Spring Self-Care Ideas!

Hey friends!

Spring is here, and it’s time to shake off that seasonal depression and get back into our normal routines. This last winter was hard on all of us, I’m sure — between COVID lockdowns, the usual seasonal depression and all the other craziness in the world, it’s been a bit of a wild ride. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m personally ready to start feeling a little more normal again — although, I feel its going to take some work to get there.

One of my favourite ways to improve my mental health, or just my life in general, is to plan and take part in a little self-care. Personally, I’m of the belief that self care is more than just spa days and movie nights (although those both count as self-care as well, and I love both very much!). In my eyes, self care is anything that improves your life, really. However, I truly believe the best form of self-care is self-discipline. Holding yourself accountable, staying on top of things, and knowing when to take breaks are all important to living a healthy and balanced life. That being said, I’ve compiled a little spring-specific list of self care ideas ranging from healthy lifestyle choices, ways to keep yourself organized, to good old-fashioned ways to relax and unwind. That way, no matter what kind of self-care you’ve been needing in your life this spring, you’ll find something just for you on this list!

Go For A Walk

Maybe I’m a hypocrite for adding this one first, since people are always telling me to get out of my house and go for walks more but I opted to avoid doing so all winter long — until now! It can be kind of hard to motivate yourself to get up and head out when you’re feeling crappy (trust me, I know) but spring is such a beautiful (and short) season, so you might as well take advantage of it while you can! This year, since we’re all still locked in, it’s kind of easy to totally miss the whole season entirely if you don’t make a point of going outside and enjoying it — which happened to me last year. I’ve decided to promise myself I won’t miss it again (cherry blossom season is one of my favourites, after all — no point in missing out on it two years in a row!).

Have a Self-Date in the Park

This is another great way to take advantage of spring weather, even if you’re not feeling up for walking. Next time there’s a particularly nice and warm day where you live, go ahead and plan out a nice day out for yourself! Pack a blanket, some lunch, some fancy drinks such as tea, mocktails, cocktails or whatever it is you love, and activities and anything else you want to spend your day doing! If you’re really feeling like going all-out, you can even dress up a little or do some fancy makeup — you don’t get many opportunities to do either anymore since lockdowns began, so you might as well, right?

Treat Yourself to Some New Spring Clothes

One of the best forms of self-care is retail therapy, IMO. Not only does it feel great to have some new items to look forward to wearing out, but if you shop online it’s always great to have something to look forward to when your package arrives. I’m really looking forward to adding some new items to my wardrobe this spring, personally — it’s been a while since I felt really, truly nice when I’ve left the house honestly, as I never get to dress up much anymore. When I do, a lot of my clothes feel pretty old and tired — especially since a lot of them have gotten a little tighter over the last year. I can’t wait to get a couple nice, new outfits and hopefully get the chance to get all dressed up and feel my best for the first time in a while sometime soon. Of course, whatever you feel like treating yourself to is up to you — maybe its clothes, or perhaps it’s makeup, home decor, accessories, shoes, wigs — whatever it is you’ve been needing in your life!

Spring Clean Your Home

Yes, okay, I totally posted about this one last week — but it really is a great way to feel you’re getting a fresh start. Its a good way to reduce the stress of clutter, be productive — and it can be fun, too! If you’re in the mood to do a big clean out of your home, feel free to make a day of it — complete with a playlist, some snacks, and whatever else makes cleaning fun to you. And of course, feel free to check out my ultimate spring cleaning guide if you need a good idea of where to start!

Take Up A New Form Of Exercise

Working out is arguably one of the best things you can do for your mental health (and, obviously, your physical well-being) — but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to start. For those of us who’ve spent this winter being a little (or very) sedentary, or for others who are looking to switch things up, why not give a new workout a try? Depending on what COVID lockdowns are looking like in your city, you can get yourself a gym membership or take a couple classes somewhere local — or you can just try something new at home! Even if you don’t have in-person workout options right now, there’s plenty of instructional videos out there you can follow. Whether you’re hoping to try yoga, HIIT, Zumba, dance, calisthenics, or whatever comes to mind, you’ll be able to find a video to help you get started and shake up your regular (or non-existent, no judgement here) workout routine!

