Travelling Pants

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Pants – Zara, Jacket – Armani Exchange, Bag – Michael Kors, Sunglasses – Ray-ban, Shoes – Zara, Tank Top – Joe Fresh, Photography by – Sok Duong Photography

This weekend I’m travelling to Austin Texas with a few girlfriends for a bachlorette party.  Looking so forward to getting a break from all this snow and having a little adventure with the girls.  Stay tuned for details from the trip in my future posts.

Looking at the temperature it’s not as warm as I expected but still warmer than here.  This has made me rethink on what I am going to pack.  I may not be wearing shorts or summer wear.  That doesn’t mean I have to compromise on style.

I personally love animal print and have a few bold pieces in my closet.  Love this outfit because it’s comfortable, stylish and stands out.  It really makes my personal style shine.  Not to mention very comfortable to travel in.  The pants feel like pyjamas.

This outfit is very functional.  You could wear it to the office, shopping (well if you’re brave enough to wear animal print pants), travelling, a night out with the girls or a dinner date with your sweetie.

For me it’s important to take risks in fashion and getting out of my comfort zone.

Don’t be afraid to take risks in life and fashion!

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different”  Coco Chanel

Reet  xoxo

 

Let’s Talk

This is a topic very important to me.  I feel Mental illness is something people feel embarrassed and ashamed to talk about.  It is also very misunderstood.

As a teen and much of my 20’s I struggled with depression and anxiety on and off.  For the most part I suffered in silence.  I thought it was just who I was.  I’m just an emotional person that’s up and down all the time.   I would always put on a brave front and everyone thought of me as this very happy person.  Don’t get me wrong I am that person too but there was another side that most people never knew about.  As time went on my ups were so high where life felt amazing and wonderful but my lows were unbearable that it prevented me from not wanting to get out of bed, going to work or deal with life.

I was very much embarrassed in my teens and 20’s to talk about how I felt because I didn’t understand it myself.  Also no one talked about it and if they did it was comments like “you’re crazy”, “you’re over thinking it”  “you’re used to always being stressed”, ” you’re over thinking it and making it worse than it is” or “it’s just in your head”. No one wants to admit or feel like you’re crazy.  You start thinking and beleiving it’s all in your head and it’s normal to feel like this.  Something is wrong with me that is what I really thought.  It actually got to a point where I had to take time off work because I thought I was going to have a mental break down.  I am very grateful I had this opportunity and that I worked for a company at the time that allowed me to help myself.  Please understand that the time that I was off was not a vacation.  After I got past the guilt for taking the time off and getting over the fear of what people would say, I started to dive in and get the help I needed.  I chose what worked for me which was therapy.  I went a couple times a week along with educating myself on trauma, depression and mental illness.  It can cause your body to actually start shutting down without your control.  At one point I thought there was something physically wrong with my body.  I was getting chest pains and tightness in my chest.  This is when I learned I was suffering from anxiety attacks.  The smallest things would start giving me panic attacks and anxiety, to the point I started to close myself off from the people closest to me.

I am writing this piece from my own experience.  I’m not an expert or phycologist.  All I know is how I felt and what I went through.  Also I got through it and it helped me.  This is not advise, it’s my story.

I do not down play medication as it is an important part of helping with mental health and many illnesses.  It is important to combine therapy with medication.  I know I don’t do well with medication.  I personally need to talk through my problems and needed to understand what was happening and learn the skills to equip myself with the tools to help myself in the future.  I learned how to read the signs when I was starting to fall into a pattern of a down hill spiral before it turned into full blown depression.  I learned what triggered these events and to get past it I had to do the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  I had to confront and face demons that I didn’t want to, that had been buried for so long that I barely remembered they existed.  At times it got worse than better and thought I wouldn’t survive it.

It’s unbelievable how our mind tries to protect us by blocking things from our memory.  I was so terrified but with the support of my therapist and my loving husband (who was my fiancee at the time) and an amazing support group of people in  my life I faced some of my darkest demons.  Something I never thought I had in me to do.

