5 Drugstore Buys I Swear By Right Now

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I love beauty products of all stripes and lately have been more interested in protecting and caring for my skin. Lots of time in airports, wedding planning stress, moving from dry climates to humid climates and late nights have made my skin very dry and sensitive so I have been on the look out for gentle, soothing products. I also love the thrill of finding a great drugstore product. Actually even though there are a few designer brands I love I tend to be more of a drug store girl anyway, what can I say! So without further ado, here are my latest drugstore finds. These are all under $10 and have helped my poor weather beaten skin get back to itself.

1.) Garnier Moisture Bomb Super Hydrating Sheet Mask (about €2/$4)

Sheet masks are all the rage and this is one of the best ones I’ve tried period. I was reluctant to try this range because usually “anti-oxidant” claims in beauty products are bogus as there’s not much proof that they do much and even if they do the amount of active ingredients found in most products are too small to really do anything. That said this is one of my favourite masks at the moment. Even high end masks didn’t leave my skin as moisturized as this one did. If you have dry skin this is a must try.

2.) Barry M Mist and Fix Make Up Setting Spray (about $6)

I’ll be honest with you…I’m not sure that make up setting sprays do all they say they do. BUT this drug store version comes in under $6 (I got mine at ASOS) and my skin has been more hydrated than ever and my make up lasts all day. Plus it claims to protect from pollution and comes in matte and dewy versions.

3.) Co. Bigelow Lip Cream (about $6 at Bath and Body Works) 

I am obsessed with these lip creams, they smell (and taste, strangely enough) amazing and are intensely moisturizing. Right now I’m using the Lemon and Pomegranate version and I can’t get enough.

4.) L’Oreal Fine Flower Gel Cream Wash (about €4/$6)

This delicate face wash removes everything including make up and leaves my skin super soft. Plus I love the  vintage-y packaging and scent.

5.) Dove Chamomile Dry Spray (about $6)

I mean…what can you say about antiperspirant?? This one smells amazing, lasts all day and like Dove’s other products contains moisturizing ingredients so you don’t feel itchy and uncomfortable.

Happy skin care everyone! ❤

Spring Equinox and Intentions for Spring

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The first time I really thought about spring as a time of renewal was in my first year English class in University. We were studying Chaucer. The second time was during Fallas when I lived in Valencia. It seems odd to me that those were the first times I really gave it much thought considering I grew up celebrating Easter and come from a country with very distinct seasons where a gentle spring is a much needed reprieve from long, hard winters. Still sometimes it takes another perspective to really make us think. Modern Christian traditions don’t tend to focus on the earth and nature but, city girl that I am, the smells of spring, the longer days and warmer weather, the promise of more time spent out doors make me feel closer to God/the world/the Universe. Fallas is a festival where, besides drinking and dancing the night away, Valencians construct massive structures representing political and cultural figures and norms and after parading them through the streets, set them on fire. The symbolism of irreverence for politics and culture, and spring cleaning and of course just having a lot of fun wasn’t lost on me. This spring I need to be more patient, to enjoy the moment and to find ways to make the world a better place.

The sun is shining here in Ireland but there are dark clouds too and bursts of rain and isn’t that what spring and growth are about? When we grow and learn it isn’t painless, the darkness is there but like any birth or rebirth there is pain but there is joy too.

On that note here are my intentions for spring:

1.) To not throw away any food

2.) To buy what’s in season

3.) To spend time in nature

4.) To meditate more

5.) To continue to learn

6.) To spring clean

7.) To make a habit of taking breaks from social media

8.) To spend money conscientiously

9.) To listen to others, especially to voices that aren’t often heard in mainstream media

10.) To love

Lastly I leave out with your this quote fromfaithandworship.com

May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.

What are your spring intentions? How do you want to make the world better this spring, this year?

Five “30 Day Challenges” You Can Start Right Now

I know we’re already almost through February but if you’re like me this is always a hard month. As Jane Austen says in Emma

“May was better for everything than February “

I read a while ago that if you are feeling stuck in life a good way to make your life feel more interesting is to take a 3o day challenge. That is, do something every day for 30 days. It can be as simple as taking a picture or writing everyday or running daily in preparation for your next marathon (that will not be me, but hey,  there’s something for everyone). Personally I’ve been on a quest lately to finish books I’ve started but for whatever reason abandoned (generally because I still hate experimental literature even though I keep thinking I will like it if I just keep trying it, a thing that has sadly not happened). I have also recenetly started the following five challenges.

picture in post about 30 day challenges

1.) Grow some herbs
Small herb plants are available in almost every grocery store so next time you are buying your wine  groceries why not pick one up. Plants are good for your house, good for you and good for the environment. Plus growing something green makes spring seem less far away.

