On that 2020 insight

Surprise, surprise: it’s New Year’s Eve and here I am again, writing a post after months of silence.

I’m not sure what it is about the New Year that gets me thinking I can reinvent myself, change myself, better myself, as if I’m not already living a life I’m proud of. I also get this weird itch to clean everything I can see. For example, today I swept under my bed for the first time since I moved into this place (it was wild). I also have plans to go through and refold everything, audit my knickknacks, and really become a minimalist. It’s not even like I don’t love things the way they are, but there’s something soothing about resetting everything at the dawn of a New Year.

I have also been in deep reflection about what I learned this year and how I’m ready to use this knowledge to move forward. My biggest lesson this past year was that I need to learn patience and mindfulness. I cannot rush into rage or frustration. That reaction isn’t sustainable; taking a breath and processing what is happening and how it’s effecting me should be my first step.

This coming year I want to release myself from my self-loathing tendencies. I have outgrown them and they no longer serve me. I will not judge my past self for turning to tearing myself down, instead I will learn to comfort myself and bring myself up. I also want to learn how to sew my own clothes, and how to cook better, and how to eat more locally and to eat what is in season. I really want to challenge myself to do these things this year because putting time into myself teaches me that I’m worth the time.

This year I want to be more caring to myself and to others, and I really want to own my actions to help ease my anxiety. Being honest and taking responsibility will be at the forefront of everything I do.

It’s wild to think how much I have grown in the past decade: I learned to drive, graduated high school and university, I have loved, gotten hurt, hurt others, I learned a lot about my sexuality, I’ve made some of the most amazing friends, and maintaining an amazing relationship with my mother, sister, and father. I’m really lucky to be able to live in my dream city with the most incredible support group around me.

Congrats, gang. We made it to a new decade and a new year. Let’s crush it.

xo

Lea

Learning how to ask for help

Asking for help is garbage. It is the literal worst because A. I am an adult and B. I should be able to do things on my own and the fact that I can’t makes me want to scream and sink into the deepest pits of despair.

Because I am an adult and that is what adults do. Duh.

I can analyze and cross-analyse why I feel this way, but I think the easiest and probably most ludicrous way I can explain it is through the game Catan. The point of Catan is to build colonies on a plot of land along with other players who you can trade with and steal from and such in the hopes of winning the game. But when I play I always try to create a self-sufficient colony that doesn’t need outside help. We make do and survive off our own means. And yes: I almost always lose. Because in life, much like in Catan, you need to work with others to achieve your goals.

If I’m being honest this desire to be independent stems from a deep-seated fear that I am not enough. That I’m not smart enough, healthy enough, interesting enough, and not good enough. And by needing help I am proving to myself that I am not able to solve my problems from whatever I have within myself which to me constitutes as a failure.

Now, I am aware this is not true, and I acknowledge that having the privileged to ask for help is indeed a privilege that not everyone has access to and that I should be grateful and thankful to have the connections I do and the opportunities I do. But getting over this feeling of inadequacy takes time and it is incredibly frustrating.

I have always craved the acceptance and affirmation from other people. Especially when I was younger I would find myself looking to others to validate personal things in my life. And then I moved. I moved so far away from home and i was hard and I just started getting so worked up over not knowing how to do everyday things. Like guys, why did I never learn how to work with the CRA or banks in school? Where was the course where you are taught how to adult?! This sudden change made my desire to be capable and successful on my own flourish: a modern day Michelangelo if you will.

The best part about this weird thing I do is that if it’s about someone else I am a champion of seeking and getting the help you need. I am a strong believer in getting the help you need especially with mental health. But I am more patient and loving towards others than I am towards myself, and that is something I am working on. Alas it seems my hamartia is my pride.

Paradigm shifts take time: growing, learning, and healing take time. And getting the help you need is a gift that I am learning to embrace.

With all my love as always,

Lea

Happy Belated Birthday, Sailor Moon

This past Saturday, June 30th, was my girl Sailor Moon’s birthday and to celebrate I wanted to do a little something special and share a couple of the things I found most impactful about the show and franchise. Growing up in the 90s I was exposed to a lot of cartoons (little did I know that this young exposure would become a lifelong passion of mine). Looking back at what I watched most religiously I am often inspired by shows like Cyber Six, Pokemon, Gargoyles, and of course Sailor Moon. These cartoons gave me a glimpse into these other worlds that were often a refuge for me. Looking back at everything I watched I remember Sailor Moon being the show that left the biggest impact. It wasn’t just the catchy theme song or the stunning animation, it was the risks the show took and the characters created that really stuck with me.

