My Ultimate Spring Cleaning Guide!

Hey friends!

Soooo, it’s officially April and spring is finally upon us. After this last year, it really feels like it’s time to shed the weight of 2020 and get ready for a fresh new start — and what better way to do that than a good, old-fashioned spring cleaning? I kind of love clearing out my home each spring — it really helps me feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Every year when I end up spring cleaning, I kind of end up making a whole event out of it — I’ll spend one or two days fully dedicated to just cleaning up my space. It can be daunting to take on such a big task if you don’t really know where to start — but don’t fret, because that’s exactly what this guide is for! There’s four main ways I freshen up my space each spring — deep cleaning, de-cluttering, reorganizing, and “cleansing the vibe”, so to speak. In this guide, I’ve broken down my usual game plan into twelve simple steps (don’t worry if that sounds crazy to you — a lot of the steps are super short, so it’s not as insurmountable as it sounds). This way, you can follow along, find new advice, or rework my plan into your own personalized cleaning schedule and get spring clean-ready!

Air Out Your Home

To start, open up all the windows in your house that you can and get some good fresh air circulating in your space. Now that it’s warm enough to keep the windows open for a while, try to leave them open while your cleaning up to allow you to get rid of all the musty, stagnant air that’s been sitting around your home. Even if you don’t feel much of a difference, I promise the fresh air will make you feel better.

Finish Up Little Tasks You’ve Been Putting Off

What little fixes around your home have you been avoiding? Things such as changing that burnt out lightbulb, tightening up the screws on a sticky door, or tossing and replacing old and useless appliances? Whatever it is, make a list between now and when you start cleaning of everything you’ve been putting off, so you can ensure you don’t miss anything. It’s so easy, once you’ve started putting off a task, to continue procrastinating on it until the end of time — you’ve already decided you can live with the problem, after all. However, that ends now! Before you can forget again, write down and finish up all the tasks you’ve been putting off — it’ll honestly be a weight off your shoulders.

Clear Out Your Closet

The most obvious step to a good, thorough spring cleaning is clearing out old clothes from your closet. While you can do this any way that suits you best, I’d recommend checking out Marie Kondo’s method — her Netflix show really inspired me back when it came out, and helped me declutter my life more effectively than I ever had before. When cleaning out my closet, I usually take the time to pull everything out, section my section, and go through all of it — making both a donation pile, and a pile of winter clothes that can be put away over the summer months to reduce clutter in my closet.

Throw Out Old Makeup and Bathroom Items

This is an important one — it’s really easy to hold onto hold onto old cosmetics and skincare items and not realize how bad they are for your skin if you continue to use them after their expiry date. Here’s a quick little guide I found that summarizes how long you should be keeping all of your items before replacing them — its worth double checking, even if you’re pretty certain you know how long items last. While it won’t kill you to keep items a little past their due, using items that are too far gone can lead to all kinds of problems — from issues with your complexion to infection. It’s worth taking the time once a year to evaluate what’s still good, and what needs to go.

Rethink Your Accessories

If you’re a big accessorizer, you’ll know how accessories can pile up over the years. Certain trends can come and go over a single season, and certain pieces can become very outdated over a short period of time. This spring, it’s time to rethink the accessories you have — is it necessary to keep them all? Sentimental items aside, go through the accessories you’ve collected over the years and decide if you still use them and if they’re still worth keeping. If not, you can always donate them (or even sell them) — that way, you’ll be able to reduce clutter and make room for new accessories in the future!

Kitchen Clean Out

Now it’s time to go through your kitchen. During this step, you’ll want to go through both kitchen items as well as good, and find ways to get rid of what you don’t need. Old, broken appliances or items you no longer use that are taking up space should be disposed of appropriately. Any expired food should be tossed, and non-perishable items you haven’t eaten and won’t end up using should be donated. The details of this step are really up to you — but the gist is to declutter and reorganize your kitchen the same way you did the other ares of your home in the previous steps.

Downsize Your Storage

Possibly the most daunting step — it’s a good idea to go through your storage and clear out everything you don’t need. It’s so easy to neglect storage items, with them being hidden away and infrequently used. While it’s easy to just ignore the problem, with time you’ll end up adding more and more items until you’re out of storage, or your storage is simply impossible to navigate. By going through once a year, clearing out items you no longer need and reorganizing what’s left, you’ll never get to the point where clearing out your storage seems like some insurmountable task, and going through it every so often reminds you of what you already own — before you accidentally end up purchasing doubles.

Clear Out Miscellaneous Items

The final step of cleaning everything out is to go around the remaining areas of your home and clearing out items you no longer need — which really changes from person to person. For instance, this year I’ll be specifically tidying up my bedside drawers, linens closet, and desk drawers — but what this step means for you will really depend on your own home. Similar to the other steps, clear out items you no longer need from cluttered spaces and tidy up what remains. After this, you’ll finally be done clearing everything out — so I know you’re tired, but power through and you’ll be able to get a really good, fresh start this spring.

