It’s Here

I sit here at 3:58 the day before I plan to launch Undertow. I’ve spent the last 2 years
writing, cutting, illustrating, editing, dreaming.

I’ve had doubts:
“Can I do this?”
“Will people like it?”

And, I’ve had determination:
“I know these words need to be heard.”

Undertow is so different than Waves. Waves was a ripple in the ocean on a calm day. Waves was beautiful, and angelic. Undertow is intense, it is powerful, it is hopeful and strong. I remember when I released Waves I was terrified, it was my first time sharing my writing on a large scale, and I was so afraid that people wouldn’t like it, or would hold my words against me somehow. But now, now I truly don’t care. And, I don’t say that in a way that means I don’t care about my supporters. I mean, I don’t care if people like it, because I like it. I believe in it. And, I know, the right people will hold this book and feel at home.

I’ve decided to stay with the ocean theme, because it’s one of the only places I’ve ever felt 100% at peace. It’s a place that means so much to me, and I will continue to dedicate my books to the ocean for as long as it feels right to do so.

It took me a while to decide on the title “Undertow.” At first I considered “Riptide” and then realized Vance Joy’s song would literally flood any millennials mind when they read it. I considered “Shipwreck” and “Shoreline” and basically every other ocean word. But none of them fully encapsulated what I think Undertow is.

=This defines my experiences over the last few years. From outer glance, I was moving in a linear, upwards motion. But under the surface, there were riptides, and they tried with all their might to pull me under the surface at times. They groped my legs as I stood on the shore, begging me to anchor down to the bottom of the ocean. Writing Undertow was proof to myself that I could fight the currants, I could stay on the shore.

And now, here I am, completely in awe that the experience of creating Undertow is coming to a close. I’ve come to realize, I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing. Each book I write holds so much, and if it can be a vehicle to help another person feel less alone in the weight of the ocean, that’s all I can really hope for.

I love you all, I wish I could do another book release party, but I know we’ll all celebrate in our own ways together. I’ve launched an online store where you can purchase Undertow, and feel free to use the discount code PRE15 at checkout for a pre-order 15% off. Printing is set to be finished in November, and shipping will occur in December (Aiming for before Christmas). It’s unexpected if COVID19 will cause shipping delays at that time, but rest assured I will do everything in my power to get Undertow into your hands before Christmas.

If you have any questions about Undertow, when shipping will occur, or any other questions for me, feel free to reach out!

xo

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Here’s to Finding Myself (Again)

I can’t believe it’s already almost September. I see little kiddos geared up in backpacks half their size and I find myself longing for childhood again- the simplicity of it all. When choosing your backpack was a decision that weighed heavily as school approached. When back to school shopping was your favourite time of the year.

I think we can all agree this year has been one of the most challenging years of our lives. It’s a year that has broken me, and has built me, 100 times over again. A year where I slipped so far from the person I used to be. I morphed into someone I didn’t like hated. Someone who lost their zest for life, their passion for writing, their ability to socialize without anxiety, their kindness, which quickly turned to fear, which turned to anger, and then sadness, so much sadness.

I think this year, for so many of us, was a year of loss. Loss of the plans we had for the year- all 2020 resolutions down the toilet.

I know so many couples who had to cancel or postpone weddings. Cancel trips. Re-evaluate their career choices. Leave work entirely. Take on the role of home-schooler. Work while caring for children full time. The challenges have been immense.

I think many of us had a hard time adjusting to the loss of normalcy we were used to- loss of the life we knew. The life before we were bombarded by COVID19 headlines on Facebook. Before we checked the Ontario infected cases when we woke up in the morning (Cue Anxiety). A life before we had to distance from people we love. The life before we feared being a carrier of the illness and unknowingly passing it on to our loved ones. A life before Covid is a life that feels so far away.

We are in the waste land. None of us have experienced this in our life times. So how are we supposed to know how to navigate it? With so much conflicting information in the news, no wonder people are struggling to follow the rules:

It’s safe to go to the store. NO Don’t go out unless you have to. You can hug people with a mask on. NO stay 6 feet away at all times. You can eat at a restaurant outside. NO don’t, under any circumstances, eat at a restaurant.

