Back-to-School Supplies For College

Hey guys! Today’s post is inspired by my brother. He was doing some back-to-school shopping and was asking for my opinion. He suggested I do a back-to-school post. Now while I’m not going back to school this year, I still love shopping and want to help you guys out! So today I’m going to compile a list of links for you guys for back-to-school supplies! I haven’t tried all of the products (such as the backpacks) so I’m just going off reviews. Also, let me know if you want me to do a post on some school tips and tricks, I can do that as well! Let’s get into it.

One of the most important items, second to a good laptop, is a good backpack. This is what you’ll use to carry every to and from class. And since you’ll be using it almost daily, you’ll want something to last through the school year. My first pick is the Ela Backpack. I like the wide, rounded shape of the bag. It’ll fit a laptop and many other things, and the black leather design is simple and timeless. My second pick is the Kanken Original Backpack by Fjallraven. This bag was designed as a school bag so it’ll meet all your needs. I also like that it comes in a range of colours so you’ll find one that matches your personality. One of the cheaper options is the Travelon Anti-Theft Signature Nylon Slim Backpack. It is on the smaller size so won’t fit the largest laptops. But if you want something that’s also great for travelling this is it! If you want something with lots of pockets, check out the Kenneth Cole Reaction Women’s Chelsea Backpack. It has four compartments as well as a place to put a water bottle on the side. I like the quilted design and it comes in four colours. If you’re looking for a bag that’s good for the classroom and the gym, check out the Lululemon City Adventurer Backpack 17L. As the name suggests, the bag can carry up to 17L so you can fit everything in this bag. There is a compartment for a laptop and one for sweaty workout clothes!

Now let’s get into pens and such. My favourite pen is hands down the BIC Velocity Bold Ballpoint Pens. I know not everyone is into large pens, but I find them so much easier to hold. And I find ballpoint pens the smoothest to write with. It’s helpful to have some coloured pens as well and BIC has Velocity Bold Fashion pens! They have blue, pink, green and purple in the pack. For bullet journaling, I prefer a fine point pen, since I like to draw as well as write in it. The Sharpie Fine Point Pen Stylo, Assorted Colors, 12-Pack is a great basic pack since it comes with two black pens and 10 different colours. And finally, if you’re looking for some nice markers, my favourite is the Tombow Dual Brush Pens. The pastel set is my favourite because you could also use them as highlighters. I use the pens when drawing in my bullet journal.

Now to hold all the pens and markets you need a pencil case! If you want something cute, then check out the NOTA brand at Indigo. They have a ton of designs and different sizes. If you are looking for something with a lot of room in it, then look into the Mokani Large Capacity Pencil Case. The pencil case can hold up to 50-80 pencils, erasures, calculators, etc. This is perfect for an art student who has tons of different pens. If you’re on the opposite end and don’t need a large pencil case, then check out the INECIY Grid Mesh Pencil Case. It’s also made of mesh so you can always see what’s in your pencil case. Finally, if you have a lot of pencils and pens to organize, then check out the Gamenote Assorted Colors Plastic Pencil Case Box. It comes in an eight pack so you can all your pens and stationery supplies. The plastic allows you to see through and know what’s in each box without having to open them.

And the final important part of back-to-school shopping is getting notebooks and planners. Indigo makes some of my favourite pretty notebooks. They have both hardcover and soft notebooks as well as a range of sizes. I have a bunch of the A5 Spiral Notebooks and they work well and look pretty. When I was in university, I used the Five Star Spiral 5 Subject Notebooks. I had five classes in university so I would use a section per subject. That way I could have all my notes in one notebook. If you’re looking for something simple, then check out the Amazon Basics College Ruled Composition Notebooks. They look nicer than the cheap Hilroy notebooks but they won’t break the bank. Next is a planner. Planners are very personal and need to meet your specific needs. I currently used a NOTA 17-Month Agenda. It has space for the days of the week and to write notes which I like. If you want to customize your planner, then maybe try bullet journaling. Most people start with the Leuchtturm1917 Dotted Hardcover Journal. But if you want to step things up, check out the Archer & Olive Bullet Journals. And finally, if agendas or planners aren’t your thing but you still want to stay organized, maybe try a desk calendar.

Those are my recommendations for some back-to-school shopping! Let me know if I forgot to include anything and maybe I could do a part two? I’m also very excited about doing some fall fashion shopping, so stay tuned for that as well. 😉

xoxo

Lea

Easy Ways to get into the Valentine’s Day Spirit

Hey guys! So today we’re talking about Valentine’s Day. It’s less than two weeks away! I’m all for the Valentine’s Day spirit this year even though I’m single as a pringle. February can be a depressing time of the year normally, with it being winter and cold outside. Add on top the pandemic and it can be easy to spiral into a deep depression. But instead, I’m celebrating the little moments and getting hyped for this holiday. The colours are bright and cheerful. And the holiday includes chocolate and flowers, things that always brighten my mood. So today I’m sharing some easy and budget-friendly ways to bring some cheer into your lives for Valentine’s Day.

