How do fashion bloggers do it?!?

If you happen to know me you will also know that I love all things fashion. Clothes. Jewellery. Shoes. Bags. Hair. Nails. You name it!

However, unfortunately I don’t love the price that comes with all of these things.

As of late money has been tighter than ever, despite having a good full-time job, rent, utilities, food, petrol, phone bills etc., all add up and before you know it that pay cheque that just landed in your account is nothing but a memory. I’d say budgeting is one of the most challenging things about adult life.

But back to blogging. I won’t try to say that I don’t have a lot of clothes, because I do, but most of them I’ve had for quite a while now. I do occasionally go out and buy a few new items to freshen up my wardrobe, but as a rule I don’t go on “shopping sprees” anymore. Although, I have to admit in order to do this I have to avoid malls like the plague because let me loose in H&M or Forever 21 and my visa card will end up in the emergency room with a serious case of debt.

One of my recent #ootd on Instagram. You can find me @Rammyy.

However, this situation of mine often gets me wondering – how do other people manage to do it?

I am an active Instagram addict and I frequently will post an Outfit Of The Day (#ootd) when I’ve  managed to pull something really nice together but I could never manage to be a fashion blogger who posts amazing outfits each and every day, because I simply couldn’t afford it.

That being said I follow quite a few other accounts of fashionistas that I admire, they are girls all around the world who seem to always have something new and trendy in their wardrobe including some of the nicest statement jewellery I have ever seen. Most of them are students or young 20-somethings and so unless they are all from extremely rich families or have very generous sugar daddies I just don’t know where they get the money from.

Often they will be sporting the nicest Michael Kors handbags, the newest J Crew jewellery or a stunning style that I’ve seen in one of my favourite magazines. I’m sure there are some people who do it that way but I’m sure for every 1 that does there are 10 more that don’t.

So this is for all you successful fashion bloggers out there? How did you become successful? How do you afford to stay up on top of the trends?

100 Happy Days

Just today I came across a post by a friend on Facebook that drew my attention to the 100 Happy Days Challenge and I have to admit I was pretty impressed.

What it’s all about? The motive of the challenge is to submit a picture of what makes you happy EVERY day! 

It sounds easy but according to their stats 71% of people who tried to complete this challenge failed. I am making it my mission to be part of the 21% that succeed.

The goal of the project is to appreciate the moment despite the hustle, bustle and stress that exists in day-to-day life.

I can’t remember how many times I have tried to explain this to people, let’s put it this way, it’s FAR too many to count. But in #yyc especially I find too many people get caught in the work-eat-sleep repeat cycle that those little moments of happiness get overlooked. So when I came across this challenge you can be sure that I had no hesitation in signing up. Even though I haven’t been doing it under this name before I like to think that my Instagram is already follows this pattern of thought.

That being said if you would like to follow my 100 day journey towards happiness head on over to my Instagram @Rammyy where I will be posting my daily updates. I might even share a few of them on here as well – maybe some of my favourites 🙂

To kick off the challenge I have posted a picture of my 11-year-old beagle, Sophie. Today I brought her to the vet as she has been limping recently and I was afraid something was wrong with her paw, but luckily all was okay and so that is something that makes me happy! I have had this little girl for half of my life so far and I love her with all my heart!

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If you are even half considering signing up to do this challenge as well I urge you to make the commitment to do it. After all who wouldn’t want to commit to 100 days of happiness? And if the idea alone hasn’t won you over there’s always the added benefit of getting a little 100 page book with your 100 happy days at the finish line of the challenge!

Stay happy,

R xx

Who said TV can’t teach you anything…

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I object.

So many people tell you that TV is a waste of time. They say that unless you’re watching the news or national geographic you’re not going to learn anything of any importance but I say that’s lies.

Why is that you ask? Well I think that 90% of shows out there even fictional ones have a message to share with their viewers – sometimes it is obvious and sometimes it is not in other words sometimes they will spell it out for you and sometimes you will have to pay close attention to pick up on it.

Recently, I have been watching Once Upon a Time. Yes, yes, I know it may have gained a reputation as being a very girly option, or a “bad” TV show because it isn’t about zombies, demons or whatever the latest fad is out there but once again I disagree. I think it is a really good TV show and I’d even go as far as to say that it is right up there as one of my favourites at the minute. It has strong characters, lots of twists and turns in the plot and a strong message.

