2020 Round Up: My Fave Products and Brands of the Year!

Hey y’all!

2020 is finally, FINALLY coming to a close and I, for one, could not be happier. This year has been pretty rough from start to finish for all of us — I think we can all agree we’re looking forward to turning over a new page and starting 2021 with a nice, fresh start.

It’s crazy thinking back on the early months of 2020 now — some parts of it feel like absolute eons ago, whereas some moments feel as though they happened the other week. There’s been some ups (and many, many downs), but it hasn’t been all bad, I guess. I mean, I still got the chance to travel to Mexico this year before travel shut down worldwide, and while I had some hard times, I’ve had a lot of time off to learn to cope and become reacquainted with myself as an individual. I’ve revisited old hobbies, discovered new things I love, and had plenty of time to explore exactly what it is in life I enjoy doing.

However, corny as it sounds, one of the positives of this year is that I got the chance to try all sorts of new products out during lockdowns — many of which I absolutely adored. This year, skincare definitely reined supreme amongst products I both tried and loved — after all, there’s not much of a need to be buying heaps of makeup if you’re never leaving the house.

With all the products I tried, it WAS a little tricky to narrow it down to a top 10. However, I managed to narrow it down (in no particular order, of course). The following 10 products are the best new products I tried this year (not all of them are new this year, but they’re new to me). I really loved each and every one of these products — they’ve all become regulars in my daily routine, and many of them I would say are my fave products of all time. I’ve attached a little reasoning with each product about why exactly I love it so much, so that all of you know exactly what’s so great about them and whether they’d be something you’d love too!

Top 10 Products I Tried in 2020

Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

Why I love it: I only use this mask a wash off mask (not overnight), but even after 10 minutes it leaves my face feeling brand new. It’s packed full of AHA’s and hyaluronic acid, which always leaves my face feeling soft, fresh, and plump. Plus, it clears up my skin and really makes it glow.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Milk Makeup’s Hydro Grip Primer

Why I love it: This primer basically acts like a glue that holds all of your makeup in place, all day, though anything. It has a smoothing effect, allowing your makeup to apply as flawlessly as possible. Plus, it’s hydrating AF and actually leaves my skin feeling pretty great.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Herbivore Botanical’s Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil

Why I love it: This balancing oil helps to reduce redness and fix blemishes, leaving your skin looking clear and flawless. It’s not too heavy, and it’s squalene component helps to rebuild your skins barrier and protect it from dirt and pollutants.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Charlotte Tilbury’s Instant Eyeshadow Palette in Pillow Talk

Why I love it: This palette! Ugh. It was love at first use. This palette was my first time trying Charlotte Tilbury, but it’s totally sold me on the whole brand. These shadows are so blendable and produce ZERO fallout. The colours are super cute and delicate, and work well for everyday use. I can’t wait for the chance to try out more products by this brand.

While this palette was limited edition, Charlotte Tilbury still has many great products to check out at Sephora!

Glow Recipe’s Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask

Why I love it: I only tried this mask out recently, but I’ve already fallen in love. I was hoping to add a little retinol into my skincare routine — but only a small amount. I had tried their eye cream version in the past and while I loved it, I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to daily retinol (since it can do some harm if you’re not careful). This was the perfect medium — it leaves my skin looking FLAWLESS, and I don’t have to worry about using it wrong/mixing in wrong ingredients since I only use it occasionally. Now I get all the benefits of retinol, without any of the stress!

Check out this product at Sephora!

