Fears, Tears & Transition Years – 10 Ways to Destress & Feel Youthful

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

Jenna Rink (13 Going on Thirty) gave me unrealistic expectations about what “Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving” might mean. I am all of those things, for the most part, but when I envisioned life in my early thirties I remembered the movie with rose-coloured goggles and neglected the negatives. Millennials on the whole are reflected in these lenses. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t grow up and inherit a closet full of designer dresses which we wear to parties choreographed by legends of the past. We’re struggling to meet many of the milestones and youthful hopes and dreams we expected to achieve by a particular time in our lives.

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For me, the biggest of these milestones is home ownership. I genuinely thought that since I was managing a department at a pretty well-known online media company before finishing my Bachelors degree, I could take success for granted. For others, climbing the corporate ladder hasn’t been as linear a path as anticipated. Some of my friends thought reproduction would be more straightforward. Others, like myself, find dating to be pretty pathetic. I’ve set it aside for the moment.

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These are what I like to call “transition years”. We’re no longer halfway there/ livin’ on a prayer partying and living large on $20/ night. We’re not curling up and falling asleep on the couch to 60 minutes, either. My world through these transition years has been stressing me out. On top of it all, I’m approaching another rotation around the sun. At a time when I should be celebrating, I’m just kind of over it. I’d rather be celebrating exciting moments of accomplishment rather than reminding myself that time marches on. Maybe I’ll celebrate my career anniversary with a housewarming party (yes friends, we’re rat-free!)

Brave the Brow Bar

I had been tweezing for some time and thought I was doing a decent enough job of cleaning up. Wowza – how could I have been so wrong? After a few hackjobs in the past, I went to WAXON in Riverside. Latifah not only kept my shape natural, she gave my brows a bit of a trim which made all the difference. Your brows surround the windows to your soul. Make sure they’re a pretty frame!

BONUS: I bought this Citrus Twist Loofah Scrub (Blood Orange & White Grapefruit) and it’s making my morning! “This loofah scrub duals as a loofah and luxurious soap in one! Exfoliate and cleanse daily with your favourite delicious scent while saving time in your daily body wash routine. Perfect for everyday use to help keep those pesky ingrown hairs away! Oh, and did we mention… it smells DELICIOUS!”

Available scents:

  • CITRUS TWIST – Blood Orange & White Grapefruit
  • LEMONRAZZ – Raspberry Lemonade
  • POMTINI – Pomegranate Mango

I love that it’s smooth on one side and exfoliating on the other. The scent is out of this world, too. Will let you know how long it takes for the full loofah to emerge!

Bet on a Blowout

I got to enjoy a blow-out in Leaside earlier this year at their Grand Opening, which was to dye die for. I’m kind of obsessed with the community Farah (owner of Blo Blow Dry Bar Leaside) has created. The small shop leaves lots of room for inclusive conversation and lots of laughs!

Farah’s words of wisdom? “It’s important to be coifed, kissable and connected – never leave home without a comb, gloss and phone! Oh, and keep your head, heels and standard high. When it comes to hair, Farah’s mantra is Big Hair For Life.”

BONUS: They do makeup applications (their GLO brand makes insanely beautiful lip glosses). They also stock some of my fave hair care brands like UNITE Hair  7 Seconds Condition Leave In Detangler and the Color Wow Dream Coat (to de-frizz and tame your tresses!)

 

Get a Manicure

Her Majesty’s Pleasure is one of the pricier places you can go for a manicure in Toronto. The ambiance, dĂŠcor, and cheerful chatter (due to some fantastic cocktails, no doubt) are a can’t-miss for those who want to feel whimsical and girly.

BONUS: Look at these *perfect for the ‘gram* “Call for Champagne” rotary phones? We did, in fact, call for some bubbly – a bottle is virtually the same price as 2 cocktails.

Invest in Skincare

This one I can’t stress enough. A new, easy to follow skincare routine is such a blessing and a great way to rejuvenate. I’ve been alternating Miracle 10 Skincare with other great quality brands for 7 years. Their starter collection is perfect for someone like me who has aging skin, but who isn’t quite a prune. The sticker price may shock you ($328), but when you think about the ease of use and how long the products last (months, truth be told) it’s worth it.

“This combination is designed to visibly improve damage caused by sun exposure, extreme weather, pollutants, smoking, dehydration and age-related conditions such as fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, dull skin surface and uneven pigmentation. Highly effective ingredients including exfoliants, antioxidants, decongesting botanicals, along with skin brightening agents provide correction and healing.”

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Looking at you😍 #glowgetter 📸 @revealwinnipeg

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BONUS: They have seasonal events with wine, hors d’oeuvres, a speaker series, and plenty of deals. I’m talking buy $150 worth of product and get $250 – $500 worth of products free. Last time I bought their Platinum cleanser and got a facial, a giftcard for cosmetic services, a make-up application (for a later date), and a full-size toner as gifts with purchase. Sign up for their e-mail list – it’s a total no-brainer!

Fancy a Facial

Getting your glam on all in one place is easy. After the winter beauty event at Miracle 10 Skincare, I booked a facial at The Plastic Surgery Clinic. Both are located on Scollard Street in Yorkville, so you can feel completely chic (and Gangnam Style) for your treatment. The easiest way to glow up quickly is through dermaplaning. This treatment is often added to a facial. It removes the fine hairs which are known for trapping dirt, oil and dead skin cells in your pores. This is the main cause of acne. Dermaplaning leaves your skin brighter giving you that “baby smooth” and glowing look and feel!

