Thursday Favourites: May 7th

Hey everyone! Happy Thursday!

So, as you may recall from last week, I posted the first part of my new double-cleansing routine. So today, naturally, I’m sharing the second part of my routine: my all-time favourite water-based cleanser!

For a couple years, I never had one go-to cleanser that I felt I really loved. I had a couple of really great ones, but a lot of the time they came from places that were hard to access and repurchase from (ie. my facial aesthetician in Toronto) or were a little pricey compared to other products out there. Ultimately, I never had a cleanser I repurchased more than once or twice.

However, just over a year ago now, I received a bottle of Tula’s Purifying Face Cleanser in my Spring 2019 FabFitFun box. I always rave about how much I love the products I receive in each box, but this one really stands as a perfect example — because if it weren’t for FabFitFun, I never would have tried it (or even heard of it, for that matter).

I love this face wash for so many reasons. First of all, it’s a probiotic cleanser, which I hadn’t heard much about before I received this product. What probiotic cleansers do, in essence, is cleanse your skin and remove dirt (as any cleanser should), while also balancing the bacteria on your face. It sounds weird if you’ve never tried it, but my skin has looked so much cleaner and brighter ever since I began using this face wash, and I’ve also had a lot less problems with my often combination skin type. This cleanser really worked to balance out my skin and leave it glowing and beautiful.

Another thing I love about this cleanser is just how gentle it is. It doesn’t strip away your skin’s natural oils or dry me out — in fact, it leaves my skin feeling hydrating and fresh. A lot of skin oiliness comes from harsh cleansers clearing away all of your skin’s natural oils and balance, causing your skin to double it’s efforts and produce more — but this cleanser is gentle enough that I’ve never once had to worry about that, while still removing all the dirt and impurities from my skin every night.

The last thing I love about this product is how BIG it is. It’s absolutely huge! My first bottle lasted me nearly a whole year with regular use. There’s no worrying about constantly having to repurchase with this product, which I love. I’m absolutely sold on it, so I don’t feel the need to experiment with other cleansers — so I’m totally fine with taking a whole year to use it up. It really makes my life a little easier, not having to worry about it.

The only problem I have with this product is that they don’t actually sell it within Canada just yet. However, if you’re looking to give it a shot, you can always buy it off of Nordstrom — the shipping fees are a little crazy, but since this cleanser is super affordable compared to most at just $28USD a bottle, I considered it worth it. (If you’re in the US, you can always get your hands on it super easily directly off of Tula’s online store!).

Now, I know skincare is super subjective and just because my routine works for me doesn’t mean it’ll work for everyone. For reference, my skin is overall a little dry but can also be combination as well. If your skin is similar, or if these products sound like they’re something that would work for you, hopefully these reviews gave you a good idea as to what these products are all about!

I hope you’re all having a great week! Stay tuned for my upcoming post this weekend, where I’m going to be detailing all of my favourite spring trends this year!

If any of you guys have used these products, or were curious about them/looking for a new skincare routine, drop a comment below! I’d love to hear all about what works best for you. As well, if you’re hoping to try out FabFitFun for yourself to treat yourself at home while social distancing, click here and use the code SPRINGLOVE to get $10 off your first box with my affiliate link!

Much love,

Meredith

My Stay-At-Home Lifestyle & How I’m Keeping My Life On Track!

Hey y’all!

Super long title, I know. But at this point in time, after a very turbulent start to Social Distancing, I’m FINALLY beginning to feel like I’ve got a good routine going that’s both maintainable and relaxing. I feel like I’m not alone when I say it’s been difficult to not let my life and mental health completely fall apart over the last few months — on one hand, as I’ve been laid off, I don’t exactly have a lot of responsibilities right now outside of blogging, cooking, and cleaning. On the other hand, if I let myself lie around all day, waking up and going to bed whenever I feel like it and just watching Netflix all day, it’ll be a short path to falling into a severe depressive episode and becoming, likely, entirely nocturnal.