Biossance’s Squalane + Tea Tree Detox Mask

Why I love it: This is the perfect mask for anyone who’s skin is just a liiiiittle too sensitive for charcoal clay masks. I often find that while charcoal clay masks work for me, they leave my skin feeling a little irritated after. This masks clears up my skin while leaving it feeling softer than before — and it’s absolutely one of my all-time faves.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Huda Beauty’s Pastel Obsessions Eyeshadow Palettes

Why I love it: These palettes may be tiny, but they pack a lot of punch. They’re super pigmented and the colours are always stunning. The pastel colours are super on-trend for this year, and each palette comes with enough colours to create a wide range of diverse looks. 10/10, would recommend.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Sulwhasoo’s Bloomstay Vitalizing Eye Cream

Why I love it: I’ve always had issues with my under eyes, but this eye cream has honestly solved a lot of my problems. Since purchasing this cream, my under eyes have been nice and full and bright, and my fine lines and milia have been fading in a big way. This stuff may be pricey, but it’s totally worth it.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Why I love it: This stuff is the ultimate cure to chapped lips, IMO. One layer, one night and your lips will be feeling good as new the next day. It works so effectively, it actually lasts all night and the effects last all day. For real — my lips have been brand new ever since I tried this lip mask, and I can’t wait to try out more of Laneige’s products because of it.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Shu Uemura’s Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Cleansing Oil

Why I love it: Double cleansing WORKS. It helps to remove dirt that water-based cleansers don’t, especially SPF and other oil-based grime. My skin has felt so clean ever since starting. I haven’t tried any other oil-based cleansers, to be fair, but this stuff is just fantastic.

Check out this product at Sephora!

My Top 5 Brands of 2020

Since skincare has been the main event of my life this year, my top 5 brands of this year naturally ended up being entirely skincare (unlike last year where I did 5 skincare and 5 makeup brands). Unlike my favourite products of the year, these aren’t necessarily brands I tried for the first time this year, just the brands that topped my faves list by the end of the year (and all amazing brands that I could not recommend more).

Glow Recipe

Credit: @glowrecipe on Instagram

Herbivore Botanicals

Credit: @herbivorebotanicals on Instagram

Biossance

Credit: @biossance on Instagram

Ouai

Credit: @theouai on Instagram

Fresh

Credit: @freshbeauty on Instagram

Top 5 Brands I’m Excited To Try in 2021

This one sort of speaks for itself — these following five brands are all brands that I’m hoping to get the chance to try sometime during 2021! I already got the chance to try 3/5 of the brands on my list last year — and they of all ended up being my newfound faves. Here’s to trying out more brands and discovering new favourite products in 2021!

Tatcha

Credit: @tatcha on Instagram

Melt Cosmetics

Credit: @meltcosmetics on Instagram

Patrick Ta

Credit: @patricktabeauty on Instagram

Supergoop!

Credit: @supergoop on Instagram

Summer Fridays

Credit: @summerfridays on Instagram

And there you have it! What a year it’s been. It’s kinda crazy thinking back on it all — trying out some of these products for the first time feels like a whole lifetime ago. We’re so close to 2021 now, however, and I honestly can’t wait to see what it brings. Maybe it’ll be good, maybe it’ll be bad — but at least it’ll be a fresh start.

Stay tuned for next weeks post, where I detail 20 life lessons I learned in 2020! This year has taught me a lot, and it’s always important to reflect back on what life has taught us in order to ensure we don’t forget. While this year has certainly been a challenge, it doesn’t have to be all bad –it’s important that we all take time to look back on what this year has taught us, and take these lessons into the future to better ourselves and the world we live in.

As well, over the next few weeks I’ll be dropping my review of my FIRST-EVER ColourPop Cosmetics haul (one of the companies on my list of brands to try in 2020 last year!) and my winter FabFitFun unboxing. As well, I have some exciting content planned for new year, so stay tuned!

Much love,

Meredith

Holiday Gift Guide #3: Lifestyle Edition!

Hey everyone!

First off — happy December you guys!!! We’ve finally made it to the final month of the year and I, for one, could not be more excited. 2020, in all honesty, has been a particularly brutal year for me and no matter what 2021 holds, I’ll be excited to put this year behind me. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s feeling a little relieved that it’s finally the last month of the year, am I right?

Anyways, I’m back with another Gift Guide this week — and this time it’s all about Lifestyle! This week’s collection of gifts are loosely themed together by the fact that they’re all cool little things that really help add to and improve the lifestyle of whomever you’re gifting for — so while the theme is less defined this week, there’s really something in this list for anyone.

