Holiday Gift Guide #1: Self-Care Edition!

Hey everyone!

This week I’m kicking off the first part of my three-piece Holiday segment — Holiday Gift Guides! Each week will have it’s own theme, and comes with plenty of recommendations of all my favourite products and gift ideas! My hope is, for those of you who absolutely hate Christmas shopping, that you’ll be able to find a couple great ideas from this post.

Even at the best of times, Christmas shopping can be an ordeal. Picking out gifts for anyone can be stressful — yet alone those who are simply impossible to buy for. As well, aimlessly walking around crowded malls is unpleasant to say the least. No matter how much you love shopping, when it comes to Christmas crowds, we all have other things we’d rather be doing. Hopefully, with these lists, you’ll be able to go in with a plan, get all the gifts you need — and the reward of seeing how much joy these gifts will bring will make up for all the struggle.

This week’s theme is self-care, so if you have someone in your life who’s been feeling a little overwhelmed this year and really needs to spend time over the holidays relaxing and recuperating before 2020, this list has you covered. Any one of these items would make a great gift, or for a particularly special someone — feel free to package them all together into a little self-care basket!

For Someone Who Loves A Little Luxury

Who doesn’t love a good candle? Candles make the easiest and most ultimate home-decor/self care gift for so many reasons. They’re cute, simple, create a cozy atmosphere in the winter. Plus, they make cute decor even if you don’t want to light them. I personally ADORE Jo Malone candles over any other brand — they may be expensive, but they smell AMAZING, can burn forever. These candles make absolutely stunning additions to any room they’re in, and don’t overwhelm too much with a heavy smell.

Feeling inspired? Check out this product here!

For Someone Who Loves Smooth Skin

Okay, we all already know that I adore the Herbivore Crushed Amethyst Body Polish. It makes the perfect gift for anyone in need of a little extra TLC this holiday season for so many reasons. First of all, weekly exfoliation is super important to maintaining clear, soft, healthy skin — especially in the wintertime. As well, this exfoliator smells like lilacs (!!!!), comes loaded with all kinds of hydrating oils, and provides a fantastic exfoliation. It’s not too rough, nor does it dissolve in water as you use it. There’s very few products in the world I would deem completely perfect — but this is definitely one of them.

Feeling inspired? Check out this product here and at Sephora here!

For Someone Looking To Decorate

I can’t even count how many times I’ve been referred to as a “plant mom”. My apartment has more plants than any other kind of decoration — I can’t help it, I just love them! Plants make a perfect gift for so many reasons. First of all, as decor, they go with just about everything. As well, plants are great for filtering air in stuffy apartments, and have been proven to alleviate symptoms of depression. So whether its a little aloe or an extra-large Philodendron, consider plants for anyone in your life who could use a little decor and a pick-me-up!

I’m not going to link to any online shops, but some good plants to consider are aloes, cactuses, snake grass, rubber plants, miniature palms, dracaena, or money trees!

For Someone Who Struggles With Winter Weather

In many places, winter is just a truly brutal time for your skin. Besides the cold, it can often get incredibly dry — leading to all sorts of problems for your skin, face, and lips. Luckily, in Vancouver where it rains all winter, its not too much of a problem — but I still remember how dry winter can get from my years in Toronto very well. So, for anyone who may need a little help tackling winter dryness, I have a couple solutions that would make great gifts!

The first item on this list is the Fresh Sugar Hydrating Lip Balm. I’ve been using this lip balm for over a year now, and I’m pretty convinced its the best one there is. This lip balm hits all the necessities for me — it’s ultra hydrating, incredibly smooth, and not a little bit sticky, greasy or heavy. Plus, it smells amazing! I guarantee this lip balm would make a great present for anyone who hates suffering from dry, cracked lips this winter season.

As for those suffering from dry skin in the winter, the “Sleepy” Lush body moisturizer makes a great gift! It’s a little on the heavier side, which I’m usually not a fan of, but it’s not too heavy — and really helps with keeping skin soft if you let it absorb overnight. Plus, it smells like lavender, making it the perfect, relaxing end to any self care night!

As for hand cream, I’ve always been a big fan of Crabtree and Evelyn. Their luxurious hand creams come in all kinds of scents from neutral, to floral, to citrus, to herbal, so there’s guaranteed a scent for everyone on your list. They especially make fantastic add-ons to a gift, or a little gift when you’re gifting for multiple people (ie. teachers, coworkers, etc). Who could ever dislike having silky-smooth hands in the middle of winter, right?

Feeling inspired? Check out the Fresh Sugar Coconut Hydrating Lip Balm here (available in other flavours), the Lush Sleepy Body Lotion here, and the Crabtree and Evelyn hand creams here!