Obviously, that’s really not ideal. But I’ve also just come off of the most stressful year of my life — I really need a break. It’s hard to find the balance — trust me, it took me up until now to feel like I was really starting to get the handle of things — but it’s starting to feel like it is possible. If you’ve still been having trouble working out how to keep your life in order lately, or have been feeling as though your mental health is declining, hopefully my little schedule here works for you. You don’t need to copy it out point for point, obviously, but maybe you’ll be able to take inspiration to apply to your own life, or make your own schedule, that helps you keep it together in the face of sitting at home with absolutely nothing to do.

For those of you who have been keeping up with my posts lately, you’ll already know that I worked at a bar pre-COVID-19, which obviously closed to the public once stay at home orders were enacted. As a FOH employee, I was laid off. This ended up being a small blessing as it gave me time and extra energy to focus on my final exams, however, once those finished up the first few days of excitement and freedom gave way to the realization that I really had nothing to do.

For the last year I’ve been so busy that I’ve been putting off loads of tasks for when I had more time — but now I have too much time, and browsing online stores for furniture to complete my apartment and completing a couple of fixes around my home surprisingly aren’t the most time-consuming tasks all of a sudden. As such, I’ve been really trying to focus my energy on this blog, my hobbies and my chores, while still allowing plenty of time to kick back and relax. While my life would quite literally fall apart if I spent all this time doing nothing, spending every waking moment doing SOMETHING isn’t the most sustainable — and it’s entirely unnecessary. I don’t know about you guys, but I really needed this break. So I’m going to take this time to enjoy it — while I need discipline, I also need to not be too hard on myself right now.

The following is my daily schedule that I’ve been following pretty strictly since the last week of April. As someone who’s always tried to keep SOME semblance of a schedule in life, I don’t think I really realized what it was like to follow a schedule so strictly — it’s the sort of thing I honestly haven’t done since high school. While it certainly took some getting used to, so far, it’s really helped me feel as normal and productive as possible lately.

8:30am: Wake Up. This is a lot earlier than I’ve woken up at regularly for years — but it’s actually pretty enjoyable. Mornings are so lovely when you’re actually up to see them, and getting up “early” makes you feel like you have a good start on the day. Overall, I feel a lot more positive when I wake up around 8:30-9:00 am lately than letting myself sleep in everyday until 10:00-11:00 (which was when I used to wake up). Even if you’re awake for the same amount of hours, you feel like you have more time when you wake up early, you feel more refreshed, and it’s been putting me in a more positive mindset to get stuff done.

8:45am: Morning Skincare. I let myself have a little time to get out of bed and face the day, and then I go about my morning skincare routine, as well as brushing my teeth and hair before I go eat breakfast. As well, before I go eat, I’m sure change out of my PJs and into some workout gear.

9:00am: Breakfast. I don’t usually meal prep breakfast foods, so it takes me a couple minutes to throw something together. However, I find the sooner I eat after I wake up, the sooner I begin to feel alert and awake.

9:30am: Yoga. This has become my favourite part of the day. Before I actually began scheduling my life, I used running as my main form of stay-at-home workouts. However, I found running to be a little daunting and since I didn’t have any solid schedule, it was pretty easy to just push working out back endlessly. However, the lack of movement in my lifestyle was kinda starting to take its toll — I really felt crappy (emotionally and physically). When I made this schedule, I decided to incorporate Adriene Mischler’s 30 Days of Yoga to my daily routine. I’ve been loving this as it’s great for beginners, is easy enough to complete every day, doesn’t require a lot of at-home materials and is something I actually look forward to. While yoga is a work out, it’s also a great way to stretch, move your body and relax too — making it seem like less of a stressful workout than running.

10:00am: Shower. Pretty self-explanatory. Depending if I have to wash my hair or not, I take whatever free time I have after this to get started on whatever activities I have planned at 1pm — or just relax a little.

