My One-Year Bloggiversary!

Hey friends!

Sooooooo, I have some news — as of May 3rd, I have officially been blogging and sharing with y’all for one year!!! (Yes, I kind of missed it. I know! I’m sorry. It’s been a crazy month, plus I bought my domain back in February (not May) of last year so it didn’t notify me. I promise I’m writing it down for next year.).

Small details aside, I’m really excited about this. Not only am I really proud of myself for committing to this blog, it’s kind of crazy to see how I’ve grown and improved as a writer over the last year. While I kind of cringe looking back at my very first posts on this blog, I know I had to start somewhere and that I’ve become a more skillful writer with time and effort. As such, I wanted to do a little update of my first ever post where I shared 10 facts about me. As well, I wanted to elaborate a little on what I’ve learned, what’s changed in my life, and where I hope blogging takes me in the future!

So, without further ado, here’s 10 (updated) facts about me!

  • I am currently 22 years old residing in Vancouver, Canada. Well, I’m 23 now, but otherwise this is still true!
  • I have a degree in Psychology from UBC. At the time that I wrote this, I was really struggling with what was going on in my degree — even I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen, and as such, I just wanted to pretend I had graduated and finish up my remaining two classes quietly. With time, I realized how harmful that was; not only do I hate being dishonest, but I was kind of lying to myself. It was a brutal and stressful year, but I made it through. And now, I’m officially a UBC graduate with a major in Psychology and a minor in Creative Writing!
  • I am an alumna of the Kappa Kappa Gamma organization. This hasn’t changed, but I have become a lot more aware of the long-lasting impact my sorority has on my life and how I can still lean into those friendships and rely on my sisters, even in the hardest of times.
  • My hobbies/favourite things include exercising, travelling, makeup and skincare, as well as hanging out with my friends. I don’t really know what I was going for with this one — it’s a little all over the place and doesn’t really include any hobbies (although I was a little too busy for them at the time). My REAL hobbies include blogging, photography, makeup and art. (Obviously I still love skincare and my friends — but those don’t really strike me as hobbies, per se).
  • I’m a HUGE cat person. My parents have a Siberian Forest kitten named Dmitry and he might be the love of my life. Dmitry is now one year old! This is him now, I miss SO much.
  • I’m originally from Toronto, Canada and I moved to Vancouver at 17. Still true! I haven’t been back in a while, sadly — especially since with the current situation, it seems like I may not be able to anytime soon.
  • Tea over coffee but I still love both. I actually only really drink coffee when I’m working — and even then, I mostly drink lattes. Plain roasted coffee is great sometimes, but I don’t make it at home all too often. Tea, on the other hand? I make tea usually twice, sometimes three times a day. I wasn’t kidding when I wrote this, I really, REALLY love tea.
  • I LOVE the outdoors, plants are a huge essential in my home decor. I just put up the two cutest little plant pots on my wall, which is pretty fitting here! (If you want these for yourself, you can get them from Umbra!).
  • I’m an aspiring Wedding Planner. This is still true, but unfortunately I’ve graduated at just about the strangest and most uncertain time for the job market. Who even knows what the wedding industry will look like after this? So, fingers crossed, but I’ll be keeping an open mind.
  • My absolute favourite beauty line is NARS (with Tarte being a close second), and my favourite skin care line really depends on the product but I’d have to say probably Naturopathica. This is so funny to me, because this honestly sounds a little dated — these feel more like my opinions of two years ago. However, nowadays, I’d have to say my overall favourite makeup line would have to be Anastasia Beverly Hills. As well, my favourite skincare brand is probably Biossance (with Herbivore as a close second).

It’s so weird taking this time to look back and reflect — it really has been such an intense year. When I wrote this post initially, I was fresh out of my 2019 exam season and grappling with what was going on with both my degree and my future, as it was all so up in the air at that point. Being a recent graduate is definitely never easy for anyone, and I know from watching all my friends enter the post-grad life that it’s far from an smooth transition. It’s intimidating searching for jobs, and starting your first job post-grad can be overwhelming. It’s tough to stay in touch with a lot of your university friends, especially those that move away, have conflicting schedules or are still finishing their degrees. Post-grad life is incredibly isolating at first. I’ve heard time after time from each and every one of my friends how incredibly lonely they felt for the first year or so. But not only did I have to go through all of this myself — I hadn’t even actually graduated yet. I still needed to get a job, and finish up my classes. It felt like I spent the whole year in flux — I had all the aspects of post-grad life and struggles, without the actual degree.

