Dear Diary

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When we think of technology visions of a futuristic world with little human interaction often comes to mind. Black Mirror haunts us with the idea of duplicate consciences and deranged murderous robot dogs (at least that’s what haunts me these days) and “switching off” is hailed as the best way to reclaim sanity.

But if I sit back and map out all of the human connection that technology has created in my life, and continues to create, it paints a very different picture from the lonely dystopian future in my mind. As someone who spends a ton of time with technology for their job, including but not limited to computers, phones, cameras and my Google Home (aka. my best friend), I interact with “robots” almost constantly, but when I take stock they’ve only made my human reach bigger than ever expected.

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Growing up I was never the kind of person to have a lot of friends. I was (*am) a bit of a weirdo and though I was generally liked I didn’t really fit in anywhere. Even in university I didn’t really make any solid, lasting friends, and with my family across the country I started to accept I was destined to be a bit of a loner.

And then I started taking photos of my strange little world and posting them on Instagram.

Flash forward 5 years later and my life is more full than I ever could’ve imagined. I don’t want to brag but I have SO many AMAZING friends, and almost all of them were brought into my life through technology, whether I was on location shooting at a jam shop and befriended the owners, like Kitten and the Bear, or noticed someone posting at all the same places as me until I commented we should just be friends and go places together, like Paige from Studio Bicyclette. No one ever really “got” me before I picked up a camera (and a laptop… and a phone) and started sharing how I see the world – these robot items not only bridged the gap between me and thousands of other humans, but kicked off the strongest friendships I’ve ever had.

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Now that I have such a fantastic (and big!) group of people I care about in my life, the biggest challenge is staying connected with those both near and far. I finally found a BIG apartment so I can start entertaining! And have dinner parties! And maybe even get a TV for the first time ever! So on top of my digital connections, I’ve got a whole list of tech on my mind to help me entertain the ones I love. Here’s my Best Buy Canada wish list so far!

Samsung Frame TV for movie nights

One-touch kettle and tea maker!

Google home and Mini for music and party tricks.

A Dyson robot vaccuum to help clean up after everyone goes home!

What did I miss?

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Dear Diary

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So I know the new year is technically just another day, and I also know that day is now long past, but as much as I have a good head on my shoulders (most of the time) I can’t help but get into the whole “new year, new me” routine.

Everyone (and I really mean everyone) can always be a bit better, whether it’s financially, health-related, environmental or interpersonal. There’s always room for improvement, and though you can change your life any day of the week, sometimes it takes a made up shift to get your ass in gear. Personally I really love my bad habits, I take ownership of them like they’re a special part of me, and this year I collected bad habits like Pokemon cards (or whatever is relevant these days). Every day I woke up knowing there was an endless list of things I wanted to shift, change and improve, yet every night I went to bed disappointed in myself and the pile of bad decisions weighing on my shoulders.

I started my goals for this new year with a simple list of what I want more and less of in my life, than built out my goals from there. In the end, it turned out something like this:

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MORE >>

Movement
Vegetables
Live music
Time with friends
Sweating
Outdoors
Adventure
Cooking
Dancing
Energy

LESS <<

Thinking about boys
Drinking
Shopping
Animal Products
Sleeping
Parties and Events
Small Talk
Smoking
Complaining
Toxic humans

Action Plan //

None of these less and more ideas make much sense without actions behind them, so after I had established the things that build me up and break me down, I started working out how to implement the changes I wanted (correction: needed) to see. If I was to sum up my 2017, I’d have to call it “The Year of Least Caring” because I really lost sight of so many of the values that make me, well, me. Here’s how I got started spinning a better story for myself:

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Start Fresh //

I really treated my body like a garbage dump last year, worse than I ever have before (even in University when I lived on Pop Tarts, Pizza Pops and Ben & Jerry’s!) I smoked more than I care to admit, even early in the morning (EW) and got into a pattern of having at LEAST two drinks a day. I felt puffy and slow and don’t even get me started on the mood swings. When I decided to start 2018 off on a better foot I knew I needed to do a real Spring Cleaning for my body.

