2019 In Review

Last year around this time I took some time to reflect on my first year of blogging. Back then this blog was called Oh My Mermaid – it launched in early 2018 and it was great to see how the first year went. Those stats and that review told me a lot about the response I had gotten and motivated me to keep showing up and putting myself out here.

Of course reflecting should be a habit we do annually, at least, if not more. So here I am reviewing 2019.

Curious thing about 2019’s stats. They demonstrate that there’s still a growing audience for this blog – and oh my god I’m so grateful for that revelation I could cry. More on that in a bit. What 2019’s stats reveal more so than 2018’s did, though, is my life offline.

See, 2018 showed great growth from launch onward. 2019 shows a slower, more steady growth but fewer blog posts, fewer words. A symptom of a complicated and changing life offline.

I wrote about that in my last post, titled It’s Time for a New Chapter – have a read if you want more on that.

In those changes and the battles that were going on I lost a part of myself and the blog suffered because of it. Now I’m back. I feel more like myself than I have in a long time and just as losing myself took away from the blog, finding myself has started me writing again.

I want to take a moment now and really tell you – from the bottom of my heart – thank you for reading. Even when I was distant and posts were few and far between. Even when I seemed so far away and you may of thought I’d forgotten and abandoned this blog all together… I hadn’t. And this little corner of the internet has been a source of motivation to get to a good and healthy place in life. Writing for this blog – even bits and pieces I never published – has helped me sort and understand my own feelings. Messages I’ve received after posting have reminded me how much I’m part of a community and never alone. I am so grateful to my readers and well, ’tis the season to let ya’ll know you truly mean so much to me.

So without further ado, a few stats from the previous year and a promise to post a 2020 sneak peak, just as I posted a 2019 sneak peak this time last year.

While I made 72 posts in total for 2018 I only made 18 posts in 2019… actually seeing that stat today was kind of a shock. I knew I had lost myself in what was going on offline but I didn’t totally realize how much of myself I’d lost.

Still, despite the scattered posts I had more views and more visitors this year – that… that fills me with gratitude and hope. I had 6713 views from 3362 visitors. As I said last year – not half bad, but with room to grow!

I grew from 103 followers to 160 here on wordpress.

I switched my facebook page to a new Tea With Carmen one – leaving the old Oh My Mermaid page – please come join if you haven’t yet.

I grew from 163 followers on twitter to 200 even and counting with every tweet – it’s a weird habit to get back in to!

On instagram I held even – not to shabby given long absences.

I have some new social strategies I want to try going in to 2020 and I’m excited to be coming back to the online projects I started with such passion.

As promised, stay tuned for a 2020 sneak peak shortly after Christmas and some new comment in January! Drop a comment with any requests so I can get to work bringing you content you’ll love =)

Polyamory: You have to have Humour

People tell us all the time they just couldn’t do what we do because they’d be jealous. We definitely understand that! Don’t think we never feel a little green. The secret is we handle it differently (or try to handle it differently) than we would if we were monogamous.

My best advice: Try replacing jealousy with humour. As long as you trust your partner or partners and know, all emotions aside, that you trust them completely you can start to break down jealousy and embrace other reactions.

I emphasize trust here because ultimately I believe it is the cure to jealousy. Jealousy usually emerges with thoughts about someone breaking the relationship rules or putting some other aspect of their life over you. It happens when we think either we have been wronged (broken rules and boundaries) or we’ve been denied something we deserve (like priority or time, etc).

If you don’t trust your partner, if you truly believe they would break that boundary or that they would make choices that hurt you knowingly, it will be impossible to turn off that feeling of jealousy and mistrust.

If you do trust your partner, though, if when it comes down to it you don’t really believe they could do those things then it becomes possible to answer jealousy and replace it with other emotions.

My recommendation? Humour.

Particularly with polyamory or any open relationship structure you’re going to find yourself in situations you never imagined. You’ll have conversations about the moments you share with other partners, and if you habitate you may even walk in on those moments. It’s the reality of making the relationship choices we have.

Living this lifestyle is going to be a lot more challenging in the long term if each time these unexpected situations occur you react with anger and jealousy.

Instead, laugh at it, a little. Laugh with each other about the surprise of it all and support each other through the unexpected encounters.

Remember that you define your relationship boundaries and part of deciding to involve more people in your life should be a mutual mental preparation for all the consequences of overlapping relationships.