For Someone In Need Of An At-Home Spa Day

Nothing says “self care time” like a long, relaxing bath. For anyone in need of a good night off to unwind, consider bath bombs as a gift!

An absolute classic is the Lush bath bombs, you really can’t go wrong with these. They smell amazing and come in so many fun colours, there’s absolutely one for everyone here. A couple of my personal favourites are “Big Blue” and “Avobath“, but really, you can’t go wrong with any bath bomb from Lush. Plus, they have plenty of holiday-themed options to choose from!

These next two I haven’t tried personally, but I’ve been dying to get my hands on them and both look like they would make absolutely fantastic gifts. For someone looking for a true spa experience, Ouai’s new Chill Pills make the perfect gift! Not only are they supposed to smell amazing, but they’re formulated with Jojoba Oil, Safflower Oil, and Hemp Seed Oil, making them fantastic for your skin. As well, I’ve tried a number of other Ouai bath products and all of them were incredible — so I doubt you can go wrong here.

For someone looking for an insta-worthy soak, consider a bath bomb from WWFCO! I’ve been following them on Instagram for ages, and not only are their bath bombs beautiful — they’re handmade, and come loaded with unique and great ingredients in every bag. They have all kinds of rave reviews, so I’d be willing to put my money on these making an absolutely wonderful Christmas gift for anyone who needs a good, relaxing night off.

Feeling inspired? Check out Lush’s line here, Ouai’s Chill Pills here, and WWFCO on Instagram here!

For Someone Needing To Feel Special

This one is a particularly special one for me, as it was actually a Christmas gift I received last year from my little sister that I wear absolutely every day.

Kate Spade necklaces are so beautiful and simple, all of them make a fantastic gift. However, what makes this one in particular so special is how personalized it is. On the front, it’s engraved with an “M” (for Meredith!) and the back reads “one in a million”. Something this personalized is so sweet and special, and I can tell you firsthand makes an incredible gift for someone who needs to feel a little special this holiday season.

Feeling inspired? Check out this product here (and other Kate Spade necklaces here)!

For Someone You Want To Spend Time With

@element5digital on Unsplash

A manicure day is a great gift because it can also offer the gift of spending time with the person you give it to! A great way to pull this gift off is to make a little coupon to give to whomever you’re sharing it with, make plans to go sometime in January, and enjoy hanging out while pampering yourselves! This gift is also great because it works for just about everyone — whether its for an extra AF friend who want long, blinged out acrylics, someone who never gets their nails done and could use a pick-me-up and a bit of polish, or for guys who like to take good care of their hands. For an added cute touch, if you and the person you’re buying the manicure for are both getting polish, get matching nails!

As An Extra Little Add-On

@julianamalta on Unsplash

Gift cards can seem like a bit of a cop-out as a standalone gift, but when added in addition with something else can seem like a nice extra touch. Plus, I don’t know about you guys but I love online shopping — when it arrives it’s like a little gift to yourself, plus you don’t have to deal with crowded stores. For an extra special touch, add a note with something along the lines of “treat yourself to something nice” or anything else you feel works! Some great ideas for gift cards to add on can be Amazon, Sephora, FashionNova, Nordstrom, Aritzia, Glossier, The Bay, or UrbanOutfitters! Obviously, it all depends on who you’re buying for, but hopefully these options give you some ideas.

Hopefully some of you guys got some great inspiration from this post for your Christmas shopping this year, or at least got a little more in the Holiday spirit! Stay tuned for next weeks list — with a new theme and all kinds of new ideas!

Hope you’ve all had a relaxing weekend, and are gearing up for a productive week!

Much Love,

Meredith

Heatless Hair Curlers: Love It Or Leave It?

Beachy Waves With Heatless Hair Curlers

Hey everyone!

So to preface, I apologize for the lack of quality in this week’s posts photos — I wasn’t intending this post for this week, and therefore had to prep photos for this super last minute. However, this means that next week you’ll be getting TWO posts on Sunday, so stay tuned for that! And, without further ado, lets get into it!

This weeks post is for everyone out there who LOVES curly hair, but can’t style their hair to save their life, or anyone trying to avoid heat damage to their hair at all costs.

One fact that I’ve found to be almost universally true is that almost everyone who’s outstanding at a certain aspect of beauty now, started with it young and went through all the terrible learning phases while in high school, meaning they came out into the adult world already having that skill down. Every makeup expert you know probably went through a number of TERRIBLE eyeshadow or brow phases back before the age of Instagram. Every fashion guru probably has an album stashed away of mildly embarrassing photoshoots of themselves in tacky 2000’s style outfits. And every girl who’s seemed to master casual, every day waves has probably owned a flat iron and curler since they were in middle school.

