Vacation Recap – Hartland Quay, Dartmoor, Ilfracombe and Lundy

We’re back from England! We actually will have been for a few days by the time this post goes up, but it took me a while to get this all put together. I’ve decided to break the trip into three parts as we did so much I could never fit it all into one. It was an amazing trip, and it was so refreshing to go off the grid for a week and take a trip unlike any other trip I’ve ever been on.

We stayed in the English countryside in North Devon at a place called Lundy View. It was the most serene place I’ve ever been, without a tall building or any civilization as far as the eye could see. It was just vast landscapes and the ocean. At night we couldn’t hear or see anything – an incredible escape.

On our first day we ventured down to a village called Hartland for breakfast, and then went for a hike down at the quay. This was the most incredible coastline I’ve ever laid eyes on, and no photo could ever do it justice – but I tried my best. We were very fortunate to have absolutely stellar weather for the first half of our trip with temperatures above 30C! Luckily for us we were on the coast the whole time, so we had the sea breeze to break up the heat.

On the second day, we headed south to Dartmoor National Park for a walk. There were sheep, ponies and cows all over the park roaming free in the middle of the road. We went for a walk off the trails through the terrain to find this tor with a metal sword shape object stuck in it. (we couldn’t pull it out, so I guess we’re not the chosen ones)

On day three we headed to Ilfracombe to take a ferry off the coast to Lundy Island, Ilfracombe was such a cool town. All the boats in the harbour had double keels to accommodate the changes in the tide. I’ve never seen this before, but it was pretty brilliant.

The Ilfracombe Harbour also had this amazing sculpture by Damien Hirst. The subject, Verity, is a pregnant woman holding a sword in one hand and the scales of justice in the other. She’s also standing on a mound of old law books. Breathtaking really.

After we caught the ferry in Ilfracombe we headed towards Lundy Island for a hike, it was an amazing (hot) place with beautiful views and landscapes (and more sheep and more cows) As a westcoast girl, I’m always taken aback by seeing the vast ocean with nothing on the other side. When we look out on the horizon here, there’s always more islands off the coast, it was really amazing for me to see just an empty sea as far as the eye could see.

In my next two posts I’ll share about our days exploring Hartland, Exeter and London!

We’re leaving Vancouver!

I felt like now was a good time to sit down and talk to you about what’s going on. I know that lately I haven’t been keeping you up to date on the happenings of my life, and I know that’s the only reason some of you keep up to date on my blog.

Partially I haven’t been blogging about my life as much as I’m realizing that some things just aren’t that important anymore. My career is not a staple of my identity and at this point in my life, I don’t have to associate my happiness, direction and purpose with what I do during business hours. That being said, in the big picture, no major changes there.

I also haven’t been blogging as much about my life as we’ve had a lot in the works, I didn’t want to say anything until it was the right time.

Now that that’s out of the way, I do have very big news. Over three years ago I wrote this and it’s no secret that my life was never the same after that. Now, it’s time to close this chapter of my life as Sebastian and I pack up our belongings, get in the car, and move across the country, to Ottawa!

Seb got into an amazing Masters program, and now felt like the perfect time for both of us to make a big move and start fresh. We’re both so excited to embark on this next journey together, and I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather drive through the prairies with.

So here’s to continuing to fall, now in tandem, and finding our footing eventually.

denim dreams.

Can we all take a second to appreciate this denim jacket? Guys, I’m obsessed with it. It’s so comfortable and versatile, I’ve worn it almost every day since I got it, and I have no regrets about any outfit I pair with it. It’s perfectly over-sized without completely swallowing my petite frame. A true miracle jacket.

I love to rock it casually with some black skinny jeans, a t-shirt and ankle boots for a super cool and casual vibe. It also has massive pockets to make up for the lack of pocket room in women’s skinny jeans.

I’m also in love with the way it wears as a little more of a going out mood. Here I threw my jacket over a simple, thrifted LBD for an effortlessly cool look. (Please note, nothing about me is effortless, or cool – I just like to give off that vibe)

I promise guys, this jacket is the best piece that I have ever purchased from Forever 21 – it’s excellent quality and has a great weight to it – I will wear it until there are holes in it, and then even still (if distressed denim is still trendy).

