JOY42

Self Love

Guest Post: 5 Easy Ways to Feel Grateful Every Day

Self LoveHannah DrakeComment

The last few weeks, I've be sharing guest posts from some of my favourite bloggers & photographers and people I'm lucky enough to call friends. And today is no different!

Today, I'm happy to introduce you to my friend Blythe from The Honey Print! (If you don't already know her, that is.) Blythe is an elementary school teacher in Nashville, Tennessee, but so much more than that. She's a fellow tea-drinker, like myself, a beautiful creative writer, a world traveler, and a talented blogger. This last summer, she took the most incredible trip to Spain and France, making me and all of her followers green with envy with ever photo she posted. On her lifestyle blog, she documents her travels, shows off her hometown, shares vulnerably about anxiety and gives tangible ways to practice self care. Check out her blog for all of the above and more! Blythe is the only one of the four guest post authors who I haven't met, but--um--can we change that soon? I need to visit Nashville anyway!


In the day-to-day of life, it can be so easy to mindlessly follow your routine, not really noticing the little details or bright spots that are there. Lately, I have been trying to be mindful of how I spend my time so that I do not fall into a rut or feel that each day is just a grind. I want so much to stay present and appreciate the everyday, and I am sharing some simple tools that I have been using to achieve just that:

START THE DAY WITHOUT A SCREEN

I used to wake up and instantly turn to my phone, scrolling through emails and social media. Starting your day with a screen does not make for a very mindful day. Instead, I now just lie there, feeling comforted by the sheets and the soft light that creeps in between the blinds. I do not look at my phone until I am out of bed.

SIT IN SILENCE

In the mornings, particularly, I never turn on the TV. Silence is calming and grounding. I like to sit and sip my tea and just chill before starting my day. This keeps my headspace clear and alert.

TALK TO PEOPLE

Whenever possible, I ask my colleagues how their days are going when I see them. More often than not, something is happening that they need to discuss. We usually end up having a good discussion, maybe problem solving together, and strengthening our relationship. When shopping at a bookstore, I try to ask someone who works there for recommendations. If I am in public, and something funny happens, I turn to someone nearby and laugh with them. Simply interacting with other people is what we are meant to do. We are social creatures, and I always gain something from these small, pleasant interactions.

GET FRESH AIR

Every day, I get outside, whether that is eating lunch at a picnic table or taking a walk in the park after work (and often, both!). To get the most of your time al fresco, leave your phone alone. Let yourself just be in nature. Feel the wind on your face and the sun on your back.

READ BEFORE BEDTIME

Let the last thing you see before going to sleep be a book. Reading is just so good for you. It reduces stress, improves your memory and focus, stimulates your mind, and calms you down. What better way to ensure a quality night of sleep and a great next day?

By doing these 5 things daily, I feel far more balanced and grounded. I have become more grateful for my life and the small joys that exist in it every single day. They are there; you just have to let yourself see them.

You should follow Blythe on Instagram, too.

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: