What Feminism Means to Me

“You want a revolution? I want a revelation.” - Hamilton: An American Musical

A lot of women - or people in general - have specific reasons why they choose to identify as a feminist.

I never really had a moment where I decided that I was a feminist. It was always a part of my identity, whether I knew the term or the history or the reasons why I should be one. I was raised by a strong woman to be a strong woman myself. My mum has never taken crap from anyone, much less a man insisting their dominance over women. She worked in an all-male warehouse and she was their manager. I think that growing up and seeing her in her office sort of solidified who I was meant to be. I’ve always thought girls had every right to be taken as seriously and treated the same as boys. Thankfully, that’s not something I ever had to wrestle with and I’m so grateful to have had a role model like my mum in my life.

It wasn’t until high school that I really came to grips with what it was that I was really standing for. Until then, I hadn’t been introduced at all to the concept of feminism. Funny enough, it was Tumblr that introduced me to feminism. Actually, it introduced me to a lot of human rights movements. The more I saw posts about this concept ‘feminism’, what it meant, and most importantly, why it existed, the more angry I got. Why were women subjected to this treatment? Why had women been fighting for so long and yet nothing had changed?

Simultaneously, I was reading about the Black Lives Matter movement and the mistreatment of POC. I was 13 years old when Trayvon Martin was murdered, so I was introduced to that at a very young age and it stuck with me ever since. Feminism has always been intersectional to me. I read once this quote in an essay by Flavia Dzodan that said, “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.” That’s exactly how I’ve always viewed feminism. I didn’t know what the term “intersectional” was until I took a women’s history course in university, but I understood that feminism is not for just white, straight women. It’s for POC women, lesbian women, trans women, EVERY woman out there, no matter what.

In recent years, being a feminist has become a more important part of me. Being a teen and then entering adulthood in the midst of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements made it crucial for me to recognize who I am, and what I expect from this world and other people. As much as I hate that women are still fighting all these years later, after the suffrage movement and the women’s liberation movement, I’m slightly grateful that I’ve been able to witness it firsthand as it’s given me opportunity to take a stand. Every woman out there has had some experience where they’ve been sexually harassed and that’s just ridiculous to me.

Feminism has evolved over the years, and has come to include all women from all walks of life and all backgrounds. As a white, cisgender woman, I don’t experience nearly half the pain that other women do. I never will. However, I think it’s up to me and other women like me to bring attention to these women and their suffering, and to make the world pay attention. We have to be allies. If we’re out here only protecting ourselves, or women who look like us, then what is it all for? I take every opportunity to learn more about women’s history, paying particular attention to those who weren’t white, middle-class women. Being only 20 and having only spent about a quarter of my life aware of what’s going on in this world, it’s been a massive learning process but I’m happy to do it.

While my influence on the world might be very minimal, at least I’m doing something. If everyone out there did the same, it would make a massive difference.

Read my other Women’s History Month posts: 10 Inspirational Quotes by Women || 5 Must-Read Books By Women, About Women || 5 Incredible Films with Female Leads

Happy International Women’s Day!

Felicia x

Girls On Film: 5 Incredible Films with Female Leads

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It’s Day 3 of my Women’s Day posts y’all!! This one’s coming in a little late, oops. But a gal’s got to put school first, am I right?

Today’s post is all about my favourite women-led films. These films all showcase courageous women, either actively fighting for equality or just living their day-to-day lives. All of these films pass the Bechdel Test (i.e. two women speak to each other at some point and the convo is not about a guy) which is obviously a super important consideration when it comes to crafting a list of films for Women’s Day! All of these films have left their mark on me in some way, and I hope that they do the same for you.

Without further ado, here are my 5 favourite female-led films!

MONA LISA SMILE

This is one of my favourite female-led films of all time. A graduate student from UCLA comes to the conservative, all-female Wellesley College to teach art history. She quickly realizes that the majority of the students in her class are primarily interested in finding husbands, rather than getting an education and a career. Slowly, their professor starts to show them a different life, one where they aren’t relegated to housewife and motherhood roles which was, at the time this movie is set, considered very dangerous and threatening to the social order. It’s a fantastic film all about sisterhood and strong women.

SUFFRAGETTE

Let’s throw it all the way back to the early 20th century, long before “feminists” was even a term for women’s activists and in fact, women’s activism wasn’t really a thing. Suffragette is a historical period drama that tells the story of a woman who finds herself involved with the women’s suffrage movement in Britain in the 1910s. I stumbled upon this film sort of by accident and just throw it on out of curiosity but boy was I glad I did. It shows the horrific conditions these suffragettes had to face (such as incarceration and force-feeding), being isolated by their loved ones, and facing danger and discrimination all because they were fighting for justice. It’s extremely interesting, and I highly recommend watching it to get an idea of the severity of the suffrage movement.

MAMMIA MIA! & MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN

Yes, I included both the first and the second Mamma Mia films. In their own ways, they are absolutely chock-full of girl power and sisterhood and all the things you’d love to see in a film about women. The first film, of course, focuses on Sophie trying to find her father. However, it’s really about the relationship between mother and daughter, and the power that comes from that sort of love. In the second film, you can see generations of strong women and how they interact with each other which is amazing. Donna Sheridan is one of the strongest female characters in the world. It also puts emphasis on single motherhood and positive female friendships, as well as slams down any kind of slut-shaming because it’s 2019 and we ain’t about that anymore.

PRINCESS AND THE FROG

While this one might put some people off because it’s Disney and an animated film, please don’t let that deter you from watching it! It’s one of the most underrated Disney films out there. This film has an awesome positive message!! First off, it’s got a POC female lead, the first African-American star of a Disney animated film which is huge. Not only that, but Tiana is extremely ambitious, confident, and self-dependent. As a young woman in the 1920s, she defies the strict gender norms of that time that insist she settles down with a guy and has kids, and instead decides to open her own restaurant! #GIRLBOSS. I absolutely love this film so much and wish everyone would give it a chance.

LEGALLY BLONDE

Y’all had to have seen this one coming. What is a women’s empowerment post without mentioning the phenomenal Elle Woods? Elle Wood is incredible. While she appears at the start to be a selfish, snobby rich girl with no brain or determination (an overused film trope), she’s actually everything but all of those things. This film hits the nail on the head. It puts intelligent women at the forefront, gives icky men what they deserve, and highlights the importance of female friendships. Hallelujah. Also, this film gets extra points just for the “You got into Harvard?”- “What, like it’s hard?” scene. Iconic.

What female-led film has left a lasting impact on you?

Felicia x

10 Inspirational Quotes by Women

Some of you may not know this, but March is Women’s History Month! This month is meant to celebrate and draw attention to the contributions of women throughout history, a primarily overlooked component of our shared history. It also perfectly aligns with International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8 every year and has been ever since the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference.

Since this Friday is International Women’s Day, I thought I’d do my own celebrating through a week (well, four days - I had a pre-scheduled review on Monday!) of posts related to women. For my first post, I wanted to share 10 of my favourite quotes by women, from either distant or near history. These women are often noted as being “powerful” women, although I think it must be said that all women are powerful. These are just the ones who history has noted, though so many stories and influential figures have been left to slip through the cracks over time. With each of the quotes, I’ve put a little sentence or two about the woman who was quoted, so that maybe you might learn something new about women in history today that might just encourage you to look deeper into the lives of these fascinating women!

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“I ask no favour for my sex; all I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” - Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (b. 1933) is currently serving as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. As one of few women in her class, she attended first Harvard University and then Columbia University for law school, where she graduated first in her class. Her career has been marked by significant advocacy for the rights and equality of women, perhaps most controversially supporting abortion rights in a time where abortions were particularly scandalized. She has been a justice on the Supreme Court since 1993.

“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn. We are filled with the popular wisdom of several centuries just past, and we are terrified to give it up.” - Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem (b. 1934) is a journalist, feminist, and activist who has spent the majority of her life on the road. Creator of the liberal feminist magazine, Ms., she has spent her career actively fighting for gender equality, travelling across the nation in order to speak to and learn from a wide variety of American groups. She has also been involved in a number of political campaigns, from the late 1960s onwards.

“Here’s what I think. Feminism is not here to dictate to you. It’s not prescriptive, it’s not dogmatic. All we are here to do is give you a choice.” - Emma Watson

Emma Watson (b. 1990) is mostly known for her decade-long role as young witch Hermione Granger in the popular Harry Potter movie series. After filming the final instalment of the series, she continued her education at Brown University where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. She has since been appointed a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, has travelled globally to promote education for girls, and has spoken at the UN Headquarters to launch the HeForShe campaign.

“I do not wish [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.” - Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 - 1797) was an English writer and early women’s rights advocate. Her most well known work is her feminist writing, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) in which she opposed the presumption that women have a natural inferiority to men. This position was extremely controversial in an era where women had prescribed roles in society which placed them below men. She was also mother to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author of the Gothic novel Frankenstein (1818) and another boundary-pushing woman of her time.

“No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.” - Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai (b. 1997) is a Pakistani woman who is an activist for education of girls. In 2012, while on a bus after an exam, Malala was shot in an assassination attempt by a Taliban gunman who opposed her activism. Although she was hit in the head with a bullet, she recovered fully and now continues her activist work, despite further threats from the Taliban. She has since written a bestselling memoir called I Am Malala and in 2014, she became the youngest Noble Peace Prize laureate at 17 years old.

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.” - Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë (1816 - 1855) was an English novelist and a third of the famous Brontë sisters. Charlotte lived a short life plagued with tragedy - she watched her sisters pass away before succumbing to a pregnancy-related illness herself. While she wasn’t outspoken about women’s rights or equality, her famous novel Jane Eyre was driven by progressive ideas, such as the right for women to have an occupation and inner beauty. This quote from Jane Eyre is quite personal to me, and I think it really embodies women’s independence.

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” - Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014) was an American poet and civil rights activist. Her work, particularly her autobiographies, have raised awareness of racism and sexism, through her own experiences of both throughout her lifetime. In 1993, she became the first female poet (and second poet ever) to recite poetry at an inauguration of a president. Her writings displayed the importance of intersectionality - she was not a feminist, nor a civil rights activist, but rather a combination of both.

“Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, ‘She doesn’t have what it takes.’ They will say, ‘Women don’t have what it takes.’” - Clare Boothe Luce

Clare Boothe Luce (1903 - 1987) was an American author and politician who was the first woman to be appointed as a U.S. Ambassador to another country. While she was not entirely feminist in her thinking, expressed most prominently through her belief that all women must marry and have children, her determination in progressing in her career, despite possible discrimination against her gender, made her a strong female role model in that sense.

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” - Jane Austen, Persuasion

Jane Austen (1775 - 1817) was an English novelist who wrote six main completed novels in her lifetime, two of which were published posthumously. Her novels analyzed and critiqued the English landed gentry, as well as place importance on a marriage for love rather than marriage for financial purposes. In her novels, she portrays women as being strong, independent and often courageous, which has led many scholars to view her writing as early feminism.

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” - Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde (1934 - 1992) was an American writer, feminist, and civil rights activist. Throughout her career, she brought issues of race, sexuality, and gender to light through her writing, most specifically her poetry. She simultaneously attended Hunter College and worked to fund her education, and then after her graduation in 1959, she got her master’s degree in library science at Columbia University.

Review: Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

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I think I should preface this by saying that not only am I a huge history buff, but that Mary Queen of Scots is my favourite monarch in history. Is it weird to have a favourite royal? I don’t think so. Who knows, might just be a history nerd thing. I was first introduced to Mary’s story years ago through the CW teen drama, Reign, which I still binge-watch at least once every six months. However, it isn’t exactly… ahem… a historically accurate source haha. Not to say that it isn’t good! It’s very enjoyable and I highly recommend watching it, so long as you look elsewhere for your facts. Anyway, it set me off on a years-long search to gather as much info about the tragic Scottish Queen as I could.

For those not familiar with the history, lemme break it down real quick. Henry VIII had 3 children: Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. The way succession worked in 16th century England, if Henry VIII had not had any kids, the line of succession would’ve been passed onto his oldest sister, Margaret Tudor. The same, however, went if his children did not have children. Which they didn’t. Long story short, Elizabeth I not having a kid meant that the Scottish Queen, Mary, was the next in line (this was due to her paternal grandmother and father being dead by the time she was a baby). This caused a lot of anxiety for Queen Elizabeth I, who worried that Mary would come along and try to take the throne from her, as her own grandfather did to King Richard III in the 1400s. This was especially problematic as a lot of people were against Elizabeth as she was a Protestant, and Mary was a Catholic. See how this could be an issue?

Okay, let’s get into things.

You can imagine that when I heard there would be a film adaptation about her life, I was pretty bloody ecstatic. My mum (also a MQoS fan) and I meant to see the film in theatres last December, but with my exam schedule it just didn’t work out. Luckily, it’s out on dvd and I finally got to see it! And I thought, what better way to revisit my love of Mary than through a film review on my blog.

Disclaimer: these are just the opinions of a 20-year-old history fan who makes no claim to be a professional historian or film critic. I just love me a good period piece and love a good rant even more!

Caution - major spoilers ahead!!

First off, the cast. When I heard that Queen Elizabeth I was to be played by Margot Robbie, my reaction looked a lot like this:

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All I could picture was yet another Cate Blanchett depiction of a very polished version of the English Queen. However, my worries were completely unfounded as Margot Robbie pulled off a fantastic Queen Elizabeth I. They even showed off her facial scarring that she got from smallpox. I was pleasantly surprised. Saoirse Ronan wasn’t exactly who I’d have imagined playing Mary, but I think she pulled it off quite well. There were also some great actors in this film such as Brendan Coyle, Joe Alwyn, and David Tennant (more on him in a sec).

The film was heavily based on John Guy’s biography of Mary Queen of Scots, which you can tell because Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie’s faces are plastered on the book’s cover in every book store right now. If you’re interested in getting a more in-depth factual look at Mary’s life, I definitely recommend reading his biography which is the one in the picture at the top of the review. It’s highly acclaimed and a reliable source. Just make sure to not buy the movie tie-in version!

Let’s start off with the good things/things I liked.

This was the most historically accurate depiction of Mary’s story I’ve seen. Not to say that it’s entirely historically accurate, as there was a bit of artistic license used in order to move the plot ahead or make it more dramatic. But it was a far-cry from Reign lol. As for the two Queens, I’ve obviously pointed out how on-point Elizabeth’s appearance was (even her nose was spot-on!). Mary was given red hair, which was a plus, however it was a bit lighter/more orange than portraits made it out to be.

My FAVOURITE part of this movie was whenever Saoirse Ronan spoke French!! She spoke it often, too!! By George, I think they’ve finally got it. It’s the most overlooked part of her life in the film and TV universe. Mary would have spoken French. A woman who spent her formative years in France, who married the French king, would have spoken the country’s native language. It’s just facts. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

Moving on lol. David Tennant (see, told you we’d get to him!) was phenomenal in this film. I didn’t even initially recognize him when he came on the screen. It took me, however, 0.05 seconds to realize he was John Knox, the Protestant leader of the Scottish Reformation and overall woman-hater. In one sentence, he attacked the Pope and the female rulers of two kingdoms, so I was like aha that’s him. He did a great job at playing the villainous Scot and also reminded me why I hate Knox so much.

Onto the bad - as every movie, especially the period pieces, has its downfalls.

The omission of Mary’s early life made me sad. Yes, her time in Scotland is more “interesting,” but her time in France was equally as important. Her years there were relegated to a short blurb in conversation, whereas it was a huge part of her life. She spent a whopping 13 years in France, where as she spent a combined total of 11 in Scotland (5 of which she was a baby/toddler). None of her early years in French Court or her reign as Queen consort of France were depicted. And my poor heart couldn’t take that the only mention of her late husband, King Francis II was her offhandedly mentioning he was bad at sex. She loved him most of all!! How could they!! Toby Regbo did not die (twice) for this.

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The highly inaccurate face-to-face meeting of Mary and Elizabeth gave me major eye-rolls as well. Okay, so I know they included it because it’s anticlimactic to show two Queens writing letters to one another. But still. Especially that it was them meeting in a room of hanging sheets. The melodrama!! It was just not for me.

And her execution. Sigh. I thought that Adelaide Kane’s Mary execution in Reign was the most dramatized and fabricated version, because of how they gave her a grand total of maybe 5 grey hairs, propped her boobs up in a corset and hoped to God we’d believe her to be an ailing, malnourished 44-year-old woman. However, Saoirse Ronan didn’t even get that treatment. They just pulled her hair back. And then stripped her of her outer-garments to reveal crimson red underclothes, which was an over-exaggerated nod to the real Mary’s crimson sleeves representing martyrdom. There seems to be a trend in these adaptations of amplifying the execution scenes to make them seem far more dramatic and intense than they really were. The real Mary just stepped up to the block, forgave the executioner, and made a joke about stripping down in front of strange men. Classic.

All in all, it was a good film. It was (mostly) historically accurate, and the cast did a really good job. However, for me, there is only one Mary.

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Have you seen Mary Queen of Scots? What did you think of it?

Felicia x

A Charming Day in Niagara-on-the-Lake

It is my absolute opinion that Niagara-on-the-Lake is one of the dreamiest places in Ontario. I adore this little town. Situated in Niagara, just a bit away from Niagara Falls, it’s like stepping back in time into a quaint 19th century town - with all the boutiques and cafes your little heart could ever desire. I wish I could spend every day walking along these beautiful streets, with their little shutters and beautiful brick buildings.

My boyfriend and I recently had a week-off from uni for Reading Week, so we decided to take a day trip out to Niagara-on-the-Lake to stroll around. Fortunately, despite it being the dead of winter in Canada, the sun came out, the weather was tolerable, and we had a positively beautiful day! Since it’s one of the most photogenic places I’ve ever seen, I took a ton of pictures and thought I’d share them all on the blog today!

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Since we only explored Queen Street, rather than visiting some of the historic areas throughout the town, we spent our day primarily popping in and out of the little shops that dot the street. There are a ton of small businesses along the road which I’ve come to appreciate even more since moving to a very small town that is quite reliant on their local shops.

One of the shops that is not a local business, however, is the Cows Creamery, which is an ice cream shop. It’s actually a chain of parlours from Prince Edward Island that has somehow made it out to Niagara-on-the-Lake (and apparently Beijing!). I love the ice cream there however it was far too cold for a scoop so instead we decided to check out their merchandise. It’s all hilariously cute, as most of it is cow-related pop culture puns. It sounds hideously tacky, but I swear it’s funny!! They actually had a line of really nice crewnecks that were very subtle and had the logo on it, so I bought a nice large grey sweater that I currently am living in lol.

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Every time I visit Queen St, I’m in complete awe of this building. The Old Court House is from the mid-19th century and it’s a wonderfully historic addition to the main street. I adore.

Walking down the streets, taking in all the sights, was really the most fun ever. It was also really lovely to just spend a day alone with my boyfriend, chatting and enjoying the sun. The road of Queen St isn’t very busy, so there aren’t so many cars along the road which is nice. They also have horse-drawn carriages that come down the road quite often, which is so beautiful. I love horses so much and every time they pass, I make my boyfriend stop in the middle of the sidewalk to watch!

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It is simply not a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake unless I visit Just Christmas. In fact, the main reason we went down there was to go to Just Christmas. Established in 1985, it’s known as Canada’s oldest year-long Christmas emporium. This store is M A S S I V E. It seems like it goes on forever, up and down stairs, around corners, in little loft areas. For a Christmas fanatic like myself, it’s a dream.

It’s also a crucial part of my Christmas traditions! My whole family, including my grandma, late grandpa, and my boyfriend, all have red ornament balls personalized with our names. It’s something that’s been a tradition for us since before I was even alive I believe. But this past Christmas, we realized we didn’t have one for my pup (yes, we’re that crazy dog family) so my boyfriend and I decided to go out and get one for her.

We also bought a very cute marshmallow snowman ornament for our mini bedroom tree and a Jon Snow ornament for our main tree because he’s a cutie and it was only $3 lol.

