrong!), but it’s also been nothing short of exhausting as a whole.  With all of the news surrounding Kesha and her incredibly horrifying journey, I can’t help but relive my own.

It’s not something I talk about very often.
If I’m being truly honest, it’s not something I ever really talk about at all.

But I think I should.  I am not the only one who has endured this hell in silence.

I adore Wear Your Label, and all that they stand for.  You’ve heard me say this before.  When I wear their clothing, I feel like a Super Woman.  I feel like I can speak with a voice that bellows across mountains.  I feel like I can conquer any obstacle in front of me.

I feel free to tell my story.

“It’s Okay Not To Be Okay” is such a powerful slogan because it carries so many applications to life.  There are so many reasons that it is okay to not be okay, and one of those reasons is because sometimes really shitty things happen to us.

Incidentally, my shirt from WYL showed up a couple of days ago, and so it felt like as good a time as any to bring awareness to this arduous battle that so many have endured; a staggering amount of those in deafening silence.

Only 6 of every 100 sexual assault incidents are reported.  SIX.
That means 94 cases out of every 100 go silent and unheard. 


When I was 16, I lost my identity.  I was sexually assaulted by a person in a position of power.   His job description was that of a person who shapes the mind of an adolescent teen.  Someone who passes on knowledge and wisdom, and who is branded as a generational empowerer.  In layman’s terms, a teacher.

He should have known better.  He should have recognized his actions and the repercussions they would have on a mind still growing and developing.  He probably did.  In fact, I’m absolutely certain he knew exactly what he was doing.

He just didn’t give a shit.

He saw a teen, with cracks and open wounds, and weaselled his way in.  He found a way to earn my trust, and simultaneously break it for every other man who would enter my life.  He induced unexplainable anger for years to follow.  He snapped me in half like a twig.

But that’s not the worst of it.

The worst was protecting him, in fear of being judged or getting in trouble.  Even after being confronted about what had happened, still I denied it because I felt an inclination to protect him as a person.  (How messed up is that?)

The worst was when the police showed up, forcefully entering my home, verbally abusing me and confiscating MY property as evidence to their case – further indulging me as the perpetrator, and not the victim that I rightfully was.

The worst was the absolute black hole of despair that I was thrown into, the suicide attempts and the following mistreatment from the medical community that I was subjected to – which did nothing to serve as a support for me, but rather as a further beating with the bat of the piñata that I had become.

The worst was seeing the damage it did to my hero, my mother.  To see the shame and guilt on her face, for doing the right thing and alerting the authorities but feeling like she had let me down when she saw that I was not being protected the way that I should have been.

The worst was having to go to court.  To be immobilized by fear but reassured that everything would be okay – only to be shamed and accused of being a liar.

The worst was having to live in the same community as this person, and exist in fear of him retaliating against me for sharing my horror and not keeping my mouth shut.

The worst was still having to live with the notion that it was somehow all MY fault, even after it was proven otherwise.  Even after I’d had countless professionals tell me that I am not in any way to blame for this man’s actions, that I am in absolutely no way at fault for what has happened to me.

The worst is living with the after shocks of this traumatic experience, and the small but significant ways that this demon reappears into my life.

The worst was feeling like a complete failure as a woman in my relationship because I could not bring myself to have sex with my partner.  Every time we tried, I felt violated and dirty.  I felt broken and disconnected.  Even though we’d been sexually active previous to my assault, it affected our intimacy for years after the fact.

Reading the news articles and reactions from people involving Kesha’s court trial breaks my f***ing heart.  I’ve been in her shoes.  I am living the damage of the image our society has created.  I am speaking out and telling my story in solidarity with her and so many others who have walked, and are walking, in these shoes with us.

1 in 4 women living in North America will be sexually assaulted within their lifetime.  
ONE. IN. FOUR.

When you say things like, “She had it coming”, or “She must be lying”, or “It’s unfair to brand him a rapist before she proves he actually did it” – you further perpetuate the notion that it was HER FAULT.

When we glorify a person’s image as a perpetrator, we turn the whole notion of what we are fighting for upside down.  Too often, victims are patronized and belittled when they should be recognized and protected.   Too often, the perpetrators bask in the lime light that they should not be entitled to.

In Canada:
Only 1-2% of ‘date rape’ sexual assaults are reported to police.
Only 2-4% of all sexual assaults reported are false.
60% of sexual abuse/assault victims are under the age of 17.
15% of sexual assault victims are boys under the age of 16.
HALF of all sexual offenders are married or in long-term relationships.
80% of assailants are friends or family of the victim.

Sexual assault is far more common than people suspect it to be.
Most sexual assaults are not committed by a stranger, but rather by someone close to the victim.

I was a victim, but I am not any longer.  I am a survivor.

As with all darkness, there has also been light.

The best has been rediscovering myself and reclaiming my identity as a person.  Having a sense of self and worth has been so crucial to the healing process.

The best has been having a partner who understands what I’ve gone through and holds me together when I crumble.  Having someone who has been patient and loving towards rebuilding our intimacy in a safe and trusting environment; who doesn’t get upset when I tell him “No” because I am dealing with the internal aftermath of my assault.

