About Relijen



My name is Jen Olenick and I’m a born and bred California girl, who became an unexpected Manitoba girl when I went and fell in love with a Winnipegger.

We decided that I would move up, instead of him moving down. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked why I would do that, Jeff Bezos could eat my dust. Ha! The answer, of course, was love. And my readiness for a new adventure. 

For those of who are unfamiliar with Canada, the city of Winnipeg is the beating heart of Canada. The capitol of the province of Manitoba. Right smack-dab in the middle of the beautiful, Canadian prairies.

When the anxiety of moving to a new country and hoping to “fit in” set in, I asked myself the same question I would often ask my son during tough times, growing up. Yes, this all felt kind of dark and ominous but “What’s the silver lining, here?” 


The primary plus was obvious. I was moving to a whole other country because the prince my mom always told me would come, when I was little, finally showed up! Huzzah!! (Yes, I was a Disney child, but I grew up to be a little more like Sarah Conner.)

But, what about the part after the honeymoon. What to do while we’re coasting through eternal bliss? 

The answer doesn’t always come immediately and it’s frustrating. I tend to overthink things and drive myself nuts over them. So, I let it go. And as usual, the answer hit me like ton of bricks when I least expected it. 

This was my opportunity to start fresh. To finally start doing “me”, instead of everybody else. This was my rare chance to start living an authentic life. One that reflects who I am, how I feel about our world and what I appreciate most about it and the people in it. 

I made the decision to leave all my demons and emotional baggage at the airport security check point. To get on that plane and fly toward happy. 

After arriving and getting settled, I did go through a period of awkward adjustment. But, it didn’t last long. The support and acceptance I received was absolutely overwhelming. I began to feel a lightness of spirit. Completely devoid of judgement and criticism. 

When somebody tells you that Canadians are the nice ones….believe them. 

So, what was my new venture of authenticity going to look like? What do I like to do? Well…I like history, I like to write and tell stories, I like to garden and cook and design interior spaces and travel…Holy Cannoli! What am I gonna do with all of that? 

After much internal debate, I decided to start a blog.  With one page for each of my passions. And the opportunity to share them with all of you. Which is the best part!

Jen and Darren Olenick at Their First Hockey Game Together

If someone had told me 10 years ago that 10 years from then I would be living happily in another country,  sharing my gardening, cooking and design adventures with great people…I would’ve told them they were nuts. It’s funny how things turn out and where the road of life takes us. 

I will not lie and say that adapting to living in a new country is easy. Especially when that new country can get vastly colder than what a California girl is used to. But, as I’ve learned, it’s all about love, patience and being open to adventure and acclimatization. 

The goal of relijen.com is to strive to be your reliable go-to for  delicious and healthy recipes, effective and bountiful gardening practices, beautiful and budget-friendly interior design projects and simple avenues toward long-term sustainability. All while encouraging you to reach for your own authentic style.  

Thanks for being here and welcome to my world!