I wouldn’t say it ever got much easier or less scary over the last year. I always felt like I was two steps behind. I transitioned from my on-campus apartment to downtown life, my incredibly intense new job and online classwork faster than I could ever keep up with. I never had any time to socialize, keep up with friends, or do anything for myself. I didn’t have the ability to fully move into my apartment with how busy I was, and I spent months without having any furniture at all. Beauty treatments I used to keep up with regularly became a thing of the past. All I had time for was trying to catch up. I spent a lot of the last year not really living, but surviving.

This isn’t to say that it was all bad. In the last year, I got a chance to do a lot of travelling, which I am so very grateful for. I finally did finish up my degree, and I’ll be able to have a little virtual graduation this summer and put that chapter of my life to rest. As well, I think I’ve come to realize I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. I have dealt with so much in the last year, and even when my worst issues were just juggling my classes and seven day weeks at my job, I made it through in one piece in the end. If you had told me last year what this year would have been like, the changes my life went through and how much I would end up losing, I wouldn’t have believed I could have survived it all. But I did.

I kind of feel like I’m finally beginning to wrap up this year of my life and move on to the next phase, and honestly — as monumental and educational as it was for me, I can’t wait to put it behind me. It’s weird thinking ahead to the next year and what it’ll hold for me and my blog — everything is so uncertain right now, there’s no point in really setting any solid plans. However, I do have some ideas for where I’d like my blog (and life) to go over the next year — for starters, I’m hoping to have more time to dedicate to creating content (both for my blog and Instagram), as well as finally being able to reach out to brands for collabs. I’m hoping to settle into a real routine and find a full-time job that I love. Most of all, I’m just hoping to be able to really take the time to put together posts I can be proud of, week after week. This blog is a huge passion of mine, but I don’t often have a lot of time to dedicate towards it — but hopefully by this time next year, I’ll be able to change that.

Before I go, I just wanted to give a little thanks to all of you for supporting me over the last year. It really means so much to me that so many of you care what I have to say, and I love being able to share my thoughts with all of you. While this year has been pretty rough and it’s been tricky coming back from my hiatus, it means a lot seeing the support I’ve been getting since. So thank you, all of you, for making my first year of blogging so fantastic! I can’t wait to see where the next year takes me. Let the journey begin!

Xoxo,

Meredith

Storytime: My Secret Beach Discovery In Phuket, Thailand!

Unnamed Beach with Wild Dogs, Phuket, Thailand

Okay, this is going to be a bit of a different post for me, but I really wanted to share. This moment meant a whole lot to me, and while it may seem super irrelevant to you, I hope it can touch your heart too.

This story takes a bit of exposition, so bear with me. While my trip to South East Asia was mostly a first for me, I’ve actually been to Thailand before back in 2013. My family and I travelled with our close family friends to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket New Years.

As well, my parents are rather familiar with Thailand — my parents once travelled there together before I was born, as well, my dad went there on a trip similar to mine when he was about my age with his brother.

One of my dad’s most favourite memories in the world is when he was in Phuket during his trip; he and his brother stumbled across an empty beach and spent the day there. This beach was an untouched sanctuary — tourism wasn’t as big in Thailand at the time, so they spent the entire day there without seeing a single other person, just enjoying this beach to themselves.

When we arrived in Phuket in 2013 (actually, I believe it was just after New Years, so 2014 at this point) my dad was so excited to be able to see the beach of one of his fondest memories again. He spent all kinds of time researching it, trying to figure out where it was — our resort was on the beach, so he figured it couldn’t be far. However, when his search turned up fruitless, he came to the conclusion that the beach he remembered must have been the one our resort was located on, and he was heartbroken. This beach was now fully developed and completely packed with tourists — one of those beaches where the entirety of it is lined with resorts and it’s hard to find a spot to even sit down amidst all the chaos. It was, understandably, of of the saddest I’ve ever seen my dad in my life. The empty beach from his young adulthood had been completely renovated into a tourist hotspot and had lost all of its magical charm from what he once knew.

Fast forward to 2019.

Upon finishing up with our time in Koh Phi Phi, Nylah and I jumped on our ferry back to Phuket with about 7 hours until we had to be at the airport, and no plan. It was going to be a long day, so we didn’t want to do anything crazy — we were thinking we’d just sit at the beach until it was time to head over. The ferry company offered shuttles from the harbour to almost anywhere you’d like, so we told them our situation and they recommended a beach close enough to the airport we could easily get there when we were ready to leave.

As we’re pulling up, I’m struck by how familiar it looks — its basically identical to the beach I stayed at 5 years prior. The shuttle bus driver drops us off and we set up camp for the day along the edge of the beach (in the shade of the palm trees as I, unfortunately, got rather sunburnt on the ferry ride over). The beach is completely empty, save for a pack of friendly but wild dogs that inhabited the area. It was beautiful.

