My Birthday Celebration

Hello inter-web world! Late post, I know…I’ve been writing exams and studying for my anatomy quizzes *deep sigh*. Currently taking a little study break to finally get this blog post out!

I’ve been 25 years old for just over a week now. Do I feel different? Not really. Did I have a wonderful celebration? Yes, yes I did. I don’t want to boast or make this post seem like I am bragging; but, I initially wasn’t really keen on celebrating my 25th in any big fashion so having had such a grand and heartening celebration I was compelled to share all of the details.

The day of my birthday:

My parents surprised me with a giant bouquet of gorgeous pink roses and freshly made French macarons (they special ordered them from a local patisserie). I don’t think you guys know this about me yet…I adore macarons. Those little circular clouds of deliciousness are my favorite dessert of all time. They ordered 8 different flavors (passion fruit, strawberry-rose, pistachio, lemon, dark chocolate, matcha, coconut, and some combination of tropical fruit which I couldn’t place, but it was amazing). I ate all 8 of them in one day. I am not even ashamed. My parents also ordered my favorite dish from my favorite Greek restaurant – absolutely delectable.

My fiance and his father gifted me an essential oil nebulizer (also known as a diffuser) and essential oils from a company which is called Edens Garden. I’ve wanted these specific oils from this specific company for a long, long time. The company is cruelty free, run by women, and all of their oils are made fresh in small batches. The oils are pure, unadulterated and undiluted, they are also therapeutic grade. What’s more is that since the products are sold directly from the company they are very affordable. The cherry on top is that Edens Garden gives 10% of their profit to charity. I mean, if there is any company out there that deserves some recognition…this is it. I was ecstatic upon receiving my scent bundle. I have been using the oils and nebulizer every evening when I get home (and pretty much all day when I don’t have class). I have been sleeping 10x better thanks to the Stress Relief blend…it’s magical.

I don’t have photos for the following two things but I would also like to mention them: first are the really tasteful gifts from my fiance’s mom and step dad. They recently went on a trip around Europe, so they brought back tea and a little glass cat figure for me. I am so touched! Second is my best friend’s surprise visit to my house a few days after my birthday. She presented me with several thoughtful gifts and a very heartwarming card.

Here are some photos of the day:

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My stunning roses on a monstera leaf

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The macarons!

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This is the nebulizer – do you see the beehive shape?

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The first boxed set of oils – Mediation blend, Love blend, Aphrodisiac blend, Sunshine Spice Blend, Earth and Wood blend, and Simply Citrus blend.

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The second boxed set – Fighting Five blend, Breathe Easier blend, Stress Relief blend, Uplift blend, Immunity blend, and Head Ease blend.

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This was a gift I gave myself for my birthday (lol) – Serenity Now and Pink Flamingo tea from David’s Tea! My two current favorites.

The celebration didn’t stop there, though. The weekend after my birthday my parents took my fiance and I to the revolving restaurant in downtown Vancouver called Top of Vancouver. It was a breathtaking view and the food was superb!

Here is a little slideshow of the experience:

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If you give me good food, my loved ones, and a nice view…I am the happiest girl alive.

I’d like to end this post by saying a public thank you to my friends and family for making my 25th birthday an unforgettable experience! Thank you, everyone!

I truly felt on top of the world. Not only on my birthday, but all week and weekend long. I am beyond blessed to have had such an incredible celebration surrounded by my loved ones. It was absolutely magnificent!

Kitty Cat Treats + Update

I am always surprised that Bailey can eat the same cat food over and over and over again without getting sick of it. I would probably go a little mad if I had to eat the same food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…everyday. Then again, I’m not a feline…though some days their life does look appealing.

I try to buy the best cat food I can afford; however, the majority of the time I get Iams dry food and Pure Balance wet food or Fancy Feast. Lately, though, Bailey has been feeling a little unwell from the Pure Balance. I know it’s most likely just an incompatibility rather than the fault of the company, but I decided to take her off that brand. I changed the Pure Balance to the usual Fancy Feast and she is much happier with that.

That said, there is a PetCulture store which is closing down near my neck of the woods. When we saw their sign my fiance and I stumbled in to see what they have left. I actually found a great selection of toys and cat food on markdown. I purchased a banana shaped catnip toy, some healthy treats, and good quality canned food in a variety of flavors. Though I didn’t buy too many cans of the food since I was not sure how she’ll like it.

