Affordable Fashion: My Favourite Items and Stores

In the wake of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale I have been thinking long and hard about some of my favourite clothing pieces in my closet. I have come to realize that some of my most worn items, or fav new items, are from reasonably affordable stores. Being a teacher, I strive to collect clothing that is fashion forward, trendy but professional and timeless. These are the pieces I am currently loving for summer moving into fall! All outfit details are linked and listed below and prices are in Canadian dollars. For reference, I am 5’3 and usually am an xs – small in tops and dresses and 2 (26) in denim.

OUTFIT DETAILS

This jumpsuit ($24.50) from a store called Ardene is an absolute staple in my closet right now. It is beyond comfortable and can be paired with almost anything! It is a great transition piece from summer to fall, and I cannot wait to wear this to teach come September. I bought this is an x-small and it is on sale right now BUY 1 GET 1 for 1$ (Whaaaatt.)

OUTFIT DETAILS

In this next outfit, I paired that same jumpsuit with a kimono ($18.50) also from Ardene. This kimono is so soft and light, perfect for summer and warm fall days. it is also BUY 1 GET 1 50% OFF right now!

OUTFIT DETAILS

THIS CARDIGAN THOUGH ($64.95)! It is the softest, most versatile additional clothing item I have recently collected, and comes in three colours. I purchased it from the GAP during a 40% off sale, and it goes so well with everything. It is the perfect item to add to a camisole, or on top of this off the shoulder floral top (next outfit).

OUTFIT DETAILS

This top ($34.40 BUY 1 GET 1 FOR $1), as mentioned in the above outfit, it so adorable. It is from Ardene (a reoccurring theme in this post) and is a really soft. With long bell sleeves, it is perfect for a cool summer night out, or a warm fall day! It is available online in a beautiful blush and orange colour! I paired it with these jeans from Dynamite, which I got on major sale (I love all of their jeans though)

OUTFIT DETAILS

Lace up sweaters are all the rage right now, and the trend is not going to end anytime soon. They can be pretty expensive at some stores, but I found this one at GAP for 40% off. It is a really nice knit sweater but isn’t at all itchy. It is super flattering and will cover your behind if you want to wear it with leggings!

OUTFIT DETAILS

I paired those flattering jeans from Dynamite with this tie-up bell sleeve sweater from the same store. I got this on sale for $8! You cannot beat that! These two items may not be in stores any longer, but check out the sale rack at Dynamite and you will definitely find some gems! 

OUTFIT DETAILS

I have a different denim jacket that I love. It is a darker wash and slightly more fitted, but I spotted this one at H&M for $29.95 and knew I had to have it. It is the perfect amount of ‘slouchy’ to work with the over-sized trend!

OUTFIT DETAILS

Here is another jumpsuit that is just too perfect! This one has longer pant legs compared to the first outfit in this post, it is from H&M and it has pockets!

Why I Went Natural & How I use Essential Oils

Let’s talk about going au-naturel!

In this post I will be talking about the ways I modified my everyday life to be more natural and less invasive on my body! When I first started on this little endeavour I never realized the amount of products and things on the market that target people just like me. The mid twenties millennial, eco-loving, trend following, hippie. Now I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a hippie, but I am definitely a self declared eco-advocate, open to trying new things if they are better for me and the environment.

I first realized the effects that harsh chemicals could have on our bodies when I was researching liver issues. I came to realize that our bodies rely heavily on our liver because it cleanses toxins from our bodies. This means that anything we put on our skin, in our mouths or bring into contact with our bodies, will eventually find its way to our liver. Its most crucial job is to take toxins out of our bodies (usually from our blood) and release clean blood back into our systems.

You sometimes hear people apologizing to their liver before consuming a large amount of alcohol. It is true, you should be apologizing to the organ that helps our bodies in so many ways! Our liver is where all the alcohol is removed from our blood, before it is ready to be discharged out of our bodies! What I never realized was how many times a day we should be apologizing to our livers, and our many other organs. Here are only a few of the daily occurrences where we are administering toxins into our bodies, and sometimes completely unaware of it (I know I was)

  1. When we consume alcohol
  2. When we take pain medications like ibuprofen
  3. When we forget to wash our produce before we eat it
  4. When we use cleaning products that are filled with harsh chemicals
  5. When we use beauty product containing parabens and other harmful ingredients.

These are only some of the ways we are unknowingly causing our bodies undo harm and stress. These are also however, the five major things I changed/am working on changing to live a more natural life. We have already discussed alcohol so I won’t harp on about that any longer.

Taking pain medications like ibuprofen

I am the first one to admit that I do not like to feel any pain (who does), but I am starting to realize that their are other things I can do to relieve pain and discomfort. When I was slightly younger, I wouldn’t think twice about taking a Tylenol or Advil if I felt a headache coming on. Oh, and don’t even get me started on an upset stomach or nausea, no questions asked, I was taking Gravol or Pepto Bismol. Now I definitely think twice. What I wasn’t realizing is that after ingesting these things, they were going straight to my liver and probably causing damage.

THIS IS IMPORTANT: I am in no way advising that people should not take medication. If you need it, take It. When I had my wisdom teeth removed, absolutely nothing the oral surgeon didn’t prescribe was going to touch the pain I was in. The liver damage I am talking about is from taking small amounts of ibuprofen etc. for long amounts of time. Why not prevent these things from happening. I have found some great alternatives to these pain medications that truly do work, and I am so excited to share them.

Essential oils

These amazing natural oils are all the rage right now. If you haven’t already heard about them and all of their glory I am truly surprised. For the purpose of alleviating pain, I like to use them as topical treatments. Be sure to test a small amount on your skin to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction. I recommend mixing it with a ‘carrier oil’ like vegetable oil or coconut oil.

  • Tea tree oil on acne
  • Peppermint oil on the temples and back of the neck to alleviate stress and headaches.
  • Eucalyptus oil on the chest for colds and congestion

BONUS:

  • Lavender oil on the temples or sprayed(mixed with water) as a pillow mist to help with sleep.
Click the image to find this starter pack of essential oils here

After a couple trips to the health food store, and many discussions with the professionals there, I have found some great and highly effective ways of treating colds, and upset stomach.

  • Oregano oil with garlic is a great way to battle respiratory viruses and keep the immune system strong during the winter months. (Take in spurts of 1-2 weeks)
  • Deep immune is an elderberry based oil that works similarly to oregano oil, but works taken over long periods of time, to fortify your immune system. Since I am a teacher, deep immune and oregano oil are both staples in my medicine cabinet for me.
  • Goldenseal is amazing for stomach issues and stomach viruses. It works to alleviate bloating and other digestion issues, but will also help if you feel like you are coming down with the dreaded winter stomach bug.
Found at any health store.

Forgetting to wash our produce

The best way to avoid nasty germs left by other people touching your fruit and veggies, is to give it a good scrubbing before you eat it. I am not afraid to use a little bit of soap on them (or vinegar… make sure to rinse thoroughly) to get them nice and clean. We can also remove some of the pesticides used on the produce by cleaning them. This unfortunately doesn’t touch what has reached the interior of the food, but we do what we can without buying organic right?

Using harsh chemicals to clean

Ah… my favourite topic. I am open to any suggestions anyone might have about natural and effective cleaning products, I am always on the hunt. However, I have recently switched from harsh kitchen cleaner to the Method brand, and I’m true fan of the products. I have tried a variety of their cleaners and really like them all.

Found at any grocery store.

I also really love to use essential oils in my kitchen to clean and add a nice fragrance. After cleaning my sink I run hot water and add about 5-7 drops of essential oil. By adding it to the steaming water, it fills to the room with a nice smell. When I use peppermint oil, it moves throughout my whole lower level.

I bought my starter pack of essential oils here.

When it comes to the kitchen, I am afraid to use anything with too many chemicals. We prepare food and eat there! The bathroom on the other hand, gets the full power of bleach! I have yet to find anything that I feel works as well, but I am open to suggestions.

Using beauty products with parabens and other harmful ingredients.

I get it, not everyone believes that the things in our shampoo, body lotion and contact solution can be harmful to us in the long run. It is everyone’s personal choice, but my motto is “I would rather be safe than sorry!” There are so many different natural product lines out there it is insane! I have recently been enjoying the Abba line of haircare products and love them. Again, I am open to suggestions!

Going natural is a personal choice, and a choice that I believe can be taken in steps over time. Like I’ve mentioned, the repercussions of using non-natural products will take a toll on you, but likely in the far future if used over long periods of time. The same can be said about going natural. We may never see a difference on the inside of our bodies if we go natural early and continue in the future, but isn’t that the point? Prevent now and prosper later.

Until next time,

Stephanie

Introducing | The Pathway to Positivity

Welcome to The Pathway to Positivity

A place where I talk about all things positivity, mindset and manifestation. Now before I begin I must mention that I am in no way a professional regarding this topic. I do however, have a strong passion for the area and love talking about it with other people! Please chime in and join the conversation in the comments below! The best way to begin The Pathway to Positivity is to connect with other people who practice the same mindset.

