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Adventures in Time + JORD Watch Giveaway

Adventures in Time + JORD Watch Giveaway

Time is a funny thing. Some moments may seem fleeting, while others are more drawn out. As I have gotten older, I have become more aware of time and how quickly it often passes when we put life on autopilot.

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Celebrating Canada's 150th: What It Means To Be Canadian

Happy 150th Birthday Canada! You don't look a day over 149.

Today, on July the 1st, 2017, Canada turns 150 years old! Yes, we are a relatively young nation, but I believe Canada is the greatest country in the world. Though, I may be a tad biased. However, that being said, here are the facts: Canada has boasted the desirable title (for many years now) Second Best Country in the World by the World Economic Forum, right after our good pal Switzerland. In addition to this, Canada is the World's Most Educated Country, with over half of our citizens possessing post-secondary degrees, according to Time. We are also very happy people, coming in at number 7 worldwide, according to Forbes. There you have it. Maybe I'm not so biased, after all. Perhaps life IS better in Canada.

I am a proud Canadian and had, what I would call, a very Canadian upbringing. Summers were always spent up at the cottage; jumping into cold, picturesque lakes and sitting by warm, crackling campfires (whilst gobbling down s'mores, of course). When the bitter winter months eventually came (and boy did they show up), tobogganing and skiing were wintertime highlights, allowing us Canucks to embrace the inevitable five months of snow in a slightly more enjoyable way. Every four years, we would come together as a nation in front of our TV sets to cheer on team Canada in the Winter Olympics, another winter highlight and, frankly, the best thing on TV. I have fond memories of waking up to the smells (and sounds) of bacon sizzling and pancakes browning on summer mornings, and falling asleep on the couch to the animated voices of hockey commentators announcing game-winning goals (I admit, I was never that into hockey). The tooth fairy always left toonies and loonies, our milk came in bags (and still does), and Timbits were a classic Sunday morning treat. 

Now, as an adult, I spend a lot of my time away from Canada. While attending school in NYC and spending a lot of my free time in England, I have come to realise how wonderful Canada is, and how much I cherish my time while back here. One of my most favourite feelings is coming back home. When I see the CN Tower in the distance as I touch down at Pearson, my heart instantly warms. There is something so grounding about the experience; I don't think I will ever tire of it. In recent years, the world has seen a lot of strife; strife due to disagreement, misconception, intolerability, and ultimately, hatred. However, in Canadian culture, we do not judge a person by the colour of their skin, the religion they practice, or who they choose to love, but rather by what's inside and what the character of an individual reveals. This, to me, is what it means to be a Canadian; to accept, to love, and to seek out only the best in people. I truly believe if the world was more like Canada in this way it would be a more peaceful and united place. 

Now, go make yourself a generous Caesar, serve up some poutine, and raise a glass to this wonderful country. A country based on community, acceptance, and diversity. A vast country of jaw-dropping beauty from coast to coast. Finally, a country filled with some of the most talented, friendly, and passionate people I have ever known. I love you, Canada! You will always be home.

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Five Skin Care Products I Can't Live Without

My skin and I have had a long, and at times, disagreeable history. As a pre-teen, and into my early teens, I suffered from terrible acne, resulting in me using a ton of prescription skin care and visits to dermatologists. Today, I still have a bit of scarring from past breakouts, but overall my skin is in a much, much better place than it used to be. I have oily/combination skin, so every now and then I can expect a pimple or two to still pop up, but nothing compared to my teenaged years. 

To me, taking care of your skin is so important. Skin is the largest, and one of the most important, organs of the human body. It protects from disease, and is also a reflection of a person's overall health. However, sometimes skin needs that little extra push. This is where great skincare comes in handy. One of my favourite parts of the day is washing my face after a long day. There is something so invigorating about the removal of makeup and cleansing, all to be left with a fresh and beaming face.

I have used all of these products for a significant amount of time, and I would recommend any of them to each of you - including my male readers, too. Two things that are not listed here, but I will include, are water (my number one), and The Pill. The amount of water I drink is undeniably something that dictates the health of my skin, and probably all other humans, too. So, drink up! As we all know (well, at least you ladies who are reading), The Pill helps to lower the amount of androgens in your body, and tends to promote clearer skin, particularly around that time of the month.

Thymes Eucalyptus Body Lotion

Unlike my face, the skin on my body tends to be on the dry side. I have been using Thymes products since I was little. The company has a range of incredible scents, all presented in beautiful, simplistic packaging. Specifically, the Thymes Eucalyptus bubble bath was always the soap of choice by my mum for my baths as a kid. I still continue to use it to this day. The smell is not only nostalgic for me, but clean, calming, and utterly crisp. The lotion is made with eucalyptus oil, which is cleansing, and also helps to open up the sinuses when you're sick, promotes relaxation, and can help to relieve joint and muscle pain.

