My 2017 Canadian-Made Wishlist

With the holidays just around the corner I’ve compiled a list of my favourite Canadian brands to support this yuletide season. This post is not sponsored or affiliated with any of the brands I speak about below. None of these links are affiliate links and all opinions are 100% my own.

I love to support small businesses and local businesses. Most of these brands I have worked with in the past, and have relationships with their owners, but not all. I genuinely love these products and believe in these companies. I cannot wait to see what these companies come up and out with in 2018!

Local to Vancouver

Bare Skin Bar

I am actually obsessed with these bath bombs, and I promise you I’m not just saying that because I have a giant crush on Cynthia, the owner of this company. These are incredible products made locally in Vancouver by an incredible woman. They’re made with completely Canadian-sourced materials and are made with real ingredients. They don’t have gross, artificial smells, and you won’t find any glitter in these. They do exactly what you want a bath bomb to do, smell amazing and make you skin feel soft AF.

Rocco Wear

I have LOVED Rocco Wear for years! I personally own two of her scarves and a blanket, and have gifted my friends with these scarves in the past. Another amazing woman runs this company and makes everything she sells by hand in her home. The kind of quality you can only expect from handmade knitwear.

REDAVID Hair Care

You guys already know how I feel about REDAVID – but if you missed here, see my full review here. I highly recommend the Orchid Oil line to everyone, especially those with chemically treated hair. I like to put my hair through a lot, so I will continue to reach for my Orchid Oil products.

Elsewhere in Canada

Sewn Designs

Listen, I hate bras. I hate them. But I also have nipples and tend to obey society’s rules and expectations from time to time so I wear bras. I love the Sewn Bralettes because they are comfortable and super cute. I’ve found myself looking for more clothing to buy to better show off my Sewn Bralette. They’re handmade in Calgary and are such high quality.

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Clean Natural Life

Raise your hand if you love essential oils! Yes! Me too! Clean Natural Life sells 100% pure oils, unlike many essential oils out there (seriously, do you research about certain cult favourites – you’d be surprised). This company is run out of Calgary by yet another incredible woman – except this woman is someone I’ve known for over half my life. She sells her products at a fraction of the cost you would find them elsewhere at the same (or better) quality depending on where you shop.

Basd Body Care

Again, this is a company I have written an in depth review on, find it here. I still love this product, especially as the winter has come in I am consistently looking for any product that moisturizes my skin and Basd always comes through for me.

Ask Yo Mother

Ask Yo Mother is a new company to me, but I have been obsessed with their banners. I recently won one at the Gatley opening party and it is quickly becoming my favourite piece. They have a banner for every home, mood and occasion! Anyone would be thrilled to receive one of these this holiday season – they’re just so CUTE.

Reasons I “Ghost” Men on the Internet

Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried online dating! I know I have and let me tell you – it’s terrible.

Many women I’ve talked to have expressed that they tend to lean towards just ghosting men who they don’t feel a connection with and in my past I have taken this option as well. They’ve explained to me that many times when they were upfront about their feelings, the person on the other end didn’t handle it well, they got angry and defensive. I had never tried it, but I figured that was because I hadn’t been in that position for years.

Recently, I decided that maybe I was too mature now to continue ghosting men, and that I should treat them with respect and be honest and upfront with them. Let me tell you exactly how that played out.

He. Went. Off. I was reprimanded for being the 12th in a row, I was reprimanded for my demanding schedule and I was reprimanded for not “giving him a chance”. Let me be very clear: you do not owe ANYONE a chance. If you’re not feeling it, you’re not feeling it and that’s your prerogative. I want my nieces to know that it’s always okay to say no, and not be afraid of it backfiring. I want to live in a world where we can all just be respectful to one another. I want to live in a world where the word “No” is respected and isn’t seen as a word that’s up for debate. Because it’s not, and I’m tired of it being so difficult for people to understand that “No means no”.

How to Have your Best Birthday Yet

It was my 24th birthday this weekend, and while it may not have been the perfect birthday weekend – it was the best birthday I’ve had in years.

I went into it this year with no plans and a not giving a f*** attitude and I wouldn’t change a thing. Here’s what I learned about having the best birthday ever.

1. You have to make your birthday great.

You can’t depend on anyone else to make the day special. Those who love you will absolutely add to the specialness of your birthday, but no one knows what you want better than you do. I bought myself balloons and played the day almost entirely by ear, but it was full of all the things and people that make my heart smile.

2. Keep realistic expectations.

If you go into birthday season like I always have expecting it to be a non-stop party and love shower, you’re going to be let down. Do what you want, when you want but don’t expect it to be anymore than you can actually orchestrate. I kept it simple this year with a brunch, some shopping, a gluten-free bakery trip and dinner with some solid people.

3. Spend it with people you actually like.

Don’t throw a huge rager with strangers you don’t know and people you don’t like. Even it means having brunch with your two best gals and then spending the rest of the day with family or your favourite colleagues, do it. It’s your birthday and you’re allowed to be selfish.