The contradicting information created a sort of tug of war in my mind. In the end, I decided for me, I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It’s the line in the sand that we can’t step over.

With COVID-19, my anxiety sky rocketed. For anyone who’s experienced trauma, you may be familiar with the fight or flight response (heck even if you haven’t experienced trauma I think we’ve all felt this way at some point). When COVID19 hit, my body went back to a place I hoped I’d never have to re-visit. The haunted house on the corner of the street. The dark under the bed. I was brought back to a place of trauma, where my body only knows panic, only knows tension, only knows fight for your fucking life.

After months of high alert, my body was fatigued, my brain was muddled, and I couldn’t think clearly. I felt physically sick 90% of the time. I was so exhausted of being on high-alert. So, what do we do when we don’t want to feel? We escape. I escaped any way I could. I slept too much, or not enough. Ate to fill the loneliness. I drank until the wild in my mind would settle. I just couldn’t handle the noise anymore. I wanted quiet, and I was willing to abuse my body to get it.

That’s the funny thing about alcohol, it doesn’t feel bad for us. It tastes good. It makes us feel good. It’s a social experience. It doesn’t taste like poison. I mean fuck they market it for just about every activity. Having a BBQ? Beer. Going on a date night? Wine. Having a relaxing vacation? Cocktails. How was I supposed to know it was literally poisoning me? Oh, I know. By the fact that my body quite literally started rebelling. And when I couldn’t just have a glass of wine or 2. It was more regularly a bottle. And I’d pass out on the couch, waking up feeling sick and dazed. So, I searched for support.

My doctor told me the amount I was drinking was bordering on alcoholism.

My naturopath told me my reproductive system was shutting down.

My psychologist told me I was drinking when I was sad, not when I was happy.

When I finally took the time to sit with the discomfort. To sit with the noise inside my mind and check in with my body, I asked it “What the fuck do you want?!” And it replied “love.”

So, I searched for ways to show my body love. I saw my naturopath more regularly, who told me without pretty drastic lifestyle changes I will more than likely need fertility treatments in order to ever get pregnant. I remembered a phrase I used to tell myself when I was going through bouts of writers block caused by depression. “Nothing beautiful can grow here.” How can I expect a baby to grow inside my body when I’m addicted to pouring poison in it?

That was a moment of realization. A realization that even if life is hard, even if I’m living through a pandemic, even if I won’t be able to get pregnant easily- I can do hard things. Better yet, I can come out better from it. And also a realization, that I have a certain amount of control over the outcome. I can either sit and drink, or I can do the work.

I’m choosing to do the work.

25 Lessons I’ve Learned so Far

In a month I turn 26 (cue mid 20s existential crisis). I’ll be closer to 30 than 20 and if that’s not enough to make me feel old I don’t know what is.

Lucky for me, I like getting older. I like growing and learning and evolving into the best possible version of myself. I usually reflect on each year, but this year, I’m gonna reflect on the last 25.

Obviously I can’t remember my first few years of life- but I can remember my childhood overall, and will try to draw lessons from it.

So- here’s 25 lessons I’ve learned so far:

