Don’t Know What to Write This Week…

To be honest, I don’t know what to write about this week (hence the title, obviously)…

There has been a lot going on – my mother came up to visit, I have to catch up on summer school and I have to two jobs to fit in, so I just thought I would just ramble on about things that are happening and share some of my Instagram pictures with you!

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This is a picture of Ottawa at dusk, by the Rideau Canal. My mother and I did this thing called  ‘The Haunted Walk’… it’s a tour that happens at night where the tour guides tell ghost stories about the famous buildings and it’s pretty exciting! and spooky.

Isn’t Ottawa beautiful?

I can’t believe I’m leaving in a year, after university is done! It’s been a perfect four years and a great university town. I’ll miss it’s beautiful nights but not it’s terrible winter weather! But since winter in unavoidable in Canada, I’ll have to accept it.

Moving on, I also have been going to a couple pretty amazing summer concerts. This is the summer of concerts! I haven’t been to a lot so this was my first couple times experiencing true outdoor, summer concerts. They were amazing!

Firstly, Judtith Hill has an amazing talent. Her voice gives me the chills…

And second, I saw Down With Webster. I haven’t seen them since frosh week so it was pretty cool to see them live again. They have an amazing stage presence and not to mention they are all so beautiful!

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Man, do I ever love the summer concert style!! (I’m really falling in love with Brandy Melville, by the way – that is where I got this bandeau and shirt from, fyi)

And don’t let me forget Canada Day! This country is 147 years young and still beautiful.

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Living in the nation’s capital has it’s perks.

Watching the fireworks popping over the National Art Gallery is a sight to be seen, no matter what the weather! Even though it was raining, it was still an amazing and hot, hot day.

So how have you been keeping busy?
How’s your summer?

Besides all the excitement and fun things going on and no matter what is keeping me busy and filling my time, I keep been having this feeling where there is just too much going on in my mind…too much thinking. It’s like this constant static noise, with too many things going on. And I don’t know how to stop, how to drown it all out…

Until I figure it out, I’ll keep myself busy and keep myself happy and full of excitement.

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”

– Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice

xx — Gwynne

 

 

 

One Dress – Two Outfits.

I have to admit, I’m really nervous to post this. I’ve always had a thing for fashion but never thought I was ‘expert’ enough to post my own fashion ideas.

But I want to branch out and see how this goes…

I bought this dress and I didn’t know how to wear it yet. So I put these outfits together, one for casual and one for a more formal occasion (if by chance I ever get an occasion).

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photo 1Trying my best poses – I can’t take it seriously

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Dress: H&M   Shrug: Dynamite    Sandals: Aldo

Formal

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photo 4These shoes are my new love. I ab-sole-utley love them (pun intended)

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Dress: H&M     Blazer: Zara    Shoes: Spring    Necklace: Aldo Accessories

Update: I also got a new tattoo. It was my first and it went surprisingly well. I’m a wimp when it comes to pain, and was expecting the worst because it was on my foot, but it didn’t actually hurt at all! Felt like a cat scratch!

Anyway, hope you enjoy the outfits. I’m expecting the worst so be nice…

Skin Care Refresher

I don’t know about you guys but I find skin care extremely frustrating! I see all of the different options and I don’t know where to start.

I’ve gone through all of the quizzes, I’ve determined my skin type and my problem areas but when I get the many recommendations of cleansers, toners and moisturizers I don’t know where to start! I get so overwhelmed that I want to try everything so I switch between products easily and often.

Untitled.jpgBut because of this switching, to find the ‘perfect’ product for me, I ruin my skin in the process and probably make it more blemish prone.

So I’ve decided to start over: clear all of the products out of my cabinet, pick the simplest products and stick to it. I did my research and it reaffirmed my thoughts about sticking to a skin care regimen and convinced myself to try it out!

 

These are my choices and I promise to stick with it for at least 2 months, since it takes at least 28 days for your skin to regenerate.

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Cleanser:  Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Make-up Remover: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Make Up Remover
Moisturizer:  Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 (for day) and Vichy NormaDerm Hydrating Care (for night)
Toner:
  Etival Clarifying Soothing Pore Reducing Toner
Eye Cream: Shiseido Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream

Check out this video, by youtuber and blogger Amelia Liana (stick to the end).
And her blog post about the products she uses for her ‘skin care refresher’.

So are you going to start over and let your skin heal and rejuvenate?
What are your ‘go-to’ skin care products that you can’t live without?

Are you going to take the “skin care refresher challenge”?

 

Getting Ready for some Summer Lovin’

I’m back from my holiday and I feel like I am finally settled back into my routines with work and life, so I think it’s time that I set my summer goal.

