..now I have to lay in it..

I have spent the last year or so really fine tuning the look and feel of my bedroom. Since I am living with my parents I felt that it was super important for me to have a space that was completely mine and that I was extremely comfortable in.

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Pillows by HomeSense. Duvet Cover by IKEA

I’m sure that I will continue to find bits and pieces to add to it but for the most part my bedroom is complete. For that reason I thought it would be a great time to talk about my favourite feature and the most important part of anyone’s bedroom : THE BED! Snickering aside (this isn’t that kind of blog post) according to Mental Health Canada a good night’s sleep is vital for our nervous systems, our immune system and plays a huge role in the person we are during our waking hours. I am a firm believer that in order to get the most restful and successful sleep possible, your bed really needs to be exactly the way you want it. Be a Goldilocks it is more than okay!!

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Neutral tones and an underlying “nature” theme

Bed-frames and Mattresses:
I can’t stress enough how important the selection of your bed and mattress is. No matter how tempting it is to purchase your bed and/or mattress online if you are someone that struggles with sleep or physical limitations I HIGHLY suggest shopping in person. I chose a simple low to the floor, white, Queen-sized bed frame from Ikea with a removable rattan headboard. At the time I didn’t realize how important having a removable headboard is but for someone who likes to redecorate often it gives you the option of styling your bed with or without the headboard attached. Also, being able to remove the headboard makes it so much easier to clean it. Currently I have styled my bed without the headboard but have been contemplating painting it white and reattaching it (another blog post). I have a spring and active -response coil mattress also from Ikea and it is an absolute dream!

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Custom “Shhhh” keepsake by Shawne of Embroiderwee

Colours:
When I painted my bedroom I went with a grey hue from Behr called Thundercloud. I wanted a neutral grey that would allow me to accent with white decorative pieces (my favourite) and would coordinate with the natural hardwood floors, molding and doors.
For a tranquil space soft neutrals and cool greys and blues work well in a bedroom. However, pastels like lavenders and pale yellow can help make a smaller room appear bigger. I found a great article online by HGTV that can show you how to pick a perfect colour for your personal oasis.

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Paint colour by Behr “Thundercloud”

Bedding and Textiles:
I am absolutely obsessed with bedding. Sheets, pillows, blankets, you name it! There is  nothing I enjoy more than slipping into fresh sheets and blankets.  It can be a bit of a pain in the morning but spending those 5 minutes to make your bed will really make a difference when you come back to it at the end of the day. And don’t skimp out on those hospital corners!

Decorating a bed can be broken down into the following sections: sheets, blankets, comforter/duvet, pillows, accent pillows and throw blankets. When choosing your bedding make sure you keep things in mind like your body’s natural temperate (flannels are notoriously warm compared to cooler materials like bamboo or cotton), and how important it is that your bedding look freshly pressed all the time (100% cotton will ALWAYS wrinkle more), and finally how often you will be laundering your bedding (comforters will start to clump if you are washing them very often whereas a duvet gives you the option of just washing the cover). Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns and materials. Remember as with fashion – things don’t have to match – they just need to go!

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Textures add depth and visual interest

A few final tips :

  1. Gather tons of inspiration. Pinterest is a great way to start and you can conveniently shop with your inspiration stored on your smart phone or tablet!
  2. Measure! Make sure to keep up to date measurements of your bedroom (or any room) to keep your trips at a minimum.
  3. If you don’t like it bring it back. No matter how much we think we love something sometimes it just doesn’t work in real life. Keep your receipts and ask the return policy when making your purchases.
  4. Create your colour scheme and work from there! Pick your vibe and stick to it to avoid making your space visually confusing.
  5. Mix rather than match your textiles! The look you want is coordinated yet effortless.

As always please feel free to post any questions or comments you have!

Happy Decorating –

This is Thirty…One

Last Thursday was my thirty-first Birthday.

I was born on Sunday March 29th 1987 at 2:10PM to Debbie and Jim Cordes. After being born approximately twenty-one days late of my estimated due date (sorry Mom) and even though Spring had sprung, I brought with me the snow.

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Catherine Elizabeth circa 1988-ish

In most recent years I always find myself asking my Mom the same question “Do you remember how you were feeling in the days before I came” and her responses are always very similar alternating between “Dear you had me so worried” and “I thought my baby was never going to get here”. The conversation always ends with us agreeing on the fact that I never really do anything until I am completely ready – just like in birth so I am in life.