As always, since shopping in person isn’t really an option this year, I’ve chosen items that can all be purchased online! While it does kind of suck to miss out on holiday shopping this year, it isn’t really a necessity to get into the holiday spirit. Even if you’re in an area that still allows in person shopping, the responsible (and easier!) thing to do is crack open your laptop, lay on the couch and send in some online orders — so let me make that even easier for you by recommending some of my favourite things that would make great gifts for just about anyone on your list!

Ouai Super Dry Shampoo

Maybe this is just me, but as someone with very fine hair who lives in a super humid climate, my hair starts feeling greasy faster than I can keep up with washing it. Even in lockdowns, when no one sees me for days on end, this dry shampoo has been a bit of a lifesaver. It’s hands down the best dry shampoo I’ve ever used — and yes, I’ve become pretty acquainted with dry shampoos over the years. (What can I say? Sometimes half an hour of extra sleep is more valuable than freshly-showered hair). Unlike so many dry shampoos, it actually works to make your hair feel cleaner and doesn’t leave a residue behind or leave your hair looking powdery. My hair always both looks AND feels cleaner after using this stuff — making it an extra-useful gift for any busy bees in your life.

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

Mini Stone Pack

This is a cute and simple gift for your friend who’s super into horoscopes, decorating, collecting, or all of the above. These stone packs from Amazon come conveniently packaged in little packs or individually, with a little information on each type of crystal included such as what it manifests in your life. Whether you believe in the power of crystals or not — they make a great decoration or addition to any gift!

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Indigo in Amethyst and Rose Quartz!

Herbivore Coconut Milk Body Polish

Okay, so if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know all about my love of Herbivore Botanicals body scrubs. When I saw they released a coconut version earlier this year, I knew I had to give it a try. This version of their body scrub comes a little cheaper than the Crushed Amethyst body scrub, but they’re both so worth it. The amethyst scrub does seem to be a little more of a deep exfoliation, but this one is also effective, soft, and smells soooooo good. 10/10, would LOVE to receive this as a gift.

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

Dry Bar Prep Rally Detangler

This is such a universally loved, universally good-for-all hair type heat protectant. I guarantee that no matter who you buy this for, it’ll work for their hair. This next-level two-in-one detangler and heat protectant has kept my hair looking and feeling so great ever since I first received it in a FabFitFun box last winter — it really is SUCH an effective protector against blowdrying and styling heat damage. It doesn’t leave behind a residue either, making it a great gift for literally anyone on your list.

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

FOXYBAE Hair Curler

On the topic of hair styling, this hair curler I received in my latest FabFitFun box is AMAZING. It heats up well, is nice and easy to use, doesn’t seem to damage my hair and makes perfect curls. I really don’t know much about hair styling — I had short hair for most of my life — but I can tell you, this curler is by FAR the best I’ve ever owned. It makes curling your hair SO effortless and my hair has honestly looked better using this curler than it ever has in my entire lifetime of curling my hair. Basically, it’s super worth it.

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

AMIKA Hair Straightener

On a final hairstyling note, this AMIKA hair straightener (which, surprise surprise, I also recieved in a FabFitFun box) has been an absolute godsend in my life. It’s so high quality and straightens hair so effectively without damaging your hair. This was the first “fancy” hair straightener I’ve ever owned (ie. not purchased at the drugstore) and I was blown away at the difference it made — not just in terms of damage, but how fast and effectively it worked and how much better my hair looked when it was done. This straightener is a blessing.

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

Skincare Hairbands

This was something I purchased for myself recently on a bit of a whim, not really expecting much of it. I had seen other skincare fans using them all over social media, but I couldn’t really tell if they were going to help or simply hinder me while I washed my face and make the whole task more challenging. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to realize that these little hairbands make washing your face 200% easier. They keep all your baby hairs out of the way, and don’t get in the way themselves. I was kind of worried they would just end up getting wet and gross while I used them, but they don’t at all. They really act to solve something that you’d never realize was a large grievance until you see what life is like on the other side. Trust me.

