Hey hey hey! I don’t know about you but winter is totally kickin’ my booty this year.

It’s only fitting that this post go out today.

On Blue Monday.

Myth or not, believe it or not, Blue Monday is one of those things. You’re either into it, or you’re not. You believe it and live it, or you’re annoyed by it and think it’s total nonsense.

No matter which side you fall on, it is something that is constantly talked about and hyped up each and every year.

If you’re not familiar with it – Blue Monday falls on the third Monday of every January. It is noted that this particular date each year falls far enough from Christmas that all of the holiday hoopla has died down, gift debts have rolled in & become real, resolutions are failing, cold/snowy/awful weather is in full force and people are experiencing low levels of motivation. These are all contributing factors to our thoughts/feelings/interactions on the third Monday every single January.

I don’t know about you guys, but today was just one of those days.

It was the Monday-est Monday E V E R.

Traffic was ridiculous ( as usual ) this morning, I almost fell asleep in class, class finally ended ( 5 minutes early for once! ) & then I proceeded to lock my keys in the front seat of my car. Thx god that my dad was on lunch break and just so happens to work at a car dealership so he could cut me a key and bring it over! I was late for work, I slipped on ice ( in front of eight primary school kids ) and I got a wind burn on my face and blisters from my new boots. #blessed

I wouldn’t particularly say that I was overly blue today, but there really was nothing stand-out about today. If I’m being honest, I am thankful that today is almost over.

So I am on a mission to make this winter one for the books. No more Mondays like today, no more long weeks that I begin to dread. I thrive in the spring, summer and fall, and I am the first one to say that I do struggle in the winter. It’s hard to keep it all together & stay positive with the snow falling, icy road conditions, dark skies early in the afternoon, and cold cold days that even the hottest coffee can’t warm up.

But for winter 2017, I am really focusing on my lifestyle – tweaking it a bit, adding some new things and spicing it up a lot.

beating the blues 101:

/ wake up earlier ( & actually get up ):

Lazing around in bed every once in a while is fine, but getting up when your alarm goes off is so key ( every day, but especially in the winter ). It’s hard to drag yourself out of bed, but once you’re up – it feels so much better!

/ take small breaks:

Things can get tedious this time of year. Winter is one of the busiest times with work and school, so take a break! You deserve it. I absolutely love rewarding myself with a little break every so often during my day. If I’m stuck working on a paper, I allow myself to take a little break to stretch it out, check social media and grab something to snack on. Read a good book, journal, write, or stalk Pinterest for motivational quotes.

/ get organized:

By seeing everything that you need to accomplish, you’re more likely to not miss out on a deadline or a commitment. I love taking time each Sunday or Monday to lay out my upcoming week and figure out when I can get my work done. I include everything like school assignment due dates, work schedules, meetings, blog time and social events. It helps everything seem a little bit less overwhelming and intimidating when you can see it all in front of you.

/ eat real food:

Stick to those New Year Resolutions & stay on the lean, clean and green train! Fueling your body with healthy goodies gives you energy and it allows you to feel better about yourself. By stuffing your face with greasy, take-out foods, you are going to feel even more sluggish and run down. I love making smoothies, smoothie bowls and colourful salads.

/ get outdoors:

In the summer, I’m outside all the dang time, but in the winter I tend to stick inside binging on television shows and watching movies. Going outside and enjoying a crisp walk is something that I need to do more this year. Vitamin D is still out there even if it is cold and blue.

/ look for the light:

Literally and figuratively. If you can afford it, investing in a ‘happy light’ is something that you could do to help beat the winter blues. I don’t know if they actually work like some people swear they do, but I love sitting in front of one each morning while reading and eating breakfast. Figuratively, you should be looking for the light, too. Enjoy the highs, soak up the positive vibes and embrace everything that life is throwing at you.

/ stay social and plan dates:

It’s so easy to get into a rut of going to school or work, and coming home for the night. I mean, it’s cold out, it could be snowy/icy/rainy, and it’s dark. Who wants to go outside in that each evening? YOU should. By cooping yourself up indoors, alone, it’s going to add to your low energy levels and lack of drive. By heading out and going on a date with your sig. other or your bestie, you’ll feel so much better. We feed off of others and our social interactions with them.

/ keep a sleep schedule:

Sleep SLEEP SLEEP. But don’t sleep too much – even on weekends. I like to stick to getting between seven to no more than nine hours sleep at night. I can’t function off any less than seven hours, so during the school week, I tend to get around seven. On the weekends, I like to allow myself to sleep in a bit and I’ll normally get around nine hours sleep. I try to make sure I go to bed within an hours difference each night and wake up generally the same times each morning, too. I find that this really helps me during the days.

