Why don't you... [end of winter 2013]

Winter's almost over! Here are some little ways you can make the most of the season's end:

-Build a snow fort
-Escape to someplace warm
-Bundle up and explore your city
-Have a hot chocolate party
-Make plans for Easter/Ostara/Passover
-Go for an early morning walk and watch the sunrise
-Start making an action plan for next winter, so you'll be ready to battle SAD
-Make an inspiration board starring your body love icons
-Shop for boots or a winter coat. They start to go on sale at the end of the season. Excellent!
-Make an Easter wreath or garland. Or maybe some Peeps s'mores?

I can't believe it's almost March! Can you?

Image Source

Oscars 2013: Wrap-Up

Good morning, darlings! Did you watch the Oscars last night? I missed the first half (though I caught up on the good stuff later on), but had my eyes glued to the screen when Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress. I'd say that, and Seth MacFarlane's singing and dancing were the highlights, for me. How about you?

If you missed the show and want to catch up, or simply want to relive the magic, check out these links:

-Full list of 2013 Oscar Winners. Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Actress. I'm glad (and not surprised). You?
-35 People Who Just Realized That Seth MacFarlane is Actually Hot made me laugh. I think it's the phrasing, and maybe the fact that I've had a crush on him for the while. The juxtaposition of political humour and Old Hollywood entertainer just gets to me, I guess.
-Red Carpet fashion here and here. Whose look is your favourite?
-The entire Oscars show is available online, for the first time ever.
-Seth MacFarlane's opening monologue and musical numbers.
-Quvenzhane Walis' puppy purses are adorbs!

Finally, since Oscar Winner (!!!) JLaw is clearly popular around here....

-Jennifer Lawrence Tells Ryan Seacrest That She's Starving.
-She tripped at the Oscars... and still looked cool.
-Her best Oscar red carpet gifs.

Things I Love Friday 22.2.2013

Here's what made my week:

Spring is coming! It doesn't feel like it yet-- think icy sidewalks and chilly weather-- but I remain optimistic. I dream of pastel manicures, flirty pinks and sky blues, blooming flowers and outdoor picnics.

Brunch with my dad. Last weekend we dined on amazing Atlantic salmon eggs Florentine and peppermint tea while we caught up. I love that, both being adults now, we're closer than we were when I was a teenager. Now, I look forward to the time we spend together.

I was chosen to model plus size lingerie at an upcoming sex-positive show! I'm so excited. For info about the show (Sexapalooza Toronto), click here. Lingerie & other adult-friendly wares will be on sale. Come say hi!

Super mega love for:

♥ There's a special yoga mat for cats! ♥ Listening to Queen. ♥ Nubby Twiglet's citrus & sunshine moodboards. ♥ Rereading Les Miserables ♥ New twitter followers. ♥ Cream soda ♥ Good mail days! ♥ Catching up on The Big Bang Theory episodes with my mom. ♥ Pizza with sausage, feta and black olives ♥ Flirting! Ooh la la! ♥ Making plans with my best friends. ♥ "LMAO ILY" texts from my dad. LOL, amirite? ♥ Blue & cream stripes. ♥

What made your week, sugar?

February Favourites

Here's a little list of the things I'm loving this month:

February Favourites

Tangle Jr. -- These make great fidget toys for people with anxiety or impulse control disorders.
Brita bottle -- Buy yours here! Free shipping on Canadian orders $25+. Practical, portable, and it makes tap water taste good.
Troll dolls -- How could you not smile when you see these?!
Old Navy polar fleece scarf -- The scarf pictured is similar. Cozy, practical and cute.
Striped sweaters -- See above! Cozy, practical and cute.
Blue glitter nail polish -- I like Nails Inc's "Royal Arcade".
Lap desk -- It helps keep my laptop from overheating, and is comfortable for hours.
Dairy Milk Cookie Crunch -- Yum. Just yum.
Sparkly hair clips -- Mine were a gift, but you can get some at the dollar store (!!), Ardene or Etsy.

Want your product or site featured in this new series of monthly favourites? Contact me for information.

Full disclosure: I purchased all of these items myself (unless otherwise specified). This post is not sponsored in any way, however an affiliate link is included in this post. Thanks for supporting Polish and Sparkle!