Decorate your space

I love decorating seasonally. If you follow me on Insta or Youtube you might have seen that I decorate my room for fall and Christmas. Well, Valentine’s Day is no exception. It brings a smile to my face every time I see my decorations up. It doesn’t have to be expensive. I just got a couple of things from the dollar store. And you can always use them again and again, so skip the Starbucks for one day and get yourself some decorations.

If your budget is tight then try rearranging the decor you already have. I change my letterboard sign to match the theme. If you have framed photos, you can always switch the photos for something Valentine’s day themed. Pinterest has tons of options.

Change your electronic wallpapers

Speaking of Pinterest, that website is full of free wallpapers for your phones, tablets and computers. It might seem silly, but changing your wallpaper can help improve your mood. Think about how often we are on these devices. That way whenever you open them, you can see a cute image instead!

Add some flowers

Tulips#flowers#beautiful#pretty#loving#christmas#flychorddigitalpiano |  Valentines flowers, Valentine bouquet, Flower gift

Flowers are a traditional gift given on Valentine’s Day, but who says you have to wait for someone to give them to you? When I was in university, I always bought myself a bouquet on Valentine’s Day. I usually got tulips because it’s around this time of year that they are available again and tulips remind me of spring. But you can get whatever flowers you want. Some florists will do sales to celebrate, so getting what’s on sale can be helpful if you’re on a budget. Plus with everything going on right now it can be a nice way to support your local florists!

Send out Valentine’s Day cards to friends and family

Listen, whoever says Valentine’s Day is just limited to romantic partners is just being selfish. I think this holiday can be about love in general, which can include familiar and platonic relationships as well. With lockdowns and restrictions it might be hard to have the normal Galentine’s Day festivities, so sending a card instead is a great way to still share some love with your friends. Plus there is nothing more special than receiving a card in the mail. And send one to your parents as well, because I’m sure they would love to hear from you.

Indulge into all the sappy songs, books and movies

Nothing sets the mood more than music. So trying putting on a playlist full of love songs. A lot of them are just amazing songs and put me in a good mood.

I also am a sucker for a good romance book or movie. With everything going on, it’s nice to escape into a world where true love saves the day. Let me know, I can always do a follow-up post sharing some of my favourite romance books and move if you are interested.

Make an amazing meal

They say that the way into a man’s heart is through his stomach, but I love a good meal as well. Since Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year, why not take the time to make a really good meal, whether for yourself or to share with a loved one. You can make a big brunch, create a charcuterie board or make a big dinner. And don’t forget to eat lots of chocolate, because that’s what I’ll be doing.

And those are a few of my suggestions to do in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Let me know what you guys are planning to do this year. I’ll probably be cuddled up with a good book reading haha.

xoxo

Lea

My 2021 Goals!

Hey guys! Today I am sharing some of the goals I have set myself for this year. I thought I had written a 2020 goals post but apparently I didn’t, even though I had one in 2019. Anyway, for a couple of years now I sit down at the beginning of the year and create some goals for myself. I don’t call them resolutions because I find New Year’s resolutions are most habit based (well I have a few habits as well). Now I didn’t accomplish many of my 2020 goals because you know, ~it was 2020~. Some of my goals I am repeating and others I am modifying. Let’s get into them!

goals, 2021 goals, bullet journal, bullet journal spread, goals bullet journal

1 – Journal three times a week and reflect on goals once a month

Okay so these are technically two separate things, but I wanted to have six goals so I put them together. I thought they went together anyway because they are both are reflection and accountable. Journaling three times a week was my goal last year. I was okay at the beginning, great during the height of the pandemic, dropped off in the summer, and improved again late fall. I want to journal more often because I like to look back and see what I have done and thought in the past. I don’t think I could journal every day, but three times a week seems like a good number.

The second goal is related to this because it’s how I got the idea. I started journaling again in the fall once I looked back at my 2020 goals. So my thought process is if I reflect on my goals and think about them more than just writing them down I am more likely to accomplish them. I created a tracker so I can see how I did and I will hopefully continue using it the whole year. And maybe if I accomplish a goal I can set a new one.

2 – Read 50 books this year

I finally got back into reading in 2020 and I couldn’t be happier. I was a huge reader in high school but dropped off during post-secondary education. Once I finished school in April I was able to read so much, and I finished the year having read 33 books. So this year I want to read more! I was averaging around 4 books a month – which would be 48 books in one year. I decided to just round up and go with 50. I have so many books on my bookshelf and so many I want to read, so it only makes sense to me to read them. This is a goal I am very excited about and hope to achieve.

