Overwhelmed

I started this blog with the idea that I would keep it light and fun.  I would use it to chat about things like make up, fitness and home stuff.  But I would be doing myself and the odd person who may come across this blog a disservice if I wasn’t being totally honest and real.

I am overwhelmed.  Today is June 17 and the last blog post I wrote was on March 25. In that time so much has happened that has thrown me for a loop.  It’s like I’m trying to walk across a boat in turbulent waters and just when I think I’ve got my footing a wave comes along and knocks me on my ass.

So what’s been so insane that I can’t seem to get back on track?  Well, in the beginning of April my husband’s aunt passed away unexpectedly.  She was sick but had been for years and her passing still shocked all of us.  My husband and I went to southern Alberta to be with his family during that time and due to complications with the autopsy things kept getting pushed back regarding her service so we were there for about ten days.  It was emotional, physically and financially straining (we had to stay in a hotel and our jobs only covered three days bereavement) but I do know that I wouldn’t trade the time we spent with them for anything.  You need to surround yourself with family in times of struggle and pain.  It did however cause us a bit of stress when we returned back to Edmonton.

Once we returned back I had one week left at my job.  I had given a months notice at work and planned out our finances to the penny (or nickel I suppose because Canada demolished the penny!) and losing out almost an entire paycheck really threw us off.  I felt immediate stress to get another job.  But I couldn’t quite yet because I had to head to Kelowna the day after my last day for two weeks.  I had pre-arranged this trip with the final paycheck in mind but even after that financial situation changed it was too late to cancel.  So off to Kelowna I went.  I will say that the drive down was awesome.  My mom wanted to spend some time with me so she came out and we drove down together.  After all the stress we had dealt with it was nice to have one on one time with my momma.

I was in Kelowna for my best friends bachelorette and wedding.  It was such an amazing time and a joy to be with her but again the time away not working and spending money without the reassurance of a paycheck when I returned home was stressing me out.   The other new thing on my plate was that I registered for school that started while I was away.  I am taking three online courses right now to get into the Personal Fitness Trainer program at NAIT (a local polytechnical institute in my city that offers all kinds of amazing trades and “non-academic” programs…I say that in quotes because it’s still requiring a lot of brain power and knowledge to get through but it’s not traditional academia.)  I was a week behind from the get go because I was swamped with wedding prep but I anticipated I would be and made a plan to catch up when I was back in Edmonton.  The beauty of online courses is that you can work at your own pace but the stress of them is that you need to get yourself motivated.  As someone who struggles with depression it can be hard to get my ass in gear and read about the anatomy of the human body when all I want to do is curl up in a blanket and avoid the world.

Once I returned back to Edmonton I did my best to catch up but I still had that overwhelming stress of “You have to find a job!”  (I’d like to mention at this point that I had planned to find work during the month I gave notice but it wasn’t possible.  I don’t advocate leaving your job before finding a new one!)  I did end up finding a part time job that is going to lead to a really phenomenal full time position that I’m really excited about.  However, it’s going to be a little while before a solid consistent paycheck rolls in.  But that’s okay, that part of my life is actually feeling like it’s going to fall into place.  It actually felt like things were getting back to normal, I was catching up on school, catching up on client work and then something happened that I didn’t see coming.

