The secret of happiness

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

What is happiness?

The past few years I’ve been on a journey to figure out what true happiness is.   Over the course of 7 years I’ve went through some pretty big transitions from being me -> to wife -> to mother.  If you think about it, that’s a lot change a person can endure in such a short period.  You go through many different changes: the stages of pregnancy, the hormones and sleep deprivation that comes with it, the stress of finances, parenthood, work-life balance and so on.  These challenges can certainly catch up to you!

For a while I was not feeling like myself and really started to ask myself some hard questions about life, namely what is true happiness.  

I’ve definitely endured some of my own challenges which affected my perspective on life.  We live in a world where things are becoming more and more materialistic, where we spend more time on our phones and less time talking to each other.  We are surrounded by images that mislead us to believe what happiness is – a designer handbag, a luxurious vacation abroad, a Friday night out and so on.  It seems as if today’s society is defining happiness by the amount of money we make or the the type of car we are driving.  Over the past few years this topic started to fascinate me and as a result, I started writing about it more and more.  It’s no wonder why so many young people are depressed- we have created for ourselves false expectations because of what we see on social media and television.

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Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Following my uncle’s sudden passing last April, I started to go through the many stages of grief and began questioning my own purpose in life and what is truly important.  I slowly began to realize that happiness isn’t the designer handbag I am wearing, but the people that surround me and the one life I have to embrace.

After my uncle’s death, I started to go through every memory I had of him because I did not want to forget anything about him.  It then dawned upon me what the true meaning of happiness was because he knew the secret.  What was it?  He valued life and lived it to the fullest.  He was kind to every person he met and valued each person for who they were.  He was extremely generous because he enjoyed seeing people happy.  He was always one of the first people to help- be it on a house renovation, a car repair, or volunteering at an event, he was always the first in line and he enjoyed it.   He laughed, enjoyed dining at fine restaurants and was very sociable.   He had an infectious smile that everyone loved.  My uncle lived for today, he lived for the moment.  In my homily dedicated to him I stated that “our world would be a much better place if we were more like him.”

The months following his passing, I started to realize what is truly important in life.  I realized that a lot of these material things that surround us, don’t really matter.  They are just that- things.  You can have a lot of things, but if you aren’t surrounded by people who love you, then you don’t know what true happiness is.  If you don’t have anyone to create memories with, then you are losing out on happiness.  If you don’t do things that are fulfilling, then you can’t find happiness.

I began reflecting with my kids every night the good parts of our day and the bad parts of our day.  We would discuss some things we enjoyed doing, and if we made poor choices, how we could have handled the situation differently.  I started to laugh more when they goofed around before bed time, because I realized that stressing out before bed time is not worth it.  Sometimes parenting can be hard- there are highs and lows, so I started to tell myself to enjoy this time because time is going by too fast!

I slowly started to realize it’s okay to not have the “most expensive” wardrobe or the “perfect” body and instead, to embrace the one I have.  Now, I am thankful for my health-  I feed my body with healthy food and exercise because that is what makes me feel good on the inside!  I also enjoy a nice glass of red wine on the weekends (that’s what my uncle used to do!) and have a glass with my husband or some friends.

I started to live my life a bit more slowly.  I began to count my blessings and not focus on my shortcomings.  I slowly started to accept what I do have – and what I have is precious.

You see, my uncle knew the secret to happiness and lived it every day.  I realized that the secret to happiness is CHOICE.  You can create your own happiness.  You can continue to be miserable, to complain, to loathe and to be jealous of others….or you can choose to be happy.   You can appreciate the things you already have, embrace the good moments and reflect from the bad.

I have chosen to live my life in happiness.  What will you choose?

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Natalie’s beauty insider for 2020

If there is anything I enjoy more in life is trying out new skin-care products and cosmetics.  I have always been a “girly girl” in the sense that I love a nice, sheer lip gloss and an even better moisturizer.  My signature look is simple:  clean, classy and polished.  I think self-care is so important; not only does it make you look good on the outside but it also makes you feel good on the inside!