A few hours go by before it hits me — maybe THIS was the beach my dad had been looking for all those years ago. It looked so, so similar to the tourist beach, but there was absolutely no one else around. I quickly snapped a photo and sent it off to my family group chat — I figured even if it wasn’t the same beach, my dad would probably feel better seeing that there was still areas nearby that were untouched by development.

If you’ve stuck with me this long, this is where it gets pretty crazy. My dad instantly recognized the photo, and a few days later sent back a picture he dug up when I showed him the beach.

My Dad’s Photo Of The Beach, Phuket

Look familiar?

The Exact, Unedited, Photo I Sent My Family Of The Beach We Found

Not only did I manage to stumble upon the exact beach my dad had visited when he was my age, he set up camp in the exact same spot, and took the exact same photo as me, from the same angle. I’m sure it’s all just one crazy coincidence, but I can’t believe the odds. Not only does my dad’s beach still exist, but I ended up by chance spending the exact same day there years later on a similar trip of my own.

Anyways, I’m not really sure what the point is of the story, but I was so completely shocked and heart warmed by this whole thing that I thought I would share. My dad is so excited that this beach still exists, untouched, and just as empty as when he visited it himself when he was my age. Pretty happy ending to the story, which was crazy enough even without the fact that my dad had been so torn up over thinking this beach had been completely developed into a resort strip. If your curious about exactly which beach it is, message me — I’d rather not share it publicly for my own personal reasons.

I hope you all enjoyed this story, and that you found it as heart-warming and amazing as I did. There’s nothing I’d love more than to have brightened all your busy Thursday’s with this story, since it meant so much to me.

Lots of Love,

Meredith

My Experience Dyeing My Hair

Me as a blonde, December 2018

When it comes to hair, I’ve pretty much done it all. Cut it all off for cancer donation, had highlights, balayage, ombré, crazy colours, henna dyed it, you name it. But the biggest change I ever did was bleaching it blonde. I’ve since dyed my hair back to brunette, but I was a blonde for the last three years.

I really loved being blonde, but I also felt it was time for a change. I don’t even remember how and when I decided to go back to brunette, but once I decided it was a done deal.

Dyeing my hair blonde, however, was a seriously different process. It took me ages. My hair naturally is incredibly dark brown, which would already be tricky enough lightening to the extent that I did. I had an extra layer of difficultly added (literally), though, as I had previously been dyeing my hair with Henna dye.

I’ll take a little aside here to discuss a disclaimer on Henna as hair dye: it is absolutely NOTHING like other hair dyes, or henna tattoos. I’d encourage anyone considering it to do some research of their own, but I can discuss my experience here (as well as the fallout that came from me not doing any research whatsoever). At the time I was a young, bright eyed first year looking to do something to accentuate my newfound independence. However, I’ve always been somewhat rational in my time being free to do as I please so anything too radical (ie. tattoos, piercings) was kind of out of the question, as that kind of thing I personally would want to put a lot of thought into. When I saw Henna hair dye being sold at a store I won’t name, it sounded perfect. The salesperson hyped it up perfectly: all-natural hair dye that would turn my then-balayage locks a stunning ginger, as well as acting as a hair treatment. I was sold.

Me, after my first round of highlights to go blonde after Henna, December 2015

Henna works amazingly for some people, but there are downsides I was not aware of before I dove in head first. First of all: henna does not come out of your hair. Ever. The colour may fade, you may not be able to see it, but it’s there. If you’re doing it once, or have no intention of ever going lighter, this really doesn’t matter. But when I walked into the hair salon and asked to go blonde, I was shocked to find out that until all my henna-dyed hair had been grown out and cut off, the answer was essentially a no. I eventually started out slowly with highlights a few months later, but honestly, for almost the entirety of my first year blonde my hair always had a strawberry tint. Furthermore, the amount of bleach needed to hide the henna dye as best as my hair stylist could was immense. It totally fried my hair, and all in all it took about a year of highlights to get it to look “blonde”. Even for another few months, it was still dirty blonde at best.

Second of all — although significantly less important — henna is SO difficult to do. Its messy, its hard to apply and to prep, hard to wash out and keeping it in your hair for hours is honestly exhausting. If henna sounds right for you then don’t let this deter you (pain is beauty rings true for this one). But do your research first.

Anyways, back to the real matter at hand: bleaching my hair. I will absolutely never regret doing it, I really did love being blonde. But WOW was it ever high maintenance.

First of all — the upkeep. I know it is to be expected, but before I did it I really didn’t know how intense it would be. First of all, it’s expensive: be prepared to drop a LOT of money on constant hair appointments. Now that I’ve stopped dyeing my hair I’ve had so much of my budget free up for other things. It was worth it, but it was crazy expensive. And for those of us with super dark hair, the amount of time spent in the chair at hair appointments is a lot. I’m talking about 5+ hours each time. It really was so time consuming, especially since I had to go in for highlights every 6-8 weeks.

