Dear High School Alexis

Looking back throughout my high school years, I wish I knew even a fraction of what a do now. The last few years have been a significant period for growth and learning. Now, having graduated with a degree, moving into the “adult” world, working within my field and tackling many firsts, I have been looking back and reflecting.

So, here’s some the things I wish I could have told that nervous girl trying to find her place in this world and her true self.

Dear Young Alexis,

If only I could have told you the following…

  1. Follow your gut: You know more than you think you do and ultimately, only you know how you feel.
  2. It’s okay to be afraid: Sometimes your brain may be telling you to bail out because you are scared of the unknown, but your gut says to do it. Often, these are the best decisions to say yes to. Push through and dive in… within reason of course.
  3. If it doesn’t work out, just learn from it and move on: Don’t take everything so seriously. You will survive, you will learn and grow.
  4. Adventure! You will blink and so much time will have gone by. Get out there, explore, and live life to the fullest, whether it’s doing something new in your hometown or somewhere far away.
  5. Be kind to yourself: Honestly, I am still working on this, but the love I have for myself is a lot stronger