In an effort to reset my body, I signed up for a juice cleanse with Daily Press Juicery a couple weeks after quitting smoking cold turkey on Christmas Eve. I know what you’re thinking – “Didn’t she try this last year?” Yes, I did, but sometimes quitting smoking takes a long time with a lot of tries, and this year I really fully feel like it will stick. It’s been over a month!

I really loved doing the cleanse, though I did continue to eat a small amount of healthy, warm food throughout to sustain my body for the winter. I especially love the lemony activated charcoal juice, and the night time nut mylk!

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I’ve also been upping my antioxidants by drinking Matcha, the purest way to get all the health benefits of green tea! This stuff is supercharged with health benefits and doesn’t come with the same crash coffee does when you wake up with it. I can’t get enough of Matcha Ninja – it’s super easy to use and really high quality (you can tell by how green it is!) and the gorgeous Matcha Book I seem to see EVERYWHERE is filled with amazing new ways to use it in recipes too! Hello vegan matcha and cashew soup!

Cleansing doesn’t end on the inside – I’ve also been refreshing my space with new essential oil blends in my diffuser each day. Oui Fresh has the prettiest line on the market, and I’ve been loving their “Bergamot Mint” and “Rose Geranium” for cold winter mornings.

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Food for Thought //

When I say I treated my body like a garbage dump, I in part really mean I was putting constant garbage into my body. Think Uber Eats takeout almost every night, basically delivered to my bedside in between naps – yeah, not a cute look. I am a super extreme person by nature, so when I stop caring in one capacity it tends to spread like a rot into every piece of my life. Food was a huge part of what my 2017 so difficult, which is crazy considering I LOVE cooking, grocery shopping, and even doing dishes!

In taking back control of my fridge, I set a few really straightforward goals. I was super inspired by A Beautiful Mess’ Weekday/Weekend Challenge, a somewhat more “digestible” take on the Whole 30. Basically you skip sugar and refined sweeteners, refined white flour and rice, alcohol and dairy, plus you’re encouraged to eat a variety of different foods. It’s a really easy way to push yourself to get creative in the kitchen, and to be healthier in a sustainable pattern. Side note – their Oui Fresh meal planning notepads make getting organized simple and CUTE.

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Speaking of getting creative, I also want to cook through a number of cookbooks this year, with the added challenge of making recipes vegetarian that aren’t written that way. I’m starting out with Cherry Bombe’s Pink Spaghetti and Beet Ricotta Dumplings!

Last but not least, I’ve been seriously upping my vitamin intake. My friend Dana gave me some of her Ritual Vitamins while I was visiting in LA and I’m totally hooked! They’re vegetarian, made for women specifically, and taste minty when you swallow them. I also introduced Ouai Thinning Hair Supplements to offset some of my bleaching damage, and adding Moon Juice’s Pearl Powder to my smoothies for skin clarity.

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Heart Over Head //

I spent far too much time last year out, making empty connections and running from event to event every single night. Constantly sleep-deprived, my soul was drained from all the small talk and my body was tired of processing too much champagne. This year I’m making sure I cherish my time, investing in people, places and things that make me happy, like the dog park and my weekly Soul Cycle classes. I’ve also been reading “Light is the New Black” and it’s been super helpful when it comes to figuring out what really fills you up, and what brings you down. I highly recommend getting a copy and marking it up with notes like I have!

Back to Basics //

I’ve tried using natural products off and on over the years but I always end up giving up because it’s too hard to find products that actually work. This year I decided to try one last time and I was super pleasantly surprised by both my toothpaste and deodorant discoveries. Davids toothpaste is natural, vegan, made in the USA and comes with a handy metal took that helps squeeze every last drop out of the tube (SO GOOD!) I really love the subtle minty flavour and my teeth are looking just as white – in fact last time I went to the dentist I had not a single cavity!

