the women who inspire me.

It’s International Women’s Day! So it was only fitting that I write about some of the women in my life who inspire me every day.

My Momma

The woman who made sacrifice after sacrifice for me, I’m sorry I didn’t always see it this way. I know I was bitter at times about the life we lived (or where we lived it), but looking back now I wouldn’t change a thing. You gave up every comfort you knew to provide me with every comfort I could know and to raise me in a safe environment. I know this wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I will be thankful every day for the rest of my life for the choices you made for us. You’ve been my best friend since day one, and that won’t change.

My mom has always loved without bounds and shown me what it means to care for your loved ones, sometimes to a fault as we both have a difficult time putting ourselves first, but I’m okay with that. I would rather pour my love into helping someone else anyways.

Danielle M.

I haven’t known Danielle long, but I’ve gone on and on about her to a lot of people in my life. She is such a strong independent woman, a doting mother and a loving wife. I am continuously baffled by the way she carries herself as an individual all while balancing motherhood and marriage with such grace. Never in my life have I met another woman who could play these three roles so flawlessly all at once.

I knew her for a few months before meeting her 2 year old son, and her husband and in those months I got to know her. She’s a crafter and a creator. She is open with her past and has such a strong grasp on her dreams, her goals and her passions. After getting to know her (adorable) little family, and seeing her with her son and her husband, I saw her in another light. She still holds strong to herself, meticulously balances being a goofy mom, and one hell of a wife. She cooks some kickass dishes, is an amazing hostess and still has time to play hockey with her family all while working an exhausting and demanding full-time job.

I strive to be has strong and balanced as she is as I move forward with my life. I can’t even seem to do it without a child.

Trista H.

Trista has been like my second mom for just over 10 years now. She was my best friend’s mom when I was 12, so obviously I saw her all the time. As we grew up, my friend and I grew apart but Trista remained a constant in my life and she has been such an inspiration to me. To this day whenever I go home, she is one of the people I must see. I have always known that can I go to Trista with anything I would go to my mom for, which means so much to me.

Trista has two kids of her own, and still opened her heart and her home to me and has always made me feel at home with her.

Trista also went back to school when her kids and I were in our early teens and changed her entire life and started a new career in her 30s. When I feel lost or stuck in my career, I always find myself thinking about Trista and reminding myself that I don’t have to know yet.

I’m inspired my so many women every day, but these were the ones I decided to write about today. So thank you to all women in my life for helping shape me and raise me into the woman I am today.

 

remembering (it’s okay) to take your time.

Being unemployed is stressful, changing careers is stressful, saying no is stressful. I lost my “dream job” a little under a month ago, and decided to take this opportunity to say goodbye to my legal career.

I interviewed at a handful of places, and two law firms just in case. I felt so optimistic about many of the jobs I had interviewed for, but the rejections just kept trickling in. I began to panic about not finding work, and not not being able to break out of my career path.

Yesterday I got an offer. Another legal assistant position, and I felt so much pressure to take it because I didn’t have another offer on the table. I felt the exact same way about this position as I did when I accepted my “dream job”. I spent all afternoon conferring with my loved ones trying to find a reason to take it, trying to convince myself it was the right move until I found myself in tears on the couch crying to Sebastian about how I knew this was not the right job for me. He made himself clear, “I will support you no matter what choice you make, but you know, and your heart knows what you need to do.”

So I decided to say no to potentially the only offer I had.

Today, I received another offer. Another law firm, but not for a legal assistant position, for a personal assistant position. I’m excited about his change, as small as it is. I’m excited about my new office, I’m excited about the culture, and I’m excited about the people.

This time, I will be starting my new job with optimism, hope and excitement. So I guess it’s not so small of a change after all.

being the skeleton in my closet.

I was always a good kid, I almost always listened to my mother and I always listened to my mother when it was about something important.

Except once.

It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and this is a cause close to my heart, as it should be to most people. The truth is, you probably know someone who is going through this, or has in the past. This is not just my story to tell, and my mom and I have both put our heart and soul (and tears) into this post.

“Please. Eat something.” – My mom, 2011

The time it mattered most, was the time I decided to disregard every piece of advice my mother gave me. I knew I was killing her with just as much force and speed as I was killing myself, but I just couldn’t stop.

I remember every vivid detail of the night my strong, unshakable, unswayable rock of a mother broke. All over an argument of a pickle, a piece of cauliflower, some baby carrots and a bowl of hummus. Where in exchange for under 50 calories, I could have spared her the heartbreak. Nothing ever broke my mom, you could drag her through the flames of hell and she would still put on the bravest face for me and say so reassuringly “I’m fine, sweetie.” But this night was different and thinking about it now, breaks my heart the same way hers broke that night. The way your heart breaks when someone you love with every ounce of your being is hurting, and you can’t help them.