When I use the lotion, my skin is dramatically softer and smoother. The light formula sinks nicely into the skin, not leaving you oily, but is still undeniably nourishing. As a person who does possess sensitive skin, I try to stay away from things with scents. However, I have never had a problem with Thymes products. None of their scents are artificial. Due to this, you will smell so, so great all day long. People often ask what scent I'm wearing, and are pleasantly surprised when I tell them it's actually a lotion. It is not overpowering, but rather subtle and fresh. 

Purchase it here.

Clinique 3-Step Skin Care

I recently started using the Clinique 3-Step skin care system to switch up my routine after years of using the same products. I have noticed such a wonderful difference in my skin in just six weeks of using them twice a day to wash my face. Clinique prides themselves with having scent-free formulas, which is perfect for those with sensitive skin. The products do not leave my skin feeling tight, and do an excellent job at brightening, combatting oiliness, and making pores appear smaller.

Clinique offers the line for all skin types, from very dry to very oily, and for acne sufferers, too. The cleanser, exfoliant, and lotion are all catered to each specific skin type, resulting in very direct results. I particularly love the lotion, which does not leave my skin greasy, but still acts as a great base for makeup.

Purchase it here.

Planto Minerals Exfoliant For Oily Skin

This is my secret weapon. Traditionally, the product is used as a toner, dissolved in water. However, I have been instructed to use it as an exfoliant. To use, take approximately half a teaspoon of the salt on your finger tips and gently massage into an already wet face. Continue adding water and massage the product into your skin until the salt has dissolved and rinse. The product will go in and rid your skin of any impurities and oil.

I typically use it 2-3 times a week. It does not strip the skin of essential oils, but rather balances them, resulting in a clear, smooth complexion. It also helps to diminish the look of my acne scars, which is a huge plus. I also tend to get a few spots on my chest when I working out (and sweat a lot - ewww), and I have found that using this as a scrub helps to clear them up very quickly. Anna Lotan also carries Planto Minerals for those of you who have dry skin.

Can be purchased at select spas and retails for approximately $30 CAD.

Blistex Lip Medex

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Blistex and I go way back. Southern Ontario, where I am from, is famous for its cold, snowy, and dry winters. With this comes extremely dry skin and, for me, chapped lips. As a child, I remember Blistex was quite literally the only thing that could aid my raw lips - it still is! It has a wonderful cooling effect that helps to sooth, and moisturizing endurance that lasts throughout the day. I always have a stick with me in my purse, and I apply it religiously. I am a lipstick lover, and flakey, lipstick covered lips is never a good look.

Purchase it here.

Clinique Even Better Foundation

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Clinique's Even Better has been my foundation of choice for about four years now. It feels lightweight on the skin and blends very well with full, long-lasting coverage. The foundation even works to correct and even out troublesome spots on the skin, which I think is pretty incredible. No clogged pores, here! What I love even more about this foundation is the SPF that comes along with it. Knowing my skin is protected, whether it be in the winter or summer months, is always a plus. In the summer however, I do tend to put on a little extra SPF 45 sunscreen underneath (try Neutrogena's) for additional protection. Like all Clinique products, there is no scent, and is therefore a safe bet for those of us who have sensitive skin.

Purchase it here.

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you found a new favourite product to try today. If you choose to try out or already use any of these products, please let me know what you think of them and what your experience was like in the comments below!

-Meredith

The Soundtrack of My Life

Inspired by British music magazine NME and Liv Purvis' postI decided to create and share with you my very own "The Soundtrack of My Life." Music has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. For me, it has served as an inspiration, mood-booster, moment-maker, and a form of therapy, too. Music has defined so many moments in my life, and with an ever-growing collection and eager ear, I am certain that it will continue to. My music taste was undeniably spurred by my parents, but was ultimately self-driven once I got my hands on the internet around the age of eight. Due to my unconventional music taste at such a young age, I never really fit into the mainstream crowd as a child. I remember one time I brought Yes' 90125 (great album) to my friend's 13th birthday party, and feeling sad when no one wanted to listen to it except the parents. I have since then met so many amazing people with similar tastes who have introduced me to even more music. I've never listened to what is popular, but only to what I love. This post is centred around my record collection, which is primarily made up of classic rock, singer-songwriter, disco, and new wave music, however I also adore jazz, classical, and indie music. I hope you enjoy this small peek into my musical world, and discover a few new tunes along the way.

The First Song I Remember Hearing:

It's not one particular song, but the album Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits takes me right back to my early childhood. Although it came out twelve years before I was born, it always seemed to be playing in my house growing up. I have come to truly appreciate and love the album, along with all of the other music produced by Dire Straits. They were such a solid band, and Mark Knopfler has put out some amazing solo stuff. My most favourite album by the band is the highly underrated Making Movies. 

