What Anger Needs Most Is Compassion | #MyToronto #TorontoStrong

What Anger Needs Most Is Compassion | #MyToronto #TorontoStrong

My heart breaks for our city, again.

The world is such a scary place. Nothing in this crazy thing called life is guaranteed, and the violent acts of last night on our normally (somewhat) peaceful Toronto streets is proof.

As we laid in bed last night, Mike was scrolling his phone and he said, “There was a shooting in Toronto tonight.” To be honest, I barely reacted. Over the past few weeks/months – there has been a whole heck of a lot of gun violence on our streets. It’s awful. Mike looked at me, and said, “No – like, a mass shooting.”

I immediate grabbed his phone and we scrolled the news feed together.

My heart broke. I was angry. I felt broken. Who could do such an awful thing in a city (I see) filled with love and tolerance? I felt as though this city I gave my love to all my life has changed. I began to think about the family we plan on having – do I want to raise our kids in the city now?

I kissed Mike goodnight, but I didn’t sleep well at all.

What Anger Needs Most Is Compassion | #MyToronto #TorontoStrong

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

When I woke up this morning – I wasn’t angry. I was sad. I was sad that someone had this much anger and hate in their heart. I was sad that I even for one second began to doubt the amazingness that is Toronto.

Toronto is a city filled with a sense of community. We support each other, celebrating our differences – learning from one another.

The people, the food, the culture – that is what defines Toronto…not the acts of violence from those filled with anger and hatred.

For all those affected by the shooting last night – remember that. Remember that in Toronto, we will always choose love over hate. Remember that you have a community of people who are here for you and support you.

And while we are all struggling to come to terms with what has happened – try to remember that what anger and pain need most is compassion. Be kind to one another.

Rants And Rambles | Why Does My Scalp Feel Like It’s On Fire?

Friend: “So, Jenn – what did you do last night?”

Me:

breaking-bad-nothing-gif

In all actuality I spent way too much time googling “90s fashion,” “90s grunge fashion for girls,” and “How can I look cool while trying to hide my anxiety at a 90s themed event?” while I had at-home hair colour (hopefully) working its magic (covering my grey hairs).

Tonight, Mike and I are heading to #ExtraInnings: Smells Like Team Spirit in support of the Jays Care Foundation.

When you think of the 90s, what comes to mind? Let me know because who knows what fun things may come your way. 😎 For me, it’s the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls. It’s butterfly clips in my hair and secret notes in my Caboodle. It’s going to see Titanic in the theatre and having a different LipSmacker in every pocket. • Oh, and of course – the back-to-back world series championship wins for the Blue Jays! DUH! Do you remember Joe Carter running the bases and Tom Cheek saying, “Touch ’em all, Joe – you’ll never hit a bigger homerun in your life!” • On July 19th, I’ll be joining fellow young professionals for a night filled with nostalgia…oh, and the likes of Jose Cruz Jr., Fred McGriff, and Mr. Joe Carter himself at #ExtraInnings in support of the Jays Care Foundation. You can join us by clicking the link in my bio for tickets! #WithRogers #Rogers_Partner

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Join fellow young professionals and Blue Jays legends for a nostalgic 90s night out at Rogers Centre™. Party the night away as we transform the concourse into a 90s dance party for a throwback Thursday evening in support of Jays Care. Joe Carter, Fred McGriff, and Jose Cruz Jr. will all be on hand as we come together to celebrate everybody’s favourite decade.

…now do you understand the 90s Google searches?

Have you ever gotten trapped in a Google search web where you click on one thing, which leads you to another…then another…then another and then next thing you know, your scalp is feeling awfully warm and itchy and then you realize, oh crap – I forgot to set a time and this hair colour has been on for like, 30 minutes?

No? Just me. Oh, well – alrighty then. Carry on.

I remember when I first started out blogging. I was confident (or so I pretended) and eager to go to every event. I wanted to show face. I wanted to meet new people. I wanted to BE EVERYWHERE. Now, as the years have gone by – I find myself going out less and less. And the times I do RSVP “Yes” (and actually show up and not bail last minute), my anxiety goes wacko leading up to said event. The times have changed. There are so many new faces and I always feel a little out of place. I usually keep to myself, head down and in my phone…avoiding contact.