3 – Have a way to financially support myself by the end of the year

My goal last year was to have a full-time job by the end of the year. That didn’t happen since I’m currently unemployed. I had three jobs last year lol. While I still would love to have a full-time job by the end of the year, I am being flexible. If it’s part-time or a contract and I’m doing something I love I will still be happy. I just want to move on the track of being able to move out of my parents’ house.

4 – Reach 1000 Instagram and 1000 Tiktok followers and 500 Youtube subscribers

This is my social media section. I know that followers are everything (except for Youtube because I need a certain amount to get monetized). But I think it’s useful to have goals. More followers mean more opportunities.

I have been struggling with Instagram lately. I have plateaued around 700s for a while now. I have lost my love for Instagram for a while, but I am trying to get back to it.

TikTok on the other hand is the place where I’ve been gaining more followers. I think it’s because I’ve been active and enjoying myself on the app. I’ve also found my niche among booktokers which I think is a fun change from Instagram. I think this one is pretty attainable.

Finally Youtube. This one is the biggest reach because I only have 20 subscribers right now. But I remember while watching someone talk about manifesting to not settle. If I wanted the goal to be easy I would say 100. But I want 500, so I am going to aim high.

I am also going to say if any of you guys aren’t following me on any of these social media I would appreciate it if you were to give me a follow and help me with my goal. 😊

5 – Earn $100 from my blog

You don’t think I could leave out this blog, could you? One of the few goals of 2020 that I accomplished was getting my domain name and enabling ads on this blog. Well, the next step of that is to bring in some money! Blogging has been my hobby and something to put on my resume for the past couple of years, but I would love to be able to earn some money as well.

So how can you guys help me accomplish this goal? Read my posts and interact with them! The more people that see my blog, the more money I can make. From my end, I am going to be working hard to create content that you guys like and trying to optimize it the best I can.

6 – Do some form of movement five times a week

In the past, I have fallen prey to the mentality that I need to lose weight and go on a diet. I have been working on my self-love and body positivity. I’m still not perfect, but one of the ways I’m working on it is by not setting a goal weight and not going on a diet. Instead, I just want to focus on moving my body.

I left this ambiguous for a reason. Moving my body doesn’t always have to be working out. It can be going to yoga, going on a run or even just walking the dog. But I want to get some movement in. Obviously, there is the physical benefit of keeping in shape, but I see so many other benefits to regularly working out. My energy levels are higher, my immune system is stronger and my mental health is better when I regularly exercise. I think five times a week is pretty easy and attainable for me. Right now I’m doing a combination of working out in my basement and walking my dog. But this will probably change as (hopefully) the lockdown lifts and I can go to yoga again.

And those are my 2021 goals guys! Going to work my ass off and make them all a reality! Let me know in the comments what some of your goals are for this year! ✨

xoxo

Lea

Never Have I Ever Book Tag

Hey guys! Today is a first on my blog. I got tagged by the lovely Riddhi of Whispering Stories to do the Never Have I Ever book tag! I thought this would be a great way for you guys to get to know me more 🙂

The Rules:

  • Link back to the original creator. (Madame Writer)
  • Link back to the person who tagged you or the blog where you first saw this tag.
  • Answer all prompts.
  • Add one more prompt of your own.
  • Tag at least 5 people.
  • Don’t lie.
  • Have fun!

Pretty straight forward right? Let’s get into this!

Never Have I Ever… read a later book in a series before reading the first book

I don’t think so. Maybe accidentally as a child, but I can’t remember a specific situation so no.

Never Have I Ever… burned a book

Okay technically yes but not really. So in university sometimes we could have to get a coursebook for a class, which is basically just a bound packet of printed out readings. And when I say bound, it was just regular paper bound together with a plastic spiral. It was really a rip-off that they made us buy those. But anyway, sometimes at the end of the year I would bring my notes home and burn them since we have a wood fireplace at my house. So I think I’ve just cut off the plastic and burnt one of those coursebooks if you can count that as a book. For some reason, it’s satisfying burning your notes after you finish your final exam haha.

Never Have I Ever… read a book I knew I would hate

Yes, for school. Two that immediately come to mind are The Catcher in the Rye and A Complicated Kindness. I dislike both of those very much.

Never Have I Ever… wrote a fanfiction about my favourite books

I’m not much of a fanfiction person. I had a brief stint of reading it when I was 13 but otherwise I haven’t read much, so why would I write it? I’d be more inclined to write original fiction just because then I wouldn’t be bound by the fictional universe that I was writing about. But I have studied fanfiction in school which is pretty cool!

Never Have I Ever… loved a book when I was young and hated it when I got older

I think everyone has a love/hate relationship with Twilight. I was obsessed with the series when I was younger. And then once the movie series was done I had this streak where I became pretentious and thought that Twilight was trash. But there I’ve come back around and realized that the flaws are kind of what makes it so good. And I think TikTok’s craze with Twilight has really brought me back to team Twilight. So I guess this is yes and no because I like it again? Lol I can’t answer any question correctly.

