Blogmas 2018 Day Nine: Winter Skincare Routine

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Winter can be real nasty when it comes to skin.

That dry, frigid air just loves to suck every ounce of moisture out of your skin until you’re all dry and flaky and gross. Blegh. I hate it.

When it comes to skincare, my routine changes up a bit during this season to reflect the beast that is Canadian winter. I try to keep my routine light and moisturizing, as opposed to using products that will dry out my skin even more. Today I thought I’d run through my routine with you guys, to give you an idea of the process I typically go through to keep my skin refreshed throughout the bitter cold months!

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My morning and nighttime routines are very similar, aside from the fact that in the night, I have to go through the process of removing my makeup.

In the morning, I start off with washing my face with the La Roche-Posay Toleraine Purifying Cleanser. It’s a gentle, light cleanser that doesn’t dry out my skin or strip my skin of its natural oils, which is really nice. It’s also got a very light scent to it that’s not very overpowering but is still refreshing. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to produce this particular product anymore (booooo) but I’m sure the other Toleraine products are just as nice! Once I’ve washed my face, I’ll use my Lush Eau Roma Toner. I absolutely love Lush products as they’re natural and I feel like you can find a product for any type of skin concern. This is a rosewater toner made specifically for mature, sensitive or dry skin, so it’s perfect for this season. I’ll spritz it a couple times over my face and then remove the excess with a cotton pad. Finally, I’ll moisturize my face with my Olay Active Hydrating Face Moisturizer. This has a lovely scent and is soooo moisturizing!! Whenever I put it on, I can feel the life coming back to my skin to be honest. Once I’ve rubbed this into my face and neck, I’m ready to go!

In the night, I basically follow the same process, but with an additional step for makeup removing and a couple different products. To start, I remove my eye makeup with the Neutrogena Oil-Free Makeup Remover. I just pop a bit of this onto a cotton pad and wipe off my eye makeup, including my mascara. This is actually quite gentle which was surprising to me when I started using it - as a long time ago, when I first started makeup, I used a similar product that really irritated my eyes. It does a really great job of removing mascara as well, which is always tricky business. Once I’ve got all my eye makeup off, I’ll start on my face. To remove my makeup and cleanse my skin, I’ll do a double-cleanse to get all the gunk out. For this, I use the Soap & Glory Peaches and Clean Deep Cleansing Milk. I LOVE this cleanser!!! It’s so so gentle and refreshing, plus it has a wonderful scent. I've read a few reviews before on this product and they’re mixed on whether it removes makeup or not - I think it really has to do with how much/how heavy your makeup is. For someone who’s makeup use is on the lighter side, it works perfectly. Again, that’s not including my eye makeup. Once I’ve cleansed my face twice, I move onto toner. In the night, I use my Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner. I’m sure y’all have heard about this before as it’s one of the most raved about toners out there, second only to the Mario Badescu one. I only use this at nighttime during the colder months as I feel like it’s a bit more heavy-duty than my Lush toner, so I’d rather not have to go out in the blistering cold after applying it. I just a squirt a teeny bit of this onto a cotton pad and wipe it over my face. Finally, I finish off with Bio-Oil. I think I’ve probably talked about Bio-Oil on my blog about a thousand times already. Essentially, it’s a vitamin-rich scar and stretch mark oil. It works magic as a skincare product, especially if you - like myself - have some acne or acne scarring. It’s honestly almost eradicated my acne scars.

Every now and then, I’ll do a face mask to fully cleanse my skin and unclog my pores. My favourite face mask product is the Origins Out of Trouble 10-Minute Mask. It’s an absolute god send. My skin is left feeling so clean and refreshed after I use it. I really recommend this if you’re looking for a really deep-cleansing face mask.

And that’s it! What is your go-to skincare product in the winter?

Felicia x

To view a list of all my Blogmas posts, click here.

Blogmas 2018 Day Eight: 10 Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Ahhh the Christmas stocking. What a magical but complex creature.

Stockings are one of my favourite Christmas traditions. My parents have made a stocking for me every Christmas for my entire life and I try to take part in the tradition now as well. While stockings are super exciting, they can also be quite tricky to shop for. Sometimes you just don’t know what sort of thing you should pop in there. But thankfully, after years of stocking experience, I’ve got a few ideas tucked away that might just help you start - or continue - your own stocking tradition this year!

BODY LOTION

Honestly, who doesn’t love a deliciously scented body lotion?! Personally, I carry body lotion with me everywhere to use on my hands when I’m out and about. Throughout the winter, especially if you live in a bitterly cold place like I do, body lotion is an essential. Why not give your friend or family member a body lotion with a lovely festive scent?

Twisted Peppermint // Champagne Toast

BATH BOMBS

You can really never go wrong with a Christmas bath bomb from Lush, in my opinion. I think that one of the great excitements of the season is Lush releasing their Christmas line. If you’re looking for a small gift for someone who loves baths & being cozy, a bath bomb is totally the way to go.

Cheery Christmas // Santa Bomb Bomb

CHRISTMAS SOCKS

Christmas socks might just be the cutest tacky thing ever!!! If you know anything about me, you’ll know I’m very much for the whole tacky Christmas thing and printed socks are p e r f e c t. Once I’ve got my Christmas socks on, it’s ~festive time~. Share the Christmas love with your friends!!

Christmas Socks

MAKEUP SETS

Makeup sets are the perfect stocking stuffer idea as they give you the most bang for your buck. Personally, I think that e.l.f. does the best makeup sets, especially if you’re someone on a strict budget for Christmas shopping (like myself). You can find a lot of really cool gifts sets on their website for $10 or under that make the perfect addition to any stocking!

Matte Lip Colour Set / Eyeshadow Duo Set

ORNAMENT

A really nice gift to put in a stocking is an ornament. I think it’s great because you can get a small ornament that’ll fit perfectly into the stocking and then on Christmas morning, the person receiving it can put it right on the tree! I’ve received ornaments a few times over past Christmases and I think they’re a lovely present to open.

Book Ornament / Mini Mug Ornament

DECALS

I’ve come to really love decals since I got my first car earlier this year. I think they’re the perfect way to personalize anything, from your car to your phone or your laptop. There are so many options out there, with decals of any sort of tv show, film or band that you could think of! And on the bonus side, they come quite cheap so you won’t be breaking the bank by buying one for a stocking. A lot of people make them and sell them online so it’s really easy and accessible to buy them!

RedBubble / Etsy

CANDLES

Candles are the best. Hands down. I absolutely love them and I’m sure loads of other people do as well (judging how busy Bath & Body Works is on a regular basis).

SWEETS

I’m sure everyone can agree that a little sweet treat in their stocking is a lovely surprise! If the person that you’re shopping for has a favourite candy or chocolate, then go ahead and buy them a piece, and put it in their stocking. It’ll be a great gift to open up and snack on come Christmas morning! For me, my favourite candies are always the Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark and Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Yummm..

GIFT CARDS

Why are people so against gifting or receiving gift cards these days? While I think there is certainly a group of people who just purchase generic gift cards so they don’t have to think of a gift idea (that’s tacky), I think that gift cards on the whole are a great gift! If you know your friend or family member loves to shop at a particular store, pop a gift card into their stocking so they can go on a mini-shopping spree! Unless they’re vehemently against gift cards, I feel this is a great way to go!