  1. Don’t fight sleep: If you’re tired (and have time) SLEEP. If you’re sick SLEEP. If you’re having a bad day and have tried to turn it around and it’s just not really working SLEEP. Sleep is so important for our overall health and common…who doesn’t love a good nap?
  2. Smile and say “Hi”: When you make eye contact with a neighbour, say hi. When you’re at the grocery store and make eye contact with someone, smile. In a world where so many of our interactions are technology based, keeping these old social etiquettes alive is so important (and usually makes you feel good too!)
  3. Always say thank you: No matter what. Kindness should be rewarded- always. So if someone does something even remotely kind for you, thank them.
  4. Make new friends: This one is trickier the older I get because it’s no longer acceptable to go to the park and push a random kid on the swing and vow to be best friends forever. But in all seriousness, just try to make friends. See someone at the gym who you think you could befriend? Smile and say hi (#2. Coming in handy here). See someone walking down the street with a dog- ask to pet it and start chatting!
  5. Don’t let mean people bring you down: People who are mean are so rarely happy- remember that. Try to find compassion for them, and move on.
  6. Give: This is generic but any form of giving is so important. Donate to charity if you can ever afford to. Bake someone some treats if they’re feeling down. Cook your parents or friends a meal. Give as much as you can and your heart will only grow.
  7. Put time into your passions: Love drawing? Draw. Love music? Sing. Love animals? Walk your (or someone else’s) dog. So often as adults we get caught up in the rat race and forget to engage in what truly brings us joy. But man, it’s important that we dive into what we love as often as we can.
  8. Nightmares are temporary: I remember when I was 8 I had nightmares frequently. I remember feeling so consumed by the nightmares it began to affect my sleep in general. I think it’s important to remember nightmares are temporary. This can go for hard times in life too. They always pass.
  9. Time alone is important: I’m an introvert (an extroverted introvert to be exact). But, that doesn’t mean I always want to be alone. I enjoy being around people with positive energy! I also enjoy helping others. But, time alone is important for everyone I think. It gives us time to reflect on our days, sit with our thoughts and really dig deep.
  10. Go to therapy: I’m a strong believer that everyone can benefit from therapy. No matter how steady they are, we all have something that keeps us up at night. Life’s tough and there’s nothing wrong with laying it all out on the table with a professional.
  11.  You don’t always have to be busy: I remember as a preteen I would try to fill all of my time with friends, shopping, working out, school, homework. I never just gave myself time to be, time to rest. I think it’s important to learn the balance of hard work, play and rest. All 3 Are important, but each in moderation.
  12.  Mental illness isn’t your fault: When I was 12 I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I remember holding a lot of guilt thinking I caused it or I let it happen. It’s taken me years to realize no one asks for mental health issues. We’re all just doing the best we can. Accepting my illness was the greatest step in my recovery and maintenance.
  13.  Not everyone has sound intentions: Not everyone you love will love you. Not everyone who claims they love you actually does. Trust your gut and if someone doesn’t value you- walk the fuck away.
  14. You can’t rely on anyone else to make you happy: If you do, your happiness will always be fleeting. No one else will ever care about you as much as you should. Your well-being is totally your responsibility. Yes, other people can offer comfort and support, but ultimately it’s in your hands.
  15.  Stand up for yourself: If someone treats you badly, stand up for yourself. This can mean telling them they hurt you, or walking away. The worst thing we can do is let people hurt us repeatedly.
  16.  Don’t assimilate to societal expectations: Don’t date a boy just to fit in with your friends who are dating boys. Don’t hide your true self to satisfy a sick society.
  17.  Figure out what YOU want: Don’t let anyone else tell you what you should do with your life. Other people will be keen to offer opinions and input when you’re making big life decisions like going to college or moving out. But don’t let their opinions make your desires foggy.
  18. You can’t save people: Tragedy happens. People get hurt. People die. “You cannot save people, you can only love them” -Anais nin
  19.  If anyone ever lays hands on you- leave: Run as fast as you fucking can and don’t look back. Domestic violence is a quiet hell.
  20. Be proud of yourself: Notice every challenge you’ve overcome and take the time to give yourself a fucking high 5. You’ve gone through a ton of heavy stuff. And you came out so light.
  21.  If someone loves you selflessly- let them: Don’t be fooled by your brains addiction to toxic love. Abuse changes your brain and makes you think that’s what love is. It’s not. So if someone shows you gentle, authentic love, let it happen.
  22.  Study hard. Work hard: Pour yourself into what you love. It will pay off. If not financially, you’ll learn that you are capable of greatness.
  23.  Hard times happen- they don’t define you though: Falling into depression again doesn’t make you weak. Having anxiety attacks again doesn’t mean you always will. Allow yourself to feel what you feel. Find support, and work through it.
  24. Love hard: You’ve found someone who deserves it.
  25.  Don’t stop going to therapy: Don’t stop challenging yourself. Don’t stop learning. Keep reaching for what you want. Challenge your maladaptive thought patterns and coping strategies. Keep bettering yourself.