Investigate Botox

I did that thing everyone warns you against. Finding my nurse injector, Fresh Cosmetic Clinic, through Groupon was a massive gamble, and thank goodness it turned out well! In Korea, the only people who did my botox or lip injections were board certified plastic surgeons. Here, they tend to be done by nurse injectors, which for some reason made me really nervous.

Botox/ fillers were not at all taboo in Seoul. In Toronto, it’s becoming more popular to discuss openly, and I hope people feel more comfortable sharing their experiences soon. We go to the dentist to keep out teeth clean and cavity free. The gym’s the spot to keep heart healthy and in good shape. Why shouldn’t we invest in our faces which change with diminished collagen production and elasticity?

High Quality H20

Stop, drop, and drink! I try to ensure that I’m getting about 4 L of water throughout my day. It gives me something on which to focus and gets me out of my chair and away from my desk when I fill up my water bottle. I don’t need to lecture you on the benefits of drinking water, do I?

Go See Some Stand-Up

I love to sit back and listen. I also love a good belly laugh. Seeing a set at your local comedy bar and watering hole accomplishes both! If you go on an amateur night you’ve got the added bonus of seeing someone else worth through their issues. The last time I caught a show one of the comics was a later in life laugh who was going deaf. Hearing about some of his life experiences being more than hard of hearing had me in stitches. The man’s timing was impeccable!

Run Through a Sprinkler

…or do something equally as juvenile, refreshing, and deliciously youthful. We’ve literally coined a term to show how poorly we’re doing as grown-ups (“Adulting for Dummies”, amirite?), so why not flip back to the joys of earlier days?

What do you do to relax, look your best, and feel youthful?

Let us know in the comments!

Candidly Cartier – My Rodent Problem is like My Ex

Let’s be real – living in Toronto has not exactly been a cakewalk. My last apartment was actually affordable. It was also far from the modern amenities I enjoy downtown as a single Sally in the city. In this creaky old house divided into apartments, my upstairs neighbours (and their new, massive puppy) stomped around, bounced a ball, argued constantly, and played “How I Met Your Mother” on repeat. “Ba ba ba ba baaaaaaaaa ba ba ba baaaaaa ba ba ba da da dum ba da da da daaaaaaaa” haunts my nightmares to this day. I had no heat from November through January, and in February decided enough was enough and I had to vacate.

Nearly everywhere humans dwell, rats can be found living, too. I’m not just talking about the backstabbing betches spewing lies and exhausting themselves spewing vitriol. I’m talking about actual rodents. They’re all over the place, and unless what I saw was the biggest MoFo-king mouse, they’re in my new apartment, too.

We often equate rats with being dirty and diseased, yet we also describe humanity as a rat race. Are we all just dirty, diseased beings trying to bypass one another, grab that brass cheese (er – ring), and make it out alive? Maybe it’s just that we’re both warm blooded, we’re all mammals, and we give birth to living young. here are the ways in which both my exes and these rats are unwanted guests.

I never know when he’ll come to visit

While rodents are nocturnal animals, I’ve noticed that certain bait I’ve put out at before leaving for work has disappeared by the time I get home. My little furry friend is much like my big furry friend. Mr. “Doesn’t Believe in Monogamy” works on his own terms and comes to visit when he pleases. No part of me thought my new place would invite either. Both are unexpected and unwanted pests.

He lives in a hole in the wall

It’s amazing how shady some of my exes’ living arrangements have been. From Ex-CoP on the army base with no kitchen, all-burnt sienna errythang, and a broken couch (yes, I’m aware), to the aforementioned non-monogamous douche-canoe who lives in the dingiest corner in the basement of a nice Leslieville house he actually owns, it’s no wonder my exes want to spend the majority of their time at mine. It’s tantamount to Ratty ratterson climbing through pipes . I’m just as afraid of finding vermin in the toilets as I am my ex!

He doesn’t pay rent

My mouse/ rat/ whatever contributes nothing to my home, and the ex I adored sure didn’t either. Adonis lived with me rent-free and I’m pretty sure it damn near killed him to play a role where his masculinity was threatened. I do, however, miss having someone to do my laundry, tidy up my flat, and make me dinner. There’s only I one I could do without snuggling up to at night, however.

He wakes me up in the middle of the night

Speaking of nightly activities, while my pajamas parties have hit a staunch halt, my rat pal is up at all hours. My ex snored loudly, and would head for a midnight snack, a trip to the loo, or for a bit of a frisk at unexpected hours. Mr. Rat, however, is up looking for one thing only – food. I can no longer keep paper or plastic out in the open, and any garbage is taken out immediately. Also, just the thought of him potentially scampering about my space keeps me up at night.

He’s very active

Great for the ex, bad for the rat. Looks like marriage has sure softened up ole Co-P, but when we were together we were very active and worked out a lot. Not sure if I can hack a 4 AM workout these days, though. Mr. Rat and I will not be fitness pals.

He eats my food, but I still have to feed him

You can’t keep food in unsealed containers if there’s a boy or a rodent about. They. Will. Eat. It. And. Expect. More. At least with the rodent I’ve put out peanut butter and eco-friendly rat bait which seems to be an enjoyable snack for my guest.

I clean up after him

They leave their shit everywhere.

I don’t know how many others he’s seeing

As evidenced by my relationships with Adonis, Co-P, and Mr. Non-Monogamous I am not great at knowing when the apple of my eye is getting too friendly with others. As they say with rats: where there’s one, there are many.

