100 Prompts for When You’re Suffering Writers Block!

Hey y’all!

So — writers block. As bloggers, we’ve all been there. There’s absolutely nothing more frustrating than wanting to write, or trying to meet deadlines, but having absolutely no idea where to start. Since last year, when COVID hit, I started experiencing writers block WAY harder than I ever had in the past. Pre-2020, while I had rough weeks here and there, I was always able to find SOMETHING to share for each of my Sunday blog posts. However, as a lifestyle blogger, it got challenging to find inspirations when life came to a stop. Many of my posts felt straight up monotonous, and many weeks I felt as though I couldn’t come up with anything at all.

We can all agree that the frustration that writers block creates is just about the worst feeling ever. However, no matter what’s going on in your life in the moment, the reality is as a lifestyle blogger you always have a wealth of source material waiting to be tapped into. Life isn’t just what’s happening in the moment, after all — it can be past lessons learned, goals for the future, little things that make you happy or the hobbies and interests that make you who you are.

That’s why, this week, I decided to compile a list of 100 prompts for bloggers suffering writer’s block. I’ve chosen various topics, from fashion, to wellness, to budgeting or even blogging itself that pretty much covers at least one topic for every type of lifestyle blogger out there. No matter who you are and what your niche is — there’s a prompt in here that’s perfect for you. The prompts vary a little between them — some of them are more open-ended, some are meant to inspire your own fresh ideas for a post on a related topic, and some are meant to be a question that can be answered directly in a simple and concise way. However you interpret these prompts is really up to you — so I hope you enjoy reading through them and getting inspired for your future posts! Feel free to save this post for future reference, as well — so that even if you’re overflowing with ideas now, you’ll never have to worry about your creative well running dry ever again.

Media & Culture Prompts

  1. A list of the best TV shows for when you’re in a specific mood
  2. Music recommendations and playlists
  3. A list of movies that would make the best movie marathons
  4. Your take on the latest pop-culture drama
  5. TV shows/Movies/Music everyone should check out regardless of what genres they usually stick to

Fashion & Style Prompts

  1. Your favourite fashion trends for the upcoming season
  2. Your fave fashion staples that never go out of style
  3. Shoes and bags that work with any outfit
  4. Hair accessory trends for the upcoming season that you love
  5. Sharing your specific style and favourite clothing items & accessories

Skincare & Makeup Prompts

  1. What are your favourite brands and why?
  2. What is your skincare routine?
  3. What is your everyday makeup look?
  4. What secret tips do you have for completing your perfect makeup look?
  5. What’s some skincare advice you’d share with beginners?

Lifestyle and Advice Prompts

  1. How you’d plan out the perfect self care night
  2. Your favourite ways to take a break when you’re feeling overwhelmed
  3. Organization tips and tricks that helped you get your life/living space/time management under control
  4. Positive mantras and affirmations you use when you’re feeling down
  5. Activities and advice to help get out of a mental health funk

Blogging about Blogging Prompts

  1. What did you wish you knew when you started blogging?
  2. What are some of the best hidden resources for bloggers you know of?
  3. What did you do that made your blog take off?
  4. What are YOUR favourite posts to read as a blogger?
  5. How you started to monetize your blog and grow your reach

Social Media Advice Prompts

  1. Best locations in your city for Instagram posts
  2. Best poses for people who hate taking photos
  3. Best ways to utilize Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest for outreach
  4. Best apps for perfecting your Insta pics and feed
  5. How to best utilize Pinterest (seriously, someone please write this! I’ve been using Pinterest for over a year and I still don’t understand how it works)

School and Education Prompts

  1. Studying hacks that have helped you ace classes
  2. Your best advice for surviving high school/first year/university
  3. How to handle tough situations in high school/university
  4. How to take legible, organized notes
  5. Your morning routine to ensure you’re ready and organized for the day (+how you wind down at night!)

Work and Careers Prompts

  1. How did you decide what career to pursue?
  2. Advice for people joining the workforce right now
  3. Advice on how to be successful in your specific field
  4. Secrets about your field the general public doesn’t know
  5. How to perfect a resume (+anything else related to applying to jobs in your field!)

Friends and Social Situations Prompts

  1. How to meet new people (+ especially if you’re not meeting people from school, university or work!)
  2. How to deal with friendship drama
  3. How to identify toxic relationships
  4. What do you think makes someone a good friend?
  5. What are some little things your friends do for you and each other that help you feel loved?

Love and Relationships Prompts

  1. What was something you wish you knew before your first relationship?
  2. What advice would you give your 16 year old self when it comes to love?
  3. What are the best ways to prep for a first date?
  4. What are some great date ideas for long-term couples looking to try something new?
  5. How did you know when your partner was “the one”? (+do you believe in soulmates?)

Making It Through Bad Situations Prompts

  1. What’s something you’ve been through in your life that was particularly challenging? What advice would you have for others facing similar situations?
  2. What is something you knew about life when you were 16 that you learned the hard way?
  3. What is some life advice you have for others based on what you’ve experienced in life?
  4. What was a mistake you made in life that you learned from?
  5. How has the last year of your life changed who you are or how you view the world?

Self-Reflection Prompts

  1. What are some life lessons you learned that you’d like to share?
  2. What was a toxic trait you had that you reflected on and changed?
  3. How did you learn to break a bad habit?
  4. How did you become your authentic self (both in person and through your online persona?)
  5. How have you actively worked to improve yourself? What worked and what didn’t?

Cooking, Baking, and Drinks Prompts

  1. What’s your favourite recipe?
  2. How do you make the perfect menu (charcuterie, appies, drinks food or dessert).for hosting dinner parties?
  3. What are the best recipes you’ve learned since lockdowns?
  4. What are some great recipes for those with limited time/beginners/people on a budget?
  5. What are some go-to recipes that never fail you?

