Beach Side Cottage | Fort Erie Adventure Diary

Happy Monday, Lovelies!

This weekend, I went on an amazing trip to Fort Erie, ON with my boyfriend and our group of friends to celebrate Adam, Emil and Anthony's birthdays. Even though it was a short staycation, we had an absolute blast bonding, hanging out, and going on adventures.

Our house was absolutely beautiful! The interior, the exterior, everything. It was the cutest little beach side house I've ever seen! We weren't on the water, but we were a 2 minute walk to Bernard Beach--which was nice. We never actually took a walk there, but the location, in general, was phenomenal. The house was beautifully decorated. Despite this being a cottage, it was decorated so modern and chic.

On the Friday night, after checking in, we all we took a drive to the closest town and did some grocery shopping. Then, we all hung out on the dining room table with our laptops and enjoyed a nice dinner Adam cooked us of Burgers and Fries. After dinner, we all got cozy in the living room as Adam, Emil and Anthony opened their birthday gifts. We, then, played Pokemon Monopoly until we got tired of the game and finished off the night playing League of Legends and Overwatch until people slowly started migrating to their rooms to sleep.

On Saturday, we all woke up pretty early and took a little drive to the nearest Tim Hortons to buy breakfast. Despite buying groceries, we realized we forgot to pick up any type of breakfast foods. We all ate breakfast together at the dinner table and proceeded to do homework and play video games until it was time for us to leave. Today, we had an Archery session booked at Barefoot Bushcraft. Originally, I booked a session for Adam and myself as a late birthday gift to Adam. We invited the rest of our friends to come, if they'd like, because we thought it may be something they would enjoy. It turns out, in the end, everyone had so much fun! We had more than enough time to all shoot at the targets, we enjoyed the outdoors, and we got to enjoy free dog petting with the most adorable husky dogs! Adam absolutely loved this part of his late birthday gift. He even got a kill-shot on the 15 meter deer.

After Archery, we drove down to Walmart, attempting to buy more food for dinner. In the end, we just bought snacks, and ended up at either McDonalds or Subway for dinner. We spent the evenings just hanging out and bonding in the living room and kitchen. The guys played video games on the dining room table while the ladies sat on the couch watching vlogs on the TV and bonding over stories. We also ended up watching the League of Legends Championship Series finals to watch SKT T1 win for the third time. We were all kind of hoping to pull an all nighter, but once 1am hit, we all slowly ended up migrating to our bedrooms.

On Sunday morning, we had to check out so we all woke up relatively early to clean up, pack, and hit the road. We spent a good amount of time taking group photos, as well!

Once we check out, we drove down to Crystal Beach to take some photos as well. It was completely empty because it is the middle of Fall, so we enjoyed all of the free space to check it out and take photos.

After taking photos at the beach, we took a drive to Niagara Falls to have breakfast and be a tourist. We enjoyed an amazing breakfast at iHop. We were all super full and happy once we got to eat. We headed down towards the falls for a little bit, then ended up at the arcade to play some games. Adam and I collected 774 tickets and he exchanged the tickets for a cute little baby penguin we named Pheobe. After grabbing drinks from Tim Hortons, we hit the road and headed home.

This has been such an amazing trip! We had so much fun celebrating current friendships, building on new friendships, and forming our little family. We all can easily agree that we have all become so close to where we consider each other family. It was such an amazing weekend spending time with such amazing people. I am so grateful to have them all in my life. I'm super excited for the future adventures we all have together!


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An Open Letter To My 18 Year Old Self

As I was going through my old Tumblr tonight, I found a draft for a very personal blog post I wrote to myself the night before my 21st birthday. Five months later, I've forgotten about this letter I wrote to myself, but was at peace I was after reading it because it reminded me that life moves forward.

No matter what age I am--or what age you are (yes you, reading this)--I feel like it is something that can relate to everyone's life no matter how old you are or what your past holds.

So, here is My Open Letter To My 18 Year Old Self:

Dear Jen,

Three years ago, I would have never thought I would be where I am today. Three years ago, I just turned 18, was in my senior year of high school, and my life was a mess. I just got out of a messy break-up from a two year, long distance relationship with a guy I’m convinced took advantage of me. I was just getting accepted into university to a program that I thought would lead me in a career field I thought I wanted to be in. I was dependent on what others thought of me; but I never let others help me. I felt the need to rely on a boy or a relationship to give me self-confidence. I was losing friends left and right because the people who I thought were my “friends” split when I started making decisions for myself while trying not to care what others thought of me. I was shy, kept to myself and my small circle, and pushed aside opportunities because I thought trying and failing was the worst thing that could happen to me. And to top it off, despite how hard I tried to keep it together, I had no clue what I wanted for my future.

