My Dogs Birthday

Note: This post will be written by no other than Doby, the dog (@dobythedawg on Instagram).

I woke up today, and it was like any other day. It was rainy which meant likely no walk… but then, mom turned on the fireplace and invited me for special couch cuddles where she doesn’t ask me to make more room for her! The whole couch to myself! She even tucked me in (which isn’t a rare occurrence). I’m too kind to tell her that’s what my fur is for.

So Doby
Much Cozy

After our couch cuddle, mom went into the fridge (always a good sign!). I awaited eternally hopeful for some human food to eat. She returned with A POT! A POT THAT I COULD LICK!


As if my day wasn’t already the best….mom #1 (#2 came home later) surprised me with a homemade treat. I saw her making them but assumed she was making quinoa or something else that’s disgusting.

come to papa

Belly. so. full.

I can tell now it’s afternoon. Kids are walking past our house with strange packs on their backs. Mom says it’s called a backpack… I don’t see why. ANYWAYS. Afternoon means mom#2. comes home from work in a few hours. Which means…DINNNNNER. I am so excited for dinner.

Mom #1. is wrapping some things that smell a lot like toys and treats in a weird bag with a  bunch of tissue now. I love tissue.

I wait.
so tempt.

MOM #2. Is home. OMGOMGOMG. I  haven’t seen her in centuries. And doesn’t she know it’s my birthed day! I hope she knows. We must celebrate the life of DOBY!

By this time- my favorite meal of the day is ready! Dinner! Moms keep saying “plate for Doby.” I know what a plate is! I like plates! I want a plate for DOBY!


I loved my plate for Doby!

I think now that we have all eaten dinner it might be time to see what’s in the tissue bag.



I love rope toy.


Moms keep making me pose for more photos even though all I want to do is open the rest of the things in the tissue bag.

much excite to eat all of these toys… i mean treats

Wow. Now that all of that excitement is over. All I want to do is take all of my new toys to my bed. Chew them all (likely to bits) and then beg all night for all of my new treats.


I am done with stupid hat. Let me chew my toys in peace.



What I’ve Learned Being 24

Recently I celebrated a birthday… 25! Can’t even lie; it kinda crept up on me. Birthdays are a strange thing. It’s like “Hey- you were birthed ______ many years ago…Congrats!” Regardless, I always use my birthdays as an opportunity to reflect on the past year and create goals for the next.

24 was a HUGE year, full of love and opportunity and exploration. It was one of my favorite years so far.

Here are a bunch of lists inspired by my 24th year on this planet: 

Favorite 3 hobbies: 

  1. Refinishing Furniture: I mean, who doesn’t like making something old look new again. I’ll be writing a new post soon on the refinishing process and the tools I use! Stay Tuned!

  2. Socializing: I’ve always been an introvert (An extroverted introvert to be more specific), but lately, I’ve been trying to meet like-minded people and to my surprise, I’ve actually enjoyed it. I think the key in socializing as an introvert is to find the right people. For me, they are genuine, laid-back, non-materialistic people who I can laugh (and drink wine) with.
  3. Writing Class: I recently enrolled in a poetry class online through Algonquin and lemme tell ya, it’s been eye-opening. My prof doesn’t think twice before telling me what needs improvement in my writing, but he also gives me a lot of praise which is definitely great for my ego. It’s insightful to study all different forms of poetry and step out of my writing norm.

Top 3 books

  1. Katarina By James Frey: Say what you want about Frey being full of poop… He can write. This book creates an urgency of nostalgia gripping you right in the heartstrings. It outlines his experience as a young adult moving to Paris and becoming a writer. I definitely recommend for any artist! Sidenote: Steamy hetero romances that even I wasn’t repulsed by. 
  2. The Year of Cozy: So this book is literally the most adorable book ever. It’s a beautiful book filled with photos of cozy foods, crafts, and ideas. It’s visually stunning and definitely a must-have for home-bodies.
  3. First, We Make The Beast Beautiful : Just the title of this memoir gives me all sorts of feels. It truly is an inside look into the mind of someone who lives with anxiety. One of the truest and most relatable memoirs I’ve read thus far. It’s insightful, but not complain-y and has many tools listed to combat anxiety. Must have!