 

I have no idea what diseases he’s carrying

Rats and humans often suffer from the same diseases, and I’m worried as to what’s being brought into my home. At least with an unfaithful man you can get tested and (hopefully) treated. What rodents bring into your home can be deadly. We have similar organs, basic physiology, similar hormones, we both have nervous systems that work in the same way, and similar body plans. While research on rats has been done to propel human disease control, vaccines, and cures, I’m not sure I want testing going the other way around.

Ultimately, I kind of want him dead

Okay, I’m mostly only talking about the rat in this case, but I often feel I would have been better off not knowing a couple of my exes. Adonis burrowed a hole in my heart I don’t think can ever quite be patched up. Ex-Co-P was a strain on my resources and the source of constant drama. The guys I’ve dated in Toronto have been a blur of pathetic POS. If I could wipe them all out from my memory, I absolutely would.

Dating Diaries – Stop Dating Ugly Men

“If you want to be happy for the rest of your life never make a pretty woman your wife…”

This Jimmy Soul tune blasts through my head every time I swipe right on a guy who isn’t generically attractive, but who looks goofy and like he would be a good time. I hate to admit it, but I figure that a guy who isn’t exactly a stud would make for a more committed partner and potentially even a good father to offspring (should we ever be so lucky with my dusty old eggs).

Why I Gave Ugly Men a Try

What’s that old saying – “You’ve gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince”? Well – I’m making my way through the toads, right now. Toronto hasn’t exactly been a mecca for good-looking men, full stop. Let’s not even get started on the qualities I actually desire in a partner. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results, then, pursuant to my newest hobby of cutting the crazy, I’ve been trying something a little different.

I date hot men. While I’m certainly not a 10 myself, I find it easier to strike up a conversation with an attractive, confident man, than someone has “nice guys finish last” on repeat. I bat outside my league pretty frequently, but what has that ever gotten me? Heartbreak and absolute agony was what I got from Adonis, I was cheated on by ex co-p, and ghosted by the hotness monster. I’m trying to date within my means and based on common values and interests.

Back to the Song. The lyrics go:

"If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

A pretty woman makes her husband look small
And very often causes his downfall.
As soon as he marries her
Then she starts to do
The things that will break his heart.
But if you make an ugly woman your wife,
You'll be happy for the rest of your life,
An ugly woman cooks her meals on time,
She'll always give you peace of mind."

Okay so the song itself is dated and offensive, sure. Remember – it was released in 1963 and I’m considering it all from my own personal perspective towards men, capisce? I’m swiping right on these guys I’m certainly not over the moon about. Give these plain boys a chance, right? Sadly, I’m getting the exact same result except now there’s no eye candy.

It’s amazing! Even if we’ve had a good time and I’ve convinced myself that I could grow to love someone’s gummy horse teeth or his Frankenstein five-head. Hot or not, I often get the message back that they had a great time and would love to see me again, but just as friends. It makes me wonder – what part of me is the Frankenstein bit?

Hunky Guys and Ugly Men – they’re all the same inside.

I can whittle myself down attacking every point which could have put me in dim lighting. A comment, perhaps, which made me appear as a know it all. My weight – it always comes down to that, doesn’t it? At the end of the day, I think it’s just that the dude didn’t want to be rejected first. Recently, I had simply thanked the guy for a lovely evening and for picking up the cheque (which he didn’t need to do, but was nice). His immediate response was to send back the “just friends” message. No part of me thought it was a love match and sparks certainly were not flying. I’d have given the poor bloke a second chance to redeem himself, though.

Stop Dating Ugly Men

I can’t imagine a man analyzing his looks and behavior the way I picked apart mine. So, I guess that’s just it. If there’s no immediate, earth-shaking spark, you must hurt them before they can hurt you. Both ugly men and beautiful ones will give you grief if they’re out to give you grief. Stop selling yourself short. If the uggos have the kind of confidence to hit on you, you might as well swing for the fences, too. Better to receive disappointing news from a pretty face, don’t you agree?

*Beauty is subjective. One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure!

Party Planning Perfection: The Not Quite Ultimate Bachelorette in Toronto

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Planning a Bachelorette party is no easy task. In Toronto, there are so many options it’s a challenge to whittle it down to what the bride will actually love. There’s paddleboarding, but that’s weather dependent. Escape rooms, unless the bride has anxiety. Pole dancing, unless someone in the bridal party used to be a stripper. Axe-throwing, but that’s far out by the docks. A bachelorette party is supposed to be fun for the bride and her closest friends. Here’s how the best laid (and expensive!) plans completely unraveled.

In advance of the big night, I had Bride/ Bridesmaid t-shirts made up and I scoured the internet for the best decor and games which wouldn’t be too lewd. Eventually, I traveled to Oshawa to pick up all the goodies at Party City since the local ones didn’t have the balloons I wanted. Not wanting the bride to have to lift a finger, I sent an UBER to pick her up and transport her to a secret location for blow-outs. Bride has hella long, thick, wavy hair, whereas mine is much shorter and more manageable.

I booked 2 long hair/ extensions blow outs thinking it would be plenty of time. It was absolutely not. Our blow-outs at Body Love Inc. made us want to curl up and dye – er, die. I looked decent when I rocked up, but definitely needed to have my hair washed and styled. The area for hair-styling is quite cramped with 1 washing station and 4 chair stations. We each opted for curly locks with a pulled-out fishtail braid. As you can see above, it was clearly not what we were expecting! Disappointment #1 on a day full of high hopes.

