Get The Look: Fake Freckles!

Hey everyone!

So, today I figured I’d share a little tutorial: how to create a natural, sun-kissed freckled look. With the last few weeks of summer coming up, it’s time to take full advantage of the tanned summer look. While it can be nice to look super glowy and golden all summer long, many of us have busy lives and can’t afford to hit the beach every day. Plus, for those of us without freckles it can be a fun way to switch up your look! However, it can be tricky to make them look natural, hence the growing popularity of products to help mimic a freckled look. But with these easy steps, I can show you how to freckle your face with products you likely already have at home.

Step One: Do Your Regular Make-Up!

I do my freckles as the last step in my makeup, so to start your just going to do your makeup as usual. I find that freckles look waaaaay more natural on skin that looks naturally tanned (even if you’re super pale). The best way I achieve this is with bronzer. I usually start off with a matte bronzer (I personally use Too Faced Chocolate Soliel Matte Bronzer) and apply it all over my face and cheekbones using a large powder brush as I find it makes my other makeup blend more naturally.

Then, I take a shimmery bronzer (I like the use Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer, it’s one of my personal favourites) and apply it to my cheekbones, temples and jawline with an angled bronzer brush. I find this works best if you go in lightly on your forehead/jaw. To make it look as natural as possible, be sure to blend your cheekbones right up into your ear.

Finally, and most importantly, I take some shimmery bronzer and apply it to my nose. If you’re outdoors a lot, your nose tends to tan more than the rest of your face as it sticks out under direct sunlight. So I find applying a bit of bronzer to your nose tip makes you look a little more naturally sun-kissed!

After this, I simply finish with matte pink blush as well as highlight. If you’re looking to warm up your complexion a bit, the blush can always be applied to your nose and temples as well! Additionally, I always highlight my cheekbones, top of my brow, nose tip and cupids bow. I find the nose tip especially important if you’ve applied bronzer to your nose to help blend it all together.

Step Two: Use Eyeshadow That Matches Your Skin Tone!

For the freckles themselves, I like to use eyeshadow to create the look. Once you’re done with the rest of your makeup, you’ll want to take a light, matte brown eyeshadow to create your freckles (similar to an eyeshadow you may use as a transition shade). For this, it likely depends on your skin tone, however I find a light taupe/neutral brown looks the most natural. As well, you may want to choose a slightly darker shade to help vary the colour and intensity of your freckles.

Step Three: Apply Freckles!

For this, you’re going to want to take an eyeliner brush and wet it. Simply dip it into your selected eyeshadow shade and start applying! Just patting on plenty of gentle dots I find works best for me. To get the most natural look, I find it works best to begin on the bridge of your nose and spread outward from there, doing your best to maintain a random pattern and going back in to fill in any sparse areas after the fact. As well, I find it best to concentrate on the nose, but also spread all the way past your eyes, being sure to keep them fairly high up on your face.

It’s important to keep your freckles light, otherwise they make start to look unnatural. If some of them are almost invisible/not perfectly circular, it’s okay! Ultimately no one will focus on each freckle individually and it will only help to heighten the natural appearance of your look. I personally have found its easier to pull this look off if the freckles themselves are almost barely there, rather than too in-your-face. As a final step, try to blend them out a little with powder or extra bronzer.

And just like that, you’re done! No freckle tattoos or stencils required. Finish with a setting spray to help your makeup last all day and go out there and show off your look!

Much love,

Meredith

My Sorority Experience!

Me And My Sister Tenanye At Recruitment, 2017

Hey y’all!

It’s August, and the start of the school year is quickly approaching. For a lot of you, it may be your first year in university, which can be super daunting. When I came to UBC, I was coming from out of province; I didn’t know anyone, and had never really been to Vancouver save for when I came to visit UBC for one day while visiting family in Calgary, and a few layovers (fun fact: I actually learned to walk in the Vancouver Airport!).