The reason I am sharing this is maybe there is someone out there that may be going through a hard time or in a dark place and doesn’t know what to do and feels alone.  Please remember you’re not alone.      There are so many of us that have been in that dark hole or also going through it.  You have to believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel and help is available.  It’s not always easy to find that help at times.  Remember!!!  Do not give up on yourself.  It may feel like it is out of your control  Go and see your doctor, don’t take no for an answer.  Many times when I called the doctors office they did not have an appointment for me.  I understand they are very busy and have to see lots of sick people everyday.  Some times you have to speak up and take your health into your own hand.  The receptionist at the doctors office (through no fault of her own) doesn’t understand how serious your illness is.   I felt embarrassed telling her what was wrong with me.  I wanted to share this information only with my doctor but she wouldn’t give me an appointment unless I told her.  It took me getting very upset and yelling “I feel like killing myself”, “I’m going crazy” for her to take me seriously.  This was not a joking matter.  I felt horrible saying that to her but it was true.  I didn’t know what else to do.  During this time I tried to call lots of help lines and looked for what help was out there. I’m sad to say it is not easily available.  I was lucky I had decent benefits at this time.  In my 20’s I had no benefits and very little money.  I was very much alone in figuring it out.

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I am happy we have a health care system but it is far from perfect and has a lot of holes in it.  It’s our responsibility to keep pushing our government to make it better.  When I had to wait over 2 weeks for an appointment to see my doctor, especially when I didn’t think I would make it another day was not easy.  Sometimes you have to scream until you’re heard.  It’s your job to take care of yourself and put you first.

I think it needs to be part of our school curriculum  in health class.  Mental illness needs to be discussed more at a younger age.  In some cases maybe experts should be utilized rather than the teacher who may not feel comfortable discussing this topic as they may not have enough knowledge.  Mental illness is becoming a larger issue as the years go on.  More and more people suffer from it.  It’s time we address it and take a closer look.  More lives could be saved.  January 28th is Mental illness awareness day.  Something that never existed a few years ago.  We’ve already come so far and let’s keep going.  Friends, family, acquaintances let’s talk.  Don’t suffer in silence.  Believe you’re worth it and you deserve to feel better.

Thanks for listening.  I’m always happy to see become more aware of so many illnesses that are misunderstood.  Let’s educate ourselves and help save lives.

Reet

success-factor

Getting Back into the Swing of Things After the Holidays!!!

WOW!!! I can’t believe it’s already  almost half way through January.  The holidays seemed so long ago already.

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Even though 2014 has already been pretty busy it took me a few weeks to get back into the swing of things after I caught the flu on Christmas Eve.

I really had to kick my butt in gear and get on track to accomplishing my goals for 2014.  No time to waste!!!  It really wasn’t as easy as I thought it was gonna be, especially with the crazy cold spell we had in the last couple week with temperatures reaching -40 degrees.  I didn’t even want to leave my house.

It had been over 3-4 weeks since I had been to the gym.  I took a few days off before the holidays to get things done I told myself.  Really I just didn’t want to go and needed a little break.  Some times that’s ok if it’s only a couple days.  Before long it became weeks.  You may think what’s the big deal.  You missed some days.  Well for me it is an important part of my life.  If I fall off my routine I can very quickly completely stop going and get distracted.  Especially since I’m not working at the moment, it really helps me to keep my spirits up and stay motivated. When I don’t go to the gym my back starts to bother me and everything feels weak and sore.  Not to mention my mood is horrible.  I get pretty crusty, just ask my husband.

I went back to the gym last week Monday and Tuesday.  This week I feel more like myself.  Not that it was easy.  My body was swearing at me all week.  I was barely able to sit on the toilet!  It was worth it after the initial pain wore off.  I just have to make it through the first couple weeks.  It’s amazing what the body is capable off.

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Left: Bathing suit – Winners, Right: Victoria Secret

The picture on the left was taken last February in Costa Rica it was 6 months after I had started to work out.  I had already come so far in getting fit and was happy with my results.  After further hard work over the winter and pushing myself, I got into the best shape I have ever been in.  The picture on the right was taken in July.  Looking at these pics keeps me focused and motivated.  It’s a reminder for me I can do anything I put my mind to.

It is really important for me to get back into a routine.  Especially not working right now, it is easy to be complaisant and become unmotivated and lazy.  Having a routine always helps me feel like I accomplish what I need to do and gives me  a purpose.  One of the hardest things I struggle with while I’m not working is not having a purpose in life and not getting any self satisfaction.