Trichotillomania Treatment Options & Coping Strategies

In times of stress, boredom or anxiety, those with trichotillomania (also known as compulsive hair-pulling) tend to have an especially difficult time with their symptoms. [Here's a refresher on what trichotillomania is].

If you have trich, some of these ideas might work for you-- I know many of them have helped me!

Treatment Options:

-Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. CBT is known for treating many illnesses, including anxiety, depression and fibromyalgia. I had a huge breakthrough in my treatment for trich during a CBT session, and have encountered studies and individuals who tout its efficacy. Ask your GP, psychologist or psychiatrist for a referral to a certified CBT practitioner for group or individual sessions.

-Medication. The bad news: there's no special pill that will stop you from pulling your hair. The good news: some medications which help anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses can aid in treatment of trichotillomania, too. If you are already on medication for a comorbid condition, chances are its positive effects will spread to your hair-pulling. When one illness is especially bad, others are, too; when one is successfully treated, you'll see an improvement in others, too.

-Alternative therapies. Many people have had success with alternative therapies, such as herbal remedies or different types of psychology/talk therapy. Ask your doctor if one of these may benefit you.

-Support groups. Improve your self-image, meet others with similar situations and share ideas that have helped you cope. This is an excellent way to make friends who 'get' what you're going through, too.

Meanwhile, find some coping strategies that work for you. (These are meant to help control symptoms, rather than treat the underlying illness). Below are a whole bunch for you to try.

Coping Strategies:

-Play with fidget toys-- a slinky, silly putty, a bracelet...

-Talk to someone you trust (especially if they have a similar disorder).

-Create a barrier between your fingers and the area you usually pull from. Wear a hoodie, gloves, bandanna or a hat.

-Pay attention to when and where you usually pull. Sometimes awareness is enough to stop pulling.

-Set small, measurable goals. "I will not pull for the next hour", or "I will not pull more than twice today". Continually raise the bar, and celebrate when you succeed.

-Wear an elaborate hairstyle or fancy hair clips.

-Wear nail polish or perfume. You'll be likelier to notice your hand reaching for your hair.

-Put lotion on your hands. This will make grasping hair more difficult.

-Pet a cat or dog.


-Try mantras, like "I am stronger than the urge to pull".

-Lift weights, go rock climbing or swim. Your arms will be too tired to pull.

-Keep a journal.

-Know your triggers.

-Practice self love.

Image Source

Valentine's Day Ideas [2013]

This Valentine's Day. why don't you...

♥ Be your own valentine-- buy yourself flowers, eat something delicious, romance yourself!
♥ Give your sweetheart an amazing massage, a night at the movies, or a home-cooked meal.
♥ Re-read your favourite romantic novel.
♥ Write a love letter to someone you adore.
♥ Have a fancy dinner party.
♥ Go out on the town, solo.
♥ Cook dinner for your parents.
Read this.
♥ Exchange copies of your favourite books with your best friends.
♥ Pop a bottle of pink champagne.
♥ Eat chocolate-covered fruit in the bath.
♥ Make out. (Keepin' it simple, right?!).
♥ Paint your nails red and pink, perhaps with little hearts and tons of glitter?
♥ Splurge on some luxurious lingerie.
♥ Bake a cake for your neighbours.
♥ Have a midnight picnic with your lover (dress code: underthings only), then read some erotica over dessert. Ooh la la!
Take this advice.
♥ Send some valentines! These, these or these, perhaps?
♥ Eat something yummy & heart-shaped, like pavlova with Chantilly cream, a chocolate raspberry tart, or a Sacher torte with handmade truffles dusted with cocoa powder in three different shades?
♥ Buy one of these, one of these, one of these or some of these for some *ahem* adult fun.
♥ Eat heart-shaped eggs for breakfast or lunch with your room mates.

Just remember that Valentine's Day is all about love-- whether it's self-love, romantic love, or love for friends or family. However you choose to celebrate, have a wonderful day!


On Choice & Mental Illness

Here's the harsh reality:

We who battle mental illness will continue to do so for the rest of our lives. There's no cure. That's fact-- Just like we didn't choose to be born with a gene that predisposes us to mental illness, and/or didn't choose to experience the trauma that led to our developing a mental illness.

There is one matter in which we have a choice, though: we can choose to thrive. Some days will be hard. Some weeks, some months, maybe some years. And we might have to work harder than most.