 

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Brunch at Earl’s Test Kitchen in Vancouver, BC – they have so many yummy GF options (not the waffles though)

 

Review – Celebrity Facial at The Skin Girls

First off, I want to start by saying thank you to Jen at The Skin Girls in Vancouver. They treated me to the Celebrity Facial which was such a luxurious and relaxing experience.

 

As soon as I walked in my jaw dropped by how beautifully designed their waiting area was. I filled out a consent form where I alerted them of my gluten allergy, and everything was just easy regarding that.

Once we got into the room they put this futuristic light mask on me. Generally it includes red light as well as blue light. The red light is for anti-aging, which thankfully I don’t need quite yet. Jen opted to just use the blue light on me, which kills acne-causing bacteria – which lord knows I need.

After the light mask was on for about 15 minutes we continued with the rest of the facial. After performing microdermabrasion on my face, which removed all the dead skin cells, Jen used a three-step program on me. The three steps included an activator which helps products permeate the skin, a detoxifier and an oxygenator which helps generate collagen as well and promotes circulation.

After the facial was over, Jen let me look at my microdermabrasion filter, which I was thrilled about because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing all the gunk that comes out of your face. It was disgusting and I loved it.

I left The Skin Girls glowing and feeling like I had a brand new face. I stayed super hydrated all day. I wish I could do this all the time, because no matter how hard I try – I cannot achieve this at home.

I’m super not prepared ever – so I don’t have any before photos, but I do have a couple snaps of my glowy AF skin after. In short, would totally recommend this facial if you’re looking to treat yourself and really love your skin.

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Immediately after the Celebrity Facial at The Skin Girls
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Later that night

 

#metoo – A Recovered Legal Assistant’s Experience with Sexual Harassment

As the “Me too” movement continues to go viral, I felt the need to share something that has effected me and countless others. I spent three years working for law firms. Which is a short time in comparison to most assistants. I briefly spoke on my Instagram about how one of the reasons I felt inclined to change careers was because of how common sexual harassment is in the legal industry.

I desperately wanted to work somewhere where I never felt like an object. I wanted to work somewhere where my looks were never commented on, or attempted to be capitalized on. I am exhausted from playing the game. From laughing and shrugging it off when a man who has power over me comments on my body. I hate knowing that I couldn’t press charges if I wanted to because I’m in no position to sue a lawyer. I’m tired of HR either being a joke, or being easy on the professionals because they bill a lot of time.

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I know the game. I know to laugh innocently when they talk about all the disgusting things they want to do to women, I know it’s better to keep my mouth shut. I know about the assistants who have gotten involved with their lawyers, and lost their jobs because of it. While the lawyers keep their jobs and continue to move up in the field. This is normal, this is commonplace.

Your rape jokes aren’t funny. They trigger my PTSD as a sexual assault survivor. Yes, I want and deserve a raise, but not because of anything my body does or doesn’t do. It’s not worth it, and something needs to change. Firms and HR departments need to stop ignoring this problem and need to start addressing it head on. The industry as a whole must cultivate an environment where we feel safe to speak out instead of intimidating us. We’ve been silenced for too long.

Have you experienced this culture in your workplace? Sound off in the comments below.

Review – basd Body Care

I was lucky enough to stumble across this gluten-free, plant based, Canadian brand. basd Body Care is run out of Guelph, Ontario, but their products are made in Vancouver, BC. basd prides themselves on being cruelty free, paraben free and non-gmo as well. All the good things that you can feel good about putting on your body.

They come in two scents: Invigorating Mint and Indulgent Creme Brulee. In hindsight, I should have ordered the mint, as it’s more my type of scent – but alas I ordered Creme Brulee because I preferred the colour of the packaging.

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Now, hear me out – I hate sweet scents, they give my headaches and make me super nauseous. BUT this scent doesn’t do that to me. It also doesn’t give me a rash like many lotions and body washes do.

The soap and lotion aren’t what I’m super excited to tell you about, though. What I am excited about is the coffee scrub.

I’ve been meaning to try a coffee scrub for years, I knew it would be easy to make one or buy one – but I just never got around to it. I knew to expect excellent physical exfoliation, but what I didn’t expect was the way the oils from the coffee would make my skin feel. The creme brulee smell mixed with the coffee was also heavenly – I smelled like a toffee nut latte.

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I love that this line is gluten free though, it’s amazing what a piece of mind it gives you to know that a product won’t break you out, burn or make your skin itchy. It feels so good to use all natural products and not think twice about the ingredients that you’re putting all over your body. My skin feels soft and I smell really good.

Note: These products were provided to me by basd body care, but all opinions are my own.

The Issue with the Hustle

Hustling is never seeing your family, it’s coming home to a dark quiet house in the middle of the night and microwaving leftovers for dinner. It’s binge eating after dinner because there wasn’t enough time in the day to eat a substantial meal. It’s missing your loved ones even if they’re 5 minutes away, because you “just don’t have time”.