Try A New Hobby

What’s a skill you’ve been hoping to try your hand at, but haven’t gotten around to yet? Perhaps you’ve been looking to get into art, photography, writing, dancing, music, reading, baking, candle-making… who knows, really? If you’ve been thinking about trying something new and have been putting it off, no matter what your reason, this is your sign! Start it now. Why not? If you start today, you’ll have one day’s more experience than if you started tomorrow. Just go for it. (And if starting is a little daunting, you can always check out my post on Three Steps To Mastering Any Skill to help set you on the right path!).

Start Meditating

If meditating is something you haven’t tried out before, I’d totally recommend giving it a go. A lot of people don’t really see the point until they try it for themselves. It really does help to ground you, release anxiety and clear your mind. It may take a couple of tries to really get the hang of it, but I’d recommend keeping at it — what’s the harm, right? There’s endless guided meditation videos on Youtube, meditation apps, on Spotify, and more — so there’s no shortage of free resources, especially if you’re new to the practice!

Plan A Classic Self-Care Day

If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, why not take the day off? If you’re hoping to make the most of it, you can plan out a full day of relaxing activities that you know you’ll love. (After all, I’m sure I’m not the only one guilty of spending my days off lying around doing nothing if I don’t have ideas in mind). This is a classic option that’s always a great way to deal with built-up stress. If you don’t really know where to start, no worries! You can check out my previous Fall Self-Care Night Ideas, but I’m sure you already have an idea or two in mind of what you’d like to spend your next day off doing anyway!

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you’re all doing well and staying safe. The last few weeks have been a little rough — COVID restrictions have been a little on-again, off again — perhaps I was getting a bit ahead of myself, but I did think things were going to be a little more normal by now than they are. I’ve also been getting busier, though, so life is slowly returning to normal (finally, right?). Apart from that, life has just been continuing on as normal… sometimes I feel a little ramble-y around the ends of my posts, since I honestly never have too much news to share. I did, however, spend my entire week binge-reading Attack on Titan (as I was too impatient to wait a whole year to find out how the show ended, since it is my favourite) so I guess there’s that! Apart from that though, things are just about the same as always — but is that really a bad thing? It may not be exciting, but I guess it’s better to have things be boring than it is the have them be bad. At the end of the day, we have that to be thankful for, right?

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

Holiday Gift Guide #1: Self Care Edition!

Hey friends!

It’s crazy to believe with how long 2020 has felt, but the holidays are finally just around the corner! That’s right — we’ve finally almost made it. While it does feel a little bit like we’re crawling our way to the end of the year, it’s going to be December before we even know it and it’s best to be prepared. This year has already been stressful enough — don’t cause yourself to stress more over buying gifts and last minute shopping.

Holiday shopping is probably going to be looking a little different this year as, sadly, its going to be 100% online. While I’ve transitioned to doing more of my Christmas shopping online the past few years already, it’s kind nice to stop by the mall or local shop at least once — you know, just for the good holiday vibes. However, with COVID cases picking up, it’s looking like I’ll be doing my shopping 100% online this year. Which is fine — I can get my annual dose of holiday cheer elsewhere, after all — although I’ve been trying to get it all done before December hits, so I can ensure it all arrives on time.

Basically, this year has been rough for all of us — so I’m hoping that by bringing back my Holiday Gift Guide, I’ll be able to help alleviate all of your holiday stress. That way you can get back to enjoying the holidays — rather than fearing them! This year, I’m going to be doing a four-part series: Self Care, Skincare, Lifestyle and Makeup! Be sure to stay tuned each Sunday for the next segment of the series. Hopefully, by the end of it, all of you will have plenty of gift ideas safely purchase online from the comfort of your own home!