But that's okay.

What I've learned, in my 20 years as a mental illness survivor is that hopefulness, self-love and persistence can take you far. Much farther than you ever dreamed.


And then, work toward your goals.

You can do this. Recovery (and a happy life) is in your grasp. Don't let anything (illness or otherwise) stop you. You can do this.

Macarons, Florida & Funding Your Biz: Link Love 9.2.2013

WiseBread shares 25 ways to save $5 this week. I wouldn't have thought of some of these, and many seem very doable. And from Work Save Live, 5 easy ways to save money.

Life lessons from Silver Linings Playbook.

Golda Poretsky shares body- positive ways to amp up your attractiveness. I love these.

33 Reasons to be Thankful for Florida. Buzzfeed, you've done it again! I love their Florida roundups.

Carol Tice says it's necessary to invest money in your freelance business start-up; you can't start sans funding. What do you think? My opinion: starting a freelance writing biz requires much less cash than other types of businesses, but it does require some. "If your bank account is empty, do you have to give up your freelance writing dream? Not necessarily." She goes on to list ways to cope with lack of funding, including lowering your expenses and relying on credit cards-- both of which I've done, unfortunately. Difficult, but doable. Your thoughts?

10 amazing movies for Black History Month.

I want to make these DIY crayon hearts, don't you? Pretty for Valentine's Day, or anytime of year, really.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper are friends, and they're having a bromantic holiday in Miami. How cute is that?!

A Canadian's Requium for the Penny. (I'm still upset the Canadian penny is being phased out).

25 things you don't have to justify to anyone. Thought Catalog is spot on!

Oh my goodness! Soooo many macarons! Yummy, non?

Here's the first ever lingerie line made by and for transgender women.

I'm excited to try the new Flower beauty line, because it looks pretty and afforable. Check out some of the products here at All You.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Red, White & Disney: What I Wore 23.1.2013

Red, White & Disney. The day I wore this outfit. I was in Florida-- at Disney World's Epcot, to be precise-- the sun was shining, and I was extraordinarily happy. What a perfect day for a comfy, laid-back, boldly coloured outfit.

What I Wore:
Sunglasses: RayBan
Bag: Travelon
Necklace: Etsy
Tops: Old Navy (both; they're layered)
Pants: Walmart
Shoes: Dr Scholl's

Snapshots: Orlando/Kissimmee January 2013 [plus my guest posts for i.seeKissimmee]

Last month, I was lucky enough to spend a week and a half in sunny Central Florida. Here are the highlights from my trip (including the 11 posts I wrote for Kissimmee, FL's tourism department).

 I found this bird pretty hilarious... but it could have been all the sugar in the cotton candy I'd eaten!

 "I'm just SO HAPPY to be in Florida!!"

 Bodie's in Downtown Disney makes the BEST falafel veggie burgers EVER!

 The beignets at the Tomorrowland Cafe in Magic Kingdom are out of this world.

 Lego sculpture in Downtown Disney.

 Mainstreet USA

 Shopping at Target with Mickey!

My posts for i.seeKissimmee:

Ta-Ta, Toronto! Hello, Kissimmee!
6 Top Tips for Planning a Kissimmee Vacation
Osceola County's Mystic Dunes Resort
I-drive: 4 Things To Do & 3 Reasons Why
Fun for Kids and Adults Alike at Downtown Disney
Central Florida for History Buffs
Shopping in Kissimmee
Art in Central Florida
3 Best Eats in Central Florida
Disney Magic for Adults: Epcot
Goodbye from the Gorenkoffs 

Success or Suicide: On 'Black-and-White' Thinking

Note: This post may be triggering due to mention of suicidal thoughts.
When I was 16, I believed there were only two possibilities: by 21, I'd have it all figured out, or I'd be dead.

Around that time I took a CBT class, which went through all the major psychological coping mechanisms. What I didn't know then, was that one of them-- black and white, or 'all or nothing' thinking (also known as 'splitting')-- perfectly described what I was thinking-- and was a symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder, which, at the time, I did not believe I had.

On my way to class each Wednesday, I wrestled with this thought: 'I have to try my best, because this class might be my last hope. If I fail, I'll have no more options and I'll never be able to cope with my mental illness and then I'll have to kill myself'.

No rational thought could stop this pattern. I couldn't process that there's a grey area between success and failure, between success and suicide. That's black and white thinking.

