Holiday Gift Guide #3: Lifestyle Edition!

Hey everyone!

First off — happy December you guys!!! We’ve finally made it to the final month of the year and I, for one, could not be more excited. 2020, in all honesty, has been a particularly brutal year for me and no matter what 2021 holds, I’ll be excited to put this year behind me. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s feeling a little relieved that it’s finally the last month of the year, am I right?

Anyways, I’m back with another Gift Guide this week — and this time it’s all about Lifestyle! This week’s collection of gifts are loosely themed together by the fact that they’re all cool little things that really help add to and improve the lifestyle of whomever you’re gifting for — so while the theme is less defined this week, there’s really something in this list for anyone.

As always, since shopping in person isn’t really an option this year, I’ve chosen items that can all be purchased online! While it does kind of suck to miss out on holiday shopping this year, it isn’t really a necessity to get into the holiday spirit. Even if you’re in an area that still allows in person shopping, the responsible (and easier!) thing to do is crack open your laptop, lay on the couch and send in some online orders — so let me make that even easier for you by recommending some of my favourite things that would make great gifts for just about anyone on your list!

Ouai Super Dry Shampoo

Maybe this is just me, but as someone with very fine hair who lives in a super humid climate, my hair starts feeling greasy faster than I can keep up with washing it. Even in lockdowns, when no one sees me for days on end, this dry shampoo has been a bit of a lifesaver. It’s hands down the best dry shampoo I’ve ever used — and yes, I’ve become pretty acquainted with dry shampoos over the years. (What can I say? Sometimes half an hour of extra sleep is more valuable than freshly-showered hair). Unlike so many dry shampoos, it actually works to make your hair feel cleaner and doesn’t leave a residue behind or leave your hair looking powdery. My hair always both looks AND feels cleaner after using this stuff — making it an extra-useful gift for any busy bees in your life.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Mini Stone Pack

This is a cute and simple gift for your friend who’s super into horoscopes, decorating, collecting, or all of the above. These stone packs from Amazon come conveniently packaged in little packs or individually, with a little information on each type of crystal included such as what it manifests in your life. Whether you believe in the power of crystals or not — they make a great decoration or addition to any gift!

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Indigo in Amethyst and Rose Quartz!

Herbivore Coconut Milk Body Polish

Okay, so if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know all about my love of Herbivore Botanicals body scrubs. When I saw they released a coconut version earlier this year, I knew I had to give it a try. This version of their body scrub comes a little cheaper than the Crushed Amethyst body scrub, but they’re both so worth it. The amethyst scrub does seem to be a little more of a deep exfoliation, but this one is also effective, soft, and smells soooooo good. 10/10, would LOVE to receive this as a gift.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Dry Bar Prep Rally Detangler

This is such a universally loved, universally good-for-all hair type heat protectant. I guarantee that no matter who you buy this for, it’ll work for their hair. This next-level two-in-one detangler and heat protectant has kept my hair looking and feeling so great ever since I first received it in a FabFitFun box last winter — it really is SUCH an effective protector against blowdrying and styling heat damage. It doesn’t leave behind a residue either, making it a great gift for literally anyone on your list.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

FOXYBAE Hair Curler

On the topic of hair styling, this hair curler I received in my latest FabFitFun box is AMAZING. It heats up well, is nice and easy to use, doesn’t seem to damage my hair and makes perfect curls. I really don’t know much about hair styling — I had short hair for most of my life — but I can tell you, this curler is by FAR the best I’ve ever owned. It makes curling your hair SO effortless and my hair has honestly looked better using this curler than it ever has in my entire lifetime of curling my hair. Basically, it’s super worth it.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at FOXYBAE!

AMIKA Hair Straightener

On a final hairstyling note, this AMIKA hair straightener (which, surprise surprise, I also recieved in a FabFitFun box) has been an absolute godsend in my life. It’s so high quality and straightens hair so effectively without damaging your hair. This was the first “fancy” hair straightener I’ve ever owned (ie. not purchased at the drugstore) and I was blown away at the difference it made — not just in terms of damage, but how fast and effectively it worked and how much better my hair looked when it was done. This straightener is a blessing.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at AMIKA!