And on the topic of stress — we’ve all definitely been dealing with more of it than average this year. As such, I decided to make my first segment focus on Self-Care gift ideas! Whether you’re looking to throw together a little self-care basket for someone in your life, need a few stocking stuffers or one great gift — there’s something on this list for everyone in your life (or even just yourself! I won’t tell).

Bath Salts by Rocky Mountain Soap Co.

There’s nothing quite like a nice, long soak after a tough day (or week…or year). These bath salts come loaded up with all kinds of aromatherapy to help soothe and refresh your body. Not only are these a great gift for pretty much anyone in your life, but you can also get more than one use out of them, unlike bath bombs (at a much better price as well). Plus, they’re made with 100% natural ingredients, cruelty free, vegan, and made in Canada!

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Indigo!

Candles from Indigo

Who doesn’t love a good candle? Not only do candles smell AMAZING and help create a great atmosphere — they also double as some lovely decor. Candles are another great gift that just about anyone would appreciate receiving. I personally buy all my candles from Indigo — they have an amazing variety of candles in every scent, colour, and size you could ever want. However, some of my personal favourites have been their Himalayan Salt candle and Voluspa’s Honey Lavender candle!

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out a selection of candles online at Indigo!

Diffuser Oils by Saje

Buying a Saje diffuser was one of the best choices I made for myself in 2020. If you’re looking to REALLY splurge on a gift for someone special in your life, I’d totally recommend getting them a Saje diffuser if they don’t have one already (personally, I have the Aroma Om and I’m obsessed with it). However, for anyone else in your life who already has a diffuser, Saje or otherwise, gifting them a couple of oils is always a great gift since they’re going to get good use out of them. It’s hard to go wrong with any scent from Saje, but my personal faves are Into The Trees and Goddess.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Saje!

Body Lotion by Deew

I absolutely adore this body lotion. It’s loaded up with all sorts of essential oils, vitamins and hydrating ingredients and leaves my skin feeling flawless after I use it. As well, this lotion features Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil in it’s formulation, making it great for when you need a little calm in your life. This lotion makes a pretty solid gift for just about anyone, as it isn’t too thick, absorbs into the skin quickly and is just all around a high-quality product. Plus, on top of everything else, the scent is relaxing AF without being overwhelming.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Indigo!

Pedicure Set by Voesh New York

As many of you may remember, I received this Pedicure in a Box set in my latest FabFitFun box. It’s really a great gift for anyone who’s missing going for regular mani-pedis, or anyone who’s been having a rough year and could really use a full-send at home spa night in the name of self-care. This four-step at home pedi comes complete with a salt soak, scrub, foot mask and massage butter and left my feet feeling AMAZING. 10/10, would recommend as a gift for just about anyone.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at VOESH New York!

Hand Cream by Spongelle

Hand cream seems like a somewhat generic gift, but it’s kind of a godsend in 2020. Considering how much more frequently we’ve all been washing our hands (and probably will keep doing long after this pandemic has ended) and winter’s frequently dry weather, having a solid hand cream is kind of a must. I received this cream in my FabFitFun Summer 2020 box, and it’s honestly so worth it. It smells amazing (without having too strong of a scent) and is super-hydrating without being heavy.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Spongelle!

Cuticle Oil by Cuccio

This was actually something I bought for myself a while back, but didn’t use regularly until recently. My nails have been something I’ve always been self-conscious about — growing up, I constantly bit my nails (and still do in high-stress times in my life). My cuticles have always been rough, but I’ve never taken much care of them. However, I’ve been getting really into nail care lately — it’s not like we can just go for manicures right now, after all — and this oil has literally transformed my cuticles. My nails actually look kind of great lately, which I probably wouldn’t have believed I was capable of without the help of an aesthetician at the beginning of this year. No matter if the person you’re looking to gift for is into nail care or manicures, this product is really low maintenance and legitimately transforms your hands.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Amazon!

