Hello again. It's been (quite) a while.
The thing is, the second half of 2015 was really tough on me and I didn't want to share anything publically, even my thoughts. Then 2016 was better. But better, in this case, also means incredibly busy.
Pretty much my whole life changed in 2016. And it changed quickly.
I started a new job in March. I stood by my best friend as she married her best friend in April. And in June, I told someone I would become his wife.
[I've got the best partner - literally, I don't even like to talk about him too much because I feel like I'm bragging - and on June 3, 2016 he asked me to marry him and I was very delighted to say yes]
In November I turned 30 and on my birthday we signed the papers to our first home.
We moved in before Christmas.
Of course more things happened to me in 2016: I travelled to places I had never been before (what up Arizona, Jamacia and B.C.), I celebrated friends' weddings and engagements, I spent incredibly valuable time with my family, I laughed, I cried, I slept.
And while the world may have hated 2016, in my little life it was A-OK. (And I'm incredibly grateful for that, because 2015 was a real challenge.)
So the above quote really rings true for me, and I've always resontaed with it. Sometimes nothing happens in your life and you get incredibly frustrated wishing for change. I've been there.
And then sometimes everything happens all at once. You turn 30 and buy a house. You move and you close one chapter of your life before opening the next.
Whichever phase you're in at the moment, I wish you peace and grace. Hang in there, you never know what can happen in a year. xo
Raise your hand if you're in your twenties and have no idea what you're doing with your life.
Hey! Me too.
Well...that might be slightly dramatic. But it's a common feeling I have. And I know I'm not alone. I've discussed this with my friends and they're feeling it too. So I guess it's high time I write about it and get the conversation out in the open.
The twenties (late, almost over twenties for me) are a tough time. I know they are not impossible, and all ages and decades have their challenges, but the twenties are when you're supposed to set up your life. You get an education, start your career, (hopefully) fall in love.
Ok, I've done all those things (yes, I'm lucky and grateful). Now what?
I read the book The Defining Decade last year. I saw the author's TED Talk (thanks, Marika, for sending it my way!) and was inspired. Meg Jay is a psychologist who works with a lot of twenty-somethings. So much so she wrote a whole book about it. Her main point is that people, and I guess society, have been acting like the twenties decade is a warm-up for life. It doesn't really count. The twenties are for fun and adventure. While I guess that's true in some regard, it can be awfully dangerous to view your life - at least a full 10 years of it - as a warm-up. Jay warns against this philosophy and argues how important this stage can be. It is literally the defining part of your life (gulp).
I guess the takeaway is this: if you're in your twenties and you've started "defining" or setting up your life, you're doing pretty good. And if you've been killing time until you think your life starts in your thirties, now is the time to get cracking. Jay says you should start working on identity capital (something that adds value to your future self), use your "weak ties" - i.e. network - and pick your family, because you're deciding your life right now.
And now for my own advice (although I, of course, don't have the expertise of Meg Jay. I do have a bach psych degree though, so there's that ;). I've found writing extremely helpful and therapeutic. Writing and the ocean. Writing while at the ocean is preferred. Before you write, ask yourself deep, important questions and then write out your answers. You might be (hopefully pleasantly) surprised by what hits the page. Also, the Internet is a pretty great resource (who knew?!). Just Google how to find your career path, life purpose, etc. and there are a million websites at the ready.
One of my favourite tips I found was to write down the jobs you wanted when you were a kid [if you're interested, my top five were: waitress (accomplished at 19, what a superstar), actress (only academy award winning actress, I might add), writer (working on it), ballerina (gave up on that one pretty quick) and monkey trainer (don't think I quite understood the magnitude of animal captivity at that point)]. These jobs are different, but there are some interesting similarities. Creativity being one of them. Often it isn't the specific job, but characteristics of that job that interest you. If you don't remember what you aspired to be as a kid, call your mom (actually, call your mom anyways. she always wants to hear from you :).