Hustling is unhealthy. It’s anxiety riddled, lonely and comes with very unhealthy eating habits. Eating cheesies for breakfast is fine if it’s by choice, but when you only ate cheesies for a day because you didn’t have time to get anything else, it’s an issue.

I get that sometimes we all have to hustle. Sometimes things have to give, and sometimes it’s worth it. I really, truly hustle a couple times a year and it always takes months for me to recover from. I try my best to practice self-care during these times and that usually means I slap on a face mask twice a week and believe that’s good enough. But it’s not, I know that. The hustler lifestyle isn’t sustainable, and we, as a society, need to stop glorifying it.

Meghan Does Self-Care – Why Perfectionism is for Suckers

Welcome to the first part of a (hopefully) ongoing collaboration with my soul-sister, Meghan. I talk a lot about having an amazing tribe of women who support each other and my girl, M is a prime example of this. Yesterday I messaged my best friends and begged them to write something to post this morning because I just couldn’t bring myself to do it this week. So thank you, ladies for being my rock.

Keep reading below to get a good glimpse of one of the many reasons I love Meghan.


Perfectionism – it’s that thing you claim to have in your job interviews that makes you seem like a real catch. It’s (part of) the reason I spent a couple of years starving myself in pursuit of some imaginary ideal. I didn’t believe I deserved love, or friendship, or happiness, until I hit some inane moving target. It’s also the reason I find myself tearing up on a rainy Wednesday afternoon, convinced I’ve failed* the Intermediate Accounting exam I’ve just written (*read: got a B+). It’s the end of a tumultuous week, full of group projects, exams, work, and a bout of the flu.

Instead of patting myself on the back for getting everything done on time, I’m on the bus reliving every hour I wasted over the past seven days – and there were a lot. I’m trying to do better. Not in school, but in the way that I treat myself. Recognizing that I am a human being, and that I have limitations. Setting reasonable expectations. Taking bubble baths instead of studying when I need to. Talking to myself with the kindness and understanding I seem to find for everyone else. Perfectionism – it’s exhausting, and debilitating.

My sister texts me, “You will survive if you get a B ;)” and it’s true. A B+ is good enough. Doing my best is good enough. And me? I’m definitely good enough.

Meghan doesn’t have her own blog (yet), but check her out on instagram!

Things I’m Thankful for

This past weekend was Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, and I spent the weekend with colleagues, friends and family. The past few months have been a whirlwind, so it was nice to reflect back and think of all the things I’m thankful for this year.

1. My home

I’m so blessed and happy to be back in Vancouver, as I’ve made abundantly clear as of late. Not only that, I am thankful to live in Canada. I am thankful for my country, my province and my city.

2. My family

I’m thankful for family that loves and supports me, I’m thankful for their health. I’m thankful that I can still call members of my family and tell them about all the happenings of my life.

3. My friends

The family I chose. The sisters I wasn’t born with. My tribe. My squad. All my goals rolled into one. I’m so blessed to be surrounded by so many strong women, who I know love and support me and who know I love and support them.

4. My freedom

This year I walked away from an industry that I poured my soul in to. This year I moved across the country. Twice. I’m free to do these things. I have the most amazing support network to help me navigate me through all the craziness that’s happening. I’m so so so grateful for this freedom this year.

5. All of you

My followers and subscribers. You have given me the outlet to share my true self with the world, to post about my life and to try to inspire people. Words cannot express how thankful I am for every single one of you. Every one who reads, likes, comments, or follows along with my crazy path. It means the world to me, truly. Thank you for allowing me to express myself and pursue my passion. I’ll never take this for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy harvest. I love you all so much.

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Brett Alton Photography

I Want to do Something Meaningful

I want to work hard for something I believe in. I do, though. Every day I work my butt off for things I believe in. I blog about things that I feel like matter, I work on campaigns that run on causes I care about and I wake up every morning and remind myself that money doesn’t buy happiness.

It’s hard sometimes though, as I know that I can easily fall back into my old ways, collect a paycheque I can live off of comfortably and repeatedly slam my head into a spacious L-shaped desk. I can go back and plant myself in an ergonomic chair that will have been specifically adjusted for my posture and also have great extended health benefits. In exchange all I would have to do is give up on my dreams, swallow my pride and admit that all the work I’ve done to change my life was for nothing.

The catered lunches aren’t worth it though, neither is view from the top of the financial district. I will happily go the next 5 years of my life without a fancy steak dinner. I don’t want to push papers for large corporations and constantly be reminded that I am a have not. I want to work with and for my community. I want to help people and fight for real change. I want to work with other strong women and inspire people everywhere. I want to show people that you can leave your “noble” job and actually, truly thrive.

I could retire one day, and live out my final years finally pursuing my dream, or I can struggle and put the time in now, while I’m young, and spend my entire life pursuing my dreams. I might not retire, but if I’m successful in building my perfect life, would I even want to?