how using facial serums changed my lazy skincare life

I’ve always admired women with advanced skincare routines. I think skincare is a really special way to show love to yourself - taking care of your skin can be relaxing and rejuvenating. despite my admiration, I am incredibly lazy. I consistently forget all of the steps of successful skincare and I'm embarrassed to admit that I’m the queen of the makeup wipe strategy. 

as I’ve gotten older my skin has certainly gotten duller, and as I’ve said before I have insanely dry skin. I’d done some research on strategies for brightening and moisturizing your face (without making it oily), so was thrilled when Eden Semilla offered to let me try their facial serums. 

serums are a skincare product used between cleanser and moisturizer. there are many types of serums out there but they all push strong, effective ingredients directly into your skin. there are serums for aging, serums for acne, serums for dry skin, serums for brightening... knowing which serum is right for your skin can feel like a puzzle, but the serums that Eden’s Semilla sent me seemed to have exactly the right ingredients for all of my skincare needs. here are my main takeaways:

eden semilla’s serums are akin to superfood for the skin. being a dry-skinned, lazy, skincare-curious woman, these serums were incredibly easy to add into my skincare routine (which consisted literally of cleanser and moisturizer). just using their hyaluronic serum in the morning and their vitamin c serum in the evening gave me all of the benefits I wanted with minimal effort. they really pack a punch, but they’re also organic! I have really sensitive skin, so it was comforting to know these products are paraben-free, natural, and vegan.

hyaluronic acid is fantastically useful for helping skin retain moisture. I didn’t realize how much these serums were doing for my face until I stopped using them for about 5 days. by the time late morning or mid-afternoon struck on each of those days, my skin was left feeling dry and tight, craving the moisture rich-results the hyaluronic acid delivered. hyaluronic acid is clincally shown to help the skin retain moisture, so without it my moisturizer essentially formed a barrier on top of my skin; these serums improved the effectiveness of my moisturizer, allowing moisture to permeate deeply beyond my skin's outer layer.

vitamin c is essential for anti-aging effects. it’s no secret that skin loses its elasticity as time goes on, and beauty gurus everywhere say that by your mid-twenties you should be protecting your skin as it begins to lose its shape and strength. vitamin c is required for collagen production; using the vitamin c serum at night on my bare face allows the serum to work its super-hydrating and cellular-repairing magic. these powerful ingredients are delivered right to the skin, and the result is brighter, firmer and healthier looking skin. I don’t feel like I have a lot of wrinkles, but I want to keep it that way!

both of these serums have become must-use for me in just a matter of weeks. after taking a brief break from using them, I could visibly see and legitimately feel the difference… plus, when using one additional product provides so many benefits, it fits right into my lazy-girl skincare routine! these have easily become a part of my permanent skincare routine.

what is your skincare superfood? do you use serums?

3 tips to combat dry skin this winter

I secretly love winter. I love hot coffee, giant blanket scarves, and big, fluffy snowflakes. in Alberta winter is 6 months long, so it’s best to embrace the season - I learned to love it. after spending years in this province I’d hoped my skin would have learned to embrace winter too, but it still craves the humid, coastal British Columbian air that I grew up on. 

since winter is more of a lifestyle than a season in Alberta, I’ve had to come up with strategies to deal with my excessively dry, itchy, eczema-prone skin. today I’ll be sharing a few of my most effective tips to avoid cracked, sore, dry skin this winter. 

use oils / I like heavenly-scented moisturizers as much as the next girl, but moisturizers don’t effectively permeate every layer of your skin. when I learned about this I began researching alternatives to the typical lotions I'd been using. Eden’s Semilla was kind enough to send me a few of their oils in exchange for a review - and it has been an absolute game changer for my eczema. after I shower or spend a long period of time outside, I use Vitamin E Oil on the driest areas (for some reason, I get terrible eczema breakouts on my shins), and it has done me wonders! it’s keeping my breakouts at bay, leaving my skin soft and even healing some of my eczema scars! I actually don't think I'll ever go back to regular lotions after using it. on my face and hands, I’ve been using Organic Jojoba Oil. I was initially nervous about using an oil on my face (I was afraid of acne!), but jojoba oil is incredibly similar to the sebum our skin naturally produces. my face has been radiant, acne-free, and so soft since I started using this. 

get a humidifier / I’ve had a cold water humidifier for about two years now, and it makes a surprisingly big difference in my skin. I run it every night though the winter, and adding moisture into the air has made my skin as happy as it makes my plants. according to the internet, humidifiers can also keep colds at bay! I recommend getting a cold humidifier; the warm ones are more likely to encourage the growth of bacteria and need to be cleaned more often.

drink water / we know that drinking water is the best thing you can do for your entire body, but we often forget that water directly impacts the appearance and quality of the skin. while the water we drink is distributed to all of our organs and cells (our skin doesn’t perk up as soon as we drink a glass of water!), ensuring you’re always effectively hydrating your body will help your skin to appear more radiant and to feel less itchy. 

hopefully these tips will be helpful to you! please share in the comments below - what are your secrets for dealing with dry skin?