12:00pm: Lunch. Also pretty self explanatory, but I figured I’d add how I try to give lunch it’s own separate space — as in, I don’t multitask while I have lunch. I just sit down and enjoy it, and then move on to the activities I want to fill my day with!

1:00pm: Activities. This can kind of be anything, but I try to settle on what I want to do the night before. Whether it’s blogging, grocery shopping, cleaning, getting my May tasks complete, doing my makeup, creating art, playing Animal Crossing — I often plan out which activities the next day will hold during my bedtime routine, and write them out so I don’t forget. I generally try to pick around 2 activities for each day, depending on what I want to do and what I need to get done.

6:00pm: Meal Prep. This only happens every four days, but an hour before dinner I plan, prep and make dinner for that night and the three nights following. I enjoy cooking, but it can be a huge task to undertake — so if I meal prep and already have a home cooked meal ready, it’ll deter me from ordering in some unhealthy or expensive take-out on a whim.

7:00pm: Dinner. Also pretty self explanatory — and once again, like lunch, I give dinner it’s own space.

8:00pm: Netflix & Chill. This one is kind of important — I set a nightly space for Netflix and relaxing. The important part being — I don’t watch TV shows or movies before 8pm. I’ve been sticking with this since before I even made this schedule, and I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful for productivity. Giving myself time to watch Netflix and chill out each night helps me balance out being active in the daytime without overworking myself. It gives me something to look forward to at the end of each day, but also keeps me from lying in bed all day binge-watching shows I don’t even care about — which makes me feel lazy and can cause me to ignore my needs, sending my mental health spiralling. As well, I’m really not a productive person at night, and I hate how crunching in activities before bed makes me feel. As such, this time is for Netflix and relaxing ONLY — and this is what helps to keep my days balanced.

11:00pm: Bedtime routine. Before I go to sleep each night, I make some tea, get ready for bed, do my skincare routine (plus any face masks I’m in the mood for), and then go over my bullet journal. I mark down my mood and all the habits I completed, and read through to get inspiration for what I should do tomorrow/what I want to get done by the end of the month. After this, I turn on a relaxing YouTube video or Audiobook, and lay down for a little bit before bed.

12:00am: Lights out. It’s bedtime!

So that’s my daily schedule! I don’t switch it up ever, not even for weekends. As weekend-days have no real meaning to me anymore so allowing myself to “stay up late” or “sleep in” would just throw off my whole schedule. However, I kind of give myself up to half-hour buffering period with the times on this schedule as it’s very hard to keep everything perfect down to the minute. As well, it wouldn’t really give me freedom to enjoy my day and the ability to complete tasks if I’m rushing to move onto the next thing. As well, there’s no rush right now — and no point in stressing myself out! The point of this schedule is to keep me on track and at peace — not cause anxiety or pressure.

Have you guys been keeping up a routine in quarantine? (I’ve been trying to avoid the work quarantine in my posts due to the negative connotation, but I just couldn’t resist the urge to rhyme — sorry!). If so, I’d love to hear about what’s been working best for you, or how your schedules differ from mine. Maybe a more elaborate schedule helps, or maybe breaking things down by week and month makes more sense to you. If you’ve been feeling like you’re floundering lately and need something to bring a little balance into your stay-at-home life, hopefully this break down of my routine left you feeling inspired! I can’t even begin to tell you guys how much having it, whether I stick to it perfectly every day or not, has helped me and my mental well-being during the last little while.

Hope you’re all staying safe out there, and have a great week!

Much love,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: April 30th

Hey y’all!

Happy last day of April — it’s been a long month, but we’re finally almost through! 2020 has certainly been a strange year so far, but hopefully May will bring good news and good weather and we can all start to feel a little normal again.

But back to the topic at hand — today’s product! This week kicks off a bit of a two-part segment I wanted to share on the face wash products I use. I’ve recently gotten into double cleansing and I have to say, I’m really into it. I was always worried before I tried it about it damaging my skin somehow or being too time consuming to keep up with every night. But when I finally took the leap and gave it a shot, all my worries about it melted away — not only did it really not add much time and effort to my skincare routine, but the oil cleanser I decided on was non-striping and so far hasn’t effected my skin negatively in any way.