Her and I spoke while this post was being written, and she had this to say about it, “Yes, this disease broke me, but it didn’t take you. And I believe that if you hadn’t known the limit of what my strength was, you might not have been as aware if where yours had to take over. It was terrifying.” This is important to note, as I can’t stress enough how much of a team effort my recovery was. I could not have done it without her, and she could not have saved me alone. I will forever be grateful for her support, and I will always apologetic for what I put her through.

I wish I could say that that night changed everything, and I woke up the next morning fully recovered – but that’s not the reality of it. It almost never is. This went on for years. I was in and out of treatment, recovering and relapsing at the same rate the moon wanes and waxes. Throughout it all, there was nothing anyone else could do. I did not need to be loved more then or as a child, and no one did anything wrong to lead me to this path. I just got sick. I was 17, about to move away from the only constant in my life, coping the best I could with every goodbye I could imagine. Goodbye to high school and that entire chapter of my life, to my hometown, to the boy who I thought I would love forever. Goodbye to my friends who had grown to be like family, and goodbye to my mom who I still hate not seeing every day. I had always believed I was good at coping, I could always put on a smile and bury my pain deep within my soul. Until the day this pain fully fermented into the most haunting monster that wasn’t going to stop until it had taken everything I had. The disease ravaged through every aspect of my life, burning through my successes and passions like a forest fire. Slowly, but quickly at the same time I sat alone crying watching myself destroy bits and pieces of who I was until I the point where I felt like a shell wandering aimlessly through this world trying to discover who I was again.

My story does have a happy ending, and I am one of the lucky ones. I got help and I survived and I am fully recovered. Without treatment, 1 in 5 sufferers will die from eating disorders and even with treatment, 3% will not survive. Eating disorders are the leading cause of death related to mental illness, and yet it goes unnoticed so many times.

If you are struggling, please remember you don’t have to be a certain weight to be sick. Just because people don’t seem to notice how much weight you lost, doesn’t mean you’re not sick enough. Recovery is not easy. I read somewhere recently that “Recovery is not a choice you make once, it’s a choice you make every day for the rest of your life.” which is so incredibly true, but trust me, it’s worth it. Reach out for help, because if anything happens to you, I promise – it will break someone’s heart.

 

I am the product of an interracial relationship.

I am the product of an interracial relationship. My father is an immigrant from Hong Kong and my mother is a Canadian born white woman. I have never seen thing anything abnormal. So, I am half Chinese, which means that almost every relationship I have been in has been interracial. Most of my friends are white, and dating Asians – OR they are Asian and dating white people – this is my norm. I know very few couples who are not interracial.

Now, I also watch the Bachelor on Monday nights – It’s my guilty pleasure. I am also an avid listener of the Rose Buddies podcast. So, as we’re all aware by now, Rachel is going to be the next Bachelorette, and for those who don’t follow this trash television, Rachel is African-American (which is far more monumental than it should be). And last week was hometowns, which means our super white Bachelor, Nick goes to Rachel’s home town and meets her family and sees her hometown (obviously). Throughout this entire story line all anyone can seem to talk about is the fact that they are an interracial relationship. This drives me crazy, and I turned to my partner and asked him “Do you think this is how they are going to handle her entire season?” “I sure hope not.” he responded.

Which brings me to the next day where I’m listening to my favourite podcast and the hosts are talking about how well the subject of interracial relationships was handled. So I suppose this means that I’m missing something. They seemed thankful that it was not an issue of “colour blindness” and not acknowledging the fact that she is black. I feel like this is wrong. Human is human, amen is amen and love is love.

This is not an issue for me or for anyone I know, which could be attributed to the facts that a) I live in Canada or b) I live in Vancouver, Canada. (Disclaimer: I’m not ignorant to what has been happening south the 49th parallel, so I understand that things are different in places like Texas.)

In my mind, I don’t see why the question “have you ever dated a black woman before?” was such a major topic of conversation. Why would that matter, it’s not like she is a completely different species – she’s an American woman. I would imagine dating her would be exactly the same no matter what colour her skin is.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this non-issue. Leave me a comment below!

erasing memories.

I was reading today about a study done by the University of Toronto regarding erasing memories from your mind. From what I understand, they have successfully targeted the area of your brain that holds bad memories and can now delete such memories in mice while still leaving other memories completely intact. Obviously this is still in the early stages, and is not an available option right now – but it got me thinking.

We all have bad memories, a lot of which we can learn from, and grow because of. Some bad memories, though, can hold us back and prevent us from doing or pursuing certain things. If given the option to erase our recollection to relive these experiences and feel these emotions, would I do it?

