Thursday Favourites: March 26th

Hey y’all!

Hope everyone’s social distancing is going well! I finally feel like I’ve adjusted to it all, in fact, I’m actually starting to be super productive in studying for my finals! The first few days were definitely a bit weird and anxiety-inducing, but with time I feel like it’s starting to become normal and even a little relaxing. (If you’re still struggling to adjust, be sure to read my 15 Tips To Survive Social Distancing!).

I was hoping to keep up the de-stressing vibes in today’s post, so I decided to share a product I adore for self-care nights and when I need to relax a little — Lush’s Sleepy Body Lotion!

I received this lotion as a gift a while back, but it kind of helped rekindle my love of Lush’s products. Not only are their products top-notch quality, but they’re all formulated to be 100% vegetarian, handmade with ethically-sourced materials, and without the use of animal testing. Basically, you should never feel guilty when you’re splurging on their products because they were made safely and with care, all while causing as little harm to others.

I personally love this moisturizer for when my skin needs some extra TLC. This stuff is THICK, but it does an amazing job of keeping your skin hydrated and soft. While I personally find it a little heavy for everyday use, I know others (such as my friend Erin) absolutely love it for day-to-day. (You can catch it on her feed all the time!). For myself, this lotion is my go-to on a self-care night. First of all, the lavender scent is just heavenly — it always relaxes me and puts me in the mood to get a good night’s sleep. But on top of that, the ingredients in this lotion help to make it really penetrate into your skin — it really is the perfect final step in a self-care night before bed to help you wake up feeling your best.

If this sounds like the uber-relaxing body lotion you’ve been looking for, you can check it out on Lush’s site here!

I hope you guys are all doing well and staying safe — be sure to plan out a self-care night this week to help yourself relax! We’re going to get through this, and in the meantime, there are ways to learn to love this time off!

Xo,

Meredith

Spend A Week With Me In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

Sailing Tour by Vallarta Adventures

Hey guys!

So, as many of you already know, I’ve been spending this week taking a (very much needed) vacation in Puerto Vallarta. This last month has been a bit of a rough one for me — between having the flu, my term papers, my job and just keeping up with life its been a lot. However, not only was I lucky enough to have this getaway planned (and right after my final papers were due!), but from here on out my life should be at least a LITTLE less hectic, so cheers to that!

Puerto Vallarta is a special place to me since this was actually the place I went away on my first ever vacation! To be fair, I was too young to remember it — but this is my first time coming back ever since, so it’s pretty exciting to take it all in. I also have to say, Puerto Vallarta makes a great vacation spot — its easy to access from just about anywhere in North America (which I know for a fact since my family flew in from Toronto while I flew in from Vancouver, and none of us had long or difficult travels). As well, the weather here is STUNNING — like seriously, every single day that we’ve been here has been sunny and warm, and there’s almost never a cloud in the sky. It’s insanely perfect — maybe it’s just that all the vacations I’ve taken in the last few years have been to places with variable weather, but I’m pretty blown away by this “constant sun” and “no fear of cloudiness and rain” concept.

My Last Trip To Puerto Vallarta!

As well, Puerto Vallarta has just about everything anyone on your trip could be interested in. Not only does it have the beach, the pool, the sun and all the typical things you’d want out of a beach getaway, it has a vibrant town and plenty of adventurous activities in the nearby area. Since I was here with my family and my main goal was to just chill out a little, I didn’t really take part in anything TOO adventurous — but there’s all kinds of activities ranging from zip lining, to snorkelling, to parasailing, to hiking and more. Oh, and our hotel came equipped with the biggest spa I’ve ever seen, so there’s that too.

The View From Our Hotel Room

Overall, I have to say — I’m pretty in love with it here. (Bonus points since our hotel even came with a little house cat — meet Mitzy!). I know I always say this, but I never wanna leave (or at least, I could use more than one week). But enough of that — let’s get into all the details of my little vacay!

Meet Mitzy!