Today, I am 21--and oh how things have changed. I’m the author of a successful Lifestyle blog, a technology blogger/writer for The Local Biz Magazine, have a YouTube gaming channel, and just opened my very own Etsy Sticker Store specializing in Planner/Functional Stickers! I just celebrated my three year anniversary with my high school sweetheart. I am almost finished my third year of university and am graduating from my program in about a year’s time. I still have a small circle--but no longer is it made up of friends; but of my second family. I am more open to taking chances, taking on opportunities, and trying to make the best of life. Nevertheless, there is still so much more work to be done and so much more to accomplish in life! This is just the start!


If there is anything I wish I could have told 18 year old me:

You need to learn to love and believe in yourself. The one thing I think I lacked the most was the self-confidence in myself--that I could do BIG and GREAT things. You don’t need the self-assurance of anyone else. You don’t need someone holding your hand, telling you every step of the way that you’re doing great. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you. If you don’t think you’re beautiful, successful, empowering, limitless--no one else will think you are either. You’ll just sit in a puddle of missed opportunities, bad relationships and self-pity. Life’s too short to ponder on what “could” have happened because you didn’t believe you could do it.

You should forgive. Forgive those who let you down. Forgive those who betrayed you. Forgive those who took advantage of your niceness. Forgive those who made you feel less than what you are. Forgive those who made you hate waking up in the morning and those who made it hard to sleep at night. But most importantly forgive yourself. There is no reason to continue to look back and weep over mistakes you made years ago. Mistakes and bad decisions are all part of growing up. It is all part of the experience. it is part of life. Forgive yourself for all the times you hurt yourself. Forgive yourself for all the times you didn’t say something when you know you should have. Forgive yourself for situations that were beyond your control. Just because things did not go the way you wanted it to be doesn’t mean it was your fault. Sometimes things just happen and you have no control over it. See it as a blessing.

No matter how much a boy breaks your heart, no relationship is a wasted relationship. No matter how bad the break-up or the relationship in general, it was still an experience who molded you into who you become. All the nights you spent crawled up in bed at 4 am crying to yourself because he was “out late with the boys”, got too drunk, and cheated on you again? It was an experience to remind you of your self-worth. All the times he shamelessly called you degrading names when you fought? It was a reminder that you need to get out and you deserve someone in the future that doesn’t say hurtful things to you. Eventually, with all of these bad experiences, you will form a “type” which will help you find someone who treats you like a princess, cares for you like a best friend, and works with you like a business partner--who will share similar goals and beliefs; but will also introduce you to so many new amazing experiences. Just hang in there.

No matter how much you want to believe you can do it on your own, you need to accept help from others. There will be people you will learn to trust, love, and will become your second family--your small group of best friends. On your hardest days and your most depressing nights, they will be the ones who listen to you rant, hug you when you cry, and make you laugh at unfunny jokes when you don’t even feel like smiling. They will be there to carry you through the ranks (lol of league ;D), laugh and take care of you when you had too much to drink, and cover for you when you all know you did a “no-no”. You need someone to rely on to get through the days--or days will start to look very lonely. You need to start breaking down walls.

No matter how much you want to trust them, not everyone can be trusted. Even so, that doesn't mean you can't be friends. People will lie to you. People will betray you. People will try to change others' perspectives of you. Why? You may never know or understand, but that doesn't mean you can't move forward in life. Eventually it won't hurt anymore. When people walk in and out of your life, it will no long cause distress. Instead, you will have already noticed they were distancing and it won't surprise you or phase you when they are gone. Just smile and move forward with your life. There's no point in crying over spilled milk. Everyone has a story and they just aren't part of the next chapter of your life and you are no longer apart of theirs.

At the end of the day, you just have to be true to yourself and all else will fall into place. Don't fall into the dark caves of haters and peer pressure because you are worth so much more than that. You can--and WILL--achieve so much more than that. Just don't give up and lose on you

Love Always, 

Jen xo


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Cobourg Beach | Adventure Diary

Yesterday for Civic Holiday, I went on a road trip with some friends to Cobourg Beach where I got to hang out with old friends and meet some new friends. I have been super exhausted from work, but a nice day full of good vibes and great people was a really nice treat.

We did some Pokemon Hunting (yes, I have been addicted to Pokemon Go too--who hasn't?), had a great time swimming in the lake, had a nice picnic in the sand for lunch, and ended our night having dinner all together at McDonalds, sharing jokes, and taking selfies. I seriously could not have asked for a better adventure! It has been a long time since I've laughed hysterically and felt not a worry to my name. I am super excited for what the future has in store with new adventures with these guys.


How was your summer been so far?

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A Week By The Falls | Niagara Falls Adventure Diary

Hey Cupcakes! Long time no chat! Sorry I've been really MIA from my blog lately. I've started a new full time job with many new projects and have been taking a little health break. This blog has become to feel like a full time job, rather than a passion and I just wanted to find me in all of it, again--but that's a story that will be saved for another time.