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to write. But I never knew really what that meant for me. Sitting down and attempting to write a book seemed far too intimidating for me, and a blog seemed to be a great way to practice putting my words out into the universe and in turn put myself out into the universe. I had no idea how inspired this whole process would make me and how amazing it would feel to receive such positive feedback.

Thanks to a recent blog post I was asked to participate in a podcast recording for Our Minds Matter. The episode features a chat with host Janice Arnoldi about my experience with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and the tools I use to help alleviate my struggle. I was absolutely honored to sit down with Janice and be able to use my voice, and my words to shed light on mental health.

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So here I am having just celebrated my thirty-first Birthday and what better way to start a new year than to be able to share my podcast with you. I hope that by continuing to move further into a space of complete authenticity someone else will feel compelled to do the same.

Authenticity isn’t something we have or don’t have.
It is a practice — a conscious choice of how we want to live.
Authenticity is a collection of choices we make everyday.
It is about making the choice to show up and be real.
The choice to be honest.
The choice to let our true selves be seen.
–Brene Brown

 

All About The Brows

I’m pretty sure one of the worst trends that came out of the early 2000’s were super-thin brows. So many females were sporting over-plucked face framers and believe me I also fell victim to this short lived trend. Unfortunately, by the time I decided that I needed to grow those babies out, my brows had already suffered for years at the hand of my overzealous tweezers. I have tried my hardest over the last few years to grow my brows into the full and luscious beauties I knew in my heart they could be however they had definitely fallen short (or bare shall I say).

After spending so much time trying to find the best brow products on the market and filling in my brows everyday I was ready for a more permanent solution to my brow woes. I started to research the technique of microblading.

“Microblading originated in Asia and is known as eyebrow embroidery, 3D brows, micropigmentation, or microstroking.  It is the least invasive form of cosmetic tattooing and considered to be semi permanent makeup.  The procedure is done using a handheld device that uses a very fine blade to deposit safe, plant based pigment in to the skin.  The result is natural and fuller looking eyebrows that you won’t have to fill in with makeup every day”

My sister Jessica was over visiting and was telling me about Brow Envy Niagara owned and operated by Lindsay Noaman – microblading extraordinare. I hopped onto her website and the before and after photos spoke for themselves! I knew I needed to book an appointment with this clearly talented woman.

 

A week or so later I was in Lindsay’s salon being prepped for my new brows! Lindsay was comforting and very knowledgeable, taking the time to explain the procedure and show me every tool she was going to use. She continuously checked in with me throughout the session to make sure I was comfortable and kept me completely relaxed. The best part was when she said to me “okay now I’m going to nit pick”. Hello!! That was music to my ears. I knew she would not let me leave without giving me the absolute best brows she could!

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I am currently 6 weeks post-microblading and will return to Lindsay for my touch-up in about 2 weeks. I am already so happy with the results and cannot wait to enjoy hassle free brows! Here is my before and after picture which totally speaks for itself:

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If you are interested in microblading or want more information you can visit Lindsay’s website Brow Envy Niagara Trust me you will not regret it!

Let’s Talk

I started noticing some emotional changes in myself about eight years ago. Some medical professionals have suggested it was a change in my hormones after I stopped taking birth control pills, some have suggested it was my body’s response to traumatic situations and a lot have suggested the changes were a combination of both.

In most recent years I have been extremely honest and forthcoming about my struggles with anxiety and my mental health. Thanks to a breakdown in the stigma surrounding these issues it has allowed a free-flow of information regarding all kinds of mental health difficulties and ways to combat them.

Today I am going to talk a bit about the different tools I have discovered that help me to “work” my mental health. Meaning – methods I use on a regular basis to take an active role in feeling better both mentally, physically and spiritually.

**WARNING** I am not suggesting my way is the ONLY way to combat mental health issues — I am only presenting what I found has worked for me. I am not a health professional and these opinions are my own.

Meditation

About three years ago I went through some pretty undesirable health issues (undiagnosed food allergies, adrenal fatigue, anxiety) and for anyone going through health issues it can be very difficult to keep a positive outlook as you are waiting to hear what your diagnosis’ are. Add anxiety to the mix and it can be pretty much impossible to control negative thoughts. I needed to find a way to train my brain to switch gears from negative thinking and self-talk to positive, and strength-filled self motivation. Thankfully I found guided meditation. The amazing thing about guided meditation is just that – it is guided! Step by step it teaches you how to move your thoughts to something more positive. A friend of mine suggested the Calm app – which ended up being an absolute life line! You can set up the app on your mobile device and work through meditations whenever and where ever. It also has amazing sleep stories that help you drift off to restful sleep at night.