Our Accommodations

Our Room at the Marriott

For this trip, we stayed at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa. This little resort has it all — it’s near, but not quite in town. It’s smaller and a little quiet, which I personally loved. It has a lovely, large infinity pool, it’s own private stretch of beach, multiple restaurant and bar options and a large and fantastic spa — but more on that later.

Marriott Puerto Vallarta Beach

Some of my favourite aspects of this hotel are the lovely beach and poolside chairs, the amazing hibachi restaurant, the poolside food and drink service, and the amazing little stand that makes fancy cocktails served in real coconuts. (I mean, just look at this — how much cuter does it get?)

The rooms are large and pretty comfortable — not that we’ve spent much time in them when it’s so beautiful out. There’s a good range of food options, and a VERY good range of drink options. To top it all off, our hotel comes with it’s very own cat (Mitzy!) and the view from out balcony is beyond spectacular — so overall, I’d say this place is a winner.

View From Our Room Pt. 2

Things To Do

Go On A Sunset Sail
Sunset Sail by Vallarta Adventures

So I’ll just start off by saying that no matter where I’m travelling to in the world, just about my all time favourite activity is to spend a day on a boat. Seriously, my life goal is to be able to buy a boat one day. I’ve been on plenty of boats during my travels — such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Honolulu, just to name a few — however, this one really was the best one yet. We specifically chose to do a sunset sail via Vallarta Adventures, and while boating itself is great, let me tell you — boating at sunset is better. This particular boating adventure came with all the bells and whistles too — little snack trays, music, and an open bar (!!!). The staff were beyond lovely, too. Overall, I’d say this activity was a serious 11/10, and definitely my favourite part of this trip. If you’re ever in Puerto Vallarta, you’ll seriously want to check this ride out.

Sunset Sail by Vallarta Adventures
Have A Spa Day
Marriott Spa

So, obviously, this was VERY much needed after the week I’ve had. The Marriott Puerto Vallarta Spa is unlike any spa I’ve been to before, too — it really is a whole experience. Like first of all, it’s absolutely HUGE. When you get any services done, you get full access to all their amenities as well. So, while all I really signed up for was the 80-minute Swedish Massage, I ended up getting a LOT more. We spent our day before and after enjoying everything this spa had to offer, including: a jacuzzi, a hot and cold plunge pools, a foot bath, a sauna AND a steam room — and that’s not even an exhaustive list, just the things I tried out. Overall, it was an AMAZING experience, and probably one of the most extensive and amazing spa days I have ever had (thankfully, since I needed it so much!).

Marriott Spa
Hit The Town
Me in Town, Puerto Vallarta

The town of Puerto Vallarta is so vibrant and fun — if you’re spending your time at a resort, like me, you’ll still want to take a day and go explore. The beachside town is filled with countless restaurants, bars, and a wide array of shops, which will cover all your souvenir needs. There’s also a boardwalk that stretches on for miles and miles — allowing you to explore easily. Plus, the beaches by town are gorgeous, and feature plenty of beachside bars and restaurants — which is ALWAYS a good idea.

Puerto Vallarta Boardwalk
Try A Tequila Tasting
Tequila!

This is basically a must-try if you’re in Mexico — I mean, where else would be better to try something like this? It makes for a great little afternoon activity, and it’s totally a fun experience you really can’t get anywhere else. Our hotel offered free tastings, however, with how much tequila there is in this town, you probably could try this just about anywhere. Even if you’re really not a fan of tequila, they certainly have the best tequila in the world — so it’s definitely worth a shot (or two!).

Puerto Vallarta Pier

Places To Eat (And Drink!)

Mikado
Sushi at Mikado

Maybe I’m just a sucker for Hibachi places, but this was one of my favourite places we tried on our vacation. While this restaurant was a part of the Marriot we stayed at, you can totally make a reso here even if you aren’t a guest. The restaurant features two separate areas — one Sushi, one Hibachi. While we tried both out, and the sushi WAS amazing — the Hibachi restaurant was both SO delicious and SO fun. It totally gave me throwback vibes to every birthday I ever had at Benihana as a child, so really, there was nothing not to love.