Reorganize What Isn’t Working

What areas of your household just don’t work? Between now and when you get to cleaning, take some time to think about which areas of your space you are constantly irritated by, but never think to fix. For me, it’s always my bathroom drawers and bedroom closet. If the way your space is organized isn’t the most functional, perhaps it’s time to switch things up. Try purchasing some new organizers, or maybe try rearranging where in your home you store things. If you’re really up to it, you can even try building in new storage areas to get a good, custom fit.

Clean Every Nook and Cranny

Once you’ve cleared everything out and reorganized what remains, it’s time to deep clean. If you have the time, it’s worth making a day of it — set up a playlist, get into some comfy cleaning clothes and get down to it. If you can, try to do all the little tasks you end up forgetting — such as wiping down the windows, dusting the ceiling corners, vacuuming in the crevices, or whatever it is you find yourself putting off on cleaning days. It can be exhausting, but it’ll be really rewarding when you’ve completed your clean after going all out, with your space looking better than it has in a while.

Freshen Up With Candles

You’re finally almost done! Something that always makes me feel like the final steps of my clean out are coming together are lighting some candles, or turning on my diffuser, and freshening up. Odds are, after such a deep clean-out that your home may smell a bit like cleaning products, but hopefully between your open windows and scented candles, it shouldn’t be too overpowering. By the next day, your home should be smelling fresh, looking clean, and put you in a good mindset for a fresh start this spring. My personal suggestion, if you’re needing some new candles or diffuser oils to add to your collection, are always Indigo and Saje — they’re honestly two of my fave stores of all time, I’m totally obsessed with them. Indigo has more scented candles than anyone ever needs, so there’s totally a candle for everyone — and Saje is more a less the gold standard for diffusers and oils, so there’s nowhere better to shop.

Add In Something New

You’ve finally made it to the end! As a final step, I always love adding in something new — it really helps to make your place feel fresh and new. This can be anything from big decor items — such as a new wall art piece, to a carpet, to new lights or a tapestry — to something smaller, such as a new plant, vase, decor piece, or even some fresh flowers from the supermarket. It’s up to you, really, whatever it is your place feels like it’s missing to tie your spring clean up all together.

Happy April, everyone! It’s finally starting to get warm here in Vancouver — it’s kind of weird honestly, even though the last year has passed by so quickly, it still feels like another lifetime since the last time it was warm here. I’m personally super excited for summer this year — hopefully it’ll mean the end of a lot of lockdowns (since we’re right back in it here in Vancouver), as well as shaking off the seasonal depression and hopefully finding a new normal.

Are you all looking forward to the month ahead? Let me know what some of your plans and goals are — what are you most excited about this April? I’m looking forward to applying to new school programs, personally — as well, as March was the best month I’ve had on my blog in the last year, I’m hoping to smash my records again and have April be even better! Fingers crossed, we’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck!

Much love,

Meredith

My April Bullet Journal!

Hello friends!

It’s the final few days of March, and April is finally just around the corner. The weather is warming up, the trees are blooming, the days are getting longer — and my life is getting busier. As Vancouver starts to, slowly, open back up, it’s beginning to seem like life may, actually, return to normal at some point — which is something that I’m, frankly, rather unprepared for. I’m so used to lockdown life at this point that I honestly can’t even imagine what “normal” life was like anymore — or how I’m going to return to it. It’ll be an adjustment, for sure, but as returning to a more regular life is on the inevitable horizon, I definitely think it’s worth trying to adjust slowly now, while I have the time, rather than forcing it all at once when I no longer have the option.

One way that I’m hoping to keep myself organized and on track is with my bullet journal. I’ve been having a bit of an on-again, off-again relationship with it since the start of 2021 — however, I can certainly say that I’m more on top of things when I keep up with using it regularly. I already keep an agenda for explicitly planning out what I’ll be doing each day, but my bullet journal goes above and beyond with keeping my life on track — especially since it can be tailored so specifically in any way I choose. While I use my agenda to schedule each of my days, my bullet journal helps me keep track of my mood, reminds me to stay on top of daily tasks such as working out and taking pills, plan my blog posts and keep all kinds of lists for all kinds of reasons.

This month, I’m expanding my journal even further and adding new segments, such as a page for brainstorming blog topic ideas — where I’ll write down every idea that comes to mind, whether I end up using it or not — and lists specifically for items I need to buy and what I need to do each week in terms of my job hunt. As well, I’m re-writing my daily schedule, with some slight changes, in hoping that writing it down will help me stick to it better. This way, by breaking down everything further, I’m hoping to make everything easier to track to ensure I’m staying on top of everything.