However, as my time at UBC comes to an end, I can look back with the clarity of hindsight — what were good choices and not so good choices, what I wish I had known, etc. So I figured I’d share a little bit with you guys about one of my best choices, and hopefully inspire you to do the same, or at least step out of your comfort zone and try something new!

Me and My Sisters, Bids Day 2016

When I came to UBC in my first year, it was a pretty tumultuous time — I had no friends in Vancouver, my (at the time) dream major was application only and extremely competitive, and I was trying to juggle a long distance relationship. I had a good time, and met a couple great friends–but I didn’t really branch out at all.

When I came back the following year, I knew I needed a change. I had the safety net of being in residence in first year, and I felt I found a community there. But by second year, I was living in my own on-campus apartment with my two roommates whom I’d met in my residence, while the rest of our friends moved off-campus. My roommates were both pretty busy with their own clubs and activities, and I realized I was kind of on my own without a solid friend group, community, or safety net of any kind. So I decided to make a leap.

Me At Our Philanthropy Event, 2015

I honestly can’t even recall what it was that drew me to sororities, I knew very little about sororities and what they consisted of–but I felt inclined to find out. I figured what’s the harm, right?

So I registered for recruitment a few weeks into school. At UBC in particular, recruitment happens around the third week of the semester. It still consists of a lot of the same elements of American recruitment; we have three rounds, which are Tours, Invitationals, and Preference.

I cannot stress how little I knew about sororities before I signed up. On the first day of recruitment, I went to the NEST and was given a name tag and a group before filing into a gym filled with hundreds of girls. We sat in our groups and chatted for a bit before listening to a bunch of introductory speeches. I don’t really remember what they consisted of, apart from the usual advice — be yourself, keep an open mind, don’t feel pressured to joining where your friends are, etc.

Attending Bids Day After Receiving My Bid, 2015

To follow, we headed off to the Panhellenic Building, which houses chapter rooms for all 8 sororities at UBC, as well as female-only apartments. Even with all the speeches gearing us up, I had no idea what the day would hold. When the door to the first chapter room swung open to two giant rows of identically-clad girls singing out “HIIIIIII” in our faces as loudly as they could I was honestly kind of terrified. I was lead in by one girl and given a seat and water, and so the rotations of conversations began.

This continued for all 8 houses, and to be honest, I’ve never been so exhausted at the end of the day. But despite that, I was excited; I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

Me Attending Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity UBC Formal, 2018

The two following rounds followed similarly in suit: you were to visit up to 5 chapters at Invitationals, and then two chapters at Preference, the final round. You’d think all the craziness would be wrapped up after that, but nope–Bid’s Day (when you receive a Bid to your new chapter) was just as insane in the best way possible. We filed back into the same gym, into our original groups, and stood in a circle while a girl came around and discretely placed a folded paper with our bid in our hands.

Kappa Parent Tea, 2016

Once all the Bids were handed out, we were instructed to open our cards. I opened mine to find the words “KAPPA KAPPA GAMMA” written across the middle in a large font — I was ecstatic. Kappa had been my top choice house from the start.

The rest of the day was a complete whirlwind of meeting sisters, getting t-shirts, introductions and more. And frankly — it didn’t slow down from there. My second year proved to be the busiest, craziest, and best year of my time in university. Every week there was something new — sporting events, philanthropy, parties, meetings, coffee dates, and more. However, the deeper you get into the Greek System, once you’re past all the somewhat hectic and superficial entry period, the more you see it has to offer you.

Kappa Kappa Gamma UBC, 2016

There’s the first level, the new member period. Then there’s the second level — what you find after. Through my sorority, I met my best friend, my big and littles, the fraternity that houses all my guy friends–things that went beyond greek events. They’re people I hang out with on the regular, who make up a large portion of my entire social circle. Over the two years following your first year in a sorority, your understanding and meaning of it grows past weekly meetings and events into something deeper.