Travelling & The World Prompts

  1. What is your current travel Wishlist?
  2. What are your favourite places you’ve ever been to?
  3. Where are the best places for tourists to visit in your city?
  4. Think of a location you travelled to in the past. Where would you recommend someone visiting there go?
  5. Where are the best ways you’ve learned to travel on a budget?

Home & Decor Prompts

  1. How did you decide how to decorate your first apartment?
  2. How do you find your perfect design aesthetic?
  3. Where should you start when decorating on a budget?
  4. What are some cheap/easy decor additions to make your living space more homey?
  5. Share your apartment decor + specific niche style!

Budgeting Prompts

  1. What are tips they don’t teach you in school about saving money?
  2. How did you learn to manage your savings and control your spending?
  3. If you coupon — what are your best tips and tricks for finding the best deals?
  4. What is your best advice for avoiding unnecessary purchases/compulsive shopping?
  5. What are they best ways to stay stylish on a budget?

Adulting Prompts

  1. What is something you wish you knew before entering the “real world”?
  2. What advice would you give your 16-year-old self about practical, real-life adulting skills?
  3. What are some secrets about being an adult that no one tells you (or admits to — even when you’re all adults!)
  4. What are some of the best hacks you’ve discovered for handling adult life?
  5. What is the best advice you can offer for those in their early adulthood?

Lockdown 2020/2021 Prompts

  1. How has your life changed over the last year?
  2. What are your favourite COVID-safe/at home ways to keep in touch with loved ones?
  3. What are the best new hobbies for those who are looking to try something new?
  4. What new skills and hobbies have you tried over the last year? Which ones did you like best?
  5. What tips do you have for maintaining good mental health during bad times?

Organizational Prompts

  1. What are your favourite hacks to keep your living space organized?
  2. What products changed your life in terms of staying organized?
  3. How do you go about keeping your personal space clean, even when you’re at your busiest?
  4. How do you organize your planner and schedule your daily life?
  5. What routines do you maintain that help you stay on top of everything?

Health and Wellness Prompts

  1. What are your favourite quick and easy healthy recipes?
  2. What are some great exercise routines for beginners?
  3. How did you get started on your fitness journey? What did you wish you knew before you started?
  4. What are some realistic ways to stay active and motivated day to day?
  5. What are your favourite tools (ie. meditating, exercise, sleep) for mitigating stress and maintaining your health?

As always — happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you’ve all been doing well and staying safe. We’re really closing in on one year since COVID lockdowns hit now, which is absolutely insane to think about. This time last year, I was away on Mexico on vacation, life was good and I had absolutely NO idea what was about to hit me in the weeks to come. It’s been a long year, but I’m finally feeling like I’m going to make it out in one piece. How are you all feeling about the one-year anniversary of lockdowns coming up? Drop a comment below and let me know — it’s going to be an interesting and difficult time reflecting on it all, certainly. At the very least, with any luck, we’re nearing the end of the pandemic — so at least we’ll have something to celebrate sometime soon. I, personally, truly believed that lockdowns were going to last two, maybe three weeks at most — and look at us now! If I could go back a year and tell myself what was coming, there’s no way I’d ever believe it.

Much love,

Meredith

The 10 Best Items I Received From FabFitFun Last Year!

Hey y’all!

I hope you’ve all been doing well! This week definitely has me feeling a little unmotivated, but I was pretty excited to write and share this post with you all, so I managed to pull it together and get it all ready to go for you guys! I hope you all enjoy it — it was a really fun one to plan out and write.

As many of you know, I’ve been a MAJOR fan of FabFitFun since well before I ever started my blog. For the uninitiated — FabFitFun is a lifestyle subscription box that sends out four boxes per year (which equals one box per season). In their own words, “the FabFitFun box includes a selection of full-size products across beauty, fashion, fitness, wellness, home, and tech – delivered each season. In addition to the Box, FabFitFun members receive access to year-round perks including FabFitFunTV, a streaming video service that offers on-demand wellness content, the FabFitFun online Community, members-only shopping experiences, and more.” Between the sales, being introduced to new products and brands, as well as receiving little surprises in each box that have become absolute staples in my life — FabFitFun is all-around one of my fave brands and the only subscription box I receive (and need).

Each box contains about 8-10 products, and without an annual membership, each individual box costs $50USD — however, the value per each box is usually around $200USD, making it well worth your money. I’ve been a subscriber since 2018, and I’ve honestly never let a single product go to waste — everything I’ve received has been so fantastic, and I’ve discovered MANY of my favourite products and brands through their boxes.

Today, I wanted to share with you all my ranked top 10 products I received in my 2020 boxes! All of these items I’m sharing with you are things I use frequently and absolutely adore. Everything I’ve listed is a personal 11/10 for me — but enough about that, let’s get into each individual product!

1. NATURELAB. TOKYO PERFECT HAIR TREATMENT MASQUE

Received In: Fall 2020 Box

This product ranks #1 on my list because frankly, not only was it one of the best products I received — it took me completely by surprise, too. I’m really picky when it comes to hair products (perhaps even more so than I am with skincare) after years of bleaching my hair blonde damaged it to the point that it needed constant care and attention to maintain any semblance of health. Even though my blonde hair has long since grown out and been chopped off, I still have a strong need to maintain a completely regular hair routine, complete with the same shampoo, conditioner, hair masks and a wide array of protective products to keep it looking and feeling it’s healthiest. Essentially, I have a bit of an aversion to trying new products as I’m (somewhat unnecessarily) worried they’ll end up damaging my hair. However, I was running out of my usual Ouai hair mask when I received this product and I certainly wasn’t going to let it go to waste, so I decided to give it a try. You guys — this may be the best hair mask I’ve ever tried. I love Ouai, but I’m seriously contemplating switching over (the only problem being shipping from the US). This mask leaves my hair feeling SO soft, it’s actually insane. My hair is usually pretty soft — after all, I put a whole lot of effort and care into it — but this mask has taken my hair to another level. I’m legitimately in love.