Last summer it was independence. And of course I don’t think this can ever be truly accomplished but by the end of the summer I felt like I conquered it. I lived by myself in Ottawa for the first time without my roommates, I started a new job and I started working out and going to the gym by myself, which I never felt comfortable to do before (my whole gym story is here).

Independence, and even confidence, is so important to be able to conquer and accomplish other goals and so I’m really looking forward to this summer and conquering some new goals by the time school starts again.

This past school year I have changed so much physically and mentally since I have started to go to the gym regularly but I always feel like there is something holding me back from reaching my full potential, and that is what I want to fix this summer.

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Eating healthy has always been a huge problem with me. I can work out as much as I want but if I don’t work on over coming my bad eating habits none of that will matter. I want to be fit and tone for me and my confidence. Since regularly working out I have felt that confidence increase immensely but I’m not where I want to be yet. I feel like conquering my unhealthy eating habits will allow me to reach my physical potential and feel more confident in myself.

Starting on this path to start eating healthier I felt like I had to decide why exactly I wanted to this. And I finally decided it wasn’t because I wanted to lose weight specifically, but it was more because I wanted learn habits that I can use for the rest of my life. I want to fall back in love with cooking and change my mind set on food. I see food as comfort and so I eat way too much and because I cook for one, usually after a long day at school, I cook simple meals that aren’t the healthiest. So, I want to learn about eating healthy so that I can carry this skill for the rest of my life.

So I have a couple of ideas that will kick start my reaching my summer goal. Firstly, I have joined Weight Watchers. Again, I didn’t join to lose weight but I think that the Weight Watcher’s program is a great way for me to learn healthy eating and controlling the unhealthy habits. After the program has ended I hope that I will enjoy cooking again and not dread meals and food. So far, it is going well and that makes me confident that this will be perfect for me to start a new way of living.

Secondly, and maybe a little less important than the first, I started an herb garden on my balcony. Not only do I hope this will make me feel more involved in my cooking but I think it will also allow me to see how beautiful growing food can be. I don’t know, I’m kinda excited to use my own herbs in my cooking and that’s pretty cool!

I would love your advice and comments about this. How do you make sure you eat healthy? Please let me know, I would greatly appreciate any advice!

Wish me luck!

Travelling Alone.

As you may have noticed from my last couple blog posts, I have just come back from Italy. I decided to go because last summer I really wasn’t happy or even proud of myself so I made a goal that I would start to slowly conquer my fears. And I was successfully doing it and going on a trip by myself and being completely independent was one thing that I wanted to conquer.

So I went to Italy and I discovered how much determination and strength I had without really realizing it before.

And since it is the season of travelling I thought that I would share some things I learned about travelling, especially when alone, to make your trip perfect!

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1. Travel as lightly as possible – Now I totally understand how it so hard to pack lightly but when you have to carry all your luggage by yourself you will appreciate it! I went for 3 weeks and packed everything into everything into a medium sized wheel-y suitcase and a backpack that I could also use for day trips.

2. Bring things to fill the time – I found that because I was alone and was only following my own timeline I moved quickly through many sights. Because of this I spent more time in my hotel room or at a restaurant than when I travelled with friends and so I brought a lot of books and projects to fill my alone down-time!

3. Know the basic language before you go – This can be for everyone, just not for people travelling alone. Even if you don’t know the language fluently, just a little knowledge will help you!
Extra: I heard suggestions from many people before I left, and when I was there I found that it was helpful to know how to say “I’m here with my boyfriend”. When travelling alone I never had a real big problem but I did have to use it once.

4. Stay calm and wait for the signs – Travelling by yourself can be scary but there will always be signs. Airports, train stations and cities will all have signs and I was really surprised on easy it was to find my way.

5. Be prepared but allow spontaneity – Again, it’s nice to be prepared and know where you are going when you are travelling by yourself but I found that the times that I just roamed a city and didn’t have a plan is when I found the most interesting things and had the most fun!

I definitely wouldn’t have believed this before I went on my trip but after I can  say that travelling alone, at least once in your life, is so important. It can be so scary but it has changed me so much and has really proved how much spunk I have!

Have you travelled alone? What did you think of it and would you do it again?

The End of my Trip of a Life Time: Pisa, Florence and Rome

Well I am home now. I can’t believe this trip of a life time is over and it’s back to school and work for me.
But I am also so happy that I conquered this trip and this fear. It’s weird but I feel almost invincible but maybe that will go away. I conquered my biggest fear and the biggest “what if” scenario and gave me such confidence and determination that I can face any new and other “what if” moments that come my way. I would highly recommend this daunting but perfect experience for anyone who fears the unknown.