Sailor Moon really taught me was that you don’t have to be good at everything to save the world. More plainly put: you don’t have to be the best to be a good person, a quality that is perhaps the most important. Sailor Moon, known as Serena while I was a young girl watching the televised dubs and later as Usagi watching the show in its original context with subtitles, is a character that is both badass and hilarious. Apart from fight evil by moonlight Serena/Usagi is pretty much a classic teen: tired, hungry, lazy, not the best at math. She doesn’t necessarily scream “Hey I am here to save the day look at how great I am”. That’s because her strength of character is so much more important. It isn’t her brains or her brawns that make Sailor Moon so inspiring, it’s her heart. She gives a shit about people and about her planet. She is courageous, kind, and thoughtful towards friends and foes alike.  She taught me that you don’t have to be the best, or the smartest, or the most athletic to save the world: all you needed was kindness and a good heart. But she didn’t work alone and the friends she did work with had qualities that made them dynamic and inspiring all on their own. The fact that all the members of the Sailor Scouts had complimentary skills and qualities lead them to be a successful team of fighters and friends was impactful. Being a team unit instead of individuals crusading to save the world alone fostered my love of team work because to me the best and most successful times in your life are often when you’re supporting and being supported by others.

There’s so much more I could say about my love for this franchise, but I want to keep it short and sweet. Sometimes shows we watch as children do not age well, but I feel as though Sailor Moon really does transcend from then to now. If you haven’t watched it I encourage you to give it a try, the franchise just released a reboot series, Sailor Moon Crystal, a couple years ago and it’s really hecking good.

Here’s to you, Usagi! Thank you for being the realest!

xo

Lea

Feeling at home

In an unforeseen chain of events I have fallen in love with a city that I can barely afford. Vancouver is expensive… I mean, that’s a pretty obvious statement for anyone living in Canada, but it is still I remain. There is something about Vancouver that pulls me in and fills me sense of belonging. Maybe it’s the kombucha talking or maybe there’s something in the air, but I have never felt like I was home as much as I do now. Obviously I feel at home when I’m with my family, but that sensation was not tied geographically to any one place like it does now.

A couple weeks ago my mom asked if I ever thought about moving back to Ontario to save some money to go on adventures overseas and such. And honestly as much as I would love to fill the coffers I don’t feel like I need to go somewhere else for an adventure because I feel like I am living my adventure. Everyday feels different and exciting, and even on my worst days there’s something about seeing mountains and sitting by the ocean that comforts me.

The distance from my family is tough: it’s always going to be tough, but it’s worth it and I know I can make it work. There is so much potential for change and for myself in this city, I feel it everywhere. I have met some of the most inspiring and knowledgable people while I’ve been here that have opened my heart and my mind to my own prejudices and ignorance, and have since helped me become better mindfully but socially. There are triumphs and tribulations in every city and by no means do I wear rose coloured glasses: there’s A LOT that needs to change and even more that needs to be better in Vancouver, but the people I have met have given me hope that these changes can and will occur.

I guess what I’m saying is that I have a big old crush on this city and if any of you want to come visit I will talk your ear off as to why. Cue that song from Disney’s Hercules: I’ve found the place where I belong.

Much love as always,

Lea

So I Dyed My Hair Purple

So I dyed my hair purple.

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Which is no surprise for those of you who are my friends and have my on social media, but for those of you who don’t then I guess the proverbial cat is out of the proverbial bag. I guess I wanted to make a little defense for it, and I might as well post it here as it’s been forever since I’ve written anything for my blog (sorry, blog!) and because, like for all things in my life, I feel that I have to justify it (but we can unpack that later).

So why did I dye my hair purple? Honestly because I wanted to. I won’t lie; there may have been a few drinks involved for the first installment of ‘Fun Colours in Leandra’s Hair’, but when I touched it up to the full, deep purple it is now, I was stone cold sober and I knew this is what I wanted.

If I’m being more honest, it was because I feel as though I am in a creative rut. All my life I have prided myself on being artistic and on finding ways to express and channel my creativity: dance, theatre, photography… heck, even making random things with my hands. There have been so many ways I have lost count. But as of late I have found myself restless and angry and incredibly frustrated that I cannot put a name to what I want to create next. I have the essence of it I THINK in my head, but articulating it? That’s a nope. In fact, articulating anything these past few months has been really hard. My mind is mush; I lose my train of thought if could get one together in the first place. My tongue is heavy in my mouth; I stutter and lose words, and all I hear in my ears is static. I haven’t really felt like myself, but even if I did I’m not really sure I would be able to recognize who that is anymore. So I dyed my hair purple to show myself I am creative. I guess maybe that sounds a little stupid or naïve, but I needed a push and having hair that I can’t ignore whenever I catch my reflection is a push towards figuring out who I am, who I want to be, how I want to be, etc. Classic quarter life crisis stuff, which oddly enough leads to ….