I started at the beginning of season 1 and now I’m all caught up to the current point that aired just before Christmas. One thing in common with all of the episodes was that there was always hope underlying the bad things that happened in the show. They pushed for hope to be a common thread in everything they did and it worked.

Here are a few of my favourite quotes – once you read them, I think you’ll agree:

“Your happy ending may not be what you expect. That is what will make it so special.” – Mary Margaret (Snow)

“Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a powerful thing.” – Mary Margaret (Snow)

“The unknown isn’t always bad. Life is full of twists and turns that we never see coming.” – David (Charming)

“And what do you think fairytales are? They are a reminder that our lives will get better if we just hold on to hope.” – Mary Margaret (Snow)

“People are gonna tell you who you are your whole life. You just gotta punch back and say, “No, this is who I am”. You want people to look at you differently? Make them! You want to change things, you’re gonna have to go out there and change them yourself, because there are no fairy godmothers in this world.” – Emma Swan

Now that you’ve read them I’m sure you’ll see that despite this being a show about fairytales, the messages that they present are all geared at hitting home to those of us here in the real world.

All of these quotes really inspired me, not because I didn’t know this already but because I don’t often take time to tell myself this.

Like anyone else, I listened to a lot of fairytales growing up. In fact, perhaps I listened to more because I was an only child and the characters in my books were even more real to me. But either way this resulted in my overactive imagination dreaming up many scenarios of my future, all including my own happy ending. I have to say that I’ve carried some of that into my adulthood and even today I have pretty high standards for what I would like my life to turn out like: dream job, dream man, dream location, dream house…the whole works.

I know this is unrealistic but it is still what I dream of, because I still want my fairytale.

Now the connection between this and my message about the quotes from once upon a time is that I never really thought about what these fairytale characters have to go through to get their happy endings. Once Upon a Time really speaks to that and shows all the curses, deaths, monsters etc. that these characters have to go through before they get anywhere close to their happy ending.

So what have I learned? Our life isn’t any different. It’s not that “happy endings” are unattainable in the real world – you can still make them happen but they require A LOT of work. You have to endure all the bumps in the road, as well as every twist and turn before you will reach your happy ending and if you’re not willing to push through all that, well you’re going to be stuck with a mediocre ending because you took the easy way out.

This my friends, is why I will never stop watching shows like this. Call them what you may but they are part of my inspiration to persevere through anything life throws at me because more than anything else in the world I want my happy ending, my true love & my dreams to come through.

If you have not yet seen this show I highly recommend it to you. If you have I hope that you too have picked up on the wonderful message that it carries.

Me – I just can’t wait until March 9th when new episodes start again because I can safely say this is my #1 favourite show right now and the story lines have just the right balance of satisfaction and suspense to keep you waiting on eggshells to see what will happen in the next episode.

-R xx

Finding the good in the world

Sometimes I can’t help but think that the number of genuinely good people out there is dwindling. Perhaps this is a common feeling for those who move from a small town to a big city or maybe it’s a by-product of an increasingly materialistic society. Either way, I feel like the longer I live in this city the more cynical I become towards the people who live here. People brush past you in the street without even looking at you never mind sharing a smile. Everyone looks so angry as they go about their daily lives never stopping to appreciate the world around them and all too often forgetting that the is life outside their 9-5 jobs in a shiny high-rise building.

This mentality angers me. And to be honest the longer I am surrounded by this mentality the more I feel like I too am getting sucked into it. I used to always be out with friends, seeing the world around me, catching up with the exciting events going on in other peoples lives and making exciting events happen in mine, but now it seems things have changed. Now I find that my days have become a constant routine of get up, get ready, go to work, come home, have dinner, watch some TV and repeat! How is it that my life has turned into exactly what I always swore would never happen. With this routine comes animosity and I think that’s where the good gets lost. (I’m currently fighting so hard to make sure this doesn’t happen to me).

However, every so often you come across someone who reminds you that despite 90% of people losing the good in them there is 10% who is still genuinely good to the core.

I had the privilege of meeting one of these people yesterday as I came home from work in one of the most unlikely situations – stuck behind a train.

