Friday, March 29, 2013

Ashley's Vulnerable Truth

Happy Good Friday, lovelies!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

To say that I'm overwhelmed by the response that I received from Yesterday's Post, would be an understatement. Thank-You.
The tweets, texts, e-mails, messages, and comments that you all sent to me touched my heart more than you know.


One of my best friends from back home, Ashley, reached out to me yesterday and asked if she could share her story on my blog. I'm so insanely proud of her for having the courage to put herself out there like this and I know how hard it is. Ashley, I love you and thank you for supporting me and making this commitment for yourself.

For those of you who don't know Ashley, she is my brother's girlfriend, one of my best friends, and the sister I never had:


photo 4

Shes an Inspiration,

Cold Hard Truth

Recently, very recently, my friend and sister poured her most gut wrenching thoughts and feelings onto this very page. I am so very proud of her and thankful for her courage. I, not having a blog, immediately started thinking,
"I, too, need to make a change".
You see my friends, I am the queen of "Duckface". Which basically means contorting my body so it looks smaller in pictures (even if I move in 50 directions to get it), Tyra Banks would be proud. You are hard pressed to find a picture of me on Facebook that I have not prescreened. Should I be tagged in an unsightly picture, (cough Debbie cough), there is a tag no more. I have been in denial for a long time because of this.

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photo 1

Thin to Chubby

I was a thin girl until grade 6. I was always active but larger than the rest. At 14 I was obsessing over my weight, convinced I was as big as a house. Looking back at those pictures, I would truly love to slap that girl.
The weight truly hit in high school when I started to eat at the fast food restaurent I worked at. The day I noticed, I was in shock. I went from 160 pounds to 180 over night! How did this happen? Why didn't I notice?
Unfortunately there was no more activity to counter the continuing transformation.

C photo 1


7 years ago, I met a wonderful boy Christian, who happens to be Faith's older brother. As you know from Faith's post, he came from a pleasently plump family.
Christian himself was large at one point. He worked extremely hard to lose all the weight before I met him.
Because of that way of life, he enjoys a "curvy" woman. He had never judged me for my weight and actually protested against losing it, until recently.
I have been on this earth for 24 years but have the body and energy of a 50 year old. If I'm still awake by 10:30pm on a friday night, it's either because: we're at a late movie, or hell has frozen over.
I am constantly uphappy with roll 2, 3, and 4, and he has had the unfortunate duty of listening. I no longer get " you are beautiful the way you are ". I now get "do something about it".
Harsh, right? Shouldn't he make me feel better? No... the answer is no. I should make myself feel better! He may love my curves but he doesn't have to love me bitching.

photo 2

The Reality

213 pounds
It's true that there are people out there who would probably love to be my weight. However, we are all un-satisifed with ourselves.
My issue isn't about being curvy. I would choose curves over a 12 year old boy's body any day of the week, and twice on sunday.
The issues are my lack of energy, and not feeling confident in myself.
To not untag Debbie's picture, or feel like a freak walking into the store Garage to see tiny girls question whether I can fit into their largest size.
To not feel out of breath at the top of the stairs or sad because of the amazing clothes that I have to give to my sister due to out-fatting ( aka outgrowing ) them.
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In the spirit of banding together...

I, Ashley, will not give into the easy meal at Mc Donalds. I will not post half of my meal on instagram because I'm embarassed by the other 50%. I will work to "spin the ball out of the bowl" and boost my energy. I will use the Gym membership that I've been paying for! I will lead a healthy, less stressed life.

Change is the only constant in all of science. It is not changing that is unnatural.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Vulnerable Truth

Happy Thursday my loves.
Today I'm going to get real with y'all...
Last time I was this real was when I did The Ugly Truth post.

This post has been sitting on blogger as a 'draft' for quite some time because I didn't want to post it. Heck, a huge part of me still doesn't want to post it - but it's time to be honest with myself (and apparently the whole interwebz, no big deal). I'm going to warn you now, this is going to be long.
Okay, so here we go.

I'm fat.

Okay, so that wasn't as hard to say as I had expected - phew.