  

Wild. I feel like I’ve learned a lot, especially in the last 5 years. 20’s are hard- you’re trying to figure out how to be an adult and honestly, I think I’ve almost got the hang of it 😉

Here’s to the next 25!

What Happened When I Stopped Drinking Every Night?

For those of you who are new here- I struggle with anxiety and depression (although it’s way better than it used to be/ I manage it better now). But, In the past year I’ve leaned on alcohol quite a bit to numb anxious feelings and quiet my busy mind.

What started as a glass of wine each nigh with dinner quickly turned into 2, and then it turned into going straight for the wine when I got home from work, and then to drinking from 5pm to 9pm without even thinking “Is this good for my body and mind?” or “Am I being mindful of what I’m doing right now?”

Truthfully, I didn’t care. I just wanted to numb the feelings of discomfort. I wanted to disassociate in the funnest way possible (because let’s be real- catching a buzz can be fun.)

2 weeks ago I stopped drinking on weekdays. Here’s what happened:

  • Days 1-3 I felt like total garbage. I was nauseous, anxious, had trouble sleeping, and had extreme racing thoughts. I had a panic attack on day 2, and couldn’t eat anything on day 3. I felt agitated and thought multiple times “Can I really do this?”
  • Day 4- I started to feel better physically, but was still bombarded with racing thoughts and anxiety. I realized I can’t just come home after work without wanting to drink. So I had to change my after-work routine. Instead of driving home and drinking as soon as I got in the door, I went to the gym on the way home from work.
  • Day 5-Now- I know I can do this. I WANT to do this. I want to be the best version of myself. Limiting alcohol and being more mindful of my drinking has allowed me to get back to what I WANT to do vs. what I feel like I NEED to do to escape the anxiety.

Things that have helped me when I feel like drinking are:

  • Going to the gym/exercising– Getting into a new environment is essential. Also- taking care of my body physically helps me not want to put toxins back into it. AKA If I work out- the last thing I want to do after is numb myself by drinking a bunch of wine.
  • Going outside when I feel the urge to drink- Getting into nature is extremely healing. Again- change of scenery.
  • Finding new/ engaging in old hobbies: I’ve been doing a lot of things that I either had no energy to do or couldn’t do because I was buzzed every night. I’ve been reading a lot more, exercising a few times per week and writing a lot more.
  • Following people/accounts that post about sober living: Often they have inspiring stories of others who have conquered their alcohol addictions (mental and/or physical) which I have found really helpful to read.

2 weeks down. Drinking on weekends is really practical for me and I would really love to stick with it. If you’re considering going semi-sober, I’d definitely recommend trying it. Reach out to others AKA me for support if needed.

Why I Want to go Semi-Sober

I don’t remember when it started. And by it, I mean that 5 o’clock glass (or 3) of wine to “decompress” after work. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t have a bottle of wine in the house. Or a time when I didn’t feel anxious if I knew I was running low.

I have spent the last few years of my life really trying to become the best version of myself. I have spent countless hours reading inspirational books, going to therapy, self-reflecting. I have left jobs that no longer brought me any joy. I have been honest with myself on my not-so-great coping strategies, and have tried to replace them.

Alcohol is the one thing between me and where I want to be.

1 drink after a shitty day turned into 1 drink everyday which turned into 2 drinks everyday, then sometimes 3. The quiet lull that lies at the bottom of each glass is what keeps me wanting more. The way it stops the buzzing in my brain, and just lets me stop feeling anxious for 2.5 seconds. But, I’m damn well aware that this is probably the worst coping strategy I could use (besides the hard stuff).

Our society is sick. Alcohol is commercialized and marketed as a fun, summer beverage with absolutely no consequences. Pretty bottles, convenient cans. Alcohol is part of our daily lives. It’s at weddings, funerals, baby showers, dinner parties…basically any social event. And I get it, it helps reduce social jitters. But, have we, as a society, forgotten how to live sober?