Mood Tracker

My mood tracker is one of my favourite parts of bullet journaling — not only does it help me to reflect on my day without expecting too much of myself (such as a full journal), but it allows me review how my mood has been cumulatively over time, so I am able to check in with myself and see trends that I may have otherwise missed. Rewriting the past is easy — we often dismiss things as being “not as bad as they seemed” or “better than they were”, but this way I can objectively reflect on how I’ve been doing, and not be swayed by how I’m currently feeling. I keep a list of nine colour-coded options for each days mood, ranging from “absolutely amazing” to “completely terrible”, as well as an option for days when I’m not exactly sure how I’m feeling, and days that are totally crazy where it kind of feels like a bomb has been dropped on your life (which, to be fair, I’ve only used once).

Habit Tracker

This is perhaps the most important aspect of my bullet journal — which I’m also going to be expanding on this month. Each night, as I fill out my tracker, I’m not only able to hold myself accountable for habits I wish to form (ie. exercising regularly), I’m able to cumulatively reflect on how often I’m being productive (ie. working on my blog) and remind myself to complete tasks before bed (such as taking my medications and vitamins). In the past, I only kept six trackers per each month, and sometimes I would switch it up depending on what was important to me that month. However, this time I’ll be tracking ten different habits to ensure I stay on top of everything that I need to.

April Daily Schedule

As I mentioned above, I’ll be reworking & rewriting my daily schedule at the start of this month to hopefully serve as a reminder to stick with it. I really don’t expect myself to follow it perfectly every day (or even any day), but rather I use it for a guideline to make sure I’m getting everything I need to done, sticking to habits I’m hoping to form and keeping a regular sleep and eating schedule.

April Goals

I keep a goal list, separate from my to-do list, to help inspire me to reach above and beyond each month. Rather than forcing myself to achieve all of these goals, they serve as a motivator to push myself to not just do what I have to, but go the extra bit further.

Blog Planner

This is where I keep track of what I’ll be posting on my blog each week. I’ve been trying to get ahead on my blog posts so I can have posts ready in advance and have at least a rough idea of what I’ll be posting each week — so when a post gets written down here, it’s all but final. I don’t write everything down too far in advance — you never know when random inspiration may strike — but for certain posts that I’m absolutely certain will be posted that on specific days, I keep track of them here so I know what’s done and what still needs doing.

Blog Brainstorm

This is something new I’m adding this month, that’ll allow me to keep track of rough ideas and deadlines without convoluting my official planner. This page is both for keeping track of all of my ideas — good and bad, since you never know what bad ideas may inspire your next good one — as well as a rough posting schedule for weeks that I haven’t set in stone yet. I’m hoping, by doing this, I’ll be able to feel more inspired, come up with more ideas (and actually remember them), as well as be able to utilize my planner in a more official way to keep track of finalized blog ideas.

To Do List

Each month, I keep a standard to-do list of everything I need to get done. I add to it as the month goes along, and when I have the opportunity to get something crossed off the list I transfer it over to my agenda to help me remember to complete it. This way, I have everything I need to get done written down in one place — rather than in random iPhone notes or on random paper lists — and as long as I write things down, I don’t have to worry about forgetting them (since I’m the queen of “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it”. Spoiler alert: I never remember it. Figures.).

To Do List – Job Hunt and School Application Edition

Over the last month, I’ve been working with a career consultant (more on that later) to help me work out exactly what it is I want to do in life, and how to get there. Being a post-grad in a locked-down COVID world, I was having a lot of trouble finding any sort of job in my career path of choice, and honestly starting to question if it was really the right one for me. While I’m working with this consultant, I’m keeping a separate to-do list of things I need to get done specifically pertaining to job and school applications, even if they’re already in my agenda, just to ensure everything runs smoothly and nothing falls by the wayside).

Shopping List

As I mentioned above, I am absolutely the WORST about believing I’ll remember everything I need to get done in my head, not writing it down, and inevitably forgetting. In the past, I’ve written stuff down on all kinds of random lists with absolutely NO structure of any kind — which makes it easy to lose track of things. In the past, I’ve kind of mixed my “shopping list” in with my “to-do list”, but I feel it’ll be way more organized to keep them separate. This way, I can keep everything I need to go out and purchase in one place, and know exactly what it is I still need to buy.

TV Shows To Watch

Okay, so maybe TV shows I’m looking to binge isn’t the most important thing to keep track of, but whatever — I’m doing it anyways. Honestly, I already had a list (and multiple, in fact, in the past, that I re-wrote before completing) but I’m hoping that I’ll keep this list in order so I can go through and watch each show one-by-one until I make it to the end, before adding new shows to watch. (Shows that I keep up with week-to-week aren’t included, so this is purely a binge-watching list — hopefully keeping it more organized).

And that’s this month’s bullet journal! I’ve added a lot of changes this month, but I’m hoping they’ll have a positive impact and help me stay consistently motivated and organized for the upcoming month — especially since it’s going to be my busiest yet in 2021. Do you guys keep bullet journals of your own? What kinds of pages do you find work best for you? I’m always in search of new ideas and inspo, or ways to make my current pages more effective! Let me know in the comments what your bullet journal looks like, I’d love to hear it!