Louix Louis St. Regis Hotel Toronto Free-flow, Bottomless Brunch

No disappointments here! The St. Regis Hotel Toronto was absolutely magnificent. Even though we were late due to the horrendous hair incident, the staff made us feel cool, calm, and collected as we were escorted to our booth. The decor at Louix Louis is nothing short of regal, and we felt like royalty with our sparkling wine topped up by prosecco fairies (or ninjas – the service was exquisite, but the details covered without spectacle). We were also given the choice of orange or peach juice which were left at our table to be poured at our discretion.

Our appetizers were just perfect! Bride and I had Crispy Pork Belly snow pea & mint, pancetta, parmesan, red wine jus. Across the table, there was a lime Kale Caesar sourdough, lime yogurt dressing, smoked bacon, parmesan (there was no kale in this salad, though. Kind of weird, right?). My neighbour tried the beef Tartar pickled mushroom, grain mustard, spicy tomato jam, whole grain crostini. Everyone was thrilled with their choices and we were excited for the main courses.

Our entrees appeared on the smaller side, but were served up with incredibly rich ingredients. The Nova Scotia Lobster Rolls came with grainy mustard, lemon aioli, crispy lettuce, and saffron pickled fennel. My Steak & Egg Florentine was New York steak, poached egg, garlic spinach, lemon hollandaise, and toasted pumpkin. The Fried Chicken & Waffle was huge with pepper jack cheese, maple syrup, chicory leaves. I’d definitely go back for the Croque Madame made with black forest ham, Quebec gruyère, creamy cheese sauce, and a poached egg.

Four of us tried, and failed, to demolish The King’s Cake, a thirteen-layer chocolate cake made of 64% Guayaquil ganache, and served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce!

The Westin Harbour Castle Toronto – A Sweet Suite!

When we got to The Westin Harbour Castle, we checked in and went up to the 34th floor penthouses to decorate. It was my understanding that we’d have 1 bedroom with a living room, but we ended up getting 2 bedrooms with two living rooms. Amazing since we had 4 bathrooms, but for us all to socialize we had to squish all the guests into one room. Disappointment? Certainly not, but definitely a little bit of an unexpected surprise.

We got to work decorating the suite and adding goodies so graciously sent by Miracle 10 (have you heard about their new cosmetics collection? We had the perfect nude for all skintypes), Repiel sheetmasks c/o Brill Communications, and skincare goodies from my friends at CosRX.

In each of the 4 rooms there was a massive flatscreen TV (bring your Netflix credentials for viewing pleasure), and in 2 of the 4 bathrooms there were showers. We had plenty of water and tons of coffee, thankfully, as I was already feeling pretty exhausted from a full morning!

Sheer pleasure? The set-up the Westin Harbour Castle provided for dinner. We had had a few more ladies join us for champagne and chill time before going out and popped on the Raptors game as the dishes rolled in. The hot wings were perfectly meaty, the thin crust pizza had a fantastic sauce and plenty of cheese on a doughy crust, and the nachos were actually loaded high. Again – 8 women couldn’t finish this spread!

I may be dancing and looking like I was having a good time, but El Convento Rico was a big ole bust. I had arranged for a table and some photos of the bride and her fiance to be displayed on a loop with other bachelorette parties that night. After our party got settled, it was demanded that we buy a bottle. Yeesh – no a la carte here, we bought a crappy bottle of tequila for the better part of $200. No images were displayed to the best of my knowledge at all.

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Being that this is the typical spot for parties like these in Toronto, you’d expect more than a few bathrooms in a dank corner. Waiting for 45 minutes well away from the party in a dirty, stinky place was not my idea of a good idea, and after I has returned some of the drinks and gone outside for some air it was time for bed. Yayyy what a great night, eh?

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Ultimately, some of the best laid plans go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong. Your hair might fall flat. Heck – your friendship might be hair today, gone tomorrow! The hotel might not be exactly the room you bargained for. The guests might get unruly and destructive. When it comes down to it, all you can do is give it your heart, soul, time, and wallet, and hope your hard work is appreciated. If/ when it isn’t, give me a call and we’ll commiserate!

Contact Louix Louis at the St. Regis Hotel Toronto

Contact The Westin Harbour Castle Toronto

* This article has elements which were included in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest review of products and/or services.  ThatGirlCartier.com only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.

Candidly Cartier: The Power of No

Men are simple. Women are often pretty simple, too. We all want what we can’t have. Anything that is out of reach is challenge; a goal. It bothers most of us when we’re given a simple “no”. Isn’t it amazing how one little two-letter word can hold so much power?

Patterns in relationships are changing. As they evolve, I find that traditional, cisgendered, heterosexual relationships are going the way of the dinosaur. “Love who and how you want to love” is my sentiment, but my ultimate goal is a lot more traditional. As much as I hate being cookie-cutter, I like the option of a conventional relationship. I’ll put it right out there: I want to get married and have a family. I’d like to be able to dance with my father in a nice dress at my wedding (albeit destination with a limited guestlist).

Do you have to take some “settle” when you want to settle down? My mother always told me, “men are like streetcars – another will be along in a few minutes.” Sure, but if you’ve ever taken the TTC during rush hour, you’ll know it’s a balancing act to get on and a fight to the finish. Welcome to dating in Toronto. A signal problem is effecting all lines. Welcome to your thirties.

