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Despite my adoration of city life, I’m the first to say that there are times where I need to step back from being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of total urbanity. I spend nearly every moment of my life surrounded by both locals and tourists, especially since my university is located smack-dab in the middle of downtown Toronto and work part-time in guest services as one of Toronto’s top tourist attractions. When you spend that much time surrounded by a constant flow of people, you can’t help but acknowledge the fact that you’ve become a city girl; I am a city girl through and through, there’s no denying it.
However, this isn’t to say that there are not times where I become so overwhelmed with city life that I recognize that I must step back and take some time away from my ‘everyday’. Each year, I find a way to re-center myself before re-immersing back into the city life I truly do love.
1. Take a trip somewhere surrounded by wildlife and nature.
For the past few years, I have had to ‘detox’ from city life and the stress of existing so frequently smack-dab in the middle of downtown, by taking the 6+ hour bus ride to Sudbury and adding a couple hour drive to Elliot Lake, in order to spend a week with my family living up north. This time is spent completely devoid of the stresses I face living in Toronto, and after getting my week-long fill of country life, I am always ready to get back home. In the mean time however, I am able to fill my time up with enough country road drives, lake wading, antique shopping, horse snuggling, and kayaking to last me the next 51 weeks of the year.
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2. Visit friends or family living in a small town.
One thing about living in the big city that I actually like (but that you may not) is the disconnect from people. You don’t know everyone’s business and nobody knows yours, unless you tell them. However, if you like feeling this interconnectedness with everyone around you, go visit your friends and family who live in a small town. While escaping the city for point #1, mentioned directly above, I spend my week in the town of Elliot Lake, where everyone knows everything about you.
I can see the appeal of this to some people, because there is a sense of community and safety when you know everyone that you live in proximity of, as well as the goings-on of their lives.
3. Take a day trip to a conservation area and go for a hike.
I love taking my camera and a bag of halved grapes to go to the conversation areas in Durham Region for photos and duck feeding. I often find myself leaning over the pier situated on top of the large pond, quieting my mind and letting it wander to think about whatever it wants. Other times, I’ve gone on long hiking trails and spend the entire morning thinking about where my next steps will take me, instead of stressing about school; work; or dealing with masses of people.
4. Go on vacation to an island.
If you can afford it, travel somewhere far away, where you’ll know not a soul. Removal from the bustle of city life and situating yourself in total seclusion, just for a little while, can do wonders for your mental health and high-strung demeanor. Not to mention that salt water and the roaring of waves never hurt anybody.
Sometimes taking a time out is crucial to continuing enjoying life in a place filled with so much movement and a great number of people. Removing yourself from the city for a week or two in a more quiet and subdued environment is not because you dislike your own area in any way, but rather because we all need some peace and quiet once in a while. An annual trip to a more secluded destination is the perfect opportunity to align yourself back to basics and ready yourself to enter once again into bustling city life.
How do you take a break from city life? Let me know in the comments!
Let’s face it: one of the biggest problems that can impede us from following our goals (such as wandering around the globe) is a lack of funds. As a university student ready to enter grad school this coming September, the fear of not being able to travel for the next little while has me riddled with worry. I can’t imagine not being able to visit at least one new place a year, be it internationally or within my own beautiful country. However, with the right amount of planning and self-control, you’ll still be able to take those trips on a tight budget.
Here are four tips to maximize your travel:
1. Create a savings account.
This is going to be your go-to spot for depositing all of the money that you will be saving up for your trip. By creating a savings account, you’ve essentially created an account that’s “out of sight, out of mind”; when checking up on your regular chequing account that is used for your daily necessities, you will not be tempted to spend your travel money because it won’t be sitting there. When placed in an alternate account, you’ve protected yourself from “accidentally” dipping into that fund.
