Levelled Up!

September 17th of this year I turned 30.
A month ago (yesterday!) I celebrated with a day that I will never forget.

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Turning thirty was an incredible milestone for me.
Most people from my generation that I’ve spoken to, who have either passed this marker of life or are creeping up to it quickly, express their lack of excitement for the same.

For me, it’s a joyous occasion.  One that I wasn’t even sure I would be here to see.
I’ve dealt with a lot of trauma and mental health issues over the course of my life thus far, and there were times that I fully expected to not reach this age.  Sometimes, the darkness just felt too heavy and it was more than I could bear.

I’m glad I got here.

Thirty is a beautiful privilege.  It’s afforded me opportunities, experiences, and relationships that I would have missed.  It’s provided me with wisdom, security, self-acceptance, and the knowledge that I am worth so much.  It’s proven to me that I have a purpose on this Earth.

Turning 30 was a momentous occasion, so it was only appropriate that the day of celebration reflect that.

I was so fortunate that I was able to have Leaving Thomas come and play for my closest family and friends.  It was a celebration for myself, but it was also a token of appreciation for those in my life who have stood by me, who have supported me, and who have guided me; a thank you, if you will.

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I also had the incredible honour of joining Annika and Bryton on stage to sing on of my favourite LT songs, “Wreckage”.  It was really fun to see all of the reactions to our little surprise!

Check out the video below, OR head over HERE to their YouTube channel (and have a gander at the rest of their content – they’re totally worth the visit)

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I was also lucky enough to have my boyfriend capture the evening in photographs, but I won’t share those photos here to protect the privacy of my guests (aside from these with my BFF who couldn’t care less LOL)

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Elemental Necessity

As someone who deals extensively with depression and anxiety on a daily basis, constantly being around people can be a really big hindrance to my recovery.

It’s incredibly draining to always be around that much stressed out, negative energy.

On this #SelfCareSunday, I’m sharing with you an adventure I took yesterday and how being out in my element really helps to recharge my batteries so I can better cope with life when I get back into the city.

I truly believe that when you’re struggling with Mental Illness, it is SO. IMPORTANT. to find something that brings you joy, calm, and happiness – and spend as MUCH time as possible within that element.  It’s necessarily for survival.

This survival element for me is nature photography and mountain climbing.  They easily go hand-in-hand, and I get a great deal of joy out of them both.  It’s nice to be out in the middle of nowhere, with just the sounds of nature – no background noise of honking vehicles and constant voices.  Just me, my own thoughts, the creaking of the trees, and the gusting of the wind.  It’s a great platform to clear my headspace and let go of the pent up stress and negativity that I end up carrying.

Troll Falls

Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada

Forty Eight

Hello!

I have the most exciting news!!!

As most of you know by now, I’ve opened up quite a bit over the last couple of years about my personal struggles with Mental Illness. A huge catalyst of being able to do so has been Wear Your Label – an extraordinary, rapidly growing, Canadian company that fights back against the stigma of Mental Illness/Mental Health in pretty cool ways.  Along with some stellar threads that showcase positive MH slogans, they also donate 10% of net profits to partner initiatives!

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Their conscious clothing line has given me my own strength; it’s allowed me to take back ownership of myself and not just be seen as the obstacles I combat each day.  It’s also introduced me to a safe community of people that I can look to if everything were to blow up in my face.

Having said that, I am SO SO SO incredibly excited to be able to share with you all that I’m “officially” a member of the WYL family!

I have been chosen to represent them as a Brand Ambassador for 2017!  

My heart is exploding with joy, excitement, and gratitude at the phenomenal year I know lies ahead. This is a company I’ve deeply appreciated and supported, and I’m happier than a kid in a candy store to have this opportunity to further spread Mental Health Awareness with some really awesome people!

There will be some perks along the way, I promise  — like this promo code!

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If you want to help to break the stigma behind Mental Illness and promote healthy conversations about Mental Health, use code MAYETTE10 when you check out to save 10% on your order!  Head on over to http://www.wearyourlabel.com and treat yo self…Or a friend or family member  Share the love and spread the word!

I just want to say  Thank You  to everyone who has supported me, without judgement, who allow me to be me (in whatever that entails), and who continue to support me. I honestly can’t thank you enough, and I hope you’ll stay on this journey with me

Exciting things await this year so please stay tuned!

I can’t wait to generate conversation and hopefully spoil my Marshmallows along the way!

❤ xoxo
Mayette

 

#BellLetsTalk

Hi Marshmallows!

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It’s one of my favourite days of the year  

Just a few years ago, I would have had a very different reaction for this day (hint: it wouldn’t have been excitement…). I would have done everything I could to spend the day like a hermit and avoid conversing at all costs.  It’s a dark place to be in when even you’re afraid of your mental health struggles.

However, today is a different day and a different time; the further I come on my mental health journey, the easier it gets to talk about the obstacles I face and advocate for abolishing the stigma so others feel safe in sharing their stories, too.

