THE POWER OF PRODUCTIVITY

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I truly love Sundays basically because they give me the time I need to think; to reflect on the week; and to look forward on what is to come for the next week {or even weeks ahead}. Being able to have that personal time; one on one with yourself; allows you to reflect on your actions in a deeper way, than you would in that given moment.

By actions I mean, for example, if you were in a stressful situation – why was it so stressful to you? Maybe it didn’t have to be that stressful? Did you bring on more stress than necessary? Was it your fault that the situation occurred? What could you have done differently? What WILL you do differently next time to avoid the stress?

It’s important to bring attention to our habits; good or bad, and try to work them out in order to create the best possible YOU! Without even noticing, we may be doing something that brings more negativity than positivity; but it could be something we could easily change. BAM! There’s one thing you overturned already to create the next week better.

In my eyes; this is one of the definitions of PRODUCTIVITY. For me, productivity goes hand in hand with REFLECTING. The first step in being a more productive person means being able to reflect and build on events; ideas; thoughts; and impacts!

Productivity can be defined as many different things for many different people, so the first step is figuring out what exactly it will mean/ or means, to you.

Some say that being productive definitively means turning the motor on and pushing ahead with that go-go-go mentality of “got to keep going”. If that’s what keeps YOU motivated, healthy + happy, then by all means go for it!

For others, such as myself, productivity starts with being of a sound body + mind; mental and physical well being are such a high priority for me. In order to be productive I have to take time for myself, this happens in the form of writing, reading, watching a favorite movie or show, and/or going for a walk in the fresh air.

Each of these things bring me back to my core; mind + body + soul.

One of my favorite reflection writing techniques involves the Moorea Seal #52Lists journals. Each of these journals focus on a different aspect of life – projects, togetherness, and happiness. One question from each journal for the week and you’re off to a great start in your reflecting! {more on these journals in a later post – because I really think they deserve a post of their own}.

Every single day we are surrounded by a world of differences; ideas; characteristics… all GREAT things but also things that impact ourselves; our behaviors; and our thoughts. All things which {sometimes may} push us further away from ourselves; our actual TRUE SELVES!

In taking time to reflect on the past week; month; year – we are giving ourselves the opportunity to dig deeper into our own minds and figure out who and what we truly are trying to become. At this time, steering away from the negative impacts which we may have

These actions in turn will make us more productive and efficient in the next days; weeks; months; years!!

AUTUMN SCENTS; SHOPPING GUIDE TO FALL CANDLES

It’s a natural fact for humans; once the weather starts to cool down and that summer breeze turns into an Autumn rustling of leaves, this need of a cozy sweater and scented candle overtakes us. How EXCITING!?

Although candles can be (and are) lit all year round, there’s just something that must be stronger within us that makes us want to light pretty scented candles in the Fall and Winter months. The advertisements have started to target us; candle obsessed people, and have begun pushing the Fall scents out. So, now that it’s out there, let’s talk about it!

There are many stores which sell beautiful Autumn candles and I literally fall in love with them all, but there is one location which I have shopped at for many years and have never been disappointed; both quality and price wise. BATH AND BODY WORKS!

The 3-wick candles have been a standard in my home (and all my relative’s homes now – you’re welcome) for many years now. Not only are the candles a great price (you can basically always find some type of coupon or deal for them), but the packaging is SO PRETTY. They are ideal for decorating your own home, and are great as gifts as well.

I recently realized my candle stock was running low, and of course, took myself right to Bath and Body Works without hesitation. The moment I stepped into the store, I was literally overtaken by the delicious smell of all things A U T U M N: which include of course; Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon, Apple Pie, Pecan PieCranberry, Caramel, and many other mixtures. The store associate asked me politely “what brings me in today and if there is anything she can help me with”. I answered both as calmly as I could (I was experiencing massive amounts of excitement and just wanted to start my browsing adventure).

Of course, being the Type-A personality that I am, I was already aware of the deals in store and already knew what I would be walking out with. I’m pretty sure I actually let her know about this at the beginning of our conversation as well. After what felt like forever, I was alone and in my own Autumn world; finally browsing the store and touching basically everything; like a kid in a candy store.

Although I ADORE all things Autumn and could sniff those Pumpkin and Cinnamon candles all day, I actually don’t ever end up buying any; okay, maybe just one or two. The ones that draw my attention the most are always the most delicate and floral scented ones – yes, even for the Fall and Winter months. Even though I have Bath and Body Works at my fingertips, I always manage to pick up enough candles as if I were stocking up for a blizzard.

