Holiday Gift Guide For Him

Holiday Gift Guide for Him

After spending two days recovering from the flu, I’m back with a Holiday Gift Guide for Him.  I made this with my husband, C., in mind.  Many of the items are on his wishlist and of course I took the liberty of adding a few ideas of my own.  These gifts would also work for your dad, brother or brother in law.  

Also, if you’d like you may check out my other holiday content here.

1. YETI Rambler

My dad has a YETI cooler and if this rambler is similar, your man should be able to keep a drink hot or cold in this for a week.  Okay, that may be bit of an exaggeration but you know what I mean.

2. Bluetooth shower speaker

My husband loves listening to his tunes in the shower.  However, in order for him to hear it he has to blast it from his iPhone.  With this speaker, he can play it at an appropriate volume without driving me insane.  Perfect for when you have different taste in music.

3. Pajama pants

The perfect pair of holiday jammies.  Who can resist a man in buffalo check?

4. Duffle bag

A masculine duffle bag for a fun weekend getaway.

5. AM/FM Radio with Bluetooth

Remember the world before Bluetooth?  I have remnant of that era sitting in my kitchen that reminds me every day.  Yes, we still have a big clunky iHome FM radio that physically connects to Apple devices with the pre-Lightening cable attachment.  I have begged my husband to get rid of it but he maintains that the dog wouldn’t be able to listen to the radio when we’re out of the house.  Yes, our dog listens to our local country music station.  This beauty has an AM/FM radio, connects to devices via Bluetooth and looks pretty darn cool.  Problem solved.

6. Nintendo Classic Mini

Get nostalgic with your man and play 21 classic games including but not limited to Donkey Kong Country, Final Fantasy VI, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Super Mario World.  Also includes two controllers and an HDMI cable.

7. Harry’s Starter Set

I’d love to buy my husband some healthy shaving cream but he’s stubborn and likes this stuff instead.  It must be good then right?  This starter set includes weighted rubberized handle, five-blade razor cartridge, foaming shave gel and travel blade cover for $8.  If your man enjoys the products can subscribe to a “Shave Plan’ to continue receiving blades and shaving cream at regular intervals.

8. Henley

This handsome cotton henley comes in 7 colours and both tall and regular sizes.

9. Past Tense by Lee Child

Gotta love a man that reads.  My husband is in law enforcement and favours crime and spy thrillers like this latest instalment in the Jack Reacher series.  As an alternative, you could try Line of Sight by Tom Clancy. 

10. Portable charger

For when his phone runs out of juice.

11. Wayfarers

A stylish pair of shades.  One day I will get my husband wearing these.

12. Blundstones

This just in.  You do not need to be a hipster to wear Blundstones.  My husband’s tired, aching feet are begging for them.  You guys, these boots are the comfiest boots that will grace your tender tootsies.

13. Moccasins

Yes, shearling lined moccasins are all the rage but if your man runs warm like mine, those are a very very bad idea.  His feet will sweat and he won’t be happy.  Get these wonderful, unlined Canadian made moccasins instead.  His feet will thank you.

Well I guess that’s it folks.  I hope you enjoyed reading my gift guides as much as I enjoyed creating them.  It’s certainly fun sharing all of my finds!  Now all I have to do is a wrap a few more presents.   How about you?

Are you done your shopping and wrapping?

Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas For Her

Holiday Gift Guide for Her

It’s been snowing all morning and I’ve been recovering from the flu, so I spent the morning drinking gingerly and putting together my first ever holiday gift guide!  Need last minute holiday gift ideas for her?  This is the gift guide for you.  It’s basically a collection of all of my favourite things or things on my wishlist.  

The Beauty Queen

1 Slip Silk Pillowcase Sleeping on a silk pillowcase is better for your hair and skin.  Because your skin and hair slides over the silk, this pillowcase reduces hair damage and wrinkles.  Comes in 7 different colours two sizes (Standard/Queen and King).

2. Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette My go-to eyeshadow pallet.  Free of parabens, phthalates and gluten.

3. Mount Lai Rose Quartz Facial Spa Set I’m a fan of facial rolling for how it depuffs and releases tension in my face.  This set also includes a Gua Sha tool for lifting and smoothing the skin.