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

Twine Cheese Board with Plate

If you have someone in your life who loves hosting wine nights or considers themselves a charcuterie enthusiast, then this is the perfect gift for them. This little board is so tiny and cute, it makes the perfect board for those with tiny kitchens or an addition to the collection of a charcuterie lover’s collection to add to a full spread. (Or, frankly, it also works well for making yourself feel a little fancier while eating cheese and crackers home alone). It’s cute, simple, small, easy to clean, and a great gift overall. I’ve been totally obsessed ever since I received this in a FabFitFun box (yes, again), and I’ve always thought it would make a great gift for anyone who loves dinner parties, or just cheese.

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

DAVID’s TEA Loose Leaf Teas

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit of a tea fanatic. David’s Tea, in my opinion, is THE best tea out there. I seriously drink at least 2-4 cups a day (and sometimes more). The options they offer are seriously endless, meaning that there’s absolutely a tea out there for everyone on your list. From traditional teas, to classic favourites, to crazy new flavours you couldn’t find elsewhere, David’s Tea has it all. It can be a little tricky to know where to start with all the options, but my favourites are Cream of Earl Grey, Genmaicha, Forever Nuts, Bai Hao Yin Zhen, and Butterfly Jasmine.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at DAVID’s Tea!

Lululemon Yoga Mat

With COVID likely still hanging around for the next few months, there’s really no better gift you could give than a high-quality yoga mat. Perfect for not just at home yoga sessions, these mats help make a wide variety of home workouts possible. Since yoga mats are something you only need one of and don’t often replace, it’s nice to be able to splurge on one for someone on your list — and after that, they’ll be all set to get on top of staying fit in 2021. Whether it’s for at-home use, or for yoga classes in the (hopefully not so distant) future, this mat is high quality and comes with a warranty, making sure it’ll be useful for years to come.

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

Lululemon Massage Roller

This is another thing that’s been a real lifesaver for me in COVID. It’s hard with all the stress this year has toot feel the impacts on your body — overtime, it really wears you down. However, going for a quick massage isn’t really an option in 2020. Instead, I’ve been using this yoga roller to work out all the knots in my body where I’ve been holding all my stress. It really makes a huge difference in your overall wellbeing to be able to massage out all the kinks every so often. It’s kind of self-care, but also in 2020, very necessary.

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

Silked Satin Pillowcase

Finally, we have the Silked satin pillowcase (which, yes, I also received in a FabFitFun box. I know this whole post probably just seems like one giant advertisement for FabFitFun, but I swear it’s not! They really just gift the best stuff). Satin pillowcases are fantastic for soooo many reasons — they don’t tug on your skin or mess with your hair, making them gentler and less damaging on both (plus they’re just cute as well). For those on your list who worry about hair damage, skincare or wrinkles, these pillowcases are extra soft on your skin and hair overnight — making them the perfect gift. The first time I ever used one, the difference I felt in my hair the next morning was like night and day — I could never go back to using regular pillow cases ever again.

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

I hope you guys are all having a great week! Hopefully at this point you’ve got a good idea of what you’ll be gifting everyone on your list this year, but if not — stay tuned for my final gift guide next week! I’ll be sharing my favourite makeup items that will make universally great gifts for any makeup lovers in your life — regardless of skin tone and staples they already own.

So, again, happy December! Are you guys all still setting goals for yourself this month? Personally, I’m taking a bit of a break and riding out the last month of 2020 as easily as I can, but if you guys have some goals you’ve set for yourself I’d love to hear them! Drop a comment below and let me know what you’re hoping to manifest before the end of the year!

Stay safe and much love,

Meredith

Holiday Gift Guide #2: Skin Care Edition!

Hey friends!

I hope the last few days of November are treating you all well! With December now just around the corner, holiday season is starting to get into full swing. When winter holidays are so soon, it can be hard not to stress about gift giving — after all, it’s looking a little different this year. In order to save you from worrying about how you’re going to handle online shopping for gifts this year, I’ve made a compilation of what I consider to be some of the greatest gifts you can give so you can sit back and enjoy the holidays! Feel free to check out my segment from last week on Self-Care Gift Ideas for some extra inspo as well!