I was on my way home from work, excited for the long weekend that lay before me when I saw the big flashing red lights and knew that I was going to get stuck behind the train for at least 15 minutes (the train that passes through always has an excessive amount of carriages and always drives pretty slowly) so you can imagine I was a little disappointed but I was determined to remain optimistic and so I didn’t let it bother me too much. Plus, one of my favourite songs was on the radio so I had some good music to car-dance to while I waited. Then a small bus pulls up beside me and as I look over I can tell the man is just about as frustrated as me as he humorously shook his head at the unlikely situation that lay before us. As he looked down the track and rolled his eyes before putting his hands to his head and leaning against the steering wheel I couldn’t help but laugh. It was unlikely and to happen on a long weekend of all times.

Next thing I look over at him and he’s laughing too as we both stare down the tracks at the never ending train. And in that moment this total stranger and I shared a moment of happiness bonding over such an unlikely situation.

Next thing I know he pulls up closer to my car and opens his bus door so I roll down my window and for the next 15 minutes we just chat as we wait for the rest of the train to pass. We didn’t talk about anything significant, just about the weather, plans for the long weekend and the end of the week but as the end of the train neared, and we said goodbye (and Happy Valentine’s Day) I couldn’t help but feel like that short crossing of paths was the best part of my day!

That older gentleman, Steven, was such a genuinely nice person that he struck up a friendly conversation with a complete stranger in the car next to him at the train tracks. He could just have easily sat there with his doors closed but he chose not too. He chose to be friendly. Likewise, had I been a grumpy person I could have chosen not to roll my window down but I didn’t.

The moral of this story is perhaps if we all started being a little nicer to those around us day-to-day being friendly and happy could be the rule, not the exception. So smile at the person in the car next to you, say hello to the person you meet in the elevator or strike up a conversation with the person standing next to you in the line at the coffee shop. You never know what that one little gesture might mean to them…it might just make their day!

R xxx

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Stepping Up to the Real World

Well folks, if my last blog post about Christmas and tinsel doesn’t give it away, take a look at the dates of my “most recent” posts and you’ll notice that I haven’t been here in a while.

BUT I have a VERY good reason…..[drum roll please]…I GOT A JOB! And it’s not just any job, it’s a perfect job in my field with a non-profit! It ticks ALL my boxes and I couldn’t be happier 🙂

Okay it’s much more challenging than I ever expected and yes, my to-do list is getting longer and longer each and every day but I love that it pushes me to new heights and I love that it has thrown me right in at the deep end.

In fact, I never really liked things to be handed to me on a silver platter, so to speak, because I believe that the journey to where you are going is half the fun!

When I was growing up we lived in a small town in the UK. My family is all from a farming background and so I like to think that has played an important part in establishing the work ethic that I have today. Despite being an only child I didn’t just get things handed to me growing up and being a perfectionist I always worked over and above what I was asked to do (for my own satisfaction).

So when I graduated in June, I didn’t expect to get a job handed to me right off the bat – I knew it was going to be hard. Did I think it was going to take 8 months of searching? NO. Did it bother me when I saw people who never really tried very hard at school getting jobs before me? YES.

I like to think that I’m justified in thinking that if you work your ass off and you have the skills you should have a good shot at getting something. That wasn’t necessarily the case when it came to the graduates from my program. What I have learned about Calgary is that who you know is just as important as what you know. I watched other people waltz straight into great jobs while I kept receiving the same old tired response about more experience being needed. Always more experience.

BUT after 8 months of hard work building my connections and gaining new experiences in the world of radio promotions (which is so much fun) my turn came around 🙂

As it turns out a connection of mine pointed me in the right direction of a new opportunity and when my education, skills and experience finally matched up I got the job! So that’s all that matters right!

Perhaps there’s a part of me that is still a little cynical to those classmates of mine that got their chance earlier than I did but if there is any truth to my motto “it was all meant to be” it was now, because if I had the option of taking any of my classmates jobs or holding out for mine, it’s a no-brainer! (Just incase any of you were confused, I would take mine in a heartbeat).

So I will continue to be challenged every day, to surprise myself with what I am capable enough, to share my knowledge with others and to learn from every talented person that crosses my path and to make the best of every moment!

Regardless of whether you are a student, a job-hunter or happily employed never forget that there is something to be learned from every moment…seriously!

– R

Tis’ the season to be sparkly!

There’s tinsel and decorations everywhere and the whole world looks a little bit brighter during the holidays (but that could just be the excessive amounts of Christmas lights). However, in the world of Rachel – it’s GLITTER that’s adding that extra sparkle to the holiday season.