So – #BellLetsTalk about how it’s OKAY to make noise about Mental Health.  It’s OKAY to struggle and talk about those struggles.  It’s OKAY to have bad days.  It’s OKAY to give an honest answer when someone asks you, “So how are you REALLY doing?”.  

Donning my #AnxietyAlliance tee proudly from @wearyourlabel to let others know that I’m anxious, too, and it’s a welcome and safe invitation to enter a conversation about it

All of us have hardships and struggles, and lately my anxiety has been a real big one for me.  I’ve had crippling days; days where I can’t get out of bed, let alone even think about leaving my house.  Days where I feel like I’m not good enough for anything.  Days where it all just becomes so overwhelming.  Days where I honestly think things will just never, ever start to get better.  But they do, and they have.  Had I known that reaching out for help and telling my story to someone sooner would have resulted in my healing beginning a lot sooner, I wouldn’t have suffered in silence for so long.  My eyes were also opened to just how many incredible, supportive, loving people I had around me when I allowed the walls to fall and the dam to break, and I am so SO grateful for each and every one of them.  I would not be able to so openly stand up and share my story today if not for them all.  I may not even have been standing here at all.  ALL my love and support right back. xoxo

And I want you to know, if you’re reading this and struggling, that it’s okay to not be okay and it’s okay to ask for help if you’re ready to take that step. You are valid, you are worthy, and you’re so NOT alone in your journey. Whether you realize or not, there is a community of warriors and of survivors that will take you by the hand and support you every step along the way.  

It takes a lot, for a lot of people, to talk about what they have experienced or what they are going through, and so I just want to throw out a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has shared their story today.  I’ve seen so many brave, inspiring stories full of strength on my News Feeds…far more than I’ve ever seen – and what an incredible sight, indeed.

Your openness, willingness, and trust is helping to pave this road so that those who have come before us, those who are with us, and those who will come after us will have a much smoother journey. From someone who has only recently taken the first steps toward the sunshine, that is something so amazing.

Today is not just for today.  Let’s keep the conversations going for the next 364 days. Not all of us struggle with mental health obstacles, but we all have mental health to take care of.

All my love to all of you XOXO Never be too humble to reach out.

Can We Get Real For A Minute?

Trigger Warning: Mental Illness, Depression, Manic Depression.

I wanted to make this post because, for a lack of better wording, I need to.
So, can we get real with each other for just a minute? Or maybe a few…

Hi, I’m Mayette.  🙂

I’m 29 years old.  I’m a Virgo.  I was born in a small city in Alberta, Canada.  I was raised as a country girl living in the city, and so, I love country music.  Well, I love quite a few genres of music really.  I love to sing, even though I may not excel at it sometimes.  I was a competitive dancer for 16 years, and I still love to dance just as much now.  I love sketching and drawing.  I love painting.  Hiking and spending as much of my time in the mountains as possible brings a smile to my face.  I love animals, and will probably get more excited to see your dog than I will to see you (lol).  I love theatre, both stage and film.  I love fashion, and the creativity and fun that it brings.

I’m a dreamer.  I’m a giver.  I’m an empath.  I’m a granddaughter, a daughter, a girlfriend, a friend.  I’m clinically Depressed, Manic Depressive and nursing a newborn Anxiety baby. …And nothing else that I told you, or didn’t tell you, about myself matters as soon as I mention my mental illness…because once it’s said, it’s all you’ll see.

I know, I know.  I know what you’re thinking, because I get it all the time.  Why do I mention my mental illness then if I don’t want people to know about it?  Why bring focus to it if it doesn’t define who I am?  The simple answer is because people will know about it, regardless of if I come right out and say it, and as much as I want to tell myself that my mental illness doesn’t define me – it does; in that moment of suffering, of fighting, of dealing, it defines every millisecond.  And that’s OKAY, but we need to get more comfortable with talking about it.  With listening.  With understanding.

Living with mental illness is not something I can hide – or at least not hide very well.   It’s incredibly frustrating when you’re dealing with a whole tonne of stuff that you just don’t know how to explain… sometimes you just don’t even want to try to explain it.

I’ve been having a rough go of it lately – a slump, if you will.  A lot of things have happened in my life, it just seems like one thing after another after another, and so in these moments I’ve been taking notes.  I’ve been trying to put into layman’s terms exactly what I’m going through when I’m going through it, or how I’m feeling while I’m feeling it.  I’ve made notes, and I’m writing them out on this public platform because I’m tired.

I’m tired of being misjudged and misunderstood.
I’m tired of being forgotten because I’ve been labelled the unreliable friend.
I’m tired of having no explanation to give for those who ask.
I’m just tired – literally – all the time; what I fight against every day feels like it’s constantly sucking the life out of me (think Dementors from Harry Potter).

I hate living with mental illness, and here’s 30 reasons why:

1) It’s living in a prison; it’s like having the whole world in front of you, but your mind keeping you chained to the spot you’re standing in.

2) It’s feeling so lost that you can’t concentrate.  Your mind wanders, and before you know it hours have gone by and you’re left feeling wasted and useless.

3) It’s locking yourself in your bedroom on a gorgeous day because you’ve just had enough – of people, of stimulation, of thinking and of not being able to think.

