The Dream Team's December Favourites!

Is it just me, or did December fly by us at hyper-speed?! Now, at the beginning of 2021, I can't help but feel like someone has hit the reset button. Still, in lockdown, kids at home and many other unknowns await us- but what we can control are our mindset and our behaviour. I'm ready to tackle this year, doubling down not only in the effort but recovery as well. Really ensuring that I have the time to recharge properly, do the things I love while trying to balance life, work, kids, school, creativity, etc.
Below are a few of the items I am carrying forward with me into 2021 and I hope you can lean into things that make you happy too!
Happy New Year, friends. 

Half Baked Harvest Super Simple by Tieghan Gerard

If you have been watching my stories on IG lately, you would have seen that I have given quite a few of Tieghan's recipes a go, and almost every single one has been a hit. I am loving this book for the simplicity and speed in which these recipes come together. I find myself reaching for it every Sunday when I plan out the week of meals, and lately, 1-2 nights a week, I cook from this book. Honourable mentions are the Tortilla Chicken Soup (I make it in the Instant pot, and it is unbelievably quick and easy- not to mention insanely satisfying. Dave and I are obsessed!). The One Pot Chicken with Orzo is also amazing, and the Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies are next level.

 

Happy Quartz Gua Sha and Face Roller | Well.ca

I tried a (different) quartz roller about a year ago, but I now realize it was way too small, and I didn't really get the point. Enter the Well.ca x The Birds Papaya Box and a whole new appreciation for the ritual of facial rolling and massage. After actually doing some research to understand exactly how I was supposed to use these tools and what they do, I was intrigued. I am in love with the Gua Sha now. I find the roller a bit redundant- but it totally depends on your preferences. This article is extremely helpful in explaining exactly what Gua Sha tools are for and the incredible benefits of using them, including how they help with lymphatic drainage. In other words, think glow-y skin, depuffed face and reduced facial tension. All in all, I'm hooked, and I love the shape of Happy's tools!

 

You're a Goddamn Cheetah Mug

I read Glennon Doyles, Untamed 6 months or so ago, and it really resonated with me. I shared the book with friends and family, just as friends had shared it with me. I was then fortunate enough to hear Glennon speak at The Atelier Conference before Christmas, and she was utterly captivating. Such a force, completely unapologetically true to herself and what she believes in. A Cheetah, as she references in the book. It was a journey to get where she is today, through painful times of addition, depression and anxiety. Glennon is the epitome of hard work and fearless transformation. I wanted to remind a few of the other amazing women in my life that they too, are cheetahs, completely capable of doing hard things. I had these mugs made as a daily reminder of two poignant Doyle quotes from the book. It's now become my favourite way to start the day!

 

Can you believe that 2020 is over, and we are now in 2021! It's pretty crazy how fast that year seemed to go by, especially towards the end. Although it is a new year, I am already feeling behind [how is this possible?], so I'm going to try and focus on my intentions from 2020 and try to continue to stay calm, slow and inspired. I'm shaking it up this year up by starting with a fave product from December!

WEIR'S LANE LAVENDER & APIARY CHAPSTICK

Alright friends! This is the first time [I think] I am writing a physical product as one of my faves, so we know this must be a good one. My sister, Ness, recently got me hooked on the Weir's Lane Lavender & Apiary's Beeswax & Lavender Lip Balm [I currently have four for when I run out]. My lips get really dry and chapped, especially in the wintertime, and I have been trying to find a good chapstick. I finally tried this one out, and it is the best chapstick I have tried. It lasts way longer than other chapsticks [if you use it every day], which for me is about two months. It has a subtle smell and actually keeps your lips moisturized. Made with all-natural ingredients and locally created in Dundas, Ontario, Weir's Lane Lavender & Apiary focuses on making small batches by hand. If you are looking for a chapstick, you have to try this one. You will not regret it!

FREDDIE GIBBS | ALFREDO

There have been a lot of amazing albums that came out in 2020, but Freddie Gibbs' album, Alfredo, is a piece of art, and I think it might be my favourite album of the year. Alfredo was a collaborative album produced by The Alchemist and overlaid with Gibbs' clever rap lyrics. Filled with voice overs from movies, piano interludes, current lyrics and a clever concept, this album is the full package. Alfredo was recently nominated at the Grammy's for the best rap album of the year. If you liked Mac Millers' mixtape - Faces, you would love this album. My favourite song on the album is Something to Rap About [feat. Tyler the Creator]. A heads up - this is not a family-friendly album. If you have young kids, I would say this album is more of a solo listen, which means you get to soak in all the greatness, enjoy!  

WEEKEND CREATIVE | Photography Studio | Inspo

We all need a little inspo to start the year off on the right foot and Weekend Creative is the perfect dose of inspo. Weekend Creative is a photography and art direction studio that creates colourful, spunky and clever stop motion and brand photography. Located in San Fran, Arabela and Elle are the two women behind Weekend Creative, and they have worked with a ton of amazing brands like Freckles Fuschia, Blume and more. Not only are they running an awesome creative studio, but their space is also available to rent, they do coaching, and they have a podcast. This power team is really killing it! If you're looking for more, be sure to check out their podcast "Per Our Last Email," which focuses on how hard freelancing can be and the stories behind it. I can't wait to keep being inspired by this awesome creative studio and see what they do next!

Vahdam | Matcha and Turmric Latte Mix 

I don't remember how I found Vahdam products, but it took quite a bit of digging. I am so happy I did, though, because the Vahdam brand is INCREIBLE. Their teas, Matcha and Turmeric lattes mixes are organic and ethically sourced. Vahdam is Climate Neutral, meaning they offset their entire carbon footprint by investing in renewable energy. Plastic Neutral; they recover and recycle an amount of plastic equivalent to their packaging. And finally, 1% of their revenue is directed towards educating farmers and children in India through the "TEAch Me" program. 