My last and possibly MOST honest reason for dying my hair purple: I felt old. Hello, my name is Leandra and I just turned 24 and I feel so incredibly old. NOW BEFORE ANY OF YOU GIVE ME THE “you’re so young, 24 is not that old, why when I was your age,” save it. I know. A part of me knows I am being whack, but another part of me felt like my time to do stupid, impulsive things was running out so I seized the opportunity to do something spontaneous. The last time I had crazy coloured hair I was around 18 or 19 and I loved it, but I did not love my life and a few situations I found myself in, so to escape that I took it out on my hair. It was fuchsia, blue, purple, a little green, orange, baby pink; I think I hit almost every colour at one point or another. Not all of these colours were great (a lot looked horrible) but it was a way of expressing myself and forcing myself to accept my mistakes and to not take myself too seriously. And man, do I take myself too seriously. I am so hard on myself and I expect the best of myself, and recently this has become a bit of a problem. I have always wanted to be the best or the prettiest or the nicest or the anything-est because I have always wanted to have the feeling of ‘I am enough’, but it’s always evaded me, and with this awful sense that my time is running out, I just wanted to feel something. So I dyed my hair purple. Maybe that doesn’t make sense to some of you, maybe it does (at this point I’m not even sure it makes sense to me), and I know I don’t actually need to justify anything so I guess it doesn’t really matter in the end.

I know it doesn’t matter because I am happy with my decision. So yeah, I dyed my hair purple because I wanted to, because it makes me feel creative, and because I’m ready to figure out who I am, and purple spoke to me. Life is too short to justify every decision I make, even though I’m (clearly) still learning to be okay with this.

I hope you’ve enjoyed me rationalizing something that I’ve wanted to do and I hope you all feel better about doing something that you really want to do, WITHIN REASON. At the end of the day if you’re happy, if you’re fulfilled, and if you’re safe, then that’s all that matters.

 

Much love as always,

Lea

 

It’s super easy wearing green

You know that time (like every time) when I wrote about not wearing colour ever? Well surprise, surprise! I’m here to tell you monochromatic dressing also applies to the same colour. In this case I wore all the same shade of olive green with different textures and patterns to play with the fact that I was head to toe in one colour. I think you could probably do this kind of a look in any colour, but I was really feeling olive green because to me it is basically a neutral tone.

Let me know what you think of dressing in all one colour!

xo

Lea

How to wear mesh this holiday season

Mesh is one of my favourite things right now. It adds such an interesting dimension into your. It’s lightweight enough for layering and it provides a dynamic element when used to provide extra coverage. Don’t feel comfortable in spaghetti straps? Mesh top under. Want to wear a slip dress or any summer dress or jumpsuit in winter? Mesh top under. It’s so versatile so why not adapt it for the holidays?

The first way I use mesh in under a velvet slip dress with tights and heeled boots. I really love this look because for me I get to play with wearing a more fun dress without feeling too revealing. I also feel like the mesh turtleneck adds a level of grunge to this look which is something I am super into right now. I don’t really take myself too seriously so for this look, or any for that matter, I would throw my beloved Christmas cardigan on top for laughs and because it’s December and it’s cold. To complete the more edgy look I really recommend using boots that have some hardware on them or some metal elements.

The second way I use mesh is with a looser, white mesh mock turtle. I find this style of mesh has a more fishnet kind of feel which is really fun to play with. You can wear it over a white cami, but I just wore it over a white bralette. To offset the bareness of the mesh I paired it with fuller wide leg dress pants and some very classic beige pumps. I am really into mixing really classic and classy elements with grungier or edgy pieces because I really love the contrast it creates. You could throw that Christmas cardigan over this look as well because again it is still December and it is still cold!

I hope these tips helped you with your up coming holiday plans, and realistically if these looks fail there is always the holiday onesie!

xo

Lea

Surviving rain season

Surprise! It rains a lot here in Vancouver. But just because it rains doesn’t mean you have to look like a waterproof creature! Heck no, friends! One of my favourite things about the fall is that I can wear my big, waterproof boots. They really help to toughen up regularly girly outfits which I love. Whether it’s with dresses, jeans, or culottes, bigger boots are multifunctional enough to yield comfort, water resistance, and style. And there are so many options out on the market now that there really is no reason for you to be walking around with wet socks. I have also found that having a raincoat that has a double zipper has been really helpful. I have zip the bottom half of my jacket up a bit so that walking or sitting on the train during my commute is easier and less restrictive. But, undone jackets are still my favourite.