That’s how I plan on beating the winter blues this year. What do you guys do to stay happy and positive in the winter? Do you find that the season effects you, or do you generally feel the same in January that you do in July?

JE x


SO it’s been one of those absolutely insane weeks.

Like crazy insanity.

I don’t even know how it’s Friday already. I mean certain aspects of the days have dragged on, but the week in general flew by. I feel like I’ve done nothing, but I’ve actually been so incredibly busy.

School is back in FULL swing… papers on papers, assignments up the ying & so many mini activities my head seriously cannot keep up. I was in such a groove with blogging and this week I’ve 100% fell off the blog train, but I’m back ( for now! ).

Today seemed like the most perfect day to post about some things that I have been loving lately. I love love doing these posts and I also love reading them, too. Link me your favourites lately!

/ ed sheeran’s newest song:

I admit I’m really the hugest Ed Sheeran fan… I like a lot of his songs for what they are, but I’m not jumping for joy when he releases new music. But his newest release ‘Castle on the Hill‘ is SERIOUSLY up there as one of my favourite songs that have been released in a long time. I love the story that it tells more than anything, but the beat is really good, too. It’s like a sad storytelling song, but also upbeat at the same time. Deffo recommend ++++ also Castle on the Hill > Shape of You, just saying.

/ gap athletic wear:

During December I noticed that the GAP on this side of town was closing, so YOU KNOW I had to hit it up and pick up trick my mom into buying my Christmas presents. I found three workout shirts ( long-sleeve workout tops are my absolute favourite thing to layer under sweaters / with scarves in the winter! ), a t-shirt and a new pair of leggings that I completely fell in love with. GAP has the softest material that they make their athletic wear out of & I’m so obsessed. I’m definitely OK with admitting that over Christmas break, I rotated through my three long-sleeve shirts constantly… because they’re so comfortable.

/ adidas superstars:

I cannot even express to you how much I had lusted over these shoes for like the past year and a half. There were so many times that I was that close to purchasing a pair, but something kept holding me back. I’m 100% sure that my friends, Daniel and my mom were tired of me talking about how much I wanted a pair because I talked about it that much. For Christmas, Daniel completely surprised me and got me a pair of black striped Adidas Superstars and I’ve worn them almost every single day since ( except the really snowy or rainy days ). They’re super comfortable and versatile – I can wear them with leggings and a casual outfit, or I can pair them with a pair of ripped jeans and a tee.

/ freshii [ more specifically buddha’s satay bowl ]:

I used to be a huge fan of Freshii for salads but then I had a bad experience – OMG the salad was actually awful & I hadn’t been back in about a year. Last night I was volunteering at a local craft beer + food event and of course, there was barely anything GF, so I went to the food court at the mall and Freshii basically called out to me. I decided to try one of their bowls and I fell in love. The Buddha’s Satay bowl has rice noodles, broccoli, cabbage, green onions, carrots and crispy wonton pieces ( I don’t eat these & prob should ask for it without, but I hate being a nuisance! ). It’s all cooked in a spicy peanut sauce and it’s the best thing I’ve tasted in a while. I actually had to go back today and get another one and it was even better than last night. I’m hooked.

/ fresh room makeovers:

Last weekend, Daniel and I spent five hours cleaning my room from top to bottom and reorganizing it. I got rid of thirteen bags of clothes, three bags of junk, two bags of paper recycling and a bag of garbage. Seriously my room was a mess and it made me uncomfortable to be in it. I actually think that the clutter and mess was effecting my sleep. I KNOW it was effecting my health because I was always stuffed up and I coughed a lot while I was in my room – I kid you not, it was a mess. I don’t know how it got that bad. I’ve since kept it clean for a whole five days ( this is seriously a miracle, I’m such a messy person I hate it! ) and I’ve bought some new things for my room. I bought a new laundry basket – it’s actually SO cute, and a few decorative pillows. I’m on a mission to find two new lamps and in the summer, when IKEA finally opens around here, I’m going to get a new bedroom set & a bed finally!

/ working on my anxiety:

Journaling, meditation and mindfulness have all become something that are like a second nature to me. I eat, sleep, breathe, journal, meditate and live a mindful life and I’m loving it. I’ve noticed such a HUGE turn in my anxiety – I’m actually able to count days in between panic attacks, instead of just a few hours… Journaling ( and keeping up to date with my planner ) help me to lay everything out in front of me in terms of to-do lists, schedules and feelings / reactions. Meditation has become something that I constantly find myself doing, even when I don’t plan on it. I meditate every single night, without fail, and I meditate a lot in the mornings, too. I also find myself doing it at random times throughout the day when I feel myself becoming overwhelmed or anxious. Mindfulness has been something that I’ve also been incorporating into my life a lot lately & I also love this post I wrote about it late last week.

/ #onechicago:

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but the Chicago series are probably my favourite shows to ever be on tv ( aside from One Tree Hill & early seasons of Criminal Minds ). Chicago PD was the first one I started watching and fell in love immediately. Throughout the first season, Chicago Fire characters were incorporated in a lot, so I started watching Chicago Fire, too, and became obsessed with it as well. After a few seasons of Chicago PD, it was announced that there was a new show joining the Chicago series – Chicago Med & it hasn’t disappointed yet! Chicago Justice is set to begin this year and I’m PUMPED. They are constantly overlapping the shows and characters are in & out of episodes in the ‘wrong’ series all the time and I love the constant connections.

/ coconut oil:

Coconut oil is simply amazing. I’m obsessed. It works for absolutely everything that you could ever imagine. Lately I’ve been using it as a hair mask and a facial moisturizer and I’ve actually seen results in both. My hair is really too long but I’m not ready to cut it yet. I’ve found that it’s made my hair softer and less dead looking ( kind of ). Coconut oil has been working w o n d e r s on my face. I never really had acne while growing up, but as I hit my twenties, it started appearing more and more. Lately, I’ve stopped using every ‘product’ that I used to use and I’ve been using a local soap to wash my face and coconut oil to moisturize twice a day and it’s incredible the results. My scarring has cleared up – it’s not so red – and I haven’t had any breakouts in three weeks!


That’s what I’ve been loving lately.

What have you been loving? Leave me links!

x julieann


>> my mom knows how much I love Paris… the clock is even set to Paris’ timezone 

Here we are a week into January and I’m still not completely OK with the fact that Christmas is over. We took our tree down today ( finally! ) and the house seems so bare without it. And the twinkling lights, garland, and pops of red & green.

Getting back into the swing of things of school and work is actually kind of killing me, but it’ll get smoother. I have an extra class this semester ( 6 instead of 5 ) and I’m working 2 extra days a week, compared to last semester… I’m still not sure why I thought this was all a good idea????

This weekend has been a whirlwind, but I honestly feel as though I haven’t done really anything. Just those necessary things like grocery shop, clean, and take down Christmas decor – crying.

My mom and I ran a million errands yesterday – I finally got my new phone! This is the first time EVER that I’ve gotten my preferred colour for an iPhone ( what up rose gold! ) and I’ve been an iPhone user for years & years now. I bought three different phone cases yesterday and returned two of them, after I finally figured out which one I liked the most, because I’m extremely indecisive like that.

Daniel and I completely gutted my room today… I mean, four hours, three bags to donate, two garbage bags and a TON more boxes for my mom and I to go through later this week ( that are all in my living room currently… my dad may or may not hate me, but it’s whatever! ). Who knew I had this many books? I could seriously fill my own personal library.

I also wiped my old MacBook so that I could re-set it and sell it to a friend. I went through SO many pictures and old essays. It was such a nice walk down memory lane. I always LOVE looking at old pictures.

Tomorrow is going to be the Monday of all Mondays… school, work, and dentist #ugh.

Wishing you all the best week ever!

x J


/ mindfulness [ noun ]:

… the mental state in which one becomes aware of the present moment, calmly acknowledging and accepting the ways in which one is thinking and feeling, and the sensations occurring in one’s body.

… the conscious state of being aware.

Being a crazy over-thinker, being an anxious, nervous and constantly on edge person, I live every day not knowing how I am going to feel.

The weirdest scenarios or circumstances can set me off and I can completely zone out and become a different person because of my anxiety and inability to navigate certain situations that I find myself in. Sometimes it can be a situation as common as standing in line at the grocery store or driving in rush-hour traffic, while other times it could be a situation that doesn’t occur TOO often, and that a lot of people may find stressful like the first day at school or starting a new job.

Lately, there are probably more times in my life that I am feeling anxious or nervous than not, but I am quickly learning how to navigate those feelings and overcome them. Who wants to have a panic attack in a busy, long line at the grocery store and have to jump out of line to get it together & then have to wait in said long line again? Not this girl, I can tell you that.