The Cozy Girl

4. Nordstrom Lingerie Moonlight Pajamas My favourite soft and luxurious PJ set!  Comes in 8 colours.  Runs large so size down.

5. SoftMoc Bali Supreme Moccasins A comfy pair of moccasins.  Comes in 6 colours.

6. PotteryBarn Ruched Faux Fur Throw This beautiful silky throw comes in 7 colours.

The Home Body

7. Capri Blue Volcano Candle Anthropologie’s trademark scent.  I don’t usually burn candles (I prefer diffusing essential oils) but when I do, I choose this candle.

8. Latte Bowls This set of 4 latte bowls is dishwasher and microwave safe.  Comes in 5 colours.  Anthro also sells a mini-version.

9. Home Body by Joanna Gaines All hail the Queen, Joanna Gaines.  This book is a must-have for anyone updating their home.

The Luxe Lover

10. Michael Kors Sloan Small Quilted-leather Crossbody This purse is the priciest item on my wishlist.  It reminds me of the Chanel Boy bag but for less!  Comes in 3 colours but the black is my favourite.

11. Hudson’s Bay Company Striped Cashmere Scarf A timeless piece of Canadiana.

12. SPANX Faux Leather Leggings One of my recent investment pieces.  I’ve fooled so many people with these leggings because they really do look like leather.  The compression is excellent too!  Comes in 4 colours.

The Jetsetter

13. Mark and Graham Terminal 1 Checked and Carryon Spinner Set My dream luggage set.

14. Sole Society Lacie Vegan Weekender A gorgeous duffel bag that compliments the Mark and Graham luggage set.

15. Mark and Graham Luggage Tag & Passport Set Can you tell that I love camel?

The Tech Chick

16. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader I received a Kindle for Christmas last year and I love it.  Great for travel and for reading books you may not necessarily want to fill your shelf with.

17. Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation) If you don’t have an Echo device you need one!  I use ours to play Christmas music, tell me the weather, create kitchen timers, remind me to take my medication before bed etc.

18. Anker Portable Charger For when your phone runs out of juice and you don’t have a charger cable and/or wall outlet.

Stocking Stuffers for All

Hopefully this has given you a few good ideas for all of the special women in your life – or maybe even yourself!

So I have to ask, what’s on your wishlist?

Holiday Home Decor Favourites: 2018

Holiday Home Decor Favourites

It’s that time of year – my favourite time of year!  The house is decorated, my gifts are wrapped and Christmas music is on repeat.  When the sun comes up I plan on taking photos of our decor and whipping up a holiday house tour blog post!  In the meantime, I’m rounding up ALL of my holiday home decor favourites of the season right here for you!

You’ll notice a lot of the items are from Target.  Yes, I went a little Target crazy but when you live in a rural town (two hours away from the big city!) – a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.  I’d usually avoid ordering items from the States but the truth is, I just couldn’t find similar items in any Canadian store!  Luckily, for a limited time Target is offering duty free shipping for orders over $100 CAD through Borderfree.  So what are you waiting for?  Get shopping, girl!

1. Patterned Tea Towels

I wanted some cute tea towels for the holidays and these beauties from H&M look so cute hanging over the oven and dishwasher handles.  I also purchased this 2-pack, but it looks like it sold out now.

2. Mercury Glass Trees

I needed something to brighten up our bar cart so after seeing something similar on Brooke from Nesting With Grace’s mantle, I ordered this tall, silver mercury glass tree from Target’s Enchanted Eve Collection.  Fingers crossed that it arrives before Christmas!  They also have a smaller tree here.

3. Burlap Wrapped Tree

This cutie comes in three different sizes.  I dropped the smallest one into in a red and black buffalo check camp mug and put it on our kitchen counter.

4. Preserved Boxwood Garland

Brooke from Nesting With Grace makes me spend all my money.  Like her, I draped this preserved boxwood garland around a window cut-out above our kitchen sink that looks out into what C. and I affectionately call “The Fireroom”.  The view may not be pretty, but this garland sure adds a little Christmas cheer to our kitchen.

