beauty all around: thinking about what we deserve.









I think I’ve just found my new mantra. I came across this graphic the other day and adore the simplicity of its message. With this ultra-sassified “girlfriend’s got it going on and she’s way too good to be worrying about you” image that’s being used, they are obviously trying to make the point that fantastic women shouldn’t be chasing after men who aren’t interested in them, aren’t kind to them, or simply don’t deserve them—they should just move forward and find someone better—and I think that’s a very, very important thing to remember. So many of us get so fixated on one person (I’m definitely guilty of this!) that we often end up wasting valuable time, energy, and emotion clinging to the idea that they’ll come around when, at the end of the day, they more often than not aren’t the right person. Because don’t we all want someone who knows how lucky they are to have a chance with us and who sees all the wonderful things we have to offer? Of course we do, and no one should settle for less than that. Go after what you want, sure. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. But know the difference between pursuing someone and making excuses for someone, and recognize when it’s time to move on.

Find someone who believes you are irreplaceable. Anyone who doesn’t can be replaced.


musings on: gratitude.

Fittingly, in the aftermath of Mother’s Day, I was reminded the other day—for the zillionth time in my twenty-something years—that my mother is remarkable. How she manages to stay on top of her own life, career, and marriage while also patiently and lovingly dealing with the issues and demands of four children who are all in completely different stages of their lives with completely different needs (seriously—we’ve got a late twenty-something, an early twenty-something, a second-year university student, and a high school student. How?) is a quality I am continually in awe of, and one I can only hope I’ll be able to replicate with my own children one day.

It had just been one of those weeks—you know the ones I mean. My job isn’t right. My love life isn’t right. My bank statements definitely aren’t right. Where should I be living? What should I be doing? And what am I doing wrong? Oy. My mom stayed on the phone with me for who knows how long, listening when she needed to, laughing when she needed to, and offering advice when I needed her to. She said a lot of things that made a lot of sense (like she always does) and managed to pull me out of my temporary funk (like she always does), but one thing she said to me really stuck:

You attract the same energy you’re putting out into the world. If you give off negativity and depression, that’s the only thing people will see in you. If you’re tough and positive and grateful, you will attract the things you want.

This might sound like a cliché—something I should know by now and not something I needed my mother to tell me—but I’ve learned never to underestimate the power of a cliché in a critical moment. Clichés of romance, clichés of inspiration, clichés of motivation—we overuse them because, more often than not, they are exactly what is needed and what makes the most sense in a particular situation. And, in my experience, they also tend to be true. And I think there is infinite truth to the point my mom was trying to make: if you’re grateful for what you have and hopeful about what’s to come, everything you have will feel like enough and the things that follow will fall into place in their own time.

It’s strange, and maybe also a little sad, to think that the people who are most blessed tend to be the ones who struggle most with gratitude. Why is it that the more we have and the more things go right in our lives, the more we lament what we don’t have and the things that have gone wrong? I made a prime example out of myself the other day. I have a job in an industry I long hoped to be a part of (even if temporarily), working for a company that I believe in and with people who are kind, intelligent, fun, and supportive. I have a big, loud, loving family who I can say anything to and do anything with, and who are always there when I need them. Whether I go back to my hometown, or to the city where I attended university, or to the city I’m currently living in, I’m lucky enough to find people who love me and friendships from different phases of my life that continue to enrich me. I’ve been successful enough so far to afford an apartment and a car and, on a smaller scale but equally important, things like groceries and a gym membership. I’ve been able to travel. I volunteer for organizations I care about and have met endless people who have inspired me. And, never to be underestimated, I am healthy. Things aren’t perfect, and like every person (twenty-something or otherwise) I am definitely a work-in-progress, but all things considered, I am blessed. Why is it so hard to remember all of these things when you’re feeling disappointed or hurt or overwhelmed? Maybe it’s just that innate human desire to continually be better—do more, see more, have more, be more. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think I would be equally unsatisfied if I was becoming complacent with my life. But there is a critical difference between being content and stagnant and being content while evolving. I can be satisfied with what I have and make the most of my life as it is on this day but still know that there is more for me—and believe that I will get there.

So I choose gratitude. Grateful for where I’m at. Grateful for the people that surround me. Grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given. Grateful for mom.

beauty all around: stop, look, listen.










I stumbled on this Insta-photo the other day and my immediate reaction was: There should be more signs like this posted on the street, and there should be more people in the world that go around and post them. What a simple yet beautiful reminder that we are surrounded by stunning, inspiring, even magical things, and if we take the time to stop, look, listen, and appreciate, it can transform our mood and often change the course of our entire day. Maybe it’s taking a moment to breathe in your first cup of coffee in the morning and soaking in that intoxicating roasted scent; maybe it’s leaving the office for a 10 minute walk over your lunch break and enjoying a little fresh air; maybe it’s stopping whatever you’re doing to call your parents or your best friend just to say hello and that you love them; maybe it’s that unmistakable buzz you feel when you step outside on the first warm, sunny day of the season; maybe it’s the quirky regular at the café on the corner who smiles and waves when you stop to say hello; or maybe it’s blasting your favourite guilty pleasure song on the drive home and singing at the top of your lungs. Whatever or whoever it may be that brings you joy, revel in it. Let it remind you that life can be a pretty remarkable thing.


beauty all around: let’s talk quotes.