On a final note – don’t feel like you have to deny the existence of jealousy. It’s a totally normal, human emotion and it should be acknowledged. However, when you feel jealous you have some choices about what to do with that jealousy. I recommend humour instead of anger so that the role of jealousy can be reduced and you can prevent it from defining your relationships and the relationships of those around you.

Let’s Talk About “The Weight Loss Resolution”

It’s that time of year again! Just days ago untold numbers of us pledged to ourselves – and perhaps our families, friends & followers – that we would change our habits with the intention of losing weight.

I kinda get it. I mean, for years and years I pledged along with the rest of them. I always used January 1st as the beginning of an imagined weight loss journey. Doing so came with a lot of negative side effects, like writing off the progress of the previous year and chastising myself for every goal I’d missed.

I can only speak for myself here, but these resolutions never really stuck. Or rather, the weight always stuck far better than the resolution.

So what’s with the mass desire to loose weight and why do so many of us keep failing?

I think the key is that most of the time these resolutions are reflecting the marketing of gyms, health food companies and sports clothing brands. We’re focused on looking a certain way and being able to make trendy statements about our lifestyle. We want to be in the club of super food eating, 0 calorie snack carrying, on-brand fitness gurus.

It’s not really about eating healthy for the actual health benefits, it’s not about how we’ll feel or the energy we’ll have. It all comes from superficial status symbols instead of a genuine care for our bodies.

I think that’s a big part of what has always been missing for me in my weight loss journey. I got the message to go to the gym and to eat a certain way but it always came from outside. It came from marketing, blog posts, health magazines and the like.

What if instead of simply saying we have a resolution to lose weight we had a resolution to nourish our bodies and paid attention to what our bodies actually wanted?

Not simply eating this “superfood” or that “negative calorie snack” because we were told that’s what we should do but instead exploring and experimenting to find what really feels good and gives us energy, strength and health?

I imagine this kind of mental shift is where the real change happens. Not in what we’re told to do but in what we feel good doing.

What about you? What are your resolutions and how are you planning to turn resolutions in to reality?

2018 In Review

It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on Oh My Mermaid for a year now. Originally I started developing this project back in January and the 1st post went live January 16th 2018. I posted 3 things that day because I felt the need to get a bit of content on to the website. I didn’t want to welcome internet wanderers to an empty house, after all, when I finally started inviting people over.

I finally launched – as in, started telling people the blog was a thing and building my social media presence – on February 5th.

Since then this project has grown and grown! This year I’ve posted 64 posts here – this will be number 65. Those 64 totalled 50,084 words.

Sometimes blogging can feel like talking in to a void… you take time to create these carefully crafted pieces and share parts of yourself, and you put them out there hoping someone hears it, sees it, reads it… you hope that you have a purpose.

Oh My Mermaid has attracted 6, 615 views from 2,936 visitors. As blogs go, I have room to grow but I could do a lot worse!

I’m so grateful to the 103 people following me on wordpress, 57 people who have liked my facebook page, 163 people who have joined the journey on twitter and the 415 people who are there for me on Instagram. Ya’ll, all of ya’ll, are really what make this project have life.

You have read, commented, and shared with me all year long and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you!

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about my relationship. It’s been an amazing place to share the happiness and joy that has come in to my life since starting to date Maggie and Tom alongside my marriage to Ben. Being able to write about the journey has allowed me to process my own developing relationships and I’ve been so happy to share how our lives are changing and developing.

I shared my very first trip to Pride Toronto with Maggie by my side. I also shared Ben and I’s trip to Blue Mountain, Ontario as I started dabbling in a bit of travel writing.

Don’t worry, we are all planning 2019 trips that I can’t wait to share with you!

I’ve even been able to use this as a place to share my ongoing struggles with fitness and weight loss.

Really, it’s been a lot of #realtalk and 2019 is going to bring even more with a new flare for beauty blogging – something I never thought I’d do! I’m so excited to share some beauty realness with you!

I’ve also been able to share about my developing work-from-home lifestyle with teaching remotely and an increasing desire to follow my entrepreneurial spirit wherever it may lead me.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a little preview of what’s coming in 2019! ūüėČ

In summary, 2018 has been a great year and this project continues to grow. I’m so humbled and grateful to have followers along with me on this journey and I’m so excited to see where 2019 takes this project and our little mermaid minded community! ‚̧

Thank you 2018,

Carmen

PS. Haven’t caught up with me yet? Find me here:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

And as always, right here on wordpress!