There are many things that I am doing to overcome my constant anxiety… being mindful is one of them.

Living a mindful life is something that has become something that people commonly strive for, and I am one of those people. There is something so fulfilling about living in the moment, being present and truly being.

knowing that you can / should be mindful is a start, but actually being mindful is different.

There are those times during the day that the mind becomes overactive and commands our attention, dragging our thoughts ALL over the place and not allowing us to live in the moment & this is the perfect time to bring ourselves back to basics and ground ourselves through mindfulness. It is also a way in which coping with anxiety or stressors can be handled.

Mindfulness is one of those things that can seem totally overwhelming at first ( like a lot of wellness and health ideals ), but once you begin practicing mindfulness and living a mindful life, the overwhelming sensation wears off. Mindfulness can be such a rewarding, fulfilling and relaxing state of being.

OK, so.

Sure, that all seems great, being mindful and all, but how can we actually do it? I found that, when I started focusing on being more mindful, that it was best to do it in ways that I could incorporate into my life multiple times a day, while doing ‘normal’ things.

It was super intimidating at first to practice meditation ( more on this to come SOON! ) or even yoga, but being mindful while doing every day things and not having to sit alone with my thoughts was less intimidating.

four simple and easy ways to incorporate mindful practices into our daily lives:

+ being mindful while eating

+ being mindful while walking

+ being mindful during conversations

+ being mindful of your environment

While eating, instead of scrolling through social media, texting your friends, or binge-watching Full House on Netflix, focus on your food. Think about the taste, enjoy the smells, think about the texture, count how many chews it takes per bite. Take a moment and pause for gratitude; be thankful for the food that you are consuming and really, truly enjoy each and every bite.

Next time you’re up and walking, focus on what you’re doing. How many times a day do you get up from your desk and go to the washroom? How many times a day do you walk up the stairs in your house? Focus on what you are doing, notice how your feet move and hit the floor, become aware of what your arms and body are doing, stand up taller, count your steps, really focus on what you are doing. Connect with yourself on your next two-minute walk to the washroom.

Do you ever get so caught up in your own thoughts in a conversation that you kind of zone out on what the other people are saying? Maybe you’re too busy figuring out what your going to say, or trying to think of the best way to explain yourself when you get a chance to talk? Conversations don’t have to be a quick thing. You don’t have to rush through them and be constantly planning ahead in your mind what you’re going to say. Take a minute and really listen to what the other person is saying. It will allow you to have a better response because you’ll actually be fully paying attention to the words they are speaking.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by my environment ( busy grocery store lines ) and I have found that being mindful of my environment has really helped. How often do we visit places like our local grocery store? But have you ever really noticed what it’s like – what colour are the floors, are there windows or solid walls, how many aisles are there? By becoming aware of these things, it can take your mind off the anxious feelings because you become focused on something else.

Your mind deserves all of the attention that you can give to it & more.

Mindfulness has been said to reduce anxiety, stress, negative thoughts and beliefs, and helps us to focus, believe and think more clearly. What more could you really want? 

There are so many ways in which we can incorporate mindful practices into our daily lives. I’ll be sharing more on other ways in which we can become more mindful in posts to come, such as:

+ body scans

+ meditation

+ yoga

+ visualizing techniques

+ journaling

+ pausing

Do any of you practice mindfulness, or is it too overwhelming of a thought to engage in? If you do, what are your favourite ways to engage in mindful practices?

x JE


OK I swear I will get over the cliché new year posts soon… but I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to this topic.

There is something so incredibly sweet about the start of a new year. I am all about the start of a new week, or a new month – but a new YEAR is even better. I crave goal setting, envisioning my life and making new intentions. There’s no better time of year to do that then the new year when the slate is wiped clean and you can start from scratch.

I know some people get mouthy about the new year and clean slates, starting from scratch and setting goals, but I think it is important to do and extremely healthy for the mind, body and soul.

I like to think of the new year as a fresh start to re-focus, re-charge and re-set all aspects of my life. It’s the perfect time to revisit all of last years goals ( the ones you set last January 1, and the ones you set throughout the year ) and make sure that you are on the right track with them, that you are still working towards them, that you met & accomplished them and are proud of your work, and to re-evaluate some things that maybe aren’t working as well as you’d like in your life and start fresh for the next twelve months.

On January 1, I wrote about my plan to slow down for 2017.

I outlined exactly how I planned on slowing down with a list of things that I wanted to do more of and some things that I wanted to do less of, and honestly writing that post was so eye opening. It really made me WANT to slow down even more than I had intended to.

