Let’s talk about being authentic. First off, what does that mean? According to the dictionary it means “of undisputed origin; genuine”— so basically, be yourself. How many of us can actually say that they are always 100% authentic? My guess would be probably not that many—whether it’s occasionally pretending to care about the Canucks, weather, or latest Rob Ford shenanigans, or avoiding conversation in hopes of escaping confrontation, we are all guilty of being fake when it’s convenient. But why? What does denying yourself the joy and freedom that comes with being authentically you accomplish?
I recognize that it is awfully easy for me to sit here and tell you to be authentic, when the reality is that sharing the real you with the world is pretty darn challenging and often a little scary. That being said, based on my own experience, I am pretty sure it will be worth it. I will be the first to admit that I was, and still am, one of those girls that wanted to be liked by everyone. I went through high school constantly worrying about wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and making the right friends the problem was that I didn’t understand what was “right” for me. When you devote all of your time to trying to be like someone else, you lose track of yourself. In the summer before grade 10 I had the accident that resulted in my being in a wheelchair. After going through rehab, it was time for me to return to high school and I was faced with a serious identity crisis. Being in a wheelchair didn’t allow me to be like everyone else I had to accept that I was always going to be different. Having spent the previous four years trying to fit in and be like the “popular” girls, I wasn’t ready to just be Jess, I didn’t even know what that would like. Luckily, I had a few friends and a whole lot of family that was ready to help me discover what this new version of myself was going t. Over time I stopped wanting to be anyone else, and started embracing the characteristics that defined me. I came to recognize that being in a wheelchair didn’t label me, but that it was, and always would be, a part of me—pretending otherwise would be doing myself an injustice. With time, I started to love my sarcastic yet quirky sense of humour and accepted that I could be a tom boy on the rugby court and a girly girl off. I allowed the world to see the real me, and they accepted it with open arms. The number of times that I have been told, “I’m so sorry you’re in wheelchair” by random strangers is too many to count, but the satisfaction of being able to look them in the eye and genuinely reply, “I’m not” is too great to care. I will not apologize for being who I am, and I will not let being physically different affect how I feel about myself. Gone are the days of stressing over being exactly like everyone else.
Yes, I get that it might not always be easy to open yourself up to the world, but guess what? There is one thing in this world that you can always be the best at, and that’s being you. NOBODY is going to be better at being you, than you are—so own that. Don’t waste your time or energy on trying to be somebody else (they are already the best at being them) and don’t deny the world the gift of you, we need you! Would you like to comment on the number of times I just said “you”? (Please don’t). But really, all joking aside, life is just way too short to always want to be something, or someone else—embrace yourself, love yourself, and always be yourself.
Until next time,
Stay Authentically You,
This is a post for anyone with a Mom (or a mom-like person) in their lives. In just under a week we will all be presented with a unique opportunity, a day designated to acknowledging our moms. If you are one of those people that is thankful for everything their mothers have done and continue to do for them on a daily basis, then Mother’s Day is slightly less crucial for you—BUT if you are among the majority of under-appreciators, then your time to make amends is fast approaching! This week when you are sitting on the couch watching tv, or cursing the car in front of you during rush hour, take a second to reflect on all that your mom, or mother figure, has done for you. Mom’s are expected to be able to do everything—cook, clean, play, encourage, listen, support and act as taxi-driver, tutor, doctor, therapist, and life coach, all for the non-monetary gift of our ungratefulness. Why? Why would anybody want to take on the job that requires you to be “at work” 100% of the time? There are no holidays from being a mom, and as far as I can tell, it’s not a very glamorous job. Any position that’s job description promises you will at some point have to wipe poopy bums, clean up vomit, scrub bathrooms, buy toilet paper, blow noses on your own sleeves, clean wounds, dispose of moldy food long-forgotten in the fridge, wake-up in the middle of the night to sobbing, screaming, coughing, or gagging, and do it ALL with a smile and certain level of motherly flare, doesn’t sound very appealing to me. So again, why? What is it about being a Mom that makes it worthwhile? Seeing as I am not a Mom, I went to an expert for her opinion, my Mom!