Now, I’ve been open in the past about my battle with mental illness, and I feel safe in doing so – as it is my story to tell. I have been diagnosed with PTSD in the past as well as other disorders stemming from previous trauma. So naturally, when I first read about this study I was excited. I could potentially in my future completely forget about the terrible things I experienced and no longer suffer the emotions attached to them? What a great deal.

Then I thought a little bit more about it – I have never and I never will think of myself as a victim. I’m a survivor, and from surviving my past I have become a fighter. I fight for what I believe in, I fight for what I want, and I fight for those who I love. If I consciously believed that nothing had ever happened to me, would I still be a survivor? Would I still be a fighter? Would I still be me?

My past does not define me, but it did shape me – and I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished. So if you told me today that I could erase the memories of every terrible thing I experienced? Personally, I’d pass – and I feel like I’d be better for it.

the (terrifying) freedom to do what makes you happy.

I feel like for the first time in my life I am free to make a decision for myself to do what makes me happy.

This however, is completely false, as I have always had this freedom – I just chose not to believe it. I have never been in a position where I had to do something I didn’t want to do for a living, but I have always felt like I had to. In order to please those around me, make my family proud, and feel successful, I have always decided to believe that I had to work jobs that didn’t bring me joy.

This was never true though, and deep down I’ve known that – but the truth is, it was easier to believe that I couldn’t do what I wanted than to try to figure out what I really wanted.

Right now – in this moment – I have been reassured by absolutely everyone who’s support I’ve wanted, that I can do whatever it is that makes me happy. Which seems great, but the problem is: I don’t know what that is.

I finally feel like I have the support to reach for any dream I can fathom, I have the strength to achieve any goal I can imagine, I have the resources to take my time getting there – but I don’t know which dream to dream, which goal to set, or where to go.

What I think I need to remember right now, is that not everything requires immediate action – which is a philosophy completely against my standard beliefs and way of living. I am type A, the kind of girl who works hard all. the. time. to get what I want, to get where I’m going, and it’s gotten me far – far enough, I’d say, where I deserve to take a moment to just.. do nothing. I have faith that I will find my calling, but maybe I just can’t force this like I can with other aspects of my life. Maybe this time, constant hard work and constant action is not going to get me where I need to be. Maybe just this once I should allow the universe to guide me.

a sigh of relief.

Today I lost my “dream job” and I couldn’t be happier.

For two years I had a 5 year plan, to land a job at my dream law firm. From what I believed, it was the perfect job. When I got offered the job after only 2 years of working towards it, I immediately got hit by a wall of self doubt. It wasn’t until I had the position that I realized it wasn’t what I wanted at all. Knowing this, I also knew I’d be doing myself a huge disservice by turning it down after all the work and dreaming I put into getting here. I figured I could convince myself that it was all as perfect as I ever wanted it to be.

I was wrong. My heart knew before even walking through the doors on my first day that it was not even close to what I wanted. Regardless to my heart and by gut screaming “No, don’t do this.” I stuck with it.

Today, as I was laying on the couch, sick as a dog, looking at job listings that were so far from what I was currently doing, I got the call. My dream job was done with me.

In the past, when jobs haven’t worked out I’ve felt awful, self hatred, self doubt, anxiety, panic, you name it. While today, I of course feel anxiety and panic (because being unemployed is terrifying), I mainly felt relief.

This was exactly what I’ve known I’ve needed to get out of the toxic industry I work for and the real push for me to actively start working towards what I want. I have no idea what it is, but now I have no choice but to try to figure it out.

And to keep with the theme, three years in Vancouver, still falling frantically trying to navigate the concrete maze I live in. I’ll probably never land, but today, I feel more free than I have in three years.

Gluten Free Skin Care (Updated May 2017)

Essentially, the blog I wish I could have found a year ago.

About a year ago, I wrote this post, and I also wrote this one. I want to create a little go to so girls like me don’t feel like “that girl”. (TL;DR: I’m a celiac and I get rashes on my skin from gluten. Yes, it’s gross)

So over the past year I’ve been experimenting with gluten free products on my skin, and I’ve compiled a regime that doesn’t make my skin worse, some things actually make it better – so other girls or guys, like me, don’t have to waste money and time and “self confidence” like I did. Again, the blog I wish I found a year ago.

So, if you’re not a gluten free make-up/skin care freak, feel free to leave now.

*DISCLAIMER* This is what works on MY skin, it may not work for everyone, but it’s a starting point.
*DISCLAIMER 2* These aren’t cheap products, cheap = gluten in my experience, sorry.

Here we go!

Best GF Foundations: For a matte/full coverage, I recommend tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation. For a dewy/lighter coverage (my summer love), NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation.