What’s your Personal Brand

One of the biggest mindset shifts that has helped me successfully make a living by essentially freelancing services that I’m interested in providing is thinking of myself as managing a personal brand.

In this mindset, any service I provide – anything I do in exchange for money – is part of the brand. ¬†My teaching, my writing, this blog, and my social media services are all products offered by this brand. ¬†It’s personal to me and exists in direct relation to who I am as a person but it’s a unique section of my life.

There are a few reasons why I think this mindset is important for others with a similar work style or similar work situation. ¬†Let’s look at those reasons now.

Working from Home but not Working When Home

Okay, that’s a bit confusing but let me explain. ¬†I work from home. ¬†In my family, we make jokes about how I never leave the house and might easily be mistaken for a captive of my family rather than a member of it because they all go out into the world but I spend endless hours in one room of the house. ¬†The jokes are like a thinly veiled coping mechanism for what we all know is an odd reality. I don’t leave the house often. ¬†Sometimes I get so stir crazy I have to leave for the sake of leaving without any actual mission other than getting fresh air.

So how do I know I’m done with work? Honestly, the entering and exiting of physical spaces is something that we often take for granted in our lives. We enter our workspaces and know we are at work, we exit them and can start thinking about our personal lives again. ¬†I’ve done a decent job of making my office my physical workspace and letting what happens in the office stay there when I leave it BUT it’s always¬†right¬†there, calling to me when something could use my attention. ¬†Why wait until tomorrow morning when I could just go grab my laptop and attend to it right now? ¬†Thinking of your work as existing under the umbrella of a personal brand helps to add one more layer of separation between your personal life and your professional one even when the two cohabitate in one physical space.

Not only have I left my office but I’ve mentally left the headspace of the brand and so whatever needs to happen will have to wait for me to get back in the office and back in that headspace.

Your Brand can Turn Down a Project

It’s really hard to turn down work when you’re a freelancer working from home. ¬†You figure there’s always a way to shuffle your calendar around and make time for¬†one more project¬†because security is so elusive. ¬†Work is work and money is money, right?

Sure. But if you’re so busy taking every opportunity that comes along you may end up with a set of projects that don’t fit or make sense together. ¬†This seems pretty benign on the surface but can actually become quite problematic for your overall productivity. ¬†If your projects don’t make sense together then they can start to battle each other for your time and switching projects will become a big interruption to your workflow.

For me, working on Oh My Mermaid and working on Playful Greetings social media work really well together because a lot of the organization can happen from one single platform so time spent on one can easily coexist with time spent on the other.

Thinking of new projects as coming in under your personal brand gives you a buffer between them and you that will allow you to reject them without feeling guilty

You can say to yourself and the potential project, “I’m sorry, that project/job/contract doesn’t work with my current portfolio so I wouldn’t be able to fit it into my schedule or do a good job of it without hurting my other projects.”

When the reason you’re saying no is that it doesn’t work for “the brand” rather than because you just don’t feel like saying yes there’s a lot less guilt and obligation.

It’s also easier to ask for an Opportunity¬†

Just like it’s easier to say no because it isn’t personal, it’s also easier to ask for an opportunity because just like when you turn something down, rejection isn’t personal. ¬†When you feel like it’s just you, as a person and a freelancer, saying to a company that you’d like the opportunity to work with them then when they say no they’ve rejected¬†you.¬†And that sucks. Nobody wants to feel like that.

But when you apply feeling that you’d like to add that opportunity to your personal brand portfolio and you get the rejection it’s easier to just move on, work on your existing projects and look for the next opportunity that might be an even better match for you and your brand.

A Personal Brand is Something you can feel Proud of

One of the biggest struggles I notice as an independent freelancer is that there is a lot less positive feedback than I might have access to in a regular old brick and mortar job. ¬†As a student for most of my life and in the various regular jobs I’ve had I’ve always appreciated the positive and negative feedback that lets me know what’s going well and what isn’t.

Working in isolation, as I talked about earlier, feedback can sometimes be seriously lacking.  It made me feel like I was lost in space having no idea if I was going the right direction or what was going on.