Top 2 Experiences:

  1. Our wedding. Hands down my favorite day I’ve had on this planet (besides maybe being birthed?) It was worth every sleepless night worrying about the minuscule details, the hours spent planning and contacting vendors and every single vendor who forgot to change their contracts to accommodate a 2 bride wedding. I wish I could re-live that day over and over. And believe me, in my head, I do. (Our photographer Lisa Provencal captures the most beautiful images! Check out her blog here.
    View More:
  2. Italy: As someone who lives with chronic anxiety/panic disorder, I was really nervous to fly across the ocean and visit somewhere I had never been. I mean- I get anxious just going to meet a friend for coffee… And here I was getting on a plane and flying across the ocean and then another plane from the Germany airport (which is fucking horrendous for anyone who hasn’t been… It is the physical form of anxiety), to Florence and then driving all over Italy. I learned a lot from this trip. Primarily I learned that I can’t run from Anxiety. It’s with me wherever I go, and there’s comfort in knowing that if I just sit with it, eventually it passes. I saw so much beauty in Italy as well…A beauty that I will always cherish and let inspire both my art and cooking.

Top Lesson Learned

This one is tough because I feel like I’m constantly learning lessons (usually the hard way). This year I think I really learned to listen to my body and understand what it truly needs. I’ve learned that the only person who can help me out of the dark days, is me. And that despite the love and support I receive from others, my mental wellness ultimately lies in my hands. I’ve learned that no one else can tell me what I should do to make me feel better (not even a therapist, though they can help). And that I truly know what I want and need, I just need to listen to my inner voice.

I have big goals for 25…but it could be 26. 😉 

  1. Write and publish my second book
  2. Explore Canada!
  3. Re-vamp my blog! (Details soon)


Good things are coming…



#WorldSuicidePreventionDay / Announcement

When the days feel like too much

When stepping out the front door feels like stepping outside of your skin

When you can’t wrap your head around the idea of fighting this for

one. more. second.


Today is an important day. The day where suicide prevention has a light beam right on it. The day where people, survivors and those struggling, can feel the care and compassion of the world around them. But, it’s also a very lonely day for those struggling silently.


Suicide prevention is a tricky topic that I won’t even pretend to fully fathom. But it has a special place in my heart. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and OCD (no it isn’t just washing your hands a lot) since I was in my pre-teens. I have slept days, weeks, months away. I have attempted suicide, been hospitalized and been to more therapists than I can remember. I have been medicated for over a decade. I have tried countless medications, supplements, dietary changes, and probably whatever else you can think of.

But, you know what I’ve found to be the most helpful? Community. Support. People with their arms wide open wanting to love me when I feel the most unlovable. But, it took a lot for me to get to a place where I will allow people to support me. Even now, my natural instinct is to struggle in silence. Which is why I write about it. Why I will continue to write about it. Because the silence is what takes lives. The lack of support, the lack of community, the inability to think anyone would stay around you seeing you at your most vulnerable.

So, here it is. My attempt at creating a tiny community of people who have fought like hell to get out of the depths of mental illness alive. I have connected with so many people since publishing my poetry collection Waves in 2017. My writing has given me a way to reach into the hearts and souls of others who have been caught in the undertow.

SO- this is my subtle announcement that I am officially writing my second book. I couldn’t think of a better day to announce it than a day that is dedicated to suicide prevention. I’ll write about my experiences for as long as I can in hopes that I can help break the silence so many of us still live in.

My hope for us all is that we keep connecting, keep reaching for help and keep riding the waves.

So much love.

Side Note:

Live it out. – This album has saved me so many times. My wife has these words tattooed on her wrist. These words are my whole heart.





Fall Bucket List

Fall is coming quickly. PSLs (Pumpkin Spiced Lattes) are already at Starbucks and I don’t feel ready for this! School starts in 3 days and soon the leaves will start falling and the best summer of my life so far will come to an end and I’ll have time to reflect and be truly thankful for it all.

With colder weather comes warm drinks, layers on layers, blanket scarves and beanies. Crisp mornings and the smell of winter coming will soon be here. I love fall. Like LOVE fall. It always feels kind of like a new beginning. I’m not sure if it’s because I work in a school, or because growing up each new school year came with some new clothes and a new chance to be who I wanted to be (I was a profound child)… But, even now it feels like a breath of fresh air.

