Photo above: How you want to feel during a stressful work day... the tips below should help you get there :)
I work in production and the times leading up to print can get quite stressful. Yesterday was one of those days when a lot came at me at once and I felt overwhelmed. I was feeling on edge and had a lot to get done so I took a moment to step back and evaluate the situation. I knew I had to calm down and pull myself together so I could focus on my work. I've found there are five things that really help turn around a stressful work day, so I wanted to share them with you.
My first tip would be to get out for a break - whether that's to get a coffee, a lunch break or even just a walk outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air. However, if you're really too busy and don't have the time to take a break (as I didn't) here are some ways to help alleviate the stress.
1. Make a cup of tea.
The first thing I did was put on the kettle to make some nice green tea with mint. Tea is both relaxing, comforting and caffeinated - what more could you want?
2. Light a candle or indulge in some aromatherapy.
I am lucky to work form home so I can light a candle whenever I please. However, I can certainly appreciate that is not the case in most offices. So, if you can't light a candle (which I find immediately gives a sense of relaxation) may I suggest dabbing some lavender essential oil on your pulse points. It'll have a similar effect without offending your co-workers or the fire regulations.
3. Turn on some soft music.
While the kettle was on the stove I got out my iPad and turned on Spotify to give some nice background music and ambience. Both the Acoustic Spring and Totally Stress Free playlists are awesome. I keep the music low even though I'm the only person around because I want to still be able to concentrate and answer phone calls with ease. If you are in an office that objects to you playing music you can use headphones - the universal sign for "do not disturb," which, let's be honest, is another bonus ;)
4. Focus on your breath.
If you can't get out for a break take a moment - seriously all you need is a minute - to take a few deep, soulful breaths. Close your eyes, inhale deeply for five seconds, hold for five and exhale slowly for a count of five. Do this a few times and I promise you will feel better. Extra points if you can do this in front of an open window.
5. Craft a to do list.
Perhaps the most important of the five tips, creating a to do list really helps you focus and prioritize. Even if you don't list the tasks in order of importance, you can look at all you need to accomplish and decide what to tackle first - whether that's the easiest or quickest to get the ball rolling or the most daunting so you can get that taken care of earlier, a to do list will make all the difference. Plus, there's nothing better than crossing things off a list and knowing you did your duty. High five!
Pictured below: my tips in action :)
Remember in my last post when I said it was lovely to watch a movie in bed without any intention of falling asleep? Well, I did just that this week. Twice.
On Friday night Chris took me to a local Japanese restaurant to celebrate his busiest work season being over and me putting another magazine to print. Chris works in sports so a lot of his weekends are spent at a hockey rink; it was nice to get dressed up (I work from home... that's not a regular occurrence) and go on a real "date." After dinner we watched a movie that had been on my radar for a few months: The F Word (apparently its alternate title is What If). It's an adorable little movie (set in Toronto - how fun is that?) about love and friendship and asks the age old question can men and women be just friends? Harry Potter is in it and I thought he did a nice job being the charming "guy" friend. Probably more than anything else I enjoyed watching a quirky film about people my age set in a city I know well. If these attributes apply to you too, you might want to check it out.
The second movie I watched rather indulgently in bed was Begin Again. I LOVED this movie. It stars Mark Ruffalo (who I adore) and Keira Knightley and is about a music producer getting his groove back while recording an album all over New York with a darling of a songwriter. Adam Levine plays Knightley's rockstar ex-boyfriend and while I know some people are incredibly annoyed by Levine, his handsomeness resembles my loving boyfriend's so I have a soft spot for him :) The songs are cute and catchy and I immediately bought the soundtrack after the movie was over (and have been listening to it on repeat). At first I thought they did a poor job matching the singing voice to Knightley only to find out she is the one singing on the soundtrack and in the movie. Impressive! It's a feel good, want-to-sing-along type of movie that I highly recommend.
Any movie recommendations for me to check out?!
I've always been a homebody. I'm a nester; I like to be cozy.
This past week our home has been in upheaval. And to be honest, it's throwing me a bit off kilter. When I was a little girl I used to take ownership of tiny corners in our house. It would be my space that I could makeover however I saw fit (I'd set up TV trays with lamps and the odd little bookcase). When Chris would come visit me at grad school I would be fine with his suitcase and things everywhere for approximately one day before I needed to get everything sorted out and organized and somewhat back to normal.
So, while our floor is being replaced and the gyprock on our main wall is down in our living room, I'm having trouble feeling "at home." It got me thinking about the importance of our environment and surroundings. Even on Orange is the New Black, a Netflix show based on a book of the same title about a women's prison, the inmates make their bunks their home. On an airplane we all have those little necessities that make the journey more enjoyable - we make the airplane seat our temporary home. We all need a place away from the world that is ours. A place to disconnect and relax.
It's often said home is where your heart is or home isn't a place, it's a feeling. And while that may be true in the grand scheme of things, home is - of course - a physical space. And while my physical space is not how I want it (I can't even clean properly - and though I don't think there is anything wrong with the house I keep, the term "clean freak" isn't completely inappropriate), I will find comfort in the small pockets of home. I still have my bathtub. The bedroom is cozy and sometimes there's nothing better than watching movies in bed with no intention of going to sleep. It's time to embrace the unsettlement.