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I hope you have found these tips helpful, and I hope your feet are no longer soaked from the rain! Remember: there is no shame in being practically dressed for the weather!

much love,

Lea

3 Annoying Habits to Adopt

I’m the first to admit that I am very lazy when it comes to keeping my room clean. I never used to think much about it either: so what, it’s just a room does it really matter how clean it is? I thought that until one day a friend of mine told me that the state of one’s room is a direct reflection of the state of one’s mind meaning messy room= messy mind. This may sound a little hooey, but when I have a cleaner room I feel more relaxed and at ease while when my room is a disaster I get irritated and annoyed very easily. Whether or not these feelings are in my head I think it is definitely prudent to adopt a few cleaning habits to help with everyday life. At least these have been helping me so maybe they’ll help you.

  1. Put your clothes away every night

I’m not joking. Those socks you just took off and have lying on the floor? Put them in the laundry hamper you animal. It’s so annoying putting away your clothes after a long day of work, but the next morning when you wake up and your jeans are folded and there’s no laundry lying about on the floor trust me you’ll feel so much better.

2.  Put your beauty products away in their homes when you’re finished with them

Whether you keep your stuff in a bag or laid out in a drawer, make sure that there’s a place for everything and that everything goes into its place. Your bathroom will look cleaner, you won’t run the risk of knocking something  onto the floor, and you’ll be able to find everything the next time you want it because it will be in its home. Honestly it’s a win-win.

3. Make your bed 

I have actually talked about this before, but making your bed in the morning just makes your room feel cleaner and more organized. And who doesn’t love coming home to a bed that is made and not a huge mess? I’m a pretty volatile sleeper and I toss and turn all night so rearranging my sheets so that they look fresh makes a huge difference in my room. 

With all of these little habits the theme is that if things are organized and tidy you will be less stressed out not only trying to find what you need, but also you’ll feel more at ease in your own space. I used to be one of those people who claimed that in my mess there was order, but it was a lie: I just made my mess messier hunting for my things. I have a bad memory so if things are where they usually are I won’t feel as panicked trying to find them. Obviously these won’t work for everyone nor do I think this will ultimately cure anyone of stress or anxiety, but they helped me calm down a bit so if they help anyone else find some zen then that’s awesome. 
Much love, pumpkins!

Lea

What I Learned After a Year in Vancouver

So it looks like I’ve officially been in Vancouver for a year now and man what a year it has been. Now this isn’t the first time I’ve moved away from home, but this past year marked the first time I’ve been more than a two-hour drive away from my family. I feel like being so far away made me feel like more of an adult for some weird reason. I guess perhaps because I couldn’t just take my laundry to my parents or call asking them to come help me fix something I have been forced into unchartered waters of ~adulthood~. I have learned a lot this past year and I thought I would share some of my wisdom with you all so bear with me.

First of all I learned that when something says “Hand Wash” HAND WASH IT. Viscose will shrink and you will cry when your favourite little outfit is ruined. Actually I’ve learned a lot about laundry that you’d have thought I would have just learned in university. Not being a student shockingly changes how much you care about the quality of your clothes. SHOCKINGLY your boss might not find you rolling into work in sweats at 8:30am as cute as your prof/classmates might have. Learn to love washing in cold and laying out to dry. Your clothes will love you and your hydro bill will shrink (your clothes won’t though).

Secondly, Vancouver you are clique-y. I was warned about this before I got here and thought nothing of it. I’m fun, kind, and loud who wouldn’t wanna be my best friend?! A lot you actually. I learned that you can’t go into relationships at 100kms an hour: relationships take time and you can’t force all your weird on people right away because it can be a lot to handle. Learning this made me a better person. It made me understand that people have boundaries and it made me take a deep long look inward at my own boundaries. The nice thing about Vancouver being clique-y is that once you’re in, you’re in for life.

Thirdly, forget about owning anything ever. Vancouver’s market bubble is too high and renting is cool. Possessions tie you down anyway, and you’re a free spirit. Who needs credit, or equity, or anything.

Fourth, when in doubt complain about the weather! Vancouver has the weirdest weather and everyone here is always unhappy with it.

“It’s raining!”

“It’s hot and everything is on fire”

“There are cherry blossoms everywhere URG”

Trust me, it’s an easy topic of conversation if you ever get stuck and don’t know what to say.

Finally, I’ve learned that once you get a taste for seeing the mountains you can’t get away. They are captivating in every way. The west coast is stunning and there is so much to explore. Also everything I considered steep before I moved feels like a mole hill now in comparison.

It’s been a pretty crazy year out here, but I can honestly say I feel like I made the right choice. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

with love,

Lea