This year, to help myself take full advantage of such a beautiful, but short season, I’m making a bucket list. Here it is!

Fall Bucket List

  • photograph the brilliant colors
  • take full advantage of the fall inspired drinks at Starbucks…
    TIP: if you can’t stand the sweetness of their pumpkin spice lattes, ask for it half sweet. I do half sweet & half-caf to avoid the jitters.
  • Have a little fall photo shoot
  • Cook fall-inspired meals. Here’s a dish I really want to try!
  • Bake fall-inspired treats! I love treats! & I love pumpkin. Like more than a normal person should. So I’m going to try and bake & freeze lots of yummy treats. Here’s one I can’t wait to bake.
  • Put together a fall-themed puzzle.
  • Make a fall inspired wreath 
  • Pick our pumpkins from a pumpkin patch
  • Go to a haunted house
  • Bake a pumpkin pie from scratch
  • watch as many Halloween movies as possible
  • Host a smores bonfire
  • Make caramel apples!
  • Start gratitude journalling in the spirit of Thanksgiving

I hope you’re all as excited for Fall as I am! & If you aren’t, try some of these fun things.



same life, different outlook

I haven’t written in… a while. To be more honest… It’s been months.

Usually, when I stop writing, it means I’m overwhelmed and cannot process my thoughts.

This time, I stopped writing because I was OVER processing my thoughts. I was so stuck in my head that I could barely live my life. I spent hours upon hours on the couch with Netflix blaring in the background as I ruminated about my life. Simple thoughts that usually only entered my brain for a few moments at most began to consume my being for days on end.

The last time I wrote, I was unknowingly on a one way train straight to the center of my anxiety. Last time I wrote, I thought I was okay. I mean, I was working, I was coping… But really, that’s all I was doing.

My days had 10 steps.

  1. Wake up
  2. Have panic attack about the day ahead
  3. drink copious amounts of caffeine
  4. go to work and try not to have a panic attack
  5. go home
  6. lay on the couch, watch Netflix, cook and try not to have a panic attack
  7. inevitably end up having a panic attack
  8. take Ativan
  9. go to sleep
  10. wake up 100 times during the night with racing thoughts.

And those 10 steps would repeat and repeat, each and every day. I slowly felt like I was losing control over my life. I wasn’t enjoying a single thing. I was isolating myself and was so consumed by my distorted thoughts. I started to wonder, “Is this going to be the rest of my life?”

Then, I made a hard choice… one of the hardest choices I’ve made in a long time. I reached out. As a mental health advocate- I so often stress the importance of reaching out. But, when it came time for me to do it… I was terrified. But, I did. I sought help. I took a sick leave from my job and dedicated myself to a new therapist who has helped me break free of the thoughts that consumed me and has taught me to acknowledge my emotions, but not give them more power than they deserve.

I also tried a few helping professionals who were… less than helpful. I tried new medications (or didn’t after doing research about the drugs that my doctor failed to provide information about). I altered my lifestyle.

And now, now I feel ready to write again. I am now in a place where my thoughts don’t take up 100% of my time; where I have room to truly live. I am so glad I made a hard choice and took the time I needed in order to continue recovering.

My days are a lot better now. They don’t have 10 steps. They aren’t mundane and isolated. They are more vibrant and connected. Or maybe, I am.



Books That Have Recently Changed My Life

Simply put- these books changed my outlook on life, my brain and my perception of absolutely everything.

I’ll keep this short and sweet.

  1. The Desire Map- Danielle LaPorte
    This book feels like a gift for my soul each time I open it. With words that I believe can ring true to any soul searcher, LaPorte invites you on a journey of creating a life you desire based on how you want to FEEl vs. what you want to DO/Accomplish.


    Buy it here

  2. Take Me With You- Andrea Gibson
    This book holds your hand during the worst of days. Filled with Gibson’s best, most raw and hopeful poems, it is sure to welcome you in for a warm embrace whenever you need it. Though many readers criticized Gibson for the “messy” format and grammatical incorrectness, I believe the heart and soul of these poems make up for it all 10 fold.  Bonus #1: Small enough to take everywhere. Bonus #2. Cute illustrations!

