100 Prompts for When You’re Suffering Writers Block!

Hey y’all!

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

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

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

Media & Culture Prompts

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

Fashion & Style Prompts

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

Skincare & Makeup Prompts

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

Lifestyle and Advice Prompts

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

Blogging about Blogging Prompts

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

Social Media Advice Prompts

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

School and Education Prompts

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

Work and Careers Prompts

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

Friends and Social Situations Prompts

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

Love and Relationships Prompts

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

Making It Through Bad Situations Prompts

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

Self-Reflection Prompts

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

Cooking, Baking, and Drinks Prompts

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

Travelling & The World Prompts

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

Home & Decor Prompts

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

Budgeting Prompts

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

Adulting Prompts

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

Lockdown 2020/2021 Prompts

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

Organizational Prompts

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

Health and Wellness Prompts

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

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

Much love,

Meredith

Winter Roundup: My Fave Products So Far in 2021!

Hey y’all!

So, as some of you may remember from what feels, honestly, ages ago (even though it’s only been a few months — has COVID really messed up anyone else’s internal timeline or is it just me?) I used to share two weekly posts on my blog page — a post on Sunday, and a post on Thursday (ever-so-creatively dubbed “Thursday Favourites”) where I highlighted one of my personal favourite makeup or skincare product in a segment each week, going into detail about what it was about each product that I loved so much.

These segments were something I came up with when I first started my blog (back when I used to post THREE times a week……. I honestly don’t know how I did it). At the time, I didn’t really know where I was going with my blog, what kinds of posts I wanted to make, or really — what I was even doing. I grew attached to my little segment — it felt like my own little gimmick — even though I found it challenging to write out long, thoughtful and creative reviews on new products every week.

Then, later on, as most of you know — I started falling behind on my posts. Writing out a review to share every week started to feel like a chore — there was absolutely nothing enjoyable about it anymore, it was just a task I had to complete each week. Eventually, the stress of falling behind and the pressure I was putting on myself surrounding my blog simply became too much, and resulted in me going straight up radio silence for almost two months. It wasn’t an intentional break — I just couldn’t do it anymore.

When I finally took the time to recuperate and make my return to blogging, I knew that (at least temporarily), the weekly reviews had to go — they were the part of blogging I had found to be the most grating over the months leading up to my hiatus. I thought that the segment was something I still wanted to keep up with, so my original intention was to delay sharing them until I had built up enough of a backlog that I wouldn’t have to stress about falling behind anymore. However, once I got back into blogging 100%, I started to realize the VERY distinct difference in how I felt writing out my regular posts, compared to how I felt writing out reviews. Honestly? There wasn’t really anything fun about it. What’s more — it often took a lot more time and energy than my regular Sunday posts, as I always wanted to take and edit my own original photos of each product I was sharing each week.

After spending some time writing out only my Sunday posts and seeing my love of blogging slowly begin to return, I realized it was time to bring the Thursday Favourites segment to an end. I thought I would be sad to see it go, but honestly it’s been a bit of a relief. That being said, I still want to share my favourite products with you all — so I’ve come to a bit of a compromise. Similarly to how I’ve shared annual round-ups of all my favourite products of the year in the past, I’m now going to be doing seasonal round-ups of both new favourite products of mine, or old returning favourites I had yet to share. This way, I’m hoping I’ll still be able to share all the products I’ve been loving with you all — without the stress of writing out lengthy, blog-length reviews each week.

So, basically, we’ll see how this goes. That’s the great thing about having my own blog is that at the end of the day, what I share is ultimately up to me (and there’s no reason I should feel the need to share posts that exhaust me just because I’ve decided I’m “supposed to”). Anyway, without further ado — here’s seven of my most favourite products that I’ve tried and loved since my last Thursday Favourites update!

Sulwhasoo’s Bloomstay Vitalizing Eye Cream

My under-eye area has pretty much always been the bane of my existence. I’ve definitely mentioned this before (many, many times) on my blog, but to summarize for those of you who don’t know — for whatever reason, my under-eye area has always had seemingly perpetual dark circles which no amount of sleep or skincare ever seemed to fix. As well, the skin under my eyes has always been very delicate and has always maintained heavy creasing — basically making me look like I’m constantly exhausted (even in the best-rested, most relaxed time of my life). As well, years of trying to aggressively fix these problems basically just ended up with me clogging up all my pores under my eyes, leaving me with seemingly permanent milia (verrryyyy tiny clogged pores, for those of you lucky enough not to know. Essentially, you can’t pop them — you have to solve them with proper skincare). I wasn’t even aware that my skincare routine was causing the milia under my eyes — I thought it was just something that was permanently a part of my face.