TTC Crabs

Toronto takes the cake for crappy dating pools. The men in Toronto are old, crusty towels with tinder profiles stating their height and “no fatties”. Riveting. When you meet one who is good-looking, is employed and ambitious, and takes care of himself, can you imagine the desperation he must be able to smell? Quality men are not like streetcars. They don’t come along frequently, and when they do I’m assuming single women look at them like they’re unicorns. I mean – I certainly do.

These men are used to hearing the word “No”, but they’re not used to women meaning it. I’ll probably get a lot of flack for this, but women I know and others I read about or watch on TV often fall into the same old script of saying no then giving in. These dudes are smooth! They often get what they want without even asking. There’s power in pushing him away – channel it.

There is power in “No”. The saying “always leave them wanting more” isn’t unique to dating, but the shoe sure does fit. Silly romantic comedies with particular sets of rules exist for a reason – we’re the rule, not the exception. If you (er – I) want to have a traditional relationship, when I meet a new unicorn, a coy McCoy and negative Nancy I’ll sure as sh*t need to be.

Re-pat Dating Diaries: “LOL – It’s Complicated”

Looking back on my teen through mid-twenties crushes, I thought the juiciest thing in the world was the time at the beginning of a relationship. The heart/ gut-wrenching “does he or doesn’t he like me” feeling was one I looked back on almost fondly. Potential romance was fleeting, but almost as lovely as the romance itself. The excitement, the uncertainty, the torture, and the relief were things I looked back on as feeling like my heart was on fire.

That feeling left me entirely for three years, and for that I’m now so thankful. While I was in Korea, I dated 3 men who, in the beginning, gave me no feelings of uncertainty. I developed feelings not just of confidence, but self-assurance and safety from my partner. It wasn’t precarious – in the beginning I never felt like I was about to fall or my world collapse.

Dating now that I’m back in Toronto is disappointing. I keep meeting these complete and total losers who genuinely make me feel like I should give up and get a cat (or a second job!) Then, it’s like the Universe recognizes my disappointment in humanity; my loneliness.

I’m certainly not the free-spirited, lithe, fun-loving woman I was from 28-31. I’ve gained weight, lost confidence, and have retreated to the lost little girl I was in my teens through mid twenties. A glimmer of hope in romance leaves a world of doubt. Still, the Universe has brought me a forest fire.

I want a partner – someone with whom I can adventure, but also in which I can confide. This man is irreverent, masculine, sexy, and arrogant. He hasn’t quite shown me many of the answers to his brooding mystery, yet. Over the past year I’ve questioned whether I would ever be “cool enough” for a relationship with him. Recently, he has made me feel safe in the most emotionally nourishing intimacy I’ve experienced since I packed the man I still consider to be the love of my life into a taxi to the airport.

You can have sex without intimacy, and I’ve had incredible intimacy without sex. Just having someone hold you and interlock your fingers in theirs is like the emotional Kama Sutra.

Will he or won’t he feel the same way?

Candidly Cartier: It’s Not About You

Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this part, and sometimes it’s more of a reminder for myself: this is a blog. This is a place where I throw away all the academic writing I’ve learned for school. Writing guides at my current job have no place here. Toronto Seoulcialite is where I write my informative pieces, not here. This is a stream of consciousness and sarcasm allowing me to communicate with you, lovely readers, but also for me to figure out how to handle what’s going on in my life.

I so desperately wanted comfort from one person in particular Thursday night when this all transpired. Instead, he turned the conversation almost immediately to himself and his “problems” and completely dismissed mine.

I told someone recently, single people in Toronto are like Baskin Robbins. The women are the ice cream. You have 31 sweet, rich, basic, colourful, fun, fat-free, and decadent flavour options available at any given time just ready and waiting to be scooped up. The men are the cones: small, regular, large, plain, waffle, chocolate, or sprinkles (what it do, Church Street?) and they’re almost ALL broken. How I could have expected my Mr. of a year (May 2nd, bro) to actually be there for me was clearly insane.

Not Okay, Grief, Frustration, Candidly Cartier, That Girl Cartier

I’m not okay. The last couple of weeks had left me feeling pretty defeated, already. Thursday night I returned home from an event to find that a tradesperson who had been contracted by my property management company had left my apartment in complete disarray, with filth covering my freshly swiffered floors. What’s more – several luxury skincare items, some costume jewelry, and a pair of my pants were missing.

Physical items can be replaced, and if this person (who I’m certain clears double what I make annually) really needed what I had, then fine – take it. What I can’t replace is the feeling of security in my own home. I know that I have a 3 bolt lock system on my door. I thought the last person was just paranoid, but I’m starting to understand. The bolt locks have me covered while I’m sleeping, but what about when I’m at work? How do I know that this person who was clearly left unsupervised doesn’t have a key to my apartment? What kind of assurance do I have that he or she won’t return to hawk my laptop or sentimental items passed down from my grandmother?

Not knowing exactly what to do, I called a couple of people who I thought might help me calm down. Two of the three have a ton of personal issues going on right now. Marriage for one, divorce for the other, sleepless nights and therapy for both. These people have so much going on in their personal lives, but they both asked if I needed them to come stay the night so that I could regain some trust and, even if I didn’t feel safe, protected at the very least.