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Deodorant was a bit more daunting – we’ve all struggled with the bad smell moments associated with making the switch. This time around I tried the Kaia Naturals Takesumi Detox Charcoal Detox Deodorant, which promises you’ll be BO-free by 30 days after your body detoxes from chemical deodorant. They sent me a booster soap to try along with it, which accelerates the process, and honestly it it worked SO well, SO fast, I will never ever go back! You can read all about the five steps here, but for me I saw results immediately and haven’t had a smell problem even after the most intense workouts.

I started working on this action plan a few days before Christmas Eve, so I’ve been at it almost a month. I don’t want to sound like a phoney, but I actually feel better than I’ve felt in YEARS and for the first time, all that happiness is accredited to me, on my own – there’s no prince in sight, but I’m no longer a damsel in distress anyway. Let 2018 be known as the year I stop waiting for someone to save me and just save myself!

What are you doing to get your New year in gear?  Share with me in the comments below!

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Dear Diary

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Hello everyone, and happy 2018! I know it’s been a minute – I’ve been playing some serious catch up since arriving back in Toronto last week, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing before I take off to Mexico on Monday (I know, I know, poor me).

I’ve got a big New Year post coming Monday about all of the things I’m doing to make 2018 my best year yet, but in the meantime I wanted to start the year on a really CUTE foot (erm, paw?) That’s right, the new year is going to the dogs!

For those of you who somehow aren’t familiar with the best part of my life, meet my girl gang Honey and Pumpkin! Honey is an older girl with the best sleepy personality ever (you can follow her here) and Pumpkin is her crazy snuggly younger “sister”. Both were rescues from different organizations (I’ll list some of my suggested local rescues below!) and I am so darn lucky to have them!

RAOP Approved Rescues (Be sure to ask about fostering too!)
A Dog’s Dream (Honey’s rescuer!)
Moosonee Puppy Rescue (Pumpkin’s Rescuer!)
Save Our Scruff

Over the years our fur family has become close with the amazing team at local brand HOUND. This Toronto-based company makes the PRETTIEST dog accessories ever, and they’ve been outfitting Honey and Pumpkin since the very beginning. We did a little shoot the three of us back in August 2016, so when the HOUND team invited us to their new studio where they do private pup fittings by appointment only, we couldn’t resist!

All of the HOUND accessories are handmade here in Toronto, and it was such a special experience to meet the folks behind this incredible dog brand and watch them work! Honey upgraded her look #fromheadtohound with a new gold leash and collar, plus the PRETTIEST rose quartz charm! Pumpkin’s set is still in production, but “she” preferred crisp white with a marble charm and we can’t wait to see how her look turns out when it’s all finished!

From rags to riches, these two rescue gals couldn’t be more spoiled, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Special thanks to HOUND for outfitting the pups for 2018!

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Dear DiaryDress Up

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I put writing this post off for as long as I possibly could, likely because on some subconscious level 2017 seemed too difficult to sum up… but as I sit poolside in Palm Springs with a group of amazing, strong women, sipping lemonade made with lemons I *just* picked from the tree, I find myself flooded with the need to put it all down.

Better late than never right?

Though it had small, short-lived pockets of truly amazing, the past year overall certainly wasn’t my best. 365 days is a lot to sum up in a blog post, especially with most humans’ attention span being so short when it comes to digesting online content, but having been a writer my whole life, putting everything out there on “paper” feels like the best bookend to start a new chapter with newfound clarity. Last year I pushed myself to share the intimate details of an abusive relationship I was in, and it was amazing to see the support and connection it created – hopefully we can go into 2018 feeling just as connected!

So what made my 2017? I always read these wretchedly vague posts from bloggers this time of year that promise to be personal but shed little light on actual details. So I say bring on the TMI!