It’s eating pizza curled up in bed, washed down by the tears that are streaming out of your eyes.

4) It’s screaming to yourself more times than you can count: WHY CAN’T I JUST BE NORMAL?!

5) It’s being cast as constantly over-emotional or crazy, in the production I never auditioned for in the first place.

6) It’s like being stuck with a roommate that you can’t stand, yet not being able to catch them in their wrong-doings to have any leverage for evicting them.

7) It’s collapsing into bed the minute you walk in the door, shoes and coat still on, because you don’t have the energy to remove them.  It’s wanting to hide from the world as fast as you possibly can, even if that means having to clean the dirt off of your bedsheets later.

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8) It’s feeling like you have to be strong all the time so that others will associate with you; so they won’t see you as a burden.  It’s constantly feeling like you have to have strength for everyone around you, including yourself.  It’s feeling like you’ve allowed others to rest their sorrows on your shoulder, but having no where to rest your own.

9) It’s feeling like absolutely no one else in the world relates to you, or could possibly understand what you’re going through.   It’s exhausting, to the point where there are days that I wish I could sleep for weeks on end.

10) It’s feeling everything all at once, and yet feeling absolutely nothing at all.  Feeling so numb that you don’t even notice your ribs moving in and out as you breathe… wait, are you even breathing anymore?

11) It’s driving and not realizing how you got from Point A to Point B.

12) It’s losing control of the grip you’re convinced you have, and bringing disappointment to others.  It’s having those mistakes follow you like shadows, constantly lurking – though only you can see them.  It’s embarrassing yourself when you break down in front of others because you SHOULD have had this under control.

13) It’s being unmedicated and feeling like a chaotic version of yourself that leaves nothing but destruction in your wake.  It’s being medicated and hating every part of it because it’s left you as an empty shell of yourself; a void simply taking up space.  It’s going off of your meds because you’ve convinced yourself (and your doctor) that “You got this” , and then greeting the panic and self-loathing that knock on your door when you feel yourself losing control again.  So, it’s going back on your meds, only to get upset that you can’t ACTUALLY get upset about how it once again has left you feeling like you’ve been devoured by The Nothing… so you decide to go back off of your meds and try alternatives.  Repeat this cycle for infinity.

14) It’s knowing that if you had a broken bone, or a surgical procedure, that people would be there to comfort you, to check in on you, to surround you with love.  It’s knowing that when they find out your ailments are caused by your mental illness you’ll be surrounded by blame, contempt and apathy.  It’s wishing that you could break a bone, or have an internal organ removed instead.

15) It’s looking forward to your favourite fitness class (and getting out of the house) because it always cheers you up – yet getting there and hating every single moment of it because you feel like everything you’re going through is tattooed onto your skin, and everyone is looking at you – and they KNOW.   It’s leaving, piling into your vehicle a crumpled mess of tears, and driving home feeling more defeated than ever.

16) It’s having one, two, three, four bad days in a row.  It’s feeling incredibly guilty for even having ONE bad day, especially if there’s nothing in your life to be upset about.  When bad things do happen, it’s feeling like your world is going to implode because they somehow have come in more than 3’s (HELLO! DON’T YOU KNOW THAT RULE, MR. LUCK?)… they pile up, and threaten to bury you alive.

17) It’s spending a lot of your time alone.  It’s longing for friendships that bring adventure, laughter and memories…but it’s avoiding old friends, and new, because you’re “too much to handle”.

18) It’s being irrationally resentful and jealous of the people around you because how the hell do they have it all together?!

19) It’s wishing you had someone to talk to, but also hoping that no one will talk to you because then it saves you having to try to explain everything.

20) It’s knowing the triggers of your “fight or flight” mechanism better than you know your favourite film, and knowing that you’re gonna choose flight, every time.

21) It’s praying that someone doesn’t ask when you’ve realized that they’ve realized something is wrong.  It’s wanting but not wanting to have that conversation because how can someone else understand it when you don’t even have a grasp on it yourself?  How do you explain to someone the overwhelming sadness that crushes you like a vice for NO REASON WHATSOEVER?!

22) It’s wishing people would take you seriously, including (and especially) the medical professionals who are supposed to be there to help you.  I mean, you KNOW it’s bad when even they think you’re crazy, too.

23) It’s constantly being accused of seeking attention, when you’re actually asking for help.

24) It’s faking your happiness on social media, and in real life, to save yourself the judgement of being “that person”.

25) It’s soap in your eyes because you start crying in the shower as you’re washing your face.

26) It’s your late-night drives transitioning from your sanctuary and joy to your breakdown central.  It’s your steering wheel becoming your shoulder to cry on, since you cry more behind it than anything else these days.

27) It’s wishing you could bring your dog with you everywhere you go, because she seems to be the only one that keeps you level-headed and calm in your moments of ruin.  She gets you, and 90% of the time it feels like she’s the only one who ever will.

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28) It’s laughing one minute, and crying the next – as if someone has flipped a switch in a cruel game.