I know this blog post didn't solve the issue of the quarter-life crisis. That's because I haven't figured it out (sorry! I wish I had). But, I have enjoyed navigating my way through this decade and find the soul searching helpful.
And I think we can all use a little help sometimes.
Before fall comes to an end and winter fully embraces us in her icy grasp, I want to share some of my favourite things from the past few months. Fall is probably my favourite month (I'm a November baby, I'm sure that's part of the reason). I, no matter how cliche it may be, love the crispness in the air and the beautifully coloured leaves. This season is my favourite time to run outside and I generally feel a renewed interest in cooking and baking after a summer of only ever wanting someone else to BBQ me a hot dog (I'm a simple girl at heart ;). So while I don't need much to adore fall, there were a few things that helped make the season even more enjoyable. They are as follows...
1. Aveda Thickening Tonic
My new hair stylist recommended this to me during our first visit and I am in love. I'm pretty lazy with my hair and am not talented at styling in any way. I spray this product in my hair and blow dry - the spray gives my hair a little something extra without making it feel sticky or full of gritty product. I will repurchase this without question. My first bottle is about half empty and I bought it in August.
2. True Blue Spa - Shea Cashmere Shower Cream
This body wash is intense in both smell and consistency. I don't buy it often, but it's been quite lovely to use during the change in season. It really does leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.
3. Stila Lip Glaze
I got this last year in a little holiday set from Shopper's (it also came with a cream blush and sparkle headband - bonus). I find the berry hue to be a lovely lip colour for fall. It's not too aggressive (let's save the full blown red lip for the holidays, shall we?) in colour since it's a gloss so it's very wearable and isn't sticky, which I love.
4. Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Cologne
I bought this quite indulgently during a stop over at the Toronto airport while travelling to my cousin's wedding. Unfortunately I don't think you can order this online in Canada (another justification I gave myself for the purchase). It's a strong scent but I really like it and have received a compliment every time I've worn it. According to Nordstrom, the perfume "features a charming mix of peonies, red apple, jasmine, rose and gillyflower, all mingling with a sensual blush suede."
5. Plaid Blanket Scarf
I really wanted a scarf like the one pictured above (a similar one is linked in the title) last year but couldn't find one in store and didn't want to pay shipping and duties to order online. So happy I found this one this year at Garage, a store I really don't shop at but passed by one evening while picking up part of Chris's birthday gift. I'm so grateful they had this on display and was able to snatch it up - I've been wearing it nonstop.
6. Ugg Black Leather Booties
I bought these at the Ugg outlet in Vegas - what a steal. I can't believe they had my size at an Ugg outlet (I'm a very average 7.5 and bought these in an 8). I can't find these online anywhere but I'm sure other brands have similar styles. I generally prefer brown to black footwear but since I was at an outlet I couldn't pass up the deal. And you know what? I'm so glad I have them in black! I've worn them so often and they make me feel fashionable, put together, and a little badass. They're also really comfy because they are Ugg. I'm pretty casual in my footwear choices, so these are a nice alternative to regular Uggs - which, I admit, make me look like I'm still in high school - without being heels. In summary: love.
7. Red Leather Bag
My dad brought me this bag back from a trip to Italy. I love it because he thought of me while away and brought back something special, and because it is in the quintessential fall colour (red is not a colour I gravitate towards normally, so it's nice to have someone else pick it out and for me to expand my horizons!). It also zips up completely and has an outside pocket for my iPhone which is great.
8. Bath and Body Works Candle in "Autumn"
I LOVE THIS CANDLE SO MUCH. I buy one every year (I wish I had bought more than one this year...). Bath and Body Works describes the scent as: "A crisp fragrance that celebrates fall in red delicious apple, rich cedarwood & green balsam." Delightful.
9. The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna
I've been doing quite a bit of soul searching lately (see last post) and found this book inspiring. It's an easy read from an artist who quit her cool tech job to pursue her passion. She advocates choosing "must" over "should" and offers examples to prove it's never too late to do what you love. I highly recommend checking out Ms. Luna, if not with this book than via her website or through one of her online video talks.