The third person I called is a man who I’ve known for a year now. He has sought solace in my words and my company. I’ve brought him lunch at work and have made him tea at my home. When he returned my call, he told me the same thing as the police on the non-emergency line: do my own thorough investigation as there’s nothing else which could be done. This single man didn’t have hair dye cooking. He certainly wasn’t preparing for a weekend of division of assets. Dude was tired from work, continuing education, and hockey. After telling Mr. “Doesn’t Believe in Monogamy” that I felt in distress, he had the audacity to start complaining about how hard it was to juggle his full-time job, part-time studies, and physical fitness. I’m the last person to pity someone for an attempt at work ethic. Work, studies, fitness, and freelance deliverables are par for the course in my world, and if that hasn’t been apparent to him by now, then he’s clearly not taken an iota of interest in who I am as a person.

My reaching out to you when I’m in a pickle is not an opportunity for you to complain. I called you because you continue to rely on me for psychological and physical support. I thought just this one time you might reciprocate. The physical things which were taken are not the issue. Vulnerability in this instance comes not from thinking I’ll be hurt physically, it’s the mental turmoil associated with a violation of trust. This isn’t about you, but at the same time maybe it is. Maybe this is the wake-up call for which I’ve been waiting. In your world (and too often in mine) it’s always about you.

F45 Challenge – Do As I Say, Not As I Do!

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As I’ve written here on a number of occasions, I adore the unique community cultivated at F45 St. Clair West. I’ve tried a couple of other F45 locations, and they just were not for me. I love having the space to move around unique to St. Clair West. The trainers there keep in touch 1 on 1 through Whatsapp and on Instagram. They genuinely care about your well-being and your loyalty to the community.

Some people say there’s a bit of a cult element to F45. Overall, I can see it, but there’s a fine line between the optics of that kind of encouragement and dedication demands. Once you’re involved, it’s just a party of people trying to live their best lives in health. I’ve made some greats friends, reconnected with some old ones, and have learned a lot about myself. In particular? I often go way harder than is necessary, and it’s not always a good idea.

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First and foremost, there’s something to be said for over-training: DON’T DO IT. Do as I say, not as I do, right? Before the F45 Challenge began, I had already been eating fairly well and making it to 3 – 4 F45 classes per week. At lunch, I usually hit up Goodlife with a colleague of mine who continuously chirps me for not having yet raced a 5 km. Add in the fact that I have been walking 4 km to work at least 3 times a week and you’ve got a case for chronically elevated cortisol levels.

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When your cortisol levels are too high, there are a variety of complications which can arise. Weight gain is what has effected me the most, but other symptoms include: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis, exhaustion – effecting daily hormone cycles and disrupted sleep patterns, memory (ever felt like you were in a mental fog?), and infections due to compromised immune systems.

How to Combat High Cortisol Levels?

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Sleep and Cortisol Levels

This was a tough one for me considering I was living in a basement with totally inconsiderate neighbours and a rich landlord who took the “hands off” approach.  I even moved apartments losing out on over a thousand dollars when I cut my lease short. My F45 Challenge team coach would often reprimand me for not getting 8 hours of sleep. I took that really personally as I was climbing into bed around 8 PM in the hopes that I could get any sleep before getting up to exercise before work. I was killing myself, and that wasn’t enough for him. This was my biggest problem with the F45 Challenge because I was trying so hard and it never seemed to be enough.

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Exercise and Cortisol Levels

Double-edged sword, non? Exercise in moderation can lead to lower cortisol levels. Over-training runs the risk of affecting neurotransmitters such as glutamine, dopamine and 5-HTP. Ever wonder why the road to fit can throw your emotions through a loop? Over-training can lead to feelings of depression and chronic fatigue. Symptoms of hypothyroidism are also a side-effect of over-training, and I think they may have hit me hard throughout the F45 Challenge. Rest and recovery time need to be penciled into your schedule, just like exercise.

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Sugar and Cortisol Levels

Cutting down on your sugar intake should help balance your cortisol levels. I have such a sweet tooth. If I go a couple of days incorporating limited levels of natural sugars (fruit, for example), I find myself craving “real foods” (you know, the ones you get from shopping around the outside of the grocery store) so much more. I went out for a post-challenge celebration with a gal pal recently and we shared a bunch of tapas including: grilled halloumi (cheese), roasted squash, brussel sprouts, and a beet and goat cheese salad. It felt like I had just binged on fast food, but realistically it was all pretty healthy and within moderation for my day. Once you’re off processed sugar, something as simple as a beet tastes like heaven-on-Earth candy. Dwight Shrute may have been on to something…

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Cortisol Conclusions

Last week I went to the Philippines. I spent my days island-hopping, eating food I would neeeeever eat here in Canada (Filipino food is really greasy!), and enjoying cocktails liberally. I felt so puffy and bloated when I arrived home, but lo and behold – hadn’t gained a pound. It’s Friday today, and since Monday I’ve dropped 5 lbs. This is more than I had lost during the F45 Challenge.

I haven’t been stressed about scheduling a particular number of workouts throughout my week. Pizza has been on the menu not once, but twice. I’ve enjoyed a couple of spin classes and have focused on weights at the gym on my lunch break. If your workouts, or goals of a particular challenge, are consuming your entire life – take a step back. Take a night off and head out with your friends. Skip the morning workout and sleep in. It’s clichĂŠ, but actually take a minute to stop and smell the roses and breathe in some fresh air. You might find some unlikely (and positive) results!