2. TOMS SYDNEY SUNGLASSES

Received In: Summer 2020 Box

Okay, I absolutely LOVE these sunglasses. FabFitFun has always been pretty on the nose with great sunglasses in their boxes, but these are the best pair I’ve ever owned. They’re so flattering and oh-so cool — as soon as I put these on, no matter what I look like, my confidence increases about 150%. They go with any outfit, and would honestly look good on absolutely anyone. I love sunglasses — they’re probably my favourite accessory — so these being my favourite pair says a lot. (Plus, who knew TOM’s made sunglasses? I sure didn’t, but they should keep on doing it).

3. SUMMER & ROSE COZY ROBE

Received In: Winter 2020 Box

This robe makes me absolutely never want to get off my couch. It is SO COZY. I actually don’t think I’ve ever owned something so warm and comfortable. If you’re looking for a good, soft robe for lazy days, check this one out. I’ve owned plenty of silk robes for wearing when I’m getting ready, but this one serves a totally different purpose and I’m so glad I received it in my last box — I’ve already gotten so much use out of it since then that I’d absolutely be willing to pay full price for it.

4. WEI TWO-IN-ONE PURIFY AND GLOW MASK COLLECTION

Received In: Spring 2020 Box

These face masks were some of the best masks I’ve ever owned. The mud masks in particular made me feel like I had a whole new face after each use. They acted as a sort of charcoal mask, but instead of being harsh or drying (as many charcoal masks often do) they cleared out my pores WHILE hydrating my skin and leaving it soft and fresh after each use. And while I’m not a fan of physical exfoliators, the exfoliating masks were gentle enough I didn’t worry about them causing damage and left my skin feeling SO SOFT and brand new after each use. Plus, I’ve gotten so much use out of the little mask-applicator brush ever since I received this mask set — making it an all-around win and one of my fave FabFitFun gifts of all time.

5. SUMMER & ROSE SNAKESKIN TOTE

Received In: Summer 2020 Box

This wasn’t actually something I received in a box per se, but an add-on I chose to receive alongside my summer box. For those of you who don’t know, FabFitFun offers add-on sales with each box that offer hundreds of different products at massive discounts. This year I decided to give add-ons a try, and I started off with this tote bag. Honestly, after looking through the options for add-ons offered I felt kind of silly for not checking it out before. I got this purse for only $30, and it’s become an absolute staple for me. I use this bag eery day — it’s so high quality, cute, and holds everything I need easily. Considering how long I’ve had it, I had kind of forgotten how cheap it was — when I went back to check for this post just now, it really blew my mind because of how well-made this bag is. (Moral of the story: if you have a FabFitFun subscription and you AREN’T already checking out the add-ons each season, you’re missing out!!!).

6. CHIC & TONIC SILICONE STRAWS

Received In: Spring 2020 Box

These straws, while not the most exciting thing I received at the time, have really proved their worth over the last year. These were an option I received randomly in my gifted items, and at the time I didn’t pay much attention to them — I already had some reusable straws, after all. However, all the reusable straws I owned were metal — making them bulky, tricky to transport and clean, and honestly kind of unpleasant to use. These silicone straws, on the other hand, are SO easy to carry around since they squish down pretty small AND came with a carrying case, are more pleasant to use than metal straws — and the fact that they’re super cute is just a bonus. I’ve been trying to add more reusable products into my daily life over the past few years, and especially in COVID when I don’t really want to be drinking out of glasses that may be contaminated, these straws have been a real lifesaver.

7. FLIGHT MODE SKINCARE HIGH-ALTITUDE HYDRATION MASK

Received In: Winter 2020 Box

This was another item I was honestly a little unsure about that I ended up loving (which really seems to be a trend with a lot of my favourite items!). I’m really picky about skincare, so I didn’t really know how to feel about receiving a mask from a brand I’d never heard of — especially since I already own some hydrating masks that I use pretty frequently. However, this mask is more so an extra moisturizer than a face mask — it isn’t meant to be washed off, so you simply leave it on overnight as you would with any normal moisturizer. It’s super-lightweight and is made of a gel-like formula, which is always my favourite way to go for moisturizing products as I have super dry skin but also hate products that are too heavy. Whenever I have days that my skin is still feeling a little dry after I’ve completed my routine, I just throw on a little of this mask and wake up feeling good as new the next day — it’s really been a new favourite in my skincare lineup.

8. SILKED SATIN PILLOWCASE

Received In: Summer 2020 Box

I’m sure I’ve made a post about the benefits of silk pillowcases before, but if you don’t already have one — you probably should. Silk and satin pillowcases are extra-gentle on your skin and hair, reducing overnight damage from tugging on them while you sleep. I’ve been using silk pillowcases for years, and I really noticed the difference immediately — especially for my hair, which used to be pretty damaged from frequent bleaching, as I mentioned above. I used to have 4 silk pillowcases that I rotated through between washes, but when I moved and redecorated my pink pillowcases no longer matched, so I stored them away for the time being and limited myself to one silk pillowcase a week up until I received this one in my summer box. As well, this pillowcase is specifically meant for travelling, meaning it’ll be extra convenient in a post-COVID world where I’ll finally be able to travel again.

