I know this one isn’t particularly juicy (other than that…JUICE bahahahahahahaha [sorry]) but as those of you who’ve been reading for awhile know, despite being really quite steadfastly healthy and disciplined in all areas of my well-being, I’ve had persistent digestive ailments for about 6 years now. At best, they’re an annoyance that I work around – at worst, they can cause a lot of physical and emotional distress. I’ve gotten good at managing it over the years but I finally decided that I just didn’t feel like dealing with it period anymore.
I’m still on a journey learning about my body but one of my 2014 goals was to take my health seriously, and take it seriously I did. I rounded up a team of incredible health professionals (if you’re in Van, this is my acupuncturist, my naturopath and my physiotherapist) and I researched, studied and tried out new things with such fervour that it’s honestly developed into one of my greatest passions.
I actually just had one of the most revealing and insightful appointments of my life yesterday and it’s put me on track to finally get a real handle if not resolve everything in 2015. What’s that old expression again? Health is wealth? Well, if 2014 has been any indication, even if you’re working out five times a week, eating all the right things and sleeping well, if your body is still going on the fritz every now and then, it means it’s trying to tell you something. I’m excited to tune in more to what my body’s telling me in 2015 and to make my health even more of a focus in the new year because nothing is as important as your health – when you look after yourself and take a proactive role in your well-being, you’re not only serving yourself, but everyone else around you, particularly your loved ones.
Getting together with some of my favourite girlfriends and collaborators, seeing the synergetic creative collaboration happen between photographers, event stylists, bloggers, etc at work and getting to see it all shared digitally at the end is honestly up there in terms of my favourite things about blogging. Blogging has afforded me the chance to get creative, to push my boundaries and to try new things – I’m so grateful for the different opportunities I had to do just that in 2014!
And of course, one of my absolute favourite ways to collaborate creatively is with brands or companies who have a vision and who hand the reins over to me to articulate it. Whether it’s an ongoing Robson Life campaign, hosting a spring event with J.Crew or working on a T-shirt line with eLUXE, I honestly can’t express enough how much I value the brands that have stuck with me over the years and how they allow me to creatively express what their brand message means to me.
I know, I know – it’s not exactly a momentous day or event or even a trip. But this summer will always stand out in my memory as the summer when I had quit my job, blogged often, hit the beach most every day, got back into swimming (the sport I most missed!), went to the cabin as much as I could, played guitar quite literally till my fingers bled (shout out to my high school alum Bryan Adaaaaams), and just all in all got back to what I love so much about life. Sometimes it’s as simple as that…a period when you loved life and for that period, it loved you right back. Hoping to make more of these sweet, simple periods happen in my life in 2015.
And speaking of sweet and simple, if there’s anywhere I feel most rested, joyful and rejuvenated, it’s Maui. Have been going for years but that still won’t stop me from including this particularly amazing trip away with friends for one of my favourite girl’s wedding. From becoming BFF’s with “Justincredible”, who cut his head open trying to show us repeatedly how he can open a coconut from the back of his truck with his head (such a highlight), to embarking on the Road to Hana again to my friend’s beyond stunning wedding to beach runs with two of my besties, it was honestly a trip I’ll always remember.
I honestly was scared shitless for this trip. I had moved away and lived other places before, travelled pretty extensively and felt like this whole thing would be a breeze. But when I finally booked my ticket, and especially when I finally hopped all on my lonesome on the plane to London, I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I hadn’t planned anything. I had two whole months stretched ahead of me with zero agenda. It was exciting but at the onset, it was also pretty nerve wracking. My family, friends, boyfriend, home, everything was growing miles and miles further away from me.
But as it turns out, scaring yourself shitless is a really the best way to start an adventure. What would an adventure be without a bit of nerves, a bit of fear? I forget the exact expression but I’ve read that fear is really just excitement without the breath. So true. Once I learned to breathe again after the jet lag wore off after a couple days, it was honestly the most exciting trip of my life and quite frankly, life-changing.
I like to think of myself as a pretty independent person but this really tested it, and tested who I am as a person in general, leading me to either recognize strength and positivity I didn’t even know I had while also feeling okay to finally say bye to some traits that really don’t serve me well anymore, like a capacity to judge a situation/person quickly or a certain reservation to open up immediately.
I could go on forever but to wrap up what I learned on the trip, I would say this: people are intrinsically good. I got seriously saved, helped or cheered up by complete strangers more times than I can count. It made me realize how much good there really is in the world. For whatever reason I have issues with trust and this taught me to not only trust those that have earned it, but with only a few exceptions, to try to trust everyone and life in general a bit more. I also learned and fully appreciated just how important it is to not wait around on your dreams. I know this is stating the obvious but I truly realized that time goes by so fast while travelling because every day is packed full, every day you’re seeing so much, meeting so many amazing people and having so many experiences – and those days quite literally go by in a flash. It took me two years to finally book this trip and I wish I had just gotten over the fear and stopped making excuses (not enough money saved, not the right time to quit my job, etc) and just done it. From now on, if I get clear on a dream, I’m going to just go ahead and do it. With a few very obvious exceptions, I really do believe that that gnawing mixture of fear and nerves in your gut when you think of something you really want to do but that requires a certain leap of faith…well, that fear is just a sign that this thing is going to be really good. Life is short, take the leap.