Happy Sunday, everyone, and happy last weekend of March! Spring is finally, officially here and the weather is only going to get better from here on out. Here’s to April, may it be a good month to all of us! 2021 may have started off a little rocky for some of us, but it’s never too late to turn it around. With a little effort and a little luck, hopefully April will be 2021’s best month yet.

Cheers,

Meredith

My ColourPop x Animal Crossing Collection Unboxing!

Hey friends!!!

Soooo, it’s finally happening! From the moment I saw ColourPop announce their collab with Animal Crossing, I knew this post had to happen. For those of you who live under a rock or something, Animal Crossing: New Horizons quickly became all the rage just about this time last year when lockdowns began. With our lives and busy schedules pulled seemingly out from under our feet, immersing ourselves in an adorable virtual world with all kinds of stress-free tasks to take up all of our newfound free time was the perfect way to spend lockdowns. However, my history with Animal Crossing goes back even further — back to Animal Crossing: Wild World, which was my absolute favourite video game growing up. Seriously, I was obsessed with it (and frankly, still am. The only difference now, 10+ years later is that, for better or for worse, my mom can’t limit how long I play each day).

Basically, the point is when I saw ColourPop announce they were releasing this collection, I knew it was going to be absolutely perfect for me. I decided pretty quickly that I was going to buy the whole collection when it dropped, which is something I’ve never done before (both buying a whole collection AND buying it right as it’s released). And, of course, I couldn’t just test out the whole collection without sharing it with you all! So, without further ado, here’s my first impressions of the ColourPop x Animal Crossing collab!

What a Hoot Eyeshadow Palette

Ironically, I wasn’t the only one who knew I needed this collection in my life — my sister actually ended up buying this palette for me as well. (Which is fine, as it allowed me to give away the one I originally purchased for myself to my other makeup and Animal Crossing friend Erin as a gift!). This palette is definitely the most everyday-appropriate in the set of four shadow palettes (each of which, in turn, contains four different shadows). The orangey-brown and bronzes make it a great mix of colours that can be used to create an everyday OR bold night-out look. They’re all highly pigmented and blendable, as ColourPop shadows usually are, and in particular I love the shade Meteor Shower (top-left), which looks like a normal gold shade on the surface level, but has a stunning chunky-glitter look to it when you swatch it.

5 Star Island Eyeshadow Palette

This palette is a super-cute, pink and yellow themed quad that not only has some colours that, to me and my personal makeup collection, are super unique — but I also feel that will be perfect for spring. I personally adore pink eyeshadow — it can be a tricky one because the wrong shade can end up making you look really tired — but it makes a really cute and simple every-day look when you find the right shades for you. For this palette, I’m particularly excited for the shades Isabelle and Island Designer (both on the left), as I’ve never tried out yellow eyeshadow before and the chunky pink glitter look is just so stunning.

Labelle of the Ball Eyeshadow Palette

I was particularly excited about this shadow quad, as pastel purple is one of my absolute most favourite colours — both as a colour and as an eyeshadow shade. I was a little worried, since I already own the Huda Beauty Pastel Obsessions palette in both lilac and mint green that I was going to end up with shades that were similar to shadows I already own, but the shadows in both this palette AND the Nook, Inc. mint green palette are so unique that they’re different from any other shadows I’ve seen around. I really love all the shades in this palette, but particularly the chunky iridescent purple glitter and the darker duo-chrome shades Able Sisters and Custom Design (on the left of the palette) are incredibly stunning shades unlike anything I own that I can’t wait to test out.

Nook, Inc. Eyeshadow Palette

The fourth and final shadow quad in this collection is the mint green Nook, Inc. shadow palette. While the overall look this palette gives off is a minty-green tone, each shade is really different and overall this palette looks like it’ll help me create some really cool new looks this spring. In particular, I love the shade “Made in the Shade” (top right) which took me by surprise as it didn’t look the most interesting of the bunch in the pan. As well, the glitter shade CEO (bottom left) is such a pretty colour IRL — the photos don’t really capture what a complex glitter it is.

Balloon Pop Super Shock Shadow

This collection, as well as offering the four shadow quads, also has one single super-shock shadow in a somewhat bronzey shade. The glitter in this shadow, however, is incredibly dimensional — it comes in a huge range of colours that add up to create the shadow’s overall bronze-hue. The effect of having such dimensional glitter shades in one colour gives off one of my fave effects in a shadow shade — the look that the shadow is so glittery and reflective, it’s almost like it’s wet. It just looks so beautiful and vibrant, and really creates a stunningly deep colour IRL that I can’t wait to try out and use more.

Bellionaire Glitter Gel

As you all already know, I’m kind of obsessed with ColourPop’s Gliterally Obsessed Glitter Gels. They make applying and wearing chunky glitter so EASY in a way that loose glitter just cannot ever compare to. This shade is pretty different than the Sailor Moon glitter gel I have — it isn’t as sheer, so it definitely appears a little darker on the skin. It gives off a beautiful golden colour, but it has a lot of depth, as well. Rather than just being plain gold, the glitter has a bit of a rainbow cast when the light hits it, which I think is absolutely stunning. I’m totally obsessed with ColourPop’s Glitter Gels, honestly, and I can’t wait to add even more shades to my collection.

Flower Power Pressed Powder Blush

This blush is a super cute, dusty pink shade that could honestly be flattering on just about anyone. Blush is a tough one to create a universally flattering shade in, but I feel as though no matter what your skin’s undertones are that this blush would end up looking pretty damn good. It’s very neutral and delicate — it’s pigmented, but a very light shade making it easy to work with — and it has some darker pink glitter lightly sprinkled in to give it some extra depth that I absolutely adore. Overall, I’m really happy with this shade and I can’t wait to be able to experiment with it more.

Flower Tender Pressed Powder Blush

I’m particularly excited to give this blush a proper test run, as it’s completely unlike anything I currently have in my collection. I absolutely LOVE blush — after all, contour/bronzer/blush/highlighter really is my favourite part of doing my makeup — and lately, I’ve really become enamoured with super blushy makeup looks. All the blushes I have in my collection, however, are different varieties of the same pink hue — so while switching up which shade I use definitely has an effect on the overall look, it’s nothing as dramatic as going for a different colour all together. This shade, however, is completely different from anything I own — it’s a true coral, and way more warm and orangey than anything I’ve owned in a while. Experimenting with blushes can definitely be a challenge, as they really change so much of your overall look — but I’ve been looking to branch out more in my use and repertoire of blushes lately, and this is the perfect colour to add to my collection.

Fruit Basket Lip Tint Mini Kit

Okay, these lip tints are SO. CUTE. I really didn’t know what to expect when I purchased them, as I haven’t tried anything similar from ColourPop (or any other brand, really) to give me an idea of what this product was like. After all, I’m pretty dedicated to my lipgloss collection. While I was kind of expecting these products to essentially be a lipstick, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that ColourPop’s “lip tints” are essentially VERY pigmented lip balms. Basically, they end up being a very light wash of colour on your lips, making it look like they’re almost just the colour of the lip tint naturally. The shades from the “Fruit Basket” duo are both pink-ish shades, based on Animal Crossing’s cherry and apple trees, and both colours essentially make your lips just look naturally pinker, even, and soft. I’m kind of in love with all of the lip tints I received, but I’d definitely say that this duo is the most universal of the three, and the safest bet if you were looking to try these lip tints out for yourself. However, since these kits are more of a “tint” than a lipstick, they’re really versatile and I think it would be hard to go wrong with any of the duos, honestly.

Fruit Roots Lip Tint Mini Kit

The second dup in the bunch is based off of the peach and orange trees in the Animal Crossing game universe. These are super fun, more peach and coral-based tones, that I also think would pair with the “Flower Tender” blush in a beautiful way. After being really obsessed with coral shades back in high school, I kind of avoided anything even vaguely orange-looking in makeup for years, but it really is a fun and summer colour and I’m really happy to be able to experiment with it more and add it back into my collection. These lip tints, again, aren’t crazy dark — so it’s a good way to experiment with colours I wouldn’t normally use without it being too intense. (As well, all of the lip tints smell like the fruit they represent in the game — which only makes them that much more fun and adorable!).

Pick of the Bunch Lip Tint Mini Kit

Honestly, I was a little nervous before trying these shades out — they were the one item in the collection that made me consider not buying it as a whole. Brown and neutral shade lipsticks aren’t really my thing, not only in terms of my personal style but also in terms of how well they suit me. The dark brown and neutral shades seemed like something that probably wouldn’t end up looking so great on me — in particular, the darker shade was the one that caused me the most concern. However, since it was cheaper to buy the entire collection as a package deal, I just went for it — and I’m honestly pretty happy I did. As I’ve mentioned, these lip products are more like very tinted lip moisturizers — they help make my lips feel super soft while adding a nice, sheer colour to them. There are two shades — a darker colour, based on Animal Crossing’s coconut palm trees, and a lighter shade, based on the pear trees in the game. The dark brown shade, as it turns out, didn’t end up looking like I was wearing dark brown lipstick — as well, the colour isn’t purely brown, but has some dark cherry red hues to it. As a result, it ends up looking more like a nice, dark red tint — the colour specifically reminds me of how your lips look after you eat too many cherries. I’ve actually ended up loving these shades, and I’m really glad I ended up purchasing them as they really took me by surprise and ended up being super cute and completely unlike any other shade or lip product I already have in my collection.