Why I Blog

This is a question I ask myself regularly, and people also ask me. The answer always changes, for my long-time followers, you will know that this is my second serious blog, and my first blog was about my life abroad. I found myself lacking motivation once returning to Canada, as I didn’t feel like my life was as interesting any more. This was probably the the truth, and I took a couple years off posting before realizing that I don’t have to just write about what I do, I can also write about what I think, and how I feel.

I blog because I have a gut feeling that I’m supposed to. I blog because once in a while someone reaches out to me and tells me something I wrote deeply spoke to them. I blog because I know that I have something to say that someone needs to hear. I blog for people who are struggling, people who aren’t struggling and I blog for my younger self.

You’ll notice that my posts have been more fluffy lately, less heavy – this isn’t because I’m selling myself out, but because I’m trying to expand my reach. I will always post about the things that I feel need to be said, but not everything has to be heavy, dark and gloomy. Sometimes the things I just look good, and sometimes I just want to talk about something I love.

I know some of you are here for the emotional, personal posts, and I know some of you are absolutely not here for it. But I’m going to continue following my vision. I want to be able to point out the light at the end of the tunnel for everyone. I want to be able to share my past and share my growth and inspire people. I want people going through hard things to see where I came from and where I am now, and know that they can do it too. But I also want people to know which lotions don’t have gluten, and which hair products are good for perms.

So I guess in short, I blog because my intuition tells me someone wants to hear what I have to say.

sweater weather in back alleys.

These past few days in Vancouver have been so cold, what happened to summer? It’s mid-June and it feels like April! I’m so ready for the sun to come back permanently.

Seb and I leave today for England, fingers crossed for better weather there. I’ll write all about it once I’m back.

I worked with a photographer and old friend for this shoot, it was a pleasure to work with Dave again after all these years. I feel comfortable around him and we always have a lot to chat about and to catch up on.

I’m also so thankful that Dave prefers shooting me in all black. It’s not secret that I’m most comfortable wearing black from head to toe, so it makes wardrobe planning that much easier.

Unfortunately, the sweater and boots I’m wearing are discontinued now – as they should be since it’s June. Anyways, I have to go jump on a flight, have a great weekend!

How I Keep my Hair Healthy After my Perm.

I’m so excited to be working with REDAVID Hair for this post and featuring my favourite products out of the Orchid Oil line for Curly or Extremely Damaged Hair.

REDAVID is a company local to Vancouver, Canada and is owned by Leonardo Redavid. Leonardo started as a hair stylist, and has been working in the hair industry for over 30 years. He is very involved with his company and product and runs each new product through three years of vigorous testing before putting it on the market.

All of the products are Sulfate and Paraben free and claim to:

  • Control Frizz
  • Detangle
  • Add radiant shine
  • Make hair soft and manageable
  • Restore moisture to normal levels
  • Achieve faster blowouts
  • Make hair stronger

I’ve had a lot of chemical treatments done to my hair, so it needs all the TLC it can get. I’ll touch on how I feel about these claims at the end of the post (except the blowouts thing, because I’ve never had one.)

Note: This product was given to me, but all thoughts and opinions will be my own.

I have used some of this product line in the past, namely the Orchid Oil Treatment and the Orchid Oil Curl Defining Cream.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have to be very careful with products that touch my skin, due to gluten reacting poorly with my body. These products are great, they don’t cause me to react, they don’t cause my scalp to get flaky, and as a oily girl, the oil is light weight enough that it doesn’t make feel like a grease ball.

This is a newer product to me, that I have only tried out for the purpose of this review and let me tell you. I LOVE THIS. This is the Orchid Oil Dual Therapy, which is a two-part system. It includes REDAVID REPAIR and REDAVID SHINE. Redavid Repair is loaded with nutrient rich botanical ingredients to help restore moisture, whereas Redavid Shine seals in the hair structure to reduce frizz and fly-aways. I like to use it before bed and sleep with it in as a super nourishing hair mask. I also used this on my cousins hair after she got out of the shower, she has a sensitive scalp so we use a lot of products to make brushing less painful. Brushing her hair after the shower didn’t seem any different, but the morning after when she was brushing her hair for school she asked me what the product was because she said he hair felt soft, weightless and tangle-free. Straight from the 9 year-old’s mouth, my friends.

