Winter Pinks + Perfect Neutral Layering Vest

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I am one of the many people who tend to get really sad and gloomy during the winter time. I don’t wan to say that I have SAD, but I do usually opt to sit in front of my happy light for a little extra time at breakfast when I know that I’m facing a cold and miserable day without sun. When I first moved to Toronto I did a giant closet purge, and before I knew it I was left with only greys, blacks, and navys. While I love a good neutral colour, I realized that I missed my bright yellows, merry reds, and happy pastels. I’m slowly incorporating these hues back into my wardrobe and layering them with neutrals rather than being a neutral blob.

My mom gave me this perfect layering vest for Christmas and it is so soft! I usually wear an XS at Old Navy, but the Small actually fits really nicely. Consider sizing up if you are usually in between sizes.

My sister gifted me the holy grail of shoes – Pink Adidas. I literally didn’t even need to break these shoes in because they are MADE FOR MY FEET. I have high arches and long toes (weird), so sometimes shoes are just not shaped for my feet. These are perfect and I love that the colour is so delicate and unexpected. These shoes will be worn a lot in the winter months (when I’m not braving snowy sidewalks) and even more in the spring and summer time.

TOP: URBAN PLANET (OLD)

JEANS: DELIAS (SO YOU KNOW THEY ARE OLD)

LIPS: Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat “Pillow Talk” (You need this in your life)

Does adding pops of colour to your winter wardrobe combat the winter blues? I think it it is working so far!

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Best Disney Trip Ever + New Park Photos

Many people that know me also know that I love Disney.  It is a weird obsession since I am also very anti-capitalism and somewhat of a Marxist (there I said it). I love Disney for the story telling and fantasy elements. There is something that connects us as humans and I believe it has a lot to do with how we connect ourselves to non-human elements such as magic, mermaids, and fairies. We love thinking of the impossible and dreaming of the future, and if that is what makes us more human and likeable then why would I push against it? When you are in Disney World, you are prone to become a blind consumer, but you also have a chance to shrug off worries and indulge your imagination (and your tummy).

When my family goes to Disney it is a working vacation. While there are times for relaxing, we push ourselves to experience as much of each park as possible. This last trip was especially difficult because we were all so tired from our every day lives (we all work pretty long hours). We did not see fireworks one time because by 7pm we were ready to take a real break before the next day started. Even though the crowds were chaotic and there was a chance that my husband and I got a touch of food poisoning, it was still the best trip that we have had in a very long time. Here are some of the highlights from our trip that hopefully you can enjoy too:

  1. Tower of Terror Video Tower Of Terror is one of my favorite rides, and now Disney uploads a video of your time on the ride! It will be on your photo pass for purchase and it is so fun to rewatch! I didn’t purchase mine…. but I did screen record it.
  2. Toy Story PicturesThe Toy Story area has some really cute places for pictures, my favorite being under this vintage sign. It makes me so excited for the Toy Story Land expansion!
  3. Pandora at NightPandora is the obvious draw to Animal Kingdom now and while most of the crowd headed there, we waited until dusk to visit. Seeing the land slowly light up was magical. Definitely go at sunset to catch the transition!
  4. Kona Cafe (Best Dessert!)We rarely stay on Disney property, which means we rarely explore the wonderful restaurants at the Disney resorts. This time I made it a priority to visit Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Village. The big draw is their breakfast, however their dessert was AMAZING. My Passion Fruit Coconut Mousse was so light and fruity. The best part was the portion. It was the perfect size after a big meal.
  5. Celebrating ButtonsWe we’re celebrating my sister’s graduation and also my 4th wedding anniversary so we decided to go by guest services and get some buttons. So many cast members congratulated us! Many people say you get free food and fast passes (which we didn’t), however it did make it feel even more like a celebration when cast members would say a kind congrats.
  6. Relaxing at EpcotOur last stop on the trip was at Epcot and it was such a slower pace than the other parks. Walking around World Showcase was just the remedy I needed after days of non-stop action. As usual, we at Tokyo Dining in Japan and the sushi was unbelievable. We love the interactions with cast members from different countries, so we made sure to talk to many in every country. Mikey in GB was the nicest and we could have talked with him all day.
  7. Christmas Decorations and ShowsSorry for the low res photos, but I had to include the Magic Kingdom Christmas tree and the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. We saw Chandra Wilson during the show and I cried because I was so happy.
  8. Behind the Seeds TourThis is a walking tour of Living with the Land. It was a gift for my parents and they LOVED it. I don’t have photos, but they highly recommend it!
  9. Making the best of the Weather in Animal Kingdom We has a cold spell on our AK day and we decided to take silly pictures on rides and get extra snacks. It’s little things like this that kept us from falling into the downward spiral that is apt to happen on any vacation. We saw many unhappy families and it was all the more important for us to keep good attitudes and not let the cold bother us.
  10. Visa Card Holder Photo Spot If you or a family member have a Disney Visa Credit card you can find the secret photo spot in Hollywood Studios and Epcot. There’s no line and it’s a surprise character depending on the day you visit. We met Kylo Ren (I was so sure it was going to be Rey) and it was so fun! Waiting for characters isn’t my jam, so walking right into a room with Kylo was my type of meet and greet (even though he was super intimidating).

