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. 

I am not “that girl”

I’m not a health nut. I really couldn’t care less about what nutrients my body gets. But as I sit at my desk eating my gluten free, flax, date, banana loaf I see why I could look like that girl.

I eat a salad for lunch. Every. Day. I order my nicoise salad without the pasta, and double check there’s no gluten in my salad dressing. I sip my coffee black, because my body can’t tolerate soy or dairy. I read the labels on everything. I don’t do this because I care, I do this because I have to.

I will light up a cigarette as soon as I leave my favourite “health food” establishment. I do not do yoga, pilates or yogalates. I don’t exercise at all, and I sure as hell don’t drink enough water in a day.

My servers will always roll their eyes when I request the gluten free menu, and then reiterate that I am, indeed, ordering that gluten free. Let my clarify, I don’t really want to see the gluten free menu, but I’m hungry so I need to see the gluten free menu.

I buy my skin care products exclusively from Whole Foods, and I will ask a lot of questions to make sure they are, in fact, gluten free. I don’t use drug store foundation, because I can’t. Don’t label me as pretentious, because I am not. I don’t have an option.

This all being said, I am thankful for the pretentious gluten free people. They’ve made this all very trendy, which makes my life easier. My options are endless. I have at least 10 places near my work that will cater to my “diet”, and close to the same amount near my house. Things that should be completely off limits, I can still find in GF alternatives. Grilled cheese sandwiches, donairs, sweet treats, you name it.

So please, don’t roll your eyes at me. My allergies are just as real as the kid who made it against to rules to have peanut butter sandwiches in kindergarten.

04.25.2015

Taking care of yourself is the hardest, yet most important thing to do. I remind myself daily how important it is to love myself, and it never gets easier.

I am strong. I am a rock. I do, by all definitions, rock.

Yet, I am fluid, I am like the ocean, and I crave change with every sunset.

I’ve done everything right. I’ve moved out, I’ve got a good job, I’ve moved out alone. I’ve checked off the checklist I’ve lived my life by up until this point. There’s nothing I can look back on and regret, or wish I had done differently. I have everything I want and everything I need. I am grateful, and I am proud, and I should have no complaints.

That being said, I can look out my window at night, and see the most perfect juxtaposed view, blending the city skyline with the ocean, the mountains and the trees, and still feel like something’s missing. I feel trapped. But I have no reason to feel so. I can leave whenever I want. I have no commitments, I am unwed, no children, no lease, I can go where ever and be who ever I want.

11165874_10152810008907155_1572832594_n

I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be, anyone else I’d rather be or anything else I’d rather be doing. But I’m not convinced this is where I want to be, who I want to be or what I want to be doing.

I guess that all comes with being 21.

03.11.2015

Today is one of the worst days weather wise that we’ve had here in about a month. It’s grey, it’s rainy and it’s dark.

image

That being said. It’s beauty still managed to take my breath away.

I need to remember moments like this in my life, and not allow myself to become consumed by the darkness. Intertwined in my monsters, and my ghosts, there is beauty and peace. Without my demons, I would not be who I am or where I am, and I can’t honestly say that it would be worth it.

I walked home through the rain, and the grey for 35 minutes. It would have been 30 if I didn’t stop at the beach and take a moment to fully absorb the way life had presented this view to me, as a little reminder that even in darkness, there is light.

I then came home, to my beautiful apartment and safe haven, to light a candle and once again, remember how beautiful my life is.

image

02.05.2015

It’s my Van-niversary. Today marks exactly one year since I left my life as I knew it, forgot which way was up and began free-falling.

The past year had huge ups and huge downs. Downs included leaving a lot of people I care about, my father getting sick (He’s better now) and losing my grandfather. As well as more personal things. It’s been one of the hardest years of my life, to be completely honest. I’ve been lonely, I’ve been down, I’ve been angry, I’ve been downright miserable.

That being said, I’ve also been elated, impressed, inspired and experienced absolute bliss and euphoria.

It’s also been one of the greatest years of my life. I’ve had a chance to step back, and think about what makes me happy, and what I want. I’ve began to build a career for myself, and found myself loving what I do. I’ve strengthened relationships with family members and couldn’t be more thankful for being able to be here with them over the past 365 days. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I can honestly say I’m so proud of who I am, where I’ve been and who I can become.

Things are not nearly finished changing though, I’m not nearly finished growing yet. In less than a month I’m getting my own apartment and living completely alone for the first time. I’ve both terrified and excited, which seems to be a very common mixture of emotions for me. But, I’ve found that combination to always lead to good things, whether I see that right away or not.

Over the past year everything’s been turned around, upside down and inside out. I’ve crashed into all sorts of things in the descent, and believed I had landed time and time again. I still haven’t, and I don’t plan on it anytime soon. I’m almost definitely not going to land on my feet, but I’ll have had one hell of a fall.

Here’s to 365 days. Here’s to Vancouver. Here’s to me. Here’s to another 365 days of greatness, growth, change and falling.

01.24.2015

A month ago I found out I have Celiac Disease.

A little over month ago I woke up with acne, which continued to get worse and worse. I panicked, I didn’t know what to do. I’m a grown up, and even as a teenager, I never had acne like this. Like any 21 year old would, I went to the drug store, expressed my emergency to the lady at the cosmetics desk (Who obviously has her personal sales tracked) and let her sell me $150.00 worth of junk with the promise that it would make everything better. After about 3 days of using all these products, including some “fancy purified water” that cost me $35.00 on it’s own it occurred to me that this was not acne, this was a rash of sorts.

I googled my face rash incessantly. I learned I probably had skin cancer, TB, Flesh Eating Disease, you name it. So I went to the doctor, because obviously I was dying. After blood tests, and a skin biopsy we learned that I, in fact, did not have any of those. The rash was Dermatitis Herpetiformis (or something like that). A symptom of Celiac Disease.

So it seemed simple, stop eating gluten, face rash goes away. Nope. Not that simple. Turns out, gluten really is in everything. I not only had to change my diet, I had to change my entire routine. There’s gluten in lotion, make up, facial cleansers, soap… You name it, it’s probably bad for me.

Over the past month, I’ve stopped eating glutlen, which means I’ve stopped going out for dinner for the most part. (I’m tonnes of fun to go out with for dinner anyways, Celiac Vegetarians = Optimal date) and I’ve changed my rituals for taking care of myself. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on high end skin care products, I’ve gone back to basics. Gluten free oatmeal soap bar, coconut oil and natural, handmade face lotion. My skin looks almost as good as it used to before it turned on me.

This is going to be an ongoing journey, and it’s not going to be easy. But I’m more energized than I’ve been in years, my body feels better, my mood in better and I can focus on things easier. Maybe I’ve been having symptoms for years, but all it really took was a disgusting rash on my face to make me realize something was wrong.

This is just my experience, I’m sure everyone has a different story, and I’d be happy to hear what it was like for other people.