    Buy it here


    This book gives it to you straight- no bullshit/no dancing around the truth/ no sugar coating. Though Bishops “tough love” approach may not be for everyone, it was insightful and reaffirmed what I already believed- If you want it bad enough, you’ll go for it. If you don’t go for it, you don’t want it badly enough. A read that encouraged me to get out of the ruts and limitations that I set for myself.


Buy it here


What is a Mental Illness Relapse?

Note: This is hard to share so please, be kind.


These last few weeks (or if I’m going to be completely honest, months) have been extremely difficult. The trouble with mental illness is it is often times invisible. I have been “functioning.” I have been working, eating well, exercising and socializing (as much as I ever have at least). From the outside looking in, I likely appear to be completely fine- excelling even.

But, these last few months have been anything but easy. I have been struggling with extreme panic attacks (Some lasting hours on end). These panic attacks have impacted my ability to work, eat, leave the house, bond with loved ones… The panic has held me captive in fear that whatever I do will somehow ignite it and throw me into a hyper-sensitive state. My body is exhausted from constantly being in fight or flight mode.

The constant state of anxiety and panic has become a habit. As soon as my body perceives any sort of threat, it enters a state of panic. I have used CBT approaches and used positive self-talk but, the panic sets in so quickly, and once it’s started, it’s hard to stop.

These past few weeks, I have had trouble eating, sleeping…functioning in general. My body, despite my efforts to calm it, has been constantly shaky, clammy, and jittery. It’s comparable to the feeling of drinking 5 cups of coffee. My eyes jolt around the room constantly and despite my efforts to nourish my body- it rejects most food. I have isolated myself in my room, barely leaving it for days on end.

So…What do I believe to be a mental health relapse?

  • thought patterns you’ve previously had (ie: I don’t deserve love, I’m a burden)
  • body patterns you’ve previously experienced (ie: constant panic).
  • Inability to ground yourself
  • A constant feeling of being “out of body”
  • Feeling like you aren’t yourself
  • A feeling of loss of control of one’s life

What fueled my mental illness relapse? 

  • High energy work environment (by energy I mean the energies we can sense)
  • Illness in the family (anyone close to me being sick triggers my PTSD and issues with loss and loss of control)
  • Overwork: I have trouble with balance. When I feel good- I feel really good. And when I feel that way I try to fit in as much as possible. But, I think I need to work on finding a balance to reduce the likelihood of burnout and relapse.
  • Life changes: I’m getting married in the summer (which I’m ecstatic about.) But with life changes, comes fear and anxiety as well as obligations to please others. All of which I find trigger my anxiety.
  • Alcohol: I know it worsens my mental illness, but I have been drinking it after work as a quick fix to forget the day/ dull the anxiety.

How can I heal?

I have a fairly extensive plan to heal. I am now noticing that I have a lot of unresolved issues that are making it hard to TRULY move past trauma’s I’ve experienced. My plan includes but is not limited to:

  • Taking time off work to be able to see specialists including a panic disorder specialist.
  • Seeing my family doctor more regularly
  • Getting referred by my family doctor to a psychiatrist at the Royal Ottawa.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption.
  • Getting back on track with nourishing my body (even when it’s hard to eat)
  • Exercising (low impact to keep heart rate down to avoid my body confusing it with panic and going into fight or flight mode)… complicated right?
  • Access online counseling when I am unable to make an appt. with my regular counselor
  • Making regular counseling appointments… not just going when shit hits the fan.
  • Pulling people closer when I’m struggling instead of isolating and secluding myself.
  • Surrounding myself with people who understand.
  • Focus on pleasing myself, instead of others. Create a life I want.

All in all, living in my body is hard right now. But, I am determined to fight this. To heal my body from the inside out and to create a life that allows time for mental health maintenence.

I hope you’re all doing well, and I hope to be posting more now that I seem to be coming out of the dark place I’ve been in.




Why Changing What I Eat is The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done For My Mental Health

*Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional and in no way am encouraging others to try any of the products/supplements I mention until they consult with their doctor.