(And isn't that true of life, too?)
*Photo credit Finding Silver Pennies via Pinterest.
My name is Anna and I am a skincare junkie.
My favourite thing to buy at Sephora is (shock, horror) not makeup, but skincare. I've loved pampering myself for as long as I can remember and started buying Lancome face cream when I was in high school. They discontinued my favourite moisturizer (still not over it) and since then I've been experimenting and searching for my ideal regimen.
I thought the best way for me to introduce my love of skincare would be to show you my tried and tested daily routine.
I should specify: I have dry, sensitive skin. The term "sensitive" in skincare kind of annoys me because a lot of people use it as a synonym for "sensitive to acne breakouts." I have sensitive skin in that many products give me a rash or a reaction. So, it's been an interesting journey on the search for the perfect routine.
But, alas, I believe I've found it (at least for now ;)
My most important tip in regards to skincare is to listen to your body. Not everyone needs a routine. Some people have great, fuss-free skin. They can literally splash some cold water on their face and call it a day. Some people can sleep in makeup and totally be fine with that. I enjoy taking care of my skin. I find it relaxing and it makes me feel pampered. So, I do the whole nine yards.
I cleanse with a balm. I find it the best for my skin. However, skincare guru Caroline Hirons would suggest it is a great method for anyone with any type of skin. It involves massaging the balm into dry skin and removing it with a muslin cloth (a softer version of the terry facecloth). I simply adore this method of cleansing. The best balm I've found is by Antipodes (I've also tried Clinique, Liz Earle, Eve Lom, Ren and Josie Maran).
I recently tried two samples from Sephora that I immediately bought in full size. They are a skin oil (I apply after cleansing - I don't really need to "tone" but do sometimes) from Fresh and a face cream from L'Occitane. They are game changers. My skin is no longer tight and feels amazing after I use both these products. They might not be needed in the summer, but they have been essential this winter.
I have yet to find the perfect eye cream but I do enjoy both of the ones pictured above. The Avene is for "sensitive" eyes (lovely and gentle) and the Origins sample is for brightening. I have bought the full size version of this in the past and have tried a bunch of different kinds since then. The hunt continues!
Lastly, I use the Clarisonic every now and then for a deep clean/exfoliation. I used it more often when I worked in TV and wore tons and tons of makeup, but I still enjoy using it every week or two. The Korres lip butter pictured is also gorgeous. I keep it in the skincare drawer in my bathroom for a final step.
Of course, as a true junkie, I also use serums, masks, toners, etc. etc. but I don't use them daily and I don't want to overwhelm you, my dear readers. Skincare "add ons" can be saved for another post on another day :)
Do you have any skincare questions or recommendations?
Sometimes there's nothing better than curling up with a good book.
However, as a magazine editor, I read all day. So, often, reading is the last thing I want to do during my down time. I'm embarrassed to say I've had The Paris Wife for years and have yet to read it. Dark Places is on loan from Chris's dad (and I've shamefully had it for months!).
I received Yes Please (from Chris) and I Must Say (from my mom) for Christmas and haven't even opened them because I've been busy getting through my birthday gifts first (just finished Lena Dunham's Not That Kind Of Girl - thanks, Jane! I loved it).
[Author's note: This post is making it quite clear I have lovely people in my life who give me great gifts]
So, pictured above is my spring reading list. I plan to have all of these finished before the summer starts. Giliian Flynn (Dark Places) is the author of Gone Girl and while I didn't love that book, I'm interested to give her writing another go (side note: did you know Flynn was laid off from Entertainment Weekly as a writer only to have her movie adaptation appear on the magazine's cover a few years later? Holy smokes!). The Paris Wife is a novel inspired by Ernest Hemingway's first wife. I love him and I love Paris so I assume I will love that book. Yes Please is supposed to be awesome (and how could it not be?) and Martin Short is my favourite actor/comedian so I'm really looking forward to reading that one, as well.
What are you reading this spring? Any great recommendations? Let me know in the comments below :)
Spring is such a lovely time. The climate where I live doesn't technically experience "spring" but yesterday I wore moccasins without socks and that's something!
Last night one of my girlfriends pointed out 1/4 of the year is over. Already! That notion, paired with the renewal vibe of spring, got me thinking: now's a time to reevaluate. A time to look at those New Year's resolutions. To look at life goals and plans. There's a dusty warmth in the air that reminds us summer is coming. Let's embrace spring and 2015 before the year suddenly ends and we wonder where it went (although, I think that's inevitable).
So, here's to slightly longer days, lighter layers, moccasins without socks and flowers starting to bloom.
Here's to spring <3
*The lovely image can be found (as a printable, to boot!) here. It is from the site "On Sutton Place."
This week I took ill. It wasn't that bad, but it wasn't pleasant. I work from home so I was still able to work, but I was just feeling miserable. So, when I'm not feeling well I take comfort in a few things that make the misery a little more bearable. Since this time of year is quite germ infested, I thought you could use a little comfort, too.
1. Kleenex Cold Touch Tissues
1. Haagen-Dazs Strawberry Ice Cream
Hello! I'm Anna, a journalist with a whole lot of love in my heart and thoughts in my head.
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