Me shortly after going blonde, September 2016

Second of all — the maintenance outside of dyeing appointments. I was never great with hair–growing up, I always had shorter hair so I couldn’t do much with it myself. Bleaching my hair was a HUGE learning curve. I use about 4-5 different products before blow drying my hair still to this day, and I absolutely cannot wash it without using a hair mask if I want to help keep it looking healthy. Furthermore, my hair was so fried I could almost never style it. Straightening and curling it, even just once in a while, took a noticeable toll on my hair. I’ve never been one for doing my hair every day, but if I had been it certainly would have been out of the question. I took supplements to help it grow in healthier, but ultimately I just had to be super careful with it 24/7.

All this being said though, I LOVED being blonde. Changing your hair is such a simple and fun way to make a major change in your life with little-to-no consequences. After all, it’s just hair–it can always grow back. If you dye it and hate it, cut it all off and regret it, and just about everything else in between, it’s all temporary. If you’re looking to make a change in your life, I’ve come to realize there’s a reason people going through a break up always start with drastically changing their hair — it’s a fresh start, but also not a permanent one.

My hair the day I dyed it back to brown, March 2019

While I loved being blonde, I also love my brown hair now. It really did feel like a fresh start, and I really loved seeing the reactions it got (particularly from my friends who had never known me with my natural hair, many of whom assumed I was a natural blonde at first). Upon dyeing it back, I immediately noticed a difference in how healthy and shiny it was. I still upkeep my fairly high maintenance hair routine, as most of my hair is still bleached underneath the brown dye, but overall it’s already a lot less overwhelming to take care of now. Plus, a huge bonus of dyeing it brown on top of the bleach is that my hair has slowly changed to a lighter shade in the months since I dyed it, keeping it fun and interesting. I love changing my hair, and it’s absolutely something I’ll keep doing. That’s the best part about hair, it’s all temporary! You can always change your mind. Even I don’t know what I’ll do with it next, but I know that the change will come at some point.

Some last few tips I have: hair should be an investment. It is such a large factor in how you present overall, and is 100% worth splurging on. If you can afford it, get your hair done at a hairdresser. At-home bleaching can work just fine if you know what you’re doing, but if you don’t and have the money to spend getting a professional to handle it, is it worth the risk? Also, and this may be my personal opinion, but hair care products are one of the few things where the cheaper options are often significantly less better than the expensive ones. Cheap clothes, with the right eye, can be paired for an expensive look. The right drugstore makeup will often be praised over high-end brands. There are cheap and DIY skin care options that work wonders with the right formula for your skin. But I really do find that with hair, you’re better off splurging a little. If you’re going to go blonde, purple or colour-treated shampoo is basically a must-have to keep from constant bleaching and upkeep. Hair masks are a good investment to help keep your hair healthy, and I would also suggest an oil or some related product to keep your hair nice and moisturized. I never struggled with dry hair until I bleached it out, but depending on the amount of bleaching it can really end up taking a toll on your strands. Furthermore, be ready for it to take a few tries if you have darker hair, as it can be so damaging to go all the way blonde at once. But all that being said, if you’re thinking about it, go for it! It really is fun to try switching things up, and while I love my natural hair, being blonde really was fun (but more fun than brunettes? Not so sure about that one).

My current hair, May 2019

Of course if you want any more advice, have any advice to give or just want to chat about it at all if you’re considering a switch feel free to hit me up!

Love,

Meredith

10 Facts About Me

Hey everyone! Welcome to my blog.

I really had no idea where to start with this, so I figured as good a place as any was a quick introduction to who I am with some fun facts!

  1. I am currently 22 years old residing in Vancouver, Canada
  2. I have a degree in Psychology from UBC
  3. I am an alumna of the Kappa Kappa Gamma organization
  4. My hobbies/favourite things include exercising, travelling, makeup and skincare, as well as hanging out with my friends
  5. I’m a HUGE cat person. My parents have a Siberian Forest kitten named Dmitry and he might be the love of my life
  6. I’m originally from Toronto, Canada and I moved to Vancouver at 17
  7. Tea over coffee but I still love both
  8. I LOVE the outdoors, plants are a huge essential in my home decor
  9. I’m an aspiring Wedding Planner
  10. My absolute favourite beauty line is NARS (with Tarte being a close second), and my favourite skin care line really depends on the product but I’d have to say probably Naturopathica.

So that’s me! I’m hoping to use this blog to share stuff about skincare, makeup, design, fashion, lifestyle as well as my life and I’m super excited to start sharing with you all!

xoxo,

Meredith