I definitely didn't want to die, and I wasn't being dramatic, either. I was just so depressed, and overwhelmed by my untreated BPD, that I couldn't see a third option.

I wish I could hug my teenage self, tell her to hold on, because there's so much life she hasn't experienced yet. Most importantly, I wish I could tell her that, for certain now, I know therapy works, and antidepressants work, and believing in yourself works.

Whatever stage you're at in fighting your illness, I want you to know this: It's possible to recover. Even if you need medication (or don't). Even if you need therapy (or don't). Even if you don't believe in yourself at first. Even if you stumble sometimes (I know I still do!).

The world is not all black and white. Accept that there's an in-between, and believe that you deserve and can achieve amazing things (including recovery). Then, you'll thrive.

Are you a feminist? Do you believe in marriage equality?

"Are you a feminist?"

I think this should be everyone's answer to that question:

'Oh, yeah, absolutely. At one point, ‘feminist’ became a pejorative term. How did that happen? If you’re a feminist, you’re basically saying you’re a humanist...'.
-Julianne Moore, when asked if she's a feminist.

Then, she continues:

'That’s why the issue of gay marriage is so important to me. It’s about everybody having the same shot at everything, at work, at marriage, at life'.

Shouldn't it be that easy? Everyone deserves equal rights. End of discussion.

Tumblr, Target & Shetland Ponies in Sweaters: Link Love 2.2.2013

Oodles of links for you, this week! Enjoy!

James Deen as the Ikea Monkey... I love it! (Remember this?!).

How do you feel about Tumblr's new dashboard? I'm still undecided.

Oyster lists the best hotel bathrooms in Las Vegas, and wow.. some of them are enormous!

"What is the one thing you are helping people with?" asks Amanda Genther:
What is the one thing that you absolutely love helping people – almost feel obliged to help people learn? What topic are you intensely interested in? ...Go back to the core of your business.

Getting excited about Target Canada? Me too!

A friendly reminder.

Dakota Fanning looks stunning in Glamour.

I love this article about a woman's choice to wear a hijab.

If you're curious about what Lena Dunham did pre-Girls, you should watch Tiny Furniture on Netflix. I haven't yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Related: here's an article about the subject of Lena's new show.

Body glitter totally was the best!

Felicia's houndstooth pattern is tileable, downloadable and free-- not to mention gorgeous.

30 Rock is over! Let's remember Liz Lemon like this.

Lastly: Shetland ponies in sweaters :) Have a wonderful weekend!

Image: Rebel Wilson

Things I Love Friday 1.2.2013

My cat, who spent all day yesterday alternating between ignoring and hissing at me, is currently sitting in a little fuzzy black ball, purring. He keeps getting up and headbutting my elbow, which makes it really difficult to type! He's adorable, though, so I have to forgive him.

This week hasn't been nearly as productive as I'd have liked, in part because I spent so much time beating myself up about not being productive. Isn't it ridiculous that we humans do that?

Nonetheless, here are the highlights of my week:

Wednesday night dinner with my dad. We went from being really close when I was a kid, to not speaking at all when I was a teenager, to actually liking each other again, now. I have a lot of hope for our future. Deep down, I'm still my Daddy's little girl (even if I'm not so little any more.. emotionally or physically).

♥ Finishing my stint as i.seeKissimmee's guest blogger. It was great to not only go 'home' to Central Florida, but to be published on a major tourism site as well. That's huge! Thank you for the experience, Kissimmee CVB!

♥ ...can I say getting cuddles from Edward counts as a highlight of my week? Ijustlovehimsomuch (see opening of this blog post...).

& super mega love for:

♥ The sweetest texts from Tush. Dressing Edward up in a little red hat. Tee hee. ♥ Starting to plan my next trip-- yes, I already have itchy feet! ♥ Finally posting this (the topic has been on my mind for ages). ♥ Lemon chicken, soft noodles and garlic brocoli ♥ February. That means winter is almost over! I'm trying not to wish time away, but winter is hard for me. ♥ Valentine's Day is coming up! I don't have anything planned, but I'm excited anyway. I like pink, candy and sappy movies. C'est parfait. ♥ Polish & Sparkle has a new header! I hope you like it.

Tell me about your week! I do love your emails, comments and tweets!
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