The best has been being able to smile again.  When terrible things happen, I fully understand that black cloud that moves in over your life.  That presence that makes you feel like you will never have a reason to smile ever again.  I promise you, you will.  The fog will be lifted, and the sun will shine once more.

The best has been the strength and ongoing support.  I am not strong alone.   My strength is an accumulation of the love I have received from my family and friends, my community, my tribe.  From the stories and people that emerge from their own darkness into the light.  From those who fight alongside to end the stigma surrounding sexual assault.

Together, we are strong.  Together, our voices will carry.

We Must Be Swift As The Coursing River
With All The Force of A Great Typhoon
With All The Strength of a Raging Fire

Twenty Two

This illness is seriously kicking my arse. HXC. Ugh.

I’ve been on a ‘positive’ journey this year, but let me tell you – it is HARD to stay positive when everything hurts or aches and you’re having trouble getting proper nutrition, which just further drags you down.

When the sun doesn’t shine anymore, so-to-speak.

It makes me realize just how much I take my health for granted.  It’s time to make that shift back to appreciating my every day abilities, and spend less time pondering what I can’t do in this moment.  Truthfully, I can do anything.  It’s just difficult right now and I’ve been having a mini pity party the last few days about it.

Feel free to take out your tiny violins and sing along to the tune… *wah wah wahhhhhh*


Shoutout to all of the people in this world who live with chronic illness and constant pain, and still manage to kick butt and get shit done with a smile – you the real MVP. 

On the brighter side, I’ve been able to hella level up in COD, so that’s the bonus to this whole situation.  But enough about that.  Let’s talk about clothes!
(Something that makes me super happy no matter what else is going on)

I’m still obsessing over the high-waisted jeans, and these ones that I found are extra awesome because they have a HUGE bell flare to them.

High waist.  Massive bell.  Clearance for Five Bucks (again).  TRIPLE WIN.

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You also may have noticed that beautiful blob of grey hanging beside my shoulder.

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That is my new homegirl, Rhea (Kors).

I have been searching high and freakin’ low for the last year at least for a backpack that caught my eye.  Something classic, something simple, something solidly coloured, something smaller.  Seems like an easy enough list to fulfill, right?

WRONGGGGGGGGGGGG.  SOOO SOOO WRONG.

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It was totally on a whim that I decided to step into a Michael Kors that day and just “browse”, as I had done previously so many times.  I have NO idea how I missed Rhea before on the countless times I’d visited MK, but it was fate this day when I happened upon her.  Especially when I looked at her price-tag and saw a number under 250.  HOLLA!

It was like a backwards Academy Awards speech.  My wallet thanked me for spending reasonably within my limits.  My heart thanked me for finally fulfilling it’s material wish. My right shoulder and neck thanked me for finding a solution to the constant torture they’ve endured carrying a single strapped purse filled with 5 lbs worth of crap…crap that I insist on carrying everywhere (even though statistically there is basically nil chance that I will need 95% of it, BUT THE CHANCE IS STILL THERE).

My left shoulder can now carry it’s weight (haaaaaa, see what I did there…).

It’s only fair.

I am so looking forward to the days that I can step out in this outfit without having to layer a massive winter jacket over top of it.  How much longer until the grass turns green?!

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PS.  I do NOT look like this currently.  I took these photos a few days ago before this Throat Beast got a hold of me.  Currently, I am curled up in sweats and tissues, with my Saje diffusor furiously working beside me.  I smell good though, because I did make it to the shower today.  Celebrate the little victories.

PSS.  You’ll see these curls in quite a few posts right now (or maybe all).  That is what happens when you decide that you need to trim your bangs but think you can handle it all on your own.

PRO TIP: If you’re me, you can’t and you will definitely mess it up.
At least my bangs grow fast.

It’s almost Friday.  Hang in there, beauties! ❤

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Twenty One

Well that was an interesting week.  

I have been so ill, but the optimist (?) in me just thought,
“Oh this is just a stress cold.  It’s fiiiiiiiiine.”

But, it wasn’t feeling all that fine, and so I drug myself to the doctors today to find out that it could be (probably, most likely, almost certainly) strep throat!  Huzzah!

I’m actually okay with this.  Any excuse to stay in the pj’s, amirite?!

Thank God for backlogged photos.

Aside from feeling horrid, I’ve also just been so distracted lately.  You’ve seen that puppy video floating around … you know the one titled “When You Can’t Do Life Because You Get Distracted By Everything”?

Literally me.  #TooSchoolForCool

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In all honesty, I tend to get sidetracked and moved around often – I just blame it on my creative side.  SO MANY IDEAS.  SO LITTLE TIME.  

To my fellow walking tornado’s – hi!
(I see you out there…you can’t hide).

I don’t know why but I’ve really been digging the retro styles lately.  Maybe because so many old styles have been popping back up and planting their seeds in my subconscious.

I  picked these jeans up a couple weekends ago for FIVE BUCKS.  #ThanksHM

“I’m not a mom but I’ve got the pants for the job!”
…Who coined ‘Mom Jeans’, anyway?