Skin care is one of my favourite things in life and, when done right, can make a fantastic gift. Of course, it can be difficult to gift if you don’t know where to start — many people already have their favourite staples, or special skin concerns that may not be compatible with certain products. However, I’ve gone out of my way to compile a list solely of items that won’t interfere with staples and are good for all skin types. As well, I adore all of these products, and my skin is super sensitive — so you shouldn’t have to worry about these products being too harsh on your family/friends/SO’s skin!

With such a wide range of products, there’s a gift here for everyone on your list from the skincare guru to the newbie looking to try something new in 2021. Hopefully, with the help of this list you’ll find something great for even the hardest people on your list to gift for!

Fresh Face Masks

These masks have been a staple in my skincare line-up for years now — so I can certifiably tell you they’d make a fantastic gift. Both of these masks are gentle on the skin and have a visible effect on your skin after just one use. The Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask has a smoothing effect on the skin — it really lives up to it’s “instant perfecting” name — while also leaving your skin feeling soft and moisturized. The Rose Face Mask, on the other hand, helps to moisturize and smooth your skin (and if you’re unsure about a person’s skin type and sensitivities, would probably make the safer gift). Either way, however, both of these masks are of the BEST face masks I’ve ever tried and will absolutely, visibly, change your skin for the better.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out the Rose Face Mask and the Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask online at Sephora!

Grace & Stella Eye Masks

As someone who tends to struggle a lot with under eye bags, there’s nothing I love more than a good eye mask. These eye masks, which come in sets of 12 and only cost $16.00, making them a pretty solid deal. They have a lovely cooling effect on your under eyes, and come loaded with caffeine to help you look more awake and alert. Basically, these are a gift that’s great for anyone who’s ever had a rough morning and could use a little boost to look like they’re 100% — even if they aren’t (and really, haven’t we all been there before?).

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

Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm

This is a pretty new product that I tried recently and absolutely fell in love with. Glow Recipe was one of the brands I was most excited to try in 2020, and to be honest, it’s one of the best things to happen to me so far this year. Basically, all of their products are amazing, but if you know anyone who’s specifically looking to jump in on the new cleansing balm trend for removing makeup and cleansing your skin, this would make the perfect gift. I’ve tried samples of other cleansing balms, but they just don’t measure up. This product smells amazing and it WORKS. 10/10, would make a fantastic gift.

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

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

This was the first product from Glow Recipe that I tried, and arguably their best known. From the first time I used it, I knew it was love. This mask leaves your skin feeling instantly softer and plumper and leaves your complexion looking moisturized and bright. Even though this mask uses AHAs to exfoliate, it’s incredibly gentle — and if you gift it to someone who has sensitive skin (like me) they don’t have to use it as an overnight mask — 10 minutes is enough to see results.

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

Peter Thomas Roth FirmX Peeling Gel Exfoliator

Exfoliating is a super important aspect of skincare that is so often overlooked. This exfoliator has been a staple for me for years now — it’s so easy to use and works so effectively. All you have to do with this product is gentled rub it over dry skin and watch all your dead cells be wiped away. It’s gentle, never caused me irritation, and is quick and satisfying to use. Do I need to say any more?

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

Shiseido Full Lash Serum

I’d absolutely recommend this lash serum for anyone in your life looking for longer lashes. This is one of the few lash serums I’ve used that actually gave me visible results, and the doe foot applicator makes it easy to apply to brows as well. For anyone in your life who’s been wanting longer lashes or fuller brows (and who doesn’t want those things?), this serum makes the perfect gift.