I’m not saying I don’t want to ever drink again. Because really, I love wine. But, I don’t want to need wine. I don’t want to wake up and think about the bottle of wine I’ll drink that night after work. I don’t want to continue spending money on a depressant. I don’t want to continue mixing it with my anti-depressants and wonder why I’m starting to feel low again.

I’m still miles from where I used to be. I’m more stable than I’ve ever been. But I know this habit isn’t sustainable, nor do I want to continue numbing myself. No magic happens when your senses are debilitated.

So what am I going to do?

Well…first I’ll start with only drinking on weekends. Then only drinking socially on weekends. Then, only drinking on special occasions (& I mean really special).

I’ll keep you posted…

Things to NEVER Say to Someone Going Through Fertility Treatments/ Infertility

This one goes out to all of the people going through fertility treatments/procedures in hopes of conceiving. It also goes out to their support system, wife, husband, partner, best friend, roommate- whoever has truly got their back!

It is also dedicated to people who aren’t so helpful. I in no way think anyone is being malicious with their comments, but are instead ignorant or unaware of the heartache that is associated with needing medical intervention to reproduce.

I’ve spoken to over 10 different women who struggle with fertility and are in the process of taking hormones, undergoing testing and procedures, and trying IUI & IVF. As this post is geared towards my own experience as a lesbian, these comments have been made to heterosexual couples who are having trouble conceiving as well.

Also- I can only speak to my own experiences. I know same-sex male couples or men trying to have a child on their own have an extremely hard time as well as eggs and surrogate are a whole ‘nother ball game. Sending some love to them too!

Here are the top 10 things to never say to someone going through this process.

  • “If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen.”

    Well then. So if it doesn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to be? Like what the fuck does that even mean?
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  • “Just relax.

    Okay. SO having everyone going through fertility treatments has been to appointments at the clinic for a minimum of 2 months. Appointments are booked based on our cycle days and have no mercy for work meetings, our social lives or our bank accounts.

    We get to “try” to produce in a cold, sterile environment where new nurses prick our arms and insert god knows what into our V and all we can do is lay there and hope this is all worth it.

    We rearrange our lives to go to these appointments that usually involve tough news and tears. We drive home processing what just happened. And we wake up the next day and do it all over again.

    SO- telling us to relax during all of this is insensitive. Believe me, we’re trying. Not to mention the recommendations made to improve our fertility. Whole foods, no alcohol, limit caffeine, lose weight…We’re trying to reinvent ourselves in hopes that our reproductive system may follow. It is anything but relaxing. If you want me to relax, send me to the spa.
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  • “It will happen when you stop planning.”

    Oh shit really? Didn’t know as a lesbian I could get pregnant by accident? If we didn’t plan our appointments based on our cycle days- it wouldn’t happen. Ever. If we didn’t plan our work schedule around our fertility appointments, it also wouldn’t happen. So, telling us to stop planning, is like telling us not to bother. Unless you have some magic we can have?
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  • Just go to a bar and hookup with a random guy. It’s cheaper.”

    Oh it’s cheaper that way? Didn’t know that. Pretty sure I identify as a lesbian because I DO NOT want to have sex with men. Despite the temptation of a baby, that’s gonna be a hard pass.
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  • Who’s gonna be the real mom?”

    Uhhh as opposed to what? The fake mom? We’re both gonna be real moms, thanks.
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  • Do you want one of mine?”

    Again, hard. fucking. pass. I want a baby that is part of me or I would have chosen adopting a child who desperately needs a home.
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  • Maybe it’s not in gods plan.”

    The fuck does god have to do with my reproductive organs?
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  • It’s a privilege that IUI and IVF exist.

    Thank you- we know. We are extremely thankful to even have the option to have biological children. But it doesn’t erase the difficulty and emotional turmoil that comes with this process. So thank you for informing us that we are privileged, but when we’re rearranging our lives to accommodate appointments and taking out bank loans to pay for sperm, we don’t feel privileged. ALSO- a privilege that we’re paying for. Can’t forget that part.
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  • Are you sure you want to put your body through that. It’s a lot of hormones.”