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The Trufood cat treats sound pretty great – healthy, tasty (I would imagine…I’m not about to taste test them), and packed with good ingredients. So, I don’t feel as guilty giving more than a few at a time haha. As for the banana toy, it’s impossible to take it away from her. I wish I had bought more cans but now that I know she likes them, I can just go to another pet store and pick it up for her.

On another note, a pretty exciting update about my life – I’m turning 25 this coming Monday (the 6th of June). A whole quarter of a century! Is there such a thing as a quarter life crisis? Haha. Anyway, the exciting thing is that on this birthday two big wishes are coming true (because it is considered a milestone in my culture). Number 1: my parents are taking me and my fiance to a restaurant called Top of Vancouver. It is a revolving restaurant that has panoramic windows allowing guests to see Vancouver, the coastal mountains and the ocean from 553 feet above ground. Talk about breathe-taking! Number 2: My fiance will be gifting me something I’ve been desiring and looking at for several years. I will not disclose what it is until it is given to me on my birthday so that I will have something to show you.

It is currently midterm season, so please excuse the lack of posts. I’ve been super swamped. Check back next week for my birthday celebration post!

Wishing you all a wonderful week and weekend ahead!

 

It’s Up To You.

I can confidently say that every one of us, at one point or another, has had a moment where we lost our motivation. Maybe that moment is right now. You spend your weekends working over-time at a job and someone else gets the promotion. You study for days to get an A on a final exam but your mark ends up being significantly lower. You spend hours at the gym but you don’t see the results you hoped for.

If you want to have something show up in your life, or become the kind of person you would like to become, or manifest something new and powerful into your life – whatever it might be, you must first be able to picture it. The attention you give to your goal (and striving for the feeling of progress and accomplishment) is what will propel you forward.

Your mind is what defines you – what makes you stand out. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive, the makeup you wear, what brand of clothing you wear, or if you eat quinoa salad at lunch. What matters is what your mind holds. If you fill your mind with the right material and the right thinking, you will be unstoppable.

Your mind is your greatest power. Your mind is the only thing that can never be taken away from you. You are not a victim of circumstance, you have the power to change your life at any given moment. Fear is your only enemy, fear is what holds you back from taking the steps you need to take. Maybe you failed before and are afraid of failing again, so now you take the easier road – a road where you don’t have to encounter the chances of failing. But, you see, that is where the growth begins – in every failure. It is incredibly difficult to surpass a person who never gives up. Be that person.

“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.”
Bethany Hamilton

You can keep doing the same things over and over and over again; and in five, ten, fifteen years, you will be at the same place where you are today. Or you can decide today, right now, to start climbing your way to the top of the mountain you keep looking at but are too fearful of climbing. If you make that choice, every day becomes a day where you climb higher and become stronger. Your fear will slowly dissipate with every achievement. Every night you will be able to look back on the day and know you did something good. And then you can sleep your night away with success as your lullaby.

Don’t invest in “things”, invest in yourself. If you want to become different, if you want to stand out against the rest, if you want to be unforgettable, you need to invest in your mind. You were created with a unique design, a unique purpose. You are designed to do what no one else can do and serve a purpose that no one else can serve. When you manifest that purpose, you truly become yourself. When you get to that point you will begin to see your individuality, your talent, your unique skill set, and you will begin to separate yourself from the masses. That’s how you get yourself to the top – it doesn’t matter if that top is getting an A in a class or being promoted to CEO. You begin to reveal your value and your uniqueness.

You can keep hitting the snooze button in life or you can choose to show up.

It will be hard. You will have to change some things in your life. You will have to change yourself. You will have to learn self discipline. You will encounter problems and obstacles; but if you are dedicated, you will learn from all the negative things in your life. You will learn from every failure and disappointment. When you reach the top of that mountain you have been climbing, you will look at yourself in the mirror and be so proud and happy that you didn’t give up. You are the only problem you will ever have. You are also the only solution you will ever have. It’s up to you. When you realize you are the only one who has control of your life you automatically give yourself all the power. No one else holds the power over you. Just you. The sooner you come to realize that, the sooner you can begin to reinvent yourself.

New Finds

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Phew. I am finally through with my exams. Hello world!

I know that I don’t normally write posts like the one today but, I was combing through products I have used up and decided to go on a hunt for the new items I needed. Okay, okay, most items I needed, others I simply wanted – no judging. Every few months I do a cleansing of things I own followed by a shopping trip to restock my essential day to day products. So, I would like to share those finds with you guys because think it would be unfair to keep such good product discoveries to myself hehe.

