JOY42

Self Love

DIY At Home Spa Night

Self LoveHannah Drake4 Comments

I'm not really the spa type. I used to get massages every three months in Colorado and of course the occasional pedicure, and less frequent manicure, but that was about the extent of my self pampering. This year, though, I've been trying to focus on taking care of myself and loving myself. Self care can look like a lot of different things, but one thing that's become a weekly treat has been DIY at home spa nights.

Sunday evenings have become sacred in our house. Outside of travelling, I can't remember the last time we made plans for a Sunday night. Over the last few months, that time has become a block of time for us to hang out at home and to reset before the week begins, which has made it possibly my favourite time of the week. I actually look forward to Sunday evenings for the first time in my life. We set up a little at home spa while watching a movie or whatever show we're watching, occasionally have a glass of wine or a cocktail, and we always make it to bed by 9:30 on Sundays.

So how can you do it too? It's easier than it looks and you probably already have enough of what you need to treat yourself to a DIY spa night tonight!

There's two parts to making your spa night a success: feet and face. It's the easiest way to literally do it yourself if you're not trading massages with your significant other.

WHAT YOU NEED

Feet:

Face:

WHAT YOU DO

Feet:

  • Set up somewhere you're comfortable sitting for 30-60 minutes. Put a towel down on the floor to put the basin on. Grab another towel to use later.

  • Fill the basin with hot water. We fill ours up from the hot water tap, but top up with some boiling water so it's hotter than room temperature.

  • Dissolve 1/2 cup of Epsom Salt into the water. Add drops of whatever essential oil you want to use. I use Purification (deodoriser, cleanser), Stress Away (stress reducer, relaxant), and Lavender (relaxant) from Young Living. Stir with your hand to mix the oils and dissolve the salt.

  • Soak your feet for 30-60 minutes. Epsom salt baths (or foot soaks, in this case) are great for relaxing your muscles and loosening your joints. If you're sore or achy, a nice long soak in an Epsom salt bath is probably going to work wonders.

  • Pumice your feet to remove dead skin and callouses. Doing this once a week has made my feet so much prettier! If you're feet are like mine, you're probably not going to see that much of a difference after just one time, but if you do it regularly, it should start to make a noticeable different.

  • I sometimes clip my toenails too. But I usually file my fingernails while my feet are soaking at the beginning.

  • Use the foot scrub and foot butter according to the directions on the product you have. If it says to ensure your feet are dried, make sure they are! This is why you have the other towel.

  • Of course end with a fresh coat of nail polish if that's your style!

Face:

  • Start by cleaning your face according to the cleanser you have. For Ultrabland, this means coating my face with the cleanser to remove dirt and removing with a warm, damp wash cloth. Of course if you’re wearing make up and your make up remover requires another step, don’t forget it!

  • Apply your face mask according to the directions. Rinse your face at the end, if needed.

  • Spritz your face with toner water to refresh and rehydrate. Let your skin dry completely.

  • Apply your serum according to directions. Why a serum? They provide a high concentration of active ingredients, and penetrate further, effectively delivering beneficial nutrients and hydration actives to the deepest layers of the skin where moisturisers won’t penetrate, according to Bare Alchemy.

  • Use your rose quartz or jade roller by rolling up from the neck toward the forehead. According to Byrdie, skin cells are shaped like roof shingles on your face, which is why they'll absorb more product from that upward motion. (Read more about the benefits of rolling and the differences between rose quartz and jade rollers.)

Please note that I'm in no way a professional in any of this. We've developed this regimen around the products I have and use regularly, which I purchased and been gifted after doing lots of research. I love LUSH and The Body Shop because they're ethical, environmentally friendly companies that don't test on animals. I use Young Living Essential Oils because of their quality and purity, transparency in production (Seed to Seal promise), and environmentally-friendly practices. (Did you know that due to the lack of regulations for products like essential oils, companies can claim 100% purity when in actuality, their products only contain 5% oil.) I don't sell Young Living, but if you want to know more, I'll point you toward my friend Stephy, who knows a lot more than I do. I highly encourage you to do your own research to find products that work best with you skin type and a routine that works for you.