Thinking of my work as a personal brand somehow makes it a bit more tangible. ¬†I start finding ways I can measure performance. ¬†Income, of course, but also through social stats, leads, and projects. ¬†I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished with Oh My Mermaid and the other projects I’ve taken on. ¬†That’s something that reduces the sensation of being lost in space.

So overall there’s a lot of good reasons to start thinking of yourself as managing a personal brand to create an extra mental layer between your work and you as a person. ¬†It’s better for your mental health and self-worth to feel that it’s still a job, at the end of the day and you do get to be off duty even if that just means going to a different room in your house.

A Weekend Getaway to Blue Mountain

This past weekend Ben and I went on a little weekend getaway to Blue Mountain resort in Ontario. ¬†Since I share so much of our lives here I thought I’d share our vacation, too!

We did things a little differently. Actually, going on vacation at all is a little different for us. We’re kind of the masters of a day trip. We don’t mind long drives or getting home late so we usually just go to events or go sightseeing and then make the trek home. Deciding to go somewhere and stay not just for 1 but for 2 nights felt like we were spoiling ourselves.

We wanted to make the most of our time there and make it a weekend of indulging things we don’t normally give ourselves time for.

First of all we made room in the budget and also go the style of vacation we would enjoy most by using Airbnb. ¬†This was our first airbnb experience and we are now happily singing its praises. Instead of staying in a shoebox with a bed we were able to rent a 1 bedroom condo 2 minutes from the village. Having a kitchen to cook our fave breakfast food in plus a super cozy space to netflix in the evening made a huge difference in our “lifestyle for a weekend”.

img_0652In the spirit of doing things we don’t normally make time for I took myself to the spa while Ben rounded up some groceries and supplies. ¬†I enjoyed a hot stone massage and a facial at Kalola spa in Blue Mountain village. ¬†It was so relaxing but definitely a splurge that I’ll save for rare occasions and not make a regular habit of. As much as I enjoyed it in the moment it was a pretty fleeting pleasure which made the investment seem disproportionate. ¬†I don’t regret the¬†decision to treat myself at all but it was definitely a vacation lifestyle treat and not a regular lifestyle need.

On Saturday we found an adventure tour company offering ATV tours. ¬†Ben grew up with a 3-wheeler and had a few friends who had 4-wheelers so he was happy to go adventuring on one. I’d never ridden one in my life and so I was super excited to try it out. ¬†It was an idea to satisfy our craving for adventure and something off the beaten path. ¬†I can’t say enough good things about the company and how nice the trails were. ¬†There was a little something for everyone with rugged hill climbs, muddy, winding trails through the trees and wide open well-groomed pathways where we could speed up a little bit.

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I honestly had no idea what to expect from either the experience of riding an ATV or the environment we’d be in so everything was new for me. ¬†I didn’t anticipate the effort it took to maneuver the ATV. I mean, I guess I just never really thought much about how much they weigh or that grippy tires let you do a lot of cool climbs and ride over everything but also take work to control. ¬†You’d think everything after crashing a car for fun would be a breeze but I still took my time getting used to it.

Perseverance paid off, though! By the end of the hour long tour I was really enjoying myself and as soon as we were in the car we were both talking about visiting again. ¬†The company operates all year round so if you like to adventure through heat, mud, raino r snow they’ve got a tour for you and a few different options for what you want to drive.

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The tour guides were super nice and chatted with us after, as well. ¬†People and personal connections can make such a huge difference and these folks are a great example of how good people leave a lasting impression for their business – thank you so much for an amazing experience, ya’ll!

 

In the afternoon Ben and I headed back in to the village (after a hard earned soak in the resort hot tub!) to try out the “Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster” we’d read so much about.

Check out this article to see why we had to check it out:

here we though we’d be gliding gently down the mountain admiring the fall leaves… nope! We got to glide gently up… and up… and up. ¬†On the way down you could pull your breaks if you were¬†really¬†scared but it was strongly discouraged by staff as you slow down everyone behind you and muck up the timing of the track. ¬†It only seemed polite to push forward at full speed wondering how anyone could be afraid… then your cart rattles around the 1st bend far faster than you expect.

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This moment separates the strong from the weak.

We loved every adrenaline-fuelled second so much we rode a 2nd time before going to get dinner.

We wandered around the village, shopped a little and then returned to relaxing at the condo.

On Sunday we went for a scenic drive and hiked around the mountaintop taking pictures of the partially snowy landscape.

We were really picky about what we comitted to with this weekend. We wanted time to relax and focus on each other as a couple while still enjoying the unique experiences the area had to offer.  I think we accomplished this with a few great experiences like the ATV tour and the coaster while taking the rest of our time to relax and do whatever we wanted without stressing out.

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What’s your weekend getaway style? Are you a fully scheduled weekend warrior or a worry-free weekender with an open calendar?

 

 

 

 

Poly and Parenting

It’s kind of funny – as I write that title I’m like… ¬†uhh I can’t write this, I’m not a parent yet, duh! But then again, not being a parent, let alone a parent in a poly relationship, has not stopped a single person from sharing their thoughts so hell, why don’t I give it a try.

We get a TON of questions about how our relationship affects our plans to be parents. ¬†It’s not the questions I mind so much – actually we welcome more or less all questions because we’d rather people ask than assume. ¬†The annoying part of these questions is the number of people who ask and then immediately tell us what they feel is the correct answer.

Can I just pause for a second here and tell ya’ll something? We’re not “trying”. We want kids to be a part of our¬†future¬†not our right now. So whatever we haven’t figured out, we’ve got time.

But I’ll be honest. When you get serious in a relationship you talk about the future. You talk about values, what kind of lifestyle you want, what your big life goals are, and what a family looks like or means to you.

If you want to be pessimistic you can imagine a different future for us than what we imagine for ourselves but ya’ll know it’s rude to root against someones love life and what makes them happy. And I know ya’ll aren’t rude.

So let me answer some questions:

Yes, we want children.

No, we don’t know how many but 2 is a good bet.

No, at this point we don’t plan to plan who the biological parents are. Oops – there’s a controversial one. Here’s the thing, we all plan to be the kiddos parents. I’m not going to parent a child any less because they are biologically Maggies or more because they are biologically mine. We all live under one roof and we¬†operate as a family unit. ¬†We plan to keep it that way as we think about bringing children in to our lives. They will be loved and looked after by all of us. ¬†Like any other couple, when we’re ready, we’ll be throwing out the birth control methods and carrying on as usual. What happens from there happens.

I know people think it has to be pretty simple to just plan who you’re getting knocked up by, but it’s not. ¬†I’ve tried to talk on this blog about how each of our relationships is unique and no one relationship gets to set the rules or boundaries for another. For me to say I wanted to have a baby with one man specifically would be allowing my relationship with that man to limit my relationship with the other man in order to ensure the biological parentage of the child. Given that we all expect to parent equally, setting those kind of boundaries doesn’t make sense for the relationships we’ve built.

On a related note, we won’t be announcing the biological parentage of babies born in our family. I mean, why would we need to? We’re assuming that our family and friends who will continue to be a part of our lives as our family grows will love our growing family for what it is: a family.

The world is a confusing place, we’re pretty sure that having 4 loving parents is not going to be a huge problem for our children. I mean, we had this conversation about same sex parents, right? There were a bunch of people who could barely fathom same sex relationships and so were completely unhinged at the idea that a child might not understand having two moms or two dads. But children understand love. Time and time again they’ve proven this to the world. Even the young children in our lives now – children of friends and family – handled us coming out better than most. It goes like this:

“Hey, you know how you have this Aunt and Uncle?”

“Yeah”

“And they love each other?”

“Yep.”

“Well, they also love this other man and woman.”

“Okay.”

“And basically the four of them just all love each other and they’re very happy together.”

“Does this mean I get extra gifts at Christmas?”

That is the most vital question a child has asked about our relationship. Does two more people coming into a relationship they’re familiar with mean that they get more Christmas gifts. ¬†Whoa – so confused.

You can stop worrying about our childrens confusing home life now. They’ll be fine.

We have similar values about raising children. That’s a big part of how we know our children are safe from the concerns of others. We believe in raising children in a loving environment. ¬†We believe in rules and routine. ¬†We agree when it comes to dicipline. We believe in teaching them about the whole world, not just our world. We agree with each other on the important things. ¬†They’ll be loved beyond belief.