If you remember, I wrote a post about taking better care of my skin. In that same post I had mentioned I was trying to go with more natural products, which is surprisingly hard to do on a budget…or so I thought. If you live in Canada, you know of a store called Winners. If you are in the US, the stores comparable to Winners would be Marshalls or TJ Maxx. I actually really enjoy stores like Winners because you can find high-end brands for a very good price.

I have a Winners in my neighborhood but, for as long as I can remember, the store has been a mess. Not only is it a literal mess, the selection has always been hit or miss at this specific location. Some people tend to open products (and from what I’ve noticed it’s usually the better brands of which there is only one darn container left) and put them back on the shelf. Uh, hello? I am not buying an open and used item. Gross- no thanks. To the people who open products (such as face creams, body lotions, bath items, or hair products): Would you buy an item someone’s dirty little fingers were dipped into? No. Stop it.

Little rant aside, there is a new Winners location which opened up relatively close to my area. It is a clean, well-kept store and the selection is great! I hope it stays that way because it has been my holy grail for product finds. I have found products from brands which I know are really good quality, plus they sell everything for a fraction of the original cost. Great for the bank account and great quality? Yes, please. Here’s what I ended up purchasing:

  • Out of Africa Lip Balm in the peppermint scent/flavor. It is 100% natural, free of any harsh chemicals, and it is cruelty free. I just ran out of my Blistex Lip Medex balm and this one looked interesting. I really like how it has been working for me so far. I think Blistex is really great as a heavier overnight healing treatment, but this new lip balm is better for bringing in my bag and applying during the day.
  • Argan Oil dry shampoo in the original formula. I cannot find it online, so there is no link. However, it smells great, it works, it doesn’t leave my hair with a layer of white dust like other dry shampoos tend to do, and it isn’t tested on animals. I like it. Sometimes I have no time for washing and styling my hair in the morning making this product a game-changer.
  • Sleep & Unwind essential oil by Olivia Care. I found the website, but there is no such oil on the site for some reason. Anyway, this oil is fabulous – we all know that I can use some extra help with sleep lately. It has a blend of soothing scents such as lavender, eucalyptus, and camphor. I use it in my bath water with some bubbles, however, it says it is safe for dabbing onto your pillow and for massages.
  • Skinfood New Zealand Light Moisturizer Oh my goodness. I have been hunting for New Zealand products ever since I heard of their quality and affordability. This moisturizer is not only free of terrible additives, it is also full of incredible ingredients: Peach oil, Manuka Honey, Avocado Oil, Elderberry, Marshmallow Extract and Sweet Orange Oil. My skin sucked this moisturizer up in seconds. I love it.
  • Skinfood Mud Masque Say hello to another amazing product. I used this while taking my bath and it left my face feeling airbrushed. No joke. This product is also totally shareable with your significant other. I have sensitive skin and finding a mask that doesn’t irritate my skin has always been a struggle for me, but I found a keeper. This mask contains: Rotorua Mud, Jojoba Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Spirulina, Lavender Oil.
  • By Nature Firming Eye Serum Yet another New Zealand gem. I’m getting to that age where keeping the eye area well hydrated and looked after is really important, so I decided to give this one a go. It contains: Organic Rosehip Oil, Argan Oil and Collagen. I just tried it today and it does melt right into the skin (a little goes a long way) and it does make my eyes feel better. It’s all natural and, again, cruelty free. Lovely product.
  • By Nature Replenishing Face Serum This smells great, it feels great, it leaves my skin visibly glowy and well hydrated. Finding something that is vitamin rich, moisturizing, and light enough to have to soak into my skin almost immediately is really hard (especially if I am looking for all natural products). Like the eye serum this has organic rosehip oil, collagen, and argan oil, but it also has aloe vera. I am very pleased with this product.
  • Dead Sea Elements Facial Wipes – sorry, no link again. I needed some new cleansing towelettes (super convenient for travel). I have never tried this brand before but the package claims these wipes are enriched with dead sea minerals. I do like how they make my face feel and they smell nice.
  • W7 Eye Shadow Palettes in the shades called In The Buff and In The Night: Up In Smoke. Both shadow palettes are super. I’ve been searching for an eye shadow palette and have heard of the W7 brand from England being a great dupe for the higher-end shadow palettes. It is really hard to find the W7 brand here in Canada (at least around my area) but I am glad I came across these two palettes (and for a darn good price). So far, I am very impressed. Thanks, Winners…haha!