Banana Tempura at Mikado
Si Señor
Si Señor on the Beach

This bar and restaurant wasn’t just beachside — it actually had tables to sit at ON the beach (which was about everything you could ever want). We really only stopped in here for drinks, but wow were they ever good. If you go here, you HAVE to try the Palomas — maybe I’m biased since I love a good Paloma any day, but they were absolutely to die for. The drinks, the view, the beach — UGH. This place is absolutely a must-try if you’re ever in the area.

The Blue Shrimp
Arriero Style Octopus at the Blue Shrimp

This may already be obvious from the name of the restaurant, but if you LOVE shrimp, this is the place for you. It was basically all that was on the menu, and it was glorious. The appetizers were delish but the shrimp dinners (where you basically just ended up choosing which sauce and style you wanted your shrimp in) were beyond amazing. The whole restaurant had a very strong Maritimes/Canadian East Coast seafood dinner restaurant vibe, so it was also pretty nostalgic for me since I haven’t been to the east coast in years. (Have I ever mentioned that I have a farm in Prince Edward Island? I guess that’s just a story for another day!).

Portuguese Shrimp at the Blue Shrimp

And that’s it for my little getaway! I’m heading home tomorrow afternoon (or today at the time that this posts), tragically enough — I’m really not ready to leave just yet. I mean, I guess I have to head back to reality at some point, but does it need to be so soon?

Sunset Sail Tour by Vallarta Adventures

All in all, this trip was AMAZING, though, so I can’t complain. Puerto Vallarta is a stunning city with a little something for everyone and endless blue, sunny skies. Like seriously — this place had better weather than anywhere I’ve been in a while, and I couldn’t be more thankful. (I love Vancouver, but sometimes you just need a break from the rain, you know?). Puerto Vallarta even reminded me a bit of home, with the mountain and beach combination it has going on!

I hope you guys all enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you (and experiencing it!). Hopefully it inspired you to plan a little vacay of your own sometime soon — if you end up heading to Puerto Vallarta or trying out anything that I did, let me know! I’d love to hear that I inspired some ideas for some of your future travels.

As well, stay tuned next week for another — slightly different — travel post! I’m going to be sharing with you guys all my fave beach vacay style trends for this spring and summer, so stay tuned! I’ve been collecting photos of all my favourite makeup and fashion trends I’ve tried over the last week and I can’t wait to share.

Have a great week everyone, and don’t forget to take some time to relax! Even with how overwhelmed I was last week, I didn’t truly realize how stressed I had been until a few days into my getaway — so take a minute for a quick breather, a Netflix binge or some self care. It never hurts!

Much love and adios,

Meredith

Ps. Enjoy some extra bonus photos below — I had too many for one post!

How To: Plan The Perfect Fall Self-Care Night!

Hey y’all! Happy Sunday!

Fall is in full swing now, which certainly has its ups and downs. I personally love fall, because it means cute clothes, cozy vibes, my birthday and the holidays. However, it certainly has some rough patches too — cold weather (and rain, for my fellow PNW readers), work and school stress, seasonal depression, and cold and flu season.

The best way to make fall as easy going and enjoyable as possible is to ensure you’re taking care of yourself. And the best way to do that is to plan out a self-care night! Even with my crazy-busy schedule, I try to plan out a night for self-care every week or two. Especially with stressful times, it’s important to take some time to unwind and rejuvenate yourself — while it may seem worthwhile in the moment to spend all your time constantly working and pushing towards your goals, it can lead you to become tired, sick, and slow you down in the future.

Step One: Clean Your Space!

