Like you mean it

Hi friends!

I just got back from my first, first-day-of-school in seven, SEVEN years. Holy, nothing to make me feel 100 like some life stats.

The program that I am taking is aimed at future entrepreneurs with a business idea in mind.  Our teachers are all part time teachers, part time business owners. They come prepared to give us all the tools we need to start a successful business, and better yet, they help us get those businesses off the ground.

I already know exactly what I want to do, but I won’t share it yet.  It’s something I’ve known I would love to do for years, but not something I ever thought was feasible. Until I asked myself why not? I figured that if I can’t say with certainty that I won’t be successful, and I can’t say with certainty that I will be successful, I may as well choose to believe that I will be. So I made that decision and I enrolled.


As I sat in a classroom today for the first time since I became an adult (as far as I’m concerned), I couldn’t help but notice how the view from my seat looked and felt so different from all the seats I’ve sat in before.

  • For starters, I picked the front row.  (“Wherever you are, be all there” was the quote for the day in my Simplified Planner, appropriate, no?)
  • I feel this desire to just GATHER INFORMATION and learn as much as I can, because I finally understand that it is in my best interest.
  • I understand the value of the money and the time I am spending to be here.
  • I am 1 of 19 students, and for the first time since high school, the teachers will know my name and know my face.
  • I feel in control of my outcome and ready to create the career that I want.
  • I’ve decided to do this like I mean it. I’m here because I want to be, not because of an expectation.

Too often, we (myself included) set goals with the fear of failure stopping us from TRULY trying to hit them, from trying with our whole hearts. Races are a perfect example of this. We set time goals, but perhaps we slack off in our training, or hold back on race day, all for the fear of giving it all we have, and still falling short. For some, it might be subconscious, for others, maybe they’re entirely aware. But somewhere inside, we just figure that if we don’t try as hard as we can, then when we fail, it’s simply not our fault. We vow to “try again next time.” The cycle repeats.

One of the best races I’ve ever had was when I told EVERYONE I knew that I wanted to hit a specific time in the half marathon, 7 minutes faster than my PR at the time. By race day, I had told so many people about it, that I saw no other choice but to run that time. When I looked at my watch during the race and thought about slowing down, I simply didn’t see it as an option. It was absolute in my mind, and I succeeded. Now would this have worked if my physical fitness hadn’t been up to par, too? No, of course not. But the point is, I trusted my training and my body, and I gave it everything I had without fear of failure. The same goes for the year that lays ahead of me. I will put in the work, I will trust my training, and when the time comes later this year, I will lay it all out there like success is the only option.

And because my agenda seems to know what I need, when I need it, I will leave you with tomorrow’s quote:


Happy First Day of School!!!





#JoshWedsDan: The Dress

Hi guys!

So as a bit of a journal for my future self, I’ve decided to write a few posts about the wedding and how we came to each decision. I decided to start with what was probably the most fun, the dress!  (The next installments will probably be a couple months down the road as I would like to wait to get the rest of my professional photos back from the photographer).

At my first appointment, I tried on every different silhouette, regardless of what I thought I wanted, to get an idea of how things looked and felt on my body. I’m only 5’3″ and I’m a pretty solid pear shape (although I don’t let that dictate what I wear regardless of “the rules”).  The picture quality isn’t ideal, but you get the point!


For my first appointment, I went to Sash & Bustle followed by Becker’s (both in Toronto) with only my Mum and Mother-in-Law.  I am usually pretty sure about what I like and I didn’t want too many opinions present while I figured out what exactly it was that I was looking for. Before I had ever tried on a wedding dress, I of course had watched 10000000 wedding shows. Years ago, I was certain I wanted a fitted mermaid dress. I am in love with the silhouette and I always thought “when else would I get to wear that?” But after hearing stories of how heavy some dresses could be and the chaffing that could occur, and after the simple thought of wearing something tight and likely uncomfortable, I started to stray from that– but I tried one on anyway for fun!


That was ruled out pretty immediately, but it was fun to try!

My style has always been (described by others as) a bit bohemian. I like things to be flowy, usually neutral in colour, and always a bit interesting. So I started to lean towards a light and simple romantic dress with a flower crown.