Do you have any stocking stuffer ideas?

Felicia x

To view a list of all my Blogmas posts, click here.

Blogmas 2018 Day Seven: Christmas Playlist

Hello everyone! Welcome back.

Today is possibly one of my favourite Blogmas posts - my Christmas playlist.

I love Christmas music, but that wasn’t always the case. When I was a teenager, I wasn’t huge on Christmas music. I basically only liked Michael Buble’s album and that was all. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to broaden my horizons and open myself up to the genre a lot more. So my playlist has grown quite a bit over the past couple years. I have a good mix of classics, pop, slower tunes… A lot of the big Christmas tunes have landed on this playlist over the years.

Also please check out this super cool 1949 Bing Crosby record that was passed onto me from my grandma!!! It’s gorgeous and I’m in love.

I’ve added a widget of my Spotify playlist for you guys, and I’ve also included a track list which has some of my favourite Christmas songs in case you want to make your own version! I hope this gets you guys into the Christmas spirit!

Happy listening!

Felicia x

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Blogmas 2018 Day Six: Things I Love About the Holidays

I think it probably goes without saying that Christmas is my favourite holiday. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved the excitement of Christmas. And not even just of Christmas morning - but also of the month or so leading up to Christmas. Everything changes at Christmas time, like entering a completely different universe. Today, I thought I’d talk about a few of my favourite things related to the Christmas season. Since I could go on and on about this for probably the rest of December, I’m going to limit myself to just 5 of my favourite things.

DECORATING THE HOUSE

Christmas decorations are quite possibly one of the main things about Christmas that I love, for two reasons. First off, I love Christmas decorations because I just love to look at them. Ever since my family moved into our new house, we’ve been gifted with more spaces that are available for decorating. One of my favourite places is the front window, which is massive and looks out onto my court so when we put up our Christmas tree, you can see the lights through the window at nighttime and it’s absolutely magical. I love Christmas trees, villages, stockings, candles, garland, lights - oh I love me some Christmas lights. But the other thing I love about decorations is actually decorating. My family has always taken decorating very seriously and we consider it a family task. Since my boyfriend moved in a couple years ago, he’s become a part of the tradition which makes it even more exciting! Together we trim the trees with Christmas music and a glass of wine and have a ton of laughs. It’s so much fun and possibly one of the best traditions of the season.

SPENDING TIME WITH FAMILY

For many people, Christmas entails seeing their extended family (which can be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending!). For me, however, I don’t really have a close extended family, so Christmas is mainly for myself and my parents. We’re already a close-knit group but at Christmas time, we make sure to put our work or school or just generally busy lives aside to focus on spending time together and enjoying the season, whether that means trimming the tree or watching a Christmas film together. The Christmas season is extremely busy for everyone, especially because it means final exam season for me again now that I’m back in uni. But we have a very strict schedule of traditions that we make sure to stick to so that we don’t forget to put the stress aside and just enjoy Christmas together as a family!

SEEING FRIENDS

This is actually one of my new favourite things about Christmas! Last year, my family hosted our very first Christmas party. Our last house was actually bigger than our current home but it was more closed off where this new one is open-concept. So we’ve got a lot more space available for hosting parties. Since we live so far from a lot of our friends now, it’s nice that we get to invite everyone over to celebrate the holidays with! I always love introducing my friends to each other and having them all together as it’s so lovely to see everyone I care about getting to know one another!

BUYING GIFTS FOR LOVED ONES

This one’s sort of a double-edged sword for me. I love buying gifts for my loved ones, but I also find it incredibly stressful as I’m the sort of person that agonizes for weeks whether a gift is good enough or not. However at the end of the day, I love the joy of finding the perfect gift for my friends, family or my bf. And there’s really nothing I love more than watching them open up their gifts on Christmas. It’s so lovely to see someone get excited over their gift!!

FESTIVE SWEETS AND TREATS

There are so many Christmas treats that I absolutely love. My mum has always been really into baking, so she gets really into the Christmas baking spirit when December rolls around. The past couple years I’ve started to help her out and learn a few of her ~secret~ recipes! I love baking gingerbread cookies so so so much as they are my fav Christmas baked goods. But I also like other special treats such as Starbucks holiday drinks (esp the Caramel Brulee Latte!!!). I’m also really big on chocolate in the holiday season, particularly the Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark and on Christmas, I always get a Gerry’s chocolate orange from my parents :)

What are your favourite things about Christmas?

Felicia x

To view a list of all my Blogmas posts, click here.

Blogmas 2018 Day Five: My Favourite Disney World Holiday Traditions

I really do believe that no one does the holidays better than Disney does. Christmas is sososo beautiful in the parks. They drown everything in sparkly lights and there’s just a really cozy feeling in every inch of the parks and resorts. As my family visits Walt Disney World every year for Christmas, we’ve been lucky enough to do a bunch of different holiday-themed experiences. So today I thought I’d share my absolute faves with you guys! So without further ado, let’s get right on to it!

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THE MONORAIL RESORT LOOP DECORATIONS

One of my all-time favourite holiday traditions in the parks is taking a trip around the monorail resort loop and seeing all the beautiful Christmas decorations!! I think this is probably one of the best free holiday activities in Disney World that I consider an absolute must-do every year. If you park at Magic Kingdom, you can hop on the resort monorail and visit all 3 resorts around the Seven Seas Lagoon. Every resort has it’s own unique decorations, complete with a giant Christmas tree themed to the resort. They’re all so beautiful and photogenic! In the past few years, my family has chosen to do brunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe and then we head around the loop which is a really chill and fun way to do it.

GRAND FLORIDIAN GINGERBREAD HOUSE

Although this is technically a part of the monorail resort loop, I think it’s worth mentioning separately. The Gingerbread House is phenomenal!! Boasting 5,089 gingerbread shingles, this is an absolute monstrosity made out of gingerbread and other sweets. Honestly, when else in your life are you going to be able to see a giant house made out of gingerbread? Probably never, right? Not only can you take adorable pics of this beauty, but you can also buy the edible shingles to take home and try for yourself which is really cool.

MAGIC KINGDOM PARADE

I completely and utterly love the Magic Kingdom Christmas parade so much!! I haven’t been able to see it every single year unfortunately but this year, I’ve specifically set aside time to go out and see it which I’m very excited about. It features all our favourite Disney characters in their festive winter garb along with a few Christmas favourites, like toy soldiers (my faves), reindeers and Santa Claus himself!!

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS DECORATIONS

Guys, there’s not much I love more in this world than Gertie in her Santa hat!!! Like how freaking cute? They’ve really put a lot of work into amping up the decorations in Hollywood Studios over the past few years and I’ve been absolutely loving it. Last year, we tried to take it all in but unfortunately it was absolutely FREEZING (I had to buy a sweater and a blanket to wear around the park lol). But this year, we’re going to go out and see them properly. They’ve also added some decorations to the new Toy Story Land so I’m excited to get my first look at those!