According to my expert, being a Mom is the hardest and best job you will ever have in your life. What makes it worthwhile is that you get to have this person that you impact from the very beginning of their life. You are responsible for creating that tiny life and through your teachings and love you get to watch them grow and hopefully inspire them to do good in the world. She acknowledged that a mother’s love is unconditional in a wonderful way, a child can make mistakes (and we all know we do) and a mother will be waiting on the other side with a warm embrace and new perspective. My mom loves that she can look at my sister and I and see a little piece of herself—she knows that we will continue her legacy in a small way. Apparently, it is the rare moments that a child takes the time to say “thank-you,” or “I want to be like my mom when I grow up,” or “you inspire me” that makes being a mother worthwhile. Listening to my mother tell me this brings tears to my eyes, as I am overwhelmed with the guilt of not reminding her of how much she means to me on a daily basis.
The acknowledgment of the investment that our mother’s have made in our own well-being is one I feel is too often over-looked. My mother has given me everything she has to give—her love, her time, her support, her ears, and yes, sadly, her money. Being a mother, or mother figure, has got to be one of the most self-less choices a woman can make. So this year, On May 11th, take the time to appreciate your mother. Sit down and say “thank-you,” tell her that you want to be just like her when you grow up, and that she inspires you. Go out and buy her a bouquet of flowers and her favourite Lise Watier product (*hint hint*) and remind her of why being a mother is worthwhile.
And from me, a big thank-you to all of the incredible women out there that have taken on the huge responsibility of being a mother, or mother-figure, to a child—you all inspire me. Happy Mother’s Day!
Until next time,
I think that we can all admit to having the occasional bad day; those mornings where we wake up and look out the window only to be met with grey skies and ruthless downpours, those calls that offer disappointing news, or those evenings where plans fall through and suddenly your own company feels less than exciting. I’m talking about the days that start with you hitting the snooze button repeatedly, running out of time for a shower, and throwing a toque on in hopes of hiding your greasy hair; the days that end with flat tires and discovering the moldy milk after you’ve already started cooking. We all know those days, at least I hope you do (because misery sure loves company), but my question for you is how do you recover from these types of days? Other than those bad habits that we secretly resort to—a bucket of sherbet and trashy chick flicks are one of my personal favourites—there has to be a better way than locking ourselves away and lounging in our own unhappiness.
Without trying to be all-scientific, I’d suggest that the best way to get out of a funk is to do something that makes you happy – something that makes you feel good. These are a few of my go-to favourites – maybe one of them will work for you too!
Top of my list: play wheelchair rugby. To make this a little more applicable to everyone, I would broaden that to “play a sport” or “do something active.” This is a pretty good option for most people because exercise releases endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in your body. Full contact sports also have the added bonus of letting you smash into things – an excellent release of any built up tension!! For me, finding a physical outlet for any of my negative feelings is a sure-fire way to lighten my day.
My second go-to “bad day” remedy is baking. Next to rugby, baking and cake decorating is probably my greatest passion; it’s a hobby I can get lost in. Hours of the day sift away as I focus on making the perfect gum paste rose, rolling fondant, or tossing different ingredients into my Kitchenaid mixer (stopping to taste test every few minutes – for the sake of the product, of course!). By the time I realize I’m no longer grouchy, what was previously a lousy afternoon is almost over. What hobbies pull you out of a funk?
Third mood lifter? Don’t call me a cheese-ball, but lately my ‘bad-day blues’ cure has been playing with makeup. Last Friday night I found myself home alone without any plans (feeling a little sorry for myself), so what did I do? I sifted through my Lise Watier products, grabbed my favourite ombre soufflé (fairytale) and duo shadow and glitter (wild orchid) and “glammed” up my face. I’m no makeup expert, so the way I figure out what works and what doesn’t is by experimenting. Sometimes that means I wind up looking a little like a clown with pink eye, but other times I find a combination that really rocks and throw it into my repertoire of looks. There is something so satisfying about being able to transform yourself from sweet and natural, to bold and sexy in under 20 minutes and without spending a fortune. Throw in an Instagram selfie or two, and *voila!* — instant mood lifter.