2. Stash a set amount (or percentage) of your paycheque aside each week specifically for travel.
Make it clear to yourself how much you will be setting aside for travel. Make it realistic — enough money to actually go on that trip within the year, but not too much where you’re unable to make ends meet. I would suggest 5-10% of your paycheque, or roughly $20 per week. The nice thing about working constantly in the summers (at least from my own opinion) is that you spend so much time at your job that there is minimal time to actually go out and spend your money. These times are especially easy to stash that travel fund aside.
If you want to up your game, you can. Remember the savings account I mentioned above? At some banks, you can sign up for a specific amount to be set aside every week, this way the savings happen automatically. There are also banks that round up your debit purchases; that is, if you purchase something that costs $1.25, the price will be rounded up to $2.00 and that difference of $0.75 will be deposited straight into your savings account.
3. Make wise investments.
Instead of investing in a new item of clothing you don’t really need, invest that money instead in something like bonds, gold or silver, and stocks. Bonds simply lock in your money for a set duration of time. Gold and silver are obviously best to purchase when the prices are low (times of economic stability) and sell when prices and demand for these elements rise (times of economic instability). As for stocks, there are both safe and risky stocks that you can invest your money into. Safe stocks are things such as water, hydro… things that will always be in demand. On the other hand, risky stocks are often up-and-coming businesses that can potentially lead to a large payout over time, as (hopefully) more and more investors put their money into the company. Because such an investment can be risky, try to keep your investment down to something you wouldn’t be too upset over losing. That being said, you should also thoroughly research the company you wish to invest in, not just blindly throw your money into businesses that you know absolutely nothing about. Ask yourself what they are currently going that will line them up for future success, what their long-term goals for the company are, and how they are planning on getting there.
By prioritizing what it is that you really want and holding out for a more rewarding sense of gratification, you will be able to save up the money you need for that long-awaited trip you’ve been planning. Investing is that long-term gratification that will leave you a little bit short on cash now, only to vastly increase over time.
4. Try to alternate national and international travel year to year.
Travelling within your own country can be much cheaper than travelling abroad (although when you do travel abroad, you can save money with local attraction passes, like the ParisPass); perhaps you can stay with family to save on hotel bookings, or within driving distance to save on airfare. There are so many places to see in the country that you reside in that have yet to be discovered. You can ask friends and family for suggestions of places to visit, scour social media, or check different travel blogs for ideas of more local destinations to make your way to. Any extra money that you will save on this trip, you can contribute to an international trip the following year. It also helps that people are less interested in souvenirs from somewhere in their own country, as opposed to somewhere far away.
Of course, this method of saving money can be used for any big purchase — a car, a house, a wedding. Saving your money is an important habit to get yourself into so that you are able to do and buy the things that you want without the stress of putting yourself into debt. Remember to sacrifice a little bit now for those long-term goals.
How do you save up money when times are tough? Let me know in the comments.
I was initially hired onto Student Unity Project (“SUP”) team — a registered charity devoted to changing school environments and off-setting the damage that can be caused by exclusion and hostility when you walk the halls of your school alone — before the organization became a registered charity. After my summer student contract ended the first summer I was with them, I decided to stay on as a volunteer not only because of how important the charity was to me, but also the people who run it. SUP hires and trains high school students to mentor, support and be a friend, to other high school students who are being bullied. As someone who had been bullied in elementary school (you can read about that on the SUP blog by clicking here), I understand the importance of preventing this from happening, or at least alleviating the burden of being bullied wherever possible. I’ve finally found my permanent volunteer position of choice and I could not be any happier than I am with SUP.
That being said, I volunteered in quite a few positions from a very young age, from helping teachers with their marking throughout the vast majority of elementary school; to shelving and sorting books at the community library; to a local reading buddy programme with young children; to note-taking for students with disabilities at my university; and finally at Student Unity project.
So…what have I gained from all of this experience in volunteering?
Really, you have nothing to lose in volunteering your time. It does not have to be a full-time commitment, or even something you need to do every single week. Find a cause that you are passionate about and help your community. You won’t regret it.
Do you volunteer? If so, where? Let me know in the comments how it’s changed your life for the better!