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My meditation space

Essential Oils

By the time  you are reading this blog entry you have probably heard about essential oils once or twice in your day. Well here is number three. I discovered the AMAZING benefits from my friend Allie. She is a Wellness Advocate for dōTERRA and brought to my attention this wonderful company. I was so impressed with the quality of oils and the company itself I decided to become a Wellness Advocate. I purchased The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils and set to work on some trial research of my own. There really isn’t enough time in the day or room on the blog to tell you about all of the essential oils I utilize so if you have any questions please comment below.


Cannabidiol Oil (CBD)

What is CBD Oil you ask? Let me break it down for you! CBD Oil is a cannabis compound that has HUGE medial benefits but doesn’t make you feel “high” or “stoned”. The most important quality of CBD is its lack of psycho-activity. All of the 60-plus cannabinoids unique to the Cannabis plant interact with our bodies thanks to our network of neurons called the endocannabinoid system. Without getting too Bill Nye the Science Guy – basically humans are wired for the benefits of CBD!The endocannabinoid system runs deeply through and touches all of the major systems in our bodies. That is how CBD can do so many awesome stuff for us like regulating moods, stimulating appetites and reducing pain. For me personally – CBD has helped to curb my anxious feelings, regulate my moods and get restful sleep at night. I have found an amazing Canadian company based in British Columbia called THC Delivery. Their products are of the highest quality and their customer service reps are outstanding and it’s Canadian!!

Whatever you choose to do in respect to your mental health issues – I feel the most important piece of advice I can give is to do your research and be open to suggestion. Keep talking about your struggles and work together to continue to fight the stigma.

Here I Am

It has been such a long time since I have sat down to write. Well to be honest, I have sat down to write — it just seems I have had trouble putting the last few months of my life into words. Even that statement sounds dramatic, but it hasn’t been an easy period that is for sure!

To begin with I made a huge career change and headed back to a company I worked for almost five years ago. The hours are predictable and the work environment is really conducive to this stage in my life. I had kept in touch with so many people there and it has proven to be exactly what I needed – a place to regain my confidence, a safe place to land and a supportive environment to succeed.

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My very brave Dad and his love – my Mom.

As many people close to me know, my Dad has been dealing with some ongoing health issues for the better part of the last two years. It all came to ahead when we were paired up with a renowned orthopedic surgeon at Sunnybrook Health Centre in Toronto.  To give you some very QUICK background my Dad had suffered two failed shoulder replacement surgeries here in St. Catharines and had developed a potentially life-threatening infection. Our new surgeon at Sunnybrook began the extensive journey to repair the damage and get my Dad’s health back in good standing.

Since December of 2017 (yes just over two months) my Dad has undergone 4 major surgeries.  One of which was to fix a random perforated vein that was bleeding out through his almost-healed shoulder incision. He has spent countless weeks in Sunnybrook recovering and a few days in the hospital here. Our family has literally been through hell this winter but now that he is home again, as of two days ago, we are hoping that he is finally on the road to good health and a new normalcy.

Throughout my Dad’s medical journey I have found myself feeling hopeful only to have the rug pulled out from under me with another setback. Every day we have had to put our complete trust and faith in our doctors and nurses and specialists that they are doing the absolute best they can with my Dad. And believe me it is not easy.

I am an Aries through and through. Google the characteristics of an Aries and you might as well just find my picture alongside the results. Independent, courageous, impulsive, impatient. You can probably assume that leaning on other people isn’t our strongest suit. Anyone who knows me well knows that I pride myself on being reliable and stable – the person you can ALWAYS count on no matter what – I will always come through, I will always deliver. Yet here we are, my Dad and I, both Aries of course, completely and utterly leaning on other people with our vulnerability in full view for the world to see.

There are always a million life lessons flying at you from all different directions your entire adult life. Articles and television and blogs – everyone giving you every bit of knowledge you could ever need. As my 31st birthday draws closer, more and more I am encountering situations where I have no guidebook. I’m relying more and more on my intuition and my gut instinct. And truthfully – that has become more valuable than any wisdom I could receive from anyone else.