9. L*SPACE TIE-DYE TOWEL

Received In: Summer 2020 Box

Living in Vancouver, one of my fave summer pastimes is hanging out at the beach. This summer, especially, going and hanging out at the waterfront with friends became one of my fave summer activities, since it allowed me to meet up with others in a safe, COVID restriction-friendly fashion, enjoy the summer weather, and stay within walking distance of my home. For someone who loves the beach so much, however, I’ve never owned a cute beach towel (or, a lot of the times, I don’t even have a beach towel at all), so I was obsessed with this one from the moment I received it. Not only is it so pretty (and very on-brand with my personal aesthetic), but it ensured I always had something on hand for sitting outside to hang out with friends — and I cannot stress how much better that made my life last summer.

10. FOXYBAE 25MM CURLING WAND

Received In: Fall 2020 Box

As someone who’s really no good at styling their hair, but really wants to learn — I’ve been loving this hair curler. It’s high quality, easy to use, and creates great curls and waves that hold — even in Vancouver’s humid winter weather. While I don’t style my hair often (but always wish I did), buying a high-quality hair curler always seemed like a really expensive undertaking — I want to learn how to curl my hair well and style it frequently, but it seems like a lot to unload $100+ dollars on something I may not end up using that often. Receiving this hair curler in a FabFitFun box was a total game changer for me, since it’s IRL price is about $100 — making it something I likely wouldn’t buy for myself. I’ve been loving it, though, and I can’t wait to get more use out of it in 2021!

If FabFitFun sounds like something you’d like to try (which I honestly couldn’t recommend more), you can check out their website and upcoming Spring 2021 box over here — with box customizations coming up soon, it’s the perfect time to sign up and give their boxes a try! I’m personally VERY fired up to customize my spring box — it’s always something to look forward to at the start of each season, and receiving surprises every three months always feels like a little gift to myself.

If you’ve tried FabFitFun before, drop some of your fave products that you received in 2020 below! I’d love to hear why you love their boxes and what products you got the most use out of.

Happy Sunday, everyone, and I hope you’re all gearing up to have a happy February! We’re so close to spring now — just hold on a liiiiittle longer, and winter will be over before we even know it!

Much love,

Meredith

Quitting Toxic Blogging Positivity Culture

It sounds strange, doesn’t it? That positivity can be toxic.

However, over the last year, it’s really become increasingly clear to me that our culture has an unhealthy obsession with being happy, perfect and productive 24/7. We see it play out time and time again in media and advertising, on social media, and blogging in particular. But it’s more than that — it plays out in the real world, too, and has serious effects on our lives and mental health. This mentality wreaked havoc on my life in 2020 — and frankly, I’m done with it.

Now I don’t mean this in any sort of a bad way — especially since doing so would make me a hypocrite — but overall, the vast majority of blog posts that lifestyle bloggers produce have to do with productivity, goal-setting, or somehow creating the perfect life. Which I guess is sort of the point — if you’re a lifestyle blogger, you’re selling your lifestyle. It makes sense that you want it to look as good as it can possibly be. After all, everyone shares only the absolute best parts of their lives on social media and many (if not all of us) have exaggerated here and there every once in a while. The issue I want to talk about isn’t sharing the best moments and images of your life on social media, though. What I’m talking about — and hoping to fix in my own life — pertains pretty specifically to blogging.

Think about it. How many times have you seen a lifestyle blogger (myself included) share a post listing the numerous different ways you can change your life to be productive, or organized, or successful? Posts that create an image of a lifestyle that the blogger is living where they wake up early, work out, eat healthy, take perfect care of their skin, hair, and makeup, are successful and their job, with full social lives to top it all off? Maybe it isn’t spelled out directly, but it’s often implied. “Do this, and your life will be perfect.” While some people post practical guides, many of these guides are impossible to follow to a T. Simply put — the lifestyle depicted in these blog posts is not a realistic one.

I know I’m not the only one guilty of making posts like this. But do you really know anyone in real life who lives like that? I know some crazy successful people — but I don’t actually know anyone who can “do it all”. There’s only 24 hours in a day, and everyone has to pick and choose. I promise you, regardless of how it may seem online, absolutely no one’s life is flawless 24/7. I know some of you out there won’t believe me, and I know some of you know this in theory but often forget it in reality. But I promise you no one’s life is as perfect as it looks on social media. Not that influencer you love who seems to always look perfect, or Kylie Jenner, or the girl who seems like she owns everything you could ever want — not even the small blogger who seems to have their life 100% put together. None of them.

So why are we pretending that our lives ARE perfect? There’s a good chance that even if you think you’re not, you still may be. I want you to ask yourself if holding yourself to this standard is helping you, or if it’s actually hurting you. Of course we all want to put out a good image on social media — it’s not like I’m going to start posting pictures of myself without my hair washed and in my grossest old PJs on my Instagram — but what is up with going above and beyond lately? Why do we have to pretend like we’re productive and positive 24/7? Like our lives are busy all the time? Even a pandemic didn’t seem to stop the tirade of pretending to be productive all the time. So what will?

It wasn’t until last year that it really became abundantly clear to me just how damaging toxic positivity and hustle culture can be. While it’s certainly been a problem far before 2020 ever began, watching the world lock down due to a global pandemic really shone a light on how deeply ingrained and problematic this issue is within our society. I didn’t see it at first — in fact, for the first half of the pandemic, during the most emotionally challenging time I’ve ever gone through, I fell victim to it. No matter what life threw at me, I felt the need to “bounce back” as quickly as possible. In reality, though, it was impossible to keep up.

Tw: Death. I get into some pretty personal stuff the next few paragraphs, so if you don’t want to read it for whatever reason, feel free to skip past the italicized text — I promise I return to the main point afterwards!

Back in March of 2020, I was dealing with the grief of losing two very important people to me over the span of 5 weeks right as stay-at-home orders were put in place. I studying for my Biopsych final, which would decide whether or not I graduated from UBC, and on top of that, I was coming off what had been one of the most stressful and uncertain years of my life. In early 2019, I received the news that despite all the times I checked my graduation requirements, and my friends checked my requirements, and I had university advisors check over my requirements, I was somehow missing a class that I needed in order to graduate. I’d heard stories from friends of the same thing happening to them, but I’d been so careful — I figured there was no way it would happen to me.

