The Night The Bitter Cold Air Was A Wake Up Call

It was a windy Thursday night. The kind of wind that hurts your face. I could feel it as I rushed along Queen St West, pivoting around the crowds of people. The sun that was shining throughout the day was false advertising of warmer weather. It was definitely still winter in the city, and much like many others, I was feeling “the blues.”

But, my “blues” were anything but, and I knew it

The anxiety and depression I have been battling for as long as I could remember had taken over. The boogeyman in my head had tightened his grip over my thoughts and actions

I needed to break free.

Just like any other day – my mind was racing. How many times have I walked down this street before? How many times had I rushed through the crowds to get to an event that I was running late for? Remembering the times where within the 7 days of the week, I was out at likely 16 events over the course of 6 days. Remembering how easy it all seemed back then.

Well, how easy I made it seem. There was a lot of pretending everything was ok when in actuality – it was not.

…it was exhausting

Things were quite different now, though. I moved in (north of Bloor St. and if you are from Toronto – you’ll understand why this matters) with Mike and now it would take a whole lot more convincing to get me out and about

At first, I would blame my lack of presence at events on “exclusivity.” Which was, in fact, part of it. I didn’t WANT to be everywhere any more. But in all actuality – it was more so my anxiety. I COULDN’T be everywhere anymore

The anxiety that would come from going out was overwhelming. It wasn’t even just being out anymore. The thought of going out starting inducing panic attacks. I can’t tell you how many times I was on my way out when the fear and panic would take over, so much so that I’d either tell my uber to turn around or I’d have to get off of the public transit because it felt as though I was going to be sick

“Take a deep breath, Jenn. It’s going to be ok,” I mumbled to myself as I hopped over the streetcar track – narrowly missing getting my heel stuck.

I secluded myself. I isolated myself from people and places and things. I would stay home, and as I would scroll through my feeds, I would feel a sudden pang of FOMO. I’d see everyone out there with the smiles and the cocktails and the laughter and I would feel as though I was missing out. But that feeling only lasted a moment…then the overwhelming sense of relief would take over.

I knew that by isolating myself though, that I was actually doing more harm than good. I needed to make changes. I needed to feel better. I needed to be the best version of myself, for me and those around me.

So, what changes did I have to make?

I knew I had to start eating better. I knew that my steady diet of wine and chicken fingers and pizza was no bueno. I mean, it was delicious – but I knew I needed more.

I knew I had to start working out again. I knew that I needed to get those feel-good endorphins flowing. The hardest part of going to the gym is LITERALLY going to the gym, so I knew I had to get over that hurdle.

I knew I had to reconnect with some friends, and distance myself from some others. I knew that I had to be selfish and put my needs first and remove some toxicness from my life. I knew that I had to hope that it wasn’t too late with some people and that they would be understanding of my isolation.

I knew I had to start saying yes again. I knew I had to push myself out of my comfort zone and start saying yes to events and plans again. I knew that getting out there again – socializing as opposed to simply scrolling my feeds, was a good idea

So, I started making some small changes. I started meal prepping my lunches. I launched a motivational month with some followers where we encouraged each other daily. I started going to sleep earlier, and leaving my phone on the bedside table as opposed to scrolling in bed. I started getting up earlier and going to the gym. Those early morning feel good endorphins became EvErYtHiNg to me. They’re amazing!

And I even started saying yes to events and plans again.

“Take a deep breath, Jenn. It’s going to be ok,” I said to myself as I took the 15-second elevator (which felt more like an hour) ride up to the event space.

I had RSVP’d yes to this particular event, and gone solo. Double whammy. I thought that by coming solo I could plot my quick escape, if need be.

As I reached for a glass of wine from the waiter, I caught sight of a grin being shot my way that so big it lit the room and was greeted with a hug so heartfelt I immediately started to feel at ease.

“See, a familiar face. You’re good, Jenn.” I thought to myself as I saw Casie approaching.

The distraction of our conversation helped briefly ease my anxiety. From talking about recent travel to our outfits to the industry…and everything in between – the distraction made the whole situation started to become more manageable.