Recently I’ve drastically changed what I’m consuming. Not to say I was eating complete garbage before…but I wasn’t eating what my body needed. I’d fill my body full of carbs when I was stressed or emotional, go hours without eating and then binge out of starvation. I ate tiny meals with little to no fat and not nearly enough protein. I didn’t eat nearly enough vegetables and loaded up on sugary fruits. I’d snack late at night on chips and chocolate and other packaged foods. Wine became a nightly ritual (more than 1 glass). And, water was simply something I showered in.

Not to mention the fact that despite taking Zoloft daily to help me manage my anxiety/depression, I didn’t take any other supplements or medications. I was wary of them, to be honest. I thought the die-hard health nuts who lived on water, supplements, and veggies were insane. I still kind of do. But, I can truly say I have never felt better than I do now.

I visited a naturopath recently who has completely inspired me to change my life from the inside out. Not only did she analyze my eating patterns, mood instability, sleep, emotions, and skin…She got an in-depth, clear view of who I am and what food meant (means) to me.

After spilling my life story to her, including my deep-dark secrets involving binge-eating foods that didn’t serve me, she provided me with a solid plan to help heal the parts of my body that were suffering.

Firstly, she informed me that my adrenal glands were exhausted and overworked which caused symptoms such as carb & sweet cravings, dizziness, poor sleep and fuzzy thinking, to mention a few. She helped me understand how sugar and caffeine (even in tiny amounts) were directly impacting my stress levels and causing my adrenal glands to overproduce cortisol (think fight or flight…all of the time). She prescribed me a supplement used to help combat daily stress using “stress adapting botanicals.”

Next, we focussed on my skin, which was dull and lacking moisture even in the Summer months. She informed me I wasn’t consuming nearly enough (healthy) fats and oils. Simple as that. Along with my habit of only drinking like 1 glass of water daily. She encouraged me to add healthy fats (such as coconut oil and avocado’s) to my meals daily and drink water almost constantly. I have already begun to see improvements in my skin such as less flaky dry skin. She also prescribed a high-grade Omega oil that I now take daily.

We also dove into my panic attacks that have worsened over the last few years (since starting College.) We discovered that my eating habits drastically changed after I started college because convenience trumped healthy and, let’s be honest, I was broke. My caffeine consumption also increased drastically when I started college. The habits I formed in college kind of just stuck with me even after I graduated and began my career.

She also outlined the dangers of eating sugar in excess when you suffer from anxiety/panic and strongly encouraged me to eat as little sugar (especially processed) as possible. She also prescribed an amazing supplement packed with L-Theanine to help combat panic when it comes on. I was super unconvinced when she prescribed it. As someone who has tried Attivan in different doses without any relief, I strongly doubted a supplement would be able to give me any relief. But, during a panic attack, I took one of the prescribed supplements and almost instantly stopped shaking and could feel my nervous system calming. I felt slightly sleepy and my thoughts stopped racing.

When we began talking about my sleep and how it has been disturbed for nearly my entire life and prescription sleep aids never provided much relief, she immediately mentioned my cortisol levels again. She prescribed magnesium which decreases the stress hormone and also helps tense muscles relax. It has provided me more relief than any prescription sleep aid ever has!

Additional supplements she prescribed me include Vitamin D drops and Vitamin B complexes.

As for my “diet” which I’ve started calling my fuel…It’s simple. I eat protein, a lot of it. I also load up on vegetables with each meal instead of carbs. I eat carbs that contain protein such as Quinoa. I consume dairy in moderation and try to buy organic meat to avoid excess hormones. I also add healthy fats to each meal. I’ve also started to incorporate a lot of nuts/nut butter and seeds into my diet.

A daily meal plan looks like:

Morning Smoothie (Supplements= Adrenal Vive, Vitamin B complex)
1 large handful spinach
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut oil
A small handful of berries
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tbsp Chia seeds
1 scoop of protein powder. This one of my ultimate favorite!
*Bonus: 1 tbsp of acai berry powder

Grapes with walnuts

Spinach and Kale salad topped with protein such as salmon or chicken with pumpkin seeds, avocado and any other veggies you like.

Coconut yogurt topped with a few berries, hemp seeds and a drizzle of agave.