5. Wooden Bead Garland

I contemplated making my own wooden bead garland, but I bought this garland from Target’s Hearth & Hand by Magnolia Collection instead because let’s face it, Joanna just does it better anyways.

6. Bottle Brush Tree

I love these trees but the only ones I could find were pink and blue and that’s just not my style.  This large bottle brush tree from Target is the perfect shade of green.  I originally had it on our bar cart but now it’s on the side table beside our couch.  It’s so versatile it can go anywhere!

7. Pom Pom Garland

I needed something to decorate our headboard so I picked this cute pom pom garland up from Canadian Tire and wound a set up fairy lights around it.  While I don’t think C. is a fan, I can’t resist cuddling up with a good book under the fairy lights before bed.

8. Faux Fur Stocking

C. won’t be happy about this purchase, considering just a few years ago I purchased two really cute black and red buffalo check stockings for us.  The truth is, everyone on Instagram has white/cream stockings and so I want some too. I also picked up this one.

9. Reindeer Cushion Cover

H&M continues to be my go-to source for cute and affordable cushion covers.   My husband hates all of my throw pillows but as an avid hunter, I feel he shouldn’t complain about this one.  I also purchased this cushion cover but it looks like it’s sold out.

Other Holiday Home Decor Favourites

  • Red Berry Garland: We don’t have a mantle in our living room – just a TV console. I’d love to drape a bushy, green garland over it but God forbid I block the PS4, satellite receiver and Bose.  This red berry garland (wrapped with fairy lights of course) is unobtrusive and helps transform the console into a holiday worthy pseudo-mantle.
  • Red Berry with Leaf Stem: I put this in a vase on our bathroom counter for a bright pop of colour.
  • Needle Pine with Pinecone Stem and White Berry Stem: Kendall from Styled Snapshots gave me this idea on her stories.  I dropped them both into a vase in our kitchen.

I live with a Veteran so out of respect I don’t decorate for Christmas until after Remembrance Day.  

So when did you decorate?  After Remembrance Day?  December 1st?

How to Find Natural Beauty and Personal Care Products

When I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009, I was absolutely crushed and honestly, quite confused. What had I done to deserve this? I’m a good person! I’m only 21 and have my whole life ahead of me! Why me?!

Then my mother said to me, “You know D? God only gives us things he thinks we can handle.” You may not be religious or spiritual, but you have to admit that’s a pretty powerful statement. From that moment on, I stopped thinking of my diagnosis as a punishment and instead, viewed it as an opportunity for personal growth.

So I began to look into the risk factors associated with thyroid cancer to gain an understanding of why I got cancer, and what I could do to mitigate it. While The Canadian Cancer Society says that there is not enough scientific evidence to confirm a link between exposure to certain chemicals and thyroid cancer, I knew at that moment that I was going to switch to natural beauty and personal care products. But where to start?

The World of Natural Beauty

What chemicals do I need to avoid? Will my products work without those chemicals? Where do I buy natural beauty and personal care products? How do I avoid breaking the bank?

Jumping into the world of natural beauty and personal care is no easy feat! It’s taken me years to answer these questions. That’s why I’m sharing with you, my method for finding affordable natural beauty and personal care products that actually work. Let’s get started!

What On Earth Are You Putting On Your Body?

The first thing you’ll want to do is check how healthy the products you regularly use are. Here are a few tools to help you accomplish that.

CosDNA

CosDNA is a simple tool that tells you the function of ingredients in a given product, whether they’re comedogenic or irritating and most importantly – their relative safety!

Simply Search for the product. If it’s not there, click on “Analyze Cosmetics,” copy the ingredients from the product page on the official website, paste it into the textbook and click “Analysis”

How to find natural beauty and personal care products using CosDNA.

BAM! Here we can see that a few ingredients in the deodorant are comedogenic and irritating. But I’m more concerned about those coloured circles with numbers in them.

How to find natural beauty and personal care products using CosDNA.

Here’s what the colours mean:

  • Green ingredients are good!
  • Yellow ingredients are iffy and
  • Red ingredients are an absolute no-no!

While we can see that this product has a mixture of green and yellow ingredients, we can’t really tell how safe this product is overall.