What I love about all of the items I mentioned is that they are all cruelty free, organic, and sourced from nature (with the exception of the eye shadow). If you’re anything like me in terms of looking for wholesome products, I highly recommend you try some of these.

I am certain that I will be doing a good chunk of my skin care and bath/shower shopping at that Winners from now on. I’m impressed by the variety of great brands and, of course, the price point. Plus, I have come across several hard-to-find brands at the new location. I think my next trip will be a bath/shower run because I am running low on bubble bath ( a girl needs her bubbles).

Thanks for reading and hope you all have a lovely week!

Hello March!

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Hello everyone! As I sit here, writing and sipping on my tea, outside does not look happy – the rain is crashing against my window and the wind is blowing something crazy. On a brighter note: it’s the first of March and you know what that means, right? Spring is coming! As Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently put: “The earth laughs in flowers”. I love seeing all of the flowers in full bloom. Though, as much as I love the flowers and springtime, I love summer even more. Why? Here is my list of what I look forward to this summer:

  1. Sunshine – okay, the West Coast is gorgeous. We have the mountains, the forests, the lakes, the ocean. However, it rains…a lot. To be frank, I am a bit tired of the rain and grey skies, which is why sunshine is the number one thing on my list. Waking up and it actually looking like morning is kinda nice, too.
  2. Adventures – there is no time like summer time for adventures.
  3. Cookouts & BBQs – Burgers, grilled meats/seafood, veggies, and grilled pineapples with ice cream on top. Cornbread, pies, and sweet tea…yes, please!
  4. The clothes & shoes – If you’re a person who is perpetually warm, you may not really feel me on this one. I get cold rather easily, so, during all the other seasons, I generally layer my clothing. In the summer, however, I can wear my favorite clothing items without hiding them under other clothing items (and wear things I normally wouldn’t wear during other seasons). Makes sense? I hope so. As for the shoes, I can wear flats and not worry about soaking my feet in a puddle; I can wear heels and not worry about them getting muddy; plus, my feet don’t have to be trapped in boots or sneakers, meaning my toes and be free in a pair of flip-flops.
  5. Swimming & lounging – Lounging in the sun after swimming in the lake/pool/any body of water.
  6. Fruit – I absolutely love fruit! I consume fruits like a hoover while they last. Those juicy mangoes and watermelons and peaches and pineapples *salivating* – I like pulling up to the farmer’s market and grabbing all kinds of delicious summer treats.
  7. Camping and warm nights – Close your eyes. Can you hear the crackling of the wood, too? Bonfires on a warm summer night are magical. Spending time in nature, roasting marshmallows, chatting around the fire. Sign me up!
  8. Ice cream & cold treats – well, here’s a no-brainer. With summer comes all kinds of ice cream, frozen drinks, and iced teas.
  9. Amusement parks – I haven’t been to a proper amusement park in ages, but I gotta get to one this summer.
  10. Fresh cut grass – I really enjoy the smell of it.
  11. Markets and fairs – I think going to a local market and/or fair is one of the most fun things to do in the summer.
  12. Wedding planning – last, but certainly not least, is planning the wedding. I am very excited for this process and it will be so incredible to finally have my fiance back home with me!

This list could potentially become very long, so I will cap it off at twelve points of why summer is the season I love and look forward to. There shall be many summer-themed posts coming up.

To wrap up today’s post, I’d like to share some recipes with you which are perfect for welcoming spring – some small nibbles along with a sweet indulgence at the end. I find that instead of eating one large plate of food in the spring and summer months, I like to tantalize my taste buds (and give my stomach a rest after the hearty winter food) with a few well thought-out complimentary bites.

 

Spring onion flatbreads:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 170g spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 215g plain all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • oil for pan-frying
  1. Head an oiled frying pan on medium heat. Add green onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, or until soft
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Add your onion/garlic mixture to the bowl, then add cilantro. Gradually stir in 250 ml of boiling water. Stop adding water when you notice a loose dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  3.  After the dough has rested, rip off walnut-sized pieces of the dough and roll out into 20 thin ovals.
  4. Fill a frying pan with 2 cm of oil and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the breads two or three at a time for about 30 seconds on each side, or until golden and crisp.
  5. Drain on paper towels and serve with tzatziki (recipe follows)

Tzatziki

  • 1 Lebanese (short) cucumber
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 250 g plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped mint
  1. Finely grate the cucumber and squeeze out all the excess moisture. Transfer the cucumber to a bowl; then add yogurt, vinegar, dill, mint, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix it all together to make sure ingredients are well combined. Serve with spring onion flatbreads.