THE EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE HOLIDAYS

Y’all probably know by now how much I love my Epcot festivals. There are so many incredible experiences at Epcot during the holiday season. You can try a bunch of holiday food delights from different countries, hear how cultures celebrate during the holidays, and see the Candlelight Processional which is a really incredible experience that’s hosted by celebrities through the end of November and the month of December. I think that the cultural aspect of Epcot is one of my favourite aspects of the park, and Christmas time really reflects that.

What’s your favourite Walt Disney World holiday experience?

Felicia x

To view a list of all my Blogmas posts, click here.

Blogmas 2018 Day Four: Tips for Christmas Shopping

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Hello darlings!

Today I thought I’d do a bit of an advice post about one of the season’s most dreaded events: Christmas shopping. I’m the kind of person who loves buying gifts for people. I love finding the perfect present for a loved one, wrapping it up, writing the card, and placing it beneath the tree until I finally get to share it with them. But the whole process of actually buying the gifts can be extremely stressful especially if you suffer from anxiety, like me. So I thought I’d share a few of my favourite tips for making the most of the Christmas shopping experience.

1. Add a little bit of fun.

A lot of the time when we’re faced with stressful situations, it can be really easy to fall into the trap of telling ourselves it’s going to be an all around awful time. It can make a huge difference if you go into it thinking it won’t be so bad! If you’re going out to brave the pre-Christmas mall crowds, especially as it gets closer to the holidays, try to set up your trip with a few relaxing, fun things. Make a playlist of your favourite Christmas tunes and play it on the drive to the mall. Dress in layers (this is so important, malls get hot my friends). Bring a friend and grab a festive-flavoured coffee or tea that you can sip while you walk around the shops. Seriously, these might sound like such small things but they really do make a major impact on your overall stress level!!

2. Make a list.

There’s nothing worse than getting to the mall and falling into a panic because you have zero idea what you’re looking for or which shops to even go to. It makes you 100x more stressed out. Before you decide to head out, make a list of the things you’re considering for each person on your list. Even if you only have a vague idea of what you’re looking for, it will at least narrow down the shops you’ll have to go through and give you a better grasp on what you’re aiming to buy. There’s nothing worse than feeling completely overwhelmed by the chaos of the mall shoppers and the million shops with all of their displays. Make a list, put it on your phone, and look back at it whenever you’re feeling a little uneasy or lost.

3. Try online shopping.

This is my greatest Christmas shopping life-hack EVER. Online shopping has become my BFF over the last couple years, especially when my anxiety has been at it’s peak. You can basically buy anything online nowadays (thank god for that) and a lot of stores will offer online exclusive deals throughout the holiday season, like BOGO or free shipping - so definitely take advantage of that. There’s also a whole community out there of online independent shops! It’s always nice to buy from online shops (like from Etsy) because you know that the money is going to someone’s family, rather than just a corporation. Not to mention you’ll be gifting your friend or family something that is a lil more unique which is really special as well!

4. Shop on off-days.

Back to the in-store shopping… If you decide that online shopping isn’t for you or it’s not accessible, but you still hate those mall crowds, try to do your Christmas shopping on off-days, or even off-times. Shopping in the morning or afternoon on a Saturday or Sunday is going to bring you face-to-face with the roughest of shopping crowds. But if you go on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, or even on your lunch breaks throughout the week, you’ll definitely face far less intimidating crowds than on the weekend rush. You’ll have more time and space to get your creative gears going!

5. Check online for coupons or sales.

There’s no shame in getting a good deal on a gift!!! Lots of us are on tight budgets and what’s wrong in needing a little bit of help in buying our loved ones the perf gift? These days, coupons and sales are everywhere you look. If you sign-up for newsletters of stores you’re planning on shopping at, they’ll send out weekly or even daily emails full of information about how to save a few pennies. And if you’re shopping online, you can download a money-saver program like Honey or Wikibuy, which can go right on your Internet to directly save you money on purchases while you’re checking out your order.

What are your top tips for Christmas shopping?

Felicia x

To view a list of all my Blogmas posts, click here.

Blogmas 2018 Day Three: My Favourite Christmas Films

Hello darlings! Welcome back.

Today is quite possibly one of my favourite posts of Blogmas and that is my favourite Christmas films. Films are a huge component to the holiday season for me. In fact, I see films as a huge component of my life in general. To me, there’s nothing better than cozying up underneath a thick fluffy blanket, with a steaming cup of hot cocoa, all ready to watch a holiday film. My holiday film collection grows more and more each year and it’s very lovely. So today, I thought I’d share with you guys all my favourite holiday films, in case you guys are looking for a new addition to your next holiday film marathon!

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~ LOVE ACTUALLY ~

I’m sure you all expected this one to come up on my list! Love Actually combines two of my favourite things: British rom-coms and holiday films. This ensemble cast film follows the lives of several Londoners as they encounter romance during the holiday season, all leading up to the Big Moment of Christmas eve. It also boasts quite possibly the greatest cast ever, featuring a bunch of Richard Curtis film regulars like Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, along with some other fab actors like the wonderful, late Alan Rickman. This is just a really feel-good, funny film that really shines a light on the importance of family and love.

~ THE HOLIDAY ~

The Holiday is a newer favourite film of mine, as I just saw it for the first time last year or maybe the year before. It follows two women from opposite sides of the world who both decide they need a break from their lives, so they decide to swap houses for a few weeks over the Christmas holiday. While on their respective holidays, they both encounter people who get them to look at their own lives with a different perspective. It’s such a lovely, cheery film that just makes my insides super warm and fuzzy!! Kate Winslet is in this one, which automatically gives it bonus points in my books. Like Love Actually, this is a rom-com which is very much up my alley.

~ MIRACLE ON 34th STREET ~

Let me start off by saying that the Miracle on 34th Street that I hold near and dear to my heart is the 1994 version. Which I know is extremely controversial to some who say that the one and only version is the original 1947 film. But hear me out! I grew up on the 1994 film, as it came out just four years before I was born, so it was still fairly new. I’ve always loved the film, regardless of what people have said. I think the message of the film is still extremely important. And Dylan McDermott will always have a hold on my heart, no matter what. I think this is probably one of my top holiday films. It’s definitely one I have to see every holiday season, without exception. I also love how they incorporate elements of 1940s fashion to pay homage to the original film. So so cute.

~ ELF ~

Let’s not kid ourselves here. Who DOESN’T love Elf?!? This is perhaps the funniest, happy-go-lucky Christmas film out there. Will Ferrell plays the role of Buddy the Elf so perfectly, making it so hard to finish the film without a smile on your face. The emphasis on the importance of Christmas spirit is so important. I think that this film also teaches us a valuable lesson about putting aside the stresses of work or life in general during the holiday season and just focusing on our families and loved ones. Life will always be demanding and stressful. But you have to find a healthy balance between the fun and the stress of life! And what better way to have fun than to sing some Christmas carols at the top of our lungs?! Like Buddy says, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!!”