Distractions are great, until they’re gone – am I right?

Now that my anxiety was easing off, I was able to focus and listen to the amazing panel. Which was great because it became motivation. Hearing the panelists stories, and those from the people in the audience who decided to speak up or ask questions – was that extra butt kick of motivation I needed to make more changes.

I left the event and decided to grab a cocktail on my own. I needed to decompress after the whole evening, and just wanted to gather my thoughts a bit.

It was only after the event that it really hit me how bad my anxiety was throughout the night. And really, how much my anxiety had gotten out of hand and had taken over. As I sipped my cocktail, I knew what I had to do.

I walked outside, and as the bitter cold air smacked my face like the wakeup call I so desperately needed, I made my first therapy appointment.

Happy New Year! Also – Benylin Isn’t That Bad.

jenn and the city happy new year

HAPPY NEW YEAR, MOFOS!

I hope that 2018 brings you nothing but happiness and success because you are amazing and you deserve the best.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “JJ – you’ve done lost your damn mind! It’s February!”

RELAX.

Let’s be honest – I had a bit of a rough go in January. I’m not going to sit here and list off all the things that went wrong or brought stress my way. (Not again, at least. Ha.)

I will, however, tell you that I’m writing this post from home, sick as heck and on a mix of penicillin and Benylin…just like I have been all week. And basically all of January.

But you know what, I’ve decided to take control of my happiness.

So, once February 1st rolled around, I yelled “DO OVER!” to the universe and decided to start 2018 all over again.

What?? It’s my life, I can do as I please.

So, basically – all I’m saying is that it’s your life, and you have to decide to take control over your happiness. Have faith in the universe and good things will happen.

Also, this Benylin is actually starting to taste not bad…that’s probably not a good thing.

…I’m going back to bed. Ok, love you – bye.

Seems Like A Good Time For A Month Of Motivation!

jenn and the city Month Of Motivation

Hi everyone! Just your friendly neighbourhood blogger here with a fun idea for a month of motivation!

Time for some hard truth. I currently weigh the most I have ever weighed in my entire life. I get gassed just walking up the three flights of stairs to our apartment after walking Dusty. I am so uncomfortable in my own body – it’s ridiculous. And it’s my own fault. I choose to eat the pizza and wings and not workout nearly as much as I should… if at all.

I know it’s my fault, and I also know that I need to stop making excuses.

It’s time for change.

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to making healthier decisions – I need some motivation. I mean, sure – I’ll grudgingly choose a banana over the donut that I really want in the morning…but, come on – that’s not enough. I work better when I’m being held accountable for something, and a little motivation can go a long way!

jenn and the city health and fitness Month Of Motivation

I’ve teased about this on social media for a little while now, but it’s time to put the plan in action! It’s time for a month Of motivation! I’m going to be forming a little motivational group for the month of February, and who knows, if it goes well and you guys love it – maybe we’ll keep it going beyond that.

First, let me preface this whole thing by saying:

I AM IN NO WAY A FITNESS PROFESSIONAL

What I am though, is an eager and bubbly person who is excited to make some changes and start living a healthier, happier life. Because, in the end – that’s what matters most, right?

So, here’s the deal – every Monday morning for the month of February, I’ll be sending out a newsletter with tips and tricks from myself, and some of my more qualified friends in the health, fitness, and food world.

jenn and the city health and fitness Month Of Motivation

Whether you workout at home or in the gym – I’ll be sharing some tips from my ridiculously fit and healthy and beautiful friend Mia of Body Morphology.

Need a friendly reminder to drink that water? Need a gentle push to put down the candy bar and pick up that apple? I got you covered.

Stuck in a rut of bad food meal after meal? Crunched for time when making dinner so relying on the drive-thru far too often? Not for long!

Did you know that ginger may help reduce muscle pain and soreness? Did you know that reducing sugar can create a stable mood and energy levels? Get ready for more valuable info like this!

It’s ok to not always be ok, you know. Sometimes we all need a gentle reminder that we’re not alone in this crazy thing called life. I want to help with that.

Next step?

Easy – just sign up by via the form below, or by leaving a comment and get ready to get a little healthier and a whole lot happier!

If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know in the form or the comments below too!

We’re all going to help each other – so if you’re comfortable, introduce yourself and let everyone know why your joining. If you’d rather remain anonymous – that’s cool too. Whatever works for you!

Now, who’s excited to get started on a month of motivation?!

When Life Hands You Lemons, You Make Lemonade…Unless You’re So Sick That You Can’t Drink Lemonade, Which In That Case – Just Stay In Bed For Days

jenn and the city

Well, hey there. How are YOU? I’m writing this post from bed, while under the covers and just ate for the first time in 48 hours…but more on that later.

If you follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram – you will know that I haven’t had the best of luck this week.

I went out for tacos and margaritas with an old friend on Thursday night. I was in a great mood because I had had an awesome day at work and was excited to catch up with an old friend…plus, I thought I looked super cute, so that always helps. (Judge me if you will.) After our catch up sesh, I decided to stop at the grocery store because I only ordered ONE taco at the restaurant. I know, I know – who am I!?!?

That was my first mistake…obviously.

So anyways, I went to the grocery store across the street with my brand new Google Pixel 2 XL in my hand (where it normally is <was>) feeling happy as could be; smile on my face as I perused the chip aisle. I had a hankering for good old fashioned All Dressed which was in display right at the front of the store, but I thought, “Hey, let’s see if anything else pops out at me in the aisle.”

Mistake number two.

While admiring some of my faves, like Cool Ranch Doritos and Cheetos, I placed my phone in my pocket to allow for more bags of chips in my arms. Logical, right? Anyways, shortly after – a couple struck up conversation with me.

Mistake number three.*

It was about the most random thing, and to be honest – I can’t even remember what our conversation was about now. But I do remember the young lady and I chatting, and her partner casually walking away, presumably to continue shopping. Little did I know it was actually a diversion and just like that – my phone was gone.

panic jenn and the city

I didn’t even realize my phone was gone until a few minutes after I left the store when I reached for it to text Mike. Then, full panic mode commenced. I retraced my steps. I reviewed video footage. I scoured through the streets in the rain, even spoke with security and an officer. There really wasn’t anything anyone could do. I could try calling my phone in hopes that whoever took it felt some sort of pity and decided to return it. (LOL!) So, when THAT didn’t happen – I had to contact Rogers and a) suspend my account, and b) blacklist the phone so if they did try using it – they wouldn’t be able to. Now those @$$#&%* not so nice people will simply have another paperweight.

On the plus side, one of the many great things about the Google Pixel XL 2 phone is that it automatically backed up ALL of my images and videos to Google Photos – so I didn’t lose any of those.

THANK GOODNESS. #TeamPixel for the win!

Anyways, it is what it is and like my friend said – it could have been a lot worse. Thankfully I wasn’t mugged or hurt in any way. I can replace a phone. I mean, of course it’s still frustrating AS SHIT and I was PISSED…but, I’m letting that anger go and am going to leave it in the hands of the Universe. She’ll do what she has to do and karma will take care of the rest.

Like I said at the beginning of this post – I haven’t eaten in 48+ hours. I’ve been TERRIBLY sick since Saturday morning. Like, stuck in bed, unable to eat or drink…feeling utterly weak and exhausted. At first I thought it was food poisoning, then I started to think it was the flu…now I have no idea. What I do know is that I couldn’t eat anything from about noon on Saturday until noon today (on Monday), at which point I ate a piece of toast. So, small victories?

*deepest of deep sighs*

On the plus side – I’ve had unlimited cuddles Dusty and Seven, so – yay!