Mental illness is a son of a bitch, eh?

It’s a vicious circle. Your depression and anxiety (or whatever ails you) keeps you isolated, then you feel so utterly alone. You’re lonely. So, then when the dark cloud somewhat lifts and you get the kahoonahs to actually make plans – you either bail (ahem!) or isolate yourself once out. Then you go home, kicking yourself – beating yourself up for not putting yourself out there enough. All those negative thoughts – that self-destructive inner battle – pushes you back into a dark spot. And then you start the cycle all over again.

No? Just me. Oh, well – alrighty then. Carry on.

Anyways, that’s where I’m at now. But I have been writing more and plan on using the blogaroo here as my diary, of sorts. I want to share with you guys daily (or, at least a heck of a lot more than I have been). So, expect a lot more of these rando dando check-ins and rants and rambles. Oh, and stories. I have plenty of those from over the years and now’s as good a time as any to start sharing!

…and if something resonates – HMU in the comments.

Writing is therapeutic for me, and just for that brief moment when I hit publish, it feeds my ego and makes me feel like someone may actually read this and be like, “Huh – so I’m NOT alone in feeling like this.” Which, in the end – is really all I want.

…until next time lovelies! xx

Side note: #ExtraInnings: Smells Like Team Spirit tickets are still available, so if you’re interested in joining and supporting an awesome cause – click here.

We’re Hitting The Road Again! | Road Trip To Norfolk County

Let me tell you, I love me a good road trip. And I have been on plenty in my lifetime.

I’ve driven from Toronto to Las Vegas; Las Vegas to Vancouver; across Canada from Vancouver to Toronto. I’ve driven to Montreal many times; driven to Ottawa; done mini road trips around Ontario…and last year, Mike and I drove down to Boston. In fact, it was last year at this time that we were in Beantown!

jenn and the city fenway park

I surprised Mike with Blue Jays vs Red Sox tickets for his birthday because I know how much of a Blue Jays fan he is. Since the very first day we met, we talked about the different ballparks we’ve been to and the ones we really wanted to see. Fenway Park was a big one for both of us, and neither of us had ever been! So when I started thinking of birthday presents for my babaganoosh, this came back to mind and I knew I just HAD to get us tickets!

The drive down was gorgeous and the whole trip was just one of those memorable experiences that now bring those silly inside jokes only we know…as any good road trip should!

Want an in on one of our inside jokes?
The next time you see Mike, ask him how much a bottle of water costs.

We’re likely heading down to Denver (flying, not driving) over Labour Day weekend for a baseball tournament that Mike plays in every year, so another week-long road trip wasn’t really feasible this summer. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t go on a road trip at all!

I’m so excited because we’re heading to Norfolk County for a gifted experience at the beginning of August!

jenn and the city norfolk county

Norfolk County is only about an hour and a half southwest from Toronto (depending on traffic), but what’s even more exciting is that Norfolk County holds a very special place in my heart. My great grandparents had a house there, in Simcoe, my entire life. I would go out there every summer as a kid (picture proof above…peep my model stance LOL), and even into my adult life – that house, that town – was always the one steady constant I had in my ever changing life. But alas, things change and the house got sold…and my trips down to Norfolk County became fewer and further apart.

So when I was chatting with my friends at Norfolk County Tourism, and they invited us out for a weekend – I jumped at the chance to walk down memory lane…and even create a few new ones with Mike!

Of course, I’ll be sharing our fun adventures here on le blogaroo and on my Twitter and Instagram feeds because I want you guys to see how much fun you can have so close to home…and how to do so while avoiding the mess that is Highway 400 in the summer. LOL!

Torontonians – you know what I’m talking about!

CONTEST | Enter To Win A Dinner For 4 From Rose’s Family Meals

Story time! A little while back, Mike went away for a week to visit one of his best friends.

My initial reaction was, “OMG – A WHOLE WEEK BY MYSELF?! HOW WILL I SURVIVE??” Then, my thought process (somewhat) quickly changed to, “OMG – A WHOLE WEEK TO MYSELF!!”