But it did, and it was kind of devastating. Any plans I had went up in smoke, and ever since I’ve distinctly felt as though I’ve fallen behind in life, and that I wasted an entire year. For the first time in my life, I was kind of left alone without any sort of plan. Eventually, I picked up a job at a sports bar, often working 7 days a week, while I finished up my classes. My job often asked far too much of me, and took advantage of the fact that I was so capable of being the only host at such a large establishment during their busiest season. Could I handle it? Yeah, sort of. But just because I could push myself to my limits didn’t mean that I should. Yet, due to the very same culture that forces us to act productive and happy 24/7, I felt like I had to power through.

As the pandemic shut down the world, the pressure I put myself under while studying for my final was crushing. I spent almost every day for the first four weeks of lockdown studying from when I woke until bedtime. I struggled heavily with insomnia during those weeks. I was often so tired and overwhelmed with anxiety that I would physically shake for hours as I did my work — even though I knew that I was excelling in the class, and there was no need to be so hard on myself. I cried about losing my friend every single day up until the day that my Grandma passed away — but after that, I simply shut down. The following day after my grandma passed, I stopped crying. I barely remember what the two weeks between then and my final were like — all I remember is I stopped crying and I kept studying.

Through it all, however, I kept posting semi-regularly on my blog. I’d say I did everything I could to keep posting regularly, but I did more than everything I could — I was pushing myself beyond my limits. But so much of blogging revolves around showing others how to live their best life, based on how “perfect” your own life is. So I kept up the facade. One of my closest friends in the world passed away, and I only allowed myself only one week off from posting blogs. At the time, I thought I was taking it easy on myself — I missed a couple blog posts here and there, and while I felt guilty about it, I shared some posts mentioning I was taking a week or two off and did my best to not fall behind. However, every time I missed a post I felt as though I had failed. I felt guilty sharing my Spring FabFitFun unboxing three weeks late — as if it really mattered. Immediately after I finished up my final, I resumed posting twice a week — I didn’t even give myself the slightest break. However, it wasn’t good enough to pretend to have it all together online — I truly believed I had to have my life perfectly under control offline, too.

Back in early lockdowns (and even still now), we were constantly being bombarded with advertisements from companies about “being productive” now that we had the time, and “getting on top of things” while we could. And very quickly, we all bought into it as well. Once one person starts doing it, we all feel the need to keep up. Even though we were collectively going through an incredibly uncertain and stressful period in our lives, we felt the need to keep up with what we saw others doing online. Perfecting a new skill, daily workouts, cleaning your whole house, social media challenges, keeping up with all the biggest Netflix trends, finding a side hustle — I’m sure we all felt the pressure to do one, if not ALL of these at some point back in March/April of last year.

But why? Why did we all feel the need to be as busy as possible in a time when there was, objectively, nothing to do? Why did I feel the need to only take a week or two off before launching into creating a strict routine, sleep schedule, workout regimen and blogging itinerary when I was coping with so much loss and stress? At the time, I thought I was doing what was healthy, what was best for me. In retrospect, however, I can barely even remember what May was like. And while I kept it all up for about a month, it didn’t take long for it all to start unravelling.

After only a few short weeks of following my schedule and staying “perfectly” on top of my life, I had event after event come along and disrupt my newfound routine. Which is life, of course — things happen. It only took a couple little bumps to have my plan fall apart completely. By July, I began this perpetual game of catch-up that lasted months. I was late to post almost every single blog post I shared for two months straight, and every time a post was shared behind schedule, I felt as though I had failed. I had no motivation to keep writing, but I felt I had to — and forced myself to keep going. I couldn’t hold focus for more than a few minutes and I honestly didn’t feel I had anything to share at the time, but it didn’t matter. I had set goals for myself that I felt I had to achieve by year’s end, and I wanted to keep up the appearance everything was fine. I think I felt at the time everything WAS mostly fine — but now I realize it really, really wasn’t.

By September, it all fell apart. After months of holding myself together with nothing but guilt and the belief that I had to keep going, I was too burnt out to continue. I only had energy to coast through life until December came around. However, after a real, proper break — a month at home where I essentially expected nothing of myself, nor did my family — I’m finally starting to feel a little better. I’m trying to get my life back on track — but it’s for myself this time. I’m taking it slowly, and adding things back in with time instead of rushing myself back into a full schedule. Do I still struggle with having heightened or unrealistic expectations for myself? Yeah, of course. However, I’m trying to identify these expectations and why I feel the need to set them for myself nowadays to help myself determine what’s a healthy goal that pushes me forward, keeps me motivated and makes me happy; rather than something I’m aiming for that’s detrimental to my mental health and well-being.

Of course, my example is a little different, and fairly extreme. Who knows why I reacted the way I did to everything last year — it was a difficult year for me, and perhaps it was just the only way I knew to react to such an unfamiliar situation. I’m not here to psychoanalyze myself — although I guess I may be trying to analyze society as a whole. What I’m really trying to say here is — you don’t need to do it all. Choose what you WANT for yourself, and focus on that. You don’t need to work out every morning to have your life together. You don’t need to work through the weekend to be successful. You don’t need to always be busy to be happy.

And not just that — not everything has to be for the sake of being productive, too! Perhaps it’s just some capitalistic belief that the things we do aren’t valuable if they aren’t somehow profitable. But that isn’t true! When was the last time you had a hobby just for the sake of having a hobby? Something that you, perhaps, aren’t even good at? Why do you have to be good at it, after all, if it brings you joy? Balance is key — and while I’ve definitely said it before, you need to balance giving yourself a break, too. But not just cute blogger self-care nights — sometimes you just need a night to do nothing and a nap. Not everything in life has to be picture-perfect — contrary to what I or other bloggers have made you believe.