And my final mood lifter? Quality time with people I care about. I am lucky to have a lot of really wonderful friends and family in my life, and sometimes all I need is a reminder of just how blessed I am. An added bonus is that good moods are contagious—hang out with a cheery gal and it’s hard not to start smiling yourself! Meaningful conversations, time investing in the ones you love, and time to just have fun with the important people in your life is some of what I treasure the most.
If all of this sounds like the obvious, well, that’s because it is! We know that there is a long list of things we can do to lift our spirits, but the reality is, sometimes we just need a little reminder. So get out there and do what makes you feel good; grab a friend, go for a run, take some time to play, and if you’re not having a bad day, keep it that way by doing what you love!
Until next time,
Scent holds a very interesting place in our lives. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of different smells pass through our noses on a daily basis, yet how many do we actually recognize? How often do we acknowledge them? A good smell has the power to leave a positive impression, whereas a bad smell can serve as a permanent deterrent. Something can smell clean or dirty, salty, sweet, or sour, delicious or entirely unappetizing, and depending on where it falls, we react differently to them. Specific smells trigger memories for some people—whether it be freshly baked chocolate chip cookies reminding you of long afternoons in Grandma’s yellow linoleum kitchen, or the cool, crisp, scent of cedar taking you back to the days you watched your dad in his woodshop—every smell has the power to spark a memory.
One of the strongest smells for me is “boat smell”. Having grown up on a 41’ Fraser called Synchronicity, constantly encompassed in the smell, I never really knew what exactly “boat” smelled like. That being said, having now lived off of our boat for over 10 years, I know exactly what it smells like—gasoline, mildew, campfire, a smidgen of varnish, salty winds, and unexplored horizons. To someone that doesn’t understand what it feels like to have the ocean breeze race through your hair, to feel the loll of the pacific rolling your home back and forth, to crowd around a campfire fighting for the prime hot dog roasting spot, or to pray your dad will start the engine so that you’ll have enough power to watch a Disney movie, this smell probably wouldn’t be all that pleasant. In fact, to someone that didn’t understand, the varnish might remind them of hard-work, and the mildew, neglect. But that’s the thing about scent, it’s individual for everyone. And in that individuality lies a sort of nostalgia. Maybe that’s because the ones that leave the greatest impact are those that we forget about until they waft back into our nostrils, or maybe it’s because we can never fully share the experience that certain aromas create. The smell after the first rainfall can only be described, in my opinion, as “deliciously fresh.” It can immediately transport you back to rainy afternoons curled up on the couch, or the feeling of those tiny droplets on your skin. So how does someone ever decide on “their scent”?
Finding the perfect fragrance is no easy task. I think, though I am no expert, that the perfume companies are aware of the different ways that people perceive various smells, and they recognize that various scents mix with the oils in our skin and smell unique to each individual. Knowing that, how do they ever create a product that appeals to more than one person? Well, while I don’t know the actual answer, if I had to take a guess based off of the reasons I fell in love with Lise Watier’s, Something Sweet, I would say that they look to create a fragrance that sparks emotion. The reason that I love Something Sweet, and am proud to be the face of it, is because of the way it makes me feel when I wear it. Something Sweet is a mix of champagne bubbles, rainbow sorbet, melon fizz, red fruit, raspberry, and chocolate mousse. First off, let me just say, YUM! #1 reason I love this perfume is because it’s delicious and I’m a serious sucker for desserts. But aside from that, champagne reminds me of celebrations, and rainbow sorbet takes me back to the days of late-night sleepovers with my best girlfriends—the sorbet acting as the perfect accent to our gossip, laughter, and fun-filled evenings. And voila, we have a scent that reminds me of care-free, fun-filled, times—a fragrance that takes me to a place where I was truly happy. As for melon fizz and red fruit the connection is a little less direct. For some reason these scents embody health to me. Perhaps it’s because the only red fruits I can think of off the top of my head are apples (an apple a day keeps the doctor away) and pomegranates (which we all know to be an antioxidant), but regardless of the reasoning the emotion is undeniable—when I’m healthy and happy I am also confident—sure of the days to come. And finally we have raspberries and chocolate mousse. The smell of raspberries will always remind me of warm summer afternoons in my grandparent’s garden. It reminds me of a child overcome with joy as she fills her pail with ripe, juicy, berries, and a time of sweet innocence; again, an emotion-filled association. Chocolate mousse, on the other hand, takes me to a time of indulgence. Annual escapes to the chocolate buffet—evenings filled with hours of preparatory primping and flirtatious glances. All of these memories and associations add up to a scent that makes me feel young and playful, sweet yet flirty, confident and undeniably happy. Although these emotions are not unique to me, my experience with the fragrance is.