I mean, I knew I was going to miss my babaganoosh, but a week to myself wasn’t the worst thing either. I was getting excited! I was going to fill my calendar with events and hangouts with friends. I was going to drink white wine and have Mr. Noodles for dinner – just like I did far too often in my single days. Ha. I was going to enjoy some “me-time.” It was going to be fabulous.

busy gif

While I did go out and about and do a bunch of fun stuff, like check out Medieval Times with a group of new blogger friends (more details on that coming to le blogaroo soon!) – I also stayed home and did a little at-home pampering on myself.

Sometimes you just need a night at home to rest, relax, and take care of you. You know? I waited until the very last night of my solo week to do this, but hey – better late than never. LOL

So, what exactly does one need for a night of relaxation? For me, it’s easy.

JennJenn’s Checklist For A Solo Night Of Relaxation
  1. Wine, duh.
  2. Delicious food.
  3. A 90s Playlist
  4. Netflix
  5. Cuddles with Dusty

Rose's Family Meals

I REALLY wanted to focus on the relaxation part, so I did not want to cook AT ALL. So when my friends at Rose’s Family Meals offered to send me over a nutritionally-balanced, delicious multi-course meal – I didn’t hesitate to take them up on the offer.

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Words I Write | Sometimes You Just Need To Shut The Boogeyman Up

jenn and the city

Real life isn’t always the silly selfies you see online. Real life can be hard; real life can be exhausting.

There will be those days where you feel down and out; those days where you feel frustrated and angry.

When you feel alone and have that boogeyman inside your head telling you things you don’t need to hear.

Those days where you will just want (and maybe even need) to just shut out from everyone and everything…and that’s ok.

There is no harm or shame in taking a little time to yourself.

It’s a healthy thing to do – disconnect and just ~*LiVe*~ your life.

It’s become so easy to get preoccupied and swept up into this whole thing, this “online life” we live…but, take that step back every now and then.

After the rain, the sun will reappear. There is life. After the pain, the joy will still be here.

Recharge and refocus your energy.

But always remember that no matter how bad it seems, it will get better. I promise.

…ok, love you – bye. xx

Words I Write | A Letter To My 16 Year Old Self

Jenn and the city jennandthecity
Dear 16 year old Jenn Jenn,

I’m writing you to let you know that no matter how hard life seems right now – it will get better. I know you are frustrated, and that you feel alone. You feel uncomfortable in your own skin and unsure of what the future holds…but believe me when I say it’ll all be worth it.

Those kids making fun of you for being so skinny and not wearing make-up – ignore them. Because soon enough you will grow into a beautiful, independent woman who will be so strong-willed that you won’t take that kind of crap from anyone anymore.

You will know your worth, finally – and you won’t settle for anything less than you deserve.

Keep writing. Write down every thought and feeling that comes your way. Carry around a notepad because you will never know when inspiration will strike. It could be a sudden warm breeze that you feel through your hair on a summer evening that’ll inspire you to write about how free you feel, or it could be those late nights you spend lying in bed wide awake, mind racing, when you’ll be motivated to share your deepest secrets. These inspirational moments can strike at any time and you want to be prepared because that’s when the good stuff comes – when you least expect it.

Stay true to who you are. Don’t change your beliefs and your morals just to fit in. It’s ok to be different, it’s better that way. You see things, the world, in a different perspective.

Keep that optimism and faith in humanity, because lord knows we need more of that.

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Advice For Couples Moving In Together With Sonnet Insurance

Advice for couples moving in together with Sonnet Insurance

Unpacking boxes and placing books on the bookshelf, I remember thinking to myself, “What have we gotten ourselves into?” I looked around at all of the boxes and what had already been unpacked. I looked at the culmination of our things and thought, “There’s no way we are going to be able to combine our two lives into this one apartment.”

I stopped unpacking, sat on one of the many, many boxes piled up in the corner that still had to be unpacked and cried. It was all too much. The move, the boxes of “stuff,” the lack of wine, oh – did I mention all of the boxes? Yeah, it was all a bit much and I was overwhelmed.

I’m a hopeless romantic. I love love and love love stories even more. The happily ever after? Love it. The fairy tale ending? That’s my jam. But I’m going to get real for a minute. No matter how much you love someone, no matter how much you want to be with someone – moving in together is going to be an adjustment to your relationship. Things will change and compromises will need to be made.