29) It’s basically just crying, all the time, and committing yourself to the fact that you’re a walking contradiction.

30) It’s dealing with ALL of these things… every. single. day.

It’s not glamourous…

…but it’s not weakness.  It’s unpredictable, ugly f*cking strength. Every single part of it takes a level of courage you don’t think you have.  Self-realization. Talking to someone – a friend, a parent, a colleague, a professional.  Staring at the monster in the mirror that only you can see, and having to make the conscious choice every day to fight against it for your freedom; to say, “I’m not going to let you win. NOT TODAY, SATAN.”

It’s savouring every moment of every good day you have.  Sometimes there are LOTS of good days, and sometimes there are not.  It’s knowing that the good days will help you tread through the bad.

It’s finding the little things that make a difference, and treating yourself to those self-care goodies because you know that you deserve them; because you know that you’re important, and that self-care isn’t selfish.

It’s the moments that you overcome the demons that you fight; the moments of victory, however fleeting they may be, that get you through one day and onto the next.

It’s knowing, that at the end of the day, you’re a warrior and you’ll get through it – come hell or high water – because you’ve already survived 100% of your bad days.

It’s knowing that no matter how alone you feel, you never truly are.

It’s knowing that it’s okay to not be okay, and that it’s okay to talk about it.

Forty Three

I’m just going to start this off by saying that I had the BEST NIGHT EVER last night.

Disclaimer: This post is going to be regarding Terri Clark’s Back to My Roots solo acoustic tour…what I thought, how I felt, what I experienced, what I wore – you know, basically everything there is in the hand basket.

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Last night was a great night.  I (as mentioned above) attended Terri Clark’s Back to My Roots solo acoustic tour – and it was honestly everything I thought it would be, and more. 

My evening started off a little hectic. I was running late, rushing to get ready after work.  I had requested Meet and Greet passes, and was confirmed for them, so I was as stressed as a balloon in a vice that I wouldn’t get there in time.  I still had to travel to Calgary, find my way to the casino, AND find parking.  Luckily, we made it! *phew*

Meet and Greets are always so fun, yet I always feel like I mess them up just by being my socially awkward self.  THE PRESSURE.   

This time, I was determined as ever to have it go smoothly.  For the 20 minutes I had before I went into that little room, I went over and over and OVER what I was going to say in my head.  As I got nearer and nearer to the meeting point, I started sweating more profusely (thank God I remembered deodorant), though I was still (shakily) confident that our exchange would go as planned….until it didn’t. LOL *sigh* As I walked up to greet her, the ladies behind me caught her eye (they obviously knew one another) and her excitement (sweet as it was, bless her heart) TOTALLY threw me off my game; everything I had planned to say disappeared from my mind like someone had hit Control-A-Delete.  And, just as I’d feared, my socially awkward self came rearing forward to take control of the situation, and it ended in a pretty hilarious, yet cringe-worthy (on my end) exchange.

(Sorry, Ms Clark!)

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PS – I wanted to tell you that your vest game is A++ lately, but you know, social anxiety…! 

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PSS: How cute is my mom?!


After completely embarrassing myself once again, I was happy to go and find my seat so I could immerse myself in the music and forget all about how badly I need to work on my social cues.   I have to say, I’m pretty sure I ended up with one of the best seats in the house.  Front row, almost centre.  It don’t get better than that!

Now, I’ve been to a few of Terri Clark’s shows before, and they’re always a good time.  She’s an enormously talented entertainer, both in song and in story…however, this particular show seemed different – in a great way.  As it’s a solo acoustic tour, which means there’s no band and no fancy travelling along with her, it had an air of magic about it.  Maybe it’s just me, but I felt like last night we got to experience the truest Terri behind the Award-Winning persona. It was hard NOT to have fun right along with her; the joy she was experiencing just radiated off the stage and into the audience like a mist.  She, of course, sang her songs – as singers usually do (I was so happy to hear so many classics in the mix!), she made some beats (whilst we talked amongst ourselves), she had us all splitting a gut with her story telling (particularly in reference to those majestic Rocky Mountains), and I was both mesmerized and ready to spill out of my chair in laughter when she presented us with her John Anderson covers.  

She touched us all by including “Smile” in her set list once again.  Though she gracefully, and beautifully, sang her way through it, I can’t say the same for the rest of us.  I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the house…and I couldn’t help but have been brought back to when Ms. Clark played at the Westerner Days in Red Deer in 2012.  “Smile” was on the set list then, too, and I remember thinking, as she sang her heart out with tears streaming down her cheeks, “Now THAT is strength, grace and love.”  

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The night seemed to just fly…had it gone on until the wee hours of the morning, I would not have had a care in the world – even though I still had to travel home and work the next day.  I didn’t get many photos, in part because I don’t want to be that annoying person who blocks the view with my phone the entire time, but also (and more importantly) I was just enjoying myself far too much, and remaining too firmly in the present to pay much mind to anything else other than what was unfolding in front of me.  

I’ve been fortunate enough to see many concerts in my time so far, and I know I’ve probably said it before, but real talk: this show truly, genuinely, was the greatest show I’ve ever attended.   It was raw, and it felt more like a giant get-together with your closest friends.  Terri is SO funny, so goofy, and charming as hell.  She’s a genuine soul, who delivers the whole authentic package, and who is so humble that I don’t even think her reflection acknowledges her fame.   When asked what the best part of being a celebrity was, her response was simply, “I’m a celebrity?” … I mean, COME ON.  If that doesn’t make you smile… 

I’ve been a fan of Terri Clark’s for as long as I can remember…and I’ll remain a fan of hers until I’m old and grey and can’t remember anything anymore. 

My advice to you is this:
if you love good, home-grown country, you need to snag yourself some tickets to this tour.
If you’re a TC fan already, then you’ll walk away an even bigger fan.
If you’re not, you definitely will be post show.

(and also, what is wrong with you?! How are you not already a fan?!)
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(Rocking my new TC Logo Raglan Tee! EEEEEEEEEE…and puppy filter, because you know I’m obsessed)

Flashback Moment – I’ll never, ever, forget my very first M&G with Terri. I was 12, and I was obsessed with the colour green, as I recall.  I literally wore a green turtleneck, with lime green eyeshadow packed onto my lids like icing on a cake, and my khaki green nylon purse from Wal-Mart.  When I found out that I had to go in alone (my mom didn’t have a pass) I was so scared that I almost didn’t even go.  I remember as I walked into the room and up to shake Terri’s hand (she must have smelled my fear), she immediately opened up with the warmest of hello’s and complimented profusely my lovely purse from Wally World.  I was just this awkward little kid who didn’t know much what to say, but that experience has stayed with me all these years, and still puts a smile on my face 🙂 (Now if only I could find that old photo…)

Now, as promised, what I wore: 

(Please excuse the wrinkles in the backdrop.  I don’t have a steamer and I wasn’t expecting to use it so soon! I’m such a professional… haha!  But hey, I never promised or claimed to have my poop in a group.  Please don’t judge me.)

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BTW: This Raglan Tee is available here if you want one 🙂 It’s SO COMFY. 

Forty

Happy Birthday to Me
Happy Birthday to Me
Happy Birthday dear Old Bat
Happy Birthday to Me!!!

If you hadn’t guessed, today is my birthday 🙂
This post is Outfit #1 of Birthday Weekend shenanigans.

I went out for dinner last night with a few close people, and it was so lovely.
So many laughs, great food and good drinks!
Exactly what all birthdays should be made of.

I’ve been going on a bit of a spending binge lately (WHOOPS!), but on super random things…so when I paid my credit card balance I told myself, “NO MORE”.

And then I walked through Hudson’s Bay and saw this GORGEOUS Steve Madden bag, and that notion went right out the window.

It’s the epitome of boho chic.  It’s got the textured leather, the fringe tassel, an incredible soft suede interior, AND to put the cherry on top of the already incredibly delicious cake – it has a beautifully embroidered guitar inspired shoulder strap.

WHAT!

#SorryNotSorry Louis, but I’ve begun an affair with Steve. 

To keep the boho vibe of the bag intact, and ensuring it remained the star of the show, I complemented it with an all black ensemble and just a pop of colour with my shoes.  

Dress from HM
Blazer from Dynamite
Shoes from Winners

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A better look at the makeup look I created to go hand in hand with the outfit.  Details on products used below:

Base:
Primed with Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Covered with MAC Studio Finish Concealer Duo in NW20/NC25
Set with bareMinerals Original SPF 25 mineral veil
Dusted with Rimmel Natural Bronzer in 022 Sun Bronze

Eyes:
Primed with Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Minor Sin

Shadows are –
E.L.F. Cosmetics in Mad for Matte palette
Sephora Colorful Matte in My Dear Nude
Sephora Colorful Shimmer in Sweet Dreams
Lined with Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Mad Max Brown

Brows:
Filled with Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz pencil in Medium Brown

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I don’t know if any of you out there believe in the paranormal, orbs or anything like that … but I included the photo below (awkward as it is) because it has an orb right above my heart! ❤

Call me crazy, but I definitely believe in that “hullabaloo”, and found it comforting to think that one of my deceased loved ones had come to share my birthday with me 🙂 

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Have a fabulous weekend lovelies!

Thirty Two

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I just wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on this particular photo today.   Kayley Reed (of Wear Your Label) had posted it to Instagram the other day, and it really struck a chord with me.

As soon as I saw it, I just sat there, mouth gaping.

“HOLY SHIT”, I thought. “This is exactly what I felt but could never have put into words.”

Because I’ve been that person.

I’ve been the girl who spent hours upon hours staring at her body in a mirror and scrutinizing every single millimetre of canvas.  The girl who only knew how to spew hateful things at what she saw in the mirror because she was taught by the media that it was ugly or disgusting.

I’ve been the girl who starved herself; the girl who would pass up the foods she loved or quality time with her friends for supper because she couldn’t bear to see that food turn into fat.  Who binged and purged, to fit a mould that wasn’t even designed for humans; to have her shoulder blades and hip bones jut out, like a picture frame corner stretching a mesh screen.