These hypothetical children will be ours. No really, like any parents, parents to be or hypothetical eventual parents the bottom line and most important fact I can possibly provide you: who to have children with, what our household looks like and how to raise them is entirely up to us and absolutely doesn’t need your opinion about what’s best. You might feel that opinion passionately, you might even be a little bit not okay with the idea of us raising children as a polyamorous family. That’s fine. But if you think that your discomfort or opinions are a factor in our family plans I’m not super sorry to inform you, you’re mistaken.

Carmen

 

 

How to: Support your Poly Friends

TL;DR: (Yeah, I had a lot to say here, #sorrynotsorry ) Be kind. To all of us. About our relationship. We like pizza and laughing so… less drama and more pizza please.

When we came out we knew the news would be a surprise for a lot of our friends and we were prepared to be patient while they processed this change in our lives.¬† We couldn’t have fully explained then exactly what we needed or wanted from them that was any different from before – we were in the midst of understanding this ourselves.¬† However, now that we’ve had some time to live this life and experience what it’s changed and what it hasn’t I have some thoughts I want to share.

In most ways being a supportive friend to any of the four of us hasn’t really changed. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that what we need from our friends didn’t change, just the number of people supporting us did. We’ve all been blessed with friends who included our married partners in the friendships and made sure they always recognized loving us meant loving our marriages. ¬†Well there’s more to love now. ¬†If you loved us and our marriages before please remember we have more partners we want to involve now. ¬†Maybe it won’t be everyone together all the time – we don’t always travel as a group. However, we do travel as a group a lot of the time and it’s awkward and disheartening to think there are spaces where we aren’t welcome to be all of us.

Maybe I should note here that if there’s a real reason you want to invite one or two of us in to a space¬†but not invite all of us, just talk to us! We’re pretty understanding about circumstances. ¬†But if the limitation is being placed just because the plural nature of our relationship makes you uncomfortable, why are you inviting any of us to anything? This is a huge part of who we are.

Think of how you generally show support to your friends: spending time with them, keeping up to date with their lives, listening when they need an ear, offering advice when they need it, and yes, having some sort of friendship with their partner – even if its only because they’re dating and not because you would choose that partner as a friend for yourself.

I think maybe that last bit has been the most complicated for people in our lives, but we’ll get to that.

I want to stress here that I’m writing this with the greatest affection for everyone in all our lives and the deepest gratitude that they want to support us and be a part of our lives. Our friends aren’t the only ones figuring out “how this works” exactly, so we’re here to support them supporting us.

Spend Time with Us:¬†We all have our own lives. Don’t worry – we didn’t become like a single-minded entity that can’t function unless we’re together. We still have our own friends and our own interests. ¬†However, we love our time with all of our partners and we are protective of that time – we only have so much time with each person in a week – so maybe we’re a little picky about how we prioritize, especially when it means less time for our relationships. Try not to hold it against us if we can’t make a certain day or certain something work because we need to be home that night.¬† If we say we want to make plans work with you, we mean it.

Stay Up to Date with Us:¬†Just ask us what’s up, what’s new, what’s happening.¬† We are busy, busy people and we’d love to share all the little things that bring us joy, stress us out, drive us crazy and make us laugh in a week. We have stories about the quirks of dating each other, about the side effects of living under one roof, about our various jobs and of course our hobbies.¬† We want to catch up – let’s pick a time. I think people hesitate to ask us what’s new because they just don’t know what to expect so let me reassure you – it hasn’t changed that much. It includes more people now. But if you’re afraid we’re going to bombard you with awkward amounts of detail about our sex lives or something you can stop worrying.

Let us Talk:¬†You’re our friends – we’ve always been able to vent and rant and just talk with you. ¬†We really highly value being able to speak freely about our lives without holding back when we want to switch from a story about one partner to a story about another. ¬†We crave the ability to and the space to express ourselves without hiding any part of ourselves and our happiness. ¬†But this is pretty well tied in to the next piece…

Give us Advice when Asked for or Needed:¬†Except… don’t discount our relationships. I think it’s easy to assume poly is the root of all problems in our lives but we all have people at work that cause us stress, frustrations with our hobbies or other activities, and generally a whole lot of life that isn’t defined by our relationships.
We live together. We love each other. If we’ve come to you for advice on any topic, just know the recommending a break up is never the answer.

It feels like any time one of us expresses stress it’s easy for people to question if we should rethink our relationships. This gets frustrating because our relationships are a source of comfort, confidence and strength in our lives. Think of your own happy and healthy relationships – regardless of how they’re configured or defined – what do they bring to your life? I hope they bring you happiness, laughter, inspiration and that they feed your soul, feed your fire and enable you to be all that you are outside of those relationships. That’s what our relationships do in our lives.