I wanted to share with you some of my top picks for Winter 2020.   I like to try a range of products that are available from department stores to your local drug store.  Sometimes you can be surprised with the things you can find at places like Shoppers or Rexall.

I also wanted to reiterate that this is in no way an advertisement, nor was this blog post sponsored by anyone.  I am simply a girl sharing with you some of my favourite products and essentials from my make-up bag that I have been using this season.  Consider this tried, tested and true!

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From left to right:

  1. YES Studio Lip Balm “Uh Huh Honey” – I happened to find this at Indigo over the holidays and picked it up as some stocking stuffers for some friends.  I thought why not try it out myself?  It’s probably one of the best lip balms I have tried to date.  It feels like you are putting a serum on your lips and is very moisturizing and not too balmy.  Approximately $10.00 at Chapters/Indigo.
  2. Bobbi Brown Skin Long Wear Foundation – I thought nothing could top Lancôme’s Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation but then I happened to find it.  My brother gifted me Masterclass for Christmas this year and I chose Bobbi Brown’s make-up class.  What I have learned thus far from the class is that beauty comes from within and Bobbi’s take on cosmetics is to enhance your beauty; not to alter your beauty.  Well thats basically what this foundation does is enhances your skin and just gives it a nice finish.  You can find it at the Bay for about $58.00.
  3. NYX Precision Brow Pencil – sometimes I love a good drugstore find and this is definitely one of them!  I love the flat tip on the applicator and makes for a smooth and easy finish.  It also comes attached with a brow brush on the other end.  I would think this is somewhat comparable to other brow pencil’s I’ve tried in the past such as MAC and Anastasia.  For $12 bucks this product is great for your brows!  Available at most drug stores such as Shoppers.
  4. PUR 4-in-1 Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20:  I do not like heavy coverage and some days all I want is a nice, clean, sheer finish.   I also suffer from seasonal allergies to the point where my skin does not tolerate products with heavy ingredients well.  The beautician at Shoppers Drug Mart suggested I try PUR.  I absolutely love this product and wear this on most days.  It’s light and easy and a little bit goes a long way.  Available at Shoppers Drug Mart.
  5. Christian Dior Lip Maximizer Hyaluronic Lip Plumper – nothing feels more luxurious than this!  This product really does deliver good results.  I am not much of a lipstick person, but I do love a good gloss and this one does not disappoint.  In addition, I find it does not get sticky and it also does give that plumping effect.  I picked this product up at Sephora.
  6. Vichy Mineral 89 Skin Fortifying Daily Booster – as stated in the previous paragraph, I have really sensitive skin, especially around the eye area and for years I have been using Vichy’s skin care line.  I love this product and it really does deliver and make your face nice and plumped.  One to two pumps of this product is all what you need followed by some rolling motions from my Hadaka Quartz Face Roller that I picked up at Angel’s Beauty Bar in downtown Hamilton.  I do this routine twice a day and I have noticed some pretty good results.
  7. The Colossal mascara by Maybelline – I also suffer from eye allergies so I have to clean all my brushes and change mascaras quite regularly.  It can get quite expensive.  One day I was in a rush and stopped at a nearby Rexall and came across this mascara which was on sale.  I thought I would give it a try.  I was quite pleased with the results.  I like that it is not a plastic brush.  When I applied the mascara to my eye lashes I truly thought they looked pretty real (the jingle “maybe its Maybelline” came to mind!). I also like that it is not clumpy. Maybelline is known for making pretty good mascaras, specifically Great Lash, but I personally think this one is better.
  8. Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Moisturizing Cleanser – I literally just started using this yesterday and I love it.  My skin felt nice and smooth and did not dry my face out like most cleansers do.  I found it to be quite gentle and it basically did the job.  Available in most drug and grocery stores but Walmart has the best price for this product online.

What are your favourite cosmetic and beauty essentials?  Share in the comments below!

Much love,

N.