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I’ve always heard about the Prince of Wales Hotel and I’ve seen it from afar before, but for whatever reason, I’d never gone to see it up close. So this time, I insisted we went down that road and I’m so glad we did! The hotel was established in 1864 under a different name, being renamed the Prince of Wales after the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V and Queen Mary) came to visit in 1901. It’s positively huge and beautiful. My little history-loving heart couldn’t take all the historic importance and the 19th century architecture. As we explored the exterior (I don’t think we even have enough money to open the front door), I just kept saying “oh my GOD” really loudly and dramatically, which got me a lot of interesting looks from very posh elderly patrons of the hotel and accompanying restaurant.

Also, it’s apparently extremely haunted. There’s a whole story about an American soldier going into a wooden house which stood in the Prince of Wales Hotel’s spot during the War of 1812 and he mistook a woman looking out the window for an enemy British soldier, piercing her with the end of his bayonet. Not a great time. There’s even a Trip Advisor review titled “Great. But totally haunted.” I won’t be staying there any time soon.

That being said, if you’re really into ghosts, Niagara-on-the-Lake is the place for you. Being such an old town, and the site of many War of 1812 moments, it’s apparently generally haunted. They even do ghost tours which I might gather the nerve to do one day, though I vow not to do the ghost tour of my own town lol.

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Interesting fact: this beautiful clock tower in the middle of Queen St is actually a cenotaph for those who were killed during World War I.

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Near the end of our trip, I was absolutely starving so my boyfriend lured me into the Nina Gelateria & Pastry Shop. I’d been there before for gelato before years ago, but had never had anything from the cafe menu. Immediately after I saw the crepes, I was hooked. My boyfriend, shockingly, had never had a crepe before!! Luckily I fixed that haha. I ordered us a Chocolate Hazelnut Banana crepe, which is essentially nutella and sliced banana pieces. It was heavenly! Massive, too. If you happen to come to Nina’s someday, keep in mind that these crepes are very easily sharable. But very, very delicious.

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Finally, we reached the end of our trip (sad). I should mention that parking at Niagara-on-the-Lake is… interesting. It’s primarily street parking, meaning the dreaded parallel parking aka I made my boyfriend drive and park haha. I think there’s some parking behind the shops, in little parking lots but I can’t be certain where there are or if they even exist. Anyway, for parking on the street, you have to pay a parking meter. It’s $3 an hour. We stayed an hour and a half, so we had to pay $6 for two hours. But it wouldn’t take our credit cards! We tried credit cards, debit cards, and nothing. Which meant we had to use coins which we did not have, so we had to pop into a shop to break a twenty. It took a longgg time. Keep that in mind!

We actually parked right in front of Starbucks, which was fabulous as it was easy for me to grab my beloved caramel macchiato before hoping in the car for the long drive home. Let me just say that this is the cutest Starbucks I’ve ever seen! It’s very small and cozy, located in a white, old-looking shop with beautiful rich green shutters and green door. The barista who took my order was so sweet and it was just the perfect ending to the day!

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And here’s my outfit that I wore to Niagara-on-the-Lake! Would it be a day out if I didn’t take a snap of my outfit, really?

Beret - Joe Fresh
Jacket - Forever 21
Sweater - Gap
Jeans - Garage (I only ever wear Garage High Rise Roller Jeggings, they’re so flattering and comfy!)
Ankle Boots - Madden Girl by Steve Madden

Have you ever been to Niagara-on-the-Lake?

Felicia x

January Favourites

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New year, new opportunity to try to remember to post monthly favourites! I always love writing up these favourites posts, but I find it so hard to remember to post one at the end of each and every month. My brain is so wrapped up in uni mode that I often neglect my blog :( But here’s to turning over a new leaf and making more of an effort with my blog!!

With that being said, here are my favourite things from January!

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Marc Anthony Hydrating Coconut Oil & Shea Butter [Shampoo // Conditioner]

Oh my goodness. This shampoo & conditioner set is truly to die for. I was in the market for a new shampoo and conditioner as I was pretty disillusioned with the one I was using before. I picked up this Marc Anthony duo on a whim, as I knew that Marc Anthony was a good brand (fun fact: my dad went to school with Marc Anthony himself!). It’s soo nice!! It makes my hair so soft and hydrated, and the scent reminds me so much of a tropical holiday! In other words, it’s a very strong coconut scent. If you don’t love heavy scents in your hair products, steer away from this bc it’s powerful haha. But the coconut scent is what makes me love it!

Bath & Body Works Comfort Body Butter [Similar: Body Cream]

If I could smell like Bath & Body Works’ Comfort scent 24/7, I would. Is there a way to make that happen that doesn’t involve going through ten tubs of body butter per month?! This Comfort scent is part of Bath & Body Works’ Aromatherapy line (which I absolutely love btw) and its fragrance is a combination of vanilla and patchouli essential oil. I think it’s an unusual but also really nice scent that isn’t too overpowering at all. Plus, the body butter is very hydrating on the skin. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem they’re selling it online anymore (I got mine in the semi-annual sale) but I’m sure the body lotion version - which I’ve linked - is very similar!

Bath & Body Works Stress Relief Body Cream [Body Cream]

Surprise, surprise, yet another thing from the Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy line!! I really love the Stress Relief scent so so much. The eucalyptus is lovely and genuinely soothes my anxiety. I’ve got this scent in a million different versions - soaps, wallflowers, sprays, you name it - but I find this body cream is one of my favs. It’s also very moisturizing!! And I got it for like $4 at the semi-annual sale this Christmas so I simply couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to buy it ;)

Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash with Soothing Oat & Coconut [Body Wash]

This favourite of mine was actually a complete fluke! My boyfriend went to the store to pick up a few things and I asked him to pick up the Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash. I typically use the fragrance free one as I have super sensitive skin, so I like to be careful with washing. But he accidentally picked up the coconut one and can I just say I am absolutely in love with it?! It’s completely added to my coconut scent obsession!! I find it doesn’t irritate my skin at all, so the skin relief part is still useful. But it just adds a lovely scent to my skin - so it’s a bonus!

The History Chicks Podcast [Website]

Unlike the rest of the world, I’ve not been totally obsessed with podcasts these past few years. For me, I’m very much a visual sort of person so I find that while listening to audiobooks or podcasts, my mind often wanders off as I get bored of listening. However, the one exception to the rule is The History Chicks podcast! I’ve been listening to this podcast on-and-off for the past year or so, and I’ve recently fallen back in love with it! It’s very simple - two women sit down and chronologically discuss the lives of prominent women, real or not, in history. Being a massive history fanatic, especially when it comes to women’s history, this is right up my alley! Personal favourite episodes include Jane Austen, Marie Antoinette, and Mary, Queen of Scots - because those are my fav historical women. However, there are hundreds to browse through and listen to!

Game of Thrones

I know I’m so late to the party, but I very recently started watching Game of Thrones and I’ve been loving it. Totally see what all the buzz has been about these last, what, 8 years lol. But whatever it’s all good!! I basically binge-watched the entirety of the available seasons in January alone, getting all the way up to the end of season 5. I’m v excited to see what the next two available seasons have in store and even more so what the final season has to offer! I’m pretty bummed that I’ll have watched all of Game of Thrones in just a few short months though… Feels like I missed out on the journey a little bit! If anyone’s wondering, my fav characters so far are Daenerys and Tyrion!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Broadway Musical Soundtrack

It somehow managed to slip my knowledge that The Hunchback of Notre Dame had been turned into a Broadway musical at some point… How?! I absolutely love Hunchback, and always have, ever since I was a kid. And I adore musical theatre, if you hadn’t already guessed that. So I had to check out the Hunchback Broadway soundtrack and BOY am I glad I did!!! The OBC is incredible and although I highly doubt it’ll happen, I would be extremely grateful if they cast Michael Arden as Quasimodo in the upcoming Hunchback of Notre Dame live action adaptation.

So that’s all for this month! Hope you guys enjoyed reading about my little favourite bits and bobs of the month!

Felicia x

2019 Goals

Hello my friends… Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019. The last year of the decade. I can hardly believe that it’s nearly the 2020s. It even looks wrong to type.

Last year, I wrote up a post about the things that I wanted to accomplish in 2018; goals that I was going to try my best to stick to as the year went on. I’ve never liked the term “New Year’s Resolutions” because I feel like it’s so heavy with negative connotations. Most times, we hold ourselves to extremely unrealistic resolutions and when we aren’t successful, we end up feeling so down on ourselves. But I do like the idea of setting goals and trying to achieve them. Goals are more flexible than resolutions, in that resolutions feel more like something you have to be working on every single day, whereas goals are more long-term.

So, without further ado, here are my 2019 goals!

Read 35 Books

Sooo this past year, I set myself a goal of reading 50 books… Unfortunately, I didn’t make it. Not even close haha. I ended up reading about 37 books - which is still a lot, don’t get me wrong!! I definitely learned a lot about time management this year. And with my anxiety so bad at certain points throughout the year, I often lost my drive to pick up a book and read. But this year will definitely be better, in that sense. Instead of holding myself to another unattainable goal, I’m going to try to read 35 books in 2019.

Do More Things That Scare Me

At the start of 2018, my anxiety held me back from doing a lot. In fact, for the past 6 years, it’s been holding me back. But by the end of the year, I finally started to get control over my life again. Now that I have more confidence and less anxiety, I definitely want to try to push myself to do more things that scare me, things that I usually avoided doing because of my anxiety. One of those things is going back on a cruise. The last cruise I went on a few years back was horrible because of my anxiety, but we have another one booked this year and I’m excited to step out of my comfort zone!

Be More Outspoken - In Life and Online

A side effect of my anxiety, one that has really bothered me for a long time, is the fact that my shyness causes me to censor everything I say. I’m always afraid of going against the grain, or opposing someone else’s thoughts, so I tend to just agree with other people or not speak out about my thoughts/opinions just to keep the peace. Which is so unhealthy and just downright annoying. In the New Year, I definitely want to make a change in that. I’d love to be more open, not only in the “real world” but online as well.

Self-Care, Self-Care, Self-Care

It took me about 19 years to realize that self-care is important. And I know that sounds ridiculous, but think about it. How often do you put yourself first? I spent years and years putting people before me, at the expense of my own self-health. This past year, I really started to focus on myself. Being healthier, taking care of my skin, making decisions that weren’t only benefitting people around me. There’s a million small things you can do to improve your own self-health! I’m definitely going to make a conscious effort to continue to care for myself in 2019.