The hatred and sheer loathing that roamed around my head – I’m not skinny enough, I’m not hairless or smooth enough, I’m not tall enough or my skin’s not dark enough.  My nose isn’t small enough, my lips aren’t big enough.  I’m not “womanly” shaped or curvy enough.

You know what?

I AM EVERYTHING ENOUGH.

I am pretty enough, and curvy enough.  I am brave enough, and bold enough.  I am smart enough, and strong enough.  I am brilliant enough, and inquisitive enough.  I am fierce enough, and loyal enough.  I am kind enough, and I am honest enough.  I am complete enough.

I AM EVERYTHING ENOUGH, and I have had enough with the absolutely ridiculous pressures and standards put on women and girls in society today.  It’s not attainable, it’s not healthy and it’s NOT important.  What is important is your happiness and your feeling of self-worth (and yes, your health is absolutely important, too).

It has taken me almost 29 years to love myself, in a world that should have been teaching me to do just that from the day that I was born.  So my advice is this:

Love your cellulite (booty dimples), and your stretch marks (tiger stripes). Love your bread rolls, your sushi rolls, all your rolls (from enjoying wonderful food with family and friends). Love your chin hairs (wisdom tinsel) and your back hairs (stray eyebrows). Love your crows feet and your laugh lines, and all the random lines that are earned over time (they are radiant records that you have laughed and felt joy).

Love and treasure every one of your “imperfections”. You grew into them, grew up with them and you continue growing with them. They are a part of you.  Embrace it all, wholly, because without it – you are not you. And you, as you are, are perfectly imperfect. Speak out of love to yourself.  Speak out of positivity to the girl you see staring back at you in the mirror.  Be proud of what makes you unique. Be proud of each marker that shows you have lived and are living.

You are so much more than this spaceship you were born into; you are the soul within it. You are the accumulation of your experiences; the love and the laughter that lights up your face, the tears and the heartache that show you your strength and courage. You are the empathy that lends a helping hand, the compassion that comforts another in need. You are the wisdom that sees another through, and the encouragement that embraces a moment of weakness. You are the knowledge that instills pride in others, and the kindness that births a grin.  You are a beacon of hope to someone in darkness, and you are the light of jubilation to someone morose.

You are incredible, and a mirror or a scale cannot show you that.

You have always been beautiful because your true beauty can not be physically altered.   So hug yourself tight, forgive your past remarks, and begin to love every single square inch.  You owe it to your soul, to defy what you’ve been subconsciously taught and realize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way you look.  You are still the most beautiful word.

 

Thirty One

 

Today’s post is not going to be about fashion.  It’s going to be about something so much greater.  It’s going to be long, and full of photos.  Some of these photos are flattering, some are not.  Most of them I had no idea were being taken but each of them has a story, and each of them carries an emotion.  I wasn’t expecting my journey to be captured in such a raw and authentic way…but for that, I am ever so grateful to my wonderful boyfriend who, in his pride for me, decided to document the steps of my journey – both good and bad.  I couldn’t have asked for a greater gift.


 

Yesterday, I began the journey to conquering my fears.

One of those is a crippling fear of heights.
Like, we’re talking heart-stopping, throat-tightening, won’t-even-walk-near-a-second-floor-railing-in-a-mall fear of heights.

So naturally, I decided to climb a mountain.

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This whole thing started a week ago.  My boyfriend and I went on a casual hike in the mountains to Heart Creek Trail.  While we were there, he took notice of Heart Mountain, which the trail runs alongside.

 

His first instinct – “Wow!  I want to climb that.”
Mine? – “Are you INSANE?!”

But the day went on, and the more I thought about it, the more the idea intrigued me.  It wasn’t until we saw other climbers along it’s edge that I started to think, “Okay, we could totally do that.  It can’t be that hard.”  So with very few hours left in the day (and a watch telling us the incorrect time), we set out to find where this mountain climb began.

We made it (what we thought) about half way up, until the weather turned and a storm started rolling in.  I’ve watched enough movies and documentaries to know that when weather on a mountain starts to change, you don’t take it lightly.  I made the executive decision to turn around and head back down, though my win did not come without a fight.  We decided that we would try again, and next time we would make it.

Fast forward a week to April 10.  We once again found ourselves standing at the base of Heart Mountain.  This time more determined than ever, and clearly having brought our naivety along with us for the ride.  Our previous venture had seemed like a breeze.  I was surprisingly not scared at all, given the circumstances, and regardless of the insane reviews that we had read since our first failed attempt, I was totally convinced that this would be a cake walk.

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I was not at all prepared for the experience I was willingly walking right into.

I was doing this to face a demon, a fear that has plagued me intensely in my adult life.  I had expected there to be some physical challenge, but I could never have prepared myself for the psychological torture I was about to be drug through.

The first part (what we now realize was about a quarter) of the hike went smooth like our first attempt.  We both took notice that we didn’t have the same energy as the last time, but we chalked that up to lack of sleep/lack of heat/lack of warm up/lack of oxygen… basically any excuse we could give ourselves that would convince us to keep going.

