Carry On Essentials (So you don't hate your life if you lose your luggage)

Me in Mexico living my best life

Me in Mexico living my best life

I recently went on a trip to Mexico and this was the first time I actually sat down and carefully packed a carry on bag.

Typically my “carry on” is just a purse. Rookie. Move.

Here’s the thing. Since you can bring both a purse and a personal piece of luggage on a plane, why the hell not?!

Before I went on my trip, a good girlfriend of mine went to Costa Rica and they lost her luggage for four days.

FOUR.

She had a couple of items in a carry on, but really struggled to find items in Costa Rica that could tide her over until she got her full luggage back. This inspired me to make sure that the next time I travelled I would be prepared with a solid carry on just in case of emergency.

*she was going to send me a picture of the really ugly bathing suit she had to buy while waiting for hers but she didn’t document it because it was too ugly. Thanks for ruining my content, Britt.

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First things first, my recommendation is to invest in a solid carry on bag. Something easy to carry, that’s large enough and has any components that are important to you (for example, extra pockets, a long strap, wheels, etc.)

I purchased this Mat + Nat bag a couple of years ago, and it’s been my go to weekender bag for sleepovers, weekends at the lake, etc. It’s a great size, light to carry, and comes with a shoulder strap.

For another amazing weekender option that I have my eye on, click here. For the Mat + Nat bag - click here.

The essentials

These are things you seriously cannot go a day without. For me - these items include:

  • Dry shampoo

  • Lipchap

  • Make up remover of some variety

  • Moisturizer

  • If I have my period, tampons.

  • Phone charger

  • Head phones

  • Some kind of snack (on a plane it’s usually Welches Fruit Snacks because I’m a 5 Y/O)

  • Ipad

  • Water Bottle (empty reusable one, it’s 2019 people let’s save the planet)

These are just my basic, cannot live without items. Typically, I’ll go to Dollarama and buy the little travel sized round containers and separate a small amount of my hand cream, face cream, etc. into them to bring onto the plane. This is also where I will buy my fruit snacks.

You’re in this for a few days…

Next come the items that if, god forbid, your luggage gets lost, you’re glad you have. This will A. Depend on your destination and B. Depend on how extra you are. For me, these items include:

  • Underwear (if you go commando obviously ignore this…)

  • Facial routine products (separated into small containers and labeled)

  • If you’re going to a hot destination, body sunscreen, sandals, and a couple small sundresses that you can fold up Marie Kondo style

  • If you’re going somewhere cool, extra socks, a pair of sweats, a couple smaller sweaters, all folded up Marie Kondo style

  • Tooth brush, deodorant, etc (whatever toiletries are most important to you basically)

  • Make up/hair ties

Again, this stuff honestly depends on what is the most important to you every day. Things that if you didn’t have your luggage for three or four days your trip may be in shambles or your wallet may be crying.

If you’re extra

These are some additional items that I make sure I have on the plane because I am a tiny bit of a psycho!

  • Face masks (sheet masks typically, this also includes a lip mask)

  • A small travel sized blanket (this depends how far I’m going, but I’m always cold on planes so I’d say it comes with me about 99% of the time)

  • Sanitization wipes (NO ONE WANTS TO GET SICK!)

  • A bag full of medications

    • Typically these medications include advil, gravol, BC, anything random for random illnesses that may occur

    • NO ONE WANTS TO GET SICK! pt 2.

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So, cheers to your next vacation, enjoying your time, and (hopefully) never being without your daily essentials!

Love Yourself this Valentine's Day!

February seems to be flying by and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. I honestly can’t believe we’re almost half way through February - crazy!

I friggin love fresh flowers

I friggin love fresh flowers

A lot of people think of Valentine’s Day as something to dread. Either you’re single and don’t feel like you have anyone to celebrate it with, or you’re in a relationship and it seems like there’s a lot of pressure to go above and beyond for the person you love (and spend a shit load of money).

My boyfriend and I are doing Valentine’s Day the day after, and keeping it fairly simple. Dinner, cards, no gifts (ok, maybe flowers?), but honestly neither of us are hugely into Valentine’s Day. In my opinion (this may sound a bit extra) I think it’s important to show the person you’re dating, engaged, or married to that you love them as often as you can, and that doesn’t need to be with a day filled with huge gestures. It can be as simple as cooking them breakfast in the morning, filling up your gas tank for you, them bringing home your favourite bottle of wine, or remembering to pick something up for you at the store. For me, it’s the little stuff that counts the most.

On actual Valentine’s Day, I’m spending it with my best friend whose boyfriend happens to be out of town. There will be a baked brie and lots of wine in our future.

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, there are a lot of different things you can do this Valentine’s Day to show yourself a little self love, or show someone else that you love that you love them. This could be a friend, family member, YOUR DOG, a random (you don’t need to love this person, this would just be for the sake of being a good person) or yourself. Here are a couple of my ideas to show some love this V-day.