2.)Practice or learn a language
I studied German and Spanish in University and those are some of my fondest memories from that time. I also spent a lot of time reading in those languages and watching films in them.  Some people have criticised the simplicity of the idea that “learning a language equals learning a culture” but I found that immersing myself in a language gave me a different perspective and helped me feel more compassionate. So I’m hoping to make a practice of spending a few minutes s a day reading, watching films or listening to music in another language. Netflix has an okay to good variety of foreign films and watching one, even in a language you don’t know or haven’t studied can be a mind opening experience.

3.)Pick a person to keep in your thoughts
I originally saw this on a religious website and so its focus was on prayer but I think this can be adapted any which way. The idea is to pick a person, especially someone we may find difficult to get along with, forgive or be jealous of and keep them in our thoughts, try to see things from there perspective and try to cultivate compassion for them. I have selected two people in my life and am focusing on being kinder to them and wishing the best for them.

4.)Start a creative project
When we are creating we are our best selves but sometimes when we talk about creativity we imagine that it means writing a masterpiece or creating some meaningful modern art. I disagree. Creating can mean working on a project for the house, working on a business plan, doing a paint by number, writing five minutes a day, knitting a scarf, playing with those instagram filters or trying a new make up look. Make time, even a few minutes a day to do something creative that you love.I am personally still working on my pom pom pillow which was way more work than anticipated. That “DIYs you can do in a weekend” article was full of lies!

5.)Learn more about an issue
If you’re like me you are weary of the world these days. Everything seems  impossibly bad and there are many things to be worried about. Of course it is possible to and indeed vital that we care about all of them and all the time but sometimes it is useful to focus on one issue and learn as much about it as possible.Learning gives us focus and helps us better fight  prejudice. Now more than ever we need to take time, even if it’s 15 minutes or half an hour a day to learn, fight and stand up for what’s right and in doing so make it an every day practice. I have been listening to the Colour Code Podcast which deals with racism in Canada and have found it very useful in understanding Canadian issues and giving me tools to address it in my own life.

Well February is over in 5 days so we’ve made it through this month, hopefully we can go into spring with renewed energy and strength to make the world better and live our best lives.

 

 

10 Things I Always Pack

Are you going somewhere warm this winter? I’m not, sadly. I’ve never been much of a snow bird, although we all know I enjoy the sun. Anyway, when I travel I generally pack everything I own. I love my clothes and that’s no joke. I also have my “look”. However I know that it is generally not looked upon favorably to bring everything you own so these are my ten picks for that effortless style that always seems to be evading me.

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1.) Maxi skirt
I love my maxi skirt because with sneaky leggings underneath it’s quite warm but without it’s cool enough even for hot Spain. With a floaty top and accessories I’ve worn it on nights out and with a simple top and sunglasses it’s good for sightseeing. Basically I’d wear it anywhere.

2.) Black flats
I love high heels. I have a lot and they cost more than I reasonably should have spent on them given how much I wear them. However in most European cities heels for a night out area no-no. European fashion generally means trying to look like you don’t really care and are too busy living your life to care about fashion. Of course you do care

3.) Extra moisturizer
Someone once said to me that it doesn’t matter if you spend five minutes on a plane or seven hours you feel like you need a shower afterwards. Truer words were never spoken. Likewise if you have dry skin (even if you don’t, to be honest) the recycled air and the general stress of travelling means dehydrated skin. I load up my bag with moisturizers and soothing lip cremes.

4.) A big scarf
An unexpected cold night? Want to look  chic and French? Need an extra blanket? Something to sit on at the beach?  A scarf is so versatile, you can wear it on the plane so it doesn’t take up any room and it is good for any country.

5.)Small candle
A small candle can make any hostel, hotel room or new apartment feel like home. Enough said.

6.)Simple dress
Like the scarf a simple dress is a multitasking wonder. Over a bikini for the beach.  Add accessories and it’s good for that bar crawl or night out. Add gladiator sandals or flats and it’s good for a city day. If you go out for a “coffee” and end up in  a nightclub at 5am the next morning (a thing that has certainly never happened to me) you will still look chic.

7.)Perfume samples
I love perfume samples and always try to get them from anywhere, the department store, Sephora, you name it. I like variety (in perfumes, that is) so I can bring a lot of scents  with me and they can go in the carry on.