If you, like me, are a big enough fan of Animal Crossing to purchase this collection for that reason alone (or, you know, you saw something in this review that caught your eye), you can check out the entire collection on ColourPop’s website here! They just restocked the collab pretty recently, so most of the products are available right now. If you haven’t tried ColourPop out for yourself, I couldn’t recommend it more! Not only is their makeup pretty consistently good quality, but it’s affordable — whereas a large palette may cost anywhere from $12 to $24 — a palette of the same size would end up costing you about $50 – $100 from the average brand carried at Sephora. So if you’re looking to expand your collection and stick within your budget — ColourPop is a great place to check out.

Happy Sunday, everyone, and a very happy last day of February! Can you believe it’s actually going to be March tomorrow? I really can’t wrap my head around it, but after all — time really has no meaning anymore since COVID lockdowns began in March of last year. (I still laugh to myself when I think about how different it all seemed back then — I really thought that lockdowns would last for two weeks, or maybe three at most — and look at us now! What a weird year it’s been.). However, I’m hoping to really make the most of spring this year and set some good goals to keep me motivated, active and moving forward in order to put the last year behind me. As well, I already have some exciting posts planned for you all next month — including my Spring 2021 FabFitFun unboxing — so stay tuned!

Much love,

Meredith

100 Prompts for When You’re Suffering Writers Block!

Hey y’all!

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

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

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

Media & Culture Prompts

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

Fashion & Style Prompts

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

Skincare & Makeup Prompts

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

Lifestyle and Advice Prompts

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

Blogging about Blogging Prompts

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

Social Media Advice Prompts

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

School and Education Prompts

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

Work and Careers Prompts

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

Friends and Social Situations Prompts

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

Love and Relationships Prompts

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

Making It Through Bad Situations Prompts

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

Self-Reflection Prompts

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

Cooking, Baking, and Drinks Prompts

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

Travelling & The World Prompts

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

Home & Decor Prompts

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

Budgeting Prompts

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

Adulting Prompts

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

Lockdown 2020/2021 Prompts

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

Organizational Prompts

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

Health and Wellness Prompts

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

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

Much love,

Meredith

Quitting Toxic Blogging Positivity Culture

It sounds strange, doesn’t it? That positivity can be toxic.

However, over the last year, it’s really become increasingly clear to me that our culture has an unhealthy obsession with being happy, perfect and productive 24/7. We see it play out time and time again in media and advertising, on social media, and blogging in particular. But it’s more than that — it plays out in the real world, too, and has serious effects on our lives and mental health. This mentality wreaked havoc on my life in 2020 — and frankly, I’m done with it.

Now I don’t mean this in any sort of a bad way — especially since doing so would make me a hypocrite — but overall, the vast majority of blog posts that lifestyle bloggers produce have to do with productivity, goal-setting, or somehow creating the perfect life. Which I guess is sort of the point — if you’re a lifestyle blogger, you’re selling your lifestyle. It makes sense that you want it to look as good as it can possibly be. After all, everyone shares only the absolute best parts of their lives on social media and many (if not all of us) have exaggerated here and there every once in a while. The issue I want to talk about isn’t sharing the best moments and images of your life on social media, though. What I’m talking about — and hoping to fix in my own life — pertains pretty specifically to blogging.

Think about it. How many times have you seen a lifestyle blogger (myself included) share a post listing the numerous different ways you can change your life to be productive, or organized, or successful? Posts that create an image of a lifestyle that the blogger is living where they wake up early, work out, eat healthy, take perfect care of their skin, hair, and makeup, are successful and their job, with full social lives to top it all off? Maybe it isn’t spelled out directly, but it’s often implied. “Do this, and your life will be perfect.” While some people post practical guides, many of these guides are impossible to follow to a T. Simply put — the lifestyle depicted in these blog posts is not a realistic one.

I know I’m not the only one guilty of making posts like this. But do you really know anyone in real life who lives like that? I know some crazy successful people — but I don’t actually know anyone who can “do it all”. There’s only 24 hours in a day, and everyone has to pick and choose. I promise you, regardless of how it may seem online, absolutely no one’s life is flawless 24/7. I know some of you out there won’t believe me, and I know some of you know this in theory but often forget it in reality. But I promise you no one’s life is as perfect as it looks on social media. Not that influencer you love who seems to always look perfect, or Kylie Jenner, or the girl who seems like she owns everything you could ever want — not even the small blogger who seems to have their life 100% put together. None of them.

So why are we pretending that our lives ARE perfect? There’s a good chance that even if you think you’re not, you still may be. I want you to ask yourself if holding yourself to this standard is helping you, or if it’s actually hurting you. Of course we all want to put out a good image on social media — it’s not like I’m going to start posting pictures of myself without my hair washed and in my grossest old PJs on my Instagram — but what is up with going above and beyond lately? Why do we have to pretend like we’re productive and positive 24/7? Like our lives are busy all the time? Even a pandemic didn’t seem to stop the tirade of pretending to be productive all the time. So what will?