But here are also some pictures of the rest of my trip through Italy. I filled the rest of my vacation with seeing Pisa, Florence and finally Rome before I had to fly out and back to Canada.

I went to Pisa expecting to spend hours but that didn’t happen at all. Luckily I took the train in just for the day so I didn’t have to fill my day and night. I found that because the leaning tower, duomo and baptistery is right beside each other that I hit all the must-see points and I could go home hours before expected.

Even with how quickly I saw Pisa, I felt like a true tourist in Pisa and I loved it. I couldn’t not take a typical photo of me holding up the Leaning Tower.

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An interesting thing that I figured out in Pisa is the use of the baptistery. It was allowed for un-baptised people to come into the duomo or church. This means new borns or even people who are converting or were never baptised when they were younger. Until they were baptised they had a separate building.

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My impression of Pisa was that it was beautiful but everything that I wanted to see was so compact and close together that I found that I saw everything is a couple hours. But my impression of Florence is absolute beauty. I could spend days and days in Florence and it is incredible!

Firstly, the Florence duomo is famous for it’s extravagance and it is no lie. It is absolutely incredible, as you can see from this picture!Image

Another famous part of Florence is the Ponte Vecchio which is a bridge that has shops and stores on it as well as the walk way. This is something that I never see in Canada so it was incredible to see something this cool.

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Other parts of Florence that are must-sees are The Uffizi – an art gallery that holds a lot a well known paintings including “The Birth of Venus” and the Santa Croce. This is a very large church that holds tombs of many famous people including Niccolo Machiavelli and Michelangelo (known for the sculpture of David and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel). But I really wanted to go see the tomb of Galileo Galilei.

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Fun fact: Galileo and his daughter had an amazing and loving relationship throughout their lives and she is also buried here in the tomb of Galileo Galilei…there commitment and love for each other has never ended.

And lastly, I went on my way to Rome. Rome was very overwhelming for an independent person but also overwhelming just because there was so much to see. I would highly recommend staying in Rome for multiple days so that you can allot time to spend time in the Colosseum and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and the many other sites of Rome.

Now, one thing I didn’t like of Rome, is that it is so full of tourists. Of course this is to be expected but at the same time it can be annoying with the long, long lines. Waiting to get into the Vatican and the Colosseum is hours long so pre-ordering your tickets are a must! Something I unfortunately didn’t do so I missed out on some amazing sites.

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The Pantheon of Rome

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Vatican City – St. Peter’s Basilica

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Ruins near the Colosseum

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The famous Colosseum

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The Trevi Fountain

Although Rome is so overwhelming and sometimes way too busy, there is just so much that I wanted to see but just didn’t have this so staying in Rome for a couple days is optimal but leaving Rome and seeing other, less busy cities is a must!

Anyway, now that I am home I just want to say thank you. Thank your for coming on this journey with me. Writing these posts helped me realize that I’m going on this trip for a reason and although I was by myself I still felt connected to all of you who read my pointless posts! So thank you!

My last statement about this trip is that I am so proud of myself and it has changed my confidence forever. Although being alone for three weeks and in a country that doesn’t speak English as a first language can allow you to feel isolated, I still think is was necessary for me to break out of my comfort zone. I also learned the importance of being alone and figuring things out for myself but I also learned how much the importance of being with others..others that you love. Sharing memories makes everything more special.

Arrivederci!

If you have any questions about my experience with this endeavour or about vacationing in Italy, let me know!

Venice.

All I can say is WOW!
Right when I stepped out of the train station I was hit with the wave of surreal-ness that came with visiting Venice.
Venice is really built on water! – you are always told that but it really is built on water.

Here a few photos but definitely not all of them…I just couldn’t fit them all in one post!IMG_1669Here is the view from the train station. You walk right out onto the Grand Canal.

You can jut smell the water (and thankfully it’s not the gross water smell) and although the city is a complete maze and you can get lost so easily, Venice is an experience that everyone should experience!

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Ponte di Rialto

IMG_1618The whole city is like this and coming around each corner is a new and amazing world.
One thing I had to overcome is the fear of small alleys. Each walking street is the width of  one person and not all of them are always occupied with people.

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Basillica di San Marco

I decided to pay for a walking tour of Venice and I’m so happy I did. First of all, it was good to follow someone who knew where they were walking since it is so easy to get lost in Venice but you also get to see so many other little things that are just as special as the Basillica di San Marco.

Even though the Basillica is amazing and special and a must-see, Venice holds so much other small treasures, such as the home of Marco Polo.

Venice was amazing and I think that after visiting this city I truly came out of my shell and felt comfortable being a solo traveller…

Next: Pisa, Florence and Rome!