Here's the thing, I have been overweight my ENTIRE life. I was raised in a house where food was cooked with 'love' (butter, fatty oils, etc). Lots and lots of love. My parents changed the foods we ate when I was 16 and we started eating much healthier versions of the fatty foods we has previously consumed on a daily basis. Goodbye white bread, hello whole wheat bread. Goodbye ground beef, hello extra lean ground beef (or chicken, or turkey).

I had never really considered dieting until I was 19-20, which is when I told myself I'd 'start on Monday' every friggin' week. Seriously, I would tell myself every week that it would be my last week of eating fast food, or sitting on my ass butt at home, being lazy. 'Next week is the start of a whole new me' I'd tell myself, ALL of the time. I tried not to vocalize this to anyone because it made it easier when Monday rolled around and I decided I wanted to eat fast food for lunch. Now as much as I'd love to push the blame off on anyone else for why I became so fat, I really have NOBODY to blame but myself. I know this. Don't worry mom, I'm not blaming you!

I came from a family where everyone was big, so I felt okay with who I was. I was raised in a house with so much love. The amount of love, affection, and protection that my Mom & Dad have for my brother and I is like nothing I've ever seen. I was taught (from a young age) to love myself, so I did. So what if I was 25, 50, or even 100 lbs heavier than my classmates or my friends? If it didn't matter to my friends or family, it didn't matter to me - and that was that. Yes, I got bullied. I've been called every name that you can possibly imagine and I quickly adapted to the mentality of 'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me'. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it didn't hurt, because it did. I'm also not going to sit here and tell you that I even attempted to do anything about it, because I didn't. By the time I realized that I really should lose weight, I had TWO DECADES of bad habits under my belt.

This was me, through and through. I wanted it... but not badly enough to DO anything about it.

Instead of taking care of myself and changing my lifestyle when I was 20 years old (like I obviously should have done), I started eating more. I guess you could say I was an emotional eater. I would typically eat when I was bored - not when I was sad, angry, etc. Boredom is what caused me to eat. How absolutely ridiculous is that? Who eats out of BOREDOM?! The worst part is that I didn't even care what I was consuming. I would eat anything and everything, it really didn't matter to me. Instead of my weight going down, it just kept going up, and up, and up until I officially hit my heaviest weight at the age of 21. I can't believe I'm about to post this publicly, but this was me on my 21st birthday. Woof.


When I think about where I was at this point in my life - I was just sad. On the outside I was happy, and I've always been the 'funny girl', but inside - a large part of me felt numb. So numb, and so bored... so I ate. I ate, and ate, and ate. I didn't even like food - I actually hated food, but that didn't stop me from eating it. I'm pretty sure it made me eat even more. When I think about it, it makes me sad that I couldn't see what I was doing to myself - but as they say:
Ignorance is BLISS.

Just after my 22nd birthday, my best friend (Amanda) and I decided that we wanted to flip our worlds upside down and move across the country. We literally changed EVERYTHING that we knew about our lives, packed up and moved 6,000km away to the other side of the world country. Everything that was familiar to me was gone in an instant. When I got to Vancouver I didn't have a car (or anyone to drive me anywhere), or a job. This meant I needed to walk or take the bus anywhere I wanted to go. This was new to me - when I lived at home I drove everywhere. I worked a 20 minute walk from my house for FIVE YEARS but drove to work every day. The comfort of a car (or having someone drive me anywhere) was gone.

I was no longer living with my parents, which meant that I was now cooking every meal for myself - every day. Instead of my mom doing the grocery shopping and constantly having a supply of my favorite foods on hand whenever I wanted, I actually needed to go shopping and buy this stuff for myself. The catch was that I had to go grocery shopping with Amanda, my best friend - the health nut. Obviously I couldn't exactly buy a bag of chips, frozen food, or cookies in front of her - so I bought healthy food. After a few months of buying healthy food to show her that I'm not always such a fat ass, these habits actually started to stick. I started loving a lot of these healthier foods, and found myself no longer drawn to the unhealthy crap that I had become so accustomed to eating. Also, since moving to Vancouver - I discovered that I'm lactose intolerant. There was a 3 month period of time where I was literally sick to my stomach every day and thought it was 'normal'. Nope, not normal. It just so 'happened' that I had lactose intolerance...