It wasn’t until last year that it really became abundantly clear to me just how damaging toxic positivity and hustle culture can be. While it’s certainly been a problem far before 2020 ever began, watching the world lock down due to a global pandemic really shone a light on how deeply ingrained and problematic this issue is within our society. I didn’t see it at first — in fact, for the first half of the pandemic, during the most emotionally challenging time I’ve ever gone through, I fell victim to it. No matter what life threw at me, I felt the need to “bounce back” as quickly as possible. In reality, though, it was impossible to keep up.

Tw: Death. I get into some pretty personal stuff the next few paragraphs, so if you don’t want to read it for whatever reason, feel free to skip past the italicized text — I promise I return to the main point afterwards!

Back in March of 2020, I was dealing with the grief of losing two very important people to me over the span of 5 weeks right as stay-at-home orders were put in place. I studying for my Biopsych final, which would decide whether or not I graduated from UBC, and on top of that, I was coming off what had been one of the most stressful and uncertain years of my life. In early 2019, I received the news that despite all the times I checked my graduation requirements, and my friends checked my requirements, and I had university advisors check over my requirements, I was somehow missing a class that I needed in order to graduate. I’d heard stories from friends of the same thing happening to them, but I’d been so careful — I figured there was no way it would happen to me.

But it did, and it was kind of devastating. Any plans I had went up in smoke, and ever since I’ve distinctly felt as though I’ve fallen behind in life, and that I wasted an entire year. For the first time in my life, I was kind of left alone without any sort of plan. Eventually, I picked up a job at a sports bar, often working 7 days a week, while I finished up my classes. My job often asked far too much of me, and took advantage of the fact that I was so capable of being the only host at such a large establishment during their busiest season. Could I handle it? Yeah, sort of. But just because I could push myself to my limits didn’t mean that I should. Yet, due to the very same culture that forces us to act productive and happy 24/7, I felt like I had to power through.

As the pandemic shut down the world, the pressure I put myself under while studying for my final was crushing. I spent almost every day for the first four weeks of lockdown studying from when I woke until bedtime. I struggled heavily with insomnia during those weeks. I was often so tired and overwhelmed with anxiety that I would physically shake for hours as I did my work — even though I knew that I was excelling in the class, and there was no need to be so hard on myself. I cried about losing my friend every single day up until the day that my Grandma passed away — but after that, I simply shut down. The following day after my grandma passed, I stopped crying. I barely remember what the two weeks between then and my final were like — all I remember is I stopped crying and I kept studying.

Through it all, however, I kept posting semi-regularly on my blog. I’d say I did everything I could to keep posting regularly, but I did more than everything I could — I was pushing myself beyond my limits. But so much of blogging revolves around showing others how to live their best life, based on how “perfect” your own life is. So I kept up the facade. One of my closest friends in the world passed away, and I only allowed myself only one week off from posting blogs. At the time, I thought I was taking it easy on myself — I missed a couple blog posts here and there, and while I felt guilty about it, I shared some posts mentioning I was taking a week or two off and did my best to not fall behind. However, every time I missed a post I felt as though I had failed. I felt guilty sharing my Spring FabFitFun unboxing three weeks late — as if it really mattered. Immediately after I finished up my final, I resumed posting twice a week — I didn’t even give myself the slightest break. However, it wasn’t good enough to pretend to have it all together online — I truly believed I had to have my life perfectly under control offline, too.

Back in early lockdowns (and even still now), we were constantly being bombarded with advertisements from companies about “being productive” now that we had the time, and “getting on top of things” while we could. And very quickly, we all bought into it as well. Once one person starts doing it, we all feel the need to keep up. Even though we were collectively going through an incredibly uncertain and stressful period in our lives, we felt the need to keep up with what we saw others doing online. Perfecting a new skill, daily workouts, cleaning your whole house, social media challenges, keeping up with all the biggest Netflix trends, finding a side hustle — I’m sure we all felt the pressure to do one, if not ALL of these at some point back in March/April of last year.

But why? Why did we all feel the need to be as busy as possible in a time when there was, objectively, nothing to do? Why did I feel the need to only take a week or two off before launching into creating a strict routine, sleep schedule, workout regimen and blogging itinerary when I was coping with so much loss and stress? At the time, I thought I was doing what was healthy, what was best for me. In retrospect, however, I can barely even remember what May was like. And while I kept it all up for about a month, it didn’t take long for it all to start unravelling.

After only a few short weeks of following my schedule and staying “perfectly” on top of my life, I had event after event come along and disrupt my newfound routine. Which is life, of course — things happen. It only took a couple little bumps to have my plan fall apart completely. By July, I began this perpetual game of catch-up that lasted months. I was late to post almost every single blog post I shared for two months straight, and every time a post was shared behind schedule, I felt as though I had failed. I had no motivation to keep writing, but I felt I had to — and forced myself to keep going. I couldn’t hold focus for more than a few minutes and I honestly didn’t feel I had anything to share at the time, but it didn’t matter. I had set goals for myself that I felt I had to achieve by year’s end, and I wanted to keep up the appearance everything was fine. I think I felt at the time everything WAS mostly fine — but now I realize it really, really wasn’t.