Never Have I Ever… dressed up as one of my favourite literary characters

No, I haven’t. I’ve dressed up as Olive from Easy A one year for Halloween. That’s the closest I’ve ever been, but that’s a movie so it doesn’t count.

Never Have I Ever… hated a book by an author I love

You guys might remember that in the summer I read The Siren by Kiera Cass. I loved The Selection series but was quite disappointed by The Siren. So I’m not sure if disappointed is the same as hate but that’s all I can think of.

Never Have I Ever… gone into a bookstore to buy one book and come out with many more

You mean every time I go into a bookstore?

Never Have I Ever… read the end of a book before reading the beginning

I’ve done this many times by accident. I’ll skip to the end just to see how many pages a book is and accidentally see something on the last page that kind of spoils the book. Usually, if I haven’t started the book yet I can kind of forget what I read, but if it’s a series then that’s the worst.

Never Have I Ever… read a book without the dust cover

I am team dust cover all the way. I don’t get people who read without them. Most books under the dust cover are plain so I want to see the dust cover instead. Plus I kind that the dust cover helps protect the book more. But either way, I prefer softcovers over hardbacks anyway.

Riddhi’s additional prompt was: Never Have I Ever… had a book boyfriend

I’ve had quite a few over the years. But my original one was Fang from the Maximum Ride series. I’ll keep the rest of them to myself 😉

And now my additional prompt is: Never Have I Ever… bought a book and not read it before getting rid of it

I am guilty! When I was a teenager I bought so many books because I would use all my money from work and birthdays to buy books. When I redid my room when I moved back from university and did a huge book purge. I got rid of some books that I was just not interested at all in reading because they were middle school level. I have a few middle school books and quite a bunch of YA books but I don’t mind them that much. I just spread them out between more mature books.

So I think my score is 8/12? Depending on how you count my half-answers haha. And finally, I am supposed to tag people but I don’t have anyone to tag! I’ll be honest and admit I am more involved in the booktok community than the book blogging community. So if you guys have any favourite book bloggers, please leave them in the comments so I can expand my network!

xoxo

Lea

A Non-Runner tries the Couch to 5K App: Review

Hey guys! Today I am sharing my review of the Couch to 5K app. There are a few different apps on the market, the specific one I used was the Couch to 5K Runner app (it’s yellow). The concept of each app is the same where they help the user go from not being able to run to running 5 km.

History with Running

Now let me give a little backstory about my relationship with running before getting into the app and the review. I was never a runner. My favourite sports when I was younger was hockey and swimming, two sports that don’t involve running. Whenever I went ‘running’ in the past it was walking with a bit of jogging. The most I’ve ever jogged I would estimate at 2 minutes.

The main reason why I never got into running wasn’t necessarily my cardiovascular abilities but the fact that I am prone to shin splints. If you don’t know what shin splints are consider yourself lucky because they are painful. They are pain that can be along the front or rear of your shin bone. I’ve been getting them for years. I usually get them when running or walking for long periods, but I’ve even got them from standing on the pool deck in flip flops for a long time.

Whenever I have tried to get into running in the past, I would do it for a week or two and then the pain would get so bad that I would stop. But with the pandemic going on I wanted to pick up running again. The nice thing is that I can do it outside and not have to deal with other people (and all the virus concerns that entails). I’ve heard many people talk about the Couch to 5K format so decided to give it a shot.

App Overview

The app is an interval training program that progressively increases the time that you run throughout the weeks. It’s pretty simple. Every run has a five-minute warm-up and cool down. Then within the main ‘run’ is a set of intervals between running and walking. The first run is 25 minutes long but only has 6 minutes of running in total. The intervals fluctuate to help increase the runner’s stamina over the week.

The app is pretty easy to use. I just swipe to pick the run and then hit “LET’S GO” to start the run. I can play my music and the app will give prompts over my music. It will let me know when it’s time to run and time to walk. It also gives little motivational prompts throughout the run as well. While running, the app tells the runner how far along they are, how much time is left and time until the next interval. The app will tell the runner when they are halfway through the run.

At the end of the run the app gave me a summary of the run included time, distance and calories burnt. It will also show a map of the route taken, distinguishing which parts were running and walking. All this data can be accessed in the History time to be referred back to.

The program is structured to be three runs a week for eight weeks. By the end of the eight weeks, you should theoretically be able to run 5km.

The app has a few free runs, but to access the full program the runner must pay. I got the premium 3-month subscription, which is $10.49 for three months (or around $3.49 per month).

My Progress

I thought I would share my progress and process using this app. My first run was on June 1 and I ran 1.7 km. My last run was October 8 (so yesterday) and I ran 4.5 km. So I took double the amount of time and was just under the 5km goal. But I am honestly SO proud of myself.