So, this new lifestyle (actually walking places and eating healthier food) helped me lose a good chunk of weight in the past two years, since moving here! I don't know what my weight was when I moved here, and I don't know what my weight is now, but I feel better and I look better. Here is a side by side comparison of where I was, and where I am now:


I'm happy to say that I've managed to drop between 3-4 pant sizes since moving to Vancouver, and that's only from changing my lifestyle. I can assure you that I definitely have not been 'trying' to lose weight. I was just a wisher, dreamer, and insanely hopeful that the weight would 'fall off'.
Don't worry guys - I'm no longer in denial.

This is where I am today, friends.
I'm not longer wishing or dreaming to be healthy. I'm doing it.

Obviously, I'm still a big girl. I know that I have a lot of work ahead of me, but that's what this post is all about.
I need to make this public. So here we go:

Dear friends, family, WORLD;
I promise that the girl on the left (comparison photo) will NEVER be back, and the girl on the right will soon be gone. I promise to work towards the goals that I'm setting for myself, and I'm prepared to work for every pound that I need to lose. I don't want to be 'skinny', I just want to be healthy. I will fall off the tracks sometimes and have 'cheat days', but I promise that 'cheat days' won't turn into 'cheat weeks' or 'cheat months'. I promise that the blood, sweat, and tears will be worth it, and I promise that I won't let any of you down.
All my love,

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Canadian Review - Erin Condren Life Planner

Happy Hump Day, lovelies.

Today I'm going to do 'Canadian' review on the Erin Condren Life Planner & I've got a giveaway at the bottom of this post.
You can find a lot of Erin Condren reviews online, but they're all American.. so I decided to do it from a Non-American perspective.

I bought a Life Planner last year and I absolutely loved it, so I decided to buy another one this year.

EC 9
This is last years planner, I still adore it.

Their packaging is so cute.

EC 1

EC 2(1)


I love the colorfulness (yes, I just made up a word) of this planner. It makes me happy when I look at it.

EC 14

I love the random quotes throughout the planner, and the pages of colourful stickers.

I love the pockets for storage! I typically keep business cards, various papers, and receipts in these pockets. It's great for keeping everything in one place!

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18-month calendar

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A side-by-side comparison of last year's planner and this years planner. They have made a few changes that I LOVE.
The new coil is fantastic. It's bigger, and stronger and I don't feel like I'm going to snap it! They have included a book mark, which I also love.
One of my favourite changes is this:

EC 17
Laminated tabs!
Last year my tabs go destroyed (as you can see). I would put my planner in my purse, bag, desk, etc. and the tabs would get stuck on everything and just rip or bend. But not anymore! Laminated tabs for the win!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
This is what I looked like when I saw the laminated tabs.

Overall, I'm very happy with the planner.

It's pretty, it's unique, it's practical, it's convenient, and it's affordable... if you're American.

The planner is $50 (USD), which is a bit 'pricey' for a planner, but it is honestly worth EVERY penny. My only issue with their pricing would have to be the shipping cost, $39.99 (USD) on top of the $50 for the planner is not exactly ideal. This is honestly my only complaint about Erin Condren and the Life Planner.
If you live in Canada and want to buy a planner, I suggest finding a friend who is looking to order a planner as well, and order them together. It helps to save a bit on shipping, and it's environmentally friendly (less packaging).

If you're interested in buying a planner I highly suggest that you enter this contest that I'm currently participating in, hosted by the fantastic Fox + Hazel:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There are a few great prizes, and one winner takes all. Enter now, before it's too late!

If you have an Erin Condren Life Planner, what do you love and what do you dislike about it? I'd love to know what you think!
I hope you all have a fabulous day, and I'll see y'all tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why I don't and shouldn't wear heels

Happy Tuesday my lovelies. Today I'd like to talk about shoes. I'm warning you now - this is loooong.
I love shoes.
But I mean, come on... who doesn't love shoes? amirite?