I have been using the Orchid Oil Curl Defining Cream since shortly after I got my perm in September. I tried a couple other products before finding this one, and it is the ONLY PRODUCT that makes my curls as soft, defined and non-frizzy as I like it. It claims to build internal strength, while increasing body and fullness, and I have definitely found this to be true.

I have also been using the Orchid Oil Treatment daily since getting my perm. It helps tame the frizz, and also is amazing for when I straighten my hair. Everyone I know loves this product specifically for getting that sleek, straightened look when straightening out their curls. It’s lightweight enough that it doesn’t weigh down my curls, but it leaves my hair SO SOFT. I also use it with the Curl Defining Cream for really nourishing my curls.

I have also just recently started using the Orchid Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. So far I’ve found these to be the most hydrating shampoo and conditioner I’ve ever used and I’m very picky with my shampoos and conditioners. My major issues with shampoos is that they come in direct contact with my scalp, and if there’s gluten in them it makes my flakiness even worse. This product does not do that! As with everything else in this line, the shampoo and conditioner have a blend of botanical extracts that are rich in minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids to increase strength, body and fullness.

Even though I’ve had a chemical perm, bleaching and colouring in my hair I really need this kind of nourishment. My hair feels just as healthy as it was before any chemical treatment.

I can honestly tell you, I love this line and the claims listed at the top of this post, I’ve found to be true. I understand that it’s not as cheap as drugstore products, but it’s worth the money. I also want to note, that everything in this line SMELLS INCREDIBLE. I wouldn’t say that you need to go and buy the entire collection right away, but I will say you NEED the Orchid Oil Treatment in your life. It comes in small sizes as well, and is such a great introduction to this line. If your hair has been exposed to chemical treatment, or is just feeling a dry or frizzy this is absolutely the product for you.

Unfortunately, you can’t buy REDAVID Hair Care online at this time, so please use the store locator to find a retailer near you. 

A Sunny Day at the Pier

Last weekend Seb and I took a day trip out to the New Westminster Quay, which happens to be my favourite place I’ve ever been to. I feel more at peace and more happiness when I’m here than anywhere else in the world I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. I love to walk along the boardwalk, explore the market and smell the fresh air.

My mom and I used to come here all the time when I was younger, and it will always hold happy memories. It’s also where Seb and I had our first kiss (sappy, I know). I sure will miss being able to come here whenever I need a pick me up.

OUTFIT DETAILS | BOOTS | DRESS | SHAWL | SUNGLASSES

How I Managed to Get my Self Confidence Back After it was at an All Time Low 

Three years ago I thought nothing of myself, I had felt this way for years, and I was certain I would never amount to anything.  I was struggling with an eating disorder, and other mental illness related issues. Even after I was recovered, it took some time to rebuild the confidence I once had.

It’s still a work in progress, but here are some things I have done so far to become the strong, confident woman I am proud to call myself today.

1. I do not base my self worth on any number, or anyone else’s opinions of me

I have no idea how much I weigh, I don’t base my worth on my IQ, or my salary. None of these metrics define me. I wake up every morning and just love everything that I am, not how it measures. If I weighed less or more, if I made more money or was traditionally more intelligent, I would not be a better person, or any more of a human than I am in this very moment.

2. I do not compare myself to others

This might be the most important change I made for myself ever. It’s so easy to compare yourself to other people around you. I remember constantly thinking to myself, “I wish I was as skinny as she is” or something along those lines about girls on Tumblr, models, and even my best friends. I remember consistently looking and my body in comparison to those around me, and feeling like it wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t small enough, it wasn’t tight enough. I did this with everything; people who were smarter than me, people who were taller than me, people who had more money than me. This was one of the least healthy habits I ever had as I went to extremes to try to achieve these “ideals” I was surrounded by.

I will never look like the girls I once idolized, I will always look like me – but hey, I look damn good.

3. I allow myself the time to love myself

I allow myself time to pamper myself, I have a skin care routine that I make into my own little spa session, and I take the time on weekends to put on as much make up as I want. Not because I need it, because I genuinely enjoy doing this.