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Treat. Yo. Damn. Self.

Feeling a little low this v-day because you don’t necessarily have a special someone to share it with? Do something for YOURSELF. It’s so easy to get caught up in the week day hustle, plan that evening to do something to pamper yourself. Go get a mani pedi, order yourself some dinner and pick up a bottle of vino, hit a hot yoga class, do your favourite face routine and have a relaxing bath.

Or if you have a couple other single gal pals, invite them along too (or just hit happy hour together, whatever makes ya feel good)! Just because you aren’t in a relationship doesn’t mean you can’t share this day with yourself and a little self love!

Have a significant other but you’re both broke as hell?

I feel ya sister. Plan a stay home date night! A couple of my favourite things to make at home for a date night is pizza or pasta. Recently, my boyfriend and I made a seafood linguine and it was so fun to make it together.

Still want to get out of the house? Wait a week and then celebrate Valentine’s Day. A lot of places have jacked up menus on the actual day or weekend of V-day, and if you wait a week then you can hit a happy hour for date night or look up a spot that offers a special on the day you want to go (for example, buck and shuck oysters, or half off wine night).

Make someone ELSE feel good - spoiler alert: you’ll feel good too!

This Valentine’s Day, go out of your way to make someone else feel good. Does your grandparent live in an old folks home? Go around their floor with Valentine’s Day cards for the other tenants and the nurses. Pay for the person in line behind you at the coffee shops order (is he cute? for sure do it), or buy a girlfriend who is going through a hard time some flowers. Regardless of what it is, Valentine’s Day can also be about making someone else feel good!

Here are just a couple of my ideas to make Valentine’s Day into just all around love day. What do you like to do on LOVE DAY?

Actually have a Good Morning

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I’ve always considered myself a morning person. I typically wake up somewhere around 8 even on the weekends, and never really have too hard of a time starting to move first thing (it’s a little harder in the winter, obviously..)

Since I’ve been at home the last couple of months and my time has been my own to plan around for the most part, I originally found myself really motivated and ready to go.

As time went on, I continued to get more and more unmotivated, discouraged, and really had a difficult time being productive or using my time efficiently.

Finally, I decided enough was enough. I wanted to be making the most of my mornings to set myself up for top productivity and feeling good about myself all day. Lately, I’ve been listening to Lauyrn Evarts and her husband Michael’s podcast, The Skinny Confidential Him and Her podcast. Lauryn focuses a lot on the importance of her morning routine, and they recently interviewed Ed Mylett who spoke highly of his morning routine as well (as do many of their guests). Their podcast has such influential, interesting, and inspiring guests on, and I truly encourage everyone to give it a listen.

Before I dive into what I’ve been doing, I also want to mention that this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes my schedule changes a little, or, it just isn’t going to happen. However these are all things that I enjoy so much now that I’ve been doing them I find it weird not to do them at some point, it may just not be the exact same routine every morning (this is a goal I do want to get to, and something I’m working on)

OK - Here we go!


First things first right when I wake up I’m drinking water. Typically I try to have at least a glass right away as soon as I’m out of bed. This wakes me up, gets my body going, and starts hydrating me right away.

Recently I’ve started doing morning pages, and this is what typically comes next. This is basically a chance for me to get all of my thoughts out in one place so I’m not anxious or word vomiting or taking out my random thoughts on my boyfriend. I’ll write a couple of pages about whatever is going on in my mind, and then I also set a goal for the day, and mention something I’m grateful for.

What I do next changes. If I’m working out I typically like to go and do that right away. These day’s I’m into Orange Theory, so I’ll go off and do a class and when I get back the routine continues.

My hair during the entire morning routine…

My hair during the entire morning routine…

Once I’m home, it’s shower, body lotion, skin products, and ice rolling my face to decrease puffiness and tbh it really wakes me up and feels so good.

At this point while I’m ice rolling, I’ll typically cook breakfast, and listen to a podcast. I’m not going to lie, I listen to a lot of comedy or like, gossipy podcasts. I took a page out of Lauryn’s book, and now I’m starting my day off with something to feed my mind. I genuinely enjoy the Him and Her podcast, or Dax Shepdard’s to start the day. The Betches also have a podcast with a lot of really informative guests.

I go through phases where I eat the same thing for a few weeks at a time, and right now that’s pan fried spinach and mushrooms with a soft poached egg or two depending on how hungry I am. I love it and it’s usually just enough to get me through to a snack in the afternoon. The entire time I’m drinking water from a S’well and depending on how I’m feeling I’ll have a coffee with unsweetened almond milk or a lemon and ginger or peppermint tea.