PIN FOR LATER!

This post contains affiliate links, so I may make a commission off any purchase you make through the link. Thank you to The Body Shop for gifting me with these beautiful products.

2018 Autumn Bucket List

Self LoveHannah Drake10 Comments

It's that time of year again when I become the most basic of all bitches. I'm sorry (not sorry) but I absolutely love autumn. And Luke can certainly attest to the fact that I've been itching for cooler temperatures, greyer skies, and cosier evenings for months. Basically all summer.

This summer in England has been hot AF. I remember a heatwave when I first moved in June 2017, but the heatwave was never-ending this summer. It was nice for a while, but I didn't appreciate the lack of green--including in our garden--and the unbearably warm nights with nothing but a desk fan, an open window, and the thinnest bedding in the house.

I've always subscribed to the idea that autumn starts in September (and lasts through November, of course), but in Colorado, the weather never wanted to cooperate. Colorado seems to understand that technically, summer ends towards the end of September, so it would usually stay 90°F (like 32°C) for weeks into September. It's the WORST! England, however, gets it. It starts cooling down toward the end of August, hovering around 65°F (or 18°C). It gets rainier and greyer and you can tell autumn was coming in the air, even though there were no signs in the shops. (I kid you not, there was no tinned pumpkin at our grocery store until probably December/January when they added it to the "American" section and it was fully stocked until about two weeks ago.)

People just don't go crazy for autumn over here like they do in the States. But we also don't have Target here, so you tell me what this is all really about...

Still, I love the season and last year has a special place in my heart. I think mentally I separate my three months of summer unemployment from my three months of autumn unemployment. Maybe I was a bit more settled and definitely I was a bit more stir-crazy, but I look back on those days and feel happy. My friend Taylor and I would go work out in the park on those cool, crisp mornings. Luke and I would cosy up at home and light the candles in our fireplace, sip on homemade apple cider, and watch Dexter. What more could you ask for?

So naturally, as I fully embrace the #fallbasicbitch persona, I've once again created a little autumn bucket list.

VISIT AN APPLE ORCHARD

Last year I wasn't able to find an orchard to visit, but I'm determined this year. The best time to visit an orchard, especially for picking, is in September, so I've already been doing some research to find one that's reasonably close to where we live. Hopefully I'm on the right track!

ENJOY SPICED APPLE CIDER

I was shocked to discover that "cider" here only means the alcohol kind. They don't even know what they're missing if you ask me! Regardless, Luke and I made homemade apple cider multiple times and got quite good at it. On Halloween, I made up a delicious cocktail recipe that you can bet your bottom dollar we'll be enjoying again this fall. If you want the recipe we used (for the cider and/or the cocktail), make sure you're signed up to my newsletter before Saturday!

SPEND A WEEKEND IN THE MOUNTAINS

There's nothing like aspen-covered mountains in the autumn. The colours are absolutely out of this world! You don't see that exactly here, but last year we went to Wales in mid-September for a mini honeymoon and I got a little taste. It still had that fresh mountain air and cool mornings. Even though we're going to Italy this month, where it's sure to be a lot warmer and sunnier than here, I'd love to escape for the mountains for a quick weekend away. (Or at least a day, *cough* Luke are you reading? *cough*.)

SEE THE FOLIAGE

Gone are the days of hopping in the car for a day trip up to the mountains for a beautiful drive. One year my friend Stephy and I drove the Peak-to-Peak Highway outside of Estes Park, CO and I'll never forget that day. I've also driven the Million Dollar Highway outside of Telluride, CO and nearly died getting there, but it was worth it. I'm not sure how to make it happen here, but I imagine it would be tacked on to a weekend away if it does happen. (Luke, are you taking notes?!)

BUY A COSY NEW JUMPER

Last year I bought a couple that became autumn (and winter) staples for me. I feel like I'm really rounding out my jumper collection, but I'm missing a few colours. I'd really like to eventually add navy, burnt orange, olive, and black (probably in that order), so that's what I'm on the hunt for this year, knowing full well I probably won't end up getting all four. I've stopped stocking up on the same jumper in multiple colours since there are so many beautiful knits out there, but one thing I know for sure is I want a cable knit sweater in navy.