Start Vlogging

This is something I tell myself that I’m going to do every. single. year. And I never do it. But this year, I’ve decided, is different. Before, I stopped myself from branching out into the Youtube world with vlogs because my mind and anxiety always acted against me. It’s hard to put yourself out on the Internet like that. Blogging is different; I know how to write and it’s comfortable. But I can’t forget my 2nd goal: stepping out of my comfort zone! I’m going to be doing a ton of exciting things this year and I’d love to share them all with my followers through a different format than just written posts.

~ What are your 2019 goals? ~

Felicia x

2018: A Year in Review

Can you believe that it’s almost 2019?! We’re just hours away by now and it’s completely blowing my mind. It will never not be weird to me how we an go from being in one year to being in the next in just the blink of an eye. Crazy stuff!!

For my last post of 2018, I thought I’d finish off with a review of my favourite memories of 2018! A lot has happened this past year… In some ways, it’s been simultaneously a not-so-great and a great year. But no matter what, I think it’s always good to look back on the past year and see what you’ve accomplished!

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JANUARY

Happy New Year!! We started our year off with a bit of a blip, as we had a near-crisis where we thought that there was a gas leak in our house/garage. We called the fire dept and stood outside for over an hour, just to find out it was a false alarm! Shortly afterwards was one of my favourite memories of 2018 however, as it was when I got my first car!! I’m sure you’ve heard this all before, but in case you haven’t, it’s a used grey Kia Soul which I call Maggie (obvs, after Maggie Smith).

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FEBRUARY

In late January/early February, my mum and I snuck away for a ~super secret~ girls trip to Orlando. At the time, no one outside my family knew that I wasn’t in uni so we kept it very discreet. Our trip was soo much fun and it was really cool seeing the Festival of the Arts at Epcot, as I’d never seen that before!! Also in February, Steven turned 20 which was really really exciting!

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MARCH

Please look at this adorable picture of my pup sleeping in front of a fireplace omg. March was spent putting major work into my blog as this was around the time that I decided I wanted to take blogging more seriously. I was looking into different hosts, weighing out my options, and was starting to delve into social media more! This was also the month that my boyfriend bought his very first car!

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APRIL

April, things were starting to warm up (slowly, but surely). My boyfriend and I headed to our uni for an end of year celebration with our really good friends, who I hadn’t seen in ages because I hadn’t been in school. It was such a great time - albeit a tad freezing!! (This is such a bad photo I KNOW)

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MAY

As school was over for my boyfriend in late April and we had a month to spare before I left for Florida, we decided to spend some time exploring the south-western area of Ontario where my town is. We visited Ancaster, Port Dover, and Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was so much fun and I absolutely recommend acting like a tourist in your own town because you won’t know what you’re missing until you do!

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JUNE

June is when my family and I left for our summer trip to Orlando. Although I was still having a hard time with my anxiety in the summer, June was a lot of fun and we got to do quite a few things. My mum celebrated her birthday at the end of the month and we all had dinner at Be Our Guest to celebrate!

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JULY

The month started off with a road trip down to Orlando with my mum. I’ve never been huge on long-haul drives but we did get to go through Tennessee which is my fav state and it was as beautiful as ever! We also celebrated my dad’s birthday and my boyfriend came down to visit - I was so happy to see him, and the four of us go to see my beloved Sam Smith in concert (he was incredible, that man’s got TALENT).

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AUGUST

In August, my boyfriend, parents, and I went on a staycation to Walt Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter! We had such an amazing time and for the first time in a while, my anxiety was actually at a manageable level so that made the whole trip that much more enjoyable. I also celebrated my 20th birthday in Disney! You can read all about that vacation here.

SEPTEMBER

September marked one of the momentous events of the year: my big return to university. I was so nervous to go back to school, but luckily the transition went quite smoothly! If you haven’t heard about my decision to take a year off university, you can read about that here. My boyfriend and I also celebrated our five-year anniversary, for which he gifted me a beautiful Belle promise ring!

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OCTOBER

October brought one of my favourite of our annual traditions and that is our trip to Disney where we do the Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!! These are two of my all-time favourite events in Disney World and I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to spend them with my boyfriend these last few years. This year, we dressed up as Mary Poppins and Bert in honour of Mary Poppins Returns coming out this year!

NOVEMBER

November signalled the beginning of stressful/busy times. Fortunately, at the end of the month, we did get to do some of our favourite Christmas traditions like our town’s Light Up Night (which Steven sadly wasn’t able to attend) and Santa Claus Parade. Mostly, we spent the month preparing for the upcoming exam season which was especially stressful for me this year as a) it was the first time I’d be writing exams since spring 2017 and b) it was my first time studying for exams whilst living with my boyfriend, which makes for a very different study atmosphere.

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DECEMBER

December has been the busiest month of all this year. We made a few trips out to Mississauga to visit Steven’s family, hosted my family’s annual Christmas party, wrote exams (I had two; Steven had four), and tried to keep ourselves sane with the mix of school pressure and upcoming holiday season. It was also the most triumphant month for my anxiety as I was told by my therapist that we would start cutting back on my appointments and I also did a number of anxiety-inducing things that went really really well!!

This year, ultimately, started off really crappy, but ended up turning into a really successful second-half of the year. Although I had a rough time, I proved to myself that with a bit of help I could overcome all my struggles and actually find what I wanted from life and how to get it, which was so so important. Hopefully, next year will all around be a better year than 2018 and I’m really looking forward to seeing what it has in store for me!

Felicia x

Where I've Been

Hello my lovelies!

Wow, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I’ve really neglected my little corner of the Internet and I won’t bother making up excuses why. Things have just been crazy and I’ve not been terribly good at time management as of late. But I’m back! And I promise to be more diligent. I thought today I’d just kick off with a bit of an update post, to let you all know where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to recently.

(Also, I’ve spent a chunk of time lately going through and revising my old book review posts. You can now find them all under the tab, Books > Book Review, or right here, if you’re interested in giving those a read.)

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At the end of August, I made my bittersweet return home from Florida. On the one hand, I was so sad to be leaving Florida, my home away from home but on the other hand, I was eager to get back to my proper home and get back into the swing of things. My journey home was actually a bit of a milestone moment for me, as it was the first time that my boyfriend and I travelled by plane without my parents. Taking a flight alone just the two of us was huge - if you suffer from travel anxiety like me, then you’ll get why. I was so nervous about the flight, but it all went very smoothly and I’m glad to have finally gotten it out of the way.

Coming home was also a pretty big deal as it meant returning to uni. As I mentioned this summer in my ‘Why I Took A Break From University’ post, I decided to take a year-long break from school after my first year, to sort things out and put the focus on my mental health. Returning to uni was so. freaking. nervewracking. But it went quite well! I’m only taking 3 courses this term - a Jane Austen literature course, a Women’s History course, and a Mental Health & Addictions course - so my course load has been lightened a bit and I can put more of an equal focus on my studies and my mental health. If you didn’t already know, I’m working towards my Honours BA in English & Cultural Studies (a four-year program I’ve completed a year of so far) and I’ve recently added onto that a Minor in History!

Unfortunately, being back in school means less time to spend with my boyfriend. Even though we live together, we have very opposite schedules. Most days, as he’s pulling up into the driveway in his car, I’m pulling out in my own and we just wave at each other through the window. He’s also got a far heavier course load than I have, what with being a Psychology major and all. Needless to say, it’s been difficult to make time for our relationship lately. That being said, it was recently our 5-year anniversary! We’ve been together for a quarter of our lives. Time really does fly. We had a lovely anniversary dinner at a local restaurant, had a few drinks, and just enjoyed some time alone. For our anniversary, my bf gifted me the Enchanted Disney Belle diamond promise ring. It’s absolutely stunning!! I was completely speechless about how thoughtful and genuine of a gift it was.

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this past weekend was my town’s annual fall fair! I love these fairs, you guys. They’re so wonderful and autumnal and nostalgic. My town is extremely small (at least to my standards, 10,000 is small) and very proud of our history - the fair has been running since 1873 so the historic aspect of the fair is really important. As my town is in the country, it’s only right that our fair is a typical county fair, complete with a demolition derby, midway, and tons of competitions of farm animals, food, needlework, and even pumpkins and hay! I never imagined I’d live in such a small town, coming from somewhere like Mississauga, but I could never leave the small town life now. I love the country sooo much.

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On a very exciting note, I finally got my hair done! Early this year (like maybe February?) I got a tiny bit of blonde put into my hair, but decided that I wanted some real blonde highlights for the summer, to lighten up my hair. I’d gotten the blonde highlights put in last summer as well, but after I had it done again this year, I just wasn’t feeling the blonde as much as before *shrugs*. So when I came home from Florida, I got my hair dyed back to a solid colour for the fall, except this time I went a shade or two darker than my natural shade and now it’s a dark chocolate brown. I LOVE IT. It feels sooo good to be a brunette again. I feel very autumnal, indeed.

So that’s really it for me. I’ve babbled on for quite a bit here haha, but oh well! In the next few weeks I’ve got a lot going on, including another trip to Florida for my reading week! We’ll be heading to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and, as usual, I’ll be sure to post about those - especially my super-secret costume for Not So Scary!! So keep a look out for that :)

Hope you’re all doing well!

Felicia x

Bath & Body Works Autumnal Haul

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Hi, my name’s Felicia and I’m an autumn-aholic.

Okay, but in all seriousness, I’m a teensy tiny bit addicted to autumn. It’s my favourite season after all. And what better way to fully embrace the autumn spirit than to fill your house with glorious scents of pumpkin and apple delight! Bath & Body Works is my go-to for candles and other home-related scents, even though I’m slowly warming up to Yankee Candle too. I just think their scents and the designs of their candles are so lovely, and they’ve typically got great sales going on.

Since I’ve returned from Florida, I’ve done two separate trips to Bath & Body Works and spent a bundle each time… Oops. I’ve bought quite a few lovely autumnal things that I thought I’d share with you guys today as a) I love sharing the autumnal joy and b) I haven’t done a haul post in quite some time. So let’s get right into it, shall we?