Anywho – I just wanted to check in with y’all, and let you know what’s been going on. There’s been some other stuff which I’ll share about in time. I’m going to talk more about my mental health (duh) and what I’m going through, and I’m also going to launch a group motivation thing for February, where you’ll sign up and we’ll all support and motivate each other to be healthy and active. I’m in no way a certified professional, but I know we all could use a little extra motivation and encouragement! I’m also going to be in the kitchen even more thanks to my friends at Hamilton Beach, but that’ll have to wait until I have an appetite again. LOL

My blog is my diary, and while I share quite a bit on social (Twitter especially) – I miss writing here, so expect to see a lot more!

*I don’t actually consider being friendly and conversing a mistake. I am a friendly and nice person, and quite talkative. So I’m not going to change who I am because of this unfortunate incident. I refuse to let these people break me and make me think all people are as terrible as they are.

Rants And Rambles And Chilli And Bowling And OMG Why Do I Think The Way I Do?!

It’s Tuesday morning, and all I want to be doing is sitting back on the beach in Jamaica with Mike, but instead I’m stuck at work and very much disliking reality right now. I mean, it’s not all that bad…I guess. But it’s not ‘pina coloadas for breakfast followed by copious amounts of sun and booze all day while laying on the beach with the love of my life’ good. You know?

…you don’t need to save me, but would you run away with me?

A post shared by Jenn and the City (@thejennandthecity) on

On Sunday, I made a ridiculously big batch of chilli because a) we love chilli, and b) we had a couple of friends coming over to watch Survior Series. The chilli came out ahhhhmazing, but my anxiety was so bad all day. Like, if you don’t have anxiety – you may not understand this next part. Feel free to skip ahead. If you do have anxiety, you can skip ahead too if you want…I mean, do whatever you want. Anyways – back to what I was saying.

Continue reading →

A Day In The Life Of An Anxiety Sufferer | #WorldMentalHealthDay

A Day In The Life Of An Anxiety Sufferer | #WorldMentalHealthDay
I recently had a chat with someone close to me. They know my story…my struggles with mental health. They try their hardest to understand and be supportive – but at the core, they just don’t get it. I’ve bailed on our plans more times than I can count. I’ve forgotten to respond to messages. I’ve “disappeared” for extended amounts of time on more than one occasion. As forgiving as they have been, they also feel hurt by actions. And with reason.

I’ve never been able to sit down and explain to them, or anyone, what it’s like living with my crippling anxiety and depression.

So, I thought now was as good a time as any to attempt to explain it.

Continue reading →

Oh, Hello October – Nice To See You Again

Can you believe it’s already October? Honestly, it feels as though 2017 and is just flying by. I don’t know what it is…maybe time just seems to go by that much quicker the older we get?

*sigh*

Whatever it is, I’m making a genuine effort to slow down in my day to day life and make the time to enjoy the moments, both small and big.

This past week or so was no exception. Between birthday celebrations (not mine, yet), fun events, and an impromptu date night – it was definitely one for the books!

Celebrate good times, come on!

celebration gif

Last weekend, I took Jen out for a celebratory birthday dinner. Jen is one of those friends that while we met each other later in our lives (like, seriously – only a couple of years ago) – we instantly clicked. SHe’s become one of my closest friends, and I am incredibly lucky to have a friend like her in my life. Anyways, enough with the mushy gushy stuff! We headed out to Marben for our girls night, and there was wine, there was delicious food, and there were glasses of bubbly. Throw in the great company, and what more could a gal ask for!?

On Tuesday evening I invited my friend Shannon out to check out the media paunch of the new brewhouse, Northern Maverick Brewing. First off – the space is gorgeous. I absolutely loved the open ceilings, and you can see the tanks where they brew their in-house brewskiis. Not only are their in-house brewed brewskiis delish – but they also make some ahhhhmazing cocktails. There were A LOT of people at the media launch, so I didn’t get a chance to fully experience the restaurant – but I’m def looking forward to heading back. I hear the burgers are legit some of the best in the city…I’ll just have to try it out for myself and report back!

Continue reading →

A Moment Of Awareness And Gratitude

jenn and the city suicide mental healthEvery now and then, I force myself to take a step back. I take a step back and express my gratitude for everything I have.