When I was a child, I was obsessed with Dorthy's 'Ruby Red Slippers':

I basically wanted every pair of red shoes that I saw. I'm pretty sure that I asked for Ruby Red Slippers for every birthday, Christmas, or random present receiving event for at least 5 years... My poor parents.
I never got the shoes though, just like I never got an Easy Bake Oven - but I'm not bitter about it.

Anyway, as you all know - I'm clumsy. This clumsy phase trait started when I learned how to walk. So, as a child, I wasn't allowed to wear anything with even a slight heel. I used to fall flat on my face wearing FLIP-FLOPS for crying out loud. Fun fact: dad banned me from wearing flip-flops for one entire summer because I had a really bad accident wearing them one day. So because of my extreme awkwardness, I never wore heels.

By the end of elementary school I decided that I wanted a pair of heels. It was not pretty. I'm pretty sure I just got a cheap pair of shoes from Wal-Mart, and I convinced my mom that it would be fine. I wore these cute white shiny shoes to church that Sunday - I thought I was the bees-knees. I basically thought I had it going on and that I would be the prettiest not so average girl that I usually was. I remember feeling so cool, and I'm pretty sure I strutted down the middle aisle of the church like it was my runway and I was the winner of America's Next Top Model.

I remember during the church service I needed to go downstairs for 'junior church'. This was basically church for kids, so that we weren't 'bored' and distracting our parents from hearing the sermon that week. We'd do arts and crafts, color, play games, you know - typical church things.

Anyway, as I was heading down the stairs in my super fashionable 'heels', I took a bit of a tumble... and proceeded to fall down the stairs. Thank goodness I was only about 4 or 5 stairs from the bottom - but it was still pretty awful. I definitely bruised my ego that day. When I got home from church, I pushed those shoes to the back of our shoe closet and never wore them again. Any time my mom questioned me about them, I'd basically change the topic or tell her that they didn't match my outfit... oops.

By the time I finished middle school, I felt like I was ready to try heels again. However, I had hit a Growth Spurt of sorts, and I was now about 5'6 - I was basically as tall as all of the guys in my class. Being tall wasn't overly awesome at that age, and I was really self-conscious about wearing any type of shoe that would make me look taller. So I got rid of the idea of wearing heels...
As a result of my lack of heel-wearing as an adolescent, I completely suck at wearing heels. I do what I can, but I'd much rather wear flats, or flip flops whenever possible. For the most part, I've been pretty good with heels the past few years... until a few weeks ago.

It was my good friends birthday, and she requested that everyone dress up because we were going to a nice restaurant. I decided to wear one of my favorite pairs of shoes, brown suede booties:

Everything was fine and dandy.
I decided I wasn't going to take the bus - I would drive downtown. I was using Car 2 Go, which is a car-sharing company in Vancouver (it's also in other various cities in the world). The closest car to my house was about 2.5 blocks away. I decided to cut through the alleys because it would get me to the car much faster. Unfortunately, none of our alley-ways are lit, so I was using the moon as my light to get me through these extremely dark alleys.
Don't worry guys, we live in a safe neighborhood.

Anyway, I cut through the alley... since I couldn't see anything, my foot goes right into a small pothole, I roll my ankle and trip forward. I stood up, dusted myself off and walked the rest of the way to the car. Luckily, because I was smart, I brought a pair of flats with me. I changed into the flats, stuffed the shoes into my purse and joined my friends for dinner.

So the point of this, is that you'll probably never see me in heels. It happens from time to time, but you can basically guarantee that I'll hurt myself at least once while wearing them.

Sorry this is so long, apparently I have a lot to say about shoes. Ha.
See y'all tomorrow.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend Shenana-na-na-na-na-na-na

Happy Monday, lovelies! I decided to link-up with the lovely Sami today for 'Weekend Shenanigans'.