As many of you may know from my Trip Planning blog post, Adam and I had a lovely vacation planned to Niagara Falls, Ontario, last week! We had a fabulous time and I couldn't wait to share it with all of you! I took a few photos and also put together a short Adventure Diary on YouTube which I also shared below!

We spent our first day just hanging out at our Hotel. We booked our stay at the Hampton Inn by the Falls with the King Whirlpool Couples Package. Most of the first day we spent in bed watching movies and just relaxing. We also did some driving around Niagara picking up some snacks, getting to know the area and grabbing a bite from Burger King for dinner. We also enjoyed a nice bubble bath in our  whirlpool tub with some Sparkling Rosé.

On our second day, we woke up super early (lol sorry Adam for my unusually early natural clock) and drove over to Clifton Hill where we did lots of exploring and sight seeing. We had a huge breakfast at iHop, took a ride on the Niagara Skywheel, adventured through Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium, visited the Falls, enjoyed Cherry Sprite & Vanilla Coke at the Coca Cola Soda Bar, watched the creation of some handmade treats from the Hershey's Chocolate World Factory and took a stroll through Oakes Garden Theatre. We did this all before Noon--if that gives you an idea of how early I woke Adam up. After a well deserved four hour nap back in our hotel room, then headed back to Clifton Hill, where we enjoyed a lovely dinner at Rainforest Cafe, took a stroll through Queen Victoria Park, bought some French Macarons from The Fudge Factory, and took a drive to Niagara Square, where we watched TMNT at the Niagara Cineplex. We ended our evening with McDonalds ice cream and watched Criminal Minds on TV until we passed out for the night.

On our last day, we woke up fairly early, once again, to have breakfast at the Continental Breakfast provided by our hotel. We spent our whole morning napping and watching shows--go figure after the jam packed exploring from the previous day, huh? Nearing late afternoon, we took a trip back to Clifton Hill where we spent an hour at Casino Niagara where we used our free $50 casino credits provided to us through our hotel package. We won some money, then lost it all playing some more--lesson of the day: casinos are a vacuum that just suck all your money away. After finally giving up at the casino, we took a drive to A&W to pick up dinner, then headed back to the hotel. We enjoyed our dinner while watching more TV then decided to take take advantage of our tub, once last time, before our trip ended. We also ended up visiting the hotel sauna and pool area for a bit. On our final night, we ended up staying up extremely late eating snacks and watching movies on TV--probably my favourite part of the trip!

It was such an amazing trip, despite it still being kind of short and so close to home. We had so much fun spending time together and exploring. It's funny because we thought we'd hate each other by the end of the week--but I can't help but love Adam even more after spending a week with him. We haven't had much time to spend together this summer because we both have been working full time, but by the end, we both agreed that some time alone together was exactly what we needed. I am already overly excited for our next adventure!

On a side note: Five things I've learned about Niagara Falls
1) Stanley Ave. is your best friend in going anywhere
2) When booking a hotel, make sure it is actually somewhere close to travel spots or else you'll literally be driving all the time
3) Tourists don't read signs--especially if they say "Cars Have Right Of Way". Or they just don't care.. smh.
4) There's some TIF tax you pay on everything because it is a tourist area--which is super annoying
5) Driving in Niagara is really complicated and confusing--even with a GPS on


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Travel Planning | Planning for a Trip Using Your Planner + Other Travel Tips

Happy Monday, Planner People!

I have spent my whole weekend planning for a romantic getaway to Niagara Falls with Adam and I thought I'd share with you some of the ways I use my personal planner to plan my trips and stay organized during vacations. At the end, I also add some tips I like to use to get the most out of a trip of vacation that aren't necessarily planner related.

The weekly kit I am using for that week is the Summer Carnival Kit by LaceAndLogos on Etsy. This is a printable kit to fit the Erin Condren Life Planner, but fits (width wise) within the Happy Planner boxes. Personally, I kind of prefer using Erin Condren sized stickers for my Happy Planner because it provides me with more space for functional stickers or writing space. 

I chose this kit because of how adorable it was and it matched perfectly with the theme of my trip. While I'm not technically going to a carnival, Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls is basically like a street-long carnival with rides, mini putting, a giant ferris-wheel, ice cream shops, funnel cakes, and all the carnival goodies + a bunch of other awesome attractions. We are staying in a Hotel that is walking distance from Clifton Hill so I just thought this kit would go so well with that week's adventure. Plus, it was a super inexpensive printable with minimal functional stickers and lots of decorative stickers, so I could focus more on writing down my plans than jotting lists and tasks while making the week look super cute. 

An absolute must-have in my planner for vacations or trips is a "Vacation Washi" sticker to mark down the days I am away. I make these myself, but you could obviously use washi you have on hand or scrapbook paper to do this, as well. I just love doing this to remind myself how long I was away, if I ever look back at that spread, later on, for memory sake. I also sell a Stay-cation washi sheet in my shop.