Grilled lime prawns

  • 48 raw king prawns (peeled and deveined)
  • 125 ml fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 6 tinned sugar canes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • salt and black pepper
  1. In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, basil, garlic, ginger, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Next, toss in your prawns and make sure they are well coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the fridge; let the prawns marinate for about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the sugar canes into 1/4 inch thick strips that are about 4 inches in length. Thread two prawns per sugar cane stick. You can make small cuts in the prawns to help the threading process.
  3. Cook prawns on a hot griddle (or BBQ) for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked through. Serve with lime wedges.

Salt and pepper squid:

  • 1 kg small squid tubes
  • 250 ml (1 cup) lemon juice
  • 250 g (2 cups) cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons white pepper (ground)
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 4 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • oil for frying
  1. Wash and pat dry the squid tubes, then cut them into thin rings. Put the rings in a flat dish (not metallic) and pour the lemon juice over the top. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry again.
  2. Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper, and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Fill a deep heavy-based saucepan 1/3 third full of oil and heat to 350 C, or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns within 15 seconds.
  4. Dip the squid into the egg white and then into the cornstarch mixture. Shake off excess.
  5. Gently drop the squid into the oil in small batches. Deep-fry for about 1-2 minutes, or until golden. Serve right away.

*dip into tzatziki!*

Fig and mascarpone tart:

For the pastry:

  • 175g (1.5 sticks) of softened butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 250g (2 cups) all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 50g white chocolate, melted
  • 250g (1 cup) mascarpone
  • 18-20 fresh, ripe figs
  • 6 tablespoons apricot jam, strained

*an 8-inch tart pan*

  1. Preheat oven to 350 C. Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg yolk and stir until well combined.
  2. Fold in the flour and bring the mixture together to form a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave to rest in a cool place for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll out the dough and line the tart pan with it. There should be pastry left over, you can freeze them and use again later.
  4. Bake the pastry  case for about 10 minutes or so, or until lightly golden and firm. Let it cool.
  5. Brush the base of the tart with melted white chocolate and let it set. Meanwhile, beat mascarpone for a minute or two, until smooth and light. Spoon the mascarpone onto the tart and spread it out in an even layer.
  6. Quarter the figs and arrange them vertically in the mascarpone, place them close together in concentric circles until the there are no gaps in the tart.
  7. Place the jam in a small saucepan and add 1 tablespoon of water. Heat on low heat, stirring until smooth and warmed through. Remove from heat and gently brush figs to give them a nice shiny glaze.
  8. Serve with your choice of beverage (mine, of course, is tea).

I hope you try the recipes – they are worth the effort!

[Also, my apologies for the post going up so late in the day. My desktop computer died on me today and it took a while to identify the issue. I do have my laptop but my desktop is now out of order for a while.]

+Update: I’ve finished my journal/sketchbook decorating, along with the box. Decided to add them into this post as they are rather summery and fun. Also, I bought a new sketchbook/journal that has sturdier pages as well as binding (my other one was not as durable as I’d like). The box (left) came wrapped in canvas, I just added everything else you see on it. However, to match that, I bought canvas sheets and wrapped the journal myself. Here they are 🙂

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Have a great week, everyone!

 

Earth’s Intelligence

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Hello people of the net! Hope everyone is having a good weekend! On the west coast of Canada, we get to enjoy a long weekend – our work week will begin on Tuesday.

In other news…

I’ve recent become a little bit more conscious of what I put into my body and what I put on my skin…and let me tell you, the changes are really noticeable. I started using more natural ingredients for skin care and now switched to a natural deodorant (without aluminum because the other ones have been causing me irritation – too much info? haha). I feel better…I notice the difference. Maybe the difference is partially from feeling good about what products I use, nonetheless, I’m happy. I have also been able to find really good bargains on the natural brands, so it hasn’t cost me more than the other products I’ve replaced, which is fantastic. I still do use my Victoria’s Secret Coconut Milk body butter because I just adore the smell and the way it makes my skin feel; but, I also use a 100% natural body lotion from a German brand called Lavera and I really like it. I am not really going to go bananas and start switching out everything for organic and 100% naturally derived ingredients for several reasons (read below). Right now, I am just a little more conscious of trying to do good things for my body and take care of my skin. We only get one vessel to reside in haha. The better we take care of it, the better it serves us. Right? Right. I also try to pay attention to the cruelty free products and I believe in preserving our planet. That said, let’s get into some of my new products:

Current Natural Products I am Into

Burt’s Bees Rose Toner – This toner feels incredible and it smells divine. After using it for just a few days my skin looks better and feels cleaner. This is a keeper.