The First Song I Fell in Love With:

Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkel. It is fun and has a great beat. At the time I obviously didn't know it was about a woman who was cheating on her partner, but I would naturally still belt out all the lyrics. I distinctly remember listening to it at school on mum's *fancy* new iPod Classic circa 2005. The song had come up of shuffle and I probably listened to it over and over again about 10 times. I was in grade 4. My High School Musical-listening friends thought the song was weird, but I thought it was absolutely wonderful. I couldn't get enough and eventually went on to listen to the other Simon and Garfunkel songs that were on the iPod, which I enjoyed just as much. Simon and Garfunkel established my love for beautiful lyrics; lyrics that possess thought and a level of sophisticated intellect that is difficult to find in music today. 

The First Album I Bought:

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles. I was probably about 9 or 10 years old and I felt as if I was hearing music for the very first time. I had been listening to the The Beatles greatest hits album 1 at the time, and I was absolutely hooked (and madly in-love with Paul McCartney, with his big, brown, doe eyes). The Beatles, soon after, became the sole reason I existed. It was a highly revolutionary moment for me and my love for music. Sgt. Pepper's was timeless from the moment it was released, and continues to be now.

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The Song I Wish I'd Written:

Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding by Elton John & Bernie Taupin. I am honestly stumped with how to describe this song using words. It is pure magic. You just have to listen to it. The 11 minute piece oozes the drama of the 70s. It wasn't a massive Elton John hit like Your Song or Daniel was, however in my opinion it goes beyond what he's known for in the best way possible. It has everything you could ever want. The first half starts out mysteriously; it is pompous and organ-driven, and then swiftly transforms into a fast-paced and intense instrumental. It is followed by a classic Elton John power-ballad complete with plunking keys, oohs and ahhs, and a strong outro that never fails to bring out the air guitar player in me.

The Best Concert I've Been To:

U2 in Toronto was the best concert I have been to, mostly because I was able to snag front row. U2 organises their floor tickets Springsteen-style (so, essentially, a free for all). My dad and I waited in line all day to make sure we were at the front. I was so, so into U2 at the time, and was therefore very excited to be there. The band had tons of energy and played all of the songs the crowd expected to hear, which was so wonderful. It was a night I won't ever forget. Plus, I touched Bono's hand - 'nuff said. 

The Song That Makes Me Happy:

Regardless of the day I'm having, the song Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen always puts a smile on my face. It's my boyfriend Pete and I's song, and it became our song in a very spontaneous way. We both know that it's hardly a love song, and rather one about frustration and longing. Yet, every time I hear it I think of him and it makes me happy.

The Song That Makes Me Want To Dance:

I absolutely adore disco music, so needless to say Everybody Dance by Chic has to be my top pick here. Chic knew how to create great dance music. They appeared at the height of disco in the mid-Seventies and punched out some truly killer hits. Regardless of your music taste, I think Chic can always spur on some dance moves. Also, shout out to their bassist Bernard Edwards who clearly knew what he was doing - there's a great little bass solo about half way through the song that totally makes the piece for me.

The Album That Changed My Life:

I really dislike how obvious this one is, but Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon is as popular as it is for a reason. People who claim the album is "overrated" can genuinely just fuck off. It transcends time and has inspired me beyond belief. I used to lie in my bed with the lights out and let the music wash over me, providing a natural high; it was almost a religious experience. The album is intricate, deeply moody, brilliantly orchestrated and produced, and truly changed what music experimentation meant. There are so many parts of the album, big and small, that went on to define the music of Pink Floyd. The sax solo in Us and Them, the small laugh before the band launches into the finale Brain Damage, and the timeless guitar solo in Time. The album works as a single entity, a perfect loop, which is undeniably so masterful on so many levels. I currently own two copies on vinyl, one which is actually sealed and another for listening. 

Must-Listen Album Mentions:

The Stranger - Billy Joel, Rumours - Fleetwood Mac, Minute by Minute - The Doobie Brothers, Led Zeppelin III - Led Zeppelin, Chicago Transit Authority- Chicago, Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen, Blue - Joni Mitchell, I Robot - Alan Parsons Project, Let It Bleed - The Rolling Stones, Songs From The Big Chair - Tears for Fears, Currents - Tame Impala, 2112 - Rush, The Cars - The Cars, DΓ©jΓ  Vu - CSN&Y, 461 Ocean Boulevard - Eric Clapton, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John, Business As Usual - Men at Work, Graceland - Paul Simon, Different Class - Pulp, Local Hero - Mark Knopfler, Toto IV - Toto, Chic - Chic, Kind of Blue - Miles Davis, Murmur - R.E.M., What It Is - Mark Knopfler, Fragile - Yes, The Game - Queen, Crime of the Century - Supertramp, Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd, AND I'm going to stop there, or I will be here all day. If you ever want more music suggestions, please let me know.

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-Meredith