Inhale Confidence, Exhale Doubt.

  1. I love that I have a friendly face and a genuine smile.
  2. I love that the colour of my eyes pair well with the song “brown eyed girl”.
  3. I love that I have a strong body: strong enough to pick up running every year in the spring and strong enough to kick each boys ass when I took my police foundations fitness testing.
  4. I love that I’m a caring person and it shows in my relationships and career.
  5. I love that my confidence allows me to accept my perfectly imperfect self.

Okay girlfriend, now it’s your turn! I challenge you to stop what you’re doing and list 5 things that you LOVE about yourself. Comment below, DM me or write on my instagram/facebook link what your favourite qualities are- I truly want to read them! The reason I challenge you to do this is because I feel like as a human it’s easy to find the one million things we don’t like about ourselves instead of recognizing the one million things that are GREAT about ourselves.

If you asked me when I was in high school what I liked about myself, I would have rolled my eyes onto another planet…insert a hormonal and dramatic 14 year old here! Side note: lord help me if I ever have teenaged girls, because I sure as hell gave my parents a run for their $$$! With time, maturity, self-help books and positive role models I was able to learn that accepting and loving myself felt so much better than focusing on the things I wished I could change about myself. This change in mindset eventually changed the things I hated about myself into the things I now love about myself. For example, I used to want a more generic name. Now, (with the exception of never having any personalized souvenirs) I love that I’ve never met anyone with the same name as me! It makes me unique and it’s something I get complimented on the most!

I feel like what’s most common when people talk about self-esteem is the topic of body image. I’ll share a secret with you: the minute I stopped worrying about the number on the scale is the minute I stopped defining my worth by my body weight. Have I been skinnier? Hell yes! Did I spend years of my life worried about what I was eating so that I could fit into a pair of jeans that did NOT help boost my confidence? Hell yes x2! When I hit age 18 I quickly realized that my body and hormones were changing. Farewell to the years of eating carbs without seeing them go straight to my ass (who can feel me on this one!?) Throughout this transition of my life I began finding role models that I could look up to and brands that I could relate to. The first time I remember a brand addressing self-esteem was when Dove created a campaign focusing on the evolution of photoshop and how women view themselves. Fast forward a few years, the brand Aerie stopped photo shopping their models and I could finally see someone who looked like me, my best friend, my co-workers, my sister, my mom, my cousin or my aunt all embracing their differences! When #AerieREAL began branding body positivity, I was able to see models in the industry like Iskra or Ashley Graham on the cover of magazines preaching to the choir that there is not one “perfect body”. I was clueless to the fact that I wasn’t the only one who wore different sizes in different stores. I was clueless to the fact that almost every woman has cellulite. I was clueless to the fact that adults had acne. I was clueless to the fact that everyone has rolls when they sit down. I was clueless to the fact that you didn’t have to look one way to be considered beautiful. Obviously the influence of these brands and models worked, because instead of focusing on wanting to look like a model, I began to want the confidence that they were selling to the world! They were able to stand next to a group of diverse women in a photo shoot and rock what they’ve got while cheering on the girl next to them- and that’s the type of confidence I want every girl I’m ever surrounded in a room with to have.

To me confidence comes from within. It’s when I’m able to love what’s on the inside so much that it shows on the outside! I feel most confident when I’m taking care of my mind, body & soul. I’m talking I feel confident when I crush a 5km run (for my mind & body) and I feel confident when I decide to crush half a pizza (for my soul). Fast forward to age 23. I’ve never been as confident in my own skin as I am now. What changed? I unfollowed unrealistic “motivational” influencers on social media, I started reading more personal-development books, I stopped focusing on the number on the scale and started focusing on how my lifestyle was effecting how I feel, I changed my priority from being “pretty” to being “pretty damn educated, kind, funny, loving, caring” etc., I stopped allowing my self-worth to come from someone else’s opinion of me and I finally told myself the most important relationship I could have, is the one I have with myself first…And that my friends, is a recipe for the type of confidence that allowed me to double fist margaritas while eating pizza on a beach this year- you’re welcome!

But in all seriousness, I want you to be able to make a list of the things you love about yourself flaws and all (and truly believe it) the way you would be able to list all of the things you love about your best friend! Now be brave and share some self-love in the comments below! xo

Today’s Mantra: The world needs who you were made to be.

Stop shopping for TP and do something else to get-your-shit-together!