Great start, amiright lol

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See? Breezy!

Everything was truly going dandy, until we breached our previous turn-around point.

It was in this moment that I was playing the comedian and scoffed, “Oohh looks like the fun really starts here!”, but little did I know how accurate my ‘comedy’ would become.

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The thought that I was maybe in for more than I realized crossed my mind, but I quickly shot that down and told myself it was just nerves.  I’ve never climbed a mountain before!

I even took a moment to twerk a little since my boyfriend is a genius and brought along a portable radio for us.  (I can’t believe he actually took a picture of this LOL)

Werk, werk, werk, werk, werk, werk…

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Peekaboo!

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Ahh, still happy!  Still quite clueless.

I had already had a few moments of having to reiterate to myself that I could do this, that I was capable… though it was previous to this point that I had decided it was time to put up the blinders, and try my damnedest to NOT look left or right – and ESPECIALLY DO NOT LOOK BEHIND YOU/DOWN.

CHEERS! (Obligatory tourist shot)

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Moving forward didn’t seem so bad now.  I was keeping my eyes on the prize aka staring directly at the ground in front of me, only briefly looking up and forward to remain on path and nothing else.

It was here that my first true anxiety attack came on.  I had tears well up in my eyes, my throat started to close in and restrict my already low intake of oxygen…I was shaking so badly I thought I would slide right off the side of the mountain.

I actually had to stop and bring myself into Tree Pose to reground.  RIDICULOUS, right?! My boyfriend had a mild heart attack when he saw me standing on one leg on the side of the mountain.  It took everything in me to calm my nerves and re-centre myself to keep going; that tiny bit of yoga that I brought with me made a world of difference in that moment.

In fact, here is a photo I took just after I got myself together; for the first time in a long time I snuck a peek to my left…and just about shit my pants.  There’s the slope for ya!

I muttered to myself, “Terrible idea…” and owned a moment of self-hatred for straying from my plan of action.

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I reminded myself, swallowing the lump in my throat, that I could do this, that I was safe.  That I needed to put those blinders back up and everything would be just peachy!

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Yeah.  Safe.  Peachy.  All good!

Well, it must have worked, because my smile was back!

(Or maybe that had to do with having no idea that THIS was behind me!?!)

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It didn’t last for long.  Tackle one hurdle, only to come face to face with another more challenging one.  If it wasn’t having to navigate our way up increasingly steeper slopes, it was having to straight up free style rock climb over a ridge (or two).

It was here that I looked up, said, “Are you f***ing kidding me!…”, turning to my boyfriend like:

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He chuckled at my expression, and I half hoped I was joking – although seeing this photo now, there is no denying the truth behind it.  I was terrified and feeling defeated.  I had made it through the first rock climb required and was hoping with all hope that I wouldn’t have to repeat it.  But here we were.

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I can’t count the number of times that I said both inside my head and out loud, “Why the hell did I think this was a good idea?”…and I wouldn’t know the answer to that question for another almost 2 hours.

Being the sweet man he is, my boyfriend softly suggested I try a more upbeat approach.  We had both been reciting positive mantras to the other when one of us started to question our inner confidences.  It served to help the other, but I think it helped ourselves more.

So I responded:

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Fake it ’til you make it, right?!

I had a moment of utter weakness at this point, and all I could think was, “I can’t fucking do this. There is NO WAY that I can do this.  If I somehow find a way up, there’s no way I’ll find a way down.”

Out of nowhere, like the clouds parting and the rays of the sun bursting through,  I got a second wind;  I had come up for a breath of air.

“F**K IT.  What am I doing?! I’m bad ass!!! I can totally do this.  I’m just gonna do it, and that’s that!”

Off I went with gumption.

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That confidence lasted all of 5 minutes.

“Babe, look back here for a second.”
“No thanks.”
“Come on! Just a quick second.”
“… okay fine.”

CHEESE!

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And, in this moment of looking back when I promised myself that I wouldn’t – my friend Annie Anxiety had returned.  ALL that consumed my thoughts now was, “How the fuck am I going to get off of this mountain if I keep going? I can’t keep going. I have to turn around.  I’m probably already stuck here.”

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A little voice inside me started to speak and I remembered the reason why I was doing this – that I was fighting against this very thought – and it gave me strength to push on.  I had already made it THIS far and there was no damn way I was doing this a third time.  Now or never.  We were way too close to the summit to pack up now.

Onward!  Pull those big girl panties up.  Find a way.

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NAILED IT.

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A short while later and we had reached our destination!  SUMMIT! FINALLY!

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Nothing could have prepared me for the emotion that would hit me like a freight train.

All I could do was cry (and thank God for sunglasses 😉 ).

The pride that overwhelmed me was incredible.

I DID IT.  I ACTUALLY DID IT.  I’M SITTING HERE THOUSANDS OF FEET IN THE AIR AND I’M STILL TERRIFIED BUT I’M HERE.  I MADE IT.