My most beloved scent from Bath and Body Works is: ROSE WATER & IVY

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I absolutely can’t get enough of this one; it’s so delicate and subtle, yet after being lit for only a few minutes I can already smell the scent moving through my home. I love it because it’s not a specific scent, but rather something I can use all year.

So, if I haven’t convinced you enough yet why this store is just amazing, here are a few extra tips for shopping which may convince you more.

TIPS FOR SHOPPING AT BATH AND BODY WORKS CANADA

SIGN UP FOR THE EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION

You will never miss a deal – even though the company sends A LOT of emails, it’s good to be in the know, especially if you are looking waiting for a deal on something.

NEVER BUY FULL PRICE IF YOU DONT HAVE TO

This might be difficult because there basically is no such thing as there never being a coupon or deal for this store. So, by this I mean, always be on the lookout for coupon and deals.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF COUPONS

Couponing has only recently become a hit in the world of shoppers; but coupons have ALWAYS been a hit for this Company. Once you’re signed up for emails you should start receiving coupon codes and discounts which you can use online or in store.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LARGE SALES

The Buy Three Get Three deal is a revelation for most of us. I mean, not only do you get three free products, but you can also stack promotions. Recently, on the B3G3 deal, I also used a 20% off coupon! SCORE!

PS: if you aren’t up for buying three products (and receiving three free) you can also buy two and get one free.

KEEP IN MIND THE 14-DAY PRICE GUARANTEE POLICY

Let’s say you purchase something today and go back to the store in a week to find the price reduced. As long as you keep the receipt, the store will honor this and adjust the price you paid to the current lower price.

B A S I C S FOR A CANADIAN WINTER

 

 

As some of you may know, we are freezing over here in Canada. For the past couple of weeks we have been experiencing temperatures in the minuses non-stop. During the day, the thermometer hesitates around the -15/-20 degree Celsius mark, but with the wind-chill it can go anywhere from -30/-45 degrees Celsius. If it was up to me, there would be a mandatory “snow day” for temperatures like this, called “cold-day” and you wouldn’t be required to attend work (especially if you work in an office environment and can complete your work from home…).

Well, since it’s not my decision to make, the truth is, we just have to bundle up and brave the outdoors like the true Canadians we are. The basics for a Canadian during the winter; of course, depending on the region where you live items may differ, but I will be referring to the Toronto area for this purpose.

COAT – The most important item in your closet will be a good winter coat. Last year, my husband and I decided to invest in some proper winter coats – Bae has been warm ever since in his Canada Goose Parka, and I’ve been comfy and warm as ever in my Aritzia Parka. Good doesn’t always mean expensive, and I’m sure there are many coats out there you can find under $250 which will keep you just as warm. My two coats are just an example.

BOOTS – Ugg and Sorel boots are our go-to shoes for this weather/season. I’m always extra cold so I live in my Sorel’s (which are waterproof and super insulated), and my husband wears his Uggs.

SCARF, HAT, MITTENS – this goes without saying;a scarf, gloves, and hat have become a natural part of my daily outfit since this weather has hit us.

CLOTHING – In terms of clothing, I guess it depends on where you work, if you have to dress office casual or can be a little bit more laid back; either way though, there are warmer options for you. Personally, I live in my corduroys and knit sweaters for about four months, while it’s this cold. It’s a good thing that the corduroys trend is reappearing; at least I can find some fairly fashionable trousers! In term of denim, forget it – your legs will turn that same color blue within five minutes if you decide to wear your jeans out this time of year (unless of course you layer really well underneath – which is highly unlikely – or you will only be outside for a quick minute – which I still don’t entirely recommend denim for, but hey, up to you).

SKIN CARE – just like in the summer we protect our skin from UV rays, this time of year we have to protect our skin from the cold air that whips at us unexpectedly.

Of course, there are MANY other items which can be recommended for the winter, but these are my top few pieces of advice for beginners!

FIRST AID BEAUTY TO THE RESCUE

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This past December, I came to a realization – my skin has changed. I wonder if it’s because of my age, maybe my environment, maybe stress levels, OR most likely, a combination of all of the above. Once I realized I require a different skin care routine for the cooler/colder months, than the one I was using during the summer, I started my research.

In the summer time, my skin is super oily, and in the winter it’s super dry – could I not have the perfect in between skin all year long? In a way it’s frustrating, but at the same time, this gives me the opportunity to switch up my routine and try out new products, and of course, go shopping!

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Since it’s winter and I’m in my winter skin routine, let me tell you a little about it and what products I’ve come to love! It’s quite simple actually, I learnt about First Aid Beauty first through online research, then by consulting with a skin care professional, and this has become the one and only product I trust for my face during the winter time.

