Today is Bell Let's Talk Day in Canada. It's an initiative started by Bell to encourage a national conversation surrounding mental health. For every text message or long distance phone call (Bell providers only), tweet with #BellLetstTalk, and share of the photo below on Facebook, Bell donates five cents to mental health initiatives across the country. 

As you may know, mental health is a cause that is very close to my heart. All my life, I've seen family and friends struggle with various types of mental illnesses. Days like today truly give me hope that we are not only reducing stigma but raising funds for more support services, something that is very under-funded yet much needed. 

I've been tweeting, texting, and sharing the image below all day, in addition to taking part in a special mental health town hall at CTV Ottawa. Although I'd love to crawl into bed right about now, I want to give a last shout out to today and encourage you all to tweet, retweet, share, and text. 

Most importantly, if there's someone in your life who you know may be struggling with a mental illness, reach out to them. Let them know there's hope, you're there for them, and it does get better. While I've seen extreme lows of a mental illness, I've also seen many people recover beautifully. I myself struggled with anxiety this year and without the help of family, friends, and coping strategies, I wouldn't have been able to get through it alone. 

If you are struggling, please know there is hope, there is help, you are not alone, and it does get better. Let's talk. 

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Welcome home

As you may know, my sister and I moved out on our own for the first time last August. It was a scary/exciting/empowering experience that I don't regret. Moving out has taught me so many things. It's helped us to be more independent, helped me to be smarter with money, taught us both how to cook a lot more, and has given us the freedom to be in complete control of our lives. I admit I miss my parents a lot more than I ever have and I did feel safer living with them but that's the risk of moving and I wouldn't take it back for all of the things I've gained. 

We really lucked out with furnishing our apartment on the cheap side. Our couch, coffee table, and chair were generously given to us by Rosie's parents. We inherited my grandma's dining room table and chairs, many of her tea cups and paintings too. We have little reminders of her all over our apartment, giving our home that extra sweet charm and warmth. 

I also thrifted many of our decorations, removing even more large costs. All in all, we managed to furnish our entire apartment for a reasonable price. In terms of roomies, we've been roomies all our life so we get along great. I love her so much and I'm lucky to share an apartment with such a fun, loving, and sweet sister. 

It's all about the view. 

Dining & living room. (at Xmas time)

My favourite chair. 

$5. value village.

Found this gorgeous couple at VV.

Kitchen: Left: from Grandma's. right: Lisa's creation. 

My room, still have much more to hang. 

I put daisies everywhere. 
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Furry Clementine

I've welcomed 2014 with open arms. I know I'm not the only one who was extremely tested in 2013. While it was my hardest year, it was my most life-changing. I began my career, moved out on my own, I lost my dear grandmother, and the year ended with chronic tension headaches. It wasn't easy but I learned a lot about life and about myself. 

In the past two months, I've learned what chronic pain and anxiety feels like. I began getting headaches everyday since November and after trying medication, seeing multiple doctors, visiting the emergency and still feeling the same, I developed a strong interest in wellness. My personal wellness journey began when I realized my overall health wasn't in the hands of doctors or medications but my own. I made a lot of lifestyle changes including stopped drinking coffee and consuming caffeine, eating healthier, drinking more water and tea, practising meditation and yoga, writing in a journal, quit jobs that were causing additional stress, confiding in friends and family, exercising a couple times a week, and finally learning to relax. My life for the past three years has been amazing but one thing I forgot to do was relax. Come to think of it, I simply didn't. I had to be doing something at all times. And I know some of you reading this are the same way. From me to you, please sit down, breathe and relax once a day. 

I was diagnosed with tension headaches during my day at emergency. When I inevitably googled the condition, I learned that they were mainly caused by stress, muscle tension, and "taking on two many activities". Yup, sounds like me. I knew right then that my body was speaking (rather screaming) to slow down. And slow down I did. My anxiety is now under control and my headaches have significantly reduced to about one a day (trust me, that's improvement). I know it will take more time to become headache-free but I'm very confident I will get there. 

I'd love to share in detail my coping mechanisms and how I've gotten to reduce my anxiety, change my thoughts, and hence fix my health. And I welcome your tips too, of course. This may sound cheesy but trust me when I say that you are in control of your own life and you deserve health and happiness. Don't let pain, suffering, or judgement tell you otherwise. Don't be afraid to ask for help and believe in your potential, because it's huge. 

Here's an outfit post (one I wore to work this week). Enjoy! 

Dress: Gap, Rikochet Resale $25. Vest: Winners, $25. Bolo tie: Value Village, $3. Boots: Charlotte Russe, Rikochet Resale $18.  Glasses: Kenzo. 

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