Mimi & August | Fu*k Les Sacs Plastiques Natural Tote Bag

I came across this tote in the summer and HAD to get my hands on it. Unfortunately, it was out of stock for months, but my amazing sister surprised me with it for my birthday. This tote is so unique, and I'm obsessed. I've gotten countless compliments and catch people snickering when they realize what it says. I've officially started what my sister calls "an aggressively positive" tote collection, and next on my list is this "More Plants, Less Assholes" by Chnge.  

Click and Grow Indoor Garden

I was gifted this indoor garden over the holidays. I am notorious for having to send someone out on a basil hunt in the middle of cooking, so this is a game-changer! There are over 50 plant varieties that can be grown, but I will be sticking to herbs. The Click and Grow seeds are planted in a biodegradable plant pod. Once you fill the water tank and plug in your Click and Grow, the plants are watered automatically for three weeks and are exposed to a natural light cycle. There is very minimal work required. Just make sure the water tank is full and adjust the light height as your plants grow. 

December, for me, is a time when all I want is to be COZY! I'm sure many can relate, but I love the feeling of being warm and cuddled up with a good book, movie, activity or warm drink. Although the holidays are different this year, I still plan to make the most out of it and focus on relaxing and being present with my family. Here are some staples for me this month!

Pela Cases

I cannot be happier with this find. The case is super soft, has a cute sea turtle etched into the back, and provides me with just the right amount of protection without any needless bulk. The best part is it's completely biodegradable! They even have liquid screen protectors that are biodegradable. One thing for sure, all my future phone accessories will be purchased from Pela. 

Pilot Coffee | Monument 

I always thought of myself as more a Tea Person. The occasional cups of coffee were also consumed; however, it was not my hot beverage of choice. It was so until a friend handed me a bag of the monument blend from Pilot Roasters. I now exclusively drink coffee every morning and reserve my tea for evenings with a healthy dose of reflection. 

Tannistir

Tannistir leather goods are Handmade in Brampton, Ontario, Canada by a single craftsman – Syed. The handmade process starts with each piece of leather is carefully selected, hand-cut, hand punched using stitching chisels, stitched using the saddle-stitch technique, and finally, the edges are burnished with natural gum and beeswax to create a beautiful and durable leather product. This handmade process means each piece is unique and personalized with a one-of-a-kind story of its own. Syed gave me mine as a gift about 2.5 years ago, and it has aged beautifully. 

Mimi & August Beanies

Introduced to me by a dear friend, I had my eye on a Mimi and August beanie for a while. I am not a huge hat person, mostly because I feel like they look silly on me? But when I saw these beanies, I knew I wanted to try them out. I have needed a nice hat for the wintertime (my ears are always the first thing to get cold), plus I love the casual look of wearing a beanie throughout the day. I chose a black beanie and a copper beanie, and I love the fit of them. I find the copper one is a little bit smaller in size, so I am trying to wear it to stretch it out a bit, but overall; a huge fan. Wearing it almost lifts my confidence because I finally found a hat that I don't hate the look of on me! Plus, Mimi and August is a small business located in Montreal, and all beanies are ethically made. They also have loads of other products that are worth checking out! Shop their website here.

Summer Fridays 

So I know Summer Fridays is a bit of a trend, but I couldn't help but want to try it out. I wanted to talk about it in my December favs because I feel like it's perfect for this dry weather! I have listened to a few podcasts with the creators behind the brand, and it helped me see how much work and attention goes into developing a GOOD formula. It also helps to hear the personality of those creating the product! The first Summer Fridays product I tried was the ever-talked-about "Jet Lag Mask." I've heard that you can use this in so many ways; as a sleep-mask, moisturizer, eye cream or a primer (and I'm sure there's more). The first impression was that the formula feels so… nice? I don't even know how to describe it. It's thick and feels SO hydrating. I typically use it in the evenings either as my moisturizer or on top of my typical night cream and then rinse it off when I wash my face in the mornings. I have also found that applying a little bit under my eyes before putting makeup on helps prevent the creasing that I often get from concealer under my eyes! It's safe to say; this is a product I want to continue to purchase because it is just overall lovely. AND, you had to have known there would be more. This product, as well as the other one I am going to (briefly) touch on, are all vegan, cruelty-free, paraben & sulphate free AND are made with no synthetic dyes or fragrances (does that mean it's Hyram approved? All skincare folk out there will know what I mean by that!). Okay, seriously, I'll stop rambling, but I also recently purchased their Lip Butter Balm, and it is also beautiful, hydrating, and the perfect consistency. All Summer Fridays products are developed with such attention and care, and it shows. Plus, their branding is on-point, and that is a bonus! Okay, that's it! I'm done! (Can you tell I'm a fan?)

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

I have been hearing about this book for a few weeks now and have always wanted to read a holiday-specific book. I've been reading more than I ever used to since finishing school and love hearing about book recommendations. One podcast I listen to holds a book club where they read a book together and then do a recap episode discussing the book at the end of the month. This month, they were doing this book (which was only released this year!). I had been hearing about it a few other places and decided I would cave and buy it (because I'm sure I will want to re-read it around the holidays next year). While writing this, I am only a few chapters in, but I'm very excited to take some time to sit on the couch with a cozy blanket and a cup of tea and dive in. The recap episode discussing the book comes out on Christmas Eve, so it will be nice to be part of that and listen to other people's thoughts about it! I think a cheesy romance like this is precisely what I need to help me get into the Christmas spirit (because honestly, it doesn't feel like Christmas at all!). Read a description of the book here because I'm not far enough into it to give you the inside scoop yet! 

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