Hello fellow self-isolators!

As I’m just waking up from my afternoon siesta, (yes afternoon naps have become a new daily ritual and yes I can confirm that toddlers are 100% my spirit animals) I thought I would check in on you! I’m currently sending you a social-distance squeeze through this blog post! Partly because I miss you, partly because I want to hug you even more knowing that I’m NOT allowed to hug you…yes I’m one of those people! Each day as I scroll through my feed or listen to the news, I’m unsure of how I should feel. If you’re anything like me the Covid-19 virus has brought on a bunch of different emotions: anxiety, fear, sadness, empathy, appreciation, hunger. (Whoops did I say hunger? Actually yes I did mean hunger…the quarantine snacks are real!) But to be honest, I always come back to feeling grateful. Grateful to live in Canada, grateful to have amazing family/friends that check in on me, grateful for my cozy home, grateful to have a partner that is supportive while I can be a little stir-crazy (he deserves a gold medal), grateful to have enough food in my fridge / TP in my bathroom (buying one pack at a time is enough people…yes mom, if you’re reading this I’m talking to you!) and grateful that my family and I are all healthy! For the last almost? 2 weeks, I’ve been doing everything I can to stay positive. (I can’t keep track of what day of the week it is at this point, never mind how many days I’ve been at home in PJs sipping quarantini’s for!) I’ve been mindfully thinking about everyone working in the medical fields, the people working at the grocery stores, hardware stores and drive-thrus, the people who are suffering financially because they run a small business, the families who have to attempt home-schooling while also working at home and everyone else in-between. No matter your circumstance, just know that I am sending you ALL of the good-healthy-clean hand-vibes from at least six feet away! Luckily, I’m one of those people who gets to stay in the comfort of their own home, choosing when I’ll test-my-luck at Walmart while I pick up the essentials. Aside from sipping quarantini’s, taking siestas and studying from the comfort of my own bed, I’ve somehow also fit time into my busy schedule to brainstorm ideas of what anyone of any age could do while ballin’ on a quarantine budget at home! Yes you can do any of these with your kids, by yourself or as an at-home date with your S/O! Side note: if you use these ideas for date night, the social distancing etiquette of staying 6 feet apart still applies people…let’s not get carried away here!

  1. Take a bubble bath! Make bath time fun for the kids and let them “swim” in their bathing suits or wind down yourself with a glass of wine and your favourite book! Either way, it’s a great way for anyone to de-stress and relax!
  2. At home movie date! Set up the living room with as many blankets and pillows you can find, fairy lights and popcorn! There’s just something about setting up a fort and watching a movie that will never get old!
  3. Bake! Who doesn’t love something home-made? It’s okay if you aren’t good in the kitchen…you now have all the time in the world to perfect a new recipe!
  4. Go for a hike! Being in nature and breathing in fresh air is a great way to disconnect from reality for a minute and re-connect with the outdoors!
  5. Have a dance party! Dance with your littles, dance by yourself or dance with your S/O. It’s free, fun and gets your body moving. Just make sure to give it your all and dance like nobody is watching!
  6. At home spa day! Something I’ve loved to do from the time I was little with my momma, to being a teenager with my friends, to now at home while I miss Sally and her nail salon…is a good ‘ole at home pedicure! Soak your feet, paint your nails and lotion up! It’s fun, free and time consuming!
  7. Dress up! You can do this with your little ones or on your own! Try on your clothes, go through what you have and set aside what you no longer need so it can be donated! This is a fun way to spring clean/shop your closet! (Is anyone else currently window shopping all of the online sales going on?)
  8. Go through your photo albums! When was the last time you went through your photo albums instead of scrolling your insta-feed? I love a trip down memory lane- throwback to front bangs and Oshkosh overalls!
  9. Attempt yoga! Some days I like to do a full body stretch, other days I like to lay down for a nap and call it meditation. Either way there are a million free yoga classes on youtube that are fitting for any age group (yes even pre-schoolers!) and any level of experience! (You can also check out your local yoga studios on social media for live streams right now!)
  10. Take out your puzzles/board games! I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen my family get so competitive until I started playing Yahtzee with them. Now is a great time to kick your siblings ass at a board game while getting in some quality fam time!
  11. Re-decorate/rearrange your house! Ever since I was little I loved Marie kondo-ing the shit out of my bedroom! Especially feeling stuck at home right now, changing up your space or letting your littles move around the decor in their room is a great way to spend a day finding out what sparks your joy!
  12. Test out a new drink! This is a win-win for everyone, you can enjoy a cold bevy and your little can enjoy a virgin Pina colada aka fruit and veggie smoothie- you’re welcome!
  13. Order take out! This is a great way to support your local buisnesses! Many places are doing take out, uber eats or porch drop offs! Now’s the time to try a new restaurant in your community while supporting your local economy!
  14. Have a camp fire! Yes the weather is getting warmer and yes there is still snow in my backyard. BUT, there’s nothing better than cozying up by a fire with a blanket and hot chocolate no matter what the temperature is!
  15. Face time a friend! As hard as it is to want to go visit your loved ones, it’s important to remember that if we stay home now we will be able to visit them sooner! Face time still gives you that one on one time, while being able to stay home and stay safe!