    Trust me. There is no part of me that WANTS to load my body full of hormones. But, if that is the only way then of course I will do it.
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  • “Have you considered adoption?

    Oh wow. So this one is ignorant on so many levels. Adoption, in most cases, is not easier, faster or less expensive than conceiving via IUI or IVF. Adoption, while it is amazing & important, may not be how we envisioned our lives. So asking us if we’ve considered adoption is insensitive to the fact that we may be mourning the idea of what we pictured our family/life to look like.

    And, you can bet your ass we’ve considered every.single.option. including adoption
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In conclusion, I don’t think anyone says any of these things maliciously, they usually just don’t understand the heartache and struggle that comes with conceiving in a clinic vs. in your own space on your own terms.

Things You Probably Don’t Know About Lesbians Trying to Have Babies

*I can only write from my experience, as a lesbian. I imagine other members of the LGTBQ+ community have to face similar, if not far more difficult, obstacles. Sending love to anyone trying. ❤

  • Sperm is expensive. Like $950 per try (plus shipping).
  • So- some of us might try to find known donors. This can be extremely difficult and many of them end up changing their mind. Can’t blame them- but it’s definitely emotional. If you’re going that route- be prepared for the possibility.
  • You might wanna order in bulk (if you want more than 1 kid from the same donor) because donors max out. They can only help create a certain number of offspring. In Canada its 25 children per population 800,000.
  • You have no idea how many tries it will take.
  • You can only try 1 time per cycle. The fertility clinic monitors you closely to determine when the prime ovulation time is.
  • You have to do a number of tests before you can even think about insemination. Blood tests, ultrasounds, a tubal flush, more blood tests, a psychologist appointment… And even more testing if any of those tests have abnormal results.
  • Only 1 round of IVF is covered by the government. After that, accept the fact that you’ll spend thousands of dollars trying to conceive.
  • There’s no limit on the number of IUI’s you can try (government covered) but they can be less effective (up to 20% chance of success while IVF averages at 40-45% success rate per try).
  • You’ll probably have to take medications/hormones such as Clomid, Progesterone, Letrozole… maybe more?
  • The waiting game is insane. The wait for an IVF funded cycle is 1 year.
  • You have to pay for sperm storage. $500 per year.
  • The process is isolating. It’s hard to find people who have been through the experience and as much as we appreciate people saying “just stay positive” or “it will happen!” we can’t help but feel alone.

SO- if you know a queer couple trying to conceive, be kind. It’s an emotional rollercoaster.

We’ve only just begun our process, I can’t imagine what the couples who have spent years are going through. So. Much. Respect.

Sending so much love to anyone trying out there who’s having trouble or is just emotionally exhausted. ❤

What do You Want to be When You Grow up? At 25 I still have no idea.

I remember it vividly. I think I was in the first or second grade. We were asked to dress up as the profession we wanted when we grew up. I, without hesitation, began planning my costume in my head. An artist. It was simple. I wanted to paint, and make art in whatever way possible. So, I dressed in my dads white t-shirt and a pair of jeans, paint splattered.

Little did I know, that would be the first of many, many career dreams. Artist was followed by veterinarian which was then followed by lawyer, model, makeup artist, interior designer. The list could go on for the entirety of this blog post.

Many of us are working jobs that don’t fulfill us. Some of us, to prove a point, to maintain a certain status, or simple because we can’t afford not to. I’ve been there- earlier this year I quit the most stable and well paying job I’ve ever had. Why? Because it sucked the life out of me. No matter how much therapy, meditation, or positivity I pumped into my life at home, it was instantly zapped the moment I walked into work. The workplace caused me to become a person I really didn’t like.

So now I’m in this weird place. I’m working semi-in my field of work. I like it enough but it’s a contract and I’d like to figure out next steps. Ideally, the next steps will lead to a more rewarding career that is in line with my values and desires: to be creatively stimulated, appreciated and have a level of independence.

I’ve completed 2 college programs, and have worked in 2 different fields of work before the age of 25. And still, I feel like I’m longing for something I can’t obtain in my current field of work. The problem? I have no idea what that something is.