“Tutu

resolutions for 2017

happy new year! as cliche as it is, this time of year tends to be a time for personal reflection about the past year and goal setting for the year ahead. as an introspective lover of new beginnings, this is one of my favourite times of year. 

globally, 2016 was not one of the best years in history: we lost many incredible people, witnessed countless tragedies, and watched the world change in new and terrifying ways. on a personal level, however, 2016 was an incredible year. I grew tremendously as a person, got promoted at work, became comfortable facing my fears, and exercised bravery at every opportunity. I went on several transformative camping and hiking trips, took vacations with so many people I love, saw a few of my favourite artists in concert (including queen bey), and learned more about who I am and who I want to be. 

as I reflected on the growth I had in 2016, I had a really hard time setting resolutions for 2017. while I would normally set resolutions challenging myself to grow as a person, I just want to keep growing the way I have been. I want to keep facing my fears, keep confronting the parts of myself that need work, keep trying new things. I want to keep learning about who I am, and challenging myself to be better - every day. with that in mind, I didn't set personal growth goals for 2017… but I do have a few things I want to make happen!

read more. I love to read, but I never make time to do it and it’s often easier to switch on netflix than it is to pick up a book and use my brain. I set a challenge on goodreads to read 30 books this year! once I have new glasses this will be even easier.

learn to ski. when I was 13 I broke my kneecap in a stupidly embarrassing snowboarding accident. I’ve been terrified of snow sports since then, but I really want to get over that fear and learn to ski! I'm planning to take a few lessons at the local bunny hill (literally called rabbit hill!) and get in at least one day of skiing before the year is over.

go on a multi-day hike. since falling in love with hiking last summer, I’ve been thinking about pushing myself to do a multi-day backpacking back country trip. I already have one 10km in-and-out hike planned, and if it goes well I’ll be doing skyline trail in jasper late in the summer. 

finish my 101 list. my 101 list is set to wrap up in August of this year. although I temporarily forgot about this list altogether, I think I can still get the majority of the items crossed off before the finish line.

brush up on my french. I’m going to montreal, ottawa and quebec city in a few months and I want to feel a little more comfortable with conversational french. I’ve started using duolingo, and after taking the placement test I can see that I have my work cut out for me!

drink more water. I started using the app waterminder to track my water consumption and I’ve found that drinking adequate water has really helped with my weight-loss journey. right now I only seem to properly hydrate myself 50% of the time, so I need to improve in this area.

those are my very action-oriented new years resolutions for 2017! though I normally choose one word to meditate on throughout the year (2016’s word was brave), I haven’t selected one yet this year. I have a few ideas in mind, but I need more time to reflect on what I want as my theme for 2017. I’ll hopefully have a post about my word for 2017 in the coming weeks once I settle on one!

how was your 2016? what are your resolutions for 2017? do you believe in setting resolutions?

what I eat in a day: tasty vegan recipes for weight loss

I have a confession: I am embarrassingly obsessed with what I eat in a day videos on youtube. I can easily lose a few hours watching these videos and clicking through suggested videos, and I've discovered a lot of really cool vloggers and amazing recipes over the past several months. I don't know what the appeal of these videos is for me, but there is something so fascinating seeing what other people eat, and when I first went vegan these videos were incredibly helpful for me for inspiration. now that I'm focused more on my health and on weight loss, these videos are again a resource and an inspiration for my diet.

for awhile I've really wanted to film my own what I eat in a day video (and I even tried once!) but I found it so awkward to set up my phone to accurately capture myself cooking. instead, I decided to document a day on my plate in photos and blog about it! all of these recipes are vegan, easy to make, filling and delicious. over the past few months I've lost around 30 pounds so these recipes are overall fairly typical of what I would eat in a day to achieve my weight loss goals. 

breakfast: 8:45am

on this particular day, I worked out around 7am. I would normally eat before a workout, but because I had such an early workout I wasn't ready for food when I first woke up! as soon as I got home from the gym, I put on a small pot of coffee and a pan of oatmeal. once cooked, I topped the oatmeal with some fresh pomegranate seeds, a tablespoon of sunflower seeds and a splash of coconut milk. I always have silk french vanilla almond cream in my coffee, and I usually have 1-2 cups of coffee, and 1-2 cups of caffeine-free tea in the afternoon or evening.