How do you experience your favourite fragrance?
Until next time,
As 2013 comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect back on the events and memories that made it a year to remember. The big one – the memory that will forever make 2013 a year to remember – is winning Lise Watier’s Something Sweet contest. Although I know that the story of the quadriplegic girl that entered and then won the contest has been told countless times, I would like to tell it in my own words just once before I can put it to rest. Bear with me if you’ve already heard it, and please allow me to share my side of the story.
I first heard about the contest when a friend posted the link on my Facebook page, urging me to enter because she thought the Something Sweet brand suited my personality and style. I was flattered, but doubtful. Who would choose somebody in a wheelchair to be a model? A week passed, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the contest. What would I wear in the picture if I did enter? Would hot pink sequins and tulle be too much? Are Shirley-Temple-curls over the top? Maybe.
My stubborn side was getting impatient. It wasn’t prepared to accept the “I can’t because I’m in a wheelchair” excuse—instead it demanded that I at least enter the contest. Eventually I caved, and convinced my mom to accompany me as my photographer. Off we headed to the nearest Shoppers Drug Mart to take some pictures in front of the Something Sweet stand; I figured worst-case scenario, it would be a good excuse to dress up… I’m a sucker for an opportunity to put on a dress! After she’d snapped 60 shots, each one sporting a slightly different head tilt, wheelchair wheelie, and a variety of smiles, I knew I had one I liked and I raced home to submit it.
This is when the fun started.
The submission of my photo was step one; step two was the voting. Friends and family started voting; then they started sharing my story and urging their friends and family to vote for me. The Lise Watier site remained up on my laptop throughout the days of voting, and I continuously clicked that refresh button to see if my standing had changed. A few days in, when I was number 9 on the list, a friend from BC Wheelchair Sports wrote an article about the contest and posted it on their website, and they put out a news release for local media. Then the madness really began. Friday night was an interview with Global. Saturday morning was the newspaper. Sunday was a phone call to see if I could be on live television Monday morning. My phone started ringing and it never stopped! There was literally a plethora of different reporters eager to broadcast their take on “the quadriplegic girl trying to change the perception of beauty”.
At first I was overwhelmed; I had no idea how to handle all the attention. My doubts quickly gave way to excitement though, when I realized that I had a message I wanted to share, and this was my opportunity to be heard.
As word got out my ranking in the contest continued to improve. I moved from 9th to 8th to 6th … sat in 3rd for three days… and then finally at the end of the second week, I jumped to 1st place. It turns out, over 15,000 people voted for me. How crazy is that?!?
The voting closed and I waited anxiously to hear from Lise Watier—the top five girls would be flown to Montreal to meet with a panel of judges.
From the moment my sister and I arrived in Montreal, we realized that this was not going to be our usual travel experience. Our driver – and his limo – were waiting to take our bags. Our blue-steel room at the ‘W’ hotel was swankier than anything I’d ever set foot (or wheel!) in before J. There was an amazing gift package of Lise Watier goodies, and a “We’re so proud of you” bouquet of flowers from my parents. Lise Watier certainly knows how to travel in style!
The next morning it was time to meet my competitors— Andreanne, Alexandra, Noemie, and Emilie—and the Lise Watier representatives. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I met with the other girls—part of me was imagining a bad episode of America’s Next Top Model with cat fights and cold shoulders, while the other half had created an idealized image of everyone becoming new best friends and bonding over the shared experience. In the end, the reality was far closer to the latter. These girls were absolutely gorgeous (although I already knew that from their contest pictures) but even more than that, they were kind, welcoming, a little nervous, and hopeful, just as I was. Any one of them would have made a wonderful ambassador for Something Sweet and I feel truly honoured to have been considered worthy among them.