I tried out a couple of eye creams over the years, but honestly, I never found what I was looking for. A lot of the eye creams I tried had seemingly no effect — I honestly couldn’t tell what, exactly, I was spending all this money for. However, I finally found one that was worth it. This eye cream has actually made noticeable changes to my under eye area — since trying this cream, my dark circles have mostly vanished, my skin has firmed up, and while I’m still struggling to be 100% rid of all my old milia — this product hasn’t done anything to add to the issue. (It’s taking a while to resolve, but I’m getting there!). Anyway, this stuff is expensive but it really is the best — I’m pretty sure I’ve found my forever eye cream here.

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at Sephora!

Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

I won’t lie — this product was a bit of an impulse purchase that I was pretty certain I was going to regret, but ended up obsessed with. When this product first launched, all the posts I saw about it and it’s natural, makeup-free highlighting abilities really sold me — but immediately after I purchased it, I began worrying about whether or not it was something I really, truly needed. I figured, ultimately, that I would give it a try and I could always end up returning it if it turned out to be something that was unnecessary (which isn’t something I normally do, ever, because it can be pretty wasteful). However, when I actually got this product and tried it out, all my worries washed away. (I don’t even know why I was stressed — Glow Recipe has never done me wrong). This product has so many uses — it’s hydrating, adds a glow to your skin naturally, and can be worn with makeup to give your skin a little extra boost. As well, niacinamide acts to remove any hyperpigmentation and scarring from the skin — which I ended up loving, since it’s not a skincare ingredient I had used before. Ultimately, this has made a fantastic addition to my morning skincare routine — it leaves me looking fresh, awake, and glow — while also serving a purpose in my skincare. I was so nervous that this product was going to be something that I wouldn’t use or need, but it honestly gives me something new to look forward to every morning when I wash my face.

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at Sephora!

Biossance’s Squalane + Tea Tree Detox Mask

This mask has got to be one of my all-time faves. Before trying this mask out, I’d been going years using harsh charcoal and clay masks to unclog my pores — which can be super useful, but harsh on sensitive skin. While I do love charcoal masks for occasional use, I was really needing something solid help unclog my pores regularly without being too harsh or stripping the oils from my face. For anyone else out there who feels the same way, and has sensitive skin like me — you need to try this mask out for yourself. As the name suggests, it’s purpose is to detox your pores, but it does it without being too harsh — in fact, it actually hydrates your skin as you use it! I always can feel AND see a noticeable difference in my skin after using this mask. Seriously, it’s like I have baby skin after. 10/10, would recommend.

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at Sephora!

Laneige’s Lip Glowy Balm

Laneige is a brand I’m pretty new to, but have been absolutely loving. I already use and love their overnight lip mask, and I’ve tried out a sample of their overnight hydration mask (which I adored). So when I was in need of a new lip balm, I figured — why not give this one a shot? When it comes to lip balms, I often find there are two kinds — ones that double as a gloss, and ones that actually work. This is, honestly, the first lip balm I’ve ever tried that does both. This lip balm has a glossy-like sheen to it, but isn’t sticky or gross. It actually lasts, too — unlike so many lip balms that need constant reapplication. It’s pretty thick, however, that type of thing doesn’t really bother me with balms (and it definitely isn’t the heaviest lip balm I’ve ever tried). Most importantly, though — it always leaves me lips feeling softer after I use it.

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at Sephora!

Glow Recipe’s Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask

This is another face mask I’ve tried in the last year that’s definitely made it into my permanent collection. Retinol is a pretty renowned ingredient in skincare nowadays, and for a lot of good reasons. There’s all kinds of cool benefits to using it — the main ones being preventing (and minimizing existing) wrinkles, brightening and exfoliating the skin at a cellular level by increasing cell turnover rates, help regulate oily skin, prevent breakouts and even help with hyperpigmentation. Which is a lot of benefits! However, it definitely has some downsides too — it can be pretty intense on the skin, and overuse can lead to redness and peeling, as well — it does tend to make your skin more sensitive to the sun. I’m always nervous about trying out hardcore active ingredients in my skincare routine, but I decided to give this mask a shot. This mask is PERFECT for people with sensitive skin, or who are looking to give retinol a go and want to dip their toes in. Not only can it be used as frequently or infrequently as you need, but it can also be used as a wash off OR overnight mask, depending on your needs. Personally, I use this mask as a wash-off, but it’s totally fine to wear it overnight as well — Glow Recipe has a special retinol recipe that helps it release slowly overnight, so it won’t be damaging your skin or anything. No matter what, it definitely can take your skin some time to adjust to retinol — but the benefits really do seem worth it. If you’re new to retinol, though, this mask is 100% the perfect place to start.

