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.

Rants and Rambles | Sometimes You Just Have To Yell “DO OVER!” To The Universe

jenn and the city new month do over

There’s something to be said of new beginnings. Of fresh starts. Of do-overs, if you will.

Today is June 1st. A brand new month, and let me tell you – I sure am glad to see May over and done with.

When I think back to the month of May, and really – the majority of the first half of 2018 thus far, the Friends theme song pops into my head. Not the whole thing, just a certain part…

“It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear. When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month or even your year…”

 *sigh*

But, as you all know, I’m a generally optimistic person. So, I’m going to get up, brush myself off and take on the rest of 2018 with a gusto!

There’s a lot going on. There are a lot of things for me to look forward to and plan for in the upcoming months, so I’m choosing to focus my energy on the good in my life.

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#GetYourColourOn Twitter Party | Colour Your Hair to Conquer Cancer

May is #GetYourColourOn Month!
Colour Your Hair to Conquer Cancer and Support Cancer Research!

Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. 1 in 2. That’s staggering. Every single one of us will be affected, directly or indirectly, by cancer.

I’ve had family members and some of my closest friends already be diagnosed by various forms of cancer. It’s heartbreaking to see someone you love hurting, and terrifying to think that you may face that battle yourself one day.

We need to find a cure for cancer in our lifetime, and the dedicated researchers need our help. Period.

#GetYourColourOn Twitter Party Colour Your Hair to Conquer Cancer

If you’ve never heard of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation – you’ve been living under a rock. Princess Margaret is one of the top 5 cancer research centers in the world and they have over 1,200 researchers who are dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. I’m sure you’ve heard of their bigger fundraising efforts, such as the Home Lottery – but this year, they’re launching a new fundraising initiative, and let me tell you– it’s definitely going to put the FUN in fundraiser!

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Save Our Scruff | The Scruff Social Presented by Healthy Pets

Save Our Scruff Toronto Scruff Social 2018

Honestly, after losing my first ever dog, Precious, last year – I didn’t know if I would ever be able to bring another dog into my life. Precious was there for me when I needed her the most. She was patient and attentive, and loved me unconditionally. My heart broke into a million pieces when her time came to leave my life, and to be honest – I still miss her every day.

The love and companionship a dog brings into your life is like no other.

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RECIPE | Mini Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mini Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

When I was a little girl – Easter used to be such a big thing. I mean, obviously the big bunny would come and visit, but we used to also always get fancy new dresses. We’d put bows in our hair and head to my grandparents place. The whole family would get together and we’d have a big feast. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, veggies – the works.

And then, of course, there would be even more sweet treats for us waiting at Grandma and Grandpa’s. The Easter Bunny would make two stops for us kiddies – and we were not going to complain about that! LOL My grandparents used to ALWAYS give us these chocolate eggs which would have our names written in cursive in icing on them.

Nowadays…Easter really isn’t that big of a deal in our family. There aren’t as many kids around – really, just my nieces…and even they’re “getting too old for all of this.”

So, when a last minute Easter Sunday dinner was planned this year – I was excited, to say the least. While the Easter Bunny may not have visited my house (well, technically – he did, as I surprised mike with a treat that morning LOL) and I didn’t get a new dress (although I REALLY wish I did) – I took this last minute dinner as an opportunity to whip up some delish sweet treats for the fam.

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CONTEST | The Green Living Show, Canada’s Largest Eco-Healthy Living Show

What exactly is The Green Living Show, Canada’s largest eco-healthy living show, all about?

green living show 2018

Green Living strives to provide consumers with information about companies and organizations making the world a greener place.

Sure, sounds good – right? Of course it does! Creating a greener world is something that everyone should strive to work towards.

Whether you’re a superstar green living human already, or want to learn more – I highly suggested heading out to The Green Living Show!

…if not anything other than the delicious food!

green living show 2018

Join 20 chefs, breweries, cideries, and wineries in the Delicious Local Food & Drink Pavilion. Celebrate the diversity and cultural traditions the make up Canada’s food landscape.

Green living show 2018 maple butter ale

Using local and sustainably sourced Ontario ingredients, chefs from Canada and around the world will showcase old family recipes and favourite dishes that best reflect their heritage.

Join us as we applaud the community, vibrancy, and diversity of our country through the many tastes and smells of its global kitchens.

FUN FACT: The chefs at The Green Living Show will not only cook with local Ontario produce, they will also be using 300lbs of donated misshaped organic veggies from Pfenning’s Farms that didn’t make it to the grocery store.

green living show 2018

credit: greenlivingshow.ca

With the upcoming legalization of cannabis, the discussion on integrating it into your health regime and how it can be used as medication has continued to evolve.

At The Green Living Show, you can check out the Aurora Cannabis educational feature exhibit, and the Cannaspace stage to get all of your questions answered.

The Green Living Show Details

Location
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building
255 Front Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2W6

2018 Show hours
Friday, April 6: 12:00pm – 9:00pm
Saturday, April 7: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday, April 8: 10:00am – 6:00pm

Buy Tickets Now!

Green Living Show 2018 tickets

I want to give you a chance to check out the Green Living Show! Enter below to win one of 8 pairs of general admission tickets to the Green Living Show.

Please note: Winner will have to attend the show to pickup their tickets!

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