After the meeting we headed off for high tea at the Ritz (again deliciously lavish in true Lise Watier fashion) and our interviews with the judges. We all sat quietly around a massive mahogany table, decked with extravagant floral arrangements, hesitant to be the first to reach for the sweets that were stacked in front of us. The judges called us in one by one— so much for strength in numbers—and asked us each a couple of questions—“What does it mean to be an ambassador?”, “What do you think the perfume smells like?”, “Who do you consider to be a role model.” I wondered whether or not the other girls were asked the same things, but never found out. As it turned out, it didn’t matter. Once we had all been questioned, the judges took some time to deliberate and left us to sweat it out around that cruel mahogany table. Finally they called us back in.
I honestly don’t really remember what they said leading up to the announcement, as my inner voice was frantically trying to convince me that it would be alright if I lost, but I do remember hearing them say that they had chosen me to be the ambassador of Something Sweet. The floodgates of emotion opened and I began to cry. At first I didn’t even fully understand what I was feeling because part of me was so ecstatic to be given the opportunity to show the world that I could do this, wheelchair and all, while another part of me was heart broken at the thought of taking that feeling away from the other four girls. They all deserved it just as much as I did, and the only reason I could move past the guilt I initially felt was because I know that they are all going to, and have, accomplished some seriously impressive things in their lives, and because I know that because of my disability and the once in a life-time opportunity that Lise Watier has provided me with, I can make winning mean something more to any women questioning whether or not different can be beautiful.
After the announcement we still had the photo shoot to do the next day and WOW was that an eye-opening experience. We got there bright and early and were greeted by the team of people necessary to make the perfect picture happen. Modeling is not just sitting around and looking pretty—it’s the perfect hair, make-up, dress, shoes, accessories, angles, lighting, backgrounds, set, direction, vision, and photo— it takes a community of people with unheard of amounts of talent. I was fortunate enough to have a team of people that really cared about making it an exciting experience for me—people that recognized that I was no expert, and were willing to take the time to understand how the wheelchair complicated things and how we could work around that. At the end of the nine-hour day, all five girls, myself included, left with a beautiful picture and irreplaceable experience.
I have said it before, but I want to say it one last time—I am so thankful to all of the people that allowed me to have this opportunity. The fact that over 15,000 people voted for me during the initial stages of the contest and that the panel of judges selected me out of a group of really incredible women tells me that a good chunk of Canada is ready to embrace difference. This sounds a little cheesy, I know, but for every person that has ever told themselves that they aren’t beautiful, or good enough because of how they look or what they are physically capable of doing, I hope that they can look at my journey and see that the world is ready to strive for more. Society is ready to be challenged, and allowing a girl in a wheelchair to sit next to any other model on the glossy pages of a well-read magazine is just one step among many to come that will eventually lead to a better, more inclusive world.
Since I won the contest I have started receiving messages from other people with and without disabilities, telling me that they heard about my story and were excited to see what changes it could lead to. That is truly one of the greatest prizes that has come with my win. Knowing that what I’m doing matters to even one other person validates everything for me.
Thank-you for allowing me to share my story with you, and I hope that this will become a regular place for me to talk to all of you about whatever is on my mind—whether that be a long overdue thank-you, or my take on the latest and greatest Lise Watier products, I hope that I am able to write about things that people care about reading.
Until next time,
Vous avez envie de changer vos habituelles couleurs neutres? Osez cette combinaison de couleurs chaudes et froides qui convient aux iris de tous les yeux. | Feel like changing your usual neutral colours? Be bold and try out this combination of warm and cold tones that suits every iris shade.
Have a fab day!
Produits utilisés | Products:
Ombre Soufflé Suprême - Tartan Magique
Couleur Folle - Folie Aqua et Folie Soleil
Solo Fard à Paupières - Beige Glacé
Eye Shine - Vert Sarcelle
Mascara Dramatique Intense Volume 3D - Noir