I quickly decided that while lots of these types of dresses were pretty, they really didn’t accentuate any particular part of my body and I felt kind of “blah.” I continued to try on a bunch of other styles too to figure out what I wanted.


The Moms loved this. You can see I had four slices of pizza the night before and I WOULD DO IT AGAIN.





When I tried on dresses, I found that I really didn’t have any emotional reaction to them.  I would look at them and think “sure this is pretty,” but I found it really hard to judge something so different from anything else I had ever worn or would ever wear again. Only when I started looking at photos after the first day, was I able to decide what I was looking for.

Much to my surprise, the one dress style I never saw myself in, a ball gown, became the vision. After that first day, I realized that I am entirely in love with tulle, and a natural waist line was the most flattering and most comfortable style for my body. The last two dresses up there basically became the benchmark (okay, the last one especially) for the next 5 stores that I went to. Yes…I went to 6 stores! Both of those dresses were by designer Hayley Paige (Blush line) so I proceeded to stalk her designs and seek them out wherever I could.

The third store I went to was Something Green Bridal Boutique in Guelph. It was probably my second favourite of the 6 stores I went to (with Sash & Bustle being my favourite). They had a few Hayley Paige dresses, but I still preferred the two I saw in Toronto. This was the only other one I liked (for me) at the store (at the time), but at this point, I found I was starting to get confused. I don’t like beads and rhinestones, so not my thing, so not sure why I even put this one on! It was ruled out as soon as I got home.


Next I went to Valentina in Waterloo near my house.  I found one beautiful dress that resembled one that I had pinned on Pinterest.



It had a crazy good price point (under $800), but because of that I couldn’t do anything custom to it, aka. I would have to keep the rhinestones.  NOPE.

Next, I went to a store in Elmira called Taylor’s Bridal Boutique. I don’t have ANY pictures from that store because there were literally zero contenders.  Everything was covered in glitz and it was staffed by older women who (while they were lovely) really had no idea about current bridal fashion trends.

So after 6 stores, I was still thinking about the strapless tulle ball gown at Sash & Bustle, but wasn’t entirely convinced, and I still wanted to try on two more dresses by Hayley Paige that were coming to Sash & Bustle 3 months later for a trunk show. This was going to cut it close, and it meant that I had to pick a dress that day to get it on time, but I was sure I would. So sure that I brought my entire posse! I brought my Mum, my 3 sisters, Josh’s Mum, his two sisters, and my Aunt who VERY generously purchased my dress for me.


So of these two new Hayley Paige dresses I wanted to try, one was a 2 in 1 that Sash & Bustle ordered in especially for me (they’re the best), it was a fitted casual gown with a tulle skirt overlay. The best of both worlds kind of thing.  Downside was…it looked terrible on me when I took the skirt off. These hips DO NOT LIE!




Cute in theory, not in real life.

Next, I was also dying to try on tulle ball gown similar to the one I had stuck in my head. It had a bit of sparkle on the strap, but I thought it was tasteful and added some interest so I had to try it too!



I loved this one too, but in the end it just didn’t surpass the one I had spent 3 months thinking about!  After 6 stores and countless dresses, I picked the first wedding dress that caught my eye, the first wedding dress I ever tried on! The Blush by Hayley Paige ‘Garland’ gown. This picture of the back when I walked away is actually what sealed the deal for me!




The belt was attached, so of course I ordered mine with no belt to forego the beading (plus I don’t wear silver, I knew I needed a belt with gold!). In the end I was so happy with my choice. Our wedding was entirely outdoors and it wasn’t too heavy and I never got too hot. It also acted as a mosquito net, HAH, bonus feature.

image1 copy.JPEG copy


For my accessories, I ordered this belt from ASOS. I removed the chain from the back with some pliers and laced a ribbon through instead to make it more feminine and bridal. I told my florist that I wanted a small  flower crown (some get huge and ridiculous looking) and she gave me some flower options. I picked one and then she sent me two flower crown options the morning of the wedding; I chose the one I liked best. I freaking loved it.



For my shoes, I wore the BHLDN edition of the Schutz simple strap heels that they have in a million colours. They were really pretty and comfortable and I hope to wear them again! I actually wore them for our wedding shower as well, hence the toe prints, hahah.