When people suggest that our relationship structure is the reason we’re stressed about one thing or another I think it just kind of saddens us that maybe that person isn’t seeing how happy we are.

Including the Partner(s):¬†Hey – you didn’t pick them. Your friend might think this person can do no wrong and you might think they’re all sorts of wrong.¬† That doesn’t change the fact. Friendships, in my experience, work best when friends respect and include a serious partner regardless of if they would pick that partner as a friend for themselves.¬† In case us living together isn’t the hint you’re looking for: We’re serious about this relationship and each other. You don’t get to pick your monogamous friends partners, and you don’t get to pick which one of us is coming to dinner.¬† If you message me saying we should get together for dinner and the invite is open to my partners – then it’s open to my partners. When you specify which partner or partners are invited and which aren’t it leaves me with the feeling I’m not really accepted by you. There’s a whole part of my life, a whole person who makes me crazy, insanely happy that you’re trying to ignore just because there are other partners you can focus on and really, that just doesn’t work. Maybe sometimes you want one on one time with me and that’s great but if this is an open invite for partners, it’s open to all of mine, or none of us.

Stop waiting fo the Break Up:¬†Seriously. How much more do I need to say? Regardless of if a relationship is monogamous or not, holding your breath for us to break up because you’re not sold on the relationship is one of the absolute rudest behaviours I’ve ever witnessed in a friendship. You want me to be happy, yeah? Even if it’s not the exact happily ever after you imagined for me? (Otherwise, why are we friends?) Well then, start breathing because this relationship is built to last and friendships that don’t accept us can’t.

We’ve all gotten less tolerant of “friends” who add stress and drama to our busy lives

There might not be a super cute way to say this one. People who add stress instead of relieving it, people who make us cry instead of laugh, people who manipulate, spread doubt instead of encouragement, and who generally can’t bring themselves to be a positive part of our day… we’ve got less and less time or patience for those people.

And if our attitude shifting in a way that makes us okay with those friendships fading is a problem – if it’s a problem that we’re really over negativity and negative people – well, then our attitude changing really isn’t the reason the friendship is ending.

Carmen

For Fit Sake: Week Two

So last Friday I talked about starting a new series, For Fit Sake, so I could force myself to talk about this fitness journey and stay accountable. ¬†It kind of comes with the idea that if I’m forcing myself to report on how it’s going I’ll try harder to make it go well.

So far, so good! I am just wrapping up week 2 using Anna Victoria’s Body Love app for workouts. It’s not super feasible with busy family life for me to commit to the meal plan in the app, but more on food in a bit.

Honestly, sometimes I do have to generalize the workouts a little bit if there’s a move I struggle with too much or if I don’t have equipment available. I’ve been working on staying as close to the workout plan as possible while making sure I never miss a day. Sunday is rest day, and other than that I never miss a day.

I’ve also joined Planet Fitness. My husband (Ben) and girlfriend (Maggie) have been going for a few months. It took a bit of figuring out because I don’t drive so I needed to figure out with Ben and Maggie how I’d get to the gym and make a schedule that worked.

I go a couple times a week with Maggie and whenever Ben and I are free at the same time we try to go.

I really like the chance to get in some extra cardio and I’m working my way towards remembering how to do strength training at the gym.

Now I said I’d come back around to talking about food. The thing is, I’ve gotten really good at working out often but I’m still in a serious love affair with carbs so… still working on eating well. ¬†Week one I was great. Week two I’ve eaten a lot of bread. We’ll see what week three brings… I suppose all things can’t be improved at once, but at least there’s progress.

Question of the week: What do you find easier to do well with – working out consistently or eating well?

Function of Beauty: Am I really about to buy shampoo and conditioner from a facebook ad?

Well, if you’re like me you’ve probably seen Function of Beauty ads popping up all over your social media.  They catch your eye with pretty colours, alluring scent names and most notably, the promise to personalize your hair care.

I resisted these ads for months.  I already had shampoo and conditioner that I liked and honestly, as tempting as personalized hair products were, it still took me a bit to wrap my head around ordering online.