SHARE MY FALL BAKING WITH NEIGHBOURS AND LOVED ONES

I made pumpkin bread for the neighbours last year (and later Christmas cookies) and I loved doing it. The recipe I use always makes two loaves so if anything, it's nice to get one out of the house because they're too easy for Luke and I to devour. My other favourite autumn recipe is pumpkin oatmeal cookies, but there are so many tasty treats to make in the fall! I believe I took some down to Canvas, the campus ministry where many of our friends work, and I would love to do it again this year.

CARVE PUMPKINS

We got pumpkins last year from the grocery store (which made me miss Trader Joe's for more than just the Pumpkin O's), but we never ended up carving them. I predicted that it would either end up being a competition or Luke would end up being a total pro and carving both. I think last year's prediction still stands. And if the former does happen, you'll be sure to see it on my InstaStories with a poll so you can choose the winner.

HAVE A HALLOWEEN MOVIE MARATHON

Last year, Luke and I spent Halloween locked in the house avoiding trick-or-treaters watching movies and eating chilli. Luke even tried a Reese's peanut butter cup for the first time! It was seriously the best Halloween I've ever had. But when I say "Halloween" movies, I mean movies like Hocus Pocus, Practical Magic, Ghostbusters, or Bewitched. Neither of us like scary movies.

BAKE A PIE

My longest standing autumn tradition. Every year, the night before Thanksgiving (or sometimes the morning of) I watch Elf in my Elf shirt while drinking a warm beverage from my elf mug, making pie for the festivities. I've made pumpkin, pecan, and apple, but I'm not the biggest fan of pie myself, so I'm never really bothered about what kind to make. Still, it kind of functions as my introduction to the Christmas season and the beginning of the end of autumn.

HOST THANKSGIVING AND TRY ONE NEW RECIPE

Last year we hosted six of our friends for our first ever Thanksgiving feast. (Does that make it Friendsgiving?) We had it the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but spent the evening of Thanksgiving itself at Canvas's big feast. We definitely want to host dinner again and I've already had some ideas of new recipes to try. I've got to perfect my Thanksgiving spread because it's unlikely we'll ever go back to the States for the holiday. (Though never say never.)

What's on your list for this autumn?

P.S. I've tried hard to embrace much of the English language (British English, that is), including spelling and words. There are still a few words or spelling I have a hard time using and one of them is "cosy". It just doesn't look right without the z. (And yes, I said "zed" in my head instead of "zee".) 


This year, I decided to have a little fun with Instagram as well and I created a #BasicBitch Fall Bingo card that I fully intend to use to laugh at myself. I mean, if you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? (Well, probably some other basic bitches on Instagram too, let's be honest.)

You can play along too and use your own posts, your friends' posts, influencers posts, and definitely my posts to try to black out your card.

Or save the Instagram Stories friendly version:

7 Ways to Make Social Media Healthier for You

Self LoveHannah DrakeComment

Last Monday, I wrote about some of my struggles with social media, particularly Instagram, The Dark Side of Social Media. Instead of just complaining about the problem, I wanted to follow up on a positive note with some ways that we can all make social media a bit healthier and a bit less toxic.

UNFOLLOW ANYONE WHO CREATES A NEGATIVE SPACE FOR YOU

They might not be doing it on purpose. They might not be being mean or malicious or hurtful in what they post, but maybe it's making you envious of what they have, unhappy with where you're at, or creating a place where you feel what you have or who you are isn't enough. Just do yourself a favour and unfollow them. It will make you feel so.much.better. I promise. Like I mentioned last week, I used to follow a ton of fashion bloggers a few years ago, but it fuelled this lie that I always had to buy new clothes and be trendy and spend more and more money. It wasn't creating a good space for me, so I purged them all from my follow list. I'm much better for it. 

FOLLOW PEOPLE WHO ENCOURAGE YOU, MOTIVATE YOU, TEACH YOU, INSPIRE YOU

Lately, I've been focusing on people who are authentic online. They're real about their lives, their problems, and their online appearance. They remind their followers that these squares aren't the whole picture. They're honest about their lives as "influencers", if they are one. They use their platform to bring attention to bigger issues. They tell you when they're struggling with something, even though they don't need to share their entire lives online.