And that’s that!

No big emotional drama, just a natural progression to the perfect dress for me. I went with my gut and couldn’t have been happier!


Tell me about your experience! Were there tears? Fireworks? Anything?






For months now, I just haven’t felt like myself. So many different parts of my health have been off for so long, that I feel like I shifted into this place of acceptance, but stopped pushing myself beyond that. I’ve still been my happy optimistic self, but things have just been a bit off for a long time. I don’t think I have shared all of the details with you, but hey, why not, it’s kind of a thing I do.

So, for a year (as you know) my diaphragm has been spazzing out of control and I haven’t been able to make any real progression in my running. In fact, Seawheeze was a pretty big indicator that I have, in fact, regressed pretty greatly; in speed anyway.


In my last half marathon, I managed to run a 1:45, but last week in Vancouver, I shuffled my way to a 2:12 finish.The same finishing time I had at my very first half marathon over 5 years ago.


At first, I saw this as total defeat. But the more I think about it, the more I realize this was actually pretty legit. I haven’t been able to run more than 5-6k at a time for months. And even then, I take breaks with lots of pain, and I can’t run two days in a row. I kept going out once in a while only because I crave running, and continued to think and hope that “maybe it won’t hurt this time.”  It always does, but I keep going. The first time I ran a half marathon, I had obviously trained my butt off for that 2:12 finish. To think that I finished a harder course in the same time WITHOUT the whole training part, says that I really haven’t regressed as much as I think. ALSO, the pain I had during Seawheeze, is what I would call gentle. It wasn’t the debilitating kind of pain that has been stopping me in my tracks, it was just a slight and inconvenient pain.


The thing is, now that it was so quiet, I could really see just how out of shape I have become.  BUT IT WAS GENTLE, so I’m happy. I am going to continue to be diligent in my physiotherapy, and hopefully I can complete the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon (instead of the full marathon) in October with a bit more speed back under my belt. I haven’t felt this optimistic in a long time. My plan for the next 8 weeks is written and ready to go. WINNING PART 1.


Sidenote: Aug 19th was Josh’s 30th bday so I surprised him with a flight to join me in Vancouver, and I extended my trip post-Seawheeze. On his first day, Christina and I obv made him wait in line with us for 45 mins for gelato…

NEXT, I have been dealing with some seriously inconvenient woman problems. I’m talking 2 week periods, followed by 2 weeks off, ON REPEAT. I’m pretty certain that the birth control pill got me into this mess (I’ve been off it for 2.5 years now), and of course my doctor sees that as the solution as well (classic GP), but I disagree. I’ve seen my friend the ND and we’ve tried a few things that worked on and off, but ultimately the problem persisted. Now I am taking 2837829 supplements (okay, 3) that my sister suggested (they worked for her similar issues), and I can already see and feel the difference in 2 short weeks. Period seems more normal, my skin is more clear and my mood is better. WINNING PART 2.


NEXT, you know I lost my job in May when our office closed very suddenly. Emotionally, my friends from work and I were all pretty big messes for a long time, but we have all slowly pulled up our big girl pants and moved on. I am starting school in 2 weeks, and I’m SO looking forward to it. I will be taking a 1 year small business start up program. For my entire life, I have wanted to be self employed. I remember being a kid and thinking about growing up and having a boss (aka. someone telling me what to do), and deciding that was the worst thing ever. I’m looking forward to gaining the tools I need to get started in my own business, and to start feeling fulfilled in my everyday life. WINNING PART 3.

LASTLY, I found out a few months ago with IgG testing that gluten, wheat, dairy and eggs do not agree with my body. It really helped me to understand why I always look 6 months pregnant..hah. (I will do a more detailed blog with info on this test and all my results another time!) Before the wedding, cutting these things from my diet was OUT of the question, but I am ready to start with one (gluten, I think…) and work my way down and see if I feel an improvement. NOT YET WINNING.

Long story short, I’m feeling so much better and optimistic about my health and about where things are going in general. And when I feel good about things, I like to chat. And that is a good sign for the ol’ blog!


See you soon,