I also take the time to be active. I’m no gym bunny by any stretch, but I take the time to get outside and get my blood flowing. Sometimes just for a stroll with my girlfriends, sometimes for a hike.

Finally, I took a leap in January and signed up for a burlesque class – which I have been attending (almost) weekly since – and this has been a huge boost for me. I get to spend my Monday evenings surrounded by sexy, confident women who are there to have fun, let loose and build each other up. I’m a terrible dancer, but I feel confident AF when I’m in my Monday evening classes.

4. I accept that not all trends are right for me

This was tough for me, as I have always been passionate about keeping up with the latest fashion trends. Every season I would try so hard to look good in the new styles that were taking off. Until one day it dawned on me – these trends are made for 6 ft tall women with legs that are longer than my entire body. Don’t get me wrong, some of those things us shorter girls can pull off, and look FIERCE in. But I had to learn to accept that some things just look like pajamas on me, and that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with me – it just means that particular style isn’t flattering on my body type.

5. I do (and eat) what I crave

Simple as that. If I want a burger, I eat a burger. If I want to suntan topless on the roof, I suntan topless on the roof. If I want to wear short-shorts to the mall, I do. Because that’s who I am, it’s what I want and I’m here to own it.

(I still follow dress codes at work, abide by the law and eat my fruits and vegetables though – because I’m not an impulsive brat all the time)

6. I surround myself with people who make me feel better, not worse about who I am

I hesitated when it came to putting this in my list – not because it’s not important, and not because I don’t value this – but because if you don’t have the rest of the list down, this will only build artificial confidence.

I am so blessed to have an amazing support network full of men and women who build me up, who love me for me and who think I’m amazing – and words can’t describe how thankful I am for this. All that being said, if I didn’t truly love myself first, I could have this amazing network, and all the self confidence in the world when people were around, and still feel worthless when I’m alone in the dark.

The importance to me, at least, isn’t the confidence I put on for the world to see, it’s the confidence I have when I dance with no rhythm alone in my underwear and there’s no one there to see it.

a mild day in chinatown.

As we prepare for some big changes in our lives, it’s nice to be able to spend a day outside with my best friend. We had a lovely walk through Olympic Village and Chinatown before grabbing a cup of coffee and just being girls for a while.

There’s so many incredible, interesting places in this city.

Outfit details at the bottom of the post!

OUTFIT DETAILS | SHIRT | CHOKER | JEANS | BOOTIES | WATCH | PURSE*

*affiliate link

how i eat gluten free without breaking the bank or breaking my heart.

hate limiting what I eat, but since I can’t eat gluten I have to. It’s been a little over two years since my diagnosis, and I figured I would share what I’ve learned and how I do it without losing my mind or breaking the bank.

For starters, I don’t eat a lot of processed food, I try to buy as much real food as possible. For dinner almost every night we have some sort of meat with spices and not sauces, steamed vegetables and either rice or potatoes (usually potatoes because I am a fiend). My lunches are usually leftovers of whatever we had for dinner the night before, and my breakfasts are the most processed meal of the day (on an average day). My breakfasts are usually Cheerios because they’re now ALL gluten free and the same price! Sometimes I treat myself and have some gluten free toast or yogurt and gluten free granola, these are far more expensive options, so I limit these.

When I do eat processed foods, I have a few favorites.

  1. Panago and Dominos make gluten free pizzas, they are not recommended for Celiacs but since I’m going to feel like crap after eating a whole pizza regardless of cross contamination, I risk it (I haven’t died yet);
  2. Chicken Teriyaki made with San-J Gluten Free Terriyaki Sauce, it’s delicious but expensive.
  3. Gluten free chicken strips, I make these from scratch, but I’m certain there’s nothing pure about gluten free bread crumbs, and even if there is, I like my dip!

Not eating gluten started off very difficult, as I had poor eating habits and I was finding that everything I ate had gluten in it, this doesn’t have to be the case if you eat whole, natural foods and do a little real cooking. That doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself though from time to time!

What are your favourite gluten free meals? Leave a comment below of some recipes I should try out!