The Worst Guys A Re-Pat Can Date in Toronto

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The Worst Guys A Re-Pat Can Date in Toronto

If you’ve been following along with my “Tinder Nightmares” stories on Instagram, this will not be a surprise. In fact, after my series on “The 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date“, this one’s a long time coming. A year in the making, if you will. You would think that I wouldn’t have to specify that this isn’t about particular men, but groups in general. I also didn’t think I’d have to write a caveat of “Not All Men“, but damn some of you get really livid when you notice traits about yourselves in my writing. I write about men because I date men. I don’t write lengthy articles about women because I don’t date women. That said…

Women of Toronto are incredible, educated, intelligent, ambitious, successful, beautiful people who take care of themselves and their communities. The men in Toronto are old, crusty towels with tinder profiles stating their height and “no fatties”. I thought dating while living in another country was tough, but wow is Toronto ever slim pickin’s. Here are just some of the offenders. These are their stories.

Mr. Still in Love with His Ex

Let’s be real – this one should be the most obvious. Not unique to Toronto, there are plenty of men around the world who think the best way to get over one woman is to get under another – or 12. He hasn’t spent time identifying and working on the emotions associated with the end of something meaningful. If enough time and introspection hasn’t been given to mourn the loss, comparisons will be made. I don’t know about you, but the feeling I get when I can’t measure up to someone I don’t even know is torture. Don’t date until you’re ready. Please.

Mr. Still in a Dang Relationship

This lunatic has so much love to give that he’s shopping it all over the city. I can’t even get 1 person to like me long enough to be exclusive. How is this dirtbag carrying on multiple relationships? Sadly, this one is hard to spot. Why do you think women have gotten so good at the social media sweep we’re practically CIA candidates?

Mr. Doesn’t “Believe” in Monogamy

On the flip side of Mr. Ex and Mr. Relationship comes the man who doesn’t believe in monogamy. There’s nothing wrong with being in an ethically non-monogamous relationship even though it’s not what I’m seeking personally. This guy is the flat-earther of the dating scene. He explains ever so tenderly that he just doesn’t believe that homo sapiens should be anything other than hetero erectus. Mr. Monogamy is incredible in bed – and why wouldn’t he be? You keep him as a priority because he does it better than any of these other losers. Unfortunately, you’re making a priority of a dude with a big dong who has you saved on speed dial as “Thursday”. Don’t waste your time (even though it’s really, really tempting).

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 The Visitor

I often match with guys on dating apps who are in town for the weekend and it’s just such a disappointment. You can’t determine whether you want to build something with someone after just one date. Well, you can – but it’s incredibly rare. The logistics of doing long distance dating can get really complicated, and that’s just when he’s honest. Who knows what’s going on in a different city or even country? Co-P cheated even though we only lived 45 minutes from one another, imagine someone on the other side of the world? The Green Card Monster comes to mind, too…

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The Monster who “Won’t Go Downtown”

Feelings are all this guy will eat, but he fully expects you suck that silly, selfish sausage. It’s gunna be a “no” from me, dawg.

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Mr. Lives With His Parents

This one isn’t always the worst case. If he’s lived away from home and knows the basics like how to boil an egg and how to do his own laundry it helps. I know some people who have moved back home so that they can save for a downpayment in this horrendous housing market, and to them I tip my hat. It’s not easy returning to “my house, my rules”. That said, if he’s just comfortable letting mommy cook and clean up after him he has no place in my home, nor my heart.

Mr. Unemployed

Mr. Unemployed could be Mr. Parents’ twin, or the same person altogether. I would never have dated when I lost my job back in 2014 because I knew I was watching every penny and couldn’t afford the luxury. I didn’t want anyone else bankrolling me either. I’m plenty happy to go for a walk and get to know someone, but it can get really frustrating when he either expects you to bankroll him or complains that he can’t participate over and over again. Also, how is it that this guy has no responsibilities, but still manages to cancel plans at the last minute over and over again?

Prince Charming

This one you really, really have to watch out for. He’s trouble you can spot a mile away, but the speed at which your hit makes you completely unable to move out of the way. Prince Charming has a great relationship with his family, a stable job, his own place. He’s probably endearing and attractive. He says all the right things because he’s the perfect manipulator. Prince Charming knows a little bit about a lot of things so he’s able to tackle any of your hobbies and interests, creating a fantasy if just for one night. Prince Charming is like personality photoshop. Don’t fall victim to the imaginary.

Me

My best friends are living with their boyfriends, engaged, or married. I am the last Single Sally. Sometimes it’s really fun going out with these awesome women ready to dive down the rabbit hole. There’s no competition when we’re out and about, because they’re off the market. That said, it can be really rough when I’m sick and taking care of myself. UberEats is the closest thing you someone ensuring I’m on the mend (but there’s no playing doctor with the delivery person). Events like Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, my Birthday, or say – my best friend’s wedding can really get you down. Jordan Quinn, author of Korkscrewed (buy it), calls them the “Alcoholidays” because you’ve gotta knock a few back to get through them solo. A lot of guys who read my blog say it comes across as me being “A Woman Scorned”. I like to make light of these pathetic situations through my writing. I’m not angry; I’m perpetually alone.

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Mr. King West

‘Nuff said.

Candidly Cartier: “Influencer” is Not a Dirty Word

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Influencer Filth

More and more on social media I’m seeing the word “Influencer” tossed around like absolute filth. Whether it’s disdain for those who flaunt their lives like they’ve been sponsored to take their next breath (you know who you are) or annoyance that content isn’t authentic, there’s a real hate on these days for people who make a dolla dolla bill or two from content creation.

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influencer

/ˈinflo͝oənsər/

noun
  1. a person or thing that influences another.
    “he was a champion of the arts and a huge influencer of taste”
    • MARKETING
      a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.
      “influencers can add serious credibility to your brand”

influencer

Influencers – They’re Just Like You!