I hope I’ve given you an idea or two of how you can fill one of the many upcoming days at home! If you already had all of these ideas, at least I filled in five minutes of your time with this blog post- so it’s a win win! Whatever you end up doing, I hope you and your loved ones are safe, healthy and staying positive!

Today’s mantra: Stay safe and stay home!

Put yourself at the top of your to-do list, every single day.

What did you do for YOU today? I’m going to let you in on a secret that you may or may not already know. You have the same amount of hours in a day as BEYONCE. Boom, I said it.

When I first decided to create a blog, I promised myself that I would be as real and raw as possible. Why? Because there are seven billion people in this world but there is only one of me. The fact of the matter is, there are seven billion people in this world, and I’d bet *seven billion dollars* that more than one of you can relate to me! Recently, I was scrolling through Pinterest (Side note: please tell me I’m not the only one who spends their Friday nights getting wild on Pinterest while wearing PJs) and came across a quote that said “No one is you and that is your power” and it resonated with me ever since. With that being said, it has taken me years of self-reflection, self-care and eventually self-love to be able to repeat a daily affirmation like that and truly believe it. What does it mean to you when someone says “you can’t pour from an empty cup”? To me it means in order to offer the world the very best version of myself, I need to practice what I preach and schedule self-care or me-time every day. Let me repeat that louder for the people in the back: you need to schedule self-care or me-time every damn day. I can tell when I haven’t prioritized myself because I begin to feel drained, emotionally and physically exhausted, anxious or unmotivated (welcome to the life of being an introverted-extrovert). If you can relate to me on a spiritual level, what do you do to recharge your batteries? I love self-care so much, I have an entire routine! Some days it includes going for a run and making a bomb salad, other days it includes binge watching Netflix and ordering a pizza. It’s called balance! If you’re new to the self-care game and need some tips I’ll share a few of my favourites to get you started:

  • Set an alarm every day. (This will keep your sleep schedule on track and helps avoid wasting your day away!)
  • Make your bed when you wake up. (This will start your day with a sense of accomplishment- even if it is something small!)
  • Coffee + a healthy breakfast. (The best bevvy and the best meal…need I say more?)
  • Journal (Write down 3 things that you’re grateful for and watch your mindset change!)
  • Make yourself a to-do list for the day. (This will hold you accountable and make sure you get-your-shit-together! And yes girl, you need to be number one on that list!)
  • Find time to move your body and go outside! (It’s crazy how quickly your energy will shift when you’re surrounded by nature, fresh air and sunshine…I personally love running/walking by the waterfront!)
  • Drink your dang water! (Because water fixes everything!)
  • Feng shui your environment. (A clear space will help clear your mind!)
  • While you’re doing that^ put on your favourite playlist or podcast! (I’ve recently been really into podcasts- it’s an easy way to learn something new or to get in a good belly laugh without using screen time!)
  • Make yourself your favourite homemade meal! (Quinoa, turkey, black bean + sweet potato chili is my at home comfort food *I’m drooling just writing about it!)
  • Read one chapter of a personal development book every day! (I loved both Melissa Ambrossini’s and Rachel Hollis’ books!)
  • WINE down! (I’m talking bubble bath and candle, glass of wine, face/hair mask, paint your nails and moisturize!)

Keep in mind, what I do to re-charge my batteries may not be the same as what you would do to re-charge yours! The point is every day you need to do something for YOU. So whatever is on your to-do list today, make sure you prioritize yourself first! The world needs the best version of you, so start showing up as her!

