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
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 :)
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
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
Photo above: How you want to feel during a stressful work day... the tips below should help you get there :)
I work in production and the times leading up to print can get quite stressful. Yesterday was one of those days when a lot came at me at once and I felt overwhelmed. I was feeling on edge and had a lot to get done so I took a moment to step back and evaluate the situation. I knew I had to calm down and pull myself together so I could focus on my work. I've found there are five things that really help turn around a stressful work day, so I wanted to share them with you.
My first tip would be to get out for a break - whether that's to get a coffee, a lunch break or even just a walk outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air. However, if you're really too busy and don't have the time to take a break (as I didn't) here are some ways to help alleviate the stress.
1. Make a cup of tea.
The first thing I did was put on the kettle to make some nice green tea with mint. Tea is both relaxing, comforting and caffeinated - what more could you want?
2. Light a candle or indulge in some aromatherapy.
I am lucky to work form home so I can light a candle whenever I please. However, I can certainly appreciate that is not the case in most offices. So, if you can't light a candle (which I find immediately gives a sense of relaxation) may I suggest dabbing some lavender essential oil on your pulse points. It'll have a similar effect without offending your co-workers or the fire regulations.
3. Turn on some soft music.
While the kettle was on the stove I got out my iPad and turned on Spotify to give some nice background music and ambience. Both the Acoustic Spring and Totally Stress Free playlists are awesome. I keep the music low even though I'm the only person around because I want to still be able to concentrate and answer phone calls with ease. If you are in an office that objects to you playing music you can use headphones - the universal sign for "do not disturb," which, let's be honest, is another bonus ;)
4. Focus on your breath.
If you can't get out for a break take a moment - seriously all you need is a minute - to take a few deep, soulful breaths. Close your eyes, inhale deeply for five seconds, hold for five and exhale slowly for a count of five. Do this a few times and I promise you will feel better. Extra points if you can do this in front of an open window.
5. Craft a to do list.
Perhaps the most important of the five tips, creating a to do list really helps you focus and prioritize. Even if you don't list the tasks in order of importance, you can look at all you need to accomplish and decide what to tackle first - whether that's the easiest or quickest to get the ball rolling or the most daunting so you can get that taken care of earlier, a to do list will make all the difference. Plus, there's nothing better than crossing things off a list and knowing you did your duty. High five!
Pictured below: my tips in action :)
Remember in my last post when I said it was lovely to watch a movie in bed without any intention of falling asleep? Well, I did just that this week. Twice.
On Friday night Chris took me to a local Japanese restaurant to celebrate his busiest work season being over and me putting another magazine to print. Chris works in sports so a lot of his weekends are spent at a hockey rink; it was nice to get dressed up (I work from home... that's not a regular occurrence) and go on a real "date." After dinner we watched a movie that had been on my radar for a few months: The F Word (apparently its alternate title is What If). It's an adorable little movie (set in Toronto - how fun is that?) about love and friendship and asks the age old question can men and women be just friends? Harry Potter is in it and I thought he did a nice job being the charming "guy" friend. Probably more than anything else I enjoyed watching a quirky film about people my age set in a city I know well. If these attributes apply to you too, you might want to check it out.
The second movie I watched rather indulgently in bed was Begin Again. I LOVED this movie. It stars Mark Ruffalo (who I adore) and Keira Knightley and is about a music producer getting his groove back while recording an album all over New York with a darling of a songwriter. Adam Levine plays Knightley's rockstar ex-boyfriend and while I know some people are incredibly annoyed by Levine, his handsomeness resembles my loving boyfriend's so I have a soft spot for him :) The songs are cute and catchy and I immediately bought the soundtrack after the movie was over (and have been listening to it on repeat). At first I thought they did a poor job matching the singing voice to Knightley only to find out she is the one singing on the soundtrack and in the movie. Impressive! It's a feel good, want-to-sing-along type of movie that I highly recommend.
Any movie recommendations for me to check out?!
I've always been a homebody. I'm a nester; I like to be cozy.
This past week our home has been in upheaval. And to be honest, it's throwing me a bit off kilter. When I was a little girl I used to take ownership of tiny corners in our house. It would be my space that I could makeover however I saw fit (I'd set up TV trays with lamps and the odd little bookcase). When Chris would come visit me at grad school I would be fine with his suitcase and things everywhere for approximately one day before I needed to get everything sorted out and organized and somewhat back to normal.
So, while our floor is being replaced and the gyprock on our main wall is down in our living room, I'm having trouble feeling "at home." It got me thinking about the importance of our environment and surroundings. Even on Orange is the New Black, a Netflix show based on a book of the same title about a women's prison, the inmates make their bunks their home. On an airplane we all have those little necessities that make the journey more enjoyable - we make the airplane seat our temporary home. We all need a place away from the world that is ours. A place to disconnect and relax.
It's often said home is where your heart is or home isn't a place, it's a feeling. And while that may be true in the grand scheme of things, home is - of course - a physical space. And while my physical space is not how I want it (I can't even clean properly - and though I don't think there is anything wrong with the house I keep, the term "clean freak" isn't completely inappropriate), I will find comfort in the small pockets of home. I still have my bathtub. The bedroom is cozy and sometimes there's nothing better than watching movies in bed with no intention of going to sleep. It's time to embrace the unsettlement.
(And isn't that true of life, too?)
*Photo credit Finding Silver Pennies via Pinterest.
Hello! I'm Anna, a journalist with a whole lot of love in my heart and thoughts in my head.
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