The first couple of weeks I was consistent in running around 3 times a week but I was repeating runs. I didn’t think it was smart to move onto the next set of intervals if I couldn’t finish one. So I repeated W1/D2 (week 1, day 2 – this is how they name the runs and how I will reference them), W1/D3 and W2/D3 twice. I was in pain. I went from not running to running. I found that I could have easily kept on running cardio wise but my shins were killing me so much that I had to stop. I ended up talking to my dad’s friend who is a physical therapist and he gave me a list of stretches to do before and after my runs. I also got myself a roller stick and that helps SO much.

Around week 3 my shins were starting to adjust and I was able to progress. Until I got to W4/D1. I did this run five times before I felt comfortable enough to move forward. This was the point where my cardio was the issue. It was a jump from 10 minutes of running to 14 minutes. It probably didn’t help that I also took a two-week break in the middle of this when I went to my cottage. That’s probably why it took me so many times haha.

Once I passed that W4/D1 hurtle though I had no further issues. I was able to progress throughout the rest of the program without having to repeat any runs. I also did start going back to yoga in late August, so I wasn’t running three times a week anymore. That’s probably why it took me two months to finish what should have been one month. But I wasn’t mad about my progress. I was running more then I have ever before in my life!

In my last three runs, the time and distance lined up pretty well. I was able to run 3.5km in 35 minutes, 4.0 km in 40 minutes and 4.5km in 45 minutes. So by that logic, I could probably run 5.0 km in 50 minutes. I’m not upset by the fact that I didn’t run 5km using this app because it helped me build the stamina to be able to do so. And either way, 4.5 km is still pretty good!

Would I recommend this app?

Yes, I would 100% recommend this app to anyone who isn’t a runner but wants to get into running.

If you are new to running and have no idea where to start, this is simply laid out for you. It’s easy to see what future runs will look like and it’s easy to track past progress. The app also recently got an update that will ask for your feedback after a run and will recommend whether or not to move onto the next run.

And the app worked! I liked the interval training system because it helped me move from a non-runner to a runner. I would have loved if this app was free, but I think the money I spent was worth it. I also rationalized it that I wasn’t paying for a gym membership (because there were closed and then I had my account frozen). And I think it’s important to invest in ourselves and our health.

If you are someone who is just looking for a way to track their runs then I wouldn’t recommend this app. I think there are probably better (and cheaper) running tracking apps out there.

Which leads me into:

What I’m doing next

So now what? That’s the beauty of this app that now that I’m done this program I can do whatever I want. I know the app company has a 10k program but I think that’s a little too advance for me. I think I’m going to actually run 5km and then work on bringing my time down. I would love to run a 5k next year. A few of my friends have recommended Strava, so I will be checking that out. Let me know if you would like a review of that app as well!

So guys, I just want to end this year by saying that you can do anything if you work on and believe in yourself. I never thought I could be be a runner, but then I decided to download then app and said to myself “I am going to be a runner”. You can do it guys!

xoxo

Lea

Introducing: My Youtube Channel

Hey guys! I am so excited to announce that I have finally created my own Youtube channel!

I explained this a bit in my first video but starting a Youtube channel has been something that I have thought about doing for a few years now. I kept on putting it off thinking that the timing wasn’t right. But I finally decided to just go for it. I mean what a better time than during a pandemic when I don’t have a job lol.

So please subscribe to my channel that way you won’t miss any videos! I am also going to be posting different content than what’s on the blog so that way it’s not repetitive.

I also haven’t decided when I’m going to be posting since I don’t know how often I’ll be posting. Make sure you also follow my Instagram to keep up to date.

Anyways I’m just rambling at this point. But I’m just so excited!

(I’ll be back Friday with a real blog post)

xoxo

Lea

Recreating my Prom makeup looks 5 years later

Hey guys! It’s officially – it’s been five years since I have graduated high school. Which is crazy to me. High school felt like forever, whereas university went by so quickly. So to celebrate this anniversary, I decided to recreate my prom makeup look!

I first pulled out my old dress. It’s actually a vintage 1970s evening dress. The dress unfortunately doesn’t fit me anymore, so for the purpose of this video I am wearing another black dress. I still have my jewellery and shoes, just missing my hair clip.

I got my makeup done at MAC because there wasn’t a Sephora in my mall at the time. From the photos that I have, I figured that I had a cool-toned smokey look with a big wing. I used my Urban Decay Naked Smokey palette (which I just found out has been discontinued) and Dominique Cosmetics palette. The finishing touch on this classy, Hollywood glamour look was a bright red lipstick. I purchased this lipstick for prom and I still have it today (oops) – the classic Ruby Woo.