I’ve definitely gone over this one before, but it’s really just not possible to fully relax in a messy space — it’s uncomfortable and you’ll be worrying about having to clean it in the future. Start off your night by taking the time to tidy up, clean your sheets and towels, take out the garbage, and take a shower (or a bath, even!). Make sure to take care of all the little tasks stressing you out in this time as well — if it takes half an hour or less but has been causing you a lot of stress lately, just get it done! It’ll help to get you into a space where you can fully unwind and enjoy yourself.

Step Two: Pick Out A Fall Scent!

One of the best ways to eliminate negative vibes in your space and let go of the week’s stress is to light up a scented candle or use a diffuser. If you don’t already, try to go out and pick some fall scents to help you get into the seasonal spirit! Once you’ve cleaned up your space, this is the next step in fully reviving good vibes in your space and life. If you’re not a fan of scents, I find using a regular, unscented candle still has the same effect.

Step Three: Get Cozy!

For this step, you’re going to want to get into your comfiest clothes and do whatever you can to make your space as cozy as possible. Layer up on blankets, get some ambient lighting going, adjust your thermostat, play some music/ambient noise, whatever makes you feel the most comfortable and at ease.

Step Four: Make Some Fall Snacks!

This next step is to pick out a fall food and drink of your choice. One of my favourite snacks for a self-care night is this edible cookie dough recipe, but you can choose whatever you want — Pillsbury cookies, pumpkin flavoured snacks, even just popcorn, whatever it is your craving! Then, you’re going to want to choose a drink as well — maybe it’s just me, but I find that this is a huge aspect of self care nights. I’m personally a HUGE fan of tea, so I’d usually go for that (and make one of David’s Tea’s special fall flavours, just to make it festive)! However, you can pick anything you want — apple cider, chai tea latte, pumpkin spiced latte (or even just a nice glass of wine!).

Step Five: Choose A Self-Care Activity!

Now you’ve just got to pick out whatever activity (or activities) you want to spend your night on. If you want to get into the festive spirit, you can pick out a fall/Halloween movie or show — lately I’ve been watching Buzzfeed Unsolved Supernatural because it’s got the spooky Halloween vibes I’m looking for, without being actually scary. Otherwise, this is pretty much up to you — watch a movie, read a book, do a hobby, listen to some music, dance it out — whatever your heart desires!

Step Six: Unwind!

This step is just to ensure you’re completely relaxed before the end of the night, and ensuring you reap all the benefits of taking this night off for yourself. This can be done in any number of ways; you can meditate, stretch, listen to relaxing music, watch some relaxing ASMR — just be sure to end the night on a calming note to relieve any residual stress you may still be holding before bed.

Step Seven: Get Some Sleep!

For this final step, you’re going to go to bed early and get some rest. There’s no point in doing all this work to relax if you’re just going to wake up feeling exhausted tomorrow! On top of that, staying up late and pushing your body too hard makes it a lot easier to get sick, so as nice as it is to enjoy this time to yourself — get to bed early, rest up, and try to make time for yourself again soon.

And there you have it! Seven easy steps to the ultimate fall self-care night. I hope all of your October’s are going well so far, and you’re all out there working hard, achieving goals, taking care of yourselves and hopefully avoiding flu season! If not, I hope you get to put this list to good use soon.

Much love,

Meredith

Things To Do (Part Two!): Bangkok Edition!

Ross Kitchen, Bangkok

Hey y’all!

So, sadly, my time in South East Asia is coming to an end, making this the last entry in my South East Asia travel series. I hope you guys have all enjoyed reading the series as I’ve enjoyed writing it! I really hope that I’ve inspired some of you to go on adventures of your own, or hopefully take recommendations from my travels if you ever visit South East Asia in the future.

So, to end off our trip we returned to Bangkok for the last two days before our flight home. This time was a lot more eventful than the first time, since we’ve now adjusted to the time zone, weather and food, giving us waaaay more time to actually explore. That being said, we only had two days and were looking more to relax than explore for the remainder of our stay, so this entry is going to focus more on that since we didn’t see too much in terms of historical, cultural and religious attractions in Bangkok. (But hey, I guess that just gives us another reason to go back!)