So, here are the products I have been using and what I think of them:
F.A.B. Face Cleanser My main goal for face wash is for it to be scent free, and gentle. This one specifically does just what it should – it washes away all my dry skin, oils, and even makeup! After drying, my face feels smooth and purely clean – it’s actually quite satisfying and amazing!

 

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F.A.B. Facial Radiance Pads I LOVE toner pads, especially for a quick clean in between washes if I’m feeling my skin is dry /oily or just needs a refresher. These came in a package of 60 pads, which is just the right amount, to use them before they go dry. Another great thing about them is that after using them, my skin isn’t dry and stiff, it just feels like I’ve washed my face; fresh and clean.

F.A.B. Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration: This moisturizer is heaven sent, especially for the winter season and dry skin! The moisturizer is thick and you don’t need a lot. It goes on smooth and even with its thickness it sinks in just right. I also learned that you can use this moisturizer all over your body and not just on your face – GENIUS!

Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer: I never thought I would need, or even want to use this type of product, but once I started, I can’t stop! I love putting this on my skin about 5 minutes after washing and moisturizing, to let the moisturizer sink in. What I love about this too, is that you can skip the moisturizer if you want to!

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F.A.B. Ultra Repair Lip Therapy: After I apply the coconut primer, and before I start doing my makeup, I apply a small amount of the LIP to my lips. It sinks in and restores my lips moisture while I’m doing the rest of my makeup. This LIP is perfect for the base of a lipstick as it’s not greasy or too oily, and helps the lipstick to be applied in a smooth manner to your lips.

 

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F.A.B. Masks: All summer long I used various charcoal masks, but, since my skin gets to dry in the winter, charcoal has become an enemy. I recently purchased these three F.A.B. face masks, so I can’t say how I like them just yet, but if they’re anything like the previous products I’ve mentioned (which I’m 99% sure they are), they will be amazing!

Have you tried any of the First Aid Beauty products? Are there any other ones you would recommend?

XOXO

HELLO 2 0 1 8

New Year, New YOU!?

Right? WRONG! As soon as the new year comes around, we tend to believe that it’s time to change and reinvent ourselves – of course, it can be a great opportunity to start fresh, rethink some if our strategies, try new things, etc, but we really shouldn’t look at it with as much pressure as the media puts on it!

You are YOU, and you’re great – don’t try to do a 360 and update everything about yourself.  Yes, there are a few things we all want to change about ourselves, but it’s important to know and remain within realistic limits and goals.

Some of the most common goals we set for ourselves, such as the following, may not be the most relalistic for the majority of us, simply based on our lifestyles.

“I will work out five days a week” – for someone who doesn’t work out regularly, this is not a realistic goal to make. You will become overwhelmed with the pressure and (most likely) sooner than later give up. There goes your fitness goal.

“I will make a home cooked meal every night” – if this truly is realistic for you, I’m jealous! Working full time, completing a Univeristy, and volunteering, means I don’t have much time for sitting around. Over this last year I’ve learned some great tricks on how to meal prep; such as simply making more and freezing or making dinner for two nights as opposed to one. Do some research about meal prep and make a schedule for each weeks dinner plans – sometimes plans may change, but for the most part this will help you organize those last minute ideas!

“I will stop eating sweets and sugar” – If you have a sweet tooth like me, cutting sugars out of your diet in one hit may be quite difficult, and again, unrealistic. Instead of entirely cutting it out, start by reducing the amount you consume; try replacing unhealthy sweets with healthier options.

I want to help you to see how you can take these “dreams and visions” and translate them into actionable and reliastic goals that you can keep with you for the year. So make your list, and try to follow a few of the tips I discussed above!

G O O D  L U C K!

H Y G G E LIFESTYLE

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With the days getting shorter and the cold and rainy weather rolling in, I find myself longing for a warm cup of tea and cozy blanket constantly. Reflecting on this feeling, and since I work full time and can’t spend my days under a blanket, I’ve been thinking of how I can create this sort of coziness anywhere I am. My thoughts of course went right to one of my favorite lifestyles:

H  Y  G  G  E 

Last year when I first discovered this magical wonderland of a lifestyle I completely fell in love and realized I have needed this in my life all along! I introduced you to HYGGE on my blog back in January, and even though I might not have written about this lifestyle on here very much, really everything I do is somehow HYGGE related.