So let’s get into it shall we. Everyone wants to be happy, and I think that is where the positive mindset comes into play. However, saying over and over again “I just want to be happy!” is not going to make it miraculously occur. We need to understand something before we even begin on the journey of positivity.

We are the power behind our thoughts, and thus our life

Read that again, really let it sink in. “We are the power behind our thoughts.” Meaning that we are the only ones in this entire world that can control our thoughts. You control what movie plays inside your head every moment, of every day, for your whole life. It is true, other people and events have the ability to effect our thoughts and emotions, but we decide how these external sources change our mindset. More about this in another post.

How can I be a positive person?

That is the infamous question. It is important to note, that everyone may make an effort to be a more positive person differently. I can tell you however, that the first step to becoming a more positive and happy person is to WANT NOTHING. In the bestselling book The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha, he talks about how to be truly happy, you must be completely content with what you already have in life. If we are grateful for the things life has brought us, we may then begin to envision our future.  

Click here to learn more about The Happiness Equation

In summary, step number one to The Pathway to Positivity, is to simply choose happy. It is true when they say that life is not nearly long enough to be worrying about everything, and letting our emotions get the best of us. Now trust me, I have been working on this very thing for a v-e-r-y  l-o-n-g  t-i-m-e. I still have times when I let my emotions drive my actions but, the difference now is the amount of time I yield control. I used to relinquish all control and let something upsetting, or frustrating ruin my whole day. Now, I give that same ‘something’ about 5-10 minutes. That ‘something’ still happened, and it is important to recognize it and not ignore it. I no longer let an event control my emotions or my day! Something negative is only worth the amount of energy and time you give it! Think about that.

So start here, choose happy and begin your Pathway to Positivity. Check back, or follow for more about this series on Walking with Grace. Be sure to join the conversation in the comments and see the social media links for more.

Until next time,

Stephanie

The Journey from Northern Ontario to the GTA

It was a tough decision, as are most things that are worth anything in life. I was a young adult in the middle of teachers college grappling with the idea of graduating in three short months, and watching my student life come to an end. A life that I had come to rely on, and now that I think back on it I believe I made it somewhat of a career. I suppose when you do something for so long it becomes apart of you, that is what being a student was to me. For so long I was told go to school get good grades, go to another school (university) get good grades. What no one tells you is that life changes, the world around you changes and the people who were hiring for your career of choice when you entered school, are now looking for other qualifications, more and better qualifications. 

It was mid January when a job fair came to my University to recruit future teachers to be apart of their school board. This was the pivotal moment when everything changed. I never thought I would leave the small town I grew up in, my family, my friends the life I knew. But, when I realized that staying in this town meant essentially doing nothing with my university degree the decision was made for me. My choice became even more clear when I knew I wouldn’t be making the shift alone. Someone must really love you if they are willing to pick up and start a whole new life with you and only you. I am still grateful to this day, without this I don’t think I could have done it.

I ended up being hired as an occasional teacher and the promise of consistent work was enough for us to make the move. We found an apartment and moved in that July, and by September I was working on a part-time permanent contract. I was ecstatic because I knew this was so much farther than I ever would have gotten in my teaching career if I would have stayed in my hometown.

Fast forward thirteen months and a full time permanent teaching position later and,

HERE WE ARE

A full year away from home, a full year of total independence. I honestly didn’t know if I was ready when it was all beginning more than a year ago, but now that I look back, I think I underestimated myself. I had a driving force behind me that was a blooming teaching career, and a family with nothing but support. Of course I miss my family, as I am an only child and extremely close with my parents (thank GOD for FaceTime am I right?) For anyone thinking about taking a risk, you never know unless you try and if you don’t try.. well you know what they say.

 

The Life of a Dog Mom

Ok ladies, you know the drill if you have a dog. They are your everything, your shinning light, your best friend. My dogs name is Kobi and he is a five year old Shorkie. I hate to admit it but this 6lbs fur ball rules my house like a KING! We do everything we can for our little fur babies some of us even going above and beyond. Think about how many posts and advertisements relating to dog or pets you see everyday! Most of them telling you, you need to buy the next best thing for your pup. But how far is too far. How much is too much.

My boyfriend and I are well aware that sometimes (all the time) we go overboard. For example, Kobi now has more clothes that a typical toddler and a bin so filled with toys we find them anywhere and everywhere. Not bad? Ok… what if I told you we bought him a lifejacket to go swimming, and we carried him around in one of these on Canada Day?IMG_2222

Please share more ways in which we can spoil our baby to no end, and share photos of how you spoil yours with me on Instagram! @walkingwthgrace

❤️ Kobi’s carrier