Monday, 14 May 2018

My Secret to Happiness: I Stopped Giving A Shit

Today's post is going to be short and sweet, and more like a ramble since I feel as though I've figured out the key to happiness and I just needed to share it. Okay, here goes:

I've always considered myself to be a pretty positive person, but with a bit of a salty edge. While I could always be counted on to see the bright side to a situation, a silver lining, there was always a part of me that seemed to be clouded with a little gloom. 'Nothing to worry about,' I would think, 'that's just what makes me, me.' Well I don't know exactly when it happened, but one day I just woke up and decided that kind of happy wasn't good enough for me, and made a small little change to my thinking and perspective: I stopped giving a shit about other people.

Okay, not giving a shit about other people is a bold statement, and it's mostly just for impact but there is validity to it. I stopped paying so much attention to the actions of others, what other people where doing and how they were living their life. Sure, I still cared and still do; but there's a difference between taking a genuine interest in someone, celebrating them and then moving on - as opposed focusing on the lives and actions of other people and having that affect your own life. The end result is that you're left with more time to pay attention to your own life and focus on your own happiness.

Not giving a shit about other people also means not participating in gossip, which admittedly is hard to do. Our culture is so absorbed in gossip, and with social media it seems to be everywhere - we've even coined cute little phrases like spilling the tea to describe it! The thing is, does anyone really feel good about themselves when participating in gossip? I know that I certainly don't. Once I made a conscious effort to step back from gossip, I noticed a drastic change in my overall happiness and mood. You guys, if you take anything away from this post let it be this: gossip is 100% making you miserable. It really is. I'm not perfect and sometimes indulge in petty gossip and it always makes me feel like shit. There is a correlation. Stop talking about other people and you'll start to feel better about yourself.

There's another happy side effect that comes along with not giving a shit about others; you assume that nobody is giving a shit about you. It's so liberating to go through life without being aware of the judgement of others!

Do I sound like a crazy person yet? I just feel as though I've stumbled upon the key to happiness and I just want to share it with anyone who will listen. I stopped caring so much about the actions of others and it in-turn has made me a happier person. I'm sure that this new way of thinking isn't anything new, and I'm sure that there have been many a self-help book written about it, but not giving a shit is something new to me and it's made a huge difference in my happiness and overall mood.

Just try it. What do you have to lose? 

I'm interested to hear what you guys think? Did anything ring a bell, or is this old news to you? Is there anything that you've done to improve your mood and happiness? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Navigating The Toronto Housing Market with BMO

Although I'm not originally from Toronto, after living here for eight years I now consider it home. Growing up in a military family, we moved around quite a bit. Its refreshing finally feel like I have a city that I can see myself staying in for the long-haul. With each passing year spent in Toronto I feel as though my roots grow stronger in the city.

That being said, Toronto can be a tough city to live in sometimes - especially when it comes to housing. Our housing market is definitely not for the faint of heart, and it seems like lately it's all that's being talked about in the news. Between rising interest rates and changing mortgage rules, the Toronto housing market is now more confusing than ever to navigate.

Brian and I have always rented our condo in the city, with our eyes open to buy either a larger condo or a small house of our own. Whenever I tell people that we're still renting our condo in Toronto, they're shocked; after all, we're both working professionals with steady income coming in and are both natural savers with our money. Although I would love to buy a place of our own in a year or two, I don't want to stress our finances too much and becomes house-poor. Keeping this in mind, I started doing some research to see what we could comfortably afford down the road, especially with the new stress-test mortgage rules that came info effect this year. I found that BMO’s mortgage site was really helpful in giving me the information I needed

As someone who is cautious about not stretching our finances to the maximum when purchasing a home, I really love how BMO's mortgage site really focuses on true affordability and gives you a realistic picture of what your family can comfortably afford in today's housing market.

What I discovered is that I definitely overlooked the importance of stress-testing mortgage rates, especially now that we're seeing mortgage rates on the rise for the first time in almost a decade! If you're like me and are looking to buy a home in the next year or so, I would highly using
BMO’s mortgage calculators to stress test yourself. Just use your lender’s rate plus 2%, or the Bank of Canada’s rate (5.14% right now) whatever is higher; it’s so important when it comes to affordability, and very eye-opening.

Knowing your pre-approved mortgage rate is one of the most important facts you'll need when looking to buy a property. With the information that I got using the calculators on BMO's site, I feel more prepared than ever while navigating the pre-approval process. I also wanted to mention that BMO has increased the rate guarantee period to 130 days, which is amazing because it's the longest among all Canada's major banks. Really helpful, especially since if I've learned anything while looking to buy a home in Toronto is that any any bit of convenience we can get goes such a long way.

All in all, I'm so grateful for BMO's mortgage site and I love how it focuses on affordability and totally aligns with my housing philosophy of wanting to own comfortably without sacrificing lifestyle. With all of the different narratives of the Toronto housing market in the news, I'm happy to just focus on the facts and know exactly where I stand mortgage-wise.

While we're comfortable renting now, I'm so excited to be able to buy our own place in the near future. Toronto is my home, and I'm looking forward to growing my roots in the city with a property and still being comfortable enough to enjoy everything the city has to offer.

