Thursday, October 4, 2018

ITube, YouTube, we all Tube for... you get the point

As an introvert, someone who lives alone and works from home, I spend a lot and I mean a lot of time with me, myself and I.

I'm fine with it most days, but there are those rare occasions (TBH, they aren't that rare) when I need a little company. On those days, I turn to YouTube

I started watching YouTube about a year ago when my freelance writing career "took off." Spending all that time at home, alone, writing, was difficult at times and I began looking for quick and easy (also, free) ways to distract, entertain and motivate myself.

Enter Melissa Merk.


My YouTube OG, Merk is a Vancouver native, model and content creator with her own blog and YouTube channel, with just over 460,000 followers. What I like most about her is how she hustles. 

On days when I feel like procrastinating, Merk motivates me to get down to business and do better, which is a constant struggle when you work for yourself. 

She introduced me to iHerb (no, that's not a euphemism for weed), online shopping and Chipotle, so she's pretty much the one to blame for this situation:

  exhibit A: cranium-sized burrito from Chipotle

If Merk is my longest standing girl crush, Aja Dang is my most recent. I stumbled across her (not literally, obvs) a few months ago while researching debt, and more importantly, debt repayment.


Dang used to be a TV host but now has her own website, YouTube channel and a collection of clothing called A Woman's Worth (10% of the proceeds go to Planned Parenthood, which is rad), as well as over $150,000 in student debt!

I'm not saying that to disparage her, by the way. 

She's very open about her debt and it's one of the main topics of conversation on her channel, which is why I relate to it (and her) so much. While my debt isn't quite as overwhelming as hers (praise be) it's something I've been struggling with for years. Watching her videos has helped me focus on paying it off and finally moving on.

 praise be

Side note: I first saw Dang, who's based in Los Angeles, on YouTube three or four years ago when Beyonce's 7/11 came out and she did a tribute to it. I didn't realize it was her until a few weeks ago, when she mentioned her love of Queen B and I put two and two together (hint: it makes four).


Allegra Shaw who grew up in The Beaches, in Toronto, where I lived many moons ago — is another Canadian that I follow on YouTube. Her channel is close to having 1 million subscribers. Se also has her own blog as well as a sustainable line of clothing called Uncle Studios


Shaw has a sick sense of style (including the coolest pair of Balenciaga sneakers) and a wicked sense of humour to match. Her content is really diverse, with videos about beauty, wellness, being a boss bitch and more. 

I actually contacted Shaw once, by email, for an article I was writing for Diary of a Social Gal and she replied within the hour, which I thought was pretty impressive, considering.

 

She also introduced me to HelloFresh (who I had the pleasure of working with two weeks ago) and Gisou, which brings me to my next influencer: Negin Mirsalehi.


Did you see how I just did that? 

Mirsalehi, who runs a bee-based hair product company as well as a blog and YouTube channel, lives in Amsterdam with her boyfriend/business partner Maurits Stibbe and their dog Moosey. She also has the cutest accent. 

She travels the world with brands like Dior and makes one of the best hair products I've ever used: a honey infused hair oil that I ordered, online, all the way from the Netherlands.

The boyf, who isn't impressed with much, still can't get over the packaging. Enough said.

Finally, Allana Davison (who recently moved from Vancouver to Toronto) and describes herself as a "vlogger, blogger and anything-ogger" is another one of my female sources of inspiration and motivation online. 

I started watching her in December, when I was going through a bit of a tough time, and can't get enough of her wacky sense of humour and super super easy to follow makeup routines. 


Thanks to her, I know what primer is (oh hey Smashbox!) and how to highlight... #skills.

I think a lot of people (ahem, men) are quick to disregard YouTube and its rising female "stars," but I for one have learned a lot from it. At 43, I realize I may not be the target demographic, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable or informative.    

I'd like to add one more YouTuber to this list, the inimitable Jakob of Jakob's thing. He's so cool he only needs one name.

Enjoy!









Sunday, December 31, 2017

A series of unfortunate events OR Resolutions, and all that jazz

2017 was a bit of a shit show, to be honest. 

 *replace 2016 with 2017, and you get the picture

Before it rolled around, I consulted Lainey's (aka Elaine Lui of Lainey Gossip and The Social fame) trusted predictions for the Year of the Rooster. This is the first thing she had to say about being a Rabbit in the year of the Rooster: 

"For Rabbits, the Year of the Rooster is not ‘go time.’"

She wasn't kidding.

The year started off with what should have been an amazing trip but was anything but before turning into something akin to the plague. It quickly went from bad to worse and one thing turned into another; literally over and over again.

My grandmother passed away in April and in May I finally figured out why my apartment smelled so funky: it was infested with squirrels - and everything that comes along with them - and I had to move out after spending months (not to mention mucho dinero) working on the place. 

 mucho dinero

In June, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease and in September, I was told that I had experienced a mini stroke, which explained a lot about the way my brain was working not working. Also, my heart was broken.

As the year comes to a close and I think about everything that happened I can't help but be struck by how much positive transformation occurred, despite the seemingly endless series of unfortunate events.

Thanks to an amazing group of friends, as well as my family, I was able to turn lemons into lemonade (with vodka): I'm living in a great new apartment, my health is doing better than ever and I'm finally doing what I love, full time, for actual cash money. 


Also, I've met some great new people.

