My schedule has felt so crazy hectic the last several months that I hardly feel as though I have had time to catch my breath. With a relatively new job and another semester of school, the days have been flying by with very little time for me to just be. I am not complaining (entirely). This past year has been filled to the point of overflowing with amazing moments and accomplishments (one prime example: I finally completed my Fashion Marketing Diploma program after 3 years of hard work). That being said, as the grind continues, I do find myself longing for more than a few moments of Alicia time – no projects, no work, no errands or to-dos, just a solid day of doing whatever I damn well please.
Being that my schedule shows no signs of slowing down, I know that I am going to have to find solace in the little things and quiet moments I do have. Whether its a short catch up over tea with my best friend and a walk in the park feeding the ducks, or those moments at night after work with Netflix and a face-mask – the busier I get, the more I realize that we create our own happiness and we are the ones who have to manufacture our moments of peace and quiet. With this in mind, here are a few things that have been bringing me joy these past few busy weeks. As Julie Andrews said – “when the dog bites, when the bee stings, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad”.
1. Angels on Bare Skin
I have never been a scrubby kind of girl. With ultra-sensitive, combination skin, every facial product I have ever used with so much as a slight bit of texture has irritated my skin or made me break out. Because of this I was reluctant to try Angels on Bare Skin, a product that has been recommended to me on several occasions by the sales associates at Lush. After being assured by a lady with very lovely (and according to her, sensitive) skin that she used it morning and night with no irritation whatsoever, I decided to try it. I am glad I did because I am in love with it. With finely ground almonds, lavender buds, kaolin, rose and blue chamomile, the texture kind of reminds me of cookie dough and leaves my skin feeling massaged, not scrubbed and my skin is honestly softer, clearer and more even than it has ever been. It is a solid cleanser (you have to mix about a pea sized amount with a bit of water to make a paste to use it) which some people might find annoying but I actually enjoy. As a girl who is obsessed with face masks, cleansing my face with this feels like a little spa ritual and I love that the solid cleanser can’t leak out of the tub into my bag – constantly lugging around toiletries is a grievance that comes with being a girl on the go.
2. Creamy Dreamy Blue Nails
Nail painting has recently become a bit of an obsession. What started out as just a tentative resolution to keep my nails from looking ratchet has spiraled into something that is borderline out of control. That being said, there is something almost meditative about taking fifteen minutes out of my day to make my nails look nice and get creative with colour. I picked up this shade from Essie called “Bikini So Teeny” the other day. Its a soft, creamy shade of periwinkle that turns into sky blue when it catches the light. With tiny little glass like flecks, this shade is definitely a new favorite mine and surprisingly seems to flatter almost everything I have wanted to wear. Kind of like a great pair of blue jeans.
3. Forty Ninth Parallel Coffee House
Yesterday I decided to go for a little walk around my neighborhood, walking down streets I have never been down just as a bit of a mental break from work and school (I had been on my laptop all day at that point and had really been grinding an ax) and I came across this delightful little coffee shop. With a cozy, intimate atmosphere, a bevy of unique and Vancouver-based magazines, and a diverse menu filled with the classics as well as seriously creative beverages (jasmine london fog anyone? It honestly tastes like vanilla cake batter only better.), it was instant love and I knew this would be my new regular hang-out. With a couple locations throughout Vancouver – this gem is a must-visit for coffee connoisseurs as well as those who simply appreciate attentive, welcoming service and deliciously fresh baked goods.
4. Arts Umbrella
Although painting is one of my favorite ways to wind down, I do not dedicate as much time to it as I would like to. One of these days I would like to find the time to take an actual, legitimate art class. Learning proper painting techniques would not only be fun and interesting but it would also add a new element to my relaxing painting sessions. I came across Vancouver-based education center, Arts Umbrella, a couple of weeks ago and was deeply inspired. While I am a little bit out of Art Umbrella’s target demographic (they offer classes to children and teenagers, ages 2-19) I fell in love with the company’s philosophy that teaching art to children helps build self esteem, nurture creativity and develop positive communication skills (as someone who was fortunate enough to take singing, piano, hip-hop and ballet dance lessons throughout my childhood, I truly agree that art can only benefit the mind and soul, regardless of age). Art Umbrella has a few locations, on Granville Island and in North and South Surrey and is definitely a fantastic options for those with little ones or young people who wish to explore their artistic talents in an authentic and unique way. Thank you to all of Arts Umbrella’s talented students for brightening up greater Vancouver’s art scene ( and my social media feed) with so much beauty.
5. Truly The Best Sandwich in the World
Finch’s Tea and Coffee House is one of my favorite places in Vancouver to eat for two reasons. Reason number one: the stunningly detailed, Victorian-esque decor. With carved mahogany furniture and beautifully cut floral arrangements, ordering lunch in Finch’s feels like one must have felt sitting in a Parisien cafe in the early 1900s. Reason number two: the artful and exquisite food. While all of their menu options are divine, my favorite by far is the proscuitto, blue brie and pear sandwich. Smoky proscuitto, crisp pear slices and creamy brie are piled on a fresh baguette with sweet crumbled walnuts. Not only is it gorgeous to look at but it is beyond delicious. Next time you find yourself wandering along West Pender in downtown Vancouver, be sure to check out this little hole in the wall.