 

Why Not Me

Last winter a group of ladies from my work went to see a production of The Vagina Monologues by Gillian’s Place here in St. Catharines. I hadn’t had much experience with The Vagina Monologues prior to this but had heard so much about it throughout my teens and into my twenties. I was absolutely captivated by every monologue I witnessed and left feeling so proud of the women onstage and of just being a woman in general. For those of you reading this that aren’t familiar, The Vagina Monologues is an episodic play written by Eve Ensler which began in 1996. The various monologues touch on topics such as reproduction, sex work, body image, sexual experiences and several others through the eyes of women.

Fast forward to last month. I was on Facebook doing my usual gander of what people were up to and I saw a call for auditions by Gillian’s Place for this year’s production. I thought for a few minutes “hmmm wouldn’t that be interesting”, “could I do that?”, “I’ve never auditioned for anything since highschool”, “who am I to think I can do that”. This inner monologue went on for quite a long time to be honest.

People close to me know that I am a HUGE fan of Mindy Kaling. I think she is a fantastic writer, actress and role model for women. I’ve read her books and have learned so much about bravery, self confidence, humor, dedication and the like. My favourite moto of hers is “Why the fuck not me?” and I have made a conscious effort to apply that to my life and decisions.

So I decided to do a little less “who am I to think I can do that” and a little more “why the fuck not me?” and I auditioned.

I’ll keep you all posted – I should know by the end of the week what the outcome is!

Talk soon,

Catie

Top 5 Beauty Products

A very wise woman once told me that taking care of your skin is one of the most important self-care rituals you can do. This bit of knowledge set me on a great path to find amazing products that help me to take care of my skin head to toe and my hair. Some of my favourite products are local (Niagara/Ontario/Canadian based) and some I’ve found from larger beauty retailers. I feel like there is a place for everyone! I’ve compiled a short list of my Top 5 products that I use everyday or at least almost every day 😉

Number One:

My number one beauty product that I use every single day is Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser. Before finding this product I was lacking seriously in the exfoliating department even though I knew how important it was! An amazing representative at Sephora lead me to this glorious cleanser and scrub in 1. My skin looks brighter and feels squeaky clean! The price isn’t bad either, at $27 for 150ml it lasts me over a month (with two uses every day).

Number Two:

My second favourite beauty product comes from right here in Niagara – Sarah’s Soaps Carrot & Oatmeal all natural vegan soap. Sarah handcrafts every piece of soap using the finest herbs, essential oils, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Her all natural and vegan line also includes body butters, lip treatments, masks, bath salts and facial skin care items. My favourite is the Carrot & Oatmeal soap  because the soothing oatmeal helps to calm my sensitive skin which is sometimes suffering from Eczema. Each bar is $6 for approximately 113g and can be purchased online at http://www.sarahssoaps.ca

Number Three:

My third favourite beauty product is for all of my volume-seeking girlfriends! Bumble & Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish spray has answered all of my prayers and helps me fulfill my BIG HAIR dreams. It’s a translucent dry spray that provides instant fullness and workable texture. I was a huge fan of Batiste XXL Volume Dry Shampoo but like other users I was always concerned about the powdery look it would leave if I wasn’t SUPER careful. Alas I found the Bumble & Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish spray and thanks to its translucent appearance I never have to worry. While the price isn’t cheap and cheerful at $37 for 125ml it is definitely worthy of every single penny!

Number Four:

Consonant Skincare’s all natural organic body lotion in scent 002 steals the title of my favourite everyday body lotion and number four of my top five beauty products. I found this lotion via Garden City Essentials here in St. Catharines. What I find so amazing about this body lotion is that when you are using it, the lotion is actually working to improve the condition of your skin, not just cover up your dryness. The scent is so fresh – notes of peppermint, citrus and white sage – but most importantly is achieved only using certified organic oils and extracts. The lotion is $27 for 250ml and is also available in an unscented version.

Number Five:

The number five spot on my list is Lush’s Sleepy lotion. There has been a TON of hype floating around about this night time lotion and believe me it lives up to the very high expectations! Upon using it for the first time I noticed right away the intoxicating scent – I recognized Lavender but there was another note I just couldn’t put my finger on. I hopped online to the Lush website to find that the mystery fragrance is called Tonka – it shares some of the same characteristics as tobacco and amber and pairs amazingly well with Lavender. The combination of an amazing scent plus the luxurious feel of this lotion is the perfect addition to any bedtime routine. The Sleepy lotion can be bought online or in store for $9.95 for 90g or $19.95 for 210g.

If you have any questions about the products listed here or know of amazing products you think I should try leave a comment and let me know!

xo

Catie