I was starting to wonder if I was the only person who felt this way…this constant longing for something else. But, after making a status about it on facebook, I realized a lot of people I know are in a similar boat, struggling to find true meaning and longing for something.

So, I began researching. One article I found stated that Millennials “are regarded as being achievement-oriented. They seek new experiences and learning opportunities, a better work-life balance, independence and appreciation” I think this is part of the trouble I’m facing. I want a job that offers me the ability to experience new things, but also doesn’t suck the life out of me, that allows me to make my own decisions and also pays me enough to live. It’s proven to be a challenge.

I also believe the fact that there are so many options can be overwhelming for some of us. The thought “The sky is the limit” is meant to be empowering, but I find it terrifying because I can’t focus. There are too many options, and I have too many interests, none of which are transferrable to a typical 9-5 job.

So what does all of this mean? I’m going to have to get creative- which I’m usually very good at. But in this situation, it’s proving to be challenging. But, I’m up for it. I’m going to have to ask myself some hard questions, put in the work, do the research and take a giant leap of faith. All we can do is move forward, towards our most authentic selves.

My Favourite Skincare Products

I’m not huge on makeup, it’s definitely not something I’ll splurge on a regular basis.

BUT- I love skin care products. Skin is so delicate and truly mirrors how you treat it. Of course, what we put into our body is SO important when it comes to how our skin looks and feels, but the products we use are also incredibly vital.

Here are my all-time favorite products and how I use them. Notice some are definitely a splurge, while some are extremely cost-effective. If I’ve splurged on a product it’s because it’s 100% worth it.

Cleanser 1: I use two different cleansers depending on how my skin is feeling. When my skin is feeling dry or if I’m wearing a lot of makeup that day, I use the Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleaning Oil from Khiels.  I buy the 42 ML bottle and it lasts forever. This cleanser is an essential oil cleanser so I just use 1 or 2 pumps and add water to create a nice lather. It is by far the best at taking makeup off & doesn’t irritate my eyes either. Also, it’s sulfate-free!

Cleanser 2: Good ol’ Spectro Gel. I buy it in bulk from Costco but you can buy it almost anywhere. I use this pretty regularly and find it really gentle on my skin. I love that it’s fragrance-free.

Makeup Remover Wipes: I’m notorious for leaving my makeup on overnight. It’s a habit I’m really working to break. I find having makeup removing wipes handy helps because they’re just so easy and fast. I’m not picky about what kind I use but my current favorite is the Biore Makeup Removing Towelettes. Super affordable ($4.00 for a 30 pack!) and effective & I really like the way they smell.

Exfoliant: I use the Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant by Aveda. I love that it doesn’t have those tiny beads that are terrible for the environment (and our skin). It’s a gentle liquid that I apply with a cloth after washing my face. It smells really fresh and you don’t need much so it lasts a long time.

Facial Moisturizer 1: I use a few honestly but my favorite is The Ultra Facial Cream by Khiels. I find it really gentle on my skin but also combats winter dryness! It doesn’t create a greasy film on my skin either, super light-weight. Again, a bit pricey but you don’t need much so it lasts. 

Night Cream: I use Burt’s Bees Skin Nourishment Night Cream. I like it because again, it’s light-weight and I wake up with my skin feeling really soft and supple. This is the first night cream I’ve used that hasn’t caused breakouts.

Mask: I like trying different masks and have a few different favorites. I really love the Tumeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask by Khiels but I find I can only leave it on for 4-5 minutes or so before it starts to irritate my skin. But, I do find my skin does look very bright and radiant afterward.

I also like the Cup O’Coffee Mask by Lush. The smell is amazing (for anyone who likes the smell of coffee.) It definitely helps me wake up in the morning. I also love the coffee grounds that are in the mask that acts as a natural exfoliant. Wallet-friendly too.

Eye Cream: Sad to say I’m getting to the age where I’ll start noticing my skin doesn’t look as young as it used to. I’m already noticing fine lines around my eyes. I don’t hate them, but I want to keep them faint for as long as possible. I really love the Smoothing Eye Concentrate by Juice Beauty.
I bought it over a year ago and it’s still got some left. Seems pricey when you buy it but it lasts so long. I also find it’s really effective at reducing the appearance of dark circles which I am prone to.