As lifestyle bloggers, we get sucked into following a bit of a formula — a particular aesthetic, a particular lifestyle, and particular interests. Following April, almost every single post of mine had to do with productivity, routine, schedule, or lockdowns. I didn’t even know what else to write about, as I had pretty severe writers block from all the issues I was facing. So I just kept forcing myself to be productive, and wrote about being productive — as if I were someone who had it all together when really, I had no idea what was going on. But we don’t need to adhere to an aesthetic. Life is more than that! Of course, if your blog is your business, you want to build a specific brand. But just because you’re starting out, doesn’t mean you need to fall into the trap of narrowing yourself down into the very particular lifestyle blogger aesthetic. While the minimalistic, cute, and elegant themes are absolutely gorgeous, there’s no need to wedge yourself into them if it isn’t what fits you. If the typical blogger aesthetic is something you aspire to, or is one that comes to you naturally — go for it, obviously! It’s majorly cute and refined, and I personally adore it — even though it isn’t my personal vibe.

As for what my vibe IS exactly — I honestly don’t really know. I’m working on it. I want to be able to fit every part of me into it, without cutting parts away simply because they don’t match. I feel as though I’m a very different person that I’ve perhaps lead you all to believe — either directly or indirectly. It’s not intentional — after all, I do love makeup, skincare, online shopping, subscription boxes and staying organized — but I also love art, and anime (Attack on Titan fans HMU), and BLACKPINK, and Animal Crossing, and I don’t think these things have to be mutually exclusive. But who know — it’s not like I have to figure it out on a deadline, after all!

When I started writing this post out, I had no idea where it was really going to go, honestly. I had a vague idea in my head, and an issue I wanted to discuss, and past that I just let it take me wherever it needed to go. Writing all this out was kind of therapeutic, in a way — really just sitting back and letting your writing take you wherever it will is a great way to discover things about yourself and your story. So I hope you’ve all learned something here today — because honestly, so did I. It may be difficult to let go — I don’t think it’s a change I’ll be able to make 100% overnight — but I’m hoping to put in the work and identify these beliefs and behaviours when they come up in my life, in order to challenge them and make some positive differences in both my life and other’s.

I guess to sum up what I have to say — it’s not like I’m going to stop trying. I’m not going to stop trying to better myself, to be successful, to look my best, to surround myself with happiness. I’m still going to strive forward towards these things. And whatever advice I learn along the way I’ll absolutely share with you all. But I’m done with preaching advice I don’t take myself, or acting like some know-it-all with a perfect life. I’m not. You’re not. None of us are. Life is messy and while it can be beautiful, it isn’t perfect. So this is my little pledge — to stop forcing myself to fit a standard and chastising myself when I don’t reach it. To take real breaks, and not just push myself further after falling behind. And to always be honest with all of you, and share honest advice, and not just what I think sounds good on paper.

Love you all, always,

Meredith

My Winter 2020 FabFitFun Unboxing!

Hey friends!

Happy Sunday! While it’s a little overdue, this week I’m going to be sharing my Winter FabFitFun box with you guys! FabFitFun is one of my favourite parts of the start of each season, and this box is no exception. In all honestly, retail therapy kinda kept me going throughout 2020 since receiving packages in the mail always gave me something to look forward to, and the element of surprise included in each FabFitFun box only made it all the more exciting.

This box was a little special, because it was by FAR the most add-ons I’ve ever added to one box. While I’m usually pretty impressed by FabFitFun’s add-on selections and have a pretty hard time narrowing down my choices, this time I just couldn’t — they were too good. It was a little pricey overall, but the discounts were crazy and they were just all so worth it.

Summer & Rose Cozy Robe

This is, no joke, the coziest little robe I’ve ever owned. I love robes, but the only ones I have are made of satin-like material. They’re comfy, and great for summer — but they are no where NEAR as soft and plush as this is. It feels like being wrapped in a cloud. It’s honestly been the best for lounging around in lockdowns — it just feels luxe AF. If you’ve been looking for a cozy robe to wear around the house, do yourself a favour and check this one out.

Impressions Vanity Company LED Vanity Mirror

Seeing this as an option honestly made my whole month. Back in university, I used to do my makeup at my desk — which it turns out I was really taking for granted. I had great lighting, a little vanity mirror and (most importantly) a seat. Ever since I moved, however, I’ve been doing my makeup in my bathroom — which has terrible lighting and a tiny mirror that’s also waaaay too tall for me. I’m finally getting a desk, soon, however — and I’ve been needing a good vanity mirror to go with it. (I mean, I’ll be using it for more than just makeup, but still). This mirror isn’t just well-made, it has an amazing LED system which helps to light your face evenly you can apply your makeup perfectly. After a year of doing my makeup in my subpar bathroom setting, I could NOT be happier about receiving this mirror in my box.

Lele Sadoughi Maroon Velvet Headband

I’ve been seeing cute chunky fabric hairbands around for a while now, but I haven’t ever seen good ones out in stores when I had the chance to go look. I’ve been considering trying them out for a while now, but was always on the fence about how they’d look on me. However, now I get the chance to test run the look on myself — and honestly, I think I’m pretty into it!

Flight Mode Skincare High-Altitude Hydration Mask

While I haven’t had the chance to try this mask out just yet, my dry skin is always grateful for a hydrating mask. Fabfitfun has always gifted me some pretty fantastic skincare — at best, many items they gifted became staples in my routine. At worst, they’ve gifted me with items that were just great (but not exceptional) — so I’m really not worried that this mask is going to be anything disappointing. Who knows — maybe it’ll end up being a new favourite?