~ WHITE CHRISTMAS ~

White Christmas holds a very special place in my heart and has for a while now. My mum has always loved this film, and she shared the love with me a few years ago. White Christmas is all about two American WWII soldiers who formed a performing act after the war. After receiving a letter from a former comrade-in-arms, they go see a sister duo perform in Florida. The foursome then embarks on a journey to Vermont where they spend the next few weeks planning an extravagant Christmas musical in honour of their former commanding officer. This is the only musical film on my Christmas favourites list and as you all should know by now, musicals are my favourite. ALWAYS. I think that it’s a really lovely film with a good meaning and some fabulous musical numbers.

~ THE SANTA CLAUSE ~

We can’t be friends if you don’t love the film The Santa Clause *shrugs*… Okay, maybe that’s a teensy bit overdramatic. No, but honestly, I think Santa Clause has been on my Christmas favourites list the longest out of all these films (except for maybe How The Grinch Stole Christmas). The whole concept of some random guy becoming Santa Claus just by being in the right place (or wrong place, depending on how you see it) at the right time is just so amusing to me. I love everyone and everything that makes up this film. Tim Allen really does a great job as the grumpy Scott Calvin who eventually learns to find the Christmas spirit in his heart and in his life. And let’s not forget to mention that Bernard totally steals the show.

~ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS ~

Ahhh the Grinch. This is a classic holiday film, in my opinion. I’ve loved this ever since I was a child, back when the jokes that Jim Carrey makes went straight over my lil head. But now as an adult, understanding the jokes in the film just makes it that much funnier. I love watching this film so so much. I truly think it’s the best adaptation and there’s never a time where I’m not up to watching it. Jim Carrey is phenomenal in this film and his improvisation of Ron Howard is possibly one of my favourite film scenes of all-time. And honestly, aren’t we all a bit like the Grinch sometimes? I know I am for sure haha. And of course, every time I see this film, I have the song Where Are You Christmas stuck in my head for days. (It’s still stuck in my head from last year tbh).

What’s your favourite Christmas film?

Felicia x

To see a list of all my Blogmas posts, click here.

Blogmas 2018 Day Two: December Bucket List

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Welcome to Blogmas Day 2!

I’m a list-maker. I feel like making lists is extremely therapeutic, not to mention extremely useful. I make lists for everything. What I need to do in a day or in a week, shopping lists, reading lists, so on and so forth. One of the best lists to make, at least for me, are bucket lists! Of course, the whole idea of bucket lists are super morbid (kick the bucket… like really??) but I don’t take it that way. I see bucket lists more as a list of things I absolutely would love to do!

I first came across the idea of doing a monthly bucket list on Pinterest. I thought I’d give it a try and what better time to do it than in December, when all the Christmas festivities are in full action! December is one of my favourite months as it’s (in my opinion) the coziest month. Everything is so lovely and serene, and everyone’s in the mood to be merry! So without further ado, here’s my December bucket list!

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1. Read a holiday-themed book.

2. Have a holiday film day.

3. Send out my Christmas cards (on time!!)

4. Do some holiday baking.

5. Visit a Christmas market.

6. Decorate a gingerbread house.

7. Light the perfect Christmas candle.

8. Get all my Christmas shopping done.

9. Make s’mores.

10. Get a Christmas-inspired manicure.

11. Have a holiday drink at Starbucks.

12. Rock a red lip.

13. Take a walk in the snow.

14. Have breakfast for dinner.

15. Do a random act of kindness.

16. Try a new hobby.

17. Have a Harry Potter film marathon (because why not?)

18. Build a snowman.

19. Try my hand at creating a festive holiday cocktail.

20. Add a new piece to my Christmas decor.

21. Watch my town’s Santa Claus parade.

22. Make the perfect cup of hot cocoa.

23. Brave the mall for some holiday shopping.

24. Have coffee with a friend.

25. Have a soak in the hot tub.

See you all again tomorrow!

Felicia x

To view a list of all my Blogmas posts, click here.

Blogmas 2018 Day One: The Christmas Tag

Happy first day of Blogmas!!

First things first, if you haven’t read my introductory Blogmas post, you can check that out here. It explains the whole Blogmas concept and will also stand as a constantly updated reference guide with all of the links to my Blogmas 2018 posts.

For my very first Blogmas post, I decided to start with one of my favourite Christmas-themed posts and that is the Christmas Tag! I try to do a Christmas tag every year at the start of the holiday season. I’ve done a few variations over the years, but this looks like it might just be a different one than usual so I’m going to give this a go!

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1. What’s your favourite Christmas film?

My favourite Christmas film changes pretty much daily, I can never stick to just one! I guess I’d have to say that it’s probably a tie (right now) between Love Actually and White Christmas. White Christmas for me has a lot of sentimental value as it’s mine and my mum’s go-to Christmas film to watch together, so it has to be included for sure!

2. Have you ever had a white Christmas?

I live in Ontario, Canada. Every Christmas is a white Christmas!

3. Where do you usually spend your holiday?

My holiday is split up all over the place. I spend the morning with my parents at home, opening presents and having egg sandwiches for breaky. Then I head up to my hometown to spend a few hours with my boyfriend’s family. And finally, my parents, boyfriend, and I go to Orlando for our holiday vacay! It’s a loonnggggg day.

4. What is your favourite Christmas song?

Oh my gosh, it’s like choosing between children, isn’t it?! I guess I’ll narrow it down to a few, because just one ain’t happening… “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid, “Last Christmas” by Wham!, and “White Christmas” by Michael Buble & Shania Twain are in my constant rotation!

5. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

Yes! As per a longstanding tradition, I open one gift from my parents on Christmas Eve and then I get a new pair of pjs (as do my parents). I love our pj tradition the most as it means we all get to wear brand new pjs to bed and for Christmas morning!

6. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

By heart? Dasher, Prancer, Comet, Vixen, Rudolph… How many are there? Does it make me a fake Christmas fan if I don’t know?

7. What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?

All of them… Is that a valid answer? I’m very excited for my second time seeing my town’s annual light-up night. I also cannot wait to decorate the house and trim the tree!!

8. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

All three of our trees (yes, three) are fake. I’d love to have a real one but I’ve heard that they’re poisonous for dogs and I don’t trust my pup enough!

9. What is your all-time favourite holiday food/sweet treat?

I positively love gingerbread cookies. Just the smell of gingerbread alone is simply divine.

10. Be honest: do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?

This is a hard question! I mean, everyone loves getting gifts, we all know that. I especially love the excitement in other people’s faces when I’m opening up a gift they bought me. But also, I love giving gifts so much because you get to pick out something for someone you love and wrap them up and watch them open them up!

11. What’s the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

Oooooh, I’ll actually be writing up a post about this in the near future so I won’t spoil it just yet :)

12. What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

New York City! It is my absolute dream to stand in Rockefeller Center with all the lights and that massive Christmas tree.

13. Are you a pro-present wrapper or do you fail miserably?

Fail. MISERABLY. I don’t know what it is, but I just cannot figure out how to wrap a gift nicely. Even a perfectly shaped box turns out to be a disaster.

14. Most memorable holiday moment?

Probably the first time I ever went to Disney World during the holidays.

15. When did you realize the truth about Santa?

No idea what you’re talking about… :)

16. Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you stick to them?