There’s no rule book to follow when you move in with your significant other. The best you can do is communicate and plan ahead.

Reality check: spending 24/7 together is not always romantic

My boyfriend and I spent more time together than apart before we moved in together. We’d talk through messages all day while at work, followed by dinner and spending the night together multiple times a week. We’d cook together, wake up together, read together, do any and everything together. But after making the big move, I realized there was still so much to learn about each other.

Once you move in with each other, be prepared to see some things that you may never be able to un-see (i.e. Someone standing in the kitchen, naked…eating tacos). Some things, like eating tacos naked in the kitchen, may be fantastic. Some other things maybe not so much. You’ve been warned. Keep this in mind when you’re searching for a place together and deciding how much space you really need.

Read the rest of my advice on the Sonnet Insurance blog HERE

How To Help A Friend In A Mental Health Crisis, From Someone Who’s Been There

semicolon tattoo

I have never been one to shy away from talking about mental health, my battle with mental illness, nor my suicide attempt.

I strongly believe in talking and sharing these stories, because if it helps even one person feel a little less alone – it’s worth it.

In light of the tragic loss of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, I was asked to write a piece for 29Secrets.com about how to help a friend in a mental health crisis.

Let’s just get right to it. Mental illness does not discriminate. The recent sudden shocking deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain are proof. On paper, and to the outside eye, these two had it all: money, fame, power, success, family…yet these two lives were tragically lost to mental illness.

 

At any given time, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness. And according to Suicide Prevention Canada, approximately 11 people will end their lives by suicide in Canada today, while approximately 210 others will attempt to end their lives. These numbers have been steadily rising: suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: it’s about time the stigma surrounding mental illness is removed and we realize that mental health is health, and needs to be treated as such.

…I offer up my advice, as someone who’s been there.

You can continue reading the article HERE

If you, or someone you know, is struggling and experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out to Suicide Prevention Canada. This link will direct you to local crisis centres in your area.

#JJCooks | Garlic Parmesan Potatoes & Broccoli Recipe

We take our BBQing serious in our house. Like, seriously serious. So serious that the first day the snow somewhat melted in February, we had our first BBQ of the year.

We host people weekly for BBQs. We invite friends and family over, make a feast and everyone always eats too much. It’s fabulous. Even our date nights usually consist of BBQing at home and then cuddling up to watch some good old fashioned wrasslin!

 

We’re actually moving into a 3-bedroom house in like, 2 weeks. Actually, less than 2 weeks now…I guess I should start packing, eh? Anyways, we’re going to have SO much space, and honestly – the thing we’re both most excited about is the massive backyard. It’s going to be great for Dusty to run around in, but also for us and our love of BBQs! 

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Mental Health Is Health And You Are Not Alone

The Lifeline Twitter

p/c: The Lifeline Twitter

The shocking and sad news about Kate Spade’s suicide is a reminder that just because someone’s life may appear to be “perfect” – you never really know what they are going through.

Rich or poor – doesn’t matter.

Mental health is a disease that can affect anyone.

Be aware of the signs. Get help if you need it. Keep fighting.

Your happiness is worth the fight and I promise, you’re strong enough to keep going…even when you feel as though you aren’t.

Mental health is health. If you are struggling or in crisis – you are not weak. You are sick. You need to seek help.

Just keep fighting – one day at a time.

Happiness is out there for you, no matter what the boogeyman in your head tells you.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

As someone who has survived a suicide attempt, my heart aches every time I see a notice of another life lost.

My heart breaks for the family and friends left behind.

But my heart also breaks for the life lost. I know the pain they were feeling. I know the feeling of giving up.

I know how easily one can spiral out and I know how easily the boogeyman in your head can tighten his grip on your thoughts.

I beg of you, if you are struggling or in crisis – reach out to someone for help.
It’s out there – I PROMISE.

…and if you know someone who battles any form of mental health, please – reach out to them. A simple, “Hi. How are you?” could save a life. Trust me.

One more thing.

If the news of Kate Spade’s passing is triggering you in any way – take care of yourself.

Get offline. Mute words. Call a crisis hotline. Go to a therapy session or a meeting.

Do something to take care of YOU.

You matter. You are important. You are not alone.

If you are in crisis, here is a link to the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.