My little brother was riding his motorcycle home to see his girlfriend and daughter on May 26 when a car turned in front of him.  He turned to try and avoid the car but he ended up with his leg pinned between his bike and the vehicle.  The momentum flipped him in the air, he hit the windshield, the hood of the car and then finally was thrown onto the ground.  He was in the hospital for ten days with a broken sternum, broken arm, broken knee cap and a completely shattered heel along with multiple small stress fractures, lots of bruising and road rash.  Thank God, and I actually do thank God every day that Brandon wasn’t injured worse or killed.  One wrong move or one more flip and he could have broken his neck, been rendered paralyzed or even died.  When I think about how close that was, I immediately tear up.  Brandon has been my everything ever since we were small.  For a couple years it was just him, me and my mom.  He’s an amazing brother, a fantastic provider and partner for his girlfriend and an absolutely brilliant father to his daughter.  To have a traumatic accident like this happen to him is truly heartbreaking.
I got a flight home as soon as I could after I heard the news and I stayed with him in the hospital until he was able to go home. Two days after he was home and I went back to Edmonton he went back to the hospital for follow up x-rays and they found that his arm wasn’t healing properly.  They re-admitted him and operated on his arm, putting in a plate and eight pins.  Once he woke up they realized that he couldn’t move his thumb so they had to immediately put him back under, get him back in the OR and make sure the nerves weren’t damaged during surgery.  Luckily there was no nerve damage and he has since recovered the use of his thumb.  His heel is still completely shattered but the bones stayed in their place so the doctor won’t perform surgery, instead they are waiting for the bones to fuse together on their own.  It’s a longer healing process but less invasive.  He is going to be dealing with the fall out of this for years.  Not only will he have to re-learn to walk but he’s going to have arthritis in his knee for the rest of his life.  He hasn’t been able to hold his daughter since before the accident because of his broken sternum which will take months to properly heal. He is still in a full leg brace and will be for months.  This accident has completely changed his entire life.

So suffice to say that I put everything on the back burner for the last few weeks.  School, client work, even cleaning my house has been pushed down to the bottom of my list.  Now that I’m back home I am slowly getting back on track but I’m definitely weeks behind in school and struggling to catch up.  I feel like I’m drowning in deadlines and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything.  I’m doing my best to get up each day with a plan, try to stick to that plan and get things accomplished but it’s hard to not allow feelings of sadness or discouragement take over.  I hope to get back into the swing of things and start rocking my life again but some days it definitely feels like I will never get out of this rut.

There isn’t really a happy conclusion to this story…yet.  I wanted to get it out into the universe and off my chest so that I can hopefully move forward feeling lighter and more energized to be motivated.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated fam.  Until next time, keep living that beautiful life. ❤

– Jenn

Favourite Candle Scents

I, like much of the population, love things that smell good.  And one of my favourite ways to make sure my home always smells delightful is with candles.  Over the years I’ve narrowed down my scent preferences to two distinct zones – Cozy, Warm and Welcoming or Tropical and Sweet.  Today I’ve got a round up of my favourite candle scents that I rotate throughout the year.  Some of the ones listed are seasonal scents but I like to stock up and burn them year round depending on my mood!

Okay so first up is everyone’s candle mecca – Bath and Body Works.  The 3-wick candles are a staple in SO many peoples homes and for really good reason.  They burn fairly evenly, they don’t create a lot of smoke and they have SO many delicious scents.  There is truly something for everyone.


My absolute favourite scent from their core collection is the White Barn Vanilla Bean.  It’s classic, warm and just sweet enough without being overpowering.

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I also love the Peach Bellini scent from the same White Barn collection.  It’s a fresh peachy scent with a slight citrus twist that is an absolute delight to have fill your home.
While I love the core collection, the most exciting time for me to stock up on candles from Bath and Body Works is the holiday time because I am in LOVE with both their Marshmallow Fireside and Cozy Warm Cup of Cocoa scents!

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Marshmallow Fireside is sweet but a little smoky and smells just like roasting marshmallows over a fire.  It’s a perfect scent for winter because it’s cozy but not necessarily Christmassy.

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Cozy Warm Cup of Cocoa is definitely a STRONG chocolate scent.  If you want to feel like you’re living in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory this is for you!  But for those of you searching for a softer sweet smell, you may be better off with Vanilla Bean.

Another favourite candle brand of mine is Illume.  If you live in Canada you can find these at Chapters and Indigo stores which is where I get mine.

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My ABSOLUTE favourite Illume candle is the Coconut Milk Mango scent. Oh. My. Gosh. Talk about a tropical dream! It reminds me a little bit of tropical skittles but more refined. Like if you could get skittles at the opera, this is the kind of elevated treat they would be.  (What the heck are you blabbering about Jenn? Opera snacks??)
But seriously, it’s sweet and tropical with a soft coconut undertone to it that freshens up any space!

Indigo also has a house brand called Indigo Scents that is absolutely awesome!  Like Bath and Body Works they make a large 3-wick option which I personally think is the best value.