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These high-waisted flared babes are soft, and comfortable, and maybe they give me a “mom bod” (*insert controversy surrounding women wearing high-waisted jeans*) but that doesn’t offend me.  Moms are humans who create other humans within their own bodies.  Moms are badass…seriously, highest admiration for you all…and you read the part where I said they were 5 bucks, right?

Hell, if you can find any clothing item for 5 bucks I say buy it and rock the crap out of it.  Who gives a hootenanny what anyone else says.  Make it YOU.

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It’s never your clothes that make you look amazing anyway; it’s the confidence you have in your glorious, incredible, strong, beautiful self.  

(And a great pair of sunnies doesn’t hurt…)

 

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Furthermore, I love these jeans because they give me a hint of a booty.  All my “that’s-not-my-arse-it’s-just-extended-thigh” sisters will relate to me when I say I will take that hint WHENEVER I CAN.  Who’s with me?!

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Now, here’s to kicking whatever this is that’s dragging me down and onward to a wonderful (hopefully warm) weekend ahead! 

 

Twenty

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I made it to Twenty.  I can hardly believe it.  This blog has been my love child for over 2 years now; it’s the execution that’s been the struggle.  Woo for accomplishments, however small they may seem!

(note: no accomplishment is ever really small. celebrate every victory.)

Smiling tons lately because it feels more and more like Spring, which is ABSURD for February where I’m from…

(Canadian Prairies)

Spring Fever means florals!
This is one of my favourite shirts for obvi print reasons;
also it’s light and airy – perfect for Spring vibe-age.

Is that even a word? Vibe-age? Well, it is now.

Also, absolutely obsessed with these suede fringed booties from Aldo ❤
Something in my closet that is ACTUALLY IN SEASON for once.
(Style: WADIA -> Get them HERE)

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I seem to have a favourite pose, but hey, if it works….right?

 

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This leather jacket is from H&M (similar style HERE), and is easily the MOST worn item in my entire wardrobe.  It’s been in my closet for a couple of years, and if I recall correctly I got it on clearance for less than 20 bucks.  Super deal, right?!  Fashion doesn’t have to break the bank, ladies (and gentlemen) 😉

Classic piece, goes with everything (literally), always in style.

Speaking of H&M, if you have never purchased a pair of Superstretch Treggings (trouser/leggings) THEN WHAT ARE YOU LIVING FOR.
But seriously.
These are a must-have staple.  They stretch, they are black, did I mention they stretch?
They are also only $20…
So you really need to grab a pair.  You’re welcome.

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Something else we need to chat about before you return to your Hump Day activities.
Make-up related.  

You probably already know since I’m a bit of a late bloomer in this department.

Recently got a sample of the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (Original)
(find it HERE)

I’ve tried other primers in the past, and even become a little creative in making primers from things that aren’t actually primers… I’ve never been impressed.

Then this little purple tube of magic liquid fell into my black and white striped bag and I was blown away.
IT LASTED THROUGH A SWEAT FEST.  LITERALLY.
I wanted to really test it out, so I threw it on before my Zumba class.
I used it under MAC’s ORB shadow* and Kat Von D’s Ink Liner in Bukowski.

*(probably not the best choice since it’s exactly the same colour as my skin but hindsight is you know…)

Guys, if you knew how much I sweat in my class your mouth would be agape like mine was.  It did not BUDGE.  Not a crease or a smudge what-so-ever.
I even had to include some heavy elbow-grease when I attempted to remove it;
NOTHING was taking it off (not even my make up remover wipes).

Moral of the Story:
If you’re looking for a primer, then this UD product is the jackpot.  Pick it up.
Or shame me for only discovering it now.  Same-same.

Note: These photos (^^^) were taken *after* my Zumba class, not before.

Nineteen

Pre-apologies for the RBF in these photos.
Sorry, not sorry; that’s just my face.

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Generally, people do yoga to create “zen”, to relieve stress, to unwind, to just be.  That’s definitely why I started my personal yoga journey. Apparently, I actually do yoga to induce creative ideas.  No relaxing or unwinding what-so-ever.

In referencing Eat Pray Love once again, my yoga experience in a nut shell:

“Okay.  Simply empty your mind. Breathe. … Stop thinking.  Why is this so hard?
Screw you Corella, how the hell does she do this?
She looks like friggin’ Mother Teresa.”

(Perhaps it had something to do with my glasses constantly falling off and annoying the absolute crap out of me)

Honestly, sometimes you just get ideas in your head that you have to rush home and try out.  Black on black on black – AKA my every day wardrobe.

Not my every day wardrobe?  Playing around with my makeup and hairstyles.
This = fun!

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Lighting will be the end of me….

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Fun fact: My late grandfather served in the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) during the second World War.  This ‘vintage’ bag find was a little feather from Heaven.
Now, I feel like I can carry a piece of such an important man everywhere I go.

To lighten things up:

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PS: This hella cute jacket – an Ardene steal of a deal.

To end:
Here’s proof that I can smile (and in fact do so a lot IRL)

CHEERS TO THE FREAKIN’ WEEKEND!

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.