That’s everything! It was a great trip and I hope to hear your favorite parts about Disney in a comment below!

New Year – New Goals // 2018 Resolutions

2017 was the first year that I actually set resolutions and stuck to a few of them. I made a note on my iPhone and revisited it constantly in order to get more motivation. I slacked on the fitness schedule and the reading for pleasure goals that I set for myself; HOWEVER, last year I also set the goal of drinking more water and eating MORE vegetables and learning to cook with veggies and I KILLED it.

I learned so many vegetarian and vegan recipes that I incorporate into my weekly menu and genuinely love. I also carried a water container with me nearly every day and  balanced by coffee intake with my water intake (drinking 1 cup coffee = have to drink 4 cups water). Both my gut health and skin health have changed drastically because of these two small changes.

This year I have more goals and resolutions that the last, but I am willing to stick to them after my mild success from last year.

Here is my list!

Spend time with friends and family – this goal is mainly set because I am getting into studying for exams and writing my dissertation. I tend to go full dark no stars in the most unsocial of ways, and I want to make sure that my loved ones do not feel neglected or like I am putting them really far down on my priority list. Quality time is one of my main love languages, and I want to focus on planning that quality time rather than waiting on it to happen.

  1. Take initiative to make phone calls and Marco Polo calls (new favorite video app)
  2. Make date nights 2x a month and take advantage of NEW places to eat
  3. More game nights with friends
  4. 30 minute walk with Ollie every day

Travel – travel is something that I LUST for but cannot afford. I have these dreams of going on 2 week escape trips to the Swiss Alps or the streets of India; however, those big beautiful places will have to wait. This year I’m focusing on continental travel and my main goals are to visit Chicago and Boston. I would like to also start planning a trip to Scotland for 2019. I’ll be pinning a bunch of ideas on my travel board on Pinterest.

 Create 5 recipes – cooking has become my de-stresser activity. I love creating new flavors and experimenting, but I never write down any of my successful dishes and rarely remember how I made them. This year I want to focus on taking time to finely tune some of the recipes that I throw together often, but have yet to perfect. I would also LOVE to create the perfect martini for my household. Everyone has their own taste in what makes a good martini, and I want to make one that has a twist that is unique to me and my husband. Stay tuned!

Budget apps – I hate online banking. I despise it for no apparent reason and sometimes its embarassing to admit that I literally do not touch our finances if I do not have to. I like to think that I am a budgeter, but the gospel truth is that I simply spend what I have to and rarely splurge. That is NOT budgeting. I’m looking into apps that track your spending and also help you to save. Hopefully this helps me to begin taking care of my finances a little better. Have any suggestions? Leave a comment!

Volunteer – I have always had an excuse to not volunteer: I’m too busy. It turns out that several organizations, including ones at my own church, only need 2 hours per week and its very schedule oriented. This is time that I take to watch Netflix or literally do nothing at all. That changes this year. On December 23rd I sent an application into my local UN and I also have some plans to volunteer with cultural institutional promotions in Toronto too.

Take a self defence course Do I even need to explain this one?

Decorate Bedroom – Right now my bedroom feels so old and drab. It is not cozy in the least bit. Rest is very important to me, but there are points where I feel stifled when I’m trying to relax in a space that seems impossible to relax in. I would love to rethink the aesthetic of the space and also try to keep it more clean throughout the week.

Instagram master – I truly admire anyone who has a clean and polished instagram feed.  I love the idea of having a theme, but I never have enough patience to really work for it. This year I want to focus on creating a theme every season and sticking to it. I know that this takes time to create content and edit it and I am willing to do it for the gram. 

Blogilates – This is a goal that is coming from my routine at the end of 2017. I started watching Cassey Ho on Youtube and I love her channel. Her workouts are simple and short, but I can easily stack them if I have a free 30 minutes. Her recipes are also very delicious and I love trying her easy lunch options! I normally do videos, but she also has a ton of blogilates graphics that are easy workouts too. My goal is to do her 28 day challenge in  January and then workout for 30 minutes every other day with her videos and graphics. It is free and you can do it at home, so why not?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mixed Textures – Chenille Under $15

I’m a very tactile person and always have been. When I was younger my parents would tell me to put my hands in my pockets at stores, museums, the produce section (the list goes on) because I LOVE to touch. The recent emergence of soft fabrics, velvet camis, and silk pants have made me SO HAPPY but also so broke. This chenille sweater I found at Kohls and it’s as soft as a golden retriever puppy chasing a roll of triple ply. The texture is unique and easy to pair with your favorite wool coat, leather jacket, or silk scarf!

