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

HERBIVORE HAUL: Love It or Leave It?

Herbivore Botanicals Crushed Amethyst Body Polish and Rose Quartz Body Oil

Hey friends!

So, to start off, sorry I’ve been a little quiet this week. My parents were in town visiting, as well I’ve been preparing for my trip to South East Asia (more on that later!) so I haven’t had much downtime lately.

However, I wanted to introduce a new segment to y’all: Love It or Leave It! In these posts, I will be reviewing new products I’ve bought and share my first impressions of them. To kick it off, I’m starting with two new products I got from Sephora this week from Herbivore Botanicals!

I’m gonna start off by talking about the Crushed Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while, it kept popping up on my Instagram feed so I followed Herbivore and checked out their products. Absolutely everything they carry looks amazing, but this one in particular caught my eye. I consider exfoliating to be one of the more important parts of my routine — it helps to keep your skin fresh and soft, while also avoiding clogged pores and any other gross excess build up on your skin. However, I’ve never managed to find an exfoliator I’ve both loved and been able to purchase continuously, as many of the products I’ve tried came from subscription boxes where I couldn’t purchase the product in Canada, or were discontinued.

I was kind of worried I was getting too excited about trying this product and it wouldn’t live up to the hype. But the moment I opened it and smelt it, I was already pretty sold. It smells of lilacs, which is a super nostalgic scent for me and a personal favourite of mine. My mom was there when I opened it, and without even trying it the scent alone pretty much sold her on buying her own.

However, the real test obviously comes with the results it gives, but boy does it ever give them. This stuff left my skin SO soft and smooth, I’m already pretty convinced this product is going to be my go-to for life. It has fairly large granular particles in it, which exfoliate super effectively. One of my biggest pet peeves with exfoliators is ones that are too watery or soft, meaning you really have to scrub to see results — but this stuff was SO effective without rubbing harshly on my skin. Furthermore, it has some oil component to it which helped moisturize my skin, but it wasn’t so oily that it was overwhelming or gross. I could go on and on about how perfect this stuff is, but I think you kind of get the point. Overall, the verdict is: LOVE IT.

The other product I tried was the Rose Quartz Illuminating Body Oil. I’ve tried a super similar product once in the past that I had been so excited to try and ended up hating it — so I was kind of hesitant to purchase this. The last body oil I tried was heavy and greasy, while also providing a ver oily looking “illumination” that came from the oil and not from the glitter/bronzer of the product. However, this stuff seems pretty legit. I’m not 100% sure I’m totally sold on it — time will tell if I give up my regular moisturizer for this stuff. However, I have to say it definitely left a good first impression. The illumination factor isn’t insane — which is actually kind of nice. I’ve yet to try it out before going out in the day but it seems to give a more natural, healthy glow rather than looking super glittery or oily. Also, compared to the other oil I tried, it’s pretty lightweight and absorbed pretty quickly, so I felt moisturized instead of greasy. On top of all that, it has an AMAZING floral scent to it, and the bottle makes application pretty easy. The pump gives a good amount, while not making you pour out oil by yourself (which is super challenging to do with oily hands) or drip out small amounts in a dropper. So, overall, so far so good. I’m gonna give it a few more weeks before I decide if it’s something worth purchasing again, but so far the verdict is: LOVE IT!

So, there you have it! You can find the exfoliator on Sephora here, as well as the body oil here. And be sure to check out Herbivore Botanicals here! Not only are their products amazing, but they’re all vegan, cruelty-free, as well as only using organic and active ingredients! These are the first two products from their line that I’ve ever tried, but I can say without a doubt they won’t be the last. If you’ve ever tried their other products yourself and have any recommendations, drop them in the comments below!

That’s all for now!

Much Love,

Meredith