Naturally, I found myself wandering the aisles of Indigo on a Friday night (yes, that is how I like to spend my Friday nights, surrounded by books and beautiful home decor inspirations), in search of more HYGGE inspirations. Lucky me, on the front display in the store I found two great books, which basically follow the HYGGE vibes; “The Little Book of LYKKE: The Danish Search for the World’s Happiest People” and “LAGOM (Not Too Little, Not Too Much): The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life”. Obviously I snatched them up and bought them without even thinking! I’ve already started flipping through them and I’m sure that once I read them fully I will have an abundance of great information to share. It’s actually quite funny because just by looking at the cover and introduction I already have this warm feeling of happiness inside!

To inspire myself further, and engage into the HYGGE Lifestyle even more, I have decided to create a HYGGE inspired series on my blog, which will run throughout the course of the gloomiest of months when the days become shorter and darker, and we start searching for that extra dose of happiness and light. Over the next few months I will share with you my insights on HYGGE habits and lifestyle choices through posts every Sunday, to go along with my weekly reflection habit.

First things first, if you don’t have it already, head over to your local bookstore and purchase “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking. I purchased this book about a year ago, and have really found lots of positive inspiration and motivation from its contents. The book provides readers with an overall outlook on the term Hygge and how to use it in your everyday life. To give you a bit of a preview, the table of contents in the book covers topics such as:

The key to Happiness

  • Light
  • Togetherness
  • Food and Drink
  • Clothing
  • Hygge outside the Home
  • Summer Hygge
  • Five Dimensions of Hygge
  • Hygge and Happiness
  • And More…

Throughout my #HyggeSeries I will attempt to cover and discuss a variety of these topics and try to relate them to day to day activities that you too can use to make your life more Hygge!

“Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. Hygge is about being present enough to recognize and acknowledge an act, moment or feeling when the ordinary feels extraordinary.”  – quoted from Hygge House

A U T U M N BEAUTY

Autumn is, and always has been my favorite season. It always feels like a fresh start; as the temperatures begin to drop, the leaves begin changing colors, and we move from easy summer months to fast paced reality.

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In Canada, we often are lucky enough to have, what we call, an Indian summer in September/October; meaning that the temperatures often reach summertime averages, and we basically have an extra month of summer weather!

This past weekend, was a perfect example of this! The temperatures skyrocketed to 30+ humidity, and it truly felt like August, not September!

We had the opportunity to take this beautiful weather in fully, as we attended a wedding just outside of Toronto, in a town called Caledon. Caledon, which is a part of the Peel region, is absolutely stunning this time of year;  driving down the winding roads, through the beautifully changing trees makes you feel like you’re in a dream – it’s just breathtaking (and so close to the City).

I really do wish that it could be autumn all year, but for now I will just enjoy what I can get!

VEGETABLE S O U P

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Cooking healthy meals is definitely something that we thrive for in our household – but, with both of us working full-time sometimes taking the time to put together a well-rounded healthy meal is not in the cards. We have learned a few tricks over the past years on how to meal prep and cook in a way that is both healthy, and that works for our busy schedules.

One of our favourite quick and healthy dinner options is soup – we have now managed to find a few easy go-to soup recipes for any season, which we often use on those busy evenings when neither of us feels like standing in the kitchen and cooking a full meal.

Vegetable soups are really one of the easiest and fastest way to get our daily vegetable and nutrient intake because there are so many great ingredients that can be added to the pot. For me, vegetable soups are a great way to actually eat all of my vegetables, especially when they are blended.

Although I would like to take the time to make my own chicken or vegetable broth, we have found a great alternative product; Organic Chicken Broth, which you can purchase at Costco has become the second best thing to the home-made broth. Since the broth is very delicate in flavor (as to keep it healthier there aren’t too many ingredients), we like to add a variety of spices such as turmeric and black pepper.

In terms of the vegetables we add, it really depends on the season and what is available fresh in stores and markets. Our soups always include carrots, peas, broccoli, and corn, but we also like to add zucchini, red pepper, green beans, cauliflower, etc. Sometimes, when we are doing a lighter version (less of a variety of veggies) we like to add in a pasta such as Ditali.

During the winter months, we tend to lean towards more blended soups; we add all or some of the above ingredients as well as sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin, etc. When everything is cooked, I blend it all together, and serve it with either soda crackers or toaster  baguette.

All in all, soups are a great and healthy choice for dinner, it’s a meal that you don’t have to stand next to for the whole time it’s cooking – put it on simmer and you’re free to do other things while it takes its time to cook. Also, all of the vegetables in the soup can cover a good portion of your daily nutrient intake, which is such an important factor to keep our bodies healthy.