I read that they started out as a boutique you could visit and have your shampoo & conditioner made. I remember wishing I lived close to it because I totally would of loved something like that I just wasn’t sure about doiong it online.

Clearly I got on board with ordering my shampoo and conditioner online. ¬†It‚Äôs not really like there was anything special about my experience buying it at the drug store or even buying “the good stuff” at Sephora – I was still just picking it up off a shelf.

So let’s get down to business Рwas it worth it?

Initial decision to Order

I decided to order, ultimately, because my hair care is personal. As you probably know I am all about dying my hair all kinds of colours. It’s teal, blue, a different shade of blue, a couple shades of purple and also pink. Hello #mermaidhair

Almost every time I receive a compliment on my hair it’s followed up with the ultimate hair dye question: How do you keep it so bright?

The answer is: Very carefully.

A lot of people have the misconception that hair dye happens at the salon and outside the salon you don’t have to think of it. The truth is that the real work begins when you leave the salon. Really, the salon is the easy part РI just sit there and Jess does all the work! I’m always looking for products that balance making my hair look clean, feel nice and brush easily, while also keeping as much of my colour as possible.

My hope with Function of Beauty was that I could “create” a product which truly answered my need for ultra-nourishing, caring for my hairs health hair care, that protected instead of attacking the dye.

First Impressions

The product arrived earlier than estimated, which was much appreciated since I’m never super patient when waiting for a package.

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I loved the simple, personal packaging. It doesn’t hurt that my name was right on the box.¬† The selling feature of Function of Beauty is how personalized it is and they definitely deliver in that department.

The colour was exactly as imagined, and the smell is pleasant. I chose a medium strength peony smell. Over all it is every bit as satisfying as imagined to open this personalized set. I love how elegant the packaging is with the pumps and everything else neatly tucked out of sight at first.

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More importantly – is Function of Beauty functional?

I am not entirely sure I had a good sense of what to expect. I think I thought it would either do nothing and be a total waste of time or I expected to be mind blown. I didn’t anticipate any middle ground.

This product didn’t dissapoint – the number one way the results show? I still have my hair colour!

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A lot of products that advertise colour protection fail to care for my hair in every other way. The dye stays in tact but washing will leave my hair dry, tangled, and impossible to work with. It ends up a dull, awful rats nest.

Not this time! My hair is soft, brushable and total #mermaidgoals!

Function of Beauty has delivered – as promised!

Time to Change it Up and Reorder!

Okay so round one went well. If you’ve looked at the Function of Beauty website you may have noticed that they strongly encourage a subscription service. You can choose how often you want to reorder and making that subscription selection comes with perks like free shipping.

It makes sense – I am eventually going to need more, right? I selected the 3 month reorder and it was pretty bang on for timing. As you can see below I had a good amount of shampoo left but I was getting dangerously low on conditioner. That’s how it goes, isn’t it? Really waht I need is a bigger bottle of conditioner and a little less shampoo.

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I tweeked my formula this time with the hope of getting a little more nourishment. Dying your hair can realllllly dry it out and for me, that means it can turn it to a rats nest very quickly. Plus, my hair is a different colour now so why shouldn’t I change up the shampoo and conditioner when it’s just as custom as my hair?

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So now my products are blue and smell like the beach. I’m even happier with this formula. Adding on the nourishment has made a difference.

I was definetly a little skeptical at first. Part of why I wanted to reorder was to see if changing the formula online would change how the shampoo and conditioner affected my hair at all.

The product seems very similar to use. I couldn’t tell what’s really different about it. ¬†However it does do a bit better keeping my hair soft and brushable a little longer this round so I’ll take that as a very good sign.

I guess part of me kind of figured it might all be the same stuff in different colours and scents but that our online selections might not have made a difference. While the texture and consistency are the same the results do suggest I got the changes I requested.

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This time I took the at-checkout-add-on option to get a travel kit with hair elastics. It was an impulse buy, for sure, but also super useful when I went away for the weekend. Really, it’s the perfect accessory for those of us a little obsessed with our hair and picky about the product that goes in to it!

The Bottom Line:

I do love this product. I am pleased with how my hair feels after using it consistently for a while and I like the company. I like that they are cruelty free and that I can change the product without searching for a totaly new company.

Looking to order? Have $5 off! https://functionofbeauty.com/?ref=5a934d48e9406

Have you tried Function of Beauty? What’s your go-to hair product?