I'm going to share some pictures with you guys from my weekend instead of giving you a play-by-play. Overall my weekend was great. I only worked a half day on Friday (early weekend = amazeballs), Amanda got off early too, so we hit up happy hour and took a drive up the coast. Saturday was spent doing a mini-road trip, running errands, shopping, relaxing, and then dinner with some friends and a concert: Vancouver Bach Choir and Symphony Orchestra. It was pretty spectacular, and I can't get over how talented these people were! Sunday was spent running errands, working out of a coffee shop, grocery shopping and cooking/prepping meals for the week. Here are the pictures to show a bit of what my weekend looked like:


One. Happy Hour on the patio. Two. My new BFF, Luke. Met him at Happy Hour. Three. Grumpy Cat says to drink coffee, so we did.
Four. Vancouver Bach Choir and Symphony Orchestra. Five. Best dip I've EVER made. Recipe coming soon. Six. Almond, pistachio, and pine nut encrusted tilapia.


After the fish, chicken, turkey, potatoes, squash, and veggies were cooked - this is what the fridge looked like. Cooking and prepping meals for the week is a fantastic way to save money and eat healthy.

Spring is Coming!

Also, I'd like to officially welcome Spring to Vancouver!
Just saying that makes me insanely happy.

I hope you all have a fabulous Monday - see you all tomorrow!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Friday Friday

It had been a week of having writer's block - oopsy! But HAPPY FRIDAY y'all!

Here are my FIVE favourite things this week:

One. Seattle
I love love love Seattle. I can't even give any legit reasons as to why I love this city so much, I just do. Everything about it. The vibe is awesome, the people are cool, and it's a fun city to explore. Amanda and I have planned a trip to Seattle next weekend for the long Easter weekend, and I'm so excited to be there.

Two. Macklemore
Macklemore. I mean really, do I need to say more? I adore him. I have been listening to him, on repeat, for a couple of months. He and Ryan Lewis can make some magic happen, musically. Also, he's from Seattle - so that's another reason why I love Seattle.

Three. Colored Jeans
I love colored jeans. I'm pretty sure that I talk about this like every week, but I'm obsessed. I don't remember the last time that I bought regular colored jeans or even wore regular colored jeans... I just don't like them anymore and they don't 'do it' for me. It's officially Spring now, so I'm hoping people will stop giving me weird looks when I wear my 'mint' or 'coral' colored capris on sunny days.

Four. Instagram
I'm mildly, maybe just a smidgen obsessed with instagram. I love browsing through peoples pictures, and posting my own. I love taking fun pictures of whatever I'm currently doing, editing it in fun ways and sharing it with the 'instaworld'. I'll never be 'instafamous' - but Helene has explained how to make it possible! Seriously, I don't know why I love it so much - I just do.

Five. PicTapGo
I'm also insanely obsessed with Totally Rad's iPhone app that launched last month, it's called 'PicTapGo' and it is mind blowing. If you've ever used Totally Rad's actions in Photoshop, you'll know that they're fantastic. You can create 'recipes' which basically is a fun way of saying that you can stack different layers on top of each other and create a 'style' or a 'look' that you love, and then you can apply that same style to all of your pictures with just one touch. They also have like 50 different layers/edits that you can do, and you can decide the strength of each layer (meaning you can add just a 'little bit' of blue tones to a picture instead of an insane amount of blue tones. I'm terrible at explaining, my bad. But just check out the app - you'll love it.

Today I'm also going to link-up with my favorite Whitney for #backthatazzup

If You Want It To Be Good Girl (Get Yourself A Bad Boy) - Backstreet Boys

This song, oh, this song. For some reason when I was in Grade 5/6 I freakin' LOVED this song, but it was pretty inappropriate for an 8 or 9 year old to be listening to... so my dad BANNED me from listening to it. Like legit banned me from listening to it. Even though I had the entire CD, I was told that I 'had' to skip that song. Little did he know, I taped that song off of my CD and put it onto one of my BSB, Britney and Spice Girls mix tapes and I'd listen to it on my walkman. Mom and dad had no idea that I was listening to this song in the back seat of the car while we were driving.
I was such a bad ass.

Happy Friday loves - have a fantastic weekend.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hypochondriac? No...

Happy Tuesday lovelies!

I was watching the movie 'The Switch' last week and when it came to the 'hypochondria' part - I laughed out loud and then casually nodded my head because I knew that I had a lot in common with this little kid.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Growing up, my parents always called me 'dramatic' - not in the crazy kind of way, but in the quirky way (if that's a thing). I don't like going to the doctor, so my issue is that I Google my symptoms when I notice something different.