Lip Sleeping Mask by Laneige

This was a recent purchase that I’ve made and have become totally obsessed with. There’s really no worse feeling than chapped lips — it’s a small grievance that can really become a huge annoyance. I first tried this product as a little free sample from Sephora, but instantly fell in love with from the first use. This lip treatment is thick without being heavy and mega-hydrating and softening. Seriously — it’ll transform your lips overnight. This really will make a great gift for anyone in your life who hates chapped lips and is looking for a permanent solution to their woes.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

I hope you guys have enjoyed this list — holiday shopping can be tough when you’re in need of ideas, so I hope you all got a little inspo from reading! Stay tuned this weekend for a gift guide full of Skincare gifts — from masks, to toners and everything in between! I’ve made an effort to make all the products I’ll be sharing this year good for most skin types, so that the list can be used universally for any skincare lovers in your life.

As always, I hope you’re all doing well and staying safe! Even though this year has been different (to say the least), I hope that all of you who celebrate holidays in December are still finding ways to bring around good vibes. It’s tough when a lot of what makes this time of year special is spending it with others, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy this time of year in 2020 — it’s just going to be a little different this time around! What are some ways you guys are staying festive this upcoming holiday season? Drop a comment below to share with others so we can all enjoy this December to the fullest!

Much love,

Meredith

Fall Quarantine Self-Care Must-Haves!

Hey friends!

September has just begun and fall is upon us! While it’s kind of sad to see summer go, I love fall and I can’t help but to get excited for the season. While I love summer for it’s warm weather and carefree vibes, fall has so many specific elements I just love — Halloween (my favourite holiday!), Thanksgiving, cozy vibes, falling leaves, fall-themed food and drinks and superior fashion. (Oh, and my birthday, of course!).

However, this year, it seems fall is probably going to be a little different. In Vancouver (and I’m sure in many other places around the world), COVID-19 is still prevalent with flu season about to start ramping up, it seems more likely than not that we’re going to start seeing more restrictions, lockdowns and work-from-home. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not exactly looking forward to it — I feel as though it’ll probably be a lot more challenging the second time through. Between the cooler and darkening weather, potential seasonal depression, uncertainty and restlessness of a second quarantine, it definitely seems like we may have a rough few months ahead.

Rather than fearing it, though, I’m trying to embrace it — life is unpredictable even at the best of times, so who knows what’s coming next — so why worry now when things are still good? It’s not always possible to avoid anxiety about the future, but right now there’s no need to be negative now about situations that don’t exist in the present. Besides, half the fun of fall is staying in and being cozy — so while we may miss out on certain elements this year, it’s not the end of the world.

Either way, fall self-care is absolutely some of my favourites — there’s just something about the season that caters SO well to self-care concepts. Nights in, getting cozy — it’s just such a vibe. And while I already believe that self-care is more than a luxury and should be practiced even in the most normal of times, with everything going on in the world, I think we have a bit of an excuse to really indulge this fall. So if you’ve been looking for some new to spice up your self-care routine, look no further for your latest inspo! I’ve got you covered.

Soothing Body Moisturizer

While dry skin isn’t as much of a concern in Vancouver as it is elsewhere in Canada (after all, our Fall and Winter seasons are full of rain and humidity), it’s still important to take good care of your skin. Personally, I’ve been LOVING this body cream by Deew I found at Indigo — it’s full of essential oils, vitamins, and Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil making it uber-relaxing to apply. Not only does this cream keep your skin feeling super soft, it’s made in Canada with ethically sourced materials (meaning you can feel guilt-free about splurging on one for yourself). I apply this cream daily after showering or before bed, and it really does help to calm me right down after a long day. 10/10, would totally recommend.

Skincare Tools 

Some of you may remember the segment I did a few weeks back on my favourite skincare tools — but seriously, these tools are the perfect way to keep up a small self-care ritual morning and night while also taking care of your complexion. My personal favourites are Mount Lai’s Gua Sha (which I have recently purchased for myself, and adore) and Textured Jade Roller, as well as Herbivore’s Rose Quartz Facial Roller. If you don’t have any sort of skincare tool, I can’t recommend them more — they’re great for your skin, incredibly relaxing, can help massage out any knots in your face and as they are made from crystals, they last forever. I’d definitely have to recommend splurging on one as a little self-care gift to yourself.