What do you guys think? Do you rent or own? Have you gone through the process of buying your own property or done a stress test? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

This post was created in partnership with BMO. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Breaking The Rules With Schick Intuition F.A.B

Y'all, let get real here - I've been shaving my legs for as long as I can remember. Ever since I overheard a friends in middle school talk about how they started shaving, I begged my mother to buy me a razor to start the process too and never looked back. That being said, after doing a particular grooming habit for over two decades now, one gets into a routine - I always use a good-quality shaving cream, a great razer and shave in a upwards fashion - never down, and certainly never both at the same time. This all changed when I was introduced to the new Schick Intuition f.a.b.; a razor where you can shave safely using both upwards and downwards motions. I know it sounds crazy, but stay with me here.

The razor itself is pretty cool to see. There are two rows of blades; the top ones shave up and the bottom ones shave down. There is also Advanced Moisture Gel on the outer layer of the razor itself to help it move smoothly along your skin. The result is a really close shave that's really comfortable - no irritation or sensitivities - you never even need to lift  the razor from your skin!

Although it took a while to break the shaving routine that I've had for the past hundred years, I can honestly say that I'm converted. I feel as though the closer shave has actually extended how long I can go without shaving and the whole process is just easy.

What do you guys think? Have you been shaving for years and years like me? Have you ever thought about shaving both frontwards and backwards? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

This post was created in partnership with Schick Canada. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

My Favourite FREE Instagrammable Spots in Toronto

free instagrammable spots in toronto
The Apartment: 718 Gerrard St. E

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that one of my favourite activities is running around Toronto taking photos for my feed. As much as I love finding a new café, or experiencing a new spot for brunch, the whole process can start to get expensive. A coffee here and there can really add up, and sometimes I just want to take a quick photo of my outfit without having to spend any money. I have a list of my go-to FREE Instagrammable spots in Toronto; locations that are consistently Instagram-worthy, and cost nothing to photograph.  Here are some of my go-to free spots in Toronto for when I want to shoot a quick photo on Instagram.

pink door toronto

The Pink Door Beside Café CanCan

While Café CanCan is its own pink paradise, it can be quite a costly spot for brunch. I prefer the adorable pink door that's right beside it, for when you want a cute shot for the 'gram - it's free, and you don't have to put up with the atrocious service that the restaurant is known for.

instarammable toronto

Sugar Beach

Sugar Beach is one of my favourite free spots in Toronto that is 100% pure Instagram goals. The pink umbrellas, white chairs and light sand make the most beautiful backdrop to any photo. The location can get extremely busy in the summer, so it's always best to visit during the week if you can.

where to take outfit photos toronto free

Exhibition Place

The architecture at Exhibition Place will have you forgetting that you're in Toronto and thinking that you're in Europe.

*Note: I've heard stories of security guards preventing people from taking photos at this location. While I've never had any troubles myself, it's worth mentioning to keep your eyes open.

pink door mississauga

Sweet Philosophy

Can you tell that I have a think with pink doors? I always make a point to snap a quick picture in front of Sweet Philosophy's beautiful pink door whenever I'm in Mississauga.

free instagrammable spots in toronto

King Street East

With Toronto's new pilot project limiting cars on King Street, it makes it so easy to snap a quick street style photo! I just love the architecture on King street between Jarvis and Yonge, and it's even easier to capture the beauty of it without the distraction of cars.

free instagram photo locations toronto

The Columns at The Esplanade 

There's a walkway on The Esplanade in Toronto thats lined with beautiful columns, and is the perfect spot for taking a photo for Instagram. This area is also covered, so it's my go-to spot for shooting photos in the rain.

That's it! My list of tried and true, FREE spots to shoot your Instagram photos in Toronto. I would love to know if you also have some go-to locations that don't cost a cent for taking photos? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Sunday, 15 April 2018

OOTD - What I've Been Wearing Lately

Hey y'all! Another week has come and gone and while it was an amazing few days, this weekend's ice storm made all plans come to an abrupt stop. As sad as I am to have missed some pretty fun events this weekend due to dangerous driving conditions, it was kind of nice to just stay in during the day and have some quiet time to myself.

I'm in the midst of a huge bedroom overhaul and the result has left out condo looking like a disaster zone; having some time to be able to organize and clean has done wonders. Brian and I also summoned up the courage to finally watch the movie 'It,' a movie who's original version left me deeply scared as a child. I'm happy to report that the newer movie was definitely not as terrifying as the first and I was able to sleep soundly last night, with all of the lights off.

Anyways, with all this in mind, I thought that it would be a good time to round up my outfits and give you details on where you can find the pieces for yourself!

Shirt - Forever 21, Jeans  - Topshop, Glasses - c/o Bonlook, Beret - Amazon

Pants - c/o Winners (similar here), Coat - Reiss (last season), Boots - L'Intervalle 

Jumpsuit - Forever 21, Hat - Forever 21 (similar here)

Thank you so much Kaylee for this amazing shot from my Birthday!

Pants - Forever 21, Hat - Forever 21 (similar here)

What do you guys think? What pieces have you been gravitation towards for Spring? Let me know!

xo Joëlle
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