Burt’s Bees Pink Grapefruit Facial Cleansing Wipes – Again, this stuff smells delicious. It feels super refreshing and it removes makeup in a snap. If I am not wearing makeup, I still like to use these wipes after washing my face. They’re awesome.

Burt’s Bees Herbal Blemish Stick with Tea Tree Oil – I don’t dislike the scent, it just smells like fennel and a hint of something else (I assume it is the tea tree). However, this thing is now a permanent staple in my skin care routine. If I see a blemish on my face, I pop a bit of this stuff on it and in the morning it’s as good as gone. I hope they never discontinue this product. This is my holy grail.

Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer (with SPF 30) – I really like the fact that this product contains natural ingredients (though not 100%) and it also contains SPF, which is just wonderful. It doesn’t feel greasy or heavy and doesn’t cause any breakouts. Overall, this is a really great product, even for my sensitive skin.

Lavera Orange & Sea Buckthorn Body Lotion – This lotion is cruelty free, organic, all natural, and it smells like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. If you don’t know what that is I will say this: the lotion smells like fresh oranges and a hint of dark chocolate. Besides its glorious scent, I find that the lotion absorbs easily and keeps my skin hydrated. I can’t say enough good things about it. Definitely not an easy brand to find, but this was given to me by my dad as part of a gift and I am very, very pleased with it.

The Green Beaver Company Natural Deodorant in Lavender – I genuinely adore the scent of lavender, so that’s already a win in my books. I bought this because aluminum is not a good ingredient and my other deodorant made my skin irritated. So far, the deodorant is great. I will say the staying power is a bit weaker than those laced with aluminum, but I don’t mind reapplying it at some point in the day if needed – especially if it means a cleaner and better product. It’s also purely Canadian! Yay!

Organic/All Natural Food Items I’m Into

Blue Monkey Dark Chocolate Coconut Chips – uuumm…need I say more? This is like dessert in a bag and it’s good for you! Yes.

The Tea Room Fusion Chocolate Bar – Specifically the 60% dark chocolate bar with raspberry rooibos tea. This chocolate bar is delectable and unique. I want try a lot more of their flavors.

Madame Flavour Tea – I bought this tea on a whim one day after a tough exam. Oh, was it ever a good decision. I now have the Romantic White with Rose, Delicate Green Jasmine & Pear, and Cheerful Raspberry Hibiscus Tisane. I can’t decide which one I like the most out of those three, they are all delightful. The only unfortunate thing is that I have yet to find it anywhere except the one store I originally bought it at…I really hope they continue to stock it!

Olympic Organic Balkan Style Plain Probiotic Yogurt – Creamy, flavorful, & great for you. I eat it in the morning and as a late-night snack with a bit of honey and/or fruits and nuts. It’s perfect.

We may be clever, inventive, and adaptive beings. That said, nature is intelligent, too. The more I read about the benefits of different herbs, fruits, vegetables, and plants, the more I want to utilize them. For example, my very good friend is kindly giving me a bottle of Eucalyptus oil and I am going to make it into natural products. Eucalyptus oil has great benefits such as: odor elimination, air freshening, antiviral properties, respiratory aid (such as when sick with a cold/flu or if you suffer from allergies or asthma), it’s calming and can help alleviate a headache, it is anti-microbial (you can spray your bedding by combining water mixed with a few drops of eucalyptus oil), and the list goes on. My mom also has a tangerine oil which I will use for its many great properties – one of which is its sedative/soothing effect (great to use for sleep troubles).

As I mentioned above, I am not going to be going bananas. One of the main reasons I won’t be switching fully to all natural and organic products is the price point of most things. I would love to be able to afford only buying food from organic farmers and only buying organic and natural products in general. That said, I do hope that I can at least make the full dietary switch one day. Another reason I won’t make the bigger switch is because, as much as I hate to say it, a large portion of natural home care, health and self-care products aren’t as effective for certain purposes; sometimes we need the other chemicals. Those products that do work well are, again, pretty pricey. It is also difficult to track down the good products in stores because some stores sell it, others don’t. That last statement wouldn’t stop me but, combined with what I said before that, it’s just another reason that I am not making big lifestyle changes in that realm.