When I was choosing which cleanser I wanted to use, I decided to go for Shu Uemera’s Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Cleansing Oil. If your going to start double cleansing, the general idea is to choose an oil/balm type cleanser as your first product and a water-based cleanser as your second. This way, the oil-based cleanser can break down any makeup and dirt, keeping them from clogging up your pores. As well, oil cleansers work surprisingly well to balance the oils in your skin, meaning that (unintuitive as it sounds) it works great for those with oily skin as well. From there, you’d use your regular water-based cleanser based on your skin’s specific needs, which will help remove any stubborn remaining particles from your skin and ensure you’ve washed away all the oils from the first cleansing.

I chose Shu Uemura as I’d actually used one of their cleansers before, a couple years ago. It had been recommended to me by someone at Sephora, and while I really liked it, I was always a little unsure if I was using it properly. Double cleansing wasn’t a concept I had heard of at the time, so I used it as my sole face wash. I shied away from using too much product as I was worried about making my skin oily (spoiler alert: it never happened) and ultimately ended up switching to a water-based cleanser a few months later.

However, since I was already familiar with the product and I knew it was one that worked for me, I decided to give it another go. This time, I had a lot more confidence that I was using the product correctly, and so far it’s been working out better than I expected. While I admittedly haven’t actually worn makeup once since social distancing was enacted (yet…I wrote this post about a week in advance of posting and I’m hoping to have some time to practice my makeup skills over the next few days) the few times before that I used this product to remove makeup it seemed to work out well. By the end of my second cleansing, all traces of makeup seemed to have been wiped away. Now, I’ve only gotten to test this cleanser’s makeup removing abilities about three times, but when I try it out some more I’ll be sure to report back and update you all on if it works as well as I remembered.

On top of that, this product has been doing a great job of keeping my skin clear and blemish-free. I have had a very stressful couple of months and even with all my stress and occasionally opting to get right to bed and letting my nighttime routine slide, my skin hasn’t looked much worse for wear. The cleanser itself is super lightweight and rich, so while it does everything that an oil-based cleanser should do it isn’t particularly challenging to wash off and my skin certainly hasn’t gotten any oiler since I began using it. For reference — my skin is somewhat combination, but overall it’s definitely on the drier side, in case you were considering if this product would work for your skin’s specific needs.

If you’ve been looking to try double cleansing out for yourself and think this product sounds right for you, be sure to check out Shu Uemera’s Anti/Oxi Cleansing Oil at Sephora! (They also have five other oil-based cleansers, so if you want to try the brand but are looking for something different based on your skin type, they have plenty of options.)

Are any of you guys fans of double-cleansing? I’d love to hear about what products you used, and what the results were when you tried it. Stay tuned for next week’s post, where I’m going to be sharing my holy grail water-based cleanser, which has been a staple in my skincare routine for over a year now.

Have a great week, you guys! I hope you’re all as excited for May as I am — while life is super unpredictable right now, take some time to write out your goals for the month to help keep you on track! If you’re feeling a little lost on how to do this, feel free to check out my post I shared on bullet journaling and keeping track of your life during Social Distancing!

Much love,

Meredith

My May Bullet Journal!

Hey everyone!

We’re getting close to the end of the month, which means it’s time to start up my bullet journal for the next month! I started bullet journaling at the beginning of this year, and it’s been a great way to keep track of my goals, to-do lists, and habits. This year has been an absolute roller coaster for me, and while I haven’t always kept up with it regularly, I’ve found it to be an invaluable tool for keeping myself sane during Social Distancing. Since I’ve been finding it so helpful, I figured I’d share some of my favourite ways to bullet journal so they can help you stay on track for the month of May, no matter what it throws at you!