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My top choice from Indigo Scents would have to be Fresh Coconut and Vanilla. (Anyone seeing a pattern here?) It combines my two all time favourite scents in a perfectly balanced way, not too sweet and not too tropical. It’s just right!

The last brand I want to mention is Voluspa.  They are a little pricier than the others I’ve mentioned here but they offer some really unique scents and the packaging on all of their candles is beautiful.  I get mine at Indigo (Sorry for all the Indigo plugs but it’s a fantastic place for unique home accents if you live in Canada!)

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I love the scent Santiago Huckleberry. It’s a delicious smell made up of huckleberries, vanilla and cane sugar.  It’s a sweet but sophisticated scent that isn’t too overpowering.

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My other favourite is going to be no surprise to anybody! It’s the Bourbon Vanille scent.  This vanilla is a more refined and elevated version of Bath and Body Works Vanilla Bean.  I don’t think you need to spend the extra on this brand if you love the Bath and Body Works scent but if you’re feeling like treating yo’self, this is a great choice!

So those are my current favourite candles!  I’ve got a running list of scents I’d like to try from each of these brands and I’m sure I’ll be writing a part two of this post at some point.

Let me know where you get your favourite candles and what sort of smells are your favourite!

Until next time friends, keep living that beautiful life. ❤

-Jenn

Book Review – Talking As Fast As I Can

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All right y’all, I am not going to lie to you…I picked up this book first and foremost because I am a huge Gilmore girls fan!  Lauren Graham plays Lorelai Gilmore in the series and that character is everything I want to be when I grow up!  She’s funny, she’s a smart business woman, she’s the best friend everyone wants and she’s got a capacity for handling caffeine that I can only aspire to.  So being a huge fan of her character on screen and how talented she is as an actor, I thought if as a writer that she was even half as talented then this book would actually be amazing.  And spoiler alert – I was not disappointed!

This book is a non-fiction memoir written by Lauren Graham. It’s her story, in her own words, from how she got started in acting all the way through her career to the Gilmore Girls revival which aired last year in 2017.  And just as I had hoped, it felt really personal and honest.  Reading it feels like you’re sitting down and talking with a friend.  Lauren’s writing style is very light and funny but she still manages to pull you in and get you to really care about what she’s saying.

You start off with her in those early years and you’re really rooting for her to get her big break!  Then as she reaches each milestone you get more and more excited and then you want to celebrate with her as she reaches the pinnacle point of her career (so far!).  I don’t want to give away too much of her story but if you’re a fan of hers at all, whether its due to Gilmore Girls or not, I think you’d enjoy reading what she has to say.

And of course, for those of you who are die hard Gilmore Girls fans, she does give you a bit of an inside look into the show.  It’s kind of interesting to learn about how things happened behind the scenes, her relationship with Alexis Bledel and how the revival came to be.  She also touches on Parenthood, which was another major role for her (a brilliant one at that!) and what I found interesting is how her character in each of these two major shows were so different but yet they both shaped her and helped to define her career.

So would I recommend this book?  If you couldn’t tell by all the previous gushing and major girl-crushing above – yes, i would absolutely recommend that you give this a read!

Let me know what sort of non-fiction memoirs you’ve read lately that should make it onto my list!

Until next time friends, keeping living that beautiful life! ❤

– Jenn

 

Beauty Favourites – February 2018

I got into the makeup game later in life.  I didn’t wear foundation until my 20’s and I had no idea how to create an eye look beyond one shade until my wedding make up trial!  But a few years ago I stumbled into the YouTube beauty community, fell down the rabbit hole and never looked back.
There are some amazing YouTuber’s out there who are phenomenal at tutorials and have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to products, ingredients and how to find the right product for you.  I credit most of my knowledge to this amazing group of people.  I’ll link some of my favourite beauty YouTuber’s below if you’re wondering who gave me the confidence to actually go INSIDE that Sephora.

But as is the danger of YouTube, I started buying EVERYTHING because it’s all so beautiful and fun.  But I was buying things that I didn’t use or even like that much simply because everyone was raving about it.  So eventually I sat down and ruthlessly went through my makeup collection.
If I didn’t use it, out it went.
What came out of that process was realizing what was really important to me when it comes to makeup and how I like to look.  I found that personally, I’d rather invest in fewer items I can count on and always know that I am going to love my makeup look.