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

Biossance Squalene + Tea Tree Detox Mask

This mask is another one of my all-time faves. Biossance has been one of my favourite brands ever since I first tried their Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil, and their products have never done me wrong. I absolutely love this mask, because to me it’s like a gentler version of a charcoal mask. I’ve never been able to find a decent charcoal mask that a) has a visible effect and b) doesn’t irritate my skin, so this mask has kind of been a lifesaver. It does a great job of purifying my pores, and rather than irritating my skin it actually softens it significantly. While charcoal masks may seem like a great gift as they are universally popular, if you know someone with sensitive skin looking for a good purifying mask — this is it.

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

Dr. Jart+ Cryo Rubber Single-Use Rubber Masks

These are hands-down my favourite single-use face masks of all time. They’ve recently rebranded these masks a little, but Dr. Jart+ makes some of the greatest sheet masks I’ve ever come across so even if they’re a little different, I’m not concerned (however, I’m pretty sure they’re exactly the same). These masks come with ampoule and a rubber sheet mask to lock in the product for the duration you choose to wear it for. It’s a great way to treat someone when they’re needing a little self-care night — these masks are definitely on the pricier side for single use masks, but the results make them oh-so-worth it.

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

Herbivore Rose Quartz Facial Roller

If you’re worried about not knowing someone’s skin type before buying them a skincare related gift, a rose quartz facial roller is pretty much the perfect way to go. Facial rolling has all sorts of benefits, such as de-puffing, treating fine lines, soothing your skin. It really helps push all the skincare products you use into your skin as well, making sure you reap all the benefits. It really doesn’t matter what age, skin type or routine the person you’re gifting for has — this will be a perfect addition to their skincare collection!

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

Mount Lai Rose Quartz Gua Sha Tool

This skincare tool is also the perfection addition to any skincare lover’s collection — regardless of skin type. Unlike facial rollers, gua shas held to massage and brighten the skin, as well as sculpt the face. On top of that, they really help to boost circulation and can help stimulate your lymphatic drainage, boosting skin clarity and making your skin glow. Gua shas are simple to use and, like facial rollers, really work well for absolutely everyone — making them a fantastic gift.

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

Mount Lai Jade Textured Facial Roller

And finally, for anyone who’s really been needing a way to massage out their face in 2020, Mount Lai’s textured jade roller is the exact gift they’ve been needing. This jade roller is covered in tiny little bumps to help massage out every little knot on your face, leaving your skin feeling beyond pampered and brand new. Even if you’re looking to gift to someone who (gasp) doesn’t really care much about skincare — I think we can all agree we’ve been needing a good massage after this year. Plus, same as all the other facial tools, this product works for all skin types.

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

I hope you’ve all been having a great week! It’s crazy how close we’re getting to the end of the year — this year has really been simultaneously the longest AND shortest year of my life. It’s definitely going to be a weird holiday season this year — I’m curious, how do you all plan to spend it? Are you going 100% virtual for the holidays this year, or do you have a plan with your bubble in order to be able to spend some time in person? Whatever it is — I hope you’re all staying safe while still enjoying the holiday season as best you can!

If you’re still looking for some gift ideas, stay tuned for next week’s segment where I outline some of my favourite lifestyle gift ideas for the 2020 holiday season! I hope you guys are all enjoying my gift guide series so far, as well — it took me a lot of effort to put this all together, and all of your comments, reads and shares mean so much to me! So, basically, thank you all for your support — it means a lot.

Much love,

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

Thursday Favourites: August 20th

Hey friends!

Hope you’re all having an amazing week! Honestly, my motivation has been pretty low this week, but I’m trying to power through it and get things done so I can enjoy the last few weeks of summer. Can anyone else believe it’s already nearly September? I swear, the timeline of this year has been all over the place. New Years Eve feels so recent, but thinking back to March feels like another lifetime ago — it’s really been a rollercoaster of a year.

It’s hard to feel like I’ve really been taking advantage of summer since we’re all supposed to be spending so much time inside — I guess it’s just a part of 2020’s reality we’ll have to accept, but this summer really has flown by without me even noticing it. I feel as though summer has just begun, even though we’re kind of nearing the end of it, and I guess it’s because I haven’t really done much during these summer months this year. Especially when I was in university, summer was a time of freedom, friends and exploring. Even with summer classes, summer jobs, or both, I always spent all kinds of time with friends and outside, and I usually went on one mini-adventure every summer. This year, however, between my wisdom tooth surgeries, lockdowns, and job-hunting, summer has passed me by without me even noticing it.