8.)Basic black t-shirt
I guess versatility is the name of the game here. I like a black shirt because it can, like basically everything else I’ve listed, can go anywhere. Maybe not the beach but certainly anywhere elsed.

9.)A book
You never know when the day will come when it’s too cold to leave your hostel/hotel or you want some much needed down time. And when you’re done you can find a bar or hostel that has a book swap and discover something new to read. Definitely don’t bring more than one though because your suitcase will be heavy enough with all your outfits. Unless you have mastered this capsule wardrobe business in which case pack all the books you want.

10.)Something floaty
My look is a bit boho but I really recommend a floaty cardigan or long vest. You can wear them with almost anything and they can spruce up a plain outfit. Also good for when you want to pretend you are a wealthy recluse/1920’s former starlet/Game of Thrones character.

A January To-Do List For Your Empty Bank Account

Hello friends and happy January! Are your jeans  yoga pants a bit tight after the holidays and are you using your debit card with your fingers crossed? Yes and yes are my answers. So, on that note I’ve compiled a few activities to tide us over until things return to normal!

1.) Organise your beauty supply
If you’re like me you have drawers and cupboards full of products. I love beauty subscription boxes and tend to collect small products from hotels since I can’t stand the thought of them being wasted. Organise yourmeandlarryyestercolour make up collection, throw anything that’s out of date a way, give everything a good cleaning and then make it a mission to use up
your oldest products first. You might even discover a lipstick you forgot you had (at least that happens to me fairly often)

2.) Organise your finances
Make a budget, define your goals for 2017, make a debt payment chart anything to get you back on track!

3.)Go outside
If you aren’t heading anywhere this winter there is always something to do in your hometown. My bf and I have a special affinity for finding and loving hole-in-the-wall places and dive bars so we discovered a few of those in my city, we wandering the market  and also went to a museum and gallery. If that’s not your style you could go for a walk, have a winter picnic or get all your blankets and candles, get a book and curl up in bed.

4.)Have a broke dinner party
Everyone makes something with their leftovers and you feast! Don’t forget the leftover wine/gin/etc.

5.) Dramatically leave social media
Do as the celebs do and unplug for an hour/a day/a week/ a month whatever you’re up to. It’s good for our mental health to take a break from the constant stream of news and the perfectly cleaned up versions of everyone’s lives. Take some time to escape, to think of all the good things you did this year and to think about what your hopes and dreams are for this coming year.

6.)Pinterest your goals
If unplugging isn’t for you, get some tea/coffee/wine, download a new screensaver for your phone and make a pinterest board of the things you want or are dreaming of for this year. Pin recipes to try, projects to make (if you’re into that) decor tips for your apartment/house/room, affirmations, money or career goals, a destination you would like to visit or absolutely anything you can think of. Years ago I read that planning a trip makes you almost as happy as actually taking one so daydreaming is an important way to spend your time. Thinking about what you really want can also help you take steps to get it. When I looked over my boards for 2016 I realised that what I want from life is much clearer and simpler than I thought.

However you spend your January, here’s hoping it’s a good one!

50 Things I Did In 2016

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I hope everyone has had a wonderful and renewing festive season, however you spent it. The holidays are over and 2016 is nearly at a close so in the spirit of celebrating every victory no matter how small I’ve made this list of things I’ve done this year. Some are big, some are small,some are mundane, but all are  things that made this year what it was.

black heart 1 learned to poach and egg
black heart 2 bought flowers for myself
black heart 3 stuck with an exercise plan
black heart4 visited Sligo
black heart 5 visited a  new country (Denmark)
black heart 6 paid off my student loans
black heart 7 took an online writing course (at Skillshare)
black heart 8 and a fashion one  (at Udemy)
black heart 9  wrote more love letters and thank you notes
black heart 10 tried new lip colours
black heart 11 read 30 books
black heart  12 started this blog
black heart 13 watched more documentaries
black heart 14 re-watched The Gilmore Girls
black heart 15 reduced other debts
black heart 16 completed the 52 Lists Project journal
black heart 17 baked cookies
black heart 18 donated to charity regularly
black heart 19 improved my relationship
black heart 20 made a clam bake
black heart 21 went wild camping
black heart 22 spent more time on spiritual pursuits
black heart 23 went on a winter picnic
black heart 24 wrote more
black heart 25 and took more photos
black heart 26 went on a hike
black heart 27 visited Belfast
black heart 28 and Madrid
black heart 29 learned new make-up techniques
black heart 30 visited Oxford
black heart 31 went to a music festival
black heart 32 made something from my must-try board on pinterest
black heart 33 knit a blanket
black heart 34 discovered 2 Dope Queens and My Dad Wrote A Porno
black heart 35 made risotto for the first time
black heart 36 danced
black heart 37 went to the ballet
black heart38 and saw more plays
black heart 39 took a social media course
black heart 40 made a Thai curry for the first time
black heart 41  met new people
black heart 42 put more effort into recycling and caring for nature
black heart 43 finished Wuthering Heights (finally)
black heart 44 wrote more thank you notes too!
black heart 45 kicked my sugar addiction
black heart 46 and ate more healthy overall
black heart 47 tried a glittery eyeshadow
black heart 48 bought vintage shoes and adult jewelry (that is, not costume jewelry)
black heart 49 planned many dream trips
black heart  50 learned more about myself

A Pre-Holiday Reading List

black-and-white-christmas-starThe holidays are very important for my family and I and I always look forward to them. Getting dressed up, setting the table, eating dinner together and opening my stocking Christmas morning are some of my favourite things. But whatever holiday you celebrate-or don’t- most of us have a few days off and so I’ve compiled a reading list to get us through the holidays and into the new year.

One of the most important things I’ve learned this year is that sometimes it’s important to take a break from political discussions and especially that I as a white person need to understand that other people don’t always need to talk about the big issues. Even more importantly I’ve learned that the ultimate goal of any activism is to bring people (of course I mean people that can be changed not hate groups) into the fold not to alienate them.

In Let Us Love The Hell Out Of This World Chris Crass writes something I found very helpful. He writes:

And this practice isn’t just about being more kind and loving towards each other.  It’s a practice of moving us from a place of primarily seeing shortcomings and feeling defeated, towards seeing possibilities to become the organizations, communities, activists, leaders, and campaigns we need, in order to win.  It’s a practice of being able to see and name steps that people and groups are taking to move us towards our goals, and affirming the work making that happen.  It’s a practice of bringing people along rather then shutting them down and it helps prepare us to not just be protesters of the injustices of existing society, but to be co-creators of the society we are working towards.

On a lighter note look to  The Fresh Exchange-Setting The Table for some beautiful and simple table decor ideas. Or if you’re a Francophile this article will help you bring out your inner Parisian.  11 Secrets The French Know About Holiday Entertaining That You Don’t (from My Domaine) And if you want some astrological advice to help you navigate this week the Astro Twins have you covered. Astro Twins Weekly Horoscope

If you’re a knitter like me, might I suggest the seed stitch? It’s so easy you can do it while binging the Gilmore Girls. A seed stitch scarf looks good one everyone and is perfect for wearing untied (apparently the must wear style for this winter) or bundled up if you live in  colder climate. How To Knit Seed Stitch-Craftsy

I’m a longtime Star Wars fan and can’t wait to see Rogue One. However, I agree with this Vulture piece when it says that Star Wars is not appropriate  as a political metaphor.

Therein lies the special danger of seeing politics through Star Wars. The series is a manifesto for anti-incumbent fury, screaming that the good people never have enough power and the bad people always have too much. When you see yourself as definitionally outgunned, purity of conviction starts to seem like your most valuable weapon — hardly the healthiest way to be a citizen.

Vulture-Be Wary of Star Wars’ Politics of Violence

In case you missed it, this Teen Vogue piece is some of the most insightful and helpful commentary yet.  Teen Vogue-Donald Trump is Gaslighting America

I’m at home in Canada for Christmas and it is a winter wonderland here. Beautiful though it may be these minus 40 degree temperatures have me dreaming of the Mediterranean. This blog post is full of beautiful pictures of Positano, Italy to inspire your next trip or take your mind to far off places. 22 Things To Do In Positano-We Are Travel Girls

I’m no fan of the “if you skip your morning coffee you’ll be a millionare” line of thinking towards money, which does appear from time to time on Young Adult Money. That said, paying off debt, giving more to charity and buying ethically are on my to do list for 2017 and this list has some helpful tips.Young Adult Money-100 Goals To Focus On For A Successful Year

Last but not least, the end of the year is a time for reflection so as 2016 draws to a close let’s remember the good things, the way we’ve changed and think about how we can do better personally and globally for 2017. Gala Darling-10 Questions To Ask Yourself To End 2016 Feeling Positive And Powerful

Let’s go into the holidays and the new year with love and compassion for ourselves and for others.