After this I’ll check my to do list for the week (I’ll write this on Sunday evening and add/cross things off daily), and decide what I’m going to accomplish that day. Then I move to the laptop to blog, do research, look at jobs, etc.

This is how I’ve been starting my days pretty much everyday for the last month. Am I perfect? No. But you have to start somewhere and I’m fairly happy with the progress I’ve been making. My goal is to get to a place where I stay consistent with my morning routine, and I also want to begin incorporating meditation (something I’ve really struggled with in the past). I’m so curious hearing about other people’s morning routines and am dying to hear about yours! Share in the comments below.

Let's Talk

Yesterday was #bellletstalk.

Every year, I see the messages and think about the experiences I’ve had with mental health over the years, mental health struggles my friends and family members have gone through, and the amount of people struggling with and effected by mental health around the world.

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I feel like it’s important to put this message out there because I’ve been there. I’ve been the person who is too sad or defeated to get out of bed, or is too scared to tell anyone how I’m feeling out of fear of judgement or inconveniencing someone. I’m also the person who struggled in silence for way too long, and know now that I wish I had reached out or leaned on my family or friends in the past.

If you’re struggling, or feeling lost, know you aren’t alone. Know that you can reach out to someone and shouldn’t feel ashamed or judged. You may not feel it, but there is someone out there who cares about you and wants to help. Please don’t feel like you have to struggle in silence.

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I think it’s also important to touch on the fact that we also hold a responsibility to reach out and check on our friends, loved ones, and family members.

Life is busy, I get it.

If you think someone is struggling through something or isn’t okay, ASK. They may resist you, or deny it, but knowing that they have someone in their life to reach out to when they’re ready is so so important. Sending a quick text to check in or scheduling a coffee date to ask someone how they’re doing could change their life.

Finally, I think the importance of remembering that although #bellletstalk is a great way for us to be reminded that mental health awareness is extremely important, I think that it’s just as important to remember that mental health is something that should be recognized and talked about everyday. This is something that should be discussed on the regular.

These are just my thoughts, and while I’m in no way trying to bash or lessen the value of the work that #bellletstalk has done and the incredible support they’ve been able to provide for a lot of individuals.

So let’s remember to talk, everyday. Look out for our friends and recognize the importance of mental health, every. single. day.

Need Help Cheering Yourself Up This Winter?

I’ve lived in Winnipeg since I was just about two years old. So over the past 24 years of living here, I’ve dealt with my fair share of brutal Winnipeg winters.

@jamiemaephotography

@jamiemaephotography

I’m unsure if it’s because during my adult years I’ve primarily worked office jobs, so winter seemed much longer coming and going in the dark, or because as a child I could handle the cold and wore my Michelin man snowsuit with pride and now I’m a millennial that usually cares more about wanting to wear my fashionable coats over my warm coats; but I’ve found that getting through the particularly cold patches of winter has become more and more difficult.

It’s so damn cold out most of the time you don’t even want to look outside, let alone actually go out there and do something.

Last week, I had a bit of a mental breakdown. I’ve been in the midst of my job search, I’m bored, and it was SO damn cold. I fell into a little bit of a depression, and realized I think a big part of it was that leaving the house to do anything just seemed SO daunting, mainly due to the frigid weather.

At the end of the day, where I live is Winnipeg and winter isn’t going anywhere. So here are a couple of my tips and tricks for getting through this treacherous weather.

Work Out

Ya, I get it this is the last thing you want to hear. But getting up, and getting your workout done first thing in the morning (whether this is before work or whatever you do throughout the day) will honestly change your entire attitude for that day and truly does help. Walk on a treadmill for half an hour, go to yoga, attend a class or meet a friend at the gym, but get up and do it as often as you can.

Plan Things to Look Forward to

@jamiemaephotography

@jamiemaephotography

Plan a GNO (girls night out) that will get you excited for the weekend instead of hiding on your couch the entire time. Pick out a meal to cook that you’ll look forward to, plan to see a friend you haven’t seen in awhile, sign up for a class, whatever it is, try to find things that will actually have you feeling motivated to leave your home and the Netflix behind. It will be there when you return.

Do Things that Genuinely Make You Feel Good

For me, these things include trying to get in a workout, reading or journaling, spending time with positive people, or when it’s warm enough going out skating or cross country skiing. We all have people that when we’re around them we feel even more drained and run down, and these aren’t the individuals you should be surrounding yourself with when you’re already feeling down. Whether it’s meditating, spending time with yourself or friends, trying a new class, do things that actually really do make you feel good and make time for them.

It’s okay to be sad sometimes or feel run down, but doing your best to do things that can bring you out of these feelings is going to end up being the difference between taking charge and enjoying your life, or letting winter win and having a long hard wait until summer.

What do you do to help yourself get through the long, cold, Canadian winters?!