Skincare Hairbands

This was something I purchased for myself recently on a bit of a whim, not really expecting much of it. I had seen other skincare fans using them all over social media, but I couldn’t really tell if they were going to help or simply hinder me while I washed my face and make the whole task more challenging. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to realize that these little hairbands make washing your face 200% easier. They keep all your baby hairs out of the way, and don’t get in the way themselves. I was kind of worried they would just end up getting wet and gross while I used them, but they don’t at all. They really act to solve something that you’d never realize was a large grievance until you see what life is like on the other side. Trust me.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Amazon!

Twine Cheese Board with Plate

If you have someone in your life who loves hosting wine nights or considers themselves a charcuterie enthusiast, then this is the perfect gift for them. This little board is so tiny and cute, it makes the perfect board for those with tiny kitchens or an addition to the collection of a charcuterie lover’s collection to add to a full spread. (Or, frankly, it also works well for making yourself feel a little fancier while eating cheese and crackers home alone). It’s cute, simple, small, easy to clean, and a great gift overall. I’ve been totally obsessed ever since I received this in a FabFitFun box (yes, again), and I’ve always thought it would make a great gift for anyone who loves dinner parties, or just cheese.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Amazon!

DAVID’s TEA Loose Leaf Teas

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit of a tea fanatic. David’s Tea, in my opinion, is THE best tea out there. I seriously drink at least 2-4 cups a day (and sometimes more). The options they offer are seriously endless, meaning that there’s absolutely a tea out there for everyone on your list. From traditional teas, to classic favourites, to crazy new flavours you couldn’t find elsewhere, David’s Tea has it all. It can be a little tricky to know where to start with all the options, but my favourites are Cream of Earl Grey, Genmaicha, Forever Nuts, Bai Hao Yin Zhen, and Butterfly Jasmine.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at DAVID’s Tea!

Lululemon Yoga Mat

With COVID likely still hanging around for the next few months, there’s really no better gift you could give than a high-quality yoga mat. Perfect for not just at home yoga sessions, these mats help make a wide variety of home workouts possible. Since yoga mats are something you only need one of and don’t often replace, it’s nice to be able to splurge on one for someone on your list — and after that, they’ll be all set to get on top of staying fit in 2021. Whether it’s for at-home use, or for yoga classes in the (hopefully not so distant) future, this mat is high quality and comes with a warranty, making sure it’ll be useful for years to come.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Lululemon!

Lululemon Massage Roller

This is another thing that’s been a real lifesaver for me in COVID. It’s hard with all the stress this year has toot feel the impacts on your body — overtime, it really wears you down. However, going for a quick massage isn’t really an option in 2020. Instead, I’ve been using this yoga roller to work out all the knots in my body where I’ve been holding all my stress. It really makes a huge difference in your overall wellbeing to be able to massage out all the kinks every so often. It’s kind of self-care, but also in 2020, very necessary.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Lululemon!

Silked Satin Pillowcase

Finally, we have the Silked satin pillowcase (which, yes, I also received in a FabFitFun box. I know this whole post probably just seems like one giant advertisement for FabFitFun, but I swear it’s not! They really just gift the best stuff). Satin pillowcases are fantastic for soooo many reasons — they don’t tug on your skin or mess with your hair, making them gentler and less damaging on both (plus they’re just cute as well). For those on your list who worry about hair damage, skincare or wrinkles, these pillowcases are extra soft on your skin and hair overnight — making them the perfect gift. The first time I ever used one, the difference I felt in my hair the next morning was like night and day — I could never go back to using regular pillow cases ever again.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Silked!

I hope you guys are all having a great week! Hopefully at this point you’ve got a good idea of what you’ll be gifting everyone on your list this year, but if not — stay tuned for my final gift guide next week! I’ll be sharing my favourite makeup items that will make universally great gifts for any makeup lovers in your life — regardless of skin tone and staples they already own.

So, again, happy December! Are you guys all still setting goals for yourself this month? Personally, I’m taking a bit of a break and riding out the last month of 2020 as easily as I can, but if you guys have some goals you’ve set for yourself I’d love to hear them! Drop a comment below and let me know what you’re hoping to manifest before the end of the year!

Stay safe and much love,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: May 14th

Hey y’all!