Here are a few women who I love to follow. I follow them for different reasons, whether that be honesty and vulnerability, minimalism, activism, encouragement, motivation, bravery. You should check them out.

@jennakutcher
@littlebluehaus
@mommasgonecity
@jessannkirby
@sophiabush
@mrsrachelhollis
@meganlthomson
@evierupp
@morganharpernichols
@caroline_joy
@mrslindseyroman

SET REALISTIC BOUNDARIES FOR YOURSELF

Have you seen that meme that says something like "Are you ever on your computer and pick up your phone to see what the smaller internet is up to?" I think almost every millennial can relate. And even right now, I have my laptop on my lap and my phone within arms reach. I've found that it's really easy to mindlessly scroll at every spare moment. Riding in the car or riding the train, waiting for just about anything, walking to the bathroom at work, first thing in the morning or just before going to sleep, and just about every moment in between. I challenge you to install the app Moment that will track your screen time. Even if it's just for a week, see what you're clocking every day and see if you can set realistic boundaries around that. Thoughtfully consider what you need to do to stay within those boundaries. Maybe it's charging your phone downstairs overnight and using a real alarm clock like it's 1998. Maybe it's leaving your phone behind when you don't actually need it. Maybe it's transferring some of your life off your phone so you're not so dependent on it. Maybe you have some serious discipline and limit your time on social media to one window of time per day. Whatever it is, see what difference it could make in your life, your happiness, and your social media presence.

BE PRESENT

On that same note, just be present in your life. If you're out with friends or family, spending quality time with your significant other or your children, try unplugging for a while. Play that game at restaurants where you pile the phones on the side and whoever picks up their phone first loses and has to pick up the check as well. I get it, some things should be documented. Snap a few photos (even better if it's on a real camera instead) and then put it away and be present in what's happening. I struggle so hard with this, to be honest, and there are a lot of times when Luke and I find ourselves watching a movie or show but both on our phones, playing games or catching up on social media. We're trying to be better, but the truth is that's hard. Lately, when we've caught ourselves falling into that habit, we'll make a declaration that the rest of the night is phone free so we can enjoy each other's company instead. 

KEEP YOUR PHONE AWAY FROM YOUR BED

Social media is seriously messing with our sleep. I'm 100% guilty of climbing into bed, phone in hand, and scrolling endlessly for a while, cutting into my sleep. I'm also 100% guilty of picking up my phone first thing in the morning and immediately checking Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter. If I don't have anywhere to go, I can lie in bed for hours mindlessly scrolling, and if I do need to get up, well there goes my time to get ready. Like I mentioned above, one way to focus more on your real life and be less enslaved to your phone is to simply keep it away. Get a real alarm clock instead of relying on your phone and charge your phone overnight in another room.

THOUGHTFULLY SHARE YOUR REAL LIFE

The fact of the matter is, if you're reading this, you probably have some sort of online presence. It's part of our world now, but you choose how you spend your time online and how you present yourself and your life. Be mindful of what you share. Share what you're comfortable with, but don't strive to create a feed that people are envious of because of everything you have or all the places you go. Strive to create a community where people feel heard and welcome. Be honest about what you can be and try to step out of your comfort zone and share some of the less picture-perfect moments of your life. You'll be surprised at how many people can relate to your "mess" (AKA real life) and the kind of community you can find online. It's scary and it takes a lot of courage, but every time I've been raw and vulnerable in this space or on social media, it has been met with nothing but love.

KEEP YOUR PERSPECTIVE

At the end of the day, remember that what you see isn't someone's whole life. No matter what they're sharing online, there are things that we don't see through those little squares. Everyone has problems and struggles and it's not going to benefit you in any way to compare what you know your life to be to what you perceive their life to be. When you find yourself feeling like you're not enough, like you need more, like you aren't happy all because of social media, turn off your screen and go live your life instead. Find something good in your life and hold it close. Remember that whoever it is isn't perfect. And if it becomes too much of a problem, go back to the top of this post and start from the beginning again.

What else works for you?