That’s where the EWG Skin Deep Database comes in.

EWG Skin Deep Database

The EWG Environmental Working Group is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. They launched Skin Deep, a database of 74,802 products in 2004.

You can find a product by searching for it on the Skin Deep website or scanning the barcode with the Healthy Living App available for free on the App Store and Google Play.

How to find natural beauty and personal care products using EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

If it’s not there, you’ll need to do some work for yourself.

1. Click, “Build Your Own Report” on the main page of Skin Deep. You’ll need to Login/Register before clicking “Build your own product report.”

2. Fill out the Product & Label Information form. Simply copy the relevant information from the product page of the brand’s website and paste it into the appropriate fields. Hit “Save & continue to step 2.”

How to find natural beauty and personal care products using EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

How to find natural beauty and personal care products using EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

3. Reformat the ingredients list so that Skin Deep can recognize them. In most cases, this means changing commas to semi-colons (;). Hit “Save & Continue to step 3.”

How to find natural beauty and personal care products using EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

4. Ingredients in Skin Deep will show up on this page. If the packaging indicates the percentage of a specific ingredient or if an ingredient is regulated by the FDA or organic, indicate this using the fields and dropdown boxes. Hit “Save & continue to step 4 then “View your product report.”

How to find natural beauty and personal care products using EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

There you go! Your custom product report shows the safety of all the ingredients using the same colour coding as CosDNA, but it also gives you an overall score – in this case, a 4 which translates to moderate concern.

How to find natural beauty and personal care products using EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

The page also zeroes in on specific ingredient concerns. We can see that some of ingredients in this deodorant (e.g., parfum = fragrance = red #8!!!) can harm the immune system leading to allergies or the limited ability of the body to fight disease and repair damaged tissues.

I don’t know about you, but even though this deodorant is only a yellow #4, I certainly wouldn’t want to buy it!

So you’ve found out that your favourite beauty or personal care product is risky, where can you find a better alternative?

Finding Natural Beauty and Personal Care Products

Skin Deep

Perhaps the easiest way to find natural beauty and personal care products is by using the categories on the navigation bar on the Skin Deep website to filter down to the type of product you’re looking for. Here we can see that some products are EWG Verified, meaning they’re free from EWG’s chemicals of concern.

How to find natural beauty and personal care products using EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

GoodGuide

GoodGuide is a database of over 75,000 products and uses a rating system developed by experts in the fields of environmental and health sciences. Like Skin Deep, GoodGuide has an app that let’s you scan a product’s barcode. It’s available for free on App Store and Google Play.

Simply use the search feature or categories to find a list of healthy alternatives. Ratings range from 0/red to 10/green with higher numbers indicating safer products. Here we can see a number of deodorants with 10/green ratings.

How to find natural beauty and personal care products using GoodGuide.

The cool thing about GoodGuide is it also includes information (when available) about the effectiveness of a product, making it even easier to find products that are safe and effective!

Where Do I Buy This Stuff?

Amazon

Amazon is a great place to buy natural beauty and personal care products. Simply use the search function or categories to find your product and be sure to sort by “Avg. Customer Review.” There are so many crappy natural products out there and by sorting by average customer review, you can be sure you’re seeing products that actually work.

How to find natural beauty and personal care products on Amazon.

In this case I would check out “Amazon’s Choice” products like Schmidt’s Lavender + Sage Deodorant and “Bestsellers”.

Well.ca

Well.ca is my favourite place for natural beauty and personal care products. Simply go to their “Green & Natural” section, filter down to the kind of product you want. Similar to Amazon, sort by “Popularity” to ensure that you’re seeing the most effective products first.

How to find natural beauty and personal care products on Well.ca.

 

Make Sure They Aren’t Fooling You!

Once you find a product that you like, you’ll want to double check that it’s actually natural and better for you! Many companies make false claims just to get you to buy their products. You can: * Search CosDNA or “Analyze Cosmetics” * Find it on EWG Skin Deep or build your own report * Search GoodGuide

In this case, I’m going to check out the Schmidt’s deodorant because I see it on Good Guide and it has 4.5 stars (37 reviews) on Well.ca and 4 stars (99 reviews) on Amazon

Look! All of the ingredients are a 1!