The tears that I swallowed, the trembling, the fear that I had to continually beat down inside of me – to push my body and my mind past its absolute limits – all for this moment.  This achievement. This victory.

Now I understood why I knew this was a good idea.

I drank it in like nectar to a bee.

And then I just sat there.

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Alone with my thoughts.  Totally engrossed in this divinity of nature; in this connection that I was pulled towards so strongly.  Revelling in my glory, but also in sadness.  How can moments like these go so unappreciated by some?  This Earth.  Our home.  Its magic.  These majestic, strong, jagged peaks that literally thrust their power and beauty into your face.

Perspective.  Appreciation.  Respect.  Gratitude.

And I cried again, out of grief for this world.  I was so overcome.

Eventually, I gathered my emotions, and my belongings, and wandered off to explore with my love.  To take in the grand scenery that enveloped us.  To dwell in what we had accomplished together.

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Truly on top of the world, by all definitions ❤

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We were speechless.

The views the whole way through this trek were breathtaking; worth the pain and sweat, worth every tear, worth every thought that I had had to combat.

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(I have a thing for contrasting textures)

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After sending out a little gift of love and thanks, we began our descent.  I had no choice but to look down at this point, and something strange was happening.  The more I embraced the view, connected with the Earth, trusted my own strength – the more my fear and anxiety began to fade.

This climb was far more psychologically challenging than I could ever have imagined.  I wasn’t expecting my anxiety to join me, in all her glory, on this journey; to skip along beside me, chanting taunts into my ear.  I was not at all prepared for the physical or emotion breakdown that I would endure.  The grip of terror that would wrap itself around my throat, choking me.  The breath that would be harder and harder to take, and not just because the air was thinning.

When I made the concrete decision to summit Heart Mountain and face my fear of heights, I had no idea what I had signed myself up for.  I’d seen photos of people who had done it, and I’d thought that it looked so easy.  So attainable…and attainable it is, but it was not without a price.

When I decided to summit Heart Mountain, spending a solid 1.5 of the almost 3 hours it took fighting back tears wasn’t what I pictured.  I had to battle so much of my mind that I questioned each step of the way if this was what I actually wanted to do.

Had I made a good decision?
Was I crazy to think I could do it?
Who the hell decides to do this in their right frame of mind anyway, especially with a paralyzing fear of heights!?!?
Couldn’t I have started with a jungle gym or a ladder?! 

In setting this goal, and stopping at nothing to reach it, I learned a few things.

I learned that the only limitations I have I’ve set myself, and they exist only in my mind.

I learned that maybe to conquer our fears (and our minds), we must learn to walk hand in hand with them.  We have the power.  We always will.

I learned that I can trust myself, because that trust will carry me through.

I learned that I am an extremely emotional being, and to allow myself to live in those moments of emotion is empowering.  It’s brave, and bold.  It’s human, and it makes me stronger.

I learned that I am so much more capable than I ever would have given myself credit for. That when I think it’s time to quit, I’ve only just begun.

My face might be burned to a crisp (because I always fucking forget sunscreen), and my body might be aching in places I didn’t even know could ache – but my soul is so beyond fed and I am so humbled and changed by this experience.   I can’t wait to do it again.

Twenty Six

When you live in Canada, and it’s “spring” (okay, almost) but you’re straight up sick of having to dress for winter weather.   Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

SOLUTION:
Step 1 – Wear a dress, and bare legs (cause f**k snow, right?).
Step 2 – Throw on faux fur vest that, let’s be honest, is more like a giant rug with arm holes.

(FAB Winners Find! Still bloody awesome.)

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I was playing around with looks last night.  I recently got this ridiculously adorable dress (from Garage! Get it here) but I obviously bought it on a whim, and when I got it home I realized in horror that I had no idea how to style it.

That’s when I discovered that it goes exceptionally well with these amazing boots (courtesy of my S/O’s mama) and this ballin’ vest.  Boho spring/summer chic, anyone?

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One of the first things I thought of immediately after I threw it on (like I was a member of the Russian mafia) was a quote I’d seen online that goes like this:

“Walk in the club like what up I have social anxiety and I wanna go home.”

LITERALLY ME.

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THESE BOOTS THOUGH.  I am obsessed with them.  I received them in November, and had tucked them away for summer.  You can’t tell from a distance, but they are perforated and are technically “summer boots” so – not so Canadian-winter-friendly.

I caught a glimpse of the bright floral out of the corner of my eye, like the blinding of the sun when a cloud once covering it suddenly dissipates.  IT WAS LIKE CHRISTMAS ALL OVER AGAIN.

“OH YEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!”, I gleefully exclaimed.
“THESE ARE PERFECT!!!”

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Since this weekend marks the official beginning of spring, I am hoping with every atom in my body that the snow will disappear promptly, and I can whip this styling out in real time sooner than later.

Additional bonus: Floral is SUPER in right now (I’m looking at you Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana – you masters, you).  Rediscovering these boots couldn’t have come at a more perfect time! ❤

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Gold accents.
THREE HUNNED HASHTAG SWAGGA. 

Yeah, I went there.  Happy Friday! 🙂