snack: 11am

I forgot to take a picture before I ate my snack, but I ate a handful of red grapes and a piece of multigrain toast with natural peanut butter.

lunch: 1:30pm

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I'm a huge fan of soups, particularly creamy, hearty soups! this recipe is really simple but really hits the spot! take 4 cups of roughly chopped carrots and place them in a pot with 3-4 cups of vegetable stock and 1-2 cups of coconut milk. this time, I added about 1 cup of dry split red lentils to make it extra filling and to boost the protein content, but sometimes I'll throw in potatoes or sweet potatoes. I usually add garlic powder, some grated ginger and some himalayan pink salt, but you can add any of your favourite savoury seasonings. bring the pot to a boil and then reduce it to simmer and cover for 25 minutes, or until the carrots are soft. once finished, blend in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy. top with pepper and a dollop of coconut cream. I ate this with some savoury yam chips that I recently purchased at a farmer's market, and this whole meal was incredibly filling.

dinner: 7:30pm

I'd been drinking plenty of tea and water throughout the day, so I didn't really realize that I'd missed dinner until after 7pm! since I'd had a fairly intense workout that morning, I decided to spring for some pasta for dinner. to make the sauce, I added cooked quinoa, tomato paste, tomato sauce, olives, mushrooms and zucchini to a deep frying pan on low heat. I seasoned it with oregano, garlic powder, nutritional yeast flakes, sea salt and a little cayenne. I cooked this until the mushrooms and zucchini softened, and then served it onto whole wheat penne pasta. this recipe was insanely filling, I could hardly eat it all and it made lunches for work for my whole week! this sauce was so tasty; it was similar to eating traditional bolognese sauce but with no meat!

right before bed, I had a small square of dark chocolate with my evening tea. I didn't document my water intake, but on days that I work out I typically drink between three and four litres of water. 

so, that's what I eat in a day! if you enjoyed this blog post please let me know in the comments below - I would be happy to share more about how I've lost weight or what my diet looks like if that's something y'all are interested in hearing about!

a quick note about my diet: I would classify myself as vegetarian, and at times loosely vegan (around 70% of my diet is vegan). I don't count calories as it's not ideal for my mental health, but I do sometimes use MyFitnessPal to keep an eye on my macros to make sure I'm eating enough protein and fat. I'm not a health care professional, but I have been working with a dietician and personal trainer to make sure I'm losing weight in the healthiest way possible for me. 

december goals

we’ve made it to the end of 2016. it’s definitely been quite the year, and I get the sense that this last month is going to feel like the end of a long marathon. I decided to keep it short with my goals for this month as I know life is going to be crazy with work, play, and events for the next 31 days.

in terms of last months goals, I was overall fairly successful: for the most part, I stuck diligently to no spend november and I saved so much money. in this season of consumerism, it was so great to take a brutally honest look at my spending habits; I honestly really enjoyed having friends over for meals instead of eating out and watching movies I’d been meaning to get around to rather than visiting the theatre. I was fairly diligent about sticking to the gym (until I got super sick, which meant for one full week I only hit the gym once), and used the meditative breathing strategy most days. sadly, I did not clean out my storage closet as I decided to revisit that goal in january as I’m putting away all of my christmas decorations. 

one / complete the minimalism game. I heard about this from the edmonton journal this morning, and instantly knew I wanted to try it. this challenge instructs you to liquidate belongings for the whole month of december - giving away one item on the first day, two items on the second, and so on. by the end of the month, I will have given away nearly 500 items. I’m questioning whether or not I have 496 items to purge, but like no spend november, this challenge another way of examining the consumerism that surrounds the gifting season. if you want to follow along with my minimalism game, you can find my updates here.

two / stick to nutritional and fitness goals throughout the holidays. december is known as a brutal month for weight gain, and I don’t want the holidays to get in the way of the success I’ve had already or the fitness goals I’m still working towards. I won’t be skipping all of the holiday treats or events, but I’m not letting this very fattening month sidetrack me from where I want to be. this means enjoying in moderation, and making an effort to continue mostly eating whole foods and hitting the gym!

three / enjoy christmas. if you’ve ever talked to me about christmas, you know that it is my favourite holiday of the year. I love how friendly people become in december, I love snow, I love twinkling lights and christmas parties and holiday treats… and the list goes on. despite my deep seated love for christmas, I often find myself spending the month of december running around like a maniac between work and trying to do everything and be everywhere. this month I’ve made myself a holiday advent calendar that includes one christmassy thing to do every day leading up to christmas. I’m working on being very intentional about enjoying every moment of each of the activities and treats I have planned for myself. 

that’s all I’m working on this month - what are you goals for december?