I remember thinking that I was wearing so much makeup but looked beautiful. Now, after really getting into makeup the past five years, this look was so easy to do. While I don’t regularly rock a red lip, I do smokey eyeshadow all the time. This was also the first time I wore false lashes and now I wear them all the time.

For my prom I got my hair done by my hairdresser. I think she spent a couple of hours doing my hair. Now I’m trying to not use heat on my hair and I also am not the greatest at doing my hair. So I did a low bun with a hair clip instead.

Five years later I am still in love with my prom look. I think because it’s a vintage dress, there is something quite timeless about the look. Let me know in the comments if you guys went to prom, and if you did what do you think of your dress now.

xoxo

Lea

10 things I can’t live without

Hey guys! Today’s post is based on a video that I saw Allana Davison did a week ago. In her video she shared 10 random things that she can’t live without. I loved this idea because I have so many random favourites that I wanted to share with you guys but weren’t sure how or when to mention them. So here are 10 random things I can’t live without.

1. The Calm app

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Guys, I use this app every single day. For those who haven’t heard about this app, it’s a guided meditation app. Except I don’t use it to meditate, I listen to their sleep stories. They are mini audiobooks. The stories are written to induce sleep and the narrators speak in soft voices. They will put me to sleep within 15 minutes. If my mind is particularly active one night, they also have guided sleep meditations that do work.

I use this app almost every single night. The only time I don’t is if I’m sharing my bed or room with someone else (sleepovers, vacations, etc.). You do have to pay to access most of the stories, but the cost vs times used makes it totally worth it. I don’t know what I would do without this app.

2. Tazo Chai Tea Latte Concentrate

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If you are addicted to Starbucks chai tea like me, you need to get this. My friend who worked at Starbucks said that this is what they use in store, but the concentrate they use it a different amount than the one sold in-stores. So while it doesn’t taste exactly the same it’s very close. I make myself a latte probably every other day.

This concentrate is super simple to use. I just add milk and sometimes sugar and it’s ready to go. It’s good both hot and cold. It’s been a godsend during quarantine when I can’t get Starbucks all the time. I have purchased it at Walmart, Longos and Sobeys (for all my Canadians). But it also available on Amazon, just be careful because some retailers will overcharge for it.

3. My Sony Speaker

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I love listening to music – I have two things on this list related to music. I listen to music almost all the time. I prefer listening to music through a speaker than my headphones if I’m not in public/with other people. I find I can think better if I listen through a speaker and then I’m also not restricted by headphone cords (because I don’t own wireless headphones). Listening through a speaker allows me to do things better than with headphones. Portable speakers are also great because I can bring them to the beach or work.

I got my Sony XB30 Extra Bass Portable Bluetooth Speaker for Christmas about three years ago and it still works like brand new. It accidentally fell from on top of the fridge and one speaker got dented but it still works perfectly! It has some colour changing/flashing lights which can be annoying if they are in your peripheral but it’s fun for parties. I love my portable speaker and if mine broke I would immediately buy a new one.

4. Scented Candles

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I love scented candles. And being stuck at home during quarantine has just increased my love of candles. I find having a nicely scented candle just relaxes me and makes me enjoy my space so much more. I always have one burning if I’m in my room.

Even though I love candles, I have a very weak sense of smell so I need strongly scented candles. Bath and Body Works are some of my favourites. They don’t have a Canadian website though so I haven’t had any in a while. Indigo is a great place to get some candles and I’ve enjoyed many of theirs. Some small Canadian brands I have ordered from and enjoyed are Au Natural, Shy Wolf Candles and Natura Soy Candles.

5. Pop Sockets

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I know pop sockets aren’t new anyone, but I still get so many questions about mine from people in real life! Since I first put a pop socket on my phone about three-ish years now I haven’t taken it off. It has changed my life and I don’t think I could ever go back.

There are many reasons why I love my pop socket. It makes it easier to hold my phone. Now that I have an iPhone 8 Plus my phone is large and can be hard to hold. The pop socket just gives me something to anchor my hand better. It’s great for walking around and also lying down in bed. I am a klutz and have dropped my phone countless times, but having a pop socket has decreased that a bit. It also helps so much when taking photos. Because I have a better hold on my phone I can better stabilize my hand to take nice photos. The final reason why I love my pop socket is that it’s so fun to fidget with it. Sometimes my friends would borrow my phone just to fidget with my pop socket. I use it every day and I just love it.

6. Scrunchies

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I love my scrunchies. The only time I’ll use regular hair elastics is if I am wearing my hair in braids or I’m going in the water. I love scrunchies because they damage my hair less than hair elastics AND they are cute!

I’ve bought my scrunchies from a variety of places. I have some from Claire’s, Topshop and Forever 21. Some of my favourites are this six-pack that I got from Amazon. They are all of equal quality. I usually just pick what scrunchie I want to wear based on my outfit.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

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I suffer from canker sores. I won’t go into details about them, but I’ve had them since I was a kid. When I’m stress or near my period I get a bunch and they can be super painful. People aren’t sure what causes them and they aren’t any cures. My mom read that apple cider vinegar can help and it is the best preventative measure I have found.