I paired it with this chic grey coat from Zara for a monochromatic look and my favorite knee high leather boots.

Sweater here

Coat here (similar)

Headband: @raritybycasey (Instagram)

Boots: old Vince Camuto

Prepping for Disney World When its Busy as HECK (week after Christmas,Spring Break, Summer)

Going to Disney World the Week after Christmas is one of the most daunting, frustrating, rewarding, and high energy things I have every done. My family and I can really only go together during this week due to super busy schedules and living in different countries, but we have turned it into a yearly ritual for nearly 5 years now. We have learned A LOT of tips, tricks, do’s and don’ts about visiting WDW during this chaotic period, and I wanted to share them with you… just in case you need extra assurance that it will indeed be worth it (believe me, it will). If you are going in March or Summer then these may be good tips for you too!

  • Minimize number of bags

    • As you would expect, Disney is very vigilant in checking all guests with bags. I like this policy, but it can really sap the amount of time you have when the park first opens.
    • For example, if you are a family of 4, then try packing 2 bags instead of 4 and taking turns carrying them.
    • Always have all pockets and pouches open when you go through bag check. They will ask to see inside every nook and cranny of the bag. And make sure to say Thank you!
  • Stay all day

  • If you have kids this may not be an option. Having a mid day nap is NECESSARY for kids and sometimes adults too whenever tensions are running high (in both good and bad ways) for such a long amount of time. However,  if you do leave the park (even park hopping) there is a good chance you will not be able to get back in if it reaches the max capacity. This rarely happens, but if you are visiting during a peak day (like New Years Eve for instance), it may be a good idea to stay put and find a rest area where you and your family can take a chance to just chill together. See below for rest area ideas!
  • Fastpasses

  • Did you know that Magic bands can be purchased and used even if you are not staying on the Disney property? Well, they can! You can purchase them online and link them to your tickets 24 hours before you arrive at WDW. The magic band is your key to setting up fast passes and easy entry onto rides. Here’s the rides I recommend to use FP for in the different parks:
  • Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain. Less Thrills but just as fun: Buzz Lightyear Ranger Spin, Dumbo, Teacups or Haunted Mansion 
  • Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, or Rockin Rollercoaster, Star Wars

  • Animal Kingdom: Safari, Flight of Passage, Everest 
  • Epcot: Soarin or Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Mission Space
  • Take Advantage of Rest Areas 

    • The parks are fully of areas to chill and relax, even during the most hectic of times! Here’s some of my favorite places to rest my feet and regroup with the fam:
      • Magic Kingdom:Rapunzel Tower and Tangled Restrooms – a great rest stop that includes phone charging stations! You can relax and take in the view of the floating lanterns and even look for Pascal(s) in the little creek!
      • Hollywood Studios: Sunset Showcase – this is a hidden GEM. It is air conditioned. There are restrooms. There is seating. And sometimes there are characters inside having an awesome dance party! Located behind Rockin Roller Coaster.
      • Animal Kingdom: Rafiki’s Planet Watch – while this is an attraction, I find that it is very low key. I love animals, and this is your chance to hear about all of the love they get at Disney!
        • Dinoland – Don’t let all of the bright colors, sounds, and hulabaloo fool you. Dinoland has a few tables and chairs to sit and relax! The carnival atmostphere is not the most relaxing, but if you’re just looking for a place to gather your family or your thoughts, this may be just the place.
      • Epcot:Canada Vision: the Canada pavilion is GORGEOUS. Take a walk back to see the water falls and don’t miss the showing of Canada vision -a panoramic display of all that Canada has to offer (it’s one of my favorite hidden spots!)
        • Bridge in Venice, Italy: This is a great place to stop and eat some gelato. The bridge has a great view of spaceship earth and it is so relaxing to stop and take in the world showcase from this vantage point.
        • Porch at Tapan Edo: this porch has a special place in my heart. It is in this place that my husband (on his first visit to Disney), told me that he actually liked it. I was afraid he would hate all of Disney World around the busy season (he doesn’t like crowds), but we took time to rest and center ourselves in Japan.  This place is also great for viewing the fireworks!
  • Portable Phone chargers 