Since I'm a strong believer in the law of attraction, I thought I'd use this post as my wish list, or goal board, for 2018. So here goes nothing: I want to keep writing and get better at it, I want to start the book I've been talking about for years, I want to be a better friend, and daughter, and general human being and I want to visit Poland. I want to focus on myself and what's good for me, health-wise, and I want to live with love.

 true fact

Happy new year's everyone... YOLO!










 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Best of beauty

I may not be the editor in chief of a beauty magazine like Glow, Fashion or Flare but at 41 years old, I know what works (for me, anyhow).

Over the years I've accumulated a collection of favourites, like Eucerin Intensive Lip Balm (made in Poland!) and Eucerin Aquaphor Ointment, Spectro Cleanser (the fragrance-free one for blemish-prone skin) and Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light Cream. Recently though, I've been seeking out new products to soothe and moisturize my winter-chapped skin and hair as well as try and look a little ... fresher. So far, this is what I've found.

First off, there's Lush's King of Skin, an ultra-buttery moisturizing bar made of banana, avocado, cocoa and shea butter plus a variety of oils, including coconut, jojoba and lavender. It smells delicious and goes on like butter, not to mention the fact that it's literally the most moisturizing body product I've ever used. The Ultrabalm made of plant waxes and jojoba oil isn't far behind.


King of Skin


 Ultrabalm

I ran out of shower gel a couple of weeks ago and decided to pop into Sephora to see if they had anything special in that department. They most certainly did. Meet my new favourite shower gel and body cream: Brazilian 4 Play Moisturizing Shower Cream-Gel and Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, by Sol de Janeiro


Sol de Janeiro kit

Rich in guaraná, cupuaçu butter, açaí and coconut oil, the moisturizing duo smells incredible and helps tighten and smooth the look of skin. Also, the pot of cream looks like a bum cheek. Did I mention the smell? Mmm.

For the hair, I've been loving Phytocyane Serum, designed to promote circulation and new hair growth. According to the website, it also delays the appearance of grey hair. This stuff isn't cheap but it works. The little glass vials are pretty cool too. The ingredients include grape seed procyanidins, ginkgo biloba and tyrosine.


Phytocyane Serum

Last, but not least, there's Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum. Dubbed "the best serum" by Glamour in 2016, the miracle-worker (#truefact) is made of a variety of oils including grape seed, hazelnut, bergamot and avocado, among many, many others. Vintner's Daughter is the first beauty product I've ever bought online (it isn't available in-store in Canada) and I'm so glad I did. The customer service (and packaging) provided by Clementine Fields, the product's sole distributor, was great and the product itself is out of this world.


 Vintner's Daughter packaging and instructions


 









  



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cravings

I didn't discover Chrissy Teigen the "classic" way; through her Sports Illustrated swimsuit modelling, Spike TV hosting duties or appearances in music videos. I discovered her through Eric Ripert, my favourite French chef.  


When I got sick with pneumonia last year and had to spend a month alone in bed, I went on the hunt for online entertainment to keep my mind occupied. I love watching food shows and since I had zero appetite I thought I'd get my gastric (as opposed to creative) juices flowing by watching him prepare a variety of meals - in his home kitchen - with celebrity guests like Stanley Tucci, Drew Barrymore, Roger Waters and, of course, Chrissy Teigen on On the Table with Eric Ripert.

Other than her beauty, I was immediately struck by Teigen's voice (which I love), her personality and her passion for cooking - not to mention her wicked sense of humour.


Teigen and Ripert prepared two dishes on the episode that featured her and I immediately decided to try one of them: Thai Jok Moo, a Thai rice porridge with pork meatballs.

I made the dish for the beau a few weeks later and he loved it, even though it was really, really different from anything he'd ever tried before. In the interim, I had explored Teigen's food blog (she has a blog too... gasp!), So Delushious, and tried a few of her personal favourites, including Spicy Sesame Noodles with Chicken, Herb Stuffed Branzino and Super Bowl Chili Frito Pie Bar.

YUM!      

Since then, I've delved into the rabbit hole that is Chrissy Teigen's life (that sounded a little ew!) and am proud to say that I've permanently added her to my list of celebrity crushes (hi there, Cameron Diaz, Chelsea Handler and ALL of the Kardashians!). 

And now, Teigen has her very own cookbook; Cravings


Featuring "recipes for all the food you want to eat," Cravings is perfect for a girl like me, who is always craving something (like sushi, tortilla soup, pho, hot dogs, cheeseburgers and... a whole lot more!).

I hope you enjoy Cravings, and Chrissy Teigen, as much as I do. Her Twitter feuds are pretty epic as well.


Hellz to the yeah!













Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hips ahoy!

I've been back in Montreal for a while now but my mind is still a million (or so) miles away, floating in the brackish waters of the Sunshine State. 

From the Intracoastal Waterway that winds inland, along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, to The Everglades' Lake Okeechobee, I was lucky enough to be treated to two unique boating experiences while in Florida, the likes of which I'll never forget.     

Aboard the Hips Ahoy, I had the pleasure of watching the world drift lazily by as our trusty captain led us through various inlets, rivers, bays and sounds along Hollywood and Dania beaches and I freely admit to wanting to make a break for The Bahamas, when it was pointed out to me way, way, way in the distance.
 
Hips Ahoy

Quaint houses and small fishing boats slowly transformed into mighty mansions and luxury yachts as the Hips Ahoy stealthily made her way to Fort Lauderdale.






Aboard an airboat built by the previously mentioned captain over 20 long years, I had the opportunity to relive one of my favourite episodes of Kourtney and Khloe take Miami; Land of the Lost.
 




photo by Frank Coluccino

And the road goes ever on...