It works because canker sores are affected because of pH levels in your mouth, and apple cider vinegar can help regulate it. I take the Jamieson pills because it’s easier than taking the liquid version. This has made such a dramatic difference in my life. If I forget to take them for a couple of days I will get a few canker sores just like that. Now it hasn’t completely eradicated my canker sores. I still get a few if I am stressed. But it has made such a difference in my life. If you suffer from canker sores I highly recommend them.

8. Birkenstocks/Vikings

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Everyone has a favourite pair of shoes. These are mine. I’ve owned a pair of Birkenstocks or Vikings since I was 15/16. These are the best summer sandal. They are just super comfortable! If you don’t know what Birkenstocks are, they are a cork and rubber shoe that will conform to your foot as you wear it. The thick sole makes them super comfortable. I travelled and spend days at the CNE in these shoes and have had no problems.

I usually buy a new pair every two summers. Because they are cork if they get wet they deteriorate. I worked at an outdoor pool for four summers wearing these and got them wet accidentally quite a few times. Since I get them wet that’s why I have to buy them more frequently. But if you’re careful these shoes could probably last you quite a few years. I currently own a pair of Vikings. I’ve owned both and haven’t noticed a difference in quality. Vikings are cheaper so I recommend those.

9. Spotify Premium

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If you don’t have a Spotify premium account you are missing out! I think I’ve had it for almost four years now. I got premium within a month of downloading Spotify. I couldn’t stand the ads and not being able to skip songs.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love listening to music. I would say that I use this app every single day. It has a huge selection of music. But what I love about the app is the number of playlists. I get tired of listening to the same stuff all the time, so I like the ability to find and listen to new stuff all the time. My favourite is the #ThrowbackThursday playlist. It’s full of throwback songs (obviously) but it’s changed every week to reflect some theme. I always look forward to Thursdays and what songs are going to be on the playlist. Spotify has many different paid plans now from when I first got it, so I would recommend checking out the deals they have.

10. Notebooks

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I learn and remember things best when I write them out by hand. For that reason, I have many notebooks. I used notebooks when I was in school to write notes, to do research and to plan out assignments. The process of physically writing something by hand helps me remember it better. I also used notebooks to plan blog posts and do other random things like research trips. I always have a notebook near my desk.

When I was in university I always used the Five Star 5-Subject notebooks – you can get these from Staples. Now I usually buy my notebooks from Winners or Indigo. I prefer having large notebooks that are the size of a regular sheet of paper. I also like having coils on the side because it folds over nicer. Technology seems like an easy, obvious choice but sometimes it’s nice to put a pen to paper.

And those are the 10 random things I can’t live without. Let me know if you guys use any of these things or what some of your random favourites are!

xoxo

Lea

My Morning Routine

Hey guys! I know this is a classic Youtube video and I have also seen a bunch of videos on TikTok of people showing their morning routines. I decided to make a video myself and I writing this post to support that video. I just wanted to mention that I don’t do this morning routine every day. My mornings differ if I’m working out that morning or taking my dog on a walk. I always sleep in and eat breakfast as a family on the weekends. I would say I do this routine three days a week. Anyways I digress, let’s get into the routine.

So I set my alarm for 8 a.m. but I usually snooze it for a bit and then spend some time on my phone. I usually like to get out of bed at around 9 a.m.

I prefer to workout in the mornings because that’s when I have the most energy. If I workout in the afternoon or evening then I’m too tired to do anything else. I also just like to get it out of the way. I always work out before I eat because otherwise I find that I am lethargic during my workouts. I am currently doing Chloe Ting 25 Day Hourglass Challenge. I’m not doing this every day so it’s taking me a bit longer. I like doing programs or challenges because it gives me a goal and structure.

By the time I’ve finished my workout, I’m hungry and ready for breakfast. I like a variety of things for breakfast but one of my all-time favourites is avocado toast. I personally like to top mine with salt, pepper, everything-but-the-bagel seasoning, olive oil and balsamic vinegar glaze. I highly recommend everything-but-the-bagel seasoning. My mom made the mix for me so that’s what I use. I usually eat a piece of fruit with breakfast as well.

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I also read the newspaper – I know not a popular activity for young people to do. I had to read the Globe and Mail because of my program and the habit just stuck. It’s actually a habit that I am really happy that I picked up on. It’s actually incredible how much more up-to-date I am on global events. So many times I’ve had conversations with people about topics and I was able to contribute or even educate because I’ve read the paper. I have a paper copy just because my mom reads it too.