I hate the idea of making resolutions because it’s become a huge cliche where you’re obligated to stick to them or else you’re a failure. I like to set (realistic!) year-long goals instead and reflect on how I did at achieving them by the end of the year.

17. What makes the holidays so special to you?

I just love the sentiment behind the holidays. Bringing the family together, no matter what else is going on in your lives, for no other reason than just celebration and being merry together!

See you tomorrow for Blogmas Day 2!

Felicia x

To view a list of all my Blogmas posts, click here.

Introducing... Blogmas 2018

The white lights are glowing…The trees are up and decorated…The smell of gingerbread is hanging in the air…

You know what that means. It must be Christmas!!

Tomorrow is the first day of December my darlings! And with that comes the start of a very special blogging tradition that I am extremely excited to say that I will be taking part in this year: Blogmas!

For many, many years, I’ve watched bloggers and youtubers alike doing Blogmas, starting with Zoella all the way back in 2012-2013. I’ve always loved the idea of Blogmas because I feel like it’s a way to not only celebrate the holidays as a community, but also to keep the festive feeling going throughout the season. I really think that Christmas is a holiday that is best spent with other people. But as bloggers can be scattered across the country, or even the globe, it’s nice that Blogmas gives us a way to come together and celebrate as a group!

If you haven’t heard of Blogmas before, I’ll give a little bit of a rundown. Essentially, it’s a post per day for 25 days, starting December 1. The posts can be Christmas or even winter themed. Anything that makes you feel festive or will put other people in the Christmas spirit. Although it’s so much fun, it’s also a ton of work which is why I haven’t attempted it before this year. I really hope that I can make it work while also preparing for my fall finals but if it does work out, I’ll definitely try to make this a new yearly tradition!

My very first post will be posted tomorrow morning at 10am, and the others will follow the same schedule.

I cannot wait to start uploading my posts! I’ll keep an updated list of all the links to my Blogmas posts here, as a quick and easy reference guide for readers (that’s you!)

See you tomorrow :)

Felicia x

P.s. If any of you guys are taking part in Blogmas, leave your blog URLs down in the comments. I’d love to follow along your own journeys this Christmas season!

~*~ BLOGMAS POSTS ~*~

Day One - The Christmas Tag

Day Two - December Bucket List

Day Three - My Favourite Christmas Films

Day Four - Tips for Christmas Shopping

Day Five - My Favourite Disney World Holiday Traditions

Day Six - Things I Love About the Holidays

Day Seven - Christmas Playlist

Day Eight - 10 Stocking Stuffers

Review: Love & War - Melissa De La Cruz

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Title: Love & War: An Alex & Eliza Story

Author: Melissa De La Cruz

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Release Date: April 17, 2018

Pages: 369

My Rating: ★★★ (3/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“We will only stand if we learn to accept and even embrace each other’s differences rather than allow them to divide us.”

Hello my friends! Welcome back.

Today I thought I’d go back and review one of my recent reads, Love and War by Melissa De La Cruz. If you haven’t already read my review of Alex and Eliza which is the first book in the series, go ahead and give that a read here!

So Love and War… This book continues the story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler (now Elizabeth Hamilton) as they prepare to move out into the world and begin their lives as newlyweds. Since their marriage, Alex has been busy with fighting in the American Revolutionary War and Eliza’s been hanging with her sisters at the family estate in upstate New York. They run into a few hiccups but finally, the war ends and they set out to New York City, where the couple will live and Alex will build his reputation as a lawyer. With Alex busy working 24/7, Eliza is left to build a home - with far less resources than she is used to - and together, the couple face a string of difficulties.

I’m gonna come right out and say it. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the first one. I felt like this took a really different approach to the Hamilton’s story than I was expecting. I get that it’s a young adults series, so it probably won’t deal with a lot of the more mature or dark themes of their marriage (i.e. death, infidelity, etc.) but it just seemed a bit too light-hearted, if that makes sense? Even the conflicts they faced seemed to be solved almost immediately. It just seemed like they were living their own fairytale which, if you know the true history, you’ll know is not realistic.

I really hope that the final book of the trilogy, All For One, which is scheduled to be published in spring of 2019, will be closer to the Hamilton’s story. I just found that this novel was a lot more fiction than it was historical-fiction. Sort of like Reign but maybe even more far-fetched?

Have you read All For One? What did you think?

Goodreads Challenge: 32 out of 50

Felicia x

A Book Lover's Dream

Despite being a book lover for the past twenty years of my life, I have never found my way into a secondhand bookshop before. Can you believe it? Years of dreaming about the romance of small independent bookshops, even writing about them 24/7, and I’d never even stepped into one. I guess the problem was that I was raised in a large city, where local businesses weren’t very popular and every corner was another chain store. I grew up in Chapters and Indigo shops.

Moving into a small town really gave me a new perspective on small, local businesses. My town only has a population of 10,000 people - literally 72x smaller than my hometown. Take a second for that to sink in. So it was a huge adjustment. Living in a small town made me realize how important it is to support local businesses. Unfortunately, there isn’t a bookshop in my town (yet…one day I’ll put one in there myself).

A few towns over, there’s a bookshop called Pickwick Books. When I used to live in Mississauga, I sometimes would drive home through the town Waterdown and would always pass by Pickwick on the way. I loved the look of it. There was something about it, this little adorable shop on the corner, that completely piqued my interest. I had to know what was in there. Flash forward two years and I still hadn’t gone in there. In my defence, it is about an hour away from home.

But this Saturday morning, my boyfriend told me to get dressed to go out, as he was taking me on a surprise date. And much to my delight, we pulled up to Pickwick Books an hour later!!!

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Pickwick was everything I could ever dream of. It was a small shop with dozens of shelves around the shop, filled to the max with books. On a stack of books was another stack of books. Everywhere you looked - to each side, on the ground, above your head - there were books. It was a cozy little cave of books. The woman running the store was so kind and let us browse without following us around the shop, which I was so grateful as I’m particularly introverted and would rather browse alone.

One of my favourite areas of the shop was the Book Vault. It was an extremely small room (literally only my boyfriend and I could fit inside and we were in very close quarters) with just three walls full top to bottom of historical books, separated by era. Literally every era of history you could imagine. It was absolutely a dream come true for me, being someone who loves books and is a history fanatic. I wanted to live in that vault forever.

The other really cool thing I found in the shop was that they sold old, rare editions of books. They had collections of famous author’s books that were from the 19th century, going as far back as even the 1830s. I was in awe. There were Charles Dickens sets from the mid-1800s, when Charles Dickens was writing his books. It was absolutely incredible to see in person. Of course, I didn’t buy any of those since I don’t have $500 to spend on a set of Dickens novels, especially since I already have a set haha. But it was very cool to see, especially the books which were still in volumes as they were popularly released back then.

I ended up leaving the shop with one book for myself, a beautiful hardcover copy of Selected Poems & Letters of Emily Dickinson. I got it for $25 and when I got home, I searched it online to find out it typically goes for $50 USD because it’s a 1959 edition. I was sooo pleased with my purchase!!!

Here’s your little reminder to check out your local businesses. They’d love to have you shop there and who knows what you’ll find tucked away in a shelf.