However, it wasn’t until my fourth and final year that I came to realize that it went even deeper than that — a third level. As my time at UBC and in Kappa comes to an end, I’ve realized its given me more than friends and a community to rely on — its shaped me as a person.

Me And My Big Farrah At Quarry Rock, 2016

I am an entirely different person than the girl I was four years ago, and I could not be happier with the person I have become. I’ve been through many ups and many, many downs over my four years since I signed up to participate in Formal Recruitment, but they’ve all made me better as a person. My first year at UBC, I was cripplingly shy. I struggled with meeting new people, which filled me with anxiety — different from the profound anxiety I felt about applying to my major and figuring out my career. It really held me back in so many ways; from making friends, to business connections, and even exploring new ideas.

Me And My Friend Christie, 2016

Four years later, I’m not that girl anymore. I have no longer decided to pursue film — the stress it caused me was so crippling that by the time I finally realized it was time for a change I didn’t even enjoy it anymore. Now, as I’m graduating, I’ve set my sights on becoming a wedding planner — and I have a much better set of social skills to help me along the way. The thought of being in unfamiliar situations, or finding myself surrounded with people I don’t know, no longer frightens me. Over the past four years, I was thrown into these situations more times than I can count, but I learned to flourish in them and met many of my best friends through it. There have been other, smaller benefits too — my confidence has grown significantly, I have much better tastes in fashion, I’ve learned how to cope with failure and how to push through it as well. I had no idea when I came to university that this was the person I would turn out to be, but every day I’m grateful it happened.

Me And My Little Elle Attending Formal, 2018

So, that’s more a less my story. I could go deeper into specifics and examples, but I feel I’ve hopefully said enough out there to convince any of you going into first year university, or even at any stage of life, to put yourself out there and try something new. Life is all about decisions, and each one puts us on an entirely new course in life. Who knows where I would have been now if I hadn’t taken that leap? I can only guess it would have lead me down a much less exciting path.

Me And My Little Sarah At Recruitment, 2017

If any of you are thinking of joining a sorority or would like to share your own experiences, message me! I’d love to hear it. If you wanna hear more about my experiences in a sorority, drop a comment and I’ll be sure to share a little more in depth! No matter what, always remember: if you’re completely comfortable where you are, it means you’re not changing and moving forward. A little stress comes with moving forward to your next success.

And that’s all from me for now!

Lots of Love,

Meredith

Me, Attending My Final Formal, 2019

Places To Eat: Toronto Edition!

Toronto, Ontario

Hey y’all!

This past week I’ve been back in my hometown — Toronto, Ontario! Being the largest city in Canada, Toronto is somewhat of a cultural hub and has a HUGE foodie culture. So I figured I’d share some of the places I hit up this week that have been my favourites to visit whenever I go home!

For When You’re Craving Chinese

If you’re looking for a bit of an upscale meal, Kwan is a great place to check out. Not only is it’s Chinese food to DIE for, but it has a lovely, cozy atmosphere and a great vibe overall. If you go, don’t miss out on the truffle fried rice, sesame chicken or chilli garlic shrimp — I literally order these every time I go and they’re outstanding every time.

For When You’re In The Mood For Sweets
Booyah Ice Cream

Booyah Ice cream is straight up one of my favourite places to go for cool treats in the summer. Not only do they have their own store-made ice cream, they also offer Kawartha Dairy and soft serve! Their homemade flavours are to DIE for, just the other day I got these two scoops of Earl Gray and Honey Lavander and I was in love. On top of all that, you have the option to get it in an ice cream sandwich (featuring homemade cookies) or even ice cream tacos! This place really is one of my favourites to visit in the hot Toronto summers.

For When You’re Feeling Fancy

Buca Yorkville

If you’re feeling up for something bougie and love Italian food as much as I do, Buca is a must-try. It’s a little on the pricier side, but oh man is it ever worth it. Everything here is amazing, from the appetizers to the desserts (their pine panna cotta is unreal). On top of that, the environment is amazing and the service was next level. 100% recommend for a classy night out.