Today’s mantra: No one is you and that is your power.

Here’s to strong women.

Hey girlfriend, before we can get to the blog post I’m gunna need you to do me a solid. Open your music app- if you don’t already have a girl power playlist MAKE ONE. I’m talking Shania, Demi, JLO, Destiny’s Child, Lizzo, Miley, Brittany, Cardi B, T-Swift, Spice Girls…literally any female artist that brings out your inner Beyonce. I don’t care if you’re in the car, shower or alone in your room…turn that playlist up and dance like nobody’s watching because today is a day for US to celebrate. If you don’t feel the empowerment in your bones, keep turning it up louder until you do. Since the early 1900’s, females have fought and continue to fight for equal rights. Each year, March 8th is dedicated to celebrate social, cultural, economic and political achievements amongst our female tribe. Annually, there is a new theme for international women’s day- this year it is #EachForEqual. To put this into perspective, this year I’ve been educated more on the fight for equal pay. I work in a female dominated field- the dollar amount I receive on my pay check is a prime example of why we as females continue to fight the fight. Something else you may not be aware of is 1 in 3 women worldwide have been victims of physical/sexual violence. More than 60% of these incidents remain unreported…how many girlfriends do you have? Let that statistic of a harsh reality sink in. While there has been significant improvements over the years, we are STILL fighting for change. I for one, will continue to educate myself on the changes that need to be made and the things I can do to be supportive. One of the most significant actions we as women can take is to VOTE. It wasn’t until 1960 that ALL women in Canada had the right to vote in federal elections. That was only 60 years ago. I can imagine I’m not the only one somewhat opinionated when it comes to election time. If you don’t feel this way, I imagine if you didn’t have the right to a vote your perspective would change. On a positive note, I feel as though this generation of women are taking a stand and jumping hurdles in many aspects of our live’s. The power of social media likely has a huge impact on this. When you think about the women that surround you or that you follow on social media, what do you see? I see women of all shapes, ethnicities, knowledge and superpowers. I see women who lift each other up, I see women who support each others differences, I see women cheering each other on for the big AND small successes and I see women who are FINALLY embracing being themselves. Because that’s exactly what we need in this world. Smart, empowered, educated, perfectly imperfect, STRONG ass females. When I picture the world I want to raise babies in, I picture a world full of Rachel Hollis’, Sarah Landry’s and Michelle Obama’s impacting the future of females with their superpowers. If you look around the room or look down at your screen and you don’t feel surrounded by this type of positivity- it’s time to make a change. So today before the day is over, turn up your girl power playlist and dance: for the changes that have been made and the changes we continue to fight for, for the women in your life that impact you positively and for being yourself- a kick ass female who can do anything she puts her mind to. Happy International Women’s Day gal pals!

Today’s Mantra: Strong women: may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

Beach, please.

Who else agrees that they need a six month vacation, twice a year? On the days I go from work at 6:30am to school at 6:00pm, I know I feel that way! This week I got to get in a little *a lot of much-needed R&R. When you close your eyes and picture your “happy place” what do you see? I picture waking up with a view of the ocean, enjoying a morning coffee in my robe & spending my day reading under a palm tree. So that is exactly what I did. My momma and I booked two tickets to the beautiful Paradisus Los Cayos in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba! (And that is exactly what it felt like- paradise!) I’m talking sleep-with-the-doors-open-ocean-view-room, cappuccinos on the balcony, fresh pressed pineapple juice at breakfast, reading a book on the beach while being served margarita’s, and only worrying about if my wifi will be able to stream this weeks episode of The Bachelor. (It’s a hard life, right?) From the hot-pink themed bedroom to sunset watching at the sky bar, this resort deserves a 10/10 for being insta-worthy. With that being said, it was extremely important for me to reflect each day on how grateful I am that I have the opportunity to experience things like this in my life. Grateful to have my mom to go on girls-trips with, grateful to have a job I love that allows me to pay for vacations, grateful to swim in the crystal clear ocean while our earth still looks this way, grateful that I come from a country that has all the basic-necessities at hand with just one quick trip to Walmart and honestly grateful for frozen lemon daiquiris. Just kidding about the last one- but not really! With that being said, it’s amazing to travel to other countries. But it’s also an amazing reality check that some of the “problems” we have in Canada are not comparable to the problems that third world countries experience every day. It was great (but not surprising) to hear that Canadians are one of the most polite and thoughtful cultures that visit Cuba. I’m sorry but who doesn’t love feeling the love of their own country, eh? I’m sad to be packing my *over-packed* suitcase (I debated writing a blog post on the packing essentials for a vacation, but really I’d just be writing about how you will need to pay for an overweight suitcase fee!) but I’m ready for my own bed, healthy food & drinking my body weight in water. Adios Cuba- it’s back to the reality of driving in the snow, studying at school, being an ECE & doing the dishes that *somebody* “forgets” to do! 😉

Todays mantra: Be grateful for what you have, while working for what you want!