Eparé Cutting Set of Four Boards

I’m kind of neutral on receiving these boards in my box — they aren’t particularly exciting or something I needed, but they’ll be of use for sure. It’s nice that they’re so thin in terms of storing them, and it’s great that they’re labelled for type of food used on them so you don’t cross-contaminate. While they aren’t the most exhilarating gift in my box, I do know they’ll come in handy in the future.

B-Low The Belt Croc Card Case

This was another surprise I receiving in my box that I was pretty pleased about. While I’m looking to get a proper wallet in the future, I’m a huge fan of card cases — I don’t carry around cash often anyway, and most of the purses I own are pretty small. I already have a similar pink card case from H&M I use often, but it’ll be nice to be able to switch up my wallet to match what I’m wearing.

Daily Concept’s Daily Facial Dry Brush

Okay, I haven’t gotten a chance to try this out yet but I’m SO curious about it. Apparently dry brushing is supposed to help exfoliate and boost circulation — in a way that’s simpler than exfoliating and crystal facial rolling. While I’m not going to use it as a complete replacement, it DOES seem like a good thing to incorporate to ensure I get a little bit of all these benefits in daily.

Aesthetica Liquid Eyeliner

While I’m more of a fan of pot and brush/felt tip liquid eyeliner, I’m always happy to receive extra liner. I haven’t had the chance to try this stuff out yet, but I’m sure it’ll be a fantastic addition to my makeup collection (and will help me save a little extra money on my next Sephora order after the next time I run out of liner!).

Add On: BOMSHBEE Sloane Champagne Flutes

Okay, bless this set. I’ve been working on adding more drink glasses to my collection (you know, in lieu of just drinking out of a mug. ~Adulting~ or whatever). These glasses are cute and modern, but also sturdy and dishwasher safe. I do have some cute Coupe-style champagne glasses for when I want something delicate, but it’s nice to have a larger set of something more practical for more frequent use.

Add On: Pure Aura Sheet Mask Trio

I figured I’d throw these into my box because I’ll never turn down a good sheet mask. I gave these a go for the first time last night, and I’m pretty impressed. My skin looked pretty glowy directly after, but the next morning I could definitely see the true results. My skin looked super clear and fresh — which was especially impressive considering I was having a pretty bad skin day the day before. However, the best part of this sheet mask (that I’ve never witnessed in a sheet mask EVER before) was that it came in two pieces — one for your nose-and-up, and one for your chin. For once, the sheet mask actually FIT my face — instead of being a sloppy, oversized-mess all over my face. I’ve always distinctly disliked sheet masks for this sole reason — they’re kind of a pain in the ass to wear regularly. The only mask I’ve ever seen to do this is Dr. Jart+’s rubber masks, which you all know I adore. Basically, these masks are a win in my books, and I’m definitely going to look into getting more masks from this brand sometime soon.

Add On: Speaqua Wireless Charger Makeup Organizer

I’m crazy about this addition to my box, for somewhat similar reasons I’m excited for the Impression Vanity Mirror. When I finally get a desk and a makeup set-up, not only will I appreciate all the cute and stylish storage space I can get my hands on — but this storage unit comes with a build in wireless phone charger (!!!). I’ve never had a wireless charger before, but I can’t even imagine how convenient it’ll be to keep my phone nearby while I’m getting ready to go out and know it’ll have a full charge by the time I leave. I’ve spent years running back and forth to check on my charging phone while doing my makeup — but it really kinda feels like the future is NOW when I can charge my phone by simply placing it on my makeup organizer. Seriously, could this BE any more convenient?

Add On: Rosy Rings White Tea & Ginger Reed Diffuser

You guys already know by now that I’m kinda obsessed with all things fragrance. Candles, Saje…you name it, I’ve tried it. A while back, I saw a reed diffuser like this in Indigo and decided to try it out. Turns out, reed diffusers are a bit of a game changer when it comes to keeping your bathroom smelling it’s best. They don’t really require any upkeep, nor do you have to worry about turning them on and off. They constantly diffuse a small amount of oil into the air, leaving your bathroom smelling fresh. However, my old one is about to run out, so when I saw this diffuser offered for such a great discount, I knew it would make a great refresher. Not only does it smell fantastic, but it’s also HUGE. Like, this thing is going to last me forever and at such a reasonable price. Fabfitfun is great, but their add-on sales are next level.

Add On: Bathorium Eucalyptus Apothecary + Sea Kelp Serenity CRUSH Duo

Once again, there’s really nothing better than Fabfitfun’s add-on deals. I’ve really been digging bath salts lately, and these two packages sounded SO fantastic. They’re absolutely massive, packed full of natural ingredients, and I’m sure they’ll last me a while (and they didn’t even cost that much for their size!). I’m looking forward to having a few good soaks with these in 2021 when I need to destress.

The only, and I mean ONLY, thing that has ever disappointed me about FabFitFun is that every time I receive a box it means I have to wait another three months to receive my next one. I’ve always made use of every product I’ve received, and even if it wasn’t the absolute best product I’ve ever tried — it’s never let me down either. I’ve made use of absolutely every gift I’ve ever received, and I always look forward to unwrapping every box and seeing what exactly I’ve been given. The element of surprise makes it all the more exciting receiving each box every season.

Stay tuned next week, when I’ll be reviewing my FIRST EVER ColourPop Cosmetics haul! I’ve been meaning to try out ColourPop for so long now, so I can’t wait to share all my thoughts with you guys!

Anyway, I hope that all of your new years have been off to a good start! And if they haven’t — well, don’t worry, we’re only two weeks into it. Either way, I hope you’re all feeling positive about the upcoming year and have been staying safe! Sending you all so much love and positive vibes.

Xox,

Meredith

Setting Realistic Goals For 2021

Hey y’all!