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Stress Relief 3-Wick Candle [x] - This was the first of two replacement candles I purchased, as two of my favs were nearly completely burnt out. This candle has a lovely scent of eucalyptus and spearmint that is soo soothing. I usually burn this candle while I’m studying or doing homework, as a little way to keep my stress levels down while I get to work. I’ve found it’s really made an improvement to the whole experience!

Mahogany Apple 3-Wick Candle [x] - Surprisingly, this my boyfriend’s favourite scent of the Bath & Body Works collection and this is the second of the two replacement candles - he nearly burnt his entire first candle in this scent. My boyfriend is not at all into candles or scents at all for that matter, but this one is an exception. It’s a mix of mahogany woods, golden apple, pink peppercorn, and fresh lavender sprigs.

Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow 3-Wick Candle [x] - Prior to this year, I’ve been very anti-pumpkin (I know, I know, I’m in the minority). I’ve never liked anything pumpkin before, except for as decor, so I never gave pumpkin-scented candles much attention. But this year I thought I’d branch out and give them a try. After a bit of a browsing, I realized I do like some pumpkin candles after all! This was one of the ones I loved most - I really liked about 4 but could only afford to buy a couple haha. It’s got a delicious scent of vanilla, pumpkin spice, homemade marshmallow, and caramel that really smells like a confectionary to me. It’s very sweet, but wonderful.

Pumpkin Apple 3-Wick Candle [x] - This had to be my absolute favourite pumpkin-scent in the entire store. It’s a mix of red delicious apples, pumpkin, cinnamon, and clove buds. I’m not usually big on cinnamon, in fact certain levels of cinnamon make me a bit nauseous, but I find it hardly noticeable in this candle, more of a background note. I’ve burnt this one the most so far and can see it running out before the season is done if I’m quite honest!

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I’ve also become quite the connoisseur of car scents in the past few months after I discovered the Yankee Candle scents (which you can read about in my Recent Favourites post). How did I not know until now that Bath & Body Works sells car scents?! The Car Scentportables are so cool because you first buy a little vent clip (there are a ton of cute designs, mine is a rosy gold one) and then you buy refills to put in the holder. The refills come at about $3.50 a piece, but there was a 4/$10 sale going on when I was at the store so I bought 4 :) I like how you can buy any refill you like, which means that as the seasons change, so can my scents! (You can buy my holder here).

Car Scentportables Pumpkin Apple Refill [x] - Of course I bought the Pumpkin Apple scent for my car!! It’s autumn (almost) after all! I’m sure this will be the first one I use, once I’ve gone through my Yankee Candle scents.

Car Scentportables Sweater Weather Refill [x] - Oddly enough, I don’t actually have the Sweater Weather candle, even though I love the scent. It smells of fresh sage, juniper berry, aromatic eucalyptus, and fresh woods - so it’s a very nature scent, which I really like.

Car Scentportables Flannel Refill [x] - Girl I love me some Flannel. Is this anyone else’s fav autumn scent?! I have it in a hand soap too and oh my goshhh it’s heaven. The fragrance is crisp autumn air, bergamot, heirloom mahogany, and soft musk.

Car Scentportables Vanilla Bean Refill [x] - And, of course, I had to pick up a lovely vanilla scent because I’m a major vanilla fan. I feel like this would be a good anytime scent for any season, in-between trips to Bath & Body Works to get new refills!

Let’s see how long I can go before I’ve burnt out every candle and gone through every scentportable lol…

Felicia x

Recent Favourites

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Hello everybody! How are you all on this lovely afternoon?

I’ve been having the hardest time keeping up with my blog schedule now that I’ve started up with classes. I haven’t really ever had to juggle the two, as I picked up my blogging around the time that I left school… So that’s definitely been an adjustment! But here I am, with a new post, finally. Today I’m wrapping up all my beauty (and miscellaneous) favourites of the past couple months. There have been definitely been quite a few of those and since I haven’t done a ‘monthly favourites’ in awhile, I thought that this would be a great way to combine them all :)

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Soap & Glory Peaches and Clean Deep Cleansing Milk - $15.75 CAD [x]

Early last week, I decided that I wanted to treat myself to a little pick-me-up so I stopped at my local drugstore to do some poking around. I ended up finding this lovely Soap & Glory cleansing milk. I've been a fan of Soap & Glory since my high school days but I haven't bought anything of theirs in a long time. When I found this, I knew I needed to give it a go. It's got a lovely scent and every time I've used it, it's left my skin feeling refreshed and looking glowy af! 

OGX Argan Oil of Morocco Extra Strength Creamy Hair Butter - $11.80 CAD [x]

I've been using the OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Penetrating Oil for years now and have absolutely loved how it makes my hair look and feel. So when I came across this hair butter, I thought I'd give it a try. I've never tried a hair butter before but I've been really enjoying it so far! The cool thing about this product is that it can be used in two different ways: as an in-shower rinse out or as a leave-in conditioner. I've only used it as a rinse out so far, but I'm excited to try it as a leave-in too! After my shower, it left my hair so much more hydrated and tangle-free than usual. Plus, it smells divine. 

E.l.f. Cosmetics Makeup Brush Cleaning Glove - $13.13 CAD [x]

Washing makeup brushes is such a chore, isn't it? I always dread when it's time to go through the process of individually cleaning my brushes (I've got quite a few by now). Which is why I bought this cleaning glove from e.l.f.! With all the different ridges across it, all you have to do is lather the makeup brush cleaner (or baby shampoo, in my case) and this bad boy does most of the work for you! Honestly, my brushes have never been so clean so quick before.

Too Faced Just Peachy Mattes Palette - $55.00 CAD [x]

Y’all already know how much I love my peaches - and my peachy toned shadows. So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that one of my recent favourites is the Too Faced Just Peachy Mattes palette! I have already been in a deep love affair with the Sweet Peach palette they released a couple years back, but when I popped into Sephora this summer for the first time in a long time, I couldn’t leave without this baby. The shades are absolutely beautiful and so versatile. I think they’re perfect for autumn.

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 Attmu Classic Rubber Transparent Hot Water Bottle - $10.99 USD [x]

I bought this when I was in Florida this summer and it's easily become one of my favourite products of the year (possibly of my life?). All summer, I've been suffering with fairly unbearable back and neck pain, so much so that at times, I was up all night in pain. Nothing was working to help and I was getting frustrated. I went on Amazon and after a quick search, I found this hot water bottle. IT'S A LIFE SAVER. All you do is fill the water bottle with hot water from a kettle and twist on the cap and voila! It keeps the water hot for hours and even with the sweater cover on, you can really feel the heat. 

Yankee Candle Macintosh Car Jar - $6.00 [x]

I’ve been completely obsessed with car fresheners as of late, and this Yankee Candle one is my current fave. This lovely scent hangs in a small plastic jar off your rearview mirror. The scent, Macintosh, smells sooo strongly of apples which I absolutely adore and think is perfect for the upcoming autumn season. I really find that the Car Jar produces the strongest scent, in comparison to the car vent clips (which I’ve also used) but that’s just my personal opinion!

The Fosters [Available on Netflix]

As always, I have to mention a tv show in my favourites. Recently, I've been really enjoying the show The Fosters. I have always seen commercials for this show on Freeform whenever I was in the US but I never really thought much about it. Finally, after hearing so much about it, especially with Noah Centineo becoming so popular lately, I thought I'd start it. It's about a police officer, Stef, and her partner, Lena, and their large, blended family comprised of Stef's biological son and a pair of twins that the couple adopted when they were children. Things start to change when they take in a foster child, Callie, who's recently been in juvie, and her younger brother, Jude. Y'all know how much I love me a good family drama and this one definitely fits the bill! 

What have you guys been loving lately?

Felicia x

20 Years

I'm twenty years old y'all!! I know, it's a shock to me as well. I recently had my birthday on the 20th of August. Two whole decades of my life have officially gone by. I know to a lot of people that seems like nothing, but to me, it's completely mind-blowing that I'm now in my twenties. It's been a long time coming, since my friends are already 20! 

I was stuck wondering what sort of post I should write up for my 20th birthday. A '20 things I've learned in 20 years' post? Or a birthday tag, maybe? I really couldn't decide. But I remembered a post I saw a while back where someone had reflected on what they'd learned since their last birthday. I thought I'd do a bit of that, but also mix in a few things I've learned through my life as a whole. 

So kick back, relax, grab yourself a snack. Maybe get yourself a fancy drink - it is my champagne birthday, after all! 

A reason, a season, or a lifetime

I'm sure you've heard the saying that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I know it's super cliche, but it is true. In twenty years, I've come across people from every category. And honestly, sometimes it can be pretty hard to determine who is who. Some of the people I thought were 'lifetimes' ended up being 'reasons'. In some cases, it was someone who was in my life for a short time that impacted my life positively; and others, it was negative. But the lessons I've learned from those not-so-great relationships have moulded me into the person I am today and I've learned to be grateful for that, instead of just fixating on how things could've gone better.

Mental illness doesn't make you 'weak'

This was a lesson that took me so long to learn. Despite being completely supportive of other people's mental health, I have always been really hard and unsympathetic towards my own. In the early years of dealing with my anxiety, I had someone say that I was 'weak' for suffering from mental illness, whereas those who don't suffer are 'strong'. As if strong people can somehow fight off mental illness...? It was obviously completely ignorant and plain wrong to say. But being a young teen, it really took a toll on me. Mental illness doesn't make anybody weak. In fact, people who suffer from mental illness are some of the strongest people out there. As much as I hate dealing with anxiety, it has definitely made me a stronger person over the years. 

Friends who stick around during tough times are the ones who'll last forever

I've been through a lot of ups and downs in my life. Like, a lot, a lot. In that, I really came to realize who my true friends are and not only that, but just generally who I wanted to be in my life. Friends should make your life better, not worse. That was something I had a hard time coming to grips with. I'm the kind of person who hates to rock the boat. But there were just certain toxic relationships in my life I had no choice but to step away from, for my own happiness. With that being said, there've been friendships that have really bettered me and my life as a whole. I saw something online awhile ago that said something like, friends you've just met in uni know you better than friends you've known your entire life. And honestly, it couldn't be more true for me. The friends I've made in uni are incredible and those friendships have been life-changing. 

Don't let anyone deter you from going after your dreams

Let me say it again, just in case you didn't hear me... DON'T LET ANYONE DETER YOU FROM GOING AFTER YOUR DREAMS. I don't care what your dream is - doctor, psychologist, beekeeper, car mechanic. Anything. If it's what you want to do with your life and you know it'll make you happy, then do it. So what if someone says that chances are you won't make it in your career field? The only way to know is to try. You've got a long life ahead of you, especially when you're 17 or 18 and leaving secondary school. Don't go on a career path that makes you miserable just to make you other people happy. Take it from someone who's been there; it's so not worth it and you'll definitely regret it later. 

Hope you're all having an amazing week!

Felicia x

How To Prepare For A New School Year

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Ahh, August. The bittersweet month. Those final hazy days of summer. Am I depressing you? Sorry! Although August is a great month - it is my birthday month, after all - it is also, unfortunately, the last portion of summer holiday. Which means school is right around the corner. And although a lot of us may be squeezing our eyes shut and plugging our ears and going "la-la-la-la-la" (I know I am), it's the truth.

With school coming up, it's time to start thinking about preparing for the start of term. Getting your ducks in a row before the first day of school does wonders for your productivity when classes actually start. I'm sure you'd rather not be racing around campus, trying to figure out where your classes are whilst also tracking down your textbooks and buying school supplies. The thought is cringe-worthy haha. So, here are my tips of things to do to prepare for a new term!

GET A BINDER

When I got into university, I had this preconceived notion that binders were a 'high school thing'. There was no use buying one for university because when would I use it? It's not like you cart around loose sheets of paper from lecture-to-lecture. But the fact is, binders are useful for far more than just transportation. I like to buy a binder that I leave at my desk for holding any paper I deem important that I can't bear to lose and any marked papers that are returned to me. Oh, and by the way, professors like to throw a curveball and hand out loose papers all the time. It's nice to have someplace for those papers to go once you get home.

PRINT OUT YOUR SYLLABI

This is something I've learned to do over the years. I'm so grateful that I learned this. Picture this. You're putting the final details on your paper, the night before it's due. You can't remember if your professor likes your citations in APA or MLA format. You go online to check your syllabus and - oh wait, the site is down. Having a physical copy of your syllabus can't hurt. Pop that bad boy into a plastic page protector and put it in your binder (ah, see, I told you a binder would come in handy!). Now you can refer to it whenever you need and even make notes on the page, if need be. 

BUY A PLANNER - AND USE IT

Yes, the dreaded planner. It seems these little books are cursed for uni students. You buy one with high expectations of keeping up-to-date with marking all your assignments and exams, and it all comes crashing down about a month or even a week into classes. But I'm here to tell you that, yes, the planner does wonders! It's not an evil burden! I promise you. If you already have your syllabus, go ahead and fill in all the important dates in your planner. That way, you won't have to worry about it later. Make a vow to yourself that you will keep up with your planner. Honestly, this did me a world of good when I started university and even helped my very reluctant boyfriend last year. 

WRITE OUT YOUR CLASS TIMETABLE

There's a bunch of different ways that you can do this, or you could even use a combo of a few methods. The point is that you have a layout of it somewhere in front of you. You could write it down in your bullet journal, or put it in your planner. You could use a calendar app, like Google Calendar, which lets you colour-code your different classes. Or go old-fashioned and write it down on paper - there are a bunch of weekly schedule templates you can print off the Internet that will spruce up your timetable. Having your timetable easily accessible is super important, especially at the beginning of the new term when you're still getting used to all your new classes. I like to write out my class, the room number, the time, and the name of the professor. 

GET YOURSELF ON A ROUTINE

Summer ruins routines for everyone. It's inevitable. If you're anything like me, you probably spent your summer going to sleep at 3am and waking up at 11am. Obviously, that isn't going to work during the school year. So the couple weeks before school starts, it's a good idea to start getting yourself onto a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every single day. This is so important. You don't want to keep your crappy sleep schedule right up until the day before term starts. Take my word for it. 

GO BUY YOUR SCHOOL SUPPLIES

Stationary shopping is my favourite part of the new school term. Nerd alert, right? I just find that note-making and studying is so much better if you have cute notebooks and pens to use! Honestly, I don't like to splurge too much on my school supplies, although I know a lot of people like to spend a pretty penny on their utensils and notebooks, etc. I find that I go through school supplies super fast so it's not totally worth it to spend $20+ on items that you can find for $5 elsewhere. Walmart has some incredible sales for school supplies in the weeks leading up to the school term. I always go on a huge school supply shopping spree about a month before term begins, as I'm in the US where they have really inexpensive school supplies in early August (as that's when students go back here). Maybe I'll post a school supply haul blog sometime?


That's about all for now! Hope you guys are enjoying your last bit of summer. 

What do you do to prepare for a new school year?

Felicia x

Get To Know Me in 30 Questions

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Hello everyone! 

It's been some time since I've done a sit-down, chat about me sort of post. And I realized that a lot has changed in the last while - since my last "get to know me" post, I've switched platforms and gained 500+ followers on Instagram (!!!). Which means there's a ton of you that are new(ish) to the blog and might not know me as well as some older readers. So, today I thought I'd do a little 30-questions questionnaire to give you guys a bit of a look at the gal behind the blog! 

Without further ado...

1. What is your middle name? I haven't actually got a middle name! My first name is Felicia-Rene, which is plenty. 

2. What is your favourite colour? It changes pretty frequently.. Lately, I've been loving millennial pink (who hasn't?). But I also love maroon which is luckily one of my school colours. 

3. Who was your first best friend? I had a best friend in junior kindergarten named Brianne. We used to hang out in my basement and put on play make-up all the time, haha

4. How tall are you? 5'4", which is on the shorter side. It's pretty odd, as my parents are both fairly tall so I don't know where my height comes from! 

5. Cats or dogs? Dogs, dogs, dogs. I'm allergic to cats, so there's that, but I also prefer pups because of how playful they are. 

6. Funniest moment throughout school? Oh god, honestly, I couldn't remember just one. A lot of my best high school memories include my boyfriend, even before we were dating. He always used to give our mean math teacher a hard time which was pretty hilarious. He sat in the back corner, in between a desk and a cabinet, and constantly made smart comments at the teacher. 

7. How many countries have you visited? I've visited U.S.A., England, France, and a number of Caribbean islands! But there are so many more countries I'd love to visit someday.

8. Are you in/gone to college? Yep, I'm currently attending McMaster University, where I'm studying English and Cultural Studies. I started back in 2016 and as I mentioned in a blog post, I recently took a year off so it won't be awhile until I graduate! 

9. What was your favourite/worst subject in high school? My favourite subject in school was, obviously, English, and my worst subject was math. I was pretty decent in math up until high school, but I had a bad teacher two years in a row and it was game over after that. I can hardly do simple math anymore, haha.

10. What is your favourite drink? I'd have to say strawberry or raspberry lemonade! So delish :) 

11. What is your favourite animal? I have two! Dogs and giraffes.

12. What is your favourite perfume? Recently, my favourite perfume has been the Marc Jacobs Honey scent. It's so lovely and not too over-powering, which I definitely prefer. 

13. Tea or coffee? Coffee, always! I've tried on several occasions to drink tea and have failed. I just can't bring myself to like it! 

14. What would you (or have you) name your children? I have a couple names stashed away in my mind but I'm super paranoid about talking about them, because I'm worried that it'll give people ideas! If you've ever seen Friends, you get where I'm coming from!

15. What sports do you play/have you played? Zero, zilch, nada. Sports and I do not make a good team (haha sports pun). I did, however, do a week-long soccer camp with my friends in elementary school and I spent the week crushing on a guy in the camp. When it came to playing actual games, I sat down in the middle of the field and picked dandelions lol

16. What is your favourite book? Ohh please don't make me choose! I have a ton. "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath, "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, "Under Rose-Tainted Skies" by Louise Gornall, "Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell... The list goes on and on.

17. Who are some of your favourite bloggers/YouTubers? For bloggers, I love Amber Fillerup, Kait Killebrew, and Poppy Deyes. But for YouTubers (which, by the way, I love YouTube), I always enjoy watching Cole & Sav, Jess Conte, TheTimTracker, and Madelaine Pestch!

18. What is your favourite movie? If you've been following my blog for awhile, then you probably already know this: it's Moulin Rouge. I loved it as a kid and was re-introduced to it when I started high school. It was even the first movie that my boyfriend and I watched together when we hung out together for the first time as a couple. 

19. Are you single or taken? I can happily say that I am taken! I've been in a relationship with the loveliest man on earth since 2013. 

20. What's your current hair colour? Currently, it's dark brown with blonde highlights.

21. What is your favourite season? As much as I love summer, with the hot weather and the beach and the sun, I am partial to autumn. It's such a beautiful season with all the lovely foliage and everything is so crisp and heavenly!!!

22. Favourite memory from childhood? Basically, all my memories from Disney World but also from this resort called Sherkston Shores in Ontario. My family used to visit often and I loved it so much. We used to make s'mores and sit by the fire and go mini-golfing. I'd love to go back!

23. Do you speak any different languages and how well? I speak some French. Very little or, as the French say, un petit peu. I took French in school for 8 years but it obviously didn't stick. I can say basic things and know enough to get by, but that's all. 

24. Do you have any siblings? Nope, I'm an only child. 

25. How would you describe your fashion sense? Honestly, it's a bit of everything, but mostly very "feminine" and somewhat retro-inspired. Big mid-length skirts are my fav! 

26. What is your favourite restaurant? Okay, everyone always judges me so hard for this, but my favourite restaurant in Canada is called "Jack Astor's". They sell the best nachos ever and I always get the asiago chicken bowties because they are the closest thing to heaven. They also have the best alcoholic drinks ever! As for American restaurants, my fav is Shake Shack bc I'm a burger fanatic. 

27. What are some of your favourite tv shows? I have a billion, honestly. My favourites right now are Gilmore Girls, Downton Abbey, Brooklyn 99, and New Girl. But I also always love me a good throwback sitcom - Friends, Frasier, Will & Grace, Golden Girls to name a few. 

28. PC or Mac? Mac, for sure. My entire life exists on Apple and iCloud. 

29. What phone do you have? I have an iPhone 8+ in gold! 

30. Tell us one of your bad habits. Ugh one of my worst habits is playing with my hair. I can't stop touching my hair! A lot of the time, I'll be wrapping a piece of my hair or bangs around my finger and I don't even notice it. It's a major nervous habit for me. 

That's all for now! Thanks for following me and my life on my blog and social media. It's nice to get to know you guys! If you want to keep up with my day-to-day life, you can follow my Instagram or Twitter

Love you all lots. 

Felicia x

5 Must-Watch TV Shows on Netflix US

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Recently, I've gotten into a bunch of new (and old) tv shows, ever since I first arrived in the U.S. on vacation. It's always so cool to see what titles Netflix offers here that they don't offer back home, and this time I hit the jackpot with a bunch of great tv shows! So I got to thinking that maybe I should post a little recommendation post of my fav Netflix tv finds on the U.S. version for all my American followers to get some ideas for the next binge. Here are some of the tv shows I've been loving recently. 

Reign

Number of Seasons: 4

I have to admit, the main reason I decided to watch this show when it first came out in 2013 was because the tv promo was really cool and was set to "Royals" by Lorde. But after watching the first episode, I was hooked anyway. This is far more of a historical-fiction than anything else, and some even say it's like a fanfiction which I could agree to. It's totally addicting and there's twists and turns that completely take you by surprise. The o.g. Anne of Green Gables, Megan Follows, is the shining star of this show and is absolutely brilliant in her role as French Queen consort, Catherine de Medici. The costumes on Reign are also to die for. 

Parenthood

Number of seasons: 6

I've only recently started to watch this one, but already, I'm emotionally attached to each and every character. I love me a good family drama and this one hits me directly in the feels. Tbh I started watching this show because of Lauren Graham and her character is definitely one of my top favs, but Dax Shepard's character is pretty high up there, too. I love how they use interweave stories between the three generations, and how the characters are always there for each other no matter what challenges they face. It's extremely heartwarming. 

Gilmore Girls

Number of seasons: 7

I mean, of course I was going to include Gilmore Girls on the list. It's me, after all. I've loved this show for a billion years, ever since I was old enough to watch re-runs on tv after school, but I didn't seriously sit down to watch this until I was sixteen which is about how old Rory is at the start of the show. I loved that I was able to grow with the show and that she went through things I was going through like uni and whatnot. The script is extremely witty and fun, and you really start to find yourself caring for the characters so much - even when they make super questionable life decisions haha. 

New Girl

Number of seasons: 6

I just LOVE this show. It's so sweet and quirky and fun. Jess Day is forever going to be one of my favourite tv characters of all-time. I kind of see this show as a modern-day Friends, except it's a bit more realistic in that they're thirty-somethings who aren't living in a fab apartment in the city like Monica and Rachel. I think it's just a really authentic show and I find myself laughing out loud at least once per episode. Also, you can't help but love Schmidt, despite how crazy he can be haha.

Twin Peaks

Number of seasons: 2

I know, this is one of the weirdest shows ever created but trust me!! It's so good!! Either you love this show, or you hate it. But I think it's definitely worth giving a chance. It's a very bizarre show, with off-beat humour and cheesy acting. But honestly, I think that's what makes it so good. Underneath it all, this show is a murder-mystery at it's core. But what makes it's so unique is it's oddness and, of course, Dale Cooper himself who is just a weird but fab guy. I love how the show progresses and how you learn what's really going down in the town. What's better than a seemingly wholesome small town being revealed to have dirty secrets behind it? 

That's all for now! If you guys have any tv recommendations, please let me know in the comments - I'm always up for trying something new! 

Felicia x

Waves: Summer Playlist

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Windows down, volume up. It's nearly summertime y'all! 

I love summer. The days are longer, the sun is warmer, and everyone just seems to be in a better mood to be honest. Most of my summer is spent by the beach, as I'm constantly in Orlando. And one of the best beach pastimes is listening to music! So, as you probably expected, I have curated a special summer-themed playlist for just the occasion. :)

You can listen to my summer playlist below in the widget!

Felicia x


~*~

Let’s Go Surfing - The Drums

Cheap Thrills - Sia

Miss You - Gabrielle Aplin

Paradise - George Ezra

The Wire - HAIM

Wildfire - John Mayer

Campfire - Satellite Stories

Coming Over (filous Remix) - James Hershey

Breezeblocks - alt-J

Anna Sun - WALK THE MOON

Left Hand Free - alt-J

Daylight - Matt and Kim

Florida Kilos - Lana Del Rey

VCR (Matthew Dear Remix) - The xx

Knocking At The Door - Arkells

Fireproof - Coleman Hell

Wish I Knew You - The Revitalists

~*~


Why I Took A Break From University

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I had always heard about gap years, through old high school Facebook friends, YouTubers, and bloggers who spoke about their fabulous years off, travelling or finding themselves. It had never been something that had really crossed my mind, up until I found myself at a point where there was really no option for me other than to take a gap year myself. 

I started university in 2016, just a couple weeks after turning eighteen years old. At the time, everything seemed to be coming up roses for me. My boyfriend and I would be attending the same university, my dream school, where I would be studying Social Work, which seemed like a good idea at the time at least. My boyfriend and I would be bussing in together, which wasn't so bad because I could read (or nap) on the drive. I was learning to drive, I'd made a bunch of amazing friends, and I was loving the university. 

Everything seemed to be picture perfect. At least, it did from the outside. 

Somewhere around Christmas time during my first year, I woke up one morning and realized I hated my program. I wasn't enjoying any of the Social Sciences geared courses and I absolutely knew that I was not the kind of person who could handle the stress that came along with a job in Social Work. I suddenly realized that all this time, I'd been lying to myself. I had wanted to be an English major forever but after years of people telling me it was a bad idea, I just gave up on it and decided that I loved Social Work instead because it was what was considered a "practical" job. Good idea, right? This is what happens when you force seventeen-year-olds into choosing their futures. 

After days of talking it over with my parents and my boyfriend, and countless e-mails to academic advisors and English department heads, I was transferring into the English & Cultural Studies program. Well, technically transferring. I wouldn't be officially in the program until the spring when every first year applied for their majors. In spring, I was accepted into the English & Cultural Studies program and everything seemed to be finally settling into place. 

But it wasn't. My first year was, let's say, turbulent. Around the beginning of the second term, I realized that my anxiety was starting to get bad again. Being me, I did what seemed like the best option: hide my anxiety from my friends, family, and loved ones, and continue on with life like nothing was happening. In reality, people were starting to suspect that something was wrong - but it seemed like it was mostly a fear of moving, as we were moving house around the time that second term was finishing up. But it wasn't. Halfway through second term, I started skipping classes, for no other reason than I was petrified to walk inside. I would sit in my favourite study spot on campus and stare at my phone, counting down the minutes until a specific class or, worse, my English tutorial. Sometimes, I'd get up and walk to class, only to make it halfway and give up. But eventually, I stopped trying at all. I'd tell my boyfriend that I was busy in class, meanwhile I was really working on essays on my laptop on the opposite side of campus. 

By the very end of term, it was increasingly obvious that something was wrong. My parents went away on holiday in April, near the end of the school year, and my boyfriend came to stay with me. I would drive us to the bus stop so we could bus to school every day. But the very first day, I drove to the station and told my boyfriend I couldn't go with him. I dropped him off, went home, and got back into bed. The next day, it was the same thing. I went to exactly one class all week, for five minutes, just to pick up a graded essay. The majority of the week, I just laid in bed and watched Thirteen Reasons Why. Miraculously, my grades didn't founder. I actually finished the term with an overall cumulative average of 8.2 which was insane for someone who not only didn't go to most classes but also thought she was going to fail her Linguistics course. Honestly, things would have probably gone on just fine if that were all. Except it wasn't. I took one English course, in second term, to allow me entrance into the program. And I finished with a C+. For me, that was a death sentence. I cried for hours, despite the fact that most people I know in uni have had more than one C marks before. But it hit me hard. I sat on that all summer long and, probably, that's part of the reason why second year went so badly.

That summer, as a whole, was horrible. My anxiety had reached an all-time high and I was miserable. I never left the house, I had countless panic attacks, and most of all, I was terrified about going back to school in the fall. As September came closer, my anxiety got worse. But nevertheless, I started classes up in September, hoping for the best. Luckily, this year, I had moved closer to school and had my license, so get there was easier as I could now drive. Unluckily, I was unable to even get in the car to drive. My mum (God bless her soul) drove my boyfriend - who was now living with us - and I to school every day. I went to classes (mostly) and acted like things were better. We started looking into my school's mental health services and quickly realized that it was not going to be an easy process. But I started seeing a professional for my mental health for the first time in six years (let that sink in). And I was doing fairly well in my classes. 

Until, one day, I sat in my kitchen with my mom and boyfriend, sobbing because I just couldn't understand what my History professor wanted from an essay. There was entire booklet of instructions and none of it made sense. Every time I tried to start writing, I wrote something awful, nothing near my usual quality of writing. After spending about four hours working together with my mom, I sent in my essay. And that was the first time we seriously talked about me leaving school. But it wasn't until my mom dropped me off for an English lecture and I called her ten minutes later, sobbing, asking for her to come pick me up, that we decided it was probably necessary. I dropped out of all my classes for both terms in the middle of October, after coming home from Reading Week break in Florida. 

Taking a year off was the hardest but best thing I've ever done for myself. At first, I really hated it. I felt like I was missing out on everything, like I was being left behind while all my friends went on with their lives. I hated that I was going to still be a second year when my friends were third years. But eventually, I realized that it was necessary. And most importantly, I realized that I was putting so much unnecessary pressure on going to university, that it was becoming a chore to me. It wasn't something I enjoyed anymore. I had spent my whole life building everything up to four years and a degree on a piece of paper, that I had never really stopped to think about what I really wanted. I do want to be a student, I do want a degree - but frankly, it isn't the be all and end all of my life. I want to be a writer. I want to write books. Do I need a degree for that? No. Anyone can become a writer, if they have the passion for it. But I want a degree, for myself. I enjoy being a student; I enjoy learning and reading and hearing what other people think. Realizing that made university so much less daunting and actually exciting. 

I'm not saying that taking a year-off is a necessity for everyone or that it will magically cure your problems if you do it. But for me, it was the best decision I've ever made. And it just goes to show that frankly, you don't need to decide what to do with your life when you're seventeen, or eighteen, or even nineteen. Hell, I'm almost twenty and I'm still figuring things out. You have your whole life in front of you, and it's not worth it to spend your life stressing about doing everything the "right" way. 

Until next time!

Felicia x

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What's In My Carry-On Bag?

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Raise your hand if you're a chronic over-packer (*raises hand*). It has taken me nearly twenty years to actually be able to figure out what should and shouldn't go into my carry-on. Over the years I've constantly found myself packing way too much or, on the flip side, not packing everything I need and forgetting important things. So I always make myself a check-list to follow beforehand of what I need to remember to pack. And I thought that this time, as I'm packing my carry-on for my airplane journey this week, I'd share it all with you to help you with your own future packing! 

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Essentials. This basically consists of all the things I absolutely need in order to travel. My passport, boarding pass, Nexus card, and any documents relating to where I'm staying, like booking confirmation. I keep all of it tucked away in my Spartina snap wallet [similar - x] so that nothing gets misplaced and I don't have to go rummaging through my bag looking for things. This is the first thing that goes into my bag and I can't stop myself from checking that I have it like a billion times.

Makeup. I keep the majority of my makeup tucked away in my checked luggage, but I do keep a few things in my carry-on luggage just in case. The very most essential beauty-related item I keep in my carry-on is a lip balm because, as I'm sure you know, it gets super dry on planes. My personal fav lip balm for flights is the e.l.f. Cosmetics Lip Kiss Balm, as it is super moisturizing and also adds a bit of colour! I also bring on a small bottle of hand lotion as well as a lipstick for after the flight.

Hand sanitizer. As in any other public place, airports are full of germs and people who have colds. In the past, I've found that I catch most of my colds from airplanes as they are pretty confined spaces. So I tend to be more cautious now than before. I usually bring on a small 1oz bottle of Purell sanitizer with me in my carry-on to pop on before I eat or after I get on the plane so that I don't have to worry about what I've touched or anything. Although it won't help with the germs travelling in the air, it does ease my worries a bit!

Electronics. Of course, I never go on an airplane without some sort of electronic. Typically I bring my cell phone (obvs), my laptop, chargers for both, and a pair of headphones. I especially make sure to have headphones with me, because the constant sound of the engines gets pretty annoying after awhile and sometimes I need to just tune everything out. I usually will download a few episodes of my fav tv show onto iTunes or Netflix, and then watch them once I get onto the plane!

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Book. It would be very unlike me to not bring a book with me when I travel, especially considering I bring a book with me literally everywhere I go! Even on shorter flights, like the two and a half flight to Florida, I find that reading is the perfect distraction from everything going on. On my last flight in February, I read three-quarters of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. So it's safe to say that I can't be without one of my beloved novels on these types of journeys!

Journal. I've been journaling for a very long time since I was about 7 or 8 years old. Not only do I think that it's good for self-reflecting, but I think it's a great way to document some of your favourite memories to look back on later! Of course, some of the memories I most want to remember are from when I travel so I always make sure to tuck my journal into my carry-on before I head out the door. Currently, I'm using this brown leather journal from Pier 1 Imports to jot down my memories in. 

Medications. When I travel, my anxiety tends to go through the roof and that typically translates into a number of different symptoms - stomach aches, headaches, etc. So when I travel, I take this little blue plastic container with a couple pills inside just in case I have any issues whilst travelling. I also take a travel sickness pill for if I get uneasy on the flight. 

Sweater. Airplanes can either be extremely warm or extremely cold. But when it's cold, I always seem to forget a sweater. So here's my little reminder for you guys to always bring a sweater with you on plane journeys! Even if it's warm outside, it could be cold on the plane. I typically bring a cardigan as it's not too bulky and it's easy to put on/remove. 

Gum. It's extremely unlikely that you'd ever catch me on a flight without gum. If I do forget to pack it in my carry-on, you best believe that the first thing I do when I'm past the security checkpoint is head to the duty free shop for a pack of mint gum. The last time I forgot about gum, I found out they don't carry gum at the Orlando airport (or at least they didn't a few years ago). My favourite gum is the 5 Cobalt one. Not only does it help with your ears popping, but it also freshens your breath and is good for managing anxiety - at least for me. 

What are your must-haves for your carry-on bag?

Felicia x

If We Were Having Coffee

I've seen a bunch of bloggers doing posts called If We Were Having Coffee over the last few months, where they do a bit of a life update in more of a chatty way, and I decided that I needed to try it out for myself! I think that blog posts can be a very one-way street sometimes, but these sorts of posts kind of make it feel more like a couple of friends sat together chatting about life - over a cup of coffee, of course. 

So, grab yourself a cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or whatever you'd like, and let's jump in!

If we were having coffee... I'd likely be having an iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks. It's one of my favourite iced coffee drinks for summer, well that and the iced white chocolate mocha. I've recently had my very first iced caramel macchiato of the season (by recently, I mean today) and it was heavenly. I love my iced coffee y'all.

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you about how my boyfriend has gone home to live with his parents for the summer, while he works in Toronto. It's been super weird not having him around much this month as he's only been able to visit once so far. It really goes to show how quickly you get used to having someone around all the time. Luckily, I'll get to see him again this weekend, then in July and August for our vacations together!

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you that it was recently my one-year anniversary of living in my new house. We officially moved in on May 5th, 2017. Can you believe it? It's been a whole year! It's been a total whirlwind of a year, especially since the first half of it was spent moving in and organizing things to feel like home. I can honestly say now that this place feels 100% like home to me. I love this house, this neighbourhood, and especially this town.

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you that I'm getting very excited for my trip to Orlando, as it not only means that I get to be in my favourite place in the world but also I get to spend a lot more time reading. I get the majority of my reading done by the beach or by the pool, where I have very little distraction. Am I the only one? 

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you that this past weekend was Victoria Day here in Canada! If you don't know, we have been celebrating Queen Victoria's birthday here for a very, very long time, and it's considered a statutory holiday for us, meaning that we get a day off for it. My town actually did it's first ever annual fireworks display for the holiday last Sunday which was a lot of fun! It's definitely a new tradition for us, for sure. 

If we were having coffee... I'd brag a little bit about how I fixed my iPad, which hasn't been working for the last year and a half. I was so fed up that I was starting to even look at buying a new one (mine's about 8 years old, so it was justified). The biggest issue, among others, was that I wasn't able to log into my Apple ID which obviously controls like everything. I finally realized that it was because somehow the date was wrong on my iPad, so it was messing everything else up. I was quite proud of myself for figuring it out, as I'm literally the least technologically savvy person in the world. 

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you that I've been having the worst time trying to force myself to pack for Florida. I don't know why, but packing is such a chore for me. My dad is leaving before my mum and I, as he's driving the car down, so I have a bunch of stuff to send with him but I just can't be bothered to pack them. The possibility of me forgetting things grows greater with every passing day, haha.

What have you guys been up to lately?

Felicia x

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My 3 Favourite Summertime Beverages

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Summer is right around the corner. Can you feel it? I love summer, if you hadn't already noticed. I am definitely a warm weather gal. So, I am definitely soaking up all of this sun right now. 

This season is full of backyard barbecues, get-togethers with your gal pals, and summer holidays like Independence Day and Canada Day. So, there's always a perfect opportunity to make yourself a delicious summer cocktail - even if it's just to chill in your backyard with a good book. Heaven knows thats what I'll be doing.

I've been getting into mixology lately and, if I do say so myself, I've been getting pretty good at it. So I thought that today, I'd share with you guys my 3 favourite mixed drinks for the summer season, and their recipes!

BLUEBERRY FIZZ

This first drink is inspired by a drink that I love at Jack Astor's. I love blueberry and this is the perfect sweet fizzy drink. 

You'll need: Vodka, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, Blue Curacao, and Sprite

First, add 3 shots of vodka, 2 shots of lemon juice, and 1 splash of simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake it all up until it's nicely mixed, then pour into a tall glass with fresh ice. Then, add 1 shot of blue Curacao (make sure you do this at the end, after mixing, or else you won't have a cool blue colour!) and top it off with a bit of Sprite. 

RASPBERRY VODKA LEMONADE

If you're a fan of lemonade - like myself - then this is definitely a must-try!

You'll need: Raspberries, Sugar, Smirnoff Raspberry vodka (or regular vodka), and Lemonade

The very first thing you should do is add 5 raspberries into a cocktail shaker, with a teaspoon of sugar, and using a fork, just mix it all up together until the raspberries are more liquid than solid. Once you've done that, add 1 and 1/2 shots of raspberry vodka (or regular vodka) and 4 shots of lemonade. Shake it all up, and the pour over ice into a glass. 

TEQUILA SUNRISE

This is definitely the strongest of the three drinks, so I'd be more cautious with this one.

You'll need: Tequila, Orange Juice, and Grenadine

This is super simple to make. First, add 2 shots of tequila and 4 shots of orange juice into a cocktail shaker. Shake that up, and then pour into a glass over ice. Then, add 1/2 shot of grenadine into the glass, to add that funky red colour. And voila! If you want to dilute it, make it a little less strong, then you can add a bit more OJ to this recipe but be sure to do that before the grenadine, or else it will ruin the visual effect! Also, for fun, you can add a few maraschino cherries in there. 

And that's that! I hope you guys enjoyed this post. If you try out any of these recipes, let me know what you thought in the comments. Also, the pink and blue mason jar mugs I used for the pictures were $3 a piece at Zehrs! So, if you live nearby a Zehrs, definitely check those out cause they are super cute and so inexpensive.

Although it goes without saying, please be very careful when drinking - be responsible, and never ever drink and drive! 

What are your favourite summer time drinks?

Felicia x