10. David's Tea Fall Teas - Peanut Butter Cup and Cranberry Orange Muffin
I'm a hot beverage lover. I enjoy both coffee and tea (and hot chocolate for that matter) so please don't make me choose. These teas aren't my favourite of all time, but I did enjoy them and their festive flavours. There's pretty much nothing better than curling up with a nice cup of tea and your coziest blanket on a fall evening. The. Best.
My faux leather jacket from Joe Fresh (bought on clearance LAST summer) and the app Charity Miles which lets you raise money for the charity of your choice just by going for a run. Neither of these photograph very well so they just get a verbal mention :)
So. I've been going through a bit of a transition lately (hence the hiatus). It's been tough, but I've got a really great support system (thank goodness!), so I think things will be just fine. In times of change I feel it's essential to remember what's really important and focus on all that you have, not all that you lack. During this transition I've been taking lots of time for "me." Lots of long walks around Signal Hill, lots of time with the people I love and lots of reflecting. They say "A Change is as Good as a Rest" and I'm hoping they are right. I'm excited about what's ahead (although, admittedly, slightly overwhelmed) and when I saw this quote I thought: how absolutely perfect. I'm going to use this as a little reminder for myself and hope you find it helpful for whatever life is throwing your way.
I've always wanted to be a morning person. I, however, also adore sleep. You can see the dilemma.
I must say, though, in my old age (I am in my late twenties now...) I've gotten a lot better. But there's still room for improvement. Lots of room. So, when I saw this article on Bustle on how to have a positive morning I thought - genius! Thanks, Bustle :)
My favourites from the list include taking a moment for personal gratitude and nurturing yourself. I love waking up (after a good sleep) and taking a moment to lie in bed before getting up to work out. Of course I don't do this every day, I'm not superwoman. The gratitude idea is a nice way to transition from dreamland to reality, allowing me to really wake up before subjecting my body to an immediate sweat session. Cuddling is another nice way to start the day :)
In an ideal world I would always wake up after a nice 7-8 hour deep sleep, cuddle and think of all I'm grateful for, work out, have a delicious and nutritious breakfast before hopping in the shower. A face or eye mask thrown in wouldn't hurt either. I think this is very doable - but how nice would it be to also have time to light a candle, do some reading, go for walk to get some fresh air or even do some writing? THAT would be a positive morning. I plan on working my way up to that point as right now I'm only somewhat successful at getting up early enough to allow for a short workout before the workday.
I find morning "routines" fascinating. I love learning how people start their days - including you! Please leave some comments or suggestions below :)
I have to admit, I'm not yet used to this whole blogging thing. So, I neglected to take photos to "capture" my weekend. However, I love reading weekend recaps on other blogs so I wanted to test the waters.
I promise to be better :)
On Friday I had one of the worst allergy attacks in recent memory. I have terrible hay fever type symtpoms that can take over my body out of nowhere. It's quite awful. I was feeling sorry for myself so I thought some time with my favourite people was the only thing that could heal me (plus some meds... my friends aren't miracle workers). So, Chris and I hosted two of my best friends for dinner. We did a quick clean up after work and he popped into our quaint local grocery store to get some chips and queso as an appetizer (he's the best) while I got to prepping the meal. We served a pad-thai inspired veggie stir fry with chickpeas and brown rice vermicelli. For dessert? A DIY sundae bar of course (complete with Reese dessert topping smuggled in from our Vegas trip). Good food with good company - the prefect Friday evening.