This might be weird but I always make a cup of tea before I shower. I like to drink it while I get ready and do my makeup after my shower. I make it before so it’s perfect temperature after I’m done my shower. I like to drink black or earl grey in the morning.

After breakfast, I shower. I’ve lined by my hair washing days with when I work out. After watching a few Youtubers go on Curly-Girl hair journeys, I have started to do a modified one myself. I am slowly replacing my hair products with sulphate and silicone-free options, and I am trying new techniques with my hair. I want to do some more research and experimentation, but expect a post about it sometime in the future.

Now that I have more time I have been doing face masks more! I usually cleanse my face in the shower and then apply a face mask depending on how my skin is feeling at the moment. I can always do a face mask collection if that is something you guys are interested in. Let me know in the comments!

While I do my mask I usually slather my body in lotion. My body skin is pretty dry so I always moisturize after showering. I’ve mentioned this before but I have pretty bad body acne as well. So I always use an acne cream and a moisturize meant for the face on my chest and shoulders. I like heavily perfumed body lotions for the rest of my body, but if I were to apply that to my chest and shoulder it would break me out. After applying my lotions I get dressed, wash off my mask and finish my hair.

Finally, I do my makeup! I know a lot of people aren’t wearing makeup at home during quarantine but I do it for two reasons. First, it’s because it helps bring some normalcy and routine to my days. My putting on makeup makes me feel less of a slob and more productive. And second I am usually testing out products for a post that I am working out. If I am not testing out products, I usually do something similar to my 5-minute makeup routine. After I am done my makeup I start doing whatever task I have planned for the day!

Now I do want to mention that by the time I am done it’s usually noon. I realize that I am lucky and privileged to be able to take all my mornings for myself. Since I am done school and currently looking for work, I have the luxury to take my time and do all of these. My heart goes out to all the people who are stressed and worried. And thank you to all the front line workers who are spending their mornings helping everyone out.

xoxo

Lea

14 things to do inside during the pandemic

Hey guys! Today I am sharing a list of things you can do while quarantined/social distancing! My school has now been moved online, my work is closed for the next three weeks and my yoga studio is closed. So since I will not be leaving my house for the foreseeable future. I am sure many of you are either in quarantine or social distancing, but might have more free time than me (I still have assignments to do 😢). I have created a list of fun things you can do indoors.

1. Clean

  • Now is a great time to clean out your closet, fridge, pantry, etc. Get a head start on that spring cleaning.
  • Make sure to also clean surfaces that are used frequently, especially if you are living with other people

2. Bake

  • Baking can be very therapeutic. It often involves ingredients that you already have in your pantry like flour, sugar, baking powder, etc.
  • Try making breads. They can be very time-consuming, so it can be a good way to spend an afternoon.

3. Read

  • Now is a great time to read that has been sitting on your self.
  • Reading allows you to escape what is going on while also using your brain!

4. Watch Netflix

  • This one is pretty obvious. If you are like me, you might have a long list of shows that you have been wanting to watch. Now is a great time to get through that list.
  • Try watching a movie from a different genre every night! Or try a documentary so you can learn something new.

5. Do some art

  • Art is a great way to relax and de-stress. You don’t even need to get art supplies if you don’t own any, just using a pencil or pen can work.
  • Try following along to a Bob Ross video. His voice is so soothing.

6. Do a puzzle

  • Puzzles are a great way to stimulate the mind and keep you focused one task.
  • Sudoku is my favourite, but there are also jigsaw puzzles, word searches or logic games.

7. Board game night

  • If you live with people, break out the board games! A simple game of Monopoly can take up almost four hours.
  • If you play Uno, keep track of the scores. Whoever loses has to do something like make dinner that night.

8. Have a self-care spa sessions

  • Take a bath, do a face mask, paint your toes. Whatever relaxes you.

9. Play some video games

  • I have been plays Sims the past couple of days, it’s my favourite video game.
  • Play with others if you can! Do a Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros tournament.

10. Do an at home workout

  • There are so many different workouts available on Youtube. I am currently doing the Blogilates 14 Quarantine challenge.
  • Working out with give you a rush of endorphins and help cheer you up.

11. Go on a walk in nature

  • Going on a walk outside will help you feel like stuck and the sunshine can help boost your mood.
  • Walking in nature can help reduce the odds of seeing someone else. Bring your dog if you have one!

12. Pick up a new skill or hobby

  • Now is a great time to try or practice a new skill or hobby. It could be learning a new language or a new instrument.
  • Practising for an hour each day could really help you improve that skill!

13. Try something on Pinterest

  • Whether it’s a recipe or diy project, it can be fun to do something with your hands.
  • Share the results. Whether it was a success or failure, it will be helpful for others to see the results!

14. Call your friends and family

  • This is a very stressful time for everyone. Reach out to people can chat with them 💖

Let me know in the comments what you guys are doing during this time! Stay safe my friends!

xoxo

Lea