Update July 2016: Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer THIS STUFF IS AMAZING. The perfect middle ground to the two above. Full coverage, natural finish, not heavy at all!

Best GF Face Moisturizer:  Hands down – Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Facial Cream (I only know of London Drugs, so if you’re outside of Canada – I’m so sorry!). Not only does this feel awesome, and not have any gluten, it’s got vitamin C so it helps clear up scarring from all the lotions that have wronged us in the past (and the late night chocolate binges)

Update July 2016: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream – I use this one at night, and still swear by the Andalou in the morning as it’s lighter to wear under make-up. The First Aid Beauty one is much heavier, but it works wonders!

Best Make-up Removal: For waterproof mascara and liquid eyeliners: Bioderma (Again, not sure where it’s available outside of Canada). No debate there. Even if you have a healthy relationship with gluten, this stuff is everything. If you don’t use waterproof make-up, or you don’t mind a little extra work, coconut oil is life.

Best Skin Care Line: Just kind of a sidenote/umbrella statement, Andalou Naturals does a KILLER GF skin care line. I personally love their brightening collection. They can be found at Whole Foods.

Best Cleanser: COCONUT OIL. Thats all. Coconut Oil, hot water, and repeat.

Best Mask (May 2017): Vichy Pore Purifying Clay Mask, I use this twice a week now, and my skin has never been happier, and it’s doing some serious ground work on making me feel better about the scars that gluten left behind.

Best Lip Balm: I’ve only been loving EOS (I’m not going to link it, you can get it anywhere). I know a lot of people have been getting rashes from it, but I’ve been using if for over a year without any issues – and I have issues with EVERYTHING.

Best Make-Up Line (July 2016): OKAY GUYS. I recently learned that Cover FX is COMPLETELY GLUTEN FREE. I’m currently using a sample of their Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment and it’s great. BUT. I’ve absolutely fallen in love with their Matte Bronzer in Suntan. It’s perfect. Just trust me.

I also try to keep up to date with Gluten Free Makeup Gal‘s website, but find she posts a lot of more obscure brands, and I’m tired of always having to search for obscure gluten free brands in health food stores (except for Andalou).

Anything I didn’t mention, I haven’t found the perfect ones yet, and I’m still playing around. If you guys have any recommendations, or have any questions, feel free to leave a comment! I’ll update this again once I find more holy grail GF products.

Update May 2017: I have yet to find anything else I love as much as these products (save for the Vichy mask, over two years later and these are all still my go to products!

Note: This post is not sponsored or affiliated with anything mentioned above. None of these links are affiliate links and I purchased everything myself.

things i accomplished in one month of unemployment

  1. I tried new things
    Stand up paddle boarding, numerous street festivals, cooked new things, met new people, put my trust in people
  2. I climbed a mountain (literally.)
  3. I did a headstand
  4. I completed two pieces of art, and showed them to people
  5. I beat my high score on Minesweeper
    I’m better than 80% of all people now
  6. I learned I can budget better than I have been
  7. I learned who’s really there for me
    Thanks for coming to see me, for cooking me dinner, for sending me flowers, for checking in on me, and for always answering my calls. And for not making me feel worse than I already did.
  8. I challenged myself to learn all about corporate law
    And I did alright
  9. I cried, and allowed myself to
    I’m not weak, I am human.
  10. I regained confidence in myself
    I am confident in my direction, in who I am. I weigh the most that I have since I graduated high school four years ago, 20 lbs more than my lowest weight, and still be comfortable in my body.

 And lastly, I did not once sell myself short, even when others did.

It’s been a life-changing month that I don’t plan on repeating, but I can see the blessings sprinkled throughout it.

05.05.2015

Dissociation.

I tend to forget to live in the moment. I’m in the time of my life I’ve always looked forward to, but I walk through it without ever taking a minute to appreciate the beauty surrounding me.

I feel like I’m walking through a dark, unlit hallway. The only light comes off the infinitely long screens along the walls, playing all the moments in my life. On my right hand side, the screen is playing all the happy, euphoric events in my life. Laughter, love, friendship, joy. On my left hand side, the screen plays all the dark memories and moments in my life. Pain, sorrow, heartbreak, fear, loss.

In front of my is nothing but black, I see no light at the end of the tunnel as I know it is too far away. The tunnel seems to go on forever.

I keep on walking through, refusing to look at the screens surrounding me, as the dark side is too dark. When I look at the bright side, I know the dark side is right behind me, so I choose not to look at all. I just keep walking to my next destination.

5 years ago, I was walking to where I am now. Now I am walking to where I will be in another 5 years. At no point have I stopped, looked around and accepted that I am at a destination. One day I will look back at this hallway I wish I looked at the walls along the way.

But I’ve just walked through. Dissociated.