Saturday was a mixture of busy and completely not busy. I got up early to drop Chris off at a softball tournament and instead of going for a run like I had planned, I opted for the much lazier coffee run to Starbucks (summer has skipped NL this year and so a drizzly, cold morning did not ignite my desire to lap Quidi Vidi lake). I then had a nice quiet morning checking social media, texting with a friend in Toronto and doing a little pampering with a face mask and soothing eye gel pads. Delightful. The afternoon was spent at a bridal shower for a friend. So nice to catch up with some lovely women. Before heading out to an engagement party in the evening, I indulged in re-watching Enough Said on Netflix. LOVE that movie. Then an evening with friends to celebrate love. What could be nicer?
On Sunday, my mama took Chris and me to brunch. Starting the day with mimosas and Eggs Benedict is always fine with me :) Mom and I tried to shop at the newly opened Sephora but alas, we did not feel like waiting in line. Good thing it's here for good now! Chris and I finished binge-watching Bloodline (I don't know what I'll do without regularly checking in on the Rayburns... we'll have to start a new show stat) and had dinner at his parents to cap off the day.
Here's hoping summer actually shows up one of these days so my weekends can be filled with a bit more activity and a little less Netflix ;)
How did you spend your weekend?!
Apparently the biggest determiner of happiness is gratitude.
Over Christmas, my childhood girlfriends and I got together for our annual holiday potluck and this topic came up. One of my dear friends said she had read that writing down three things you are grateful for each day has a significant impact on one's level of contentment and fulfillment. I find this both interesting and incredibly accurate. If you can look at your life in terms of what you do have versus what you lack, how could you not feel more fulfilled?
The truth is, we all get caught up in the "more mentality." The more we have, the more we want. I'm just as guilty as anyone else. But one thing is for sure: It's important to appreciate the little things. A nice hot bath, a glass of wine, a sweet text message... some of life's simplest pleasures pack the most punch.
I challenge you to list (either in your head or on paper or screen) three things you are grateful for right now, at this very moment. It can be the fact that you have air in your lungs, that those you love are safe, that today is Friday. Whatever you want or feel! When you think about it, there really is so much to be grateful for. And you know what? I bet you'll have an even better weekend.
If you are having some trouble finding gratitude, Oprah has started her free 21-day meditation challenge once again and this time it is all about gratitude. Enjoy!
Hi! I'm back :)
I apologize for the silence over here recently. First my computer died (I now have a shiny new one so I'm up and running again... did I mention it's the new MacBook in gold?? Swoon) and then I went on vacation. Before I ventured off on said adventure I also put two magazines to print... things were a little busy to say the least! But the good news is I'm back and am very happy about it.
So. How do you beat the post vacay blues? Chris and I got back from Las Vegas almost a week ago and between the jet lag, the responsibilities of everyday, normal life, and the lack of summer weather in NL, I've been feeling a little bit sad. Maybe sad isn't the right word. Nostalgic? Ho hum? Blue. Blue is better. There is a reason post vacay blues works as a saying. (Is it a saying? Do I just say it??)
We arrived home after a few days in Vegas in the early afternoon and had lunch with my mom who picked us up from the airport (thanks, mom!). After showering (who else needs to shower ASAP after travelling? I love airplanes and airports when I'm going somewhere fun... but let's be real, they are pretty gross) and picking up a few necessities from the cute local grocery store, I settled in for some relaxing alone time. I caught up on shows from our PVR and tried my best to stay awake (we caught the Red Eye from Vegas to Toronto). I, aside from a brief rest of the eyes for a few scattered minutes, was successful. I thought I had beaten jet lag when I fell asleep that night and slept solidly until about 7 a.m. the next morning when I had to get back to work.
I wasn't so lucky, jet lag got me good. It's been a rough go getting to sleep before 4 a.m. since Friday.
So, instead of feeling down that my vacation in the sun (filled with pool lounging, eating, shopping and seeing David Copperfield) is over, I'd like to get back into the swing of things and get over these post vacay blues. Regular workouts, eating well and spending time with friends and family is on the agenda. Plus I have a mini staycation exploring Trinity with my girlfriends planned for this weekend... hey, maybe the only way to beat the blues is to go on another vacation? ;)
Photo above found on Google images
Scent is a very personal thing. My first foray into a signature scent was when I wore Abercrombie & Fitch's "8" perfume in my teens. Then, a few Christmases later, my mama gave me Sarah Jessica Parker's perfume, Lovely, because I adore her and its title is my favourite word. It was a wonderful and sentimental gift. Lovely has since been discontented and I've ventured into other fragrances. Now if you smell me it is likely one of these three - the usual suspects. Since I love peeking into people's makeup bags and finding out what beauty products they can't get enough of, here I offer my top three perfumes of the moment.
Elizabeth and James Nirvana White
Probably my ultimate fave and my new signature scent. I bought it in Chicago last year in the rollerball and then bought the perfume oil a few months later. I plan on purchasing the full size bottle (I miss the spray!). It's described as "a captivating blend of delicate peony, chic muguet (whatever that is...) and tender musk for a feminine scent with dark sophistication."
Maison Martin Margiela - "Replica" Beach Walk
This is my most recent and most summer-y scent. I blame Sephora for this indulgence. I placed an order for my face cream and they, without my request/knowledge, sent me postcards with perfume fragrances on them - similar to magazine perfume samples. It was love at first smell. I can't wait to take this on vacation with me (Chris and I are going to Vegas in 2 weeks! eeeee). This one "combines fresh and radiant notes of bergamot, coconut milk, lemon, pink pepper and musk to evoke a familiar but forgotten moment - a walk along a sandy beach." If I can't live at the beach, I'mma take the beach to me.
Marc Jacobs Honey
I got this last year when I redeemed optimum points at Shopper's. It is a pretty strong scent so I don't wear it as often as the others, and I would consider it more of a "fun" or "daytime" fragrance. The bottle sure is cute, though :) Marc got a little more descriptive and writes "Honey is a sunny, delicious floral - energetic and alluring, with a sparkling golden touch. The perfect mix of brightness and warmth. This buzzing fragrance energizes with the freshness of green pear and a bright splash of fruity punch and juicy mandarin. Orange blossom resides at the heart of the fragrance and mingles with the nectars of honeysuckle and peach for a note of sparkling femininity. Honey, vanilla and smooth woods dry down to a warm, golden base." Phew. Well put, Marc.
*Photos found on Google Images and Pinterest
I'm an introvert. In fact, I'm an INFP (but that's for another post ;). I'm also a journalist by trade, so I like news you can use. If any of these posts give you inspiration or tips I'm all for it.
Today was a day I had completely to myself. Chris had plans to golf with his friends and my girlfriends were going for a hike. [Confession: I dislike hikes. When I was a teenager my dad would take me on hikes and I'd always come home and break up with my boyfriend; the open air gave me too much time to think and contemplate (I was a dramatic teen...but then again, who wasn't?). Now I just find them long and boring. You want me to walk for 2-3 hours along the streets of Manhattan? No problem! Let's make it six. You want me to walk for 2-3 hours in the forest? No thanks.]
Not only were Chris and the girls unavailable, but both of my parents were out of town. So, the people I usually spend my weekend days with were out for the count; I had the whole day to myself, to do with whatever I pleased. As an introvert I relish in these moments. I had a very busy and stressful work week and I needed the alone time to recharge.
To start my day I went for my second outdoor run of the year. The sun was shining, I had music in my ears and I love starting my day with exercise and fresh air. After I came home I made one of my favourite breakfasts (an over easy egg on toast with pepper and a green juice) and realized I could do whatever I wanted with my day. So, what does one do on a solo spring Saturday? Well, I decided to pack up my new backpack and enjoy the sun and the ocean. I went to Starbucks and brought my coffee to the beach. I listened to music, people watched, journaled...it was lovely. The time alone in the sun was so good for my soul. I even saw my first iceberg of the season!
Today was a good day <3
Hello! I'm Anna, a journalist with a whole lot of love in my heart and thoughts in my head.
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