For When You’re Craving Mexican
La Playa Hacienda

This place seriously has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. For years, it’s been a go-to every time I go home–I’ve been sure to introduce everyone I know and they all fell in love. The tacos are outstanding, the drinks are incredible, and if you go be sure to try the Elote–it’s a personal favourite of mine. On top of all that, the vibe here is so cool, there really isn’t anything not to love.

For When You Need Your Bubble Tea Fix
Labothéry

There’s so many amazing places to get bubble tea in Toronto, but this one is just SO fun. You get to choose for yourself from so many flavours (complete with the ability to mix and match) plus so many tapioca and jelly add-ins that are so different from other places I’ve been to. This stuff was so amazing, seriously, even if it’s not nearby it’s worth the trek.

And that’s it for this time! Stay tuned for more Toronto hot spots when I go visit again this fall. I hope you enjoyed this blog, and if you have any suggestions for where to hit up on my next trip home I’d love to hear it!

Love you all,

Meredith

South East Asia: The Top Ten!

Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang, Laos

Hey everybody!

So, as many of you know by now I’ve just returned from a trip across South East Asia that included Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. While it was all pretty amazing, I certainly had my favourite places that I’d consider to be must sees if you ever get the opportunity to travel to any of these beautiful countries! Between the ten of them, I really couldn’t pick favourites, plus everything is completely depended on what people are interested in pursuing while they travel, and which country or areas they choose to visit.

So, without further ado, here’s my top ten! They’re put in order of when we visited them, with absolutely no ranking in terms of favouritism between them. I hope if you’re reading this, it gives you ideas for where to visit on your travels or even inspires you to plan a trip! If anyone else has been/is going to any of the following places, drop a comment! I’d love to hear all about it.

Thailand
Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai
Doi Inthanon, Thailand

During our time in South East Asia, Nylah and I saw more temples than I could even keep track of. Doi Inthanon, however, was something special. It was by far one of the most peaceful and magical places I have ever laid eyes on. Between the beautiful architecture of these temples and the stunning mountain top view, if you’re ever in Thailand Doi Inthanon is a temple stop you definitely can’t miss. Read my original post here!

Elephant Sanctuary, Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai, Thailand

When people think of Thailand, I’m sure for many elephant riding comes to mind. However, while elephant riding tours certainly still exist all over Thailand, many people have started to realize how inhumane they are to the animals. If you want to see elephants during your stay in Thailand, instead, you should check out a sanctuary like Elephant Jungle Sanctuary! Not only were many of the elephants rescued from elephant riding camps, but you could see how happy and well-cared for these animals were — something you’d definitely miss out on if you choose to ride the animals instead. Read my original post here!

Viewpoint Hike, Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi straight up has to be the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited in my life. If you ever get the opportunity to visit, the best way to take it all in is to hike up to the viewpoint! The hike is a little challenging, but incredibly rewarding as you get a view of the whole island from the top. If you do go, be sure to check out the second viewpoint, the scenery was absolutely insane. If you’re really looking for something special, be sure to hike up for sunset/sunrise for a truly spectacular view. Read my original post here!

BONUS: Get A Thai Massage

Okay, okay, I know I said top ten, but I figured I’d add this one in as a quick bonus. While I went to get a massage in Bangkok, you really could get one anywhere in Thailand, hence why I added it as a bonus — it really isn’t location-specific. Not only can you get an amazing massage for exceptional prices, if you’ve never experienced a Thai massage it’ll be unlike any you’ve had before. Be sure to ask at your hotel/hostel for recommendations for best places in the area!

Laos
Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang
Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang, Laos

Oh man was this place ever magical. Kuang Si Falls is made up of a series of waterfalls, that cascade down into a set of pools you can swim in. The water is literally bright baby blue, and you can sit in the falls as well. They’re even full of those little fish they have at those pedicure places, so you can get a quick and all-natural pedi while you’re at it! Overall, this was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, 10/10 would recommend. Read my original post here!