I’m not rich by any means, I don’t live a very luxurious life. I’m a simple girl, who has had to deal with her fair share of headaches in my life. But – I’m here. I’m fighting the constant battle that is depression (throw in my severe anxiety and it’s a double whammy).

A couple of years ago I was at my lowest of lows. I had given up and felt as though there was no point in even trying anymore.

I attempted to take my own life.

But somehow – I made it through. So while it all could have come to a crashing halt that day, it didn’t.

Though it’s taken me a long time to get here, I am finally, genuinely happy that it did not.

I am surrounded by love and laughter every day, and for that – I am grateful.

The Power Of Positivity – My Personal 21 Day Gratitude Challenge

So, let me tell you a story. I woke up this morning feeling great. I haven’t felt my best over the past couple of days, but last night I got a great sleep – and I woke up this morning happy, and eager to get the day started.

21 Day Gratitude Challenge | The Power Of Positivity - Changing My Train Of Thought | Jenn and the City

When all else fails, this beauty makes my heart happy.

Our kitty cat deciding to sit on my dressing table and watch me get ready helped too. ❤️

I headed out of our apartment, on time, and caught my regular bus, where I was pleasantly surprised by how empty it was. Usually it’s quite busy, but today there was maybe 8 people on the entire bus. I thought to myself, “This is a great sign! It’s going to be a great day! Or, as Tony the Tiger would say…a grrrrrrreat day!”

That feeling didn’t last too long though. As I walked from the bus down to the subway platform, I was greeted by hundreds, if not thousands, of other commuters.

21 Day Gratitude Challenge | The Power Of Positivity - Changing My Train Of Thought | Jenn and the City

Shout-out to the lady in blue, smiling though! I see you, ladybug!

Continue reading →

Chapter 8 of 12; 2017 Edition – The List of JennJenn

Over the past few months I have found myself at a road block, mentally…creatively. I’ve been conflicted when it comes to this blog. When I first popped up on the blogging scene, I put in the work and it paid off. I was at every event. I was working with some of the top PR firms in the country. I was signing off on partnerships left and right…but I felt as though I lost *my voice*

I had to take a step back. I had to live my life to find my voice again.

And that’s exactly what I did…and continue to do.

So…I’m back, baby!

…never not laughing when I’m with this guy #TBT

A post shared by Jenn and the City (@thejennandthecity) on

2017 is just flying by, isn’t it?! It feels like just yesterday I was ringing in the new year with my fave guy, but poof – here we are in August already.

Now that we’re more than halfway through the year, I wanted to share of my goals. My plan, as of right now, is to check back in on this list every month. I’ll give updates to the goals I’ve already shared and maybe even add to the list. Who knows? We’ll see!

The List of JennJenn*
  1. Get more sleep. Not just clock in more hours, but get BETTER sleeps.
  2. Less junk food, more fresh fruit and veggies. No explanation needed…it’s about time.
  3. Once I heal from my recent fall (sigh) – get back in the gym.
  4. WRITE MORE. Open myself back up and let the creative juices flow. Not for blog hits – but for me. Writing is my therapy.
  5. Weekly dates nights with M. <3
  6. Remember to take my vitamins every day. AKA – stop being so darn forgetful.
  7. Buy a bed skirt. (Putting this here more so as a reminder for me to buy a bed skirt LOL)
  8. Try out a new recipe and bake something delicious.
  9. Call my grandmother more often because she’s simply the best.
  10. Spend an afternoon at the beach before the snow comes back.
  11. Finally finish Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

And you know what? I’ve opened up the comments here on le blogaroo – so let’s get chatting!

UPDATE: not sure why, but the comments feature seems to not be working properly…ugh – sorry y’all. I’m working on it!

Let’s make blogging fun again! *throws confetti*

*Yes, this is a wrestling reference but instead of adding names a la the man, Mr. Jericho – I’m adding goals. NBD

PS: It is annoying the heck out of me that that list has 11 items. Ask M – I need things in even numbers, or multiples of 5…even the volume on the TV has to be. LOL

PPS: 12. Stop being so particular about the little things…like list numbers and TV volume levels.