Soooooo……. it’s finally happening. For those of you who’ve been following my blog for a while now, you’ll probably already know what this post is about. I have one certain product that has made it’s way on to countless self-care, best product and gift lists without ever having an official post all to itself. Seriously, post after post I find myself mentioning this product — its ended up being mentioned in more of my posts over the last year than I can even keep track of. However, when I tried this product for the first time ever almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a sort of mini-review and it made me feel as though I had already covered it. For a while, I thought giving it a slot in my Thursday Favourites segment was a little redundant. However, it’s become clear over the last year of my blogging journey that not only does this product deserve a post of it’s own on account of how much I rave about it constantly, but at this point the original post was shared so long ago that I’m sure you could all use a little refresher. Plus, with both some improved writing skills and a much deeper familiarity of this product under my belt, I’m hoping this post will do it more justice.

If you haven’t already figured it out, the product I’m referring to is Herbivore’s Crushed Amethyst Body Polish — a staple in my collection and one of my all-time favourites. This was the product that launched my Herbivore obsession, and finally gave me a holy-grail body exfoliator after years of constantly testing and tossing different products with no success. I never had an exfoliator I had purchased more than once — every one I tried had either been too expensive, ineffective, hard to find or just kind of meh overall. Each time, after I used one up, the hunt was on for which one I would try next, which for someone who exfoliates regularly, got pretty exhausting.

While I mentioned in my original post that after just one (yes, seriously) use of Herbivore’s body scrub not only was I in love, but I was fairly certain I was sold on it for life, I don’t think I really realized how true that was. But now, nearly a year later, a brand new jar just arrived in my latest Sephora order and I’m just as excited to start a fresh jar as I was when I first tried it. This stuff is hands down the best body scrub I’ve ever used — but don’t feel the need to just take my word on it blindly, because I’m about to tell you all the reasons why.

First of all — the actual scrub aspect of this product is amazing. The scrub particles aren’t too big that they’re ineffective or painful, but aren’t too small either. Never once has this product left me with little scratches all over my body, which I can’t say for every exfoliator I’ve tried. However, something I really love most is that the particles don’t really dissolve — something I’ve noticed with many other body scrubs is how the “scrub” element melts away as soon as the product mixes with water — meaning you have to use a lot more of the product to get the job done. As Herbivore’s Body Polish is actually made with real crushed Amethyst, the scrub doesn’t melt away, meaning you waste less and get your money’s worth.

Another thing about this product that has me obsessed is how HYDRATING it is. Something that I find to be an important aspect of an exfoliator is ingredients, such as oils, that soak into your skin as you use the product, which help both to keep the exfoliator from being too harsh and leave your skin feeling soft AF. My skin has never felt softer than it does fresh out of the shower when I’ve just used my Amethyst scrub — between how effective it is at exfoliating away everything it should and how incredibly hydrating and absorbent it’s ingredients are, my skin feels baby-smooth every time.

Lastly, I just wanted to give a little shout-out to how amazing this product smells!!! Because I’m absolutely obsessed with the scent. This product smells EXACTLY like lilacs, which is one of my all-time favourite scents. It’s fresh and calming, and for myself — very nostalgic as it reminds me of the lilac trees outside of my home in Toronto. For those of you who aren’t crazy about scented products, don’t worry — it isn’t super strong. It’s not anything overwhelming or heavy, just the lightest amount of perfume that really makes this product absolutely heavenly. (Plus, everything Herbivore makes is both vegan and cruelty-free, so you really can’t go wrong).

If this sounds like the body scrub you’ve been needing, you can check it out online at Sephora here! As well, Herbivore also carries a Coco Rose body scrub if that sounds like something you’d prefer. However, as someone who’s tried both, I’d definitely the Amethyst scrub — the Coco Rose’s scrubbing particles are much finer and dissolve a lot more easily, plus I MUCH prefer the scent of the Amethyst scrub. Not to say the Coco Rose isn’t fantastic as well — but between the two, the Amethyst scrub is the clear winner to me.

I hope you guys are all doing well! I’m finally starting to feel like I’m beginning to get back into a good rhythm with blogging, so hopefully I’ll be more active again soon once I get ahead on my blogging schedule. Just in time, too — we’re going to start lifting restrictions in BC soon! Fingers crossed I’ll be able to keep up all the good habits I’ve started once we start to return to normal life.

Much love,

Meredith

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