Trying to come up with a solid everyday makeup routine was actually a lot more difficult than I first anticipated. I began this journey of makeup discovery several probably back in second year (2013), when I decided to move beyond just basic foundation and a touch of mascara. Since then, my makeup selection has increased drastically — so much so, that this past summer I had to buy a big trunk to keep it all in. Two shelves in this are filled with just my lipsticks alone.
I thought it would be fun to give you a step by step of my go-to daily makeup routine, complete with my favourite products. Simply click the photos included in the post to be directed to their online product pages!
I start off with Mac Prep + Prime Fix+ to lock the moisture into my face (and prevent my skin from drying out). I spray each quadrant of my face once, then wait for the mist to dry completely before beginning with the rest of my makeup.
I put this on first, covering up any red spots on my face (and sometimes neck, if I’ve gotten the odd blemish there). I find that the days I’ve run out of it and am not able to put it on, it makes a big difference and the red marks can show through my foundation. Because of this, I always buy a few at once and make sure I’m always stocked up on it.
I alternate between different Mac foundations because I find my skin type is often changing from oily, to combination, to dry. Right now I’m sitting at a relatively combination skin type, and I find this is working. Come summer, my skin usually begins to get oilier and I switch to Studio Fix (in the summer, I mix NC 25 with a touch of NW 20, so that it matches my skin perfectly)
I find that the days I’ve run out of it and am not able to put it on, it makes a big difference and the red marks can show through my foundation. Because of this, I always buy a few at once and make sure I’m always stocked up on it.
I apply my eyeliner first (always winged), so that I can put on my mascara right after and allow it to dry while I touch up the rest of my makeup (see below for reasoning of this). I find of the few different Mac brushes I’ve tried, the 266SH small angle brush has the greatest precision for the winged look I go for. I also will sometimes put a bit in the lower outside corner of my eyes.
Because my lashes are so long, curling my lashes prior to applying my mascara doesn’t work; I end up with mascara all over my eyelid and under my eyebrows. Despite having long lashes, I use the In Extreme Dimension 3D Dramatic Lash mascara, a product that lengthens them even more without making them overly voluminous and causing them to clump together.
I use this product to add some additional coverage to anything the green concealer and foundation didn’t full cover. I blend this in with a sponge (those triangle ones you can pick up from the dollar store).
Next are my eyebrows! A necessity. After doing my eyebrows for the first time, I couldn’t go back (especially because my thyroid tends to fluctuate on me despite being controlled by medication, resulting in the hair from from my eyebrows, in addition to my head, falling out). I absolutely swear by this palette for everyday use. You can read my full review for this on Influenster by clicking here.
I basically just contour my nose, philtrum, and cheekbones. I use the angled brush intended for applying eye makeup only because it applied the powders nicely, and then I blend partially with the brush, but mostly with my finger. I used to contour a lot more regularly, especially during the summer, but in all honestly, I’ve gotten kind of lazy over the winter with my early morning classes and a desire to sleep in that outweighs the need for contouring.
On the days I contour (or even on the days when I’m looking pale, which is really 9 days out of 10), I put some blush across my cheekbones with a soft blush brush. I find my Quo one that I got from Shopper’s Drug Mart works really well.
I actually curl my eyelashes with whichever eyelash curler I can find (usually a Revlon one I have). My mascara has dried by this point and holds my eyelashes better in place. I know most people curl their eyelashes first, but because mine are so long, it always ends up with a line of mascara around my eyelid when I curl first. After I do this, again, ending the same way I started (to lock in moisture), I spray each quadrant of my face once with Mac Prep + Prime Fix+ (see above for link to product).
The finished product:
And that’s my daily makeup routine! It seems a little tedious and drawn out, but it never takes me more than 10 minutes to do everything.
What’s your daily makeup routine? Let me know in the comments!
My last travel post featured on Elite Daily! Click the photo above to redirect to the page and let me know what you think in the comments.
A post of mine that was featured on Elite Daily. Click the photo above to redirect to the page and let me know what you think in the comments!