By September, it all fell apart. After months of holding myself together with nothing but guilt and the belief that I had to keep going, I was too burnt out to continue. I only had energy to coast through life until December came around. However, after a real, proper break — a month at home where I essentially expected nothing of myself, nor did my family — I’m finally starting to feel a little better. I’m trying to get my life back on track — but it’s for myself this time. I’m taking it slowly, and adding things back in with time instead of rushing myself back into a full schedule. Do I still struggle with having heightened or unrealistic expectations for myself? Yeah, of course. However, I’m trying to identify these expectations and why I feel the need to set them for myself nowadays to help myself determine what’s a healthy goal that pushes me forward, keeps me motivated and makes me happy; rather than something I’m aiming for that’s detrimental to my mental health and well-being.

Of course, my example is a little different, and fairly extreme. Who knows why I reacted the way I did to everything last year — it was a difficult year for me, and perhaps it was just the only way I knew to react to such an unfamiliar situation. I’m not here to psychoanalyze myself — although I guess I may be trying to analyze society as a whole. What I’m really trying to say here is — you don’t need to do it all. Choose what you WANT for yourself, and focus on that. You don’t need to work out every morning to have your life together. You don’t need to work through the weekend to be successful. You don’t need to always be busy to be happy.

And not just that — not everything has to be for the sake of being productive, too! Perhaps it’s just some capitalistic belief that the things we do aren’t valuable if they aren’t somehow profitable. But that isn’t true! When was the last time you had a hobby just for the sake of having a hobby? Something that you, perhaps, aren’t even good at? Why do you have to be good at it, after all, if it brings you joy? Balance is key — and while I’ve definitely said it before, you need to balance giving yourself a break, too. But not just cute blogger self-care nights — sometimes you just need a night to do nothing and a nap. Not everything in life has to be picture-perfect — contrary to what I or other bloggers have made you believe.

As lifestyle bloggers, we get sucked into following a bit of a formula — a particular aesthetic, a particular lifestyle, and particular interests. Following April, almost every single post of mine had to do with productivity, routine, schedule, or lockdowns. I didn’t even know what else to write about, as I had pretty severe writers block from all the issues I was facing. So I just kept forcing myself to be productive, and wrote about being productive — as if I were someone who had it all together when really, I had no idea what was going on. But we don’t need to adhere to an aesthetic. Life is more than that! Of course, if your blog is your business, you want to build a specific brand. But just because you’re starting out, doesn’t mean you need to fall into the trap of narrowing yourself down into the very particular lifestyle blogger aesthetic. While the minimalistic, cute, and elegant themes are absolutely gorgeous, there’s no need to wedge yourself into them if it isn’t what fits you. If the typical blogger aesthetic is something you aspire to, or is one that comes to you naturally — go for it, obviously! It’s majorly cute and refined, and I personally adore it — even though it isn’t my personal vibe.

As for what my vibe IS exactly — I honestly don’t really know. I’m working on it. I want to be able to fit every part of me into it, without cutting parts away simply because they don’t match. I feel as though I’m a very different person that I’ve perhaps lead you all to believe — either directly or indirectly. It’s not intentional — after all, I do love makeup, skincare, online shopping, subscription boxes and staying organized — but I also love art, and anime (Attack on Titan fans HMU), and BLACKPINK, and Animal Crossing, and I don’t think these things have to be mutually exclusive. But who know — it’s not like I have to figure it out on a deadline, after all!

When I started writing this post out, I had no idea where it was really going to go, honestly. I had a vague idea in my head, and an issue I wanted to discuss, and past that I just let it take me wherever it needed to go. Writing all this out was kind of therapeutic, in a way — really just sitting back and letting your writing take you wherever it will is a great way to discover things about yourself and your story. So I hope you’ve all learned something here today — because honestly, so did I. It may be difficult to let go — I don’t think it’s a change I’ll be able to make 100% overnight — but I’m hoping to put in the work and identify these beliefs and behaviours when they come up in my life, in order to challenge them and make some positive differences in both my life and other’s.

I guess to sum up what I have to say — it’s not like I’m going to stop trying. I’m not going to stop trying to better myself, to be successful, to look my best, to surround myself with happiness. I’m still going to strive forward towards these things. And whatever advice I learn along the way I’ll absolutely share with you all. But I’m done with preaching advice I don’t take myself, or acting like some know-it-all with a perfect life. I’m not. You’re not. None of us are. Life is messy and while it can be beautiful, it isn’t perfect. So this is my little pledge — to stop forcing myself to fit a standard and chastising myself when I don’t reach it. To take real breaks, and not just push myself further after falling behind. And to always be honest with all of you, and share honest advice, and not just what I think sounds good on paper.

Love you all, always,

Meredith