Right now, everything in life is pretty uncertain for all of us — it can be hard to find a balance between staying on top of your goals and responsibilities, taking time to de-stress and taking care of your mental health. I’ve found that bullet journalling is a great way to do this — you can use it in so many different ways, and it gives you a little more freedom and creativity than a regular agenda (which, TBH, I haven’t used once since this all started in mid-March). I’ve included all the pages, lists and trackers I’ve created so far for May, but if you’re already an avid bullet journal user and you have any other ideas that you’ve included for the month, drop a comment and tell me about it! I’m always interesting in finding new ways to expand my journal and it’s many uses.

My Mood Tracker

This one has been my favourite, and so far, my most important use for my bullet journal lately. It’s a lot easier to check in with yourself when you can actually visualize how you’ve been doing. I keep track of my mood with a colour-coded list of 7 possible moods ranging on a scale from really amazing to downright terrible, as well as an “unsure” for when I really just don’t know how I’m feeling. Every night, I fill in each day with how I feel about the day overall right before I go to bed. As time goes on, the chart helps give you a visual of how your mood has been over the month — good or bad, it’s important to know so you can best take care of yourself.

My Habit Tracker

First of all — I don’t own a ruler and didn’t really consider it “essential” to go out and buy one with the current world situation, so I know the lines are super messy — I had to make do! I’ve been getting in to habit tracking lately and it’s really helping my stay on track of things I’m hoping to do every day (or almost every day). A lot of these are things that I aim to do every night, so when I go to fill in my tracker it helps me to remember if I haven’t done them yet. As well, for blogging and working out, it really helps to to visualize if I’m keeping up with my goal or not — especially since it’s so hard to keep track of days lately. This way, there’s no way I can go a week without working out and not even notice it — I’ll be able to see it in my tracker!

My Goal Tracker

I’m trying to keep my goals pretty small for this upcoming month to help me unwind after the year I’ve had. Yes, I could try to jam-pack this time off with as many goals and plans as possible — but I’m starting to realize more and more lately how much I need to give myself a proper break. A lot of my goals for this month are also hobbies of mine, so it’ll help to keep me busy and productive without pushing me too hard. Plus, hopefully after Social Distancing I’ll be caught up on all the little goals I’ve been putting off for a while (like decorating) so I can properly catch up on my blogging!

My To-Do List

I’m hoping to use the month of May to catch up on all the little things around the house I was putting off while being so busy last year. A lot of my to-do list is just decorating and little fixes, but I want to be sure I get it all done by the end of the month, especially before I start my next job. With this handy little list, I’ll be able to keep track of everything I need to do, and have it all in one place so I don’t forget it. Plus, I’ll be able to visualize how many tasks I have to complete as the month goes on!

My Blog Tracker + Brainstorm Page

In the front few pages of my bullet journal, I have a year-long plan of all the blog posts I’m going to make. I have this page so I can brainstorm ideas of what I may post over the next month, and once I’ve solidified my plans I add them to the year-long calendar! This way, I won’t end up writing stuff down there that’s just a possibility that I don’t end up using, and I can keep track of all the ideas (both good and bad) that I have — which can be handy to reference even in later months.

My Boredom-Cure Brainstorm Page

Social Distancing really is a weird time. While I kind of desperately needed a break from life, it’s not all that relaxing to spend every day lying in bed scrolling through my phone. As well, I know myself, and that I have to be careful about falling into the trap of slipping into a depression when I have nothing to do — once I fall into it, it’s hard to get back out. I’m keeping this list of little things I want to keep myself busy with over the next month, so that when I feel like I have nothing to do, I can check up on my options! A lot of these are past hobbies that I haven’t had time for over the last year, so I’m really excited to be able to pick them back up. As well, I intend to add to this list over the next months with any new ideas I have, so I never run out of activities! (Also, yes, I did buy a Nintendo Switch just to play Animal Crossing. I’m a little obsessed — it was my favourite game as a child. If you wanna visit my island, HMU!).