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at Sephora!

ColourPop’s Super Shock Highlighter

I recently tried ColourPop for the first time ever, and I have to say, I’m obsessed. All of their makeup has impressed me so far (especially considering the price), but none of them blew me away the same way their Super Shock highlighter has. This highlighter is INSANE. It creates a look that’s so dewy and dimensional — they describe it on their website as “bouncy”, and they definitely aren’t wrong. This stuff is PIGMENTED, and the colour is absolutely stunning. I know I’m definitely going to be buying more in the future — because this really may be the best highlighter I’ve ever used (and that says a lot, coming from a highlighter enthusiast such as myself).

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at ColourPop!

ColourPop Glitterally Obsessed Glitter Gel

This was another one of ColourPop’s products I tried in my recent haul that really blew me away. I absolutely LOVE glitter, but using it in makeup can be a real pain. Loose glitter is nearly impossible to apply well, and you often end up needing special glue or other products to apply it right and make it stay. This gel, however, totally takes all the stress out of glitter — while it may look super pink, the gel itself is actually clear — so you can simply dab this glitter on wherever you’re feeling it. And that’s it! It stays SO well. While I guess I really don’t have many opportunities to wear glitter out lately with COVID and all (this stuff would be PERFECT for festival season), I’m definitely going to find ways to work it into my makeup looks because I just adore it.

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at ColourPop!

Happy Sunday everyone, and happy Valentine’s Day! No matter what you ended up doing today, or who you spent the day with — I hope you all had a great day. Holidays don’t have to be big and over-the-top to be special, after all — I had a great day today, and all I did was treat myself to some bubble tea and watch the latest episode of my favourite show.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post — I’m hoping that this segment ends up working out, and helps me to share my favourite products with you in a way that’s stress-free and enjoyable to me! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the format, so drop a comment below and let me know what you thought!

Much love,

Meredith

Stay-At-Home Valentine’s Ideas For Singles and Significant Other’s!

Hey y’all!

So, it’s finally February, which can only mean one thing — it’s almost Valentine’s Day.

I’m definitely in the minority on this one, but personally — I’m actually pretty indifferent to Valentine’s Day. I feel like it’s a holiday that causes a lot of heightened emotions for a lot of people — there can be crazy high expectations for those in relationships, and feelings of absolute dread for those who are single. It’s kind of sad, however, to see a holiday that’s supposed to be love turn into something that causes so much stress in others, though. Which is why, since starting my blog, I’ve made it a mission each February to make posts to help alleviate some of the stress surrounding February 14th.

In all honesty, I really couldn’t tell you what I’ve done on Valentine’s Day the past few years — I’ve been single for a while now, and I guess my apathetic attitude towards the holiday makes me kind of lucky, since it doesn’t really cause me any trouble. However, I did used to be a bit of an Edge Lordtm about the whole thing a few years back, so I do know how much it can suck to feel as though everyone is rubbing their happiness in your faces.

Truth be told, however, the one time I actually was in a relationship on Valentine’s Day was actually kind of crappier than any year I’ve spent single. For a holiday that should simply be about celebrating your relationship, it sure as hell comes with a lot of extra baggage. This year, however, all of our expectations for just about anything have gone out the window — so I’m hoping that with stay-at-home restrictions, limited open public spaces, and all the other crazy stuff going on in the world, we can all take it back to the basics and remember why Valentine’s Day should be celebrated in the first place.

So, whether you’re in a relationship and looking for some COVID-safe activities for the 14th, or single and looking for a way to celebrate yourself this Valentine’s Day, here are ##### ideas that work for singles, couples, AND friend’s this Valentine’s that will help you celebrate love and happiness in a safe and stress-free way!

Make an Elaborate Meal

If you’ve been taking up cooking since COVID began or have really been missing going out to fancy restaurants lately, this is the perfect Valentine’s plan for you. Rather than just eating whatever you’ve meal prepped for the week, plan out a multiple-course dinner for yourself, your significant others or your household complete with a little menu, entrées, desserts, and maybe even some fancy drink pairings. If you really want to go all out, make a Spotify playlist for the night, decorate your dining area and dress up to the nines — why not, right? Even if you live alone and you’re celebrating by yourself this year, I’m a big believer that you don’t always need an excuse to dress up or treat yourself. Going all-out to recreate the fine dining night-out experience in your own home is definitely a night you’ll remember — and you’ll be able to cater your own little restaurant experience perfectly to your own tastes, too!