Phousi Mountain Hike, Luang Prabang
Phousi Mountain, Luang Prabang, Laos

Out of all the hikes we did, this one was certainly one of my favourites. For the relatively small level of difficulty, the views were spectacular. The viewpoint at the top gave you a lookout over all of Luang Prabang and the surrounding mountains. For an extra special view, be sure to go at sunrise or sundown. Read my original post here!

Vietnam
Ha Long Bay, Hanoi
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay straight up looks like a scene out of a movie — it seriously doesn’t even look real. The bay is filled with tiny mountain-like islands, in fact, there’s nearly 2000 in the area. There’s all sorts of things to do in the area, such as hikes, caves, and beaches, so if you go be sure to check out the local boat cruises — I’d recommend an overnight one at least. This place is absolutely magical, and its certainly worthwhile to spend an extra night there, see the sunset, and take in the almost-ethereal locale. Read my original post here!

Hang Múa Hike, Ninh Binh
Hang Múa, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Out of all the hikes we completed across all of South East Asia, this one was certainly the hardest–but also the most spectacular. If you’re going to give it a try, be sure to go well prepared; it’s certainly not the easiest of hikes, especially it the Vietnam heat. But the view from the top was beyond amazing, words can’t even describe how beautiful and rewarding it was. Read my original post here!

Night Food Market, Ho Chi Minh City
Night Food Market, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam

South East Asia, across the board, had many of the absolute best meals I’ve had in my life — but this place was by far my favourite. Not only did it have a great atmosphere, but there was endless options to choose from. There was all kinds of food stands from a large array of Asian cuisines, without a doubt there was something there for anything you happened to be craving. If I lived in Ho Chi Minh City, I guarantee you could find me here every night. Read my original post here!

Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Along with Doi Inthanon, Angkor Wat was my favourite temple we saw along our trip (and as I said, we saw a whole lot of temples). Not only was it crazy to see how Cambodian Temples differed from those in Thailand and Laos, but the sheer size and grandeur of Angkor Wat makes it a must-see. You could easily spend hours here and feel like there’s still more to see — and the views from the top are unreal. As the largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat is something you absolutely can’t miss if you’re travelling to Cambodia. Read my original post here!

Phnom Kulen Falls, Siem Reap
Phnom Kulen Falls, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Like Kuang Si Falls, Phnom Kulen Falls are a great place to stop in for a swim–but also distinctly different from the falls in Laos. This waterfall had two swimming areas; one a smaller fall that was more like a shower, and a giant pool at the bottom of the second, massive waterfall. It was so beautiful and relaxing, and I’d highly recommend checking it out if you’re ever in the area. Read my original post here!

So there you have it! I really hope that some of y’all can find somewhere on this list that inspires you for your next trip. If any of you have been to any of these places and would like to share your thoughts, let me know! As well, I’d love to hear it if you have any suggestions of your own. It’ll probably be a little while before I’m going to be able to travel again, but for next time I’m thinking Japan, Singapore, or Europe!

But that’s all for now! Until next time.

Lots of Love,

Meredith

Things To Do (Part Two!): Bangkok Edition!

Ross Kitchen, Bangkok

Hey y’all!

So, sadly, my time in South East Asia is coming to an end, making this the last entry in my South East Asia travel series. I hope you guys have all enjoyed reading the series as I’ve enjoyed writing it! I really hope that I’ve inspired some of you to go on adventures of your own, or hopefully take recommendations from my travels if you ever visit South East Asia in the future.

So, to end off our trip we returned to Bangkok for the last two days before our flight home. This time was a lot more eventful than the first time, since we’ve now adjusted to the time zone, weather and food, giving us waaaay more time to actually explore. That being said, we only had two days and were looking more to relax than explore for the remainder of our stay, so this entry is going to focus more on that since we didn’t see too much in terms of historical, cultural and religious attractions in Bangkok. (But hey, I guess that just gives us another reason to go back!)