So, without further ado, here’s my final travel journal (for now), an overview of my favourite things to do in Bangkok!

Go To Khao San Road!
Khao San Road, Bangkok

In terms of places to go out in Bangkok, Khao San Road is certainly one of the most popular. As a pedestrian only street, the road is full of people going out, having buckets, and blasting music! This place was an absolute blast and honestly none of my favourite nights out this whole trip. If you’re looking for a night out of the town, this place is a must-see.

Hit Up A Rooftop Bar!
Barracuda Rooftop Bar, Bangkok

Rooftop bars are officially my favourite thing. Especially in big cities like Bangkok and Hanoi, when you get an overlook of the whole city from above. Not only were the drink at this bar — named Barracuda — next level, but the views honestly just made the whole experience a 10/10. Rooftop bars are ALWAYS a good idea, but if you’re ever travelling to a big city, they’re just that much better.

Go Shopping!
Purchases From Bangkok

Okay, seriously, the shopping in Bangkok was insane. The mall we hit up had to be the biggest mall I’d ever witnessed in my whole life, and it’s far from being the only mall in Bangkok. Everywhere you look there’s opportunities to shop and get so many things that I, at least, probably would be hard pressed to find in Vancouver. I’ve heard all sorts of stories of people travelling to Bangkok JUST for the shopping, so if you ever find yourself in Bangkok, be sure not to miss out!

Get A Massage!
Massage Studio, Bangkok

If you’ve been to Thailand, you’ll know that everywhere you look there’s spas and massage spots. Even if you’ve never been, it’s fairly common knowledge that Thai massages are on a level of their own. Not only that, but no matter what your price range is, you’ll be able to find a place. For only 250 Baht (about $10.50 Canadian) I seriously had the best massage of my life. I’ve never had a Thai massage before, and it was so different from what I usually think of a massage as. There’s no oil (which was actually really nice for not feeling gross after), you’re fully clothed, and it’s certainly way more about stretching and pressure points than relaxing. I’ll admit it was a little borderline painful at moments, but MAN did I ever feel good after. I have chronic knots in my back due to back problems and stress, and I’ve seriously never had my back feeling that good in ages. It was amazing.

Go To Our Fave Restaurant, Ross Kitchen!
Ross Kitchen, Bangkok

For our last dinner abroad (sigh), Nylah and I decided to go to Ross Kitchen. We didn’t really know what to expect, but it was honestly one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The interesting catch — we didn’t really know what was in a lot of the food we were eating. Usually this would really bother me; I can be an adventurous eater but I’d like to know what it is that I’m eating. Honestly though, the food was so good we didn’t care. We didn’t even know the ingredients of our drinks, and they were some of the best I’ve ever had. If you’re in Bangkok and looking for a fancier night out, consider Ross Kitchen for sure. My dinner — Curried Kobe Beef Cheeks — was unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before. Seriously, I’m already dreaming of going back.

And, sadly, that wraps up my South East Asia travel series. This trip was some of the most exciting, crazy, and important weeks of my life and through all the ups and downs, it really was one of the best experiences of my life. I’m honestly not sure how to wrap up 5 weeks of this experience in a neat and tidy way — it’s far too overwhelming and impossible of a test to easily summarize the experiences I’ve had. All I can say is I know this trip will not be my last — now that I’ve really gotten a chance to go out and see the world on my own terms, I’ve just become that much more motivated to do it again. So the best I can say is stay tuned for the next trip, and let me know if you have any suggestions or were inspired by any of my posts! Honestly, nothing would make me happier than knowing I’ve inspired others to go out and see the world themselves, it really can be the most life-changing experience.

So, that’s all for now! Keep an eye out as I’ll be doing a summary of all my favourite places we visited for those looking for travel recommendations. But for now, it’s back to Vancouver life!

Thanks for reading!!! If you’re reading this now, just know I appreciate you 🙂

Love,

Meredith