Wether you like your job or not it still gives you a reason to get up every day and go and be a part of something, contribute your knowledge and energy to something positive.  That’s how I used to feel.  I showed up and did what I was suppose to do.  I’m a pretty social person so that part of it was very important for me  to be interacting with customers and colleagues.

When you have no where to be because you’re not working you can easily start sleeping in and not want to get out of bed and go out of your house.  The cold winter doesn’t make it any easier.  It is important to force your self to make a plan and follow it.  No matter how small or insignificant it may seem to you it will still make you feel better than locking yourself in your home.

I have started to create a schedule for myself.  I put my alarm clock on and get to one of the early classes at the gym so I don’t let myself sleep the day away.  Then I apply for jobs and look for opportunities.  It is really important for my moral to physically get out.  It also opens up potential networking opportunities with people I may meet.  After that I plan to give myself an hour of writing for my blog.

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Last week I didn’t post because I was really disappointed because I didn’t get the funding from the government to go back to school.  I quickly got over it and decided I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of furthering my education.  So I signed up for 2 night classes at McMaster University through their continuing education program.  I had my first class Tuesday.  It was Organizational Behaviour.  Really going to be a great class.  Looking forward to it.  My second class is Marketing and really see the importance of this class especially right now.  My plan is to take 3 more courses from May to August and complete my Business Administration Certificate.  Now I need to buckle down and get focused and do well in these courses.  School always made me nervous and I found it difficult.  Sometimes the most rewarding things are the difficult ones I have to keep reminding myself.

I realized sometimes you just have to not over think things and just do it. I waste too much time just thinking when I could actually be living and doing.

I am not the greatest with study habits.  So I would love some advise.    What works for you when you study?  Do you have any ideas you would like to share?  I would really appreciate it.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”  -Nelson Mandela

 

CHALLENGING YOURSELF

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This picture was taken a few years ago when we went to Toronto School of Circus Arts for a girlfriends birthday. Such an amazing experience.

Happy New Year to all!!!  I’m pretty excited to be starting this new journey on writing my own blog.  This blog is meant to be a lifestyle blog to document my life, what I go through, my interests and passions.  It will have lots of fashion, travel, food on it but I also really want to touch on serious topics.  It all depends on my mood and what I am going through in my life.

2013 was an interesting year for me full of ups and downs.  I really focused a lot of time on getting to know myself better, putting me first, by getting healthy mentally and physically.  In September of 2012 I quit smoking and challenged myself to get healthy.  I’m not gonna lie, one of the main reasons I started to workout was because I was concerned I would gain lots of weight when I quit smoking.  In my previous experience when I tried quitting smoking I gained weight.  I would start to crave food to replace the nicotine cravings and found I would give into the cravings.  It was a difficult thing for me to do as I quit cold turkey.  That’s my personality to just dive in head first and do it, but I know it is not always possible. Going to the gym became an obsession to keep my mind off smoking. I set some goals for myself.  I wanted to build more muscle and lean out.  I also started with a 21 day meal plan that a personal trainer friend of mine made for me.  It consisted of no gluten, dairy, refined sugars.  I ate egg white omelettes, salads, protein shakes, chicken, turkey and all sorts of green vegetables.  Along with the meal plan I worked out 5-6 days a week.  I did circuit training and kickboxing.  It wasn’t easy but I stuck to it.  This was the kick start I needed.  I was exhausted, sore and craved sugar (which is my weakness cause I’ve got a bad sweet tooth).  No matter what, I kept going.  After the meal plan was complete I had lost about 5-7 pounds and started to notice a change in my body.  It was just the encouragement I needed and made me just want to work out harder and eat better.  Around this time I found out about the paleo way of life and liked most of it so started following it.  I was careful because I didn’t want to become extreme in what I ate.  The thing that was important to me was balance.  I wanted to be able to eat really well and healthy 80 percent of the time and still enjoy the treats in life like wine, chocolate and foods that I love.  So that is what I did for the next year and half.  I started to get stronger and was able to lift heavier weights, do more push-ups,  burpees and things I thought were impossible.  I completely changed my eating and fitness.  In return I lost weight (even though it wasn’t my main purpose) and became lean and muscular.  It showed me I was capable of anything I put my mind too.