So when I sat down to write this favourites post I thought, “Jenn.  If you could only have five items to get through life with, what would you choose?  What is the most important to you when it comes to your daily look?”  That’s how I came up with this month’s beauty favourites that hit all of my top concerns – skin, brows and lashes!

So friends, without further gilding the lily and no more adieu, let’s get into it!

Primer

I didn’t even know about primers until I was almost 25.  I swear.  I had no idea that such a product existed that could not only minimize your pores but mattify your skin as well!  Or if you are a drier skin type there were luminous and moisturizing primers!  The possibilities were endless.  I thought maybe it was a gimmick but trust me when I say that after putting in the leg work I’m a believer.

My skin tends to be combination leaning to the oily side and I have very visible pores on my nose that are really emphasized as my foundation wears down throughout the day.  (thanks to the oil…see the predicament this girl is in?)  I’ve tried a lot of primers ranging from drugstore to high end and the best one I’ve found to suit my combo skin is the Cover FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment.

Cover FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment

This primer smooths out my skin, fills my pores and calms a bit of redness although that’s not it’s main job.  I do find that it prolongs the wear of my foundation and further more my foundation looks smoother and more skin like on top of such a smooth base.  Plus the anti-acne treatment is a nice bonus because despite what your mother tells you, sometimes you don’t grow out of acne!

Foundation

I’ve been struggling with finding the perfect foundation for years.  As a woman with oilier skin it can be hard to find a foundation that offers mattifying properties without being TOO matte.  Many foundations either offer a matte coverage that would give wall spackle a run for its money or they are catered to drier skin types and are dewy, luminous and a little too moisturizing for this gal.

So my hunt was to find a foundation that offered a more natural matte finish along with medium coverage that lasted all day.  I work early, long hours and part of my day job involves a large amount of physical labour so your girl SWEATS at work!
Now some people may ask why I even wear foundation on the daily to a physical labour job.  Well because it’s my face and I like it that way!  It makes me feel badass to know that I can unload trucks of heavy boxes and crates while having a poppin highlight and a perfectly arched brow.  But with that in mind, I need a foundation that works as hard as I do.  That foundation for me is the bareMinerals BarePRO Performance Wear Liquid Foundation.

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This foundation offers medium to full coverage (I find it to be fairly buildable) while allowing your skin to breathe AND keeps you looking naturally matte all day long.  A huge pet peeve of mine is feeling like I’m wearing a mask and this foundation doesn’t do that for me.  It feels nice and light on the skin.  I don’t feel gross, oily or cakey by the end of a 10 hour work day and it offers a nice shade range.  There are 30 shades total and while I don’t think they go nearly as deep as they could I do think that the undertones offered are a huge bonus.  I am half Latina and half Caucasian which means that I’m not incredibly tanned but my undertones can be tricky to sort out.
Finding a foundation as a woman who comes from two very different backgrounds each offering their own unique skin tones has been incredibly challenging.  Most of my life I’ve just made do with what was offered or mixed two or three shades to find my best one.  However 2017 was the year that I think brands finally started listening and offering better options for more skin tones.  I think I’ll write a post on this specific topic at a later date and when I have it completed I’ll insert a link here but for now I digress!

Bronzer

Bronzer and I have had quite the journey together.  We’ve been through an orange phase, a glittery phase, one unfortunate mishap that ended in an orange glittery combo (I wish I could say I was in my teens but I was 25 and the hotel lighting made the product inside the compact look much different then when it was on my face in broad daylight!) and of course a phase where I was SO heavy handed that I should have just put on a fake tan and called it a day.  But we’ve reached an agreement.  I finally learned the right shade I need and I stopped using a brush that was larger than my face.  Incidentally I use the Real Techniques Multi-task Brush, though I have only been able to find it in a set and not sold individually.

Now the same way that finding a foundation with a natural matte finish is challenging, so are bronzers.  There are many glowy bronzers on the market, shimmery bronzers, glittery bronzers (beware the glitter!) and then there are matte bronzers.  I will always choose a matte bronzer over a shimmery one however what I’ve learned about myself is that I like a little radiance – NOT glitter or shimmer.  But a little glow to the skin never hurt anybody.  The bronzer that has actually changed my makeup game (and perhaps my life) and makes me feel like a bronzed goddess is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Nude Bronze Light.