First and foremost — HAPPY NEW YEARS! We’ve finally made it, and 2020 is now nothing more than a memory. I know that realistically, the issues that plagued us (no pun intended) in 2020 don’t magically disappear just because of the calendar change, but it DOES feel nice to have a fresh start.

While I am hoping that 2021 will help bring me out the funk that 2020 left me in, I know I have to be realistic. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and setting colossally large goals for the new year without a plan on how to achieve them often leads to disappointment, or simply forgetting your goals all together. Not that you should avoid dreaming large, of course — it’s important to know what you want and go for it. However, especially when the world is so unpredictable, managing expectations can be a useful skill.

While I did work on breaking down goals last year, I set my sights high with what I wanted to achieve in 2020 — and while some of my goals still pushed me to improve myself (whether I achieved them or not), others were left incomplete by the end of 2020. Whether it was simply a little out of my reach, effected by unseen circumstances, or due directly to COVID — it doesn’t really matter, as they incomplete either way.

So, this year I’m switching it up and taking a different approach. I still want to push myself to move forward and be able to track my progress, so I’ll still be setting goals for myself. But a lofty new years resolution? Not so much.

Breaking It Down

This year, I’m taking a bit of a different approach. I’m setting a couple of “wishes” for the end of the year (things that I’d like to work towards that can be changed or aren’t set in stone). In terms of goals, I’ll be setting them monthly based on what my life looks like. In the past, I used monthly goals as more of a to-do list, but this year I’ll be using them as more of a monthly resolution. For instance, whereas in the past I would list out things such as number of blog views I wanted to achieve or Instagram posts I wanted to make in a month, but this month I’ll be setting more holistic goals, and I’ll be focusing on getting back into a regular workout/yoga schedule and meal prepping.

Letting Life Lead Me

Right now, everything is far too up in the air right now for me to ever even predict what my life may end up looking like by the end of the year. Rather than limiting myself based on my expectations a year out, I’d rather play things by ear and see where life takes me. Considering how many ways my life could go from the point I’m at right now, making set life goals for the end of the year may only end up limiting me or blinding me to new possibilities. So, I’m taking it one month at a time. While this month I’m hoping to perhaps find a job and get back into a regular routine of working out and eating, next month my goals and needs may be totally different — I’ll see when I get there.

Not Playing The Numbers Game

In the past, many of my goals were based on numbers — gaining so many new followers, achieving so many blog views, etc. However, not only does setting number-based goals start to drive you crazy with the constant counting, it isn’t very motivating in the way I need it to be. Not only does it focus on the wrong side of things, but it’s easy to ignore until you start to fall behind — and then you just end up in a cyclical game of catch-up. I’d rather set more holistic goals that help improve my life as a whole, and watch more number-based results materialize as a result.

Not Making Everything About Productivity

This year has really shown me our culture’s toxic obsession with productivity. I know this shouldn’t really be a radical concept, but really — you don’t need to be pushing yourself 24/7!!! In the midst of a global pandemic, in a time that was stressful for all of us, it seemed almost every single piece of media out there seemed to be telling us how to keep busy, start our life-changing project, fix up absolutely every little thing around our homes, and become this theoretical best version of ourselves. Even our self-care had to be cute and perfect. I won’t lie — at the beginning, I kind of fell into this trap too. Everyone else seemed to be out there being to most productive they’d ever been in their lives — I didn’t want to be the only one taking a break. However, I can pretty much guarantee that all the other bloggers and influencers who make their life seem 100% perfectly in order 24/7 are lying to you (or at least enhancing the truth). You don’t need to have it together all the time. I’m honestly experiencing some of the worst burnout I have in years from trying to be perfect during such a stressful year. So next year, no matter what 2021 sends our way, I’m allocating some of my goals to legitimate self-care, hobbies and happiness — just for the hell of it. Not everything needs to be about being productive 24/7.

Using Goals to Check In With Myself

While I want to make sure I’m not pushing myself too hard in 2021, I still want to be checking in with myself to make sure that I’m on the right track. While it was a bit of a necessary break, the last new months of 2020 I kind of found my life falling apart — and it’s taken more effort to get back on track than it would have to simply maintain it. I’m hoping that in 2021, I’ll be able to turn my life around a little and get myself back on track. I’m hoping to build a routine, get ahead on my blog posts, start working out and feeling a little normal again — BEFORE I start a new job. So instead of setting goals with the aim of pushing myself, I’ll be setting goals to check in with myself and make sure that I’m keeping everything on track — no matter what ends up coming in 2021.

Happy new years, everyone! I know it can be kinda scary staring down a whole new year, especially since we really don’t know what this year will hold. I have hope that it’ll be a better year than 2020 was, but I also know that nothing much is going to change without putting in the effort. This time last year, I had a plan that was meant to push me tony limits and help me become my “absolute best self”. I thought I was being realistic — and who knows? Maybe if 2020 hadn’t turned out the way it did it may have been. But it wasn’t, and it’s caused me to reevaluate and hopefully make 2021 a better, more successful year.

So fingers crossed — 2020 was absolutely brutal, but with any luck 2021 will be our year. I’m keeping my expectations small and realistic — maybe I’m just a little jaded, but I don’t want to dream too big and end up disappointed. But hopefully with this plan, a vaccine, and a little luck, 2021 may just be my year.

Are you guys setting resolutions this year? If yes, how are you doing it? Are your goals similar to what they were in the past, or are you taking a whole new approach? Perhaps, even after reading this post, you’re feeling a little inspired to set goals monthly and forgo a resolution this year. Or maybe you’re just over it and not setting goals anymore after 2020 (which is totally fair). No matter what your plans are, drop a comment below and let me know! I’d love to hear all about your goals, and what’s changed for you in 2021. Hopefully, within luck, we’ll all end 2021 on a better note than we started it on.

Much love,

Meredith