Yes, what you put in your body and on your skin must be of respectable quality, but there are wonderful products that aren’t 100% natural. Of course I prefer to use cruelty free, I prefer organic, I prefer nature’s bare ingredients, and I do my best to use products like that. However, I believe that a healthy balance is the important thing – if there needs to be synthetic chemicals or harsh chemicals in a certain product for it to do its job, then that’s what I will use. At the end of the day, I will always gravitate to things that are as close to nature as possible because I believe the earth is super intelligent; what I mean by that is you can find something for almost any need just by knowing what to look for. So, in today’s world, I believe there needs to be a good balance of utilizing what we have created and what nature has to offer – which is what I am trying to accomplish. The other very important bit is not harming the world. I believe in taking care of earth. We have just this one planet to call home (even with all the Mars advances), I think it’s super important that we look after it with care. 🙂

breathe

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Bought a Journal.

 

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Hey everyone! I have been experiencing some internet troubles the past few days, hence the late post. It’s very irritating and I don’t know the cause of it (maintenance?). Anyway, on to today’s post:

In a previous post I wrote about my new year “resolutions” and in that post I spoke about Saturday being my day to unwind/de-stress. Since I was in high school, I have really enjoyed keeping journals. Oddly enough, as years went by, I forgot about the journals and have not written in them, nor started any new ones. However, I’ve recently become inspired to start again. I feel very excited about this because I believed I have reached a stage in my life where everything exciting in beginning to happen. I think that eventually it will be very heartwarming to look back on the documented memories. Journaling and writing letters is an ancient tradition, of course it has taken on many forms over the course of time, but one thing I know for sure is that keeping a journal is good for mental health (bonus: it’s fun).

Over the span of two days, I have acquired a sketchbook and a journal. The sketchbook will be transformed into a scrapbook journal, for documenting events/fun memories/trips and the like. While the other will be used for daily journaling – musings, general thoughts, etc. I also bought a nice box (which is wrapped in very pretty canvas) to store my scrapbook and journal supplies.

Non-digital photo albums are on their way out, which is unfortunate. I personally really enjoy having printed photos. Digital devices can break or you can accidentally delete something – many things can happen to digital copies of your memories; but physical prints (if kept well) can last for a very, very long time. I still use Costco’s photo printing service! Books and photos to me don’t feel the same if they are digital. Sure, the convenience of an online textbook is fantastic, but if I were to sit down and read a book for leisure, you can be sure that it will be a physical copy. As for photos, I have a lot of photos that I keep on my phone or computer as digital, because they aren’t all that meaningful. The photos I like to print are ones that are of memorable moments and have emotions attached to them, which is why my scrapbook journal will be the perfect place to keep those meaningful photos and events in a unique and fun form. Very excited!

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This is my daily journal.

sketchbook

This is my scrapbook journal – the cover will be decorated, of course.

 

These are my two new journals! My daily journal says Happy Everything on the front of it, which I find to be an extremely uplifting reminder to smile. The scrapbook is just a regular, large sketchbook which I will vamp up. Once I have completed the set-up and acquired everything I desire, I will post updated pictures of all of my supplies along with my decorated box and scrapbook journal.

 

 

 

I am now off to kick-start my daily journaling and then off to slumber land! Have a good week, everyone.

P.S. I will be back again before next Tuesday with a new post, so check back soon 🙂

P.P.S. Here is a recipe for a good drink – I like to drink this on cool, dreary days as I write or do homework.

Coconut Hot Chocolate

What Goes in it:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 14 – ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 14 – ounce can sweetened condensed milk (2/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream

How to Make It:

Step 1: In a medium saucepan combine your milk, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Whisk it all together. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Whisk in cocoa powder until it is well incorporated.

Step 2: Keep on medium-low heat for a minute more after adding the cocoa powder, stir often. Then remove from heat and whisk in the pure vanilla extract. Serve in large mugs with whipped cream.

*To make this a dairy-free option, skip the whipped cream and replace the 3 cups of milk with almond milk or coconut milk*

Trust me, if it is cold and grey outside, this drink will make you feel ten times better.