My List Of Shows To Watch

Something I’ve been finding lately is that as soon as I finish a show, I feel like I’m at a loss for what I want to watch next — which is silly, really, as I have so many shows and movies I’ve been meaning to watch forever. However, when one show ends, it can be kind of overwhelming and annoying to scroll through endless titles — so I end up picking something at random and forget about everything I’ve been meaning to watch. I’ve started this list to keep track of what I want to watch next, so that from now on I never have that problem! Plus, I’m super excited to catch up on a lot of these shows — many of them are my favourites. The best part about this is that as I see things I want to watch, or remember even more TV shows or movies I’ve forgotten, I can just add it to the list!

Chores and Meal Lists

This little page is just for me to remember both recipes I’ve been wanting to make when I don’t know what I feel like eating, as well as my chore list for cleaning days so I don’t miss anything. I’ve seen a couple of bullet journals where people write down their favourite recipes, which is something I’m probably going to do in the future, too. This page is really a work in progress and new to me this month, but I’m hoping to have a more solid list and use for it by the end of May.

Little Daily Schedules

This one probably won’t be super important this month, but on days that I actually have a whole list of things I want to do, I’ll write them down here the night before to ensure that I don’t forget anything. I’m always the worst about just “remembering my lists”, thinking it’ll be fine. However, my list always ends up a little scattered in my mind, or I forget something. Or — especially with all my free time — I decide it can be put off to another day, as nothing right now is really set in stone. I’m hoping with this little page, I’ll be able to solidify daily plans when I need them so I can feel more motivated to get all my tasks done by the end of the month!

And that’s what I have so far for this month! This little journal is always a work in progress for me — I’m hoping to find more practical uses for it over the next month to ensure I use it every day. If you’ve been using a bullet journal to help stay on top of things this year, I’d love to see your ideas! Taking the time to write things out is more helpful than I ever realized before I started this journal, plus it really is fun to design and decorate it. (While it may not be perfect or beautiful, I have plenty of time to practice over the next month!). As well, if after these tips you find you’re still struggling with Social Distancing, you can always check out my fifteen tips to survive Social Distancing to help you through this next month or so.

Love you all, and happy last week of April!

Xo,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: April 23rd

Hey y’all!

Today I wanted to share with you a little product that’s been an absolute lifesaver for me. You guys already know how obsessed I am with FabFitFun, and how I’ve discovered so many products from it that I’ve incorporated into my everyday life and routine. Today, I wanted to share one of those products with you, and why I love it so much.

The product in question is Murad’s Rapid Collagen Infusion, which I received in my spring box back in March. This product immediately got my attention, as collagen is such an important aspect of skincare and I was looking for a holy-grail skincare product to add collagen into my everyday routine. And, spoiler alert! — I finally found it, because this stuff is absolutely dreamy.

First of all, this stuff smells amazing — it has a nice, light scent that I have a bit of trouble placing my finger on. It’s very refreshing, though, and really helps me feel awake when I apply it in the mornings.

But most importantly, this stuff WORKS. I’ll admit that, obviously, I’m not that old, and wrinkles and fine lines aren’t much of an issue for me yet. However, this serum filled any that I had right in and has even helped my dark, puffy under eye area — which you guys all know is something that I’ve been struggling to fix. Not only that, but the lightweight cream formulation of this serum absorbs quickly, leaving your skin feeling fresh, and not greasy like some serums can.

If this sounds like the serum your skin has been needing, you can find it online at Murad here!

As well, if you’ve been wanting to grab a FabFitFun box of your own, click here and use the code SPRINGLOVE for $10 off your first box with my affiliate link!

I hope you’re all having a fantastic week! Drop a comment below with how you’ve been keeping yourself busy with social distancing — I’d love to get some fresh ideas! This week has been huge for me catching up on my blogging, as well as getting back in touch with friends now that my finals are over.

Much love (and stay safe out there!),

Meredith