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Now.  I have a confession.  This bronzer…is the most expensive bronzer I’ve ever purchased.  It’s insanely priced.  HOWEVER, I love it.  I absolutely love it and I think that I would pay for it again and again.  This bronzer is so finely milled and the powder is SO smooth that it blends into the skin perfectly allowing you to achieve a naturally radiant sunkissed glow.  Which is exactly the type of look I’m after.  If I had to give up blush and highlight in order to keep using this bronzer…I would do it.  That’s how much I love what this does for me.

With that being said I am realistic enough to recognize that $63.00 Canadian is a LARGE sum of money for a single make up item so here is my alternative!  The Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer is a beautiful bronzer from the drugstore that offers a similar matte radiant type finish.

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It’s higher priced for drugstore make up however it really is a fantastic product.  I just happen to love the Hourglass one a bit more but prior to purchasing that I did go through multiple Butter Bronzers and I think it’s a lovely option as well.

Brows

My eyebrows and I have STRUGGLED to build a harmonious relationship for years.  They are short but thick so that means I’ve got a lot of brow at the front and no arch in the middle or tail at the end!  Last year I got my eyebrows microbladed and it was the best beauty related decision I’ve ever made!  Check out the amazing work of Kacie Rainey if you’re in the Edmonton/Red Deer area!  But microblading is a semi permanent pigment put into your skin rather than an ink so don’t worry that you’ll have sharpie brows, it’s completely natural looking! But it can fade at varying rates depending on your skin type, skin care routine and even your own body chemistry.  I also found that when I was using a more full coverage foundation it covered up some of the microbladed brow so I still use a pencil to help perfect things.  (on the upside at least I knew that foundation really was full coverage!)

I’ve tried nearly every drugstore brand brow pencil and a large portion of brow pencils offered at Sephora and hands down my absolute favourite is the L’oreal Brow Stylist Definer.

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I don’t find the pencil too creamy or too waxy, the tip is fine enough to make hair like strokes and the spoolie on the opposite end is a nice shape to comb through the brows.  I find it to be extremely comparable to the incredibly popular Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz which is another great option but double the price of the L’oreal pencil and I personally find the shades and undertones more appealing in the L’oreal line.

Mascara

As much as I’ve struggled with my brows, so have I with my lashes.  My ideal mascara offers me both length and volume while not being too clumpy, resists smudging and flaking and I don’t want to spend over 20 dollars on it .  It sounds like a lot to ask from one mascara and to be honest I think it is for a lot of brands.  But one brand has done it.  They’ve provided length, volume, minimal clumping, smudging and flaking while staying under the 20 dollar mark!  It’s the L’oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara.

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Some say this guy is a dupe for the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara however I’ve never tried that one because it breaches that 20 dollar mark that I refuse to go over.  I will wear mascara every day that I leave my house even if I don’t put on any other make up which means I tend to fly through mascaras so paying for high end versions isn’t something I love doing.  But this L’oreal one is absolutely beautiful if you love that full, voluminous look!

The great thing about makeup is that there is SO much to try out, get creative and experiment with!  Whether you’re a cosmetics veteran or a makeup newbie don’t forget – makeup is FUN!  It’s meant to make you feel GOOD!  If a bold lip makes you feel great then rock it friend!  But if it makes you feel self concious then go for that nude lip, or heck do what I do and grab a fantastic lip balm instead!
It’s all up to you and there are no wrong ways to feel beautiful.  Let me know what your favourites this month were in the comments below!

Also!  Don’t forget to check out these amazing YouTuber’s!

Jessica Braun
Emily Noel
Melissa Alatorre
Jackie Aina
Jamie Paige
Samantha Ravndahl

Until next time friends, keep living that beautiful life. ❤

-Jenn

 

Hello!

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Welcome to Ennis and George!
My hope is that this website is a place that can be a bright, positive moment in your daily life.
I can’t wait to get started, thanks so much for joining me!

– J