Speaking of taking the leap, as much as I loved the people I worked with and the company I worked for, I had a sense a couple months before finally leaving my job that if I was going to be young and foolish, now was the time to do it. I had always been very ambitious and very regimented in going after my dreams, but quite frankly, all of the dreams I allowed myself to focus on were career-related. How boring! I finally realized that if I wanted to have any juicy details to tell when I’m in my old age (if I’m fortunate enough to get there), I can’t just rely on all of my dumb teenage and university exploits. I had to get out there and start chasing after my dreams that were more about personal fulfillment than my career.
Yes, quitting my job allowed me to focus on the blog full-time which has been a great learning experience and such a wonderful opportunity, but more than anything, it allowed me to escape for months to Europe. As much as I love what I do, I’ve gotta say that letting myself live out a dream that had absolutely nothing to do with my professional advancement and everything to do with just living life to the fullest has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I had stuck with my job, as much as I loved it and the team. Finally quitting was incredibly hard and I definitely bawled my eyes out in front of my boss (not recommended). I thought everyone would hate me and that I was letting down the team, but ultimately, it led to such a personally fulfilling experience that I would do all over again.
And on a side note, I still love popping in and visiting everyone at my old workplace, and in a lot of ways still think of myself as being part of the team, particularly because they’re still so warm and welcoming. So the main lesson I learned: if it’s right for you, usually, everyone else will also see that and be happy for you (which they were!).
After coming home from Europe and then jetting off to Toronto immediately afterwards, I felt pretty depleted. I was coming off of the high of two back-to-back experiences and had seen so much, learned so much and discovered so much about myself. I kind of expected to come back and just get in the swing of things but completely unexpectedly, I felt this strange resistance in me when I sat back down in front of my laptop. Don’t get me wrong – I still love what I do, love this blog and I still unequivocally know that what I want to do is to communicate creatively in a digital space. But I realized that after months of self-discovery, something in me had realized that something was missing. Quite frankly, while I think I’m discovering what it is, I’m still working on fleshing out a new vision. But it’s exciting – it’s a chance to start a new chapter, to add more soul into what I do and to begin a fresh adventure.
In order to get to this new, more enlightened space though, from about mid-October to early-December, I had to do a lot of soul searching. If you go off to Bali and sit on the beach and soul search, it can be kind of restful and peaceful. But when you’re back home after the experience of a lifetime and without any warning, all of a sudden find yourself having to reassess things for the sake of your sense of worth and happiness…well, it’s important to do, but it’s not really a fun mental exercise. But to get to an exciting new place, sometimes you have to go through a little period of dark – you probably wouldn’t have guessed it from my posts over the course of this fall and winter, but it definitely felt rough and I was in a certain amount of mental anguish during those months. About a few weeks ago though, new perspectives, new directions and most excitingly, new visions formed. Like so much in life, looking back in retrospect now, this was a very, very important part of the year, and one I’m extraordinarily grateful I had the time to truly experience fully because it’s led to something really exciting and important for me to do.
Since then, the blog has been my diary, my compass and my platform for that exact objective, while also evolving into something I never really planned for it to be – a new career opportunity in and of itself. I never intended for this to be a personal style space, and I certainly never thought I would be putting my own creative visual content up here. If you had told the Psych grad wrapping up her last year of uni 5 years ago what this little virtual career diary would become, she wouldn’t have believed you. But the blog did evolve into so much more and it has more than served its initial purpose of helping me charter a path in the fashion industry.
I’m now at a different crossroads again, but one that’s more marked by the need to think big, to integrate more of myself into what I do and to look towards something more exciting, more emboldening and bigger than just me. As I’ve said before in the months prior to this, you can expect more of my passions popping up on To Vogue or Bust – on top of fashion, fitness, health, music, career advice, etc will also continue to be more integrated. But 2015 will also mark a big beginning for me and I’m really excited about it.
So with that likely frustratingly vague conclusion, I just want to take a moment to say thank you. I wish I could be saying this in person so you could get creeped out by me hugging you and being overly affectionate as I can sometimes be, because then you might get a better sense of just how much I appreciate each and every one of you. I can’t stress enough the many, many positive ways that you’ve positively impacted my life. I have met a lot of my readers in person and without exception, I want to be friends with each and every one of them. You’re all such cool, savvy and awesome ladies and it makes me feel honoured beyond belief that you take time to read the random things that I like to share. Thank you for sharing this journey with me, for sharing your own life with me and for making this silly little blog way cooler than it has any right to be because it serves the awesome function of being a sharing space. I hope you all have the most incredible time ringing in 2015 today and I will see you all on the other side!