Felicia x

Review: Gmorning, Gnight - Lin-Manuel Miranda

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Title: Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks For Me & You

Author: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Publisher: Random House

Release Date: October 16, 2018

Pages: 224

My Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“Good night now, and rest. Today was a test. You passed it, you’re past it. Now breathe till unstressed.”

So I may have mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again for those who don’t know: I absolutely love Lin-Manuel Miranda. I think he is oh so talented and basically the most inspiring person of our time. And now he’s created the most adorable, uplifting book I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Gmorning, Gnight started off as a daily tweet routine by Lin in 2011. Every morning, he’d wish his followers a good morning, and every night, he’d wish them a good night. With every message, he’d write a little poem, a few words of encouragement, something nice to end or start the day on. He’s kept the tradition up for the past 7 years (he still posts them daily if you wanna check them out on his Twitter) but now he’s put some of the best ones down in this book.

I really loved reading this book. It went by so quickly, since it’s only about 200 pages and there are only a few lines per page. But the little time I had with this book was lovely. Every passage was so uplifting and empowering. I took to putting Post-Its on the pages of my favourite passages, but that ended up being about 90% of the pages lol. I loved everything so so so much. Lin really has an incredible way of putting things into perspective and making you really appreciate the small things in life.

This would be a great book for anyone, but especially I think it’d be the perfect Christmas gift this year. It’d also make a pretty great graduation gift too, I’d imagine! If you’re just looking for a cute, easy read then definitely pick this up :)

Are you a Lin-Manuel fan, like me?

Goodreads Challenge: 31 out of 50

Felicia x

Review: Alex and Eliza: A Love Story - Melissa De La Cruz

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Title: Alex and Eliza: A Love Story

Author: Melissa De La Cruz

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Release Date: April 11, 2017

Pages: 368

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“And you, Colonel Hamilton, are mine, and I am yours always.”

Hello my darlings! I’m back with another book review and I am so so so excited for this one.

Recently, I have become completely obsessed with the musical, Hamilton. I’ve been in love with it for a few years now but for whatever reason, my obsession has completely skyrocketed in the last few months or so. Sadly, I’ve not yet gotten the chance to see it… My boyfriend tried to get tickets for the two of us in NYC last year, but they came out to like almost $2,000 so that was NOT happening. Since it won’t be coming to Toronto until the 2019/2020 season, I’m left having to find other ways to fuel my addiction like listening to the soundtrack a million times, watching documentaries, or, in this case, reading Hamilton-inspired lit.

Melissa De La Cruz was actually one of my fav authors when I was a preteen, back when Girl Stays In The Picture came out. When my reading tastes changed, I moved on from her writing but I was excited to read her books after all these years and see what I’d been missing.

Alex & Eliza starts off on the midwinter night of the Schuyler ball in 1777, where Elizabeth Schuyler first meets Washington’s aide-de-camp, Alexander Hamilton. When she overhears a conversation between Hamilton and her father, General Schuyler, she is immediately put off and has no interest in speaking with him. But when she goes to stay with her aunt and uncle in Morristown, she reencounters the young colonel and the two begin to see each other in a different light.

I loved this book!! As you may know, I’m a huge fan of YA novels, especially romantic YA novels. This is so up my alley, it’s crazy. The love between Alex and Eliza was palpable, and I think it really was the perfect kick-off for the long history of the Hamiltons. I thought that this novel really read like a modern day Jane Austen novel. Not even just because it was set in the 18th century, but because it has a romantic storyline with a strong heroine lead and ends in a wedding. I loved the Austen-esque elements of this novel and I’m not sure if the author meant to include them but I think it was perfect regardless!!

I also thought it was pretty interesting how the novel was told from both Alex and Eliza’s perspectives, especially since there was a fair chunk of the novel where Alex was off doing war stuff. It was pretty cool because then you got to see both sides of the story and it also gave the opportunity to meet other key figures in their history like Washington, Lafayette, and Laurens. I can usually take or leave dual narratives, however when they’re done well and not too confusing or excessive - like in Alex & Eliza - I’m actually quite keen on them!

There were obviously a ton of differences between Alex & Eliza and the musical Hamilton, which I think genuinely comes down to picking and choosing which details to include and which to omit in either piece. For Hamilton, a lot of details were excluded or altered to work with the storyline, which was certainly also the case with Alex & Eliza. I did find that with Alex & Eliza, everything was a lot more fluffy, which makes sense as it’s a YA novel. So if you’re looking for some hard-hitting, authentic Revolutionary War retelling, maybe don’t look to Alex & Eliza for that.

I am extremely interested to see how this series progresses throughout the next couple books. I’ve already started Love & War, which is the next novel, but the third and final book isn’t coming out until 2019, so I still have a bit of a wait until that one!

Have you read Alex & Eliza? What did you think?

Goodreads Challenge: 30 out of 50

Felicia x

Review: All We Ever Wanted - Emily Giffin

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Title: All We Ever Wanted

Author: Emily Giffin

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Release Date: June 26, 2018

Pages: 334

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“Who was the person you trusted enough to be your most transparent self with, in both good times and bad?”

Welcome back my loves! Today’s review is going to be about one of the most interesting books I’ve read so far this year, All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin.

So I actually ordered this book whilst sitting at an outside table at the Port Orleans French Quarter this summer, beignet in hand, trying to decide which three (yes, three) books to order from Indigo. It was the worst decision I’ve ever had to make because a) I’m already indecisive enough and b) the five or so books I wanted were all so so interesting and I couldn’t bear to part with even one. But this one really stuck out at me. Like, something told me I needed to read this book straight away after reading the synopsis. So I immediately placed my order and had my books sent to Mississauga, where my boyfriend’s parents (the god sends that they are) held them for me until I came home from the summer.

All We Ever Wanted is split into four narratives: Lyla, her father Tom, Finch, and his mother Nina. The two pairs couldn’t be more opposite. Lyla and Tom come from the “other side of the tracks”, a poor area of Nashville where Tom works multiple jobs; Nina and Finch come from Nashville’s elite, where Nina’s husband has recently sold his tech business and the family is living luxuriously. The only thing these families have in common is the private high school Lyla and Finch attend. Until a party one night results in a provocative photo of Lyla being leaked which links the two families forever.

This book was wild from start to finish y’all. I really had a hard time putting it down. It’s intense, but not in a suspenseful, action-packed way. I think that most importantly, it really speaks to my generation. With social media so prominent in our current society, things can get really messy which I’ve witnessed firsthand being in high school just a few years ago, when social media was really reaching it’s peak. Social media is great in that it links our world together and creates a real opportunity for mass communication and social change, imo. But it can also be a total nightmare if it’s used for the wrong thing. I think that this book really shows the dangerous side of social media, sort of as a cautionary tale to parents and even teens (are teens reading Emily Giffin? I was in high school, but idk).

I thought that the characters of Lyla and Finch were really well-represented as modern teenagers. Every time I read novels by authors long out of high school, I really keep an eye out for how the teenagers are portrayed because I think that sometimes authors are out of touch with modern teenagers. In All We Ever Wanted, this wasn’t the case at all. I could definitely see Lyla and Finch being teenagers at my old high school. Having authentic characters really enhances the reading experience for me. Idk if it bothers anyone else having unrealistic teen characters?? Is it just a me problem? Who knows.