My 2017 was:

Over 3 months spent exploring California
6+ attempts to quit smoking (I think I’ve finally done it though!)
3 trips to New York
2 adventures in places I’ve never been before (NOLA + Havana)
Tried casual sex twice (spoiler alert: I AM TERRIBLE AT IT)
1 weekend spent in a tiny home on a vinyard
2 mended friendships
6 times deleting all of my online dating profiles (and just as many re-building them)
1 book pitch to a publisher
11 hair colour changes
1 new nephew (honorary nephew, but still!)
All the career success
5 heartbreaks.

But what about my #2017bestnine? I didn’t post it this year because honestly, it wasn’t correct! My biggest post of the year by a landslide was actually about my most recent breakup (for those of you who operate more visually, there was a rainbow and legs dressed up for a wedding involved). Though I still absolutely stand behind everything I said in that post about my frustration with men, dating, and lack of commitment, I realized that using one boy as the visual for that sentiment simply wasn’t fair – that relationship was wonderful up until the end, maybe one of my best ever, and though that boyfriend was the catalyst for the post, he certainly didn’t define the problem. I want to continue voicing my concerns about modern dating and trying to build a family on your own, but perhaps with a less “attack” direction on just one person (is this how Carrie Bradshaw felt sharing her dating stories?) In case you were wondering where that one went, now you know.

Keep reading if you want more

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If I’ve learned any one lesson this year, it’s that women can do whatever the hell they want. We are challenging society like never before, demanding that what we’ve come to accept as normal (aka #metoo) be acknowledged as what it really is: a total nightmare. With the momentum we’ve found coming together in 2017, I can’t wait to see what change is around the corner in 2018. No rain, no flowers, right?

2017 had a LOT of rain for me, so I’m making 2018 all about the bright, beautiful flowers. Personally I find the more I make my goals happen professionally, the more my personal goals seem to flee in the opposite direction (why is it that balance is always so difficult for women?) This year, everything personal takes precedent – what feeds my soul? What do I love? It means less parties, less material, and much more truth. I did a little survey on my page and all of you seemed to want more personal/dating stuff, so that starts here – get ready to get REALLY personal with me this year, likely in a lot of ways you didn’t see coming. I am preparing to take control of my life on the personal front in a BIG, terrifying way (guesses welcome) and I can’t wait to share the challenges and triumphs with you guys – I promise it will be unlike ANYTHING I’ve ever done before, and I hope you guys will be on board with the ups and downs.

Someone recently said to me “2018 is going to be your best year yet, because life is what you make it”, so let’s live up to that prediction – let’s make 2018 our wildest, best, most love-filled year YET!

Happy NYE everyone. See you on the other side.

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Dear Diary

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Unlike the men’s category, I have so many beautiful, caring, wonderful women in my life, all around me at all times, and they deserve the world this Christmas. I adore shopping for my gal pals, always picking out items year-round and doing my best to save the surprise for December 25th. Of all the special things about the holidays, celebrating the strong community of women who support me on the daily is my favourite part.

That said, those who know me know I’m one of those people who’s nearly impossible to shop for. I’m in an anti-stuff state of mind and I already have anything and everything I could ever wish for, BUT there are a few choice items for “the girl who has everything” that anyone would love to receive, even me.

Let me know your favourite gifts to give this year in the comments below if I’ve missed anything!

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AmazonGGWomens numbers

1. Charlotte Tilbury Blush / 2. Charlotte Tilbury The Feline Flick Eyeliner / 3. Cardea Auset Sea Bath Soak / 4. Wanderlust + Co Constellation Necklace / 5. Cardea Auset Rosa Facial Mist / 6. Little Black Book, A Toolkit for Working Women – Otegha Uwagba / 7. Gaston Luga Backpack / 8. OLAPLEX Hair Perfector / 9. Boosh lipsticks / 10. Overose Iridescent Candle / 11. Bluboho Revival Ring / 12. Sonix Sunglasses / 13. ORIBE Hair Care / 14. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre Luxe Colour-Lasting Lip Gloss Lacquer / 15. Kate Spade Sawn Wallet / 16. Mai Lin Friendship Bracelets

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