This idea that the common person is like a celebrity is an interesting shift in the makeup of our society. They haven’t done anything particularly spectacular, or so most people think. From my view, someone of influence finds beauty in the mundane. This is a new(ish) form of art combining the written word (yes, captions can be poetry), photography (okay – hiring photographers for your OOTD is a little much), and graphic design (you know how much editing goes into some of these ‘grams). Most of these people are also crafty AF in the way they live their lives. They’ve carved out a niche where (well, the successful ones) can follow their bliss daily. It doesn’t happen overnight, however. Building a business, even if your brand is yourself, is hard work. The competition is bloody fierce.

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On Sundays we brunch! @orettatoronto had great atmosphere, fantastic (and quick) service, and super tasty eats! We shared a bottle of prosecco and: • Bombolone Milanese $19 Fried chicken thigh sandwiche, bombolone bun, spicy bacon aioli, slaw. • Uova Burrata e Tartufo $19 Scrambled eggs, asparagus, burrata, black truffle, focaccia. 🍳// #brunch . . . . . . . . . . . #bhgfood #buzzfeast #buzzfeedfood #droolclub #feedfeed #foodblogger #foodgawker #seoulfood #foodstagram #forkfeed #prosecco #Sundayfunday #huffposttaste #kitchenbowl #kingwest #sweetmagazine #tastespotting #thefeedfeed #thekitchn #torontofood #toronto #브런치  #맛집탐방 #먹방  #eatingfortheinsta #cravethe6ix #brunch🍴

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Influencers – They Eat!

I get it – going to a restaurant with friends and having your dining companion make the table wait until the food is cold is incredibly obnoxious. When the food arrives and everyone scrambles to create a table with the greatest aesthetic standing up on a chair with a portable flash in one hand and their phone in the other, it’s obnoxious. This behaviour really takes a toll on the guest experience of every other person in the restaurant. This detracts from the carefully prepared and plated meal they restaurant’s team has put together. As someone who has worked in the hospitality industry for many, many years and has worked with chefs and bartenders passionate about their craft, I wonder if the food even tastes good or if it’s just pretty. I wonder if these “influencers” can tell the difference between tarragon and turmeric.

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Influencers – They Shop!

This is the thing about “aspiring influencers” that drives me up the wall. Influencers Faking Brand Deals is nothing new. I knew of plenty of people doing this while I was in Korea in an attempt to secure new business. I also knew of desperate women who would be given discarded goods from influencers within the Korean Beauty Space who would put “#gifted” on everything. No, you weren’t gifted sh*t, little girl. Your friend who spent hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars becoming a skincare expert gave you the crap she no longer wanted, and you gave it a glowing review.

Making Money Blogging

Building  blog and a brand costs money. Most of the people I knew when I started blogging were trying to share the latest and greatest spots in the city giving directions in the process. Heck – I made a whole video about how to get to the Raccoon Cafe in Seoul when I was still living in Busan. I shared restaurant reviews where I spent a pretty penny and felt I got great value. I was never “doing it for the ‘gram”, and the friends I met through the blogging community (at first) weren’t either. We just wanted to share cool things we found in English for people who might not be having the easiest time navigating in Korean. The secret to making money blogging? HARD WORK.

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Passion Projects Put to Work

That’s the thing – most content creators turned influencers built a website and started writing about life hacks, amazing products and fantastic deals they genuine adore and want to share. I began my blog, The Toronto Seoulcialite, while in Korea because I was leaving the marketing world and didn’t want to become irrelevant and undesirable as a potential hire upon my return. Now I work as a writer for a law firm because:

  • I was a teacher – I taught spelling, grammar, syntax, and flow. These are essential skills in my daily tasks at work.
  • I learned about my audience, SEO, link-building, social media marketing, and wordpress. These are desirable skills within my industry.
  • Once I realised that there were companies who wanted to partner with me, I amped up the business of blogging. Creating pitches and proposals for companies with whom I desired to work became necessary. Paying for for products and experiences was normal. Sometimes I could organize a partnership to offset the costs of running my blog. I wasn’t a hack job with my mouth wide open hawking a food product I would never eat, if you know what I mean. Now, I research companies and write marketing materials to show how our team is the best fit for a particular project.

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Influencers – The Hate is Real

The problem with influencers in our 2019 society is that thing have gotten out of control. What used to be an industry of finding cool things, expressing honest emotions (This Crazy Thing Called Life isn’t sunshine and roses. Sometimes sh*t gets real) is now a forcefield of gritting a smile and showing no weakness. The glossy, glamorous lives of aspiring influencers aren’t real. These people in Facebook groups trying to get you to join pyramid schemes so you can “travel the world for free” are conning you. The reason content creators had influence was because they weren’t perfect, they were passionate. The start-up nature of sharing your life’s ups and downs was real; authentic.

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Now, “engagement” is easy to fake. You can pump some money into Facebook to promote or pay off a bot farm to like the image for you. It’s infuriating that PR companies – people who are supposed to be professionals in this field – don’t see through the fake followers and inauthetic content. It’s sad to see companies partner with “influencers” who are guaranteed to bring no reach, engagement, or revenue from the rates they charge. I can totally understand and respect why the every man or woman gets a hate on for the influencer life. The hate is real.

When it comes down to it, there will always be people of influence. When genuine, and not pay for play, an influencer is someone honest who gives a review you can trust. With cost of living at an all-time high, that trust should be sacred. Influencer isn’t a dirty word, we’ve just forgotten the meaning.