So, without further ado, here’s my final travel journal (for now), an overview of my favourite things to do in Bangkok!

Go To Khao San Road!
Khao San Road, Bangkok

In terms of places to go out in Bangkok, Khao San Road is certainly one of the most popular. As a pedestrian only street, the road is full of people going out, having buckets, and blasting music! This place was an absolute blast and honestly none of my favourite nights out this whole trip. If you’re looking for a night out of the town, this place is a must-see.

Hit Up A Rooftop Bar!
Barracuda Rooftop Bar, Bangkok

Rooftop bars are officially my favourite thing. Especially in big cities like Bangkok and Hanoi, when you get an overlook of the whole city from above. Not only were the drink at this bar — named Barracuda — next level, but the views honestly just made the whole experience a 10/10. Rooftop bars are ALWAYS a good idea, but if you’re ever travelling to a big city, they’re just that much better.

Go Shopping!
Purchases From Bangkok

Okay, seriously, the shopping in Bangkok was insane. The mall we hit up had to be the biggest mall I’d ever witnessed in my whole life, and it’s far from being the only mall in Bangkok. Everywhere you look there’s opportunities to shop and get so many things that I, at least, probably would be hard pressed to find in Vancouver. I’ve heard all sorts of stories of people travelling to Bangkok JUST for the shopping, so if you ever find yourself in Bangkok, be sure not to miss out!

Get A Massage!
Massage Studio, Bangkok

If you’ve been to Thailand, you’ll know that everywhere you look there’s spas and massage spots. Even if you’ve never been, it’s fairly common knowledge that Thai massages are on a level of their own. Not only that, but no matter what your price range is, you’ll be able to find a place. For only 250 Baht (about $10.50 Canadian) I seriously had the best massage of my life. I’ve never had a Thai massage before, and it was so different from what I usually think of a massage as. There’s no oil (which was actually really nice for not feeling gross after), you’re fully clothed, and it’s certainly way more about stretching and pressure points than relaxing. I’ll admit it was a little borderline painful at moments, but MAN did I ever feel good after. I have chronic knots in my back due to back problems and stress, and I’ve seriously never had my back feeling that good in ages. It was amazing.

Go To Our Fave Restaurant, Ross Kitchen!
Ross Kitchen, Bangkok

For our last dinner abroad (sigh), Nylah and I decided to go to Ross Kitchen. We didn’t really know what to expect, but it was honestly one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The interesting catch — we didn’t really know what was in a lot of the food we were eating. Usually this would really bother me; I can be an adventurous eater but I’d like to know what it is that I’m eating. Honestly though, the food was so good we didn’t care. We didn’t even know the ingredients of our drinks, and they were some of the best I’ve ever had. If you’re in Bangkok and looking for a fancier night out, consider Ross Kitchen for sure. My dinner — Curried Kobe Beef Cheeks — was unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before. Seriously, I’m already dreaming of going back.

And, sadly, that wraps up my South East Asia travel series. This trip was some of the most exciting, crazy, and important weeks of my life and through all the ups and downs, it really was one of the best experiences of my life. I’m honestly not sure how to wrap up 5 weeks of this experience in a neat and tidy way — it’s far too overwhelming and impossible of a test to easily summarize the experiences I’ve had. All I can say is I know this trip will not be my last — now that I’ve really gotten a chance to go out and see the world on my own terms, I’ve just become that much more motivated to do it again. So the best I can say is stay tuned for the next trip, and let me know if you have any suggestions or were inspired by any of my posts! Honestly, nothing would make me happier than knowing I’ve inspired others to go out and see the world themselves, it really can be the most life-changing experience.

So, that’s all for now! Keep an eye out as I’ll be doing a summary of all my favourite places we visited for those looking for travel recommendations. But for now, it’s back to Vancouver life!

Thanks for reading!!! If you’re reading this now, just know I appreciate you 🙂

Love,

Meredith