Fall Scented Candles

Ah, candles. The ultimate decor for cozy vibes and self-care. While I usually use a diffuser for more day-to-day aroma use, I love scented candles for special occasions. They’re great to light during a self-care night, or when you’re settling in for a bath, or just need to burn off any negative vibes in your space. Investing in a couple good fall-scented candles is a good, universal form of self-care and really set the mood for the upcoming Fall season.

Fall Teas

Anyone who knows me knows that I am OBSESSED with tea. As in, 3-4 cups of tea every day kind of obsessed. My favourite place to get tea is hands down David’s Tea — not only is the amount of selection they offer completely unparalleled, but their teas are SO high quality, too. They offer all kinds of flavours of specialty fall teas, and I’d totally recommend picking up a few to brew up on cool fall nights amp up the cozy vibes of your self care night. While David’s Tea offers endless great selections, if you’re going to only get one fall tea — I’d have to recommend Forever Nuts. It’s not fall-specific, but has a flavour that’s fitting for the Autumn season and is absolutely one of their best teas of all time.

Cute Plants

On top of being a dedicated tea lover, I’ve also been dubbed as a crazy plant mom. Not only do I have plants all over my apartment, but I take great care in keeping them healthy and thriving. I’ve found this to be especially useful in lockdown, however. Not only does having the plants give you something to actively care for — the fruits of your efforts are something that become visible with time and leave you feeling accomplished. Also, while I’m not 100% sure of the science behind this, I’ve heard that having more indoor plants helps to decrease depression. As humans, we weren’t really made to be cooped up inside all of the time, and having plants helps to simulate a little more of a natural environment. Or something like that — I don’t really know, but they make cute decor and anything that helps combat seasonal depression is worth a shot, right?

Fall Decor 

My favourite part about the last few months of the year is absolutely the seasonal decorating that comes with it. The photo above is of a couple of the decorations I bought last year — but this year, I’m going to go all out. After all, if I’m going to be inside all the time, I might as well take advantage and make sure I get to experience all the fall I can, considering there’s certain things I’ll likely be missing out on this year. So basically, catch me at the local corner store buying all the pumpkins, leaves, gourds, and anything else fall-related I can get my hands on.

Face Masks

No, not the kind you wear to the supermarket. I’m talking about skincare masks. Before we all get locked in, be sure to stock up on a couple nice multi-use face masks (and maybe even some sheet masks too!) to ensure you have enough to get through all the rough days, self-care nights, and lockdown breakouts over the course of the next few months. I’d totally recommend checking out some of my personal faves, such as Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Mask, Dr Jart+’s Lover Rubber Masks, or one of my new faves — Biossance’s Squalane + Tea Tree Oil Detox Mask! (Stay tuned this Thursday to read all about it!).

Bath Soaks

Is there anything more relaxing than a good old-fashioned bath? While bath bombs have been all the rage for a while now, I used to love salt-soaks as a kid and wanted to give them another shot. I’m super excited to try out these salt soaks by Rocky Mountain Soap Co. that I picked up at Indigo the other day — the scents sound heavenly and they really seem like exactly what I’ve been needing lately. As we move deeper into fall, though, I know I’m really going to appreciate a warm bath on cold and rainy days — so I know I’ll be getting good use out of these soaks.

I hope all of your September’s are off to a good start! Between the latest full moon and my horoscope, I’ve been told this is going to be a month full of changes for me — which I’m welcoming with open arms. I’ve already been having a couple crazy shake-ups this month, but it’s all for the best. (And yes, that’s why I missed this Thursday’s post — my bad!). Anyway, no matter what, I’m pretty excited for fall this year, and I’m so excited for the season to be started. Fingers crossed this fall holds good things for us all!

Much love,

Meredith