Finally, doesn’t a bowl of soup just make you feel better – it’s great on our stomach and digestive system as it’s a warm meal, which we should have at least once during the  day! So, if you’re not on the soup-train yet, I highly recommend it for a quick, easy, and healthy warm meal!

HAPPY M O N D A Y

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Monday’s can often feel like one of the most difficult days of the week, but they  don’t have to. They are what we make them out to be; just like any other day of the week.  To be honest, I have always looked at Mondays with a bit of a dread, just like any other human being out there who works that “9-5 workweek”. When that 8pm rolls around on a Sunday evening, we automatically start dreading that Monday morning alarm clock. But really, why do we? It is because social media tells us to? Maybe if it wasn’t for all of those “Monday-Morning” jokes the Monday alarm clock wouldn’t be that painful?

Truthfully, Monday’s can and most likely will always be difficult for those on a regular work week schedule, but that’s really only because we “let ourselves go” on weekends! It’s normal, our weekend routines are much different from our workweek routines; sleeping in, hanging out in pj’s till noon, staying up late, etc. The weekend is our time to relax and change-up the daily routine, so by no means am I saying that that should change – heck, that’s what the weekends are for!

So how do you have your cake and eat it too? How do you take advantage of your weekend and not dread the Monday morning alarm clock (without quitting your job…)? Well, the answer is both an easy one as it is difficult one. It’s most likely not something you can change overnight, but here are some of the things that help me cycle through the days with a constant positive outlook.

  • Instead of waking up at noon, take a nap a noon 

I realize that sleeping in on weekends may be one of your favourite things to do, but this is a matter of training your body to a routine and sticking to it. For example, I wake up between 6:00am-6:30am every morning during the week; sometimes on my own and sometimes to an alarm clock, as I have now trained my body to wake up around this time every day. I must admit though, some weekends I do tend to sleep in a little bit longer, only because I don’t set the alarm, but only until 7:00-7:30am the latest. As any normal human being, I do like to catch up on my sleep after a busy week ahead, so without compromising my workweek wake up routine, I like to catch up on this sleep with a nap on weekends, whenever possible, of course. I find that this method works best for me and my body keeps with the routine; which is ideal for that “dreaded Monday morning”.

  • Don’t completely stop moving, a.k.a don’t be a couch potato ALL weekend

Yes, I too love lounging around the house, slouching on the couch, and doing absolutely nothing once in a while. The way I tackle this urge is to always give myself one day on the weekend without any plans. This way, I can wake up knowing that the day is fully mine to do as I please.

  • Think Positively; Monday is just another day of the week

Don’t over think it. Monday is just another day of the week; the beginning of a new week in fact, which can mean a fresh start after regenerating your batteries over the weekend.   Don’t overwhelm yourself with all those crazy Monday theories, and just go with the flow.

Of course there are many ways to look at the “Monday-Blues”, but overall, like I mentioned before, it is what we make it; so make it good! Stick to a routine, and don’t over think the fact that you have five full days of the workweek ahead… I know, easier said then done, and I LOVE my weekends as well, but hey, there are some things we just can’t control, so try to control the ones you can, and it’ll make your life easier.

Happy  M O N D A Y !

 

 

FRESHLY SQUEEZED: FRUITS & VEGGIES

While on our vacation in Mexico recently, I realized how easy it can be to get into my body the necessary fruits and veggies each day. Every morning at the breakfast buffet there was an assortment of fruit and vegetable freshly squeezed juices.

The variety was great, and we could choose from single fruit/veggie juices such as papaya, orange, watermelon, melon, pineapple, beet, and many more; OR we could choose a blend of a few different fruits and veggies. We often opted for the mixed juices and regularly had two glasses of various juices each morning. The blended juices we enjoyed most were the carrot/ orange mix, and the pineapple/cactus/orange mix.

On this trip I realized how easy it can be to have juices like this at home each morning – realistically, all I’d have to do is prep the veggies either ahead of time, or even that morning to ensure they were extremely fresh. Either way, it’s all achievable.

So here’s my motivation to you; if you’re like me, and sometimes find it hard to get your vitamins in, in a natural way, get yourself a juicer and start mixing. See what suits your taste buds best, and go with it.

Personally, I am not a big fan of pineapple,  but I found that with the cactus and orange flavours mixed in, I was able to enjoy it. It’s so important to get these vitamins into our bodies naturally, and this, I think, is one of the easiest ways.

Also, there are plenty of different fresh fruit and vegetable juice ideas online that you can look up if you need some inspiration to get you going. Try searching places such as Pinterest, or simply going right to Google.

CW