I, however, had short hair for most of my grade school days. After cutting off over twelve inches of hair to donate to cancer wigs when I was eleven years old, I was so taken with my newfound short hair after YEARS of being obsessed with having it as long as it would be that I kept it that way until the twelfth grade. Sometimes it looked cute, a lot of times it looked terrible, but most notably it was too short to do anything special with — much to my dismay every time a fancy event rolled around and I wanted to do my hair. It was uncurlable, and took every hack in a hair stylists book if I ever asked for an updo.

As such, I really never learned how to do my hair or thought to incorporate it into my daily routine — a fact that still haunts me to this day. OKAY, maybe that’s a little dramatic but not only do I always underestimate/forget how much time I’ll need if I want to make my hair look nice before leaving the house, but I also, for years, had NO IDEA how to do anything as basic as even curling my hair. Luckily, with years of trial and error and tips from my hair dresser I’ve gotten a lot better, but i’m still far from being excellent.

This is all exactly why I was so curious when I came across a review on Buzzfeed absolutely singing praises for these heatless hair curlers. People were absolutely raving about them and how simple they were. On top of that, anything I can do to reduce heat damage to my bleached-out ends sounds amazing.

Heatless Curlers

Still, I was pretty skeptical. I tried heatless curlers once before (but a very different style) and it was an absolute mess. Still, after reading enough reviews, I decided to just take the leap. Thank god I did — these curlers are AMAZING. Not only are they super easy to use, you can sleep with them in and it’s not even uncomfortable. They give the same look as using a curling wand, and only a little bit more effort. The only downside is that you do have to wait — it’s not as instantaneous as heat curlers. However, if you’re prepared to sleep with them in it’s no problem — plus, if you take the time to put them in before doing your makeup you can still get a great curl out of them.

As well, your hair should be at least a little damp first. You don’t want to have your hair totally wet either, and it’s a little hard to find a good medium, although freshly blow-dried hair should work just fine. I learned the hard way today that if you don’t dampen your hair first the curls don’t last nearly as well — a good learning lesson but a little unfortunate as I was using them to take photos for this post.

The final result of these curlers is stunning though — it looks just the same as if you spent all kinds of effort with a wand (just minus the burns). I tend to use the medium-large ones to get a more natural wave, but if you’re looking for a tighter, ringlet-style curl this pack includes curlers small enough to give you that exact look. These curls hold fantastically too — which I was incredibly surprised by. Maybe it’s just my lack of knowledge when it comes to hair styling, but I always thought heat was essential to a curl’s hold. Turns out that’s not the case at all — these work fantastic without frying your strands.

The Final Result!

If this sounds like the product you’ve been needing, be sure to check them out on Amazon here!

Be sure to stay tuned for a two-special post next week — my Tarte Custom Makeup Kit unboxing, as well as the first part of my surprise 3-piece holiday segment!

Hope you’re all having a lovely week,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: Halloween Edition!

Best Halloween Makeup

Hey y’all!

This week I’m taking this post in a bit of a different direction — as it’s Halloween, I want to discuss ALL my favourite costume makeup! I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with crazy coloured makeup; I’m always so drawn to it when I see it in stores, but seldom buy any because I know I’m not going to have a lot of opportunities to wear it.

While I’m trying to branch out a bit, I almost never wear anything other than neutral, peach, smoky or gold eyeshadows save for Halloween, costume parties and music festivals. Still, it’s hard not to be tempted by bright bold palettes and shimmery duo-chrome eyeshadows every time you set foot in Sephora.

So, this week I wanted to share with you guys all the craziest coloured makeup I’ve ever bought that I consider to be the best of the best! That way, if you’re looking for a last minute palette to help create tonights look, or just LOVE crazy coloured makeup looks and are looking for something new, hopefully you’ll be able to find something for you from my list!

NYX Ultimate Brights Palette

NYX Ultimate Brights Palette

One of the biggest problems with colourful makeup is it’s hard to find a palette that covers the whole spectrum of colours without breaking the bank. It’s important to have something that covers every colour you’d ever need to ensure you can always blend out any look accurately. However, it seems wasteful to drop a whole lot of money building a palette of individual pots for this, as well, many colourful palettes offered at Sephora are expensive and only cover a certain range. This palette is AMAZING because it has so many colour options, as well as having an affordable price. The colours are bright and beautiful — they aren’t the most pigmented, but blend fairly well and can build up to look as bright as you need them to. If you’re looking for a good basic colour palette to cover all your needs, be sure to check this one out!

Check out this product here!

Huda Beauty Neon Obsessions Palettes

Huda Beauty Neon Obsession Palettes in Pink and Green

Okay. I am OBSESSED with these palettes (Get it?). Seriously though, even though I had no need to buy these, I knew I had to get my hands on them the moment I saw them. Huda Beauty eyeshadows are so smooth and pigmented, they blend flawlessly and always look fantastic. These neon palettes come perfectly fitted with colour combos that will help you nail ANY neon look, whether it’s for a Halloween costume or just a bold statement on a night out.

Check out this product here!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Single Pot Shadows

ABH Single Pot Shadows

These shadows are expensive, but oh-so worth it. Not only do they have SO many high quality options, but you can mix and match to create your perfect combo. Plus, they have duo chrome colours (!!!) which are one of my absolute favourite kinds of eyeshadow. These can really add that perfect colour and finishing touch to any crazy, colourful eyeshadow look. They’re so high quality, for crazy colours or natural smoky shades, you really can’t go wrong.

Check out this product here!

Chunky Glitter

Last but not least, chunky glitter is a MUST in your costume makeup collection. Not only does it instantly amp up any look — it has so many uses! My personal favourite is creating glitter freckles, but chunky glitter can also be added to your hair, highlight, collarbones, or even eyes and lips (given that it’s makeup grade and safe). A huge bonus on top of all that is that it can be super inexpensive. I own so much glitter, and most of it I got off Amazon, but if you’re looking for plain craft glitter you can find it in just about any Michaels or related craft store.

Check out this product here! (Or simply search Moon Glitter on Amazon for more options!).

I hope you all have a fantastic Halloween, whether you’re planning to go out, have a night with your family, trick or treat, watch horror movies or just have a nice fall-themed self-care night. If you’re dressing up, I’d love to hear all your creative costume ideas (or if you took inspo from my last-minute Halloween costume ideas, I’d love to see how they turned out!). I hope you’re all ready for November, and fingers crossed you achieve all your goals for the upcoming month!

Happy Halloween!

Meredith

Tuesday Favourites: August 27th

CosRX Acne Pimple Master Patch

Hey y’all! Happy Tuesday!

So, as many of you know, I adore skin care and really pride myself on my clear skin. However, as I’m sure everyone knows, it’s impossible to keep your skin 100% clear 24/7, 365 days of the year. Even those of us blessed with the best genetics, the most high-end skin care products, and the best luck, will develop zits and break outs. No one’s immune to bad skin.

I’m a huge fan of scrolling through BuzzFeed in my spare time, in particular, I’m often drawn to lists of skincare products recommended by BuzzFeed users (obviously). Time and time again, I saw these pimple patches pop up in every single post. I rarely buy anything I see in these types of posts, otherwise, I’d be buying new products weekly and wouldn’t be able to keep up with my purchases. However, after seeing this product constantly, and all the glowing reviews users had, I was sold. Plus, at just under $15 for three packs, it sounded like a great deal.

So, I invested in a pack and waited for a break-out. I kept seeing them online used on massive pimples, so I assumed that was their intended purpose. Finally I got a chance — I am fairly prone to zits and clogged pores around the edges of my nose. So, I stuck on one of the smallest patches and fell asleep, excited to see how my pimple would be miraculously erased come morning.

I now realize I didn’t quite use the patch correctly, as when I peeled it off the next morning I was a little disappointed. While my pimple HAD improved overnight, it was still there.

I kept using all the tiny patches up, to no avail. They worked at getting my zits about halfway gone, but it certainly didn’t seem to have the same effect on me that it had on others. So, eventually, I gave up — sort of.

Sometime along my trip in South East Asia, my bug spray exploded all over my cosmetic bag and soaked half my products. For the most part, it was nothing a simple rinse couldn’t fix — but for these patches, the packet was pretty gross and I decided I didn’t really want to have to put it back in the bag when we relocated to our next stop. So, instead of throwing them out, I stuck a bunch over the sides of my nose. At this point, I really only had the larger patches left, so I just went for it — I didn’t really think my pimples were large enough to warrant them, so I hadn’t used any until this point.

The next morning, I woke up, peeled off the patches, and suddenly was in shock. While I hadn’t really had any pimples around my nose at the time, I had PLENTY of clogged, gross pores that had never seemed to be swayed by any product. But suddenly, I peeled off these patches and found that my clogged pores were no more — it was, as the reviews had raved — magical.

Suddenly, I was struck by two very different epiphanies: one, that I may have simply been using patches too small for my pimples, and two, that these patches had potential use outside of outright zits.