How to find natural beauty and personal care products using CosDNA.

With good reviews and a green light on CosDNA, I would definitely feel comfortable buying and using this product.

What are you favourite clean beauty products?  Where do you buy them?

How To Find Clean Beauty Products That Work

6 Self-Help Books That Changed My Life (And What’s Next on My Reading List)

6 Self Help Books That Changed My Life

I’ve always seen reading as an act of self care. When you find a book with characters and a setting that you love, it’s so easy to just escape and relax. But I’m not talking about narratives today. Today I’m talking about good ole’ self-help books.

Whether you’re a veteran of the wellness world or just dipping your toes into the water, there’s always more to learn about living and happy and healthy life. So without further adieu, here are my favourite self-help books. I hope you love them and find them as helpful as I do!

6 self-help books that changed my life (and what's next on my reading list).
Rhonda Byrne

The Secret

I think it’s fitting to begin with the first self-book I ever read (thanks Mom!). This book dives into to the Law of Attraction – the idea that everything you think about and everything you experience in life is brought about by the magnetic power of your thoughts. Like attracts like and what you think about, you bring about. The “Secret” is how you can use the Law of Attraction in every aspect of your life – including getting sweet parking spots.
6 self-help books that changed my life (and what's next on my reading list).
Gabrielle Bernstein

Spirit Junkie

In her memoir former party girl, Gabrielle Bernstein, makes the spiritual teachings of A Course in Miracles super accessible. By telling her own spiritual journey, she shows us how to tap into our spirits to overcome the blocks to happiness that are already inside of us. By shifting our perceptions, we can overcome our fears and see our lives in a whole new way.
6 self-help books that changed my life (and what's next on my reading list).
Gabrielle Bernstein

May Cause Miracles

In her third book, Gabrielle Bernstein, gives us a 40 day guide to reprogramming our fearful thoughts and live lives of abundance, acceptance, appreciation and happiness. By examining the root causes of our fears and allowing gratitude, forgiveness, and love to flow through us, we can shift our perspective and attract positive energy into all aspects of our lives, including our relationships, finances, bodies, and self-image.
6 self-help books that changed my life (and what's next on my reading list).
Glennon Doyle Melton

Carry On, Warrior

I’m not a mom but I loved this book. By sharing her own story, Glennon Doyle Melton from Momastery.com invites us to stop making the idea of motherhood, marriage and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard. Instead she invites us to let go of the idea of perfection, believe in ourselves and to be brave and kind. “We can do hard things” is still one of my personal mantras.
6 self-help books that changed my life (and what's next on my reading list).
Brené Brown

Daring Greatly

Dr. Brené Brown shows us that while being vulnerable is uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous, when we step back and examine our lives, nothing is as uncomfortable or dangerous as wondering what it would be like if we had shown up. Daring Greatly invites us to be courageous and lean into the discomfort of vulnerability to transform the way we live, love, parent and lead.
6 self-help books that changed my life (and what's next on my reading list).
Danielle LaPorte

The Desire Map

The Desire Map is a holistic life-planning tool that will revolutionize the way you go after what you want in life. Instead of all the bucket lists, strategic plans, big dreams and goals that just burn you out, Danielle Laporte invites us to get clear on how you want to feel, and create practical goals to achieve your “core desired feelings” in every area of your life.

What’s next on my reading list?

6 self-help books that changed my life (and what's next on my reading list).
Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now

From the Publisher: Eckhart Tolle shows how our incessant thought creates the mental and emotional pain we experience. By introducing us to living fully in the present instead of being locked into regrets about our past, anxiety over our current situation, or worry about our future, he guides us into living in the “now,” where problems simply don’t exist. By awakening us to the spiritual dimension of our lives, The Power of Now enables us to embrace our true self, enter into peace of mind, and find joy in our everyday living.
6 self-help books that changed my life (and what's next on my reading list).
Brené Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection

From the Publisher: Brené Brown, Ph.D., a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares what she’s learned from a decade of research on the power of Wholehearted Living — a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.
In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough, and to go to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.

What are your favourite self-help books?

6 Self Help Books That Changed My Life Pin