During the week leading up to Christmas – my absolute favourite week of the year, I got really sick and I basically didn’t do anything for 6 days. I didn’t really feel as though I was in the Christmas spirit, I didn’t have my Christmas shopping done, I hadn’t wrapped any gifts, I hadn’t baked anything ( & never got the chance to! ) and I just felt extremely exhausted, overwhelmed and anxious on top of grossly sick. This sickness was a real game-changer. It opened my eyes to just how far I constantly push myself. I’m always out & about, running the roads, making sure that I never say ‘no’ to anyone’s coffee date, wandering the malls aimlessly and not taking time for me.

The number one thing that I want to focus on for 2017 is me, self-love and self-care. The others are just added bonuses.

2017 to-do list:

/ slowing down:

Like I said, my number one goal for this year is to slow down & take time for me. Self-care is SO important and I find myself constantly brushing it off, but no more. I’m going to take the time for massages, to go on walks, to take a hot bath and to read books because I deserve it ( and you do, too! ).

/ work harder than ever on TIB:

I feel like I have such a big love affair with writing and creating, but so often ‘real’ life seems to get in the way. Being a consistent blogger in general is SO hard. Add in being a ‘young’ blog, trying growing your community, continuing to find your voice and still working two other jobs & being a full-time student and sometimes I feel like my head is going to pop off. I am so in love with creating this space though, so I need to dedicate more time to it in 2017.

/ start running again:

Running is another thing that I have such a huge love affair with, but I feel like right now we’ve been taking a break for far toooo long. I used to run every morning but for the past ~6 months, I completely stopped. I miss running, feeling strong + healthy and pushing myself, so I am determined to make that commitment again.

/ clean eating:

I feel better when I eat lean, clean and green, so it only makes sense for that to be the lifestyle that I live. I love making trips to the farmer’s market and to the local ‘healthy’ grocery store, so why the heck not do it more often? I am also focused on saving money in relation to food that I am eating – less snacking, less fast-food sandwiches and less often buying treats.

/ focus on happiness from within:

Allowing myself to be in control my own happiness is something that I really want to focus on in 2017. There is nothing more fulfilling than accomplishing something, reaching a goal, being with yourself and truly radiating happiness just because.

/ do more yoga:

This is similar to running… I used to practice yoga 4-5 times a week and I haven’t really focused on yoga or stretching in a few months. I don’t know what it was about the latter half of 2016, but something really knocked me around and I stopped focusing on things that I really wish I didn’t. This year I am going to make time for yoga and stretch daily because I know how good it makes me feel.

some of things that I want to continue to do that have been incorporated in my life in 2016 are:

+ meditating daily ( even twice daily, some days when I know it is needed! )

+ journaling my thoughts & getting them down on paper

+ learning ways to cope with my anxiety & incorporating them into my daily routines

+ spending more time with my family and friends

+ saying ‘no’ more often

+ spending more time outside

+ saving more money than I am spending

how i intend 2017 to make me feel:

/ purposeful:

I am on a mission to empower, strengthen and bring value to my life and others’ lives. I know where I’ve been, I know where I’m headed and I’m ready to do it with a purpose.

/ healthy:

Healthy in all aspects of my life – emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical. Self-care and self-love will help a lot with the emotional/mental/spiritual side of things and running/yoga/clean eating will be key to feeling physically healthy.

/ grounded:

My anxiety has been off the charts for the majority of 2016, and I am so not ready to let it try to creep in and take over 2017, too. I crave balance, routine and structure in all aspects of my life so I need to give myself more of these so that my mental health will be stronger.

/ strong:

Physically, I feel as though my health has gone down a bit. I haven’t put on an unhealthy amount of weight, I haven’t been doing unhealthy things, I just haven’t been doing as many healthy things as I was used to. Basically, I just want to be able to climb the 8 flights of steps at school without feeling weak this semester ( kidding, but not really ).

/ creatively satisfied:

This goes hand-in-hand with focusing on this blog more. I love how creative photography, writing and figuring out posts makes me feel and I’m determined to do more of that this year.

/ accomplished:

In school, with the blog, at work, and in my personal life. I thrive off of accomplishing goals and checking things off to-do lists. I love working hard on something and being rewarded with a good grade, a smile or a ‘this is great’.

2017 is going to be such a good year. I really, truly believe it will be.

Have you set any goals or intentions for 2017? What are your visions for the new year?

x JE