It's not as dramatic as finding a mole on my arm and googling it - I mean, come on... I've got some street cred. It's mainly if I have an upset stomach every day for 4-6 months and I diagnose myself as being lactose intolerant - this is a true story, and it was 100% accurate. Most of the time, I can actually figure out what is wrong with me. However, sometimes it can go in the opposite direction. Like the time that I thought I had finger cancer. I legitimately thought that I had finger cancer... and it went a little something like this.

When I was in University, I worked part time at a pet store (pretty sure that isn't even relevant to this story). One day while I was working, I discovered a lump on my finger. It wasn't sore, but it looked pretty bad to me, and I couldn't figure out what it was. I let it slip my mind but monitored it for a few days. After 3-4 days I decided that it must be something serious, so I Googled different possibilities and came up with the conclusion that I had finger cancer. 'Finger cancer' didn't have a lot of medical research yet, but it was determined that it was caused by the 'overuse' of the track-pad on laptops. Guys, the finger that had cancer was the finger that I used on my laptop's track-pad. This was the obvious answer.

I called my mom from work (seriously), told her that I loved her and that I was dying. She laughed it off (rude) and told me that I wasn't dying - I explained the severity of my finger cancer to her, but it was a lost cause. It was a definite no go, she wasn't having it. I told her that I'd probably die before I got to come home for Christmas, but she really didn't care. Since my mom obviously didn't care - I showed my finger to my boss and explained my Google findings. The entire time I spoke, this was the look she gave me:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Alas, nobody believed me - and after 5-6 days the bump went away and so did my thoughts of finger cancer.
Just to be clear - I do not think that cancer is funny, nor do I think it's appropriate to joke about it. I legitimately thought I was dying, but that's obviously just because I am a hypochondriac was a 17 year old idiot.

I'm so stinkin' excited that you're all here! To anyone who hasn't entered THIS GIVEAWAY yet, what are you waiting for?

Have a fantastic day - see y'all tomorrow.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekend Shenanigans + GIVEAWAY

Hi lovelies!

Today I'm linking up with the beautiful Sami at Sami's Shenanigans for 'Weekend Shenanigans'.

Friday Night - dinner and drinks with friends.

Saturday - I spent that day shopping with a good friend and we grabbed dinner afterwards.

We each bought this cute little owl ring. I bought brown & gold, she bought blue & silver.

These delicious looking 'candy apples' were tempting, but I only took a picture and walked away.

The most random thing that we saw all day was 'The Vancouver Duck Lady' walking downtown with her pet swan:

She was so adorable, and EVERYONE was stopping her to take pictures of her and the swan.

This year, for St. Patrick's Day, Amanda and I decided not to spend the day at the pub - so we kept busy with errands, cooking, and cleaning instead. I'm not going to lie, we headed out for some drinks and appies, but nothing too crazy. No St. Patty's Day Shenanigans for me this year!

I started out the day running errands with this as my 'St. Patty's Day outfit'. But when we headed out later in the day, I did a quick outfit change:

In fun news: I'm participating in a GIVEAWAY!!
Please check it out, and participate.

Clarisonic Mia 2 Giveaway

The prize is a Clarisonic Mia 2! This thing is amazing, and I think I'm going to pick one up for myself.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are all of the lovely ladies who are participating in this awesome giveaway. Please stop by all of their blogs and give them a little bit of love today!

Giveaway Group Photo
What Makes Savanah Smile//Lost in Travels//'Cause You Gotta Have Faith//Everything Happens for a Reason
Back East Blonde//One Haole Girl//Cup of Ash Tea//Her & Nicole
Like Ordinary Life//The Girl Who Loved to Write//Glitter and Gapske//Postcards from Rachel
Penguins, Pasta & Polka Dots//Adventures to Remember//As Told By Kendahl

I hope all of you lovelies had an AMAZING weekend, and I hope you aren't nursing a hangover from hell today - but if you are, I hope it was worth it ;)

See y'all tomorrow!