I have to say I’ve always loved glitter, it’s fun, it’s whimsical and it’s the perfect way to make everything and quite possibly anything a little more festive.

So in the spirit of Christmas and with lots of free time on my hands I have taken to some hard core crafting! Now don’t think I’m lame – it’s actually really fun and it’s turning out really well 🙂

What have I been crafting you ask? Well so far I’ve revamped an old candle and made a new box that will soon be added to my sale items for Blooming Lovely Boxes (my new etsy shop – which you should all check out BTW).

However, the possibilities for what you can do with glitter are endless and I plan on using up all of my newly acquired glitter doing lots of DIY decor throughout 2014. Check out some of my ideas on my Pinterest board but remember…

Christmas Blues…

Christmas. It’s one of those things…like Marmite…either you love it or you hate it. Thankfully, for the most part I love it! It’s the only time of year when sitting in at night with a mug of hot chocolate and a movie is more acceptable than going out for the night…at least it is if you live in a place that might as well be as cold as the North Pole. I’d say living in Alberta, is just about as close to that as you can get, don’t you agree? 😉 

Anyway aside from the hot chocolate, blankets and movies, I’ve always associated Christmas as the most perfect time of year to be in love. So here’s the other side of the story, the unlucky part. I’ve never had the pleasure of being in a relationship, never mind being in love for Christmas and sadly this year is no exception! Now, I’m not looking for tonnes of sympathy or trying to make my life into a sob story but when you’re 22 and pretty much everyone around you is either in a relationship, engaged or married already it starts to get pretty depressing. 

What would I give to be curled up on the sofa with my boyfriend rather than curled up in my snuggie, to go out for a walk in the park where all the Christmas lights are hung or if you’re in Calgary go to see Zoo Lights rather than just reading about how much fun other people had when I see my Facebook newsfeed littered with memories of their oh so romantic night out. I just can’t help but feel envious of them because out of all the people that I know I’ve always been the one who continuously talks about how much I can’t wait to be in love, to get married, to have kids! Don’t worry boys…I’m not planning on making this happen within the next year or two but it’s definitely up there on my priority list and it’s pretty disappointing to watch yet another year fly by without me getting even the tiniest bit closer to that goal.

Then to top the whole thing of…I’ll try to console myself by sitting down to watch yet another movie alone, since I love Christmas movies (I could literally watch them all year…even the bad ones). However, it only goes and makes matters worse, because it seems that it’s not just me who associates Christmas with a perfect love story…oh no…it’s me and every big studio movie producer in the world, because every movie is based on some unrealistic romantic tale of how a couple finds true love and their happy ending at Christmas. So while I have to admit I really do love watching them, it leaves me sitting at the end, watching the credits, wondering why I’m still so alone!

Still, here I am, sitting writing this post about how miserable I am because I’m still single, hoping that my true love story is just around the corner. Likely? Probably not. Good for making all these Christmas movies bearable? Hell yeah.

So getting to the root of this problem – I’m starting to wonder what exactly is it about me that’s keeping me from finding a relationship? Am I doing something wrong? Is there some terrible personality trait that I need to work on? Am I just too picky? I’m determined to find out just what it is because if only I knew I’d be more than happy to work on it. However, it seems that no one that I know can put their finger on it and believe me I’ve asked. 

Now I’m not going to lie and say that I’m the easiest person to please but I’m certainly not the hardest either. I’ve got an idea of what I’m looking for in a guy but I wouldn’t say it’s unrealistic. It just seems that any time I find a guy that I really like, he doesn’t like me that way and any time a guy does like me that way, I can’t seem to feel any attraction towards them. It’s honestly starting to get a little bit ridiculous. 

So with only another 11 days until Christmas, I’m going to be realistic and say that I’m probably not going to get my romantic walk in the snow this year but maybe this will be my last year to be single. For now I guess I’m going to have to just make do with doggie cuddles, several flavours of hot chocolate (that I might have bought at the International Christmas Market last week) and a supply of Christmas love stories coupled with a couple of boxes of tissues 😛 Sounds like the best I can do with the cards I’ve been dealt. 

So, to congratulate anyone who has managed to make it this far through my post (hopefully there are a couple of other people out there, like me, who can empathize with my Christmas blues) here’s a list of some of my most recent TV Christmas movie gems 😛 WARNING: These programs may contain cheesy love stories. 