It makes me a little sad that the world of social media has made quotes such a cliché. You see them everywhere: Tumblr accounts, Pinterest feeds, Twitter profiles, Facebook statuses, iPhone cases; I could go on and on. But I am sticking to my guns—I love a good quote. I think that, just like music, just like art, words have incredible power to take us away, transform our perspectives, calm us, excite us, and inspire us. (Is it any wonder I majored in English literature and now work in publishing?)

Here is a favourite of mine from Tyler Knott Gregson, otherwise known as the Typewriter Poet. You should check out his site; he does beautiful work. Let’s all remember to bring a little light to whatever, wherever, and whomever we encounter.



musings on: the 20/30 transition.

I was out for dinner with some girlfriends over the weekend, and someone brought up the point that we are now an entire undergraduate degree away from having completed our undergraduate degrees (4 years, yikes), that we are now much closer to 30 than we are to 20 (can that be right?), and that if we want to have kids by the time we’re 32, we really should have met the guy who will be the father of said children, like, yesterday. A little frightening, no?

Let me start by saying that I have never been a big believer in the “biological clock.” I’m not denying that such a thing exists—it is scientifically proven that women who become pregnant and have children past a certain age are putting both themselves and their baby a little more at risk. What I mean is that I don’t believe in putting that kind of pressure on our bodies; I think that our lives unfold in different ways and at different times, and there is really no use in becoming frantic about the fact that we aren’t quite where we thought we might be by a certain age.

But this kind of anxiety is all part of what I’ve started to call the 20/30 transition—those few years in which you’re caught moving between the chaotic student life of a 21 year-old (whose main concerns are: exam schedules, flipcup, pub crawls, all-nighters, jeans vs. trackpants, and complex carbohydrates) and the somehow even more chaotic life of a burgeoning adult in their 30s (who is more likely to be dealing with things like the corporate ladder, RRSPs, car payments, credit card statements, mortage vs. rental, and, of course, that dreaded biological clock). For those readers who are still enjoying the relatively carefree life of someone in their early 20s, here are a few things you can look forward to. (The rest of you, you’ll know what I’m talking about.)

  • A weekend bender now results in bloodshot eyes, a killer headache, the dehydration bloat, and a seriously unproductive Monday at the office, instead of a 3:00pm wake-up call and a trip to the closest fast food joint.
  • “Dating” used to mean making eyes with someone over the beer pong table, maybe a late night study session or two, dancing the night away at the campus bar, and then giggling as all of your friends gush about what a cute couple you make. It now involves tracking down a bar with the appropriate demographic, self-help books, online profiles (cringe), awkward, not-so-subtle matchmaking from your couple friends, and sifting through endless man-boys (think Britney Spears’s “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman” anthem, the masculine version) who aren’t quite sure what they want yet (which is OK, because you really don’t either).
  • Monday mornings now begin by putting on your newest blazer, commuting to work, and arriving at your desk to find a massive to-do list courtesy of your boss, instead of rolling out of bed at 10:00am, putting on your newest school-incrested hoodie, and then falling back asleep in the back row of PSYCH 101.
  • Your relationship with your parents used to consist of hastily written emails telling them you were still alive as you ran out to either a class or a party (because where else would you be?). It now involves regular phone conversations in which you are hyperventilating over your lack of money, your lack of a decent job, your lack of a decent apartment, and/or your lack of eligible men—and them assuring you that it will all be OK.
  • Holidays with your family used to involve questions about what classes you were taking, what cool clubs you were a part of, and what you might want to do after you graduated. They now involve variations of the question: “Why haven’t you met anyone yet?”

Case-in-point: growing up is hard. But no one ever mentioned that “growing up” doesn’t end after you turn 18—in fact, it continues (and seems to become increasingly harder) as you make your way through your 20s towards the age where you can no longer pretend you’re not a real adult: 30. And, not to dampen the unique set of pressures faced by people in their 20s who are balancing the standard demands of building a life and a career on top of caring for a spouse and/or children (because I have mad respect for you!), but my experience suggests that the 20/30 transition is especially daunting for the singles of the world. Trying to figure out who you are on top of trying to figure out what type of person you want to be with—and how you are ever going to manage finding such a person—feels impossible. But here’s what I’ve started to learn: you can always count on Paul McCartney for some solid words of wisdom.

Take these broken wings and learn to fly.

We can work it out.

Let it be.

Time will keep turning. The biological clock will keep ticking. 30 will come, whether you feel ready for it or not. And you will be fine.