Serum: Obsessed with The Midnight Recovery Concentrate by Khiels.
Not only does it work to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, it literally makes my skin glow. My favorite thing about this product though is the smell! It’s so earthy and comforting. It puts me right to sleep.

Peel: I’m hooked on The Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel. These are the most expensive product I own but I swear by them. I don’t use them daily as instructed as I find it’s too harsh on my fair/delicate skin. I use them twice per month usually which makes them more affordable as well. These peels are really easy to use- just two towelettes that you use one after another. They make my skin feel NEW! I can literally see the brightness after using them. They are also Vegan and Cruelty-Free. 🙂

Body Moisturizer: For years I have used Aveeno Body Lotion simply because I can buy it in bulk from Costco and it’s unscented which I look for in a body lotion. I find it’s good for the summer because it’s light-weight but for the winter I would recommend something a little more moisturizing.

So now that I’ve listed my favorite products. Here’s when/how I use them:

Cleanser: Morning in the shower
Makeup-Removing Towelettes: At night before bed.
Exfoliant: Daily/every other day depending on my skin.
Moisturizer: After cleansing in the morning.
Night Cream: After using the makeup-removing towelettes before bed.
Eye Cream: About 3 times per week or as I remember. Any time.
Mask: Once or twice per week, usually in the shower so the steam helps my pores open.
Serum: I’ll swap this out for the night cream if I find my skin is very dry. I use it about twice a week. (Thought I smell it before bed regularly lol!)
Peel: Once or twice per month, usually on a day where I’m not wearing any makeup.
Body Moisturizer: Daily/as needed.

I know Winter is almost over (I hope) but if you have a body moisturizer that you LOVE please leave it in the comments!

Being The Wife of A Musician: The Things No One Tells You

First off- I’d like to start this post by saying I love my wife VERY much.

I remember when we first started dating I was blown away by her ability to open her mouth and project sounds that didn’t resemble a dying animal (Note: I really cannot sing). I was even more impressed when she proved she could play guitar while singing AT THE SAME TIME.

I was quickly wooed over by her angelic voice and killer instrumental skills. But, little did I know, I would eventually be a band wife. And band wives have a lot of duties and unwritten rules.

Here are the things NO ONE tells you when you start dating a musician:

  • There will rarely be quiet time again: In the shower? Singing. Trying to nap? Guitar solos trailing up the stairs. In the middle of a conversation? Singing again. In bed? Drums blasting downstairs.
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  • Your basement is no longer YOUR basement. It belongs to the music now: I’ve always been cool with her creating a recording studio space in our basements (even when we lived in tiny houses that could have benefitted from some extra space). What I didn’t expect was that she would hunt the house for every single blanket we own and create what looks like a giant blanket fort in our basement to absorb echoes and create the ultimate recording situation. Now, when I walk into the basement I am greeted by blankets hanging from the ceiling acting as doors as I make my way to the laundry room. Plus side? She has volunteered to do more laundry now.
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  • You will be expected to attend shows of people you’ve never heard of: I’m totally cool with this one… except when the people mega suck and she still suggests we see them. :’)
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  • She will spend hours in the blanket basement at one time and will request that you don’t make a sound: That means no showering. No walking around. No breathing. Okay- the last one was a joke.
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  • You may end up doubling as her Manager/Tour Planner: Again- totally cool with this one because I love planning events. I do wish I got to go on the tour though… 😉
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  • The bandmates become your great friends: Or in our case- the best men at our wedding.
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  • You’ll probably end up running the merch table… 
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  • You’ll start listening to music differently… Listen to that Vibrato damn.
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  • She’ll make you fall in love again and again with every song she writes about you. (Especially when she sings it for you at your wedding in front of everybody.)
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  • And you will especially love the way she serenades the dog. Now if only we could teach him to sing back.
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Based on this list… I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Just means I can be her biggest fan.