COOTES PARADISE, HAMILTON
COOTES PARADISE, HAMILTON

I found out in March of 2013 that the company I worked for was acquired by another company and I would be getting a package.  They let me work until the end of June and at that point they payed me severance.  It was definitely a shock to me.  I had so many emotions over the next few months sad, mad, lost and even cried because I didn’t know what to do with my life next.  I have worked since 14 years of age so I felt lost.  Even though it wasn’t personal it felt personal to me.  I had to really remind myself that it wasn’t my fault and I was a great employee and this was business.  I took the summer to really soul search to find a new career path.  I didn’t want to go after the same jobs I have done in the past.  My heart wasn’t really in it. The summer was full of travel with girlfriends and enjoyed a few  weddings including my best friend’s whose wedding I was in.  I continued to look for work in the summer in fields I had experience; customer service, project management and administration.  The thing I found hard was figuring out what I really wanted to do with my life.  I had so many ideas going through my head, also had lots of opinions from others on what they thought I would be good at.  As much as I appreciated it I felt overwhelmed and lost.  So I did all the webinars that were available to me, networked and put the word out that I was looking for work.  I am still currently looking for work but decided to fill some of my time and energy with this blog.  I am not by any means a writer but want to improve my skills.  It is good therapy also.

I have applied for a  government program to go back to school for management.  I am still waiting to hear back on if I get funded or not.  Fingers crossed!!! So the ending of 2013 was not the easiest as I had to constantly remind myself to not give up and stay focused because the right opportunity is out their and I will find it.  I wanted to find something that I love to do.  I refuse to settle.  It is important to me to find my passion.  This is a big part of why I started a blog.  I know it will challenge me to start taking more risks and get out of my comfort bubble that I have been living in.   I had read somewhere that we have to make ourselves uncomfortable to grow.  I had gotten in such a comfortable routine that I really stopped challenging myself.  Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with comfortable but not if I want to keep growing.  I don’t want to become paralyzed by fear and routine.   That is exactly what I felt was happening.  I am determined to find a career that makes me happy but I also get something out of it.  It’s important to me to have a place where you give back but also get back satisfaction in return. I have never been scared to dream big but somewhere along the line I thought it was ok to only dream about it. That is not me I want to make my dreams a reality.  I know anything worth having does not always come easy but I am so ready to do what I have to do to make it happen.

TORONTO CNE
TORONTO CNE

Its been my dream to travel as long as I can remember to take a trip to Europe and i am hoping to be able to achieve that this year with my husband.

I am planning on taking some courses to keep my brain growing and learn more.  Knowledge is power and I want to make sure I equip myself with the tools for the future.

I also keep pushing myself physically to stay active.  It’s become my lifestyle.  It keeps me motivated and helps me to keep a routine, not to mention all the health benefits.  Working out is a great way to relieve stress and get focused for me.

I may not be a writer and have waited long enough to pursue my dreams.  Today I take back my life and go for it.  Putting myself out there.  Taking more risks is one of my main resolutions and not let fear control me or prevent me from my goals.  I love the quote below, it really struck a chord with me:

“Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

Tell me about some of your goals this year?  What are you planning to do to get out of your comfort zone?

PARK IT

I really enjoy fashion so my sweet friend Sok Duong did a photo shoot with me at Gage park in Hamilton.  It was such a beautiful fall day to be outside.  I enjoyed pairing a pair of shorts made of thick material with some ankle boots and a fur vest.  You can update this outfit with a pair of black leggings and even higher boots.  It all depends on the weather and your mood.  Looking forward to writing more outfit posts.

Outfit details: Shorts, shirt, boots – Winners, Fur Vest – Michael Kors (Last year) Sun glasses – Armani Exchange, Watch – Michael Kors, bracelets – Tiffany & Co., black leather bracelet – Decoresque

HARBOUR FRONT

I love to play around and why not look good while having some fun.  I love leather and think this skirt is so appropriate for work, night out with girls, dinner date.  I’ve even worn it to a baby shower.  When it comes to fashion I don’t put limits on myself.  It’s a way to express yourself.  I use my body as a canvas to display how I’m feeling.  I personally enjoy wearing bolder pieces that make me stand out.

Outfit Details: Leather Skirt – Winners, Shirt – Club Monaco, Shoes – Michael Kors, Watch – Michael Kors, Bracelets – Tiffany & Co., Sunglasses – Bvlgari, Purse – Delux from Barney’s

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