With summer coming to a close, I haven’t really gotten the chance to sit out in the sun and enjoy it (and likely won’t, now that I have a fresh tattoo — I guess it’ll depend how long into September the weather stays sunny and warm). However, it’s still nice to sport a nice, healthy sun-kissed glow — even if you haven’t gotten a chance to leave your house much this year.

I’m certainly no stranger when it comes to self-tanners, and I’ve tried a few out over the years with very mixed results. Every single tanner I’ve tried has had some sort of flaw that made it difficult to use. Where one would be a dark coloured cream that would apply evenly, yet stain my sheets — another would apply clear and develop over a few hours — but always seemed to turn out streaky (and often smelt terrible). It was always a bit of an uphill battle constantly fighting against smelling of fake tanner or keeping my white sheets unstained.

However, I feel as though I’ve finally found the solution. I’d been hearing about these new face tanning drops for a while now — it felt like so many people I knew had tried them out. I’d been hearing good reviews, so I decided to give them a go for myself.

Something pretty cool about these Isle of Paradise and their tanning products is that they come in three shades — light, medium and dark. I opted for light, since I didn’t really know how they were going to look, but I’d definitely go for medium next time around. These drops are fantastic due to their versatility — they’re made to be added to moisturizer, so you can choose exactly how dark you want to go and simply add them to your other daily products. Something that’s always frustrated me about self-tanners is how it can be challenging and annoying to use them on your body AND moisturize, but using them individually isn’t as good a moisturizer as creams. However, since using this product just means adding it into my usual moisturizer, it’s been no problem using this product daily. As well, I’d absolutely NEVER put self-tanner on my face — my whole body cringes imagining what that would do to my skin. However, I’ve found this product is gentle enough that mixed in with my usual Clinique moisturizer, it doesn’t have any ill effects on my skin whatsoever.

Another thing I adore about this product is how it doesn’t rub off and stain everything you own, while it also doesn’t have any nasty fake-tan smell to it. I usually find most tanning products either have one or the other, but this one actually manages to avoid both. It’s nearly clear and doesn’t tan your skin through simply staining it darker (which is what I find often leads to it marking up your clothes and sheets) and doesn’t particularly have much of a smell to it, so it just ends up smelling like whatever product you’ve chosen to mix it with.

So far, I’m totally obsessed with this product. Between how totally customizable they are, paired with the fact they seem to have solved the problems that arise with most other self-tanners, they’re a huge win in my books. To top it all off, I’ve yet to have any issues with streaking or uneven tanning. This product looks SO natural, I almost was worried it wasn’t working at first since unlike so many other tanners I’ve tried, it didn’t streak or look orange. It really just looks like a light tan — as if you’ve just naturally gotten a bit of colour by going about your day-to-day life (minus the weird tan lines). If you wanted a more dramatic effect, you can always go for a darker shade or a higher volume of drops-to-moisturizer, as well. It’s completely up to you!

If this sounds like the self-tanner you’ve been needing, be sure to check out Isle of Paradise at Sephora!

I hope you all get the chance to enjoy the last few weeks of the summer to the fullest! I’m a little sad and bewildered by how fast this summer went, but at the same time, I won’t lie — I love Fall, and I’m starting to get pretty fired up for some cozy Autumn vibes. (Out of curiosity, what are your favourite seasons? Mine is summer, but the older I get the more I start to prefer Fall … I love the carefree summer feeling and the warm weather of summer. On the other hand, I hate when it gets too hot, and I love Fall clothes, holidays, cozy vibes, the changing leaves and basically everything else Fall has to offer (except the rain, of course). Anyways, I digress. Let me know in the comments below what your fave season is!).

Much love,

Meredith