Have a Spa Night

I know I suggest this one a lot, but it’s a great way to treat yourself, and works well as a night in with your SO or friends, as well. If this is the vibe you’re feeling this 14th, go all out and plan an elaborate self-care night, tailored towards your personal plans! Feel free to decorate, prep some snacks, make some tea (or grab some wine), light some candles, and set up a Spotify playlist full of some chill vibes. To really relax fully and enjoy your night, plan out what you’ll be doing in advance so when the time comes, you don’t even have to think about it! Some great ideas are face masks, mani/pedis, warm baths, a little meditation — it’s all up to you!

Plan a Movie Marathon

For a chiller night in with a less planning, the best way to go is often a good old-fashioned movie marathon. Order a pizza, grab a bottle of wine and some snacks, and you’re basically set for the night. One of the best ways to make a movie marathon feel like an occasion is to choose a theme, or franchise, to stick to for the night. As for what that is — it’s up to you and whoever will be joining you this Valentine’s Day! Some good ideas may be classic Golden Age Hollywood movies, Rom-Com’s, cheesy horror movies, animated films such as Disney or Studio Ghibli, or fantasy franchises such as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and the MCU.

Explore the Outdoors

Depending on where you’re located (and weather-depending), spending the day outside can be a great way to spend Valentine’s Day by yourself or with those who are special to you. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with nice enough weather, you can plan a picnic or spend the evening watching the sunset — and for those of you in cooler climates, you can always try out heading out on a walk or hike, or taking some time to drive somewhere isolated and go stargazing. Outdoor activities really vary depending on where in the world your located, so if this sounds like something you’re feeling down for, give your local outdoor attractions a quick google and see if you can find something special!

Make a DIY Cocktail Bar

This is basically the same idea as making an elaborate home meal for those of us looking to have a boozier night on the 14th. Instead of planning out a meal, search up some recipes for some of your fave fancy cocktails and gather up all the ingredients you’ll need. Plan out a little menu with a couple options, and you’re good to go! Some ways you can really help create the atmosphere of being out at a classy bar establishment is setting up a little charcuterie or cheese board, decorating your space, getting all dressed up, and making a playlist for whatever vibe you’re going for.

Bake Some V-Day Treats

If you’re one for baking, skip the chocolates this year (or not — why not both?) and bake your own Valentine’s treats. There’s all kinds of ways to pull off this little Valentine’s Day plan — depending on what you and others in your life enjoy, you can either surprise the important people in your life with some homemade Valentine’s snacks, spend the day baking with your SO, friends or family — or just bake up a bunch of treats for yourself!

Have an At-Home Wine and Paint Night

This is a super fun and cute idea if you’re looking to spend your Valentine’s doing an activity that’s a little more elaborate and hands on, IMO. It’ll take a little bit of prep — you’ll need canvases/paper, paint, paintbrushes (and wine, obviously) to really pull this idea off. If you’re really looking to go all out, make sure you also pick up some snacks, maybe even a little decor, and prepare the perfect Spotify playlist to set the mood. The best part is, this activity actually works perfectly, no matter who you end up spending your night with (even if it’s yourself!). As a bonus, afterwards you also have a sweet little keepsake to help you remember the night forever (even if you may not remember it yourself! I won’t judge.).

No matter how you guys end up spending your Valentine’s this year, regardless of who you end up spending it with, I hope you all end up having an amazing day (even if this Valentine’s is just going to be another Sunday for you). No matter what, just remember that while Valentine’s is a lovely holiday meant to celebrate happiness and love, it isn’t the be all to end all — and just because it doesn’t end up going the way you pictured it being doesn’t always mean it was a total bust. My hope for all of you is that this year, no matter what your circumstances are — Valentine’s ends up being fantastic at best, or just another day at worst. Even if, for whatever reason, you really are dreading Valentine’s this year — at the end of the day, it’s just another day and you will get through it.

Happy Sunday, everyone! For those of you big on sports, I hope you all had fun this Super Bowl Sunday (I personally could not care less as a non-American, non-sports fan who used to work at a sports bar — but that’s just me!). If you did something really fun and COVID-friendly today, drop a comment below and let me know how you spent it! I’m always looking for new, fun, stay-at-home friendly ideas to use in my own life.

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