What are you grateful for today?

But First, Tacos.

Two words: Bent-Taco. Two more words: Hell-yes.

Can we take a minute to taco bout how great this place is! Like promised, I said I would start sharing the trendiest new spots in town…and Bent Taco has just arrived to Barrie! Our experience was 10/10 from the minute we could start taking pictures at the front door, to the minute I received a fortune cookie for dessert (You’ll have to show up to find out why). We ordered chips & guacamole as an appetizer because…well does guac even need an explanation? And just when I thought the guac couldn’t get any better I tried the tacos! Both were to die for. Partly because the flavour of the food was spot on, partly because their made-in-house hot sauce will set your mouth on fire (in all the best ways!) Side note- is it possible to look sexy while eating a taco? is there a proper way to eat a taco? Just be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get messy! The restaurant is small-ish, so if you don’t feel like waiting I suggest making a reservation. Or don’t- and take your time enjoying the fun atmosphere while sitting at the bar (hint: the decor in the restaurant is a clue as to why you receive a fortune cookie for dessert). I already can’t wait to go back and try their burrito bowl and maybe a margarita *or two. The next time you’re going out on date night or having drinks with the gals hit up this local spot- I promise your tastebuds will thank you!

P.S. Lets be honest- a well balanced diet is a taco in each hand.

How’s it going! I’m Silken.

Welcome to my very first blog post (and blog)!

Let me introduce myself…

– I am 23 years old! (But most importantly- a child at heart, always.)

– I recently moved from one small town, to the next small-ish town of Barrie, Ontario! I absolutely love it here. (And that is how I came up with the name “SmallTownBlogger”)

– Starting a blog has been on my mind for quite some time. In 2020 I told myself I’d try new things…so here we are!

– I’ve worked in the *glamorous* field of Early Childhood Education since 2017. When I discovered the passion I had for working with children I decided to dive head first into my goals, quit my full-time job and go back to school to become a registered-ECE! (When I was younger, I thought when I grew up I wanted to be a police officer! So I have already graduated from college with a Human Services Certificate and Police Foundations Diploma- look out or I might pull a citizen’s arrest!)

– My hobbies include: drinking wine, drinking coffee, drinking wine while watching The Bachelor with my momma (oops, did I mention wine twice!?), doing literally anything outside- running, biking, kayaking etc., walking mindlessly around winners/home-sense, reading a book while taking a bubble bath, journaling, attempting yoga, trying new recipes off Pinterest, decorating my home and looking up pictures of dogs. I also love trying as many local shops/restaurants as I can! Do these count as hobbies? Please tell me these count as hobbies.

– I love country music! There’s just something about an outdoor concert on a summer night, with my boots on and a cold drank! You feel? It must be those small town roots.

– I’ve been to a handful of places on my bucket-list, but I have a hell of a lot more to cross off before I die! (I also have a thing for collecting the Starbucks You-Are-Here mugs! So far I have collected NYC, Nashville and Japan!)

– I have no idea how others would describe me (Insert Rachel Hollis’ “Someone else’s opinion about you is none of your business” quote here) but I would describe me as happy (unless I’m hangry), hardworking (thanks to my parents), organized-ish (I have a colour coded planner but like to leave my clothes on the floor, okay), patient (I work with toddlers *like a pro*), caring (sometimes too much) and friendly (seriously- I’m always making friends with strangers!)

– When I was researching the how-to’s of starting a blog, it reccomended picking a theme. It also recommended being yourself. So I have chosen to be myself and not choose a theme- I will be sharing the in & outs of my brain! Let’s keep things real, raw & not limit ourselves!

Here’s to trying new things, sharing positivity with the world & hoping I can add blogging to my list of not-so-exciting-but very relatable hobbies!

Today’s mantra: Be kind & do something that scares you!