Honestly, just read this book. You won’t regret it. It was so gripping and it also dealt with a ton of intense problems outside of just the social media issue that I think make the novel that much more important of a read (but I won’t say them here bc spoilers!). Definitely pick this up at your bookstore. Like, now. Go now :)

Have you read All We Ever Wanted yet? If you have, did you like it?

Goodreads Challenge: 29 out of 50

Felicia x

Review: Dear Mrs. Bird - A.J. Pearce

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Title: Dear Mrs. Bird

Author: A.J. Pearce

Publisher: Scribner

Release Date: July 3, 2018

Pages: 281

My Rating: ★★★ 1/2 (3.5/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“If there was anything I wanted most in the world (other, of course, than for the war to end and Hitler to die a quite grisly death), it was to be a journalist.”

Hello my lovelies! Today I’m writing up a quick review on A.J. Pearce’s novel, Dear Mrs. Bird which I recently completed.

If you hadn’t already noticed, this year, wartime fiction has had a pretty substantial presence on my reading list. Recently, historical fiction set during WWI or WWII has easily become one of my favourite genres to read. I can’t get enough of it quite honestly!! That’s why I decided to pick up Dear Mrs. Bird, which is yet another story about women during WWII.

Dear Mrs. Bird follows a year in the life of Emmy Lake, a twenty-something living in WWII London, who dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent. When a job posting in a newspaper comes up, Emmy is quick to apply to the position before even reading the job description. It’s not until afterwards that she realizes that the job calls for a typist for an advice columnist. Not only that, but her boss is a complete terror who refuses to advise women who have ‘improper’ problems. So Emmy begins secretly responding to women behind her boss’s back.

Quite simply, I found this book to be very cute. I don’t think that it was nearly the hardest-hitting of all the wartime novels I’ve read this year, but I do think it was an important look at women’s efforts in the Second World War. I’ve been studying women’s history this term in uni and the past little while has been about the interwar years and WWII, so it’s definitely been interesting to see the parallels in my recreational reading and my school stuff!

I think that Emmy was a bit immature, considering that she was in her early twenties and involved in war efforts. I would think that war would make people, even young people, mature a lot quicker due to the circumstances. But it felt like Emmy’s primary concern was becoming a big fancy war correspondent, and the rest was just ~whatevs~. I also thought her best friend was immature (and sometimes annoying oops) as well.

(Side note: I also have to mention the fact that some things were capitalized randomly throughout the novel, to draw emphasis, and it absolutely bothered me to not end. If you remember my review on The Alice Network, you probably remember how this sort of thing in writing is my biggest pet peeve!)

Honestly, I saw this more as a lighthearted adult fiction that just so happened to be set during the war, as opposed to a wartime novel. It was a cute, heartwarming story and I loved the focus on women breaking into the paid workforce, but it just didn’t have that certain je ne sais quoi, y’know??

Have you read Dear Mrs. Bird? Do you agree with me?

Goodreads Challenge: 28 out of 50

Felicia x

Review: Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen

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Title: Northanger Abbey

Author: Jane Austen

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Release Date: October 30th 2003

Pages: 379

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Goodreads | Amazon


“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

Hello everyone!

So, as you may know, I recently started back up at school - eek!! It’s been such a crazy transitional period, but I think I’ve finally found my footing. One of the courses I’m taking this term is, amazingly, a course all about Jane Austen. Seriously, all we do is spend 3 hours a week talking about Jane Austen, reading her books, and watching film adaptations. Heyy Mr. Darcy (*waves*). Our first book of the term was Northanger Abbey. Although it’s part of my school curriculum, I thought since I’d never read it before, it was still worthy of a blog review!

Northanger Abbey follows country gal Catherine Morland on her journey from her family home to Bath, where she intends on staying for 6 weeks with the wealthy and childless couple, Mr. and Mrs. Allen. In Bath, she meets the Thorpe and the Tilney siblings - both pairs teach Catherine about the world beyond her boundaries.

As some may know, Northanger Abbey was the first of Austen’s novels to be prepared for publication - although it didn’t actually come out until after she died, in 1817. She actually wrote this when she was in her late teens and I think that you can really see her age in her writing. I think that’s what makes this book less of a hit with me, compared to her later works like my personal fav, Pride and Prejudice. But that’s definitely not to say that the writing in Northanger Abbey is immature!! Jane Austen was always wise beyond her years and I still think Northanger Abbey is a great novel, just not one of the best. You know?

I thought it was quite clever that Jane Austen used Catherine’s love for Gothic novels almost as a flaw in her character; it was quite the tongue-in-cheek jab at Ann Radcliffe. Catherine’s imagination and obsession with the novels gets her into quite a bit of trouble, which is a fairly amusing storyline.

The one thing that irks me though is that Henry Tilney, for the majority of the novel, is quite annoying. He’s presumptuous and condescending. Most of his time spent with Catherine, and his sister Eleanor for that matter, is by berating her for her interest in Gothic novels and how her perception of things is wrong. Blah blah blah. He does get less tiresome throughout the last half of the novel. THANK GOD.

All in all, it was a pretty good read! I might not read it again, though.

Are you a Jane Austen fan? Do you like Northanger Abbey?

Goodreads Challenge: 27 out of 50

Felicia x

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party | 2018

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It’s the mooost wonderful time of the yeaaaar!! That’s right, friends. It’s time for my annual write-up on Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! If you’ve been here for awhile, you’ll probably know that I’ve been to Not So Scary twice before - once in 2015 and again last year. I absolutely love the party and I love writing these posts, too. It’s sort of like reliving everything all over again to me honestly. So, without further ado, let’s jump in.

If you’re interested, you can read my prior posts about Not So Scary from 2017 here.

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You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I love Halloween at the parks. I’m sure I’ve said it a dozen times before, and I’ll say it another dozen times in the future. Disney really does everything better, especially the holidays. And Halloween gives them an opportunity to bring out some of the less popular characters. They also decorate the parks to the nines, with giant pumpkins everywhere, and bales of straw and other harvest-themed decor at every turn. If you love a good Jack O’ Lantern, look no further than Main Street U.S.A.!

If you’ve never heard about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, you’re not alone. Until I went in 2015, I hadn’t heard much about it either. In the past few years, it’s been gaining more attention and popularity, but back in the day it was this super mysterious exclusive party that I never really knew much about (especially because I didn’t visit Disney in the autumn). Basically it’s a ticketed event held at Magic Kingdom on select nights from late August to Halloween, where you can go in ‘after hours’ and experience a bunch of attractions, rides, and shows that are Halloween themed. There’s also a massive dress-up component, as tons of people (myself included!) dress in costumes. Where else do you really get to do costumes anymore when you’re an adult??