Dinner (Supplement: Vitamin D drops, Omega oil)
Cabbage, onion, garlic and rapini skillet with organic sausage.

Bedtime Snack (Supplements: Magnesium)
Anything I desire as long as it doesn’t have a lot of sugar.

So, in short, I now eat a bunch of vegetables, little sugar, little caffeine, lots of healthy fat and protein and lots of water!

I hope this helps anyone who’s considering visiting a naturopath. I can’t recommend it more!

Additional Readings:

How to Tell If Your Adrenals Are Fatigued (Plus 7 Ways To Support Them)-This website is gold!

What Are The Causes Of Adrenal Fatigue?

11 Steps To Rebuild Your Relationship With Food

Happy Healing Everyone. Hug your body it may not be perfect, but it’s the only one you’ve got.  xo









My Top 3 Natural Remedies for Anxiety

I’ve experienced and struggled with anxiety since I was a child. Through lots of research and trial and error, I’ve found strategies and remedies for managing it.

*Note: These remedies aren’t in replacement of medications, they simply may aid in highly anxious times. I use these remedies on top of my medication as “spot treatment.”

  1. Magnesium: I take it twice per day typically. Once when I’m experiencing heightened anxiety and once before I go to sleep. It aids in insomnia relief, anxiety and relieves muscle aches and spasms. I take Magnesium by Pure Lab. They are a bit pricey but so worth the money!
  2. The Relax-O-Ring from Saje Wellness. I use it when I’m feeling anxious or having trouble focussing. The ring stimulates pressure points and feels amazing!
  3. Stress Relief Tension Reducing Remedy From Saje is my daily go-to. I use it on my way to work, during work, when I get home, during yoga- anytime I experience stress. The smell is grounding and now I associate it with calmness. I roll it on my wrists and behind my neck so I can smell it subtly throughout the day.

I hope you all can find these helpful. If I could recommend 1, I’d recommend the Relax-O-Ring. Under $5.00 and so effective!

Have a calm week, everyone.





I always look forward to #BellLetsTalk day. A day where everyone makes kind posts and offers their support and love for those who struggle with mental illness. Seeing all of the inspiring pictures and glimpses into the lives of friends and acquaintances I didn’t know struggle(d) makes me feel both comfort and heartbreak in knowing I’m not alone.

Though so many people show support for those struggling with mental illness, I believe the stigma surrounding medication is still so strong. I’ve taken medication for over a decade. And, even I have internalized guilt and judgments around medications. Not because I think they don’t help people or because I think people who take them are weak… simply because I wish I didn’t have to take them. I have no problem opening up and talking about my experience with clinical depression and anxiety disorders. But, I seem to have some sort of barrier when it comes to discussing my true experiences with medications to help manage my mental illness.

My Experience With Medication (Anti-Depressants/SSRI’s) 

As of now, I am on 100mg of Zoloft per day. My highest dose was 150mg per day and my lowest was 50 mg per day… At my lowest dose, I spiraled into a depressive episode where I couldn’t leave my house and was afraid to go to work. At my highest dose, I felt like a zombie with no ambition and suicidal thoughts entered my mind again. This is what people don’t think of- that even when on medication, suicidal thoughts may still be present and finding the right dose is excruciating and comes with a handful of side-effects, sometimes almost as bad as the mental illness.

Consider the side effects of any medication. Now consider the effects of a medication that directly affects your brain chemistry. Not to mention how hard it is for some of us to find a medication that actually helps. I tried nearly 10 different combinations of anxiety medications and anti-depressants before finally trying Zoloft. I’ve also been prescribed Ativan for panic attacks and a few different sleeping pills.  Through trial and error, I’ve found what seems to help me. Unfortunately, there’s no handbook to finding the right medication.

Although I truly believe medication has saved my life, I still suffer from side effects such as: dizziness, changes in weight (weight loss when I go to higher doses), shakiness and overall dullness. But, without it, the side effects of my mental illness are far worse.

****This being said, please please please give extra support to those who are sharing their choice to use medication to manage their mental illness. It isn’t easy to admit in a society that promotes all natural remedies. Though those can be helpful for some people/illnesses, they aren’t always enough.