I also track my hydration and work-outs. Even if I'm on vacation, that doesn't give me an excuse to slack on progress. Especially since I am away for four days, stopping my workouts for half a week will throw me off my workout daily routine. Hydration, no matter where you are, is very important. If anything, I try to drink more water than usual on trips, because of how much exploring in the sun I will be doing during this trip. 

For each day I am away, I like to use a Half Box to write a brief summary of that day's plans. That way, it is a quick reference to what I am doing, how I should dress, or what I should bring when I leave the hotel suite. 

On little page flags, I like to write plans for that specific day. I know sometimes plans change, so it is an essential to me--especially while planning this far ahead of time--to just mark them on page flags and later mark them permanently into my planner when plans are finalized. For the flags that say "Tubbing", it is just a reminder to myself that we have a Jacuzzi Tub in our hotel room and we could end the night like that if we do not find plans to do on the town that evening. 

At the top (sorry, I know the trackers are so faint--it is just the lighting of the photo), I also like to use meal trackers. Even though I am not cooking dinner, I like to use meal trackers to remind myself where/what I had (for) dinner that night. It is more for memorabilia, I'd say, but while I'm on trips, my inner-foodie goes wild. These could also be used to write down reservations you've made at restaurants. 

For plans that do not necessarily have a date specific to them--like attractions I want to see, but have not bought tickets for yet--I write them on page flags and keep them in the side bar. Some of these are also attractions that come with our couples package (like the wine tour, the chocolate tasting and the casino credits) that can be used at anytime during our trip.

The very top of my planner spread I reserved space for important notes to self or finalized plans. Check-in/out times, for example, are something important that you'd want to see immediately as you open your spread. Finalized plans, especially plans that have a time frame, are also things you'd want to see immediately when you first open that week's spread. 

Finally, keep your important documents in your planner. This includes travel accommodations information, maps, attraction tickets, travel tickets, etc. Anything you don't want to lose. They way I see it, if you were ever robbed, a person would go for your wallet--a place where most people keep this important information. I don't think a person would try to rob you of your planner--unless they really wanted your planner--but even so, you've probably already used a good chunk out of it. This way, you won't lose this information. If you are travelling by plane, your planner is probably with you on your carry on, anyways, so you won't lose it that way, either. 

In addition to all of these planner tips, here are some general travel planning tips, I have picked up, that do not necessarily involve a planner: 
  • Consider an Airbnb. Sometimes, Airbnb's are cheaper and provide you with more space/freedom. When I go away for events for my University, for example, I always travel with an airbnb because it usually provides me with a kitchen and usually costs far less than I would have paid if I used a hotel. I always share my Airbnb referral code, at the end of every post, if you'd like $26 off your first travel. 
  • Travel with Groupon. If you can't find an Airbnb, I'd suggest trying a website like Groupon. You can book your travel dates right on the website, you get a pretty good deal for accommodations, and much of the time your accommodations come with vouchers for attractions or dining in the area. You can also get discounted travel deals with websites such as Wagjag and Living Social
  • If you end up traveling with Groupon, don't forget to use Ebates. Ebates is a website that gives you cash-back for online purchases. When you purchase with Groupon, you get 15% cash back. I know websites like this are kind of sketchy, but in my personal experience, it has worked. I have gotten "Big Fat Checks' from them before and the money does deposit into my bank account. It is important to note though, that if you are Canadian, the money you accumulate is in USD. That being said, you probably want to consider either opening up a US Checking Account with your bank (I know CIBC and TD do it) or else you will have to pay a conversion fee. If you are interested in joining Ebates, I also share my referral link for this website at the end of every post.
  • Grocery Shop. Before you leave, take note of any grocery shops located near your hotel. If you know your accommodations have a fridge, take advantage of this. This will save you a lot of money--instead of buying take-out every meal--and you will know (somewhat) what goes into what you are eating. If you have a stove, even better, because you can cook yourself healthy meals at half (or more) the restaurant costs.
  • Pharmacies and Convenience Stores. Before you leave, also take note of any pharmacies and convenience stores near your hotel, as well. If you forgot anything (shampoo, soap, razors, Advil, bug spray, sunscreen, etc.) it will be much cheaper to get them at a pharmacy or convenience store than at the little shop downstairs of your hotel.
  • Research free local events. If you're looking for something fun to do while away, go on the tourism website and you're bound to find free events in the area.

This is overall how I use my planner to assist me in planning a trip or vacation. How do you use your planner to plan getaways? Also, for anyone who has been to Niagara Falls (Canadian Side), do you have any suggestions of places Adam and I should check out that I do not have listed in my planner? I'd love to hear them down below in the comments! 

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