Something that has plagued me, literally, for years is dozens of whiteheads in my under-eye area. For those of you who’ve been following my posts for a while, you’ll know that my under-eyes are already a sensitive topic for me. However, on top of my bags and dark circles, it seemed like every single pore in my under-eye area was clogged beyond the point of solution. I had seen facialists, tried spot-masking with charcoal, and basically everything else you could thing of, but NOTHING would unclog my pores. Unfortunately, as my aesthetician had noted, there was not much that could be done — the area was too sensitive to complete extractions from, and there was far too many for her to even try.

Up until now, I just accepted these whiteheads as a part of life — my under-eye area was constantly patterned with their strange texture, which only became more apparent when I applied makeup. But there was nothing that could be done. At least, until I found these patches. The following night, I took the remaining patches and covered my under-eyes with them, using up the remainder of the pack. The next day, I peeled them off — and where each of them had been, my whiteheads had magically disappeared. I was blown away. I’d managed to find a solution to an unfixable problem.

Nowadays, my skin is the clearest it’s been possibly ever. My whiteheads? Gone. Clogged pores? Disappeared. Zits? Unheard of. It took me a while to figure them out, but I swear to God, these patches are absolute witchcraft. I’ve never been so amazed at how effective (and cheap) any singular skincare product was in my life.

So, if you’re acne-prone, have stubborn whiteheads, clogged-up problem areas, or just have the occasional zit, check this product out! Especially at its price, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Find them on Amazon here!

And that’s it for this Tuesday! If you try this product out, or have used it before and absolutely loved it, drop a comment below! (Or if you hated it, too, I love to hear any and all opinions).

Xo,

Meredith

Tuesday Favourites: August 20th

Remington Face And Body Epilator

Welcome back everyone!

This Tuesday, I’m starting off with a bit of a weird confession: I have never shaved my legs in my life. Not once.

That being said, I personally prefer to keep just about all my body hair removed — save for my lashes and brows, of course. (Side note: does anyone else feel like a totally new person every time they get their brows done? It’s one of my favourite feelings in the world).

So, basically, I’ve been waxing my legs my whole life. Since I’ve started waxing, I’ve kept up with it routinely — which for those of you who like smooth, hairless legs is a great way to go, as waxing eventually thins out your leg hair (or stops it from growing entirely!).

However, constantly going in for waxing appointments is time-consuming and expensive. Especially once I started high school, and especially in University, it just wasn’t realistic anymore. I tried out all sorts of other methods — Nair Cream, which I disliked for the smell and the irritation it caused me, as well as waxing strips, which I found to be an okay solution, but not phenomenal.

Which is where the epilator comes in.

Basically, if you’ve never heard of an epilator before, it’s a little machine that works as hundreds of tiny tweezers to fully remove your body hair from the root. It gives the same results as waxing, without the effort of heading over for monthly waxing appointments (or the costs!). I actually tried one of these out a few years ago, back when the technology was fairly new. At the time, I wouldn’t have really recommended it — it was an awfully expensive and clunky machine, and the hair removal job was just so-so.

However, a few weeks ago my friend Amanda asked me to grab her one of these off of Amazon and I was shocked by how cheap it cost — only $50, warranty included. For those of you keeping tabs, that’s easily the costs of two boxes of Nair Wax strips, or a couple packs of razors. The big difference here being — an epilator is a one-time purchase. There’s no refills or replacements, after you purchase it you should be good to go for a few years.

So I dropped two into my shopping cart — one for Amanda and one for myself. I was skeptical at first, honestly, since it was a fraction of the cost of the machine I’d owned in high school. How good could it really be? Luckily, when it arrived the next day, I found my answer: it blew the old tech out of the water.

This epilator painlessly and easily removes leg hair. It’s very gentle, and I’ve yet to have any sort of irritation come from using it — even with my sensitive skin. While I’m pretty unbothered by the pain of leg waxing by now, this hurts even less. To me, in fact, this machine doesn’t hurt at all. There’s no pinching, no ripping, just flawless, easy hair removal whenever you need it. Plus, like waxing, it’s upkeep is minimal — it doesn’t require any sort of daily upkeep that shaving requires.

If you’re like me, and enjoy keeping your legs smooth and clean-shaven, give this product a try! It may seem a little expensive up-front, but I swear if you’re buying razors or waxing it’ll save you money, time AND effort in the long run. If this sounds like the product you’ve been looking for, be sure to check it out on Amazon here!

That’s all for this week! Be sure to check in next Tuesday for more of my favourite products!

Much Love,

Meredith