  • Lucky Christmas
  • Snowglobe
  • A Valentine Carol
  • All She Wants for Christmas 

And that’s only what I’ve watched in the past few days! Stay tuned for more Christmas posts to come. In the meantime…what’s your favourite Christmas movie? Cheesy or otherwise? 🙂 

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Back to the sun, back to the shore, back to who I was before!

WARNING: LARGE AMOUNTS OF JEALOUSY MAY OCCUR FROM THE CONTENTS OF THIS POST!

Now, before someone asks yes, I did just use lyrics from Legally Blonde the music in the title of this post because they kind of just popped into my head and seemed appropriate plus, this blog is all about letting you get to know me better and well musicals are a pretty big part of that so it seemed fitting.

But really, it honestly is so appropriate for my description of today! It was amazing and just to show you, here are a few pictures for you to enjoy 🙂

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Aren’t they beautiful?!?

Well folks, now it’s time for that jealousy to check in because not only am I staying in this little slice of heaven for the next 2 weeks but I used to live here and my old school sits on a cliff overlooking these beautiful sites. The picturesque town in these photos is called Portstewart and it is a small town with approximately 7000 people living there. I have to say it is one of my favourite places in the world that I have ever been to so far.

One of the most famous things to do in Portstewart is to walk the cliff walk – a pathway that stretches all the way from the promenade to the strand and literally sits on the edge of the cliff (don’t worry there is a railing) 🙂
Actually, all of these pictures were taken today as I walked along that path with my mum. It was so great to be back, in fact it almost felt like we never had left.
First, we grabbed a nice cream at one of the most amazing ice cream shops – Morelli’s – and then we started off on the walk. Come to think of it, I actually must have looked quite amusing stopping every few minutes to pull out my iPad and take another photo of the view. Only that I still have a bit of an Irish accent people would think I was a tourist…hopefully they didn’t.

The sea has to be the biggest thing I miss since moving to Canada. As I walked along today I was struck by just how peaceful it is. Everything seems so quiet and still except for the constant lapping of the waves against the rocks and the occasional squawk of the seagulls who are passing by or looking out for dinner. It is such a lovely change from the sirens and cars that are heard even in the most secluded of parks in Calgary. Even the air feels cleaner and you just feel 10 times better by being there. People are friendly and hearing the accents again is so nice after being away for so long!

I have a feeling that this will not be the end of the photos that I am taking this trip and in fact one day I’m going to specifically dedicate some time to taking photos with my big professional DSLR because let’s face it there is only so much a small iPad camera can capture and it barely does this view justice. So if you’re not jealous yet you will be soon 🙂

Until tomorrow,
R

Up in the clouds

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I took this picture while up in the plane today on the way from London Gatwick to Belfast International and I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the beauty that it holds! Every time I look out a plane window onto the vast cloudy terrain it amazes me that it looks so perfect, so never ending. It is so bright, so white and so pure, as one of the few things left that are still untouched by human hands, greed and consumption – though I’m sure if they could figure out how to capture it and make a profit on it the corporate world would too (but I’ll spare my feelings on this subject for another time).

The only thing I can liken it to is a great landscape made of cotton wool – with it’s fluffy appearance and bumpy surface resembling something that could be created with some PVA glue and cotton balls, except on a much larger, more beautiful scale.
As a frequent flyer between the UK and Canada I have realized that this beauty is only found in a climate where clear blue skies are a rare occurrence because what might seem like a pile of grey clouds from down below is actually filled with sun on the surface up above but you’ll never get the chance to see it unless you go up there to find out. Due to that I always feel bad form my Canadian friends who are all too accustomed to clear skies that this would probably be a little strange.

Up in the clouds it looks so peaceful, like it must be one of the happiest places on earth, as though all stress or worry could be washed away once you would fall into it. I imagine that this would be what it would be like if I went sky diving, although I imagine i’d probably need to go on a cloudier day when they are lower in the sky as I’m sure we wouldn’t go up as high as the big planes do!

I loved being on those planes today and now I’m here, despite being up for over 30 hours, and starting my two week journey…surprisingly enough I already have some drama to share but maybe I’ll leave that until tomorrow!

I hope you too can get lost in the beauty that is the land beyond the clouds and who knows maybe one day we actually will be able to go up there – with all of this new technology popping up , who knows?!?