    • Data and Phones are the essential tool for navigating Disney world. Between checking the WDW app, taking pictures, and keeping in touch with your party, your phone battery will probably want to give up before it is time for fireworks. Packing 2 portable chargers is a game changer and assures that no one will get a low battery notification. Disney also sells portable charger sticks in the parks that you can exchange repeatedly. Use up all the charge in your stick? Just go get a new one! It’s pretty genius, but the chargers do cost about $30 each (which is more than one you could get in the dollar section at Target).
  • Take time to look at Decorations

    • Disney always has special decorations around the holidays, and though you will be astounded when y seem pretty amazing at first glance it is easy to forget to stop and appreciate them as you travel throughout the parks.
    • During the rest of the year: Epcot’s festivals (The Food and Wine festival in the fall and the Flower and Garden festival in the spring) also have amazing decorations. Don’t let them pass you by!
  • Weather 

    • While we all associate Disney with sunshine, it can be pretty unpredictable. If you are going in the winter, never assume it will be WARM. One year we were in near triple digit weather, and the next it was almost below freezing before noon! Always check to see if there is a cold front coming through or if it is likely to rain before heading to the parks! Packing an extra jacket, poncho, and pair of pants can really save you on spending extra money if there is a sudden change in weather.
  • Don’t Miss the Holiday Shows:

    • Have you seen the Cinderella castle at night around the holidays? It is fantastic. The fireworks show around Christmas and New Years is extra special because the castle is extremely festive and makes for a great picturesque moment to top off your day at MK. You MUST stay for the show and to see the castle in all of its glory.
    • Jingle Bell Jingle BAM! at Hollywood Studios is a very sweet and festive show. It is very geared around Christmas, and I have heard rumors that they make it snow! I have never been to the show myself and regret it since it has such a great reputation in the Disney community.

That’s it! I hope that this helps to alleviate any potential stress of visiting Disney when it is very crowded. It is still magical when you have to share it with extra people, and I hope that reading these tips helps you to experience the magic to the fullest!

Laneige Mini Holiday Hydration Kit

The Holidays are my favorite time to try out skin care products because of all the variety and value sets that are released at Sephora and Ulta. I usually have my eye on a few products and brands that I want to take for a test drive, and this year I was dying to try the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask. I have heard great things from Youtubers and stalked so many glowing reviews about this mask, but I was still skeptical of how hydrating it could actually be and if it was really worth the $33 price tag. The Hydration Kit is a perfect starter for the brand and also  comes with the exact product I wanted to try — I bought it instantly. 

I have been testing these products for 2 weeks in order to give an experienced review. The online blurb at Sephora boasts of super hydration as well as aiding dullness and uneven texture.  After using the products, I can definitely attest to the hydration. My skin is usually quite dry in the winter (especially in windy Toronto). The toner and the water essence feel so luxurious after I wash my face; however, the moisture cream is by far my favourite night time moisturizer that I have ever used. It is light, creamy, easy to spread across my face, and also smells like a spa I could never afford.

The Water Sleeping Mask is truly magnificent. It doesn’t feel sticky on your face or leave a bad residue when you wake up in the morning (although I do recommend washing your face off before applying any other product). I can tell a difference in the hydration of my skin, and I also think that it has helped my under eyes perk up as well. I usually don’t shell out for facemasks, but this mask feels like it is a SUPER EXPENSIVE product. Paying 33 dollars feels like a steal because of how elegant and pampering it feels.  

As you can see, the samples do look small. The toner will definitely run out quickly if I use it every day; however, the cream products will last a long time. A little goes a long way.  This set is only available online and I would give it 5 stars in an instant. Each product works well together as a system, but I have no doubt that the mask and moisture cream would be great staples for any skin care routine, especially if you like to treat your self. I can’t wait to try more from Laneige!

Outfit of the Day: Wonder Woman Bound

Do you ever wake up and realize that you will need more than just a venti coffee to get you through the day? This has happened very often to me this season. One of the most recent discouragements is waking up every day and seeing a headline of a new outed celebrity assault on women. These headlines make me cringe and in some ways feel on edge I venture out into a male dominated work place. I’ve experienced blatant sexism and also several remarks about the way I look: too young. It seems as if equality and empowerment are pipe dreams sometimes.

When I saw this little collar clip on Instagram I knew I had to have it. While it’s only a mere accessory, it’s the perfect material reminder of my inner strength. Wonder Woman is one of the most inspiring figures for me, especially since the recent film. I watched Justice League growing up, but I didn’t find her character as empowering in cartoon form. Maybe I just took her for granted? The newest depiction of Diana is the exact encouragement I need — to always seek truth and justice.

I adore the vintage vibe of this clip. My outfit is definitely more a “Wonder Woman bound”, and I think the clip could be toned down with a simple cardigan and camisole. In any case, it is definitely one of my favorite and most unique purchases I’ve made in a long time.