The event starts at 7pm, so we got there about 6:30pm. At that point, cast members were desperately trying to control the crowds, getting the non-party guests out of the park and the party guests into the park, without causing too much of a commotion. We entered the park with our Magicbands as usual and then immediately got our wristbands for the party put on. If you’re already in the park when the party starts, there are stations set up all over where you can get your wristbands, too. Once we had our bands, we went onto Main Street and got to pose with this super cute car before going ~backstage~ to make our way into the party.

Initially, my boyfriend and I had decided not to do costumes this year. All summer we tried to figure out what we wanted to dress-up as but couldn’t decide on anything and when we did, the costume idea fell through, so we just gave up entirely. But then, about a week into September, I got the idea to do a Mary Poppins and Bert couples costume. We completely (and somewhat frantically) DIY’d our costumes, searching the depths of the Internet for pieces to put together (I’ll do a post on our DIY later!). I’m sooo happy with how our costumes turned out!! We had a few tiny last minute glitches but in the end it all worked out and the costumes were actually super comfy throughout the night thank god.

Although we didn’t get to experience everything that Not So Scary has to offer, we did get to see and do so much. Of course, we took part in a little bit of trick-or-treating as usual. My family likes to go to as many trick-or-treat stations as possible, and then bring all our collected candy home to handout to kids on Halloween. Making the most out of the cost of our tickets haha. We also got to see a bunch of the shows that are what make the party so incredible, in my opinion.

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One of my all-time fav parts of Halloween as a whole is Hocus Pocus. And luckily for me Hocus Pocus is a big part of Not So Scary! They put on a show at the stage in front of Cinderella’s Castle called Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular. It has the Sanderson sisters, as well as a bunch of other Disney villains. And, of course, the performance of I Put A Spell On You always completes all my childhood dreams!! Honestly, the Sanderson sisters are the queens of Halloween and you can’t tell me otherwise.

Also, please check out that picture of the Hocus Pocus fireworks from behind the castle that I took while walking. Ugh I love.

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I would be completely remiss if I didn’t mention my beloved HalloWishes fireworks! As you may know, the Wishes fireworks went away early last year which was devastating to all. But luckily, we still have a part of that old magic during the Halloween and Christmas holiday seasons! I absolutely love HalloWishes. I think that the different effects on the castle, the fireworks, and the music are all so incredible.

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And, last but certainly not least, we got a chance to see my favourite Disney World attraction of all time: Mickey’s Boo To You Halloween Parade. I LOVE THIS PARADE!!! Absolute best parade of all time. There’s literally nothing about this parade I’m so-so on. I literally love every single part of this parade. The soundtrack is DIVINE. The whole Haunted Mansion part is sooo amazing. Especially because I absolutely love Haunted Mansion and everything related to it. I highly recommend carving out time to see this parade if you go to Not So Scary (it runs twice a night).

The only bummer of the party this year was that the Headless Horseman, who usually rides out in front of the first float, didn’t show up! Because of the rain, it wasn’t safe for the horse or the rider. So that was pretty disappointing however we totally understood that it just couldn’t happen. Hopefully next year we’ll see him again!!

Have you guys been to Not So Scary before? What’s your fav part!

Felicia x

Review: Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival | 2018

Hello darlings!

Today, I thought I’d do a review of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and chat about the things I tried this year. I’ve done this in the past on two different occasions and I just love writing about the festival because it’s really a lot of fun and reminiscing about food is always a good time.

If you want to read my past Food and Wine reviews, you can! I wrote one up in 2015 (when I still a baby & v new to blogging) and in 2017.

The very first thing we did on our Food and Wine tour this year was ride Spaceship Earth. I don’t know if you guys heard, but it was announced on a bunch of blogs recently that Spaceship Earth will be undergoing a two and a half year refurb which will essentially change everything we know and love about this ride, in preparation for the brand new shiny Epcot 2.0 that Imagineers are cooking up. I immediately panicked when I read the article because basically every Disney ride or attraction I’ve ever held near and dear to my heart has been given the axe over the last 5 years and Spaceship Earth is my absolute fav ride. I’m cautiously optimistic about what this refurb will actually consist of - maybe it’s just a refresh?? But for now, I’m going to ride it as much as I possibly can before it closes down.

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As my family are AP’s, we usually stop at the Festival Welcome Centre right off the bat to collect our free Passholder gift and the Festival passport. The Welcome Centre is located in the old Wonders of Life pavilion, which is super cool because I never visited Disney when the pavilion was in operation so it’s a bit of a glimpse of what Epcot used to be. This year, the AP gift was a magnet with Mickey in a chef hat that is absolutely to die for. Like, c’mon how cute is that!!!! They’ve also been giving out cutting boards if you go multiple times.

Now, onto the food!

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Our very first stop for food was the Hawaii booth. As usual, I got the Kalua Pork Sliders. The weird part of my love for the pork sliders is the fact that it’s the exact sort of dish I’d actually hate in most cases. First off, I typically don’t like pork. Second, it’s got a sweet-and-sour Dole pineapple chutney and spicy mayo on it. I’m the pickiest eater ever so this seems really ‘out there’ for me but good god do I love it.

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The second stop for me was my home and native land! At Canada, I always get the Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon. It’s kind of an iffy dish for me. Some years I love it, some years I could do without it. This year, it was pretty good actually. I feel like it was a lot smaller than last year?? But I could be misjudging the size. And although I like the taste of mushrooms on the steak, I’m not huge on mushrooms themselves and there were a ton on top of the beef this time so I was constantly pushing them to the side. But the meat was very tender and well-done, just how I like it.

I also tried the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup which is what my mum ordered. I loooove me some cheese soup, especially because it comes with a pretzel roll which you can dunk into the soup. YUM.

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I also had, for the second time ever, the Schinkennudeln from Germany. There will never be a year where my family doesn’t pronounce this completely wrong but the four of us love it all the same! It’s pasta gratin with ham, cheese, and onions that’s soooo delicious. It looks like it’d be a really heavy pasta from all the cheese, but I find it’s actually quite light which is good because I don’t love heavy pastas. Plus, the cheese is very mild - again a good thing because I’m not big on sharp cheese (I know, I’m so weird).

Ladies and gentlemen, may I draw your attention to the worst quality pic of the entire post! By this point, it was like 7:30 at night so lighting was not on my side. ANYWAY. This is one of my fav foods of the whole festival, the Loaded Mac n Cheese. Ugh this is so good, I’m in heaven just thinking about it. Again, it’s one of those kinda dishes that seems like something I’d hate. It’s got pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, green onions, and peppers all mixed in with macaroni pasta to make an absolutely incredible (and quite spicy) dish. This and the pork sliders might just be tied for #1 in my opinion.

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Honestly, Food and Wine is such a great time. It’s a great opportunity to just stroll around World Showcase, taste a few international dishes, and enjoy the atmosphere of *ahem* the greatest Disney park.

Also, let’s have a moment of silence for our fallen heroes (aka the food that didn’t show up on menus this year):

  • Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi (although, I should probably quit holding out hope on this one, it’s been a couple years since it last appeared lol)

  • Chicken Gyro

  • Boeuf Bourguignon (my absolute fav!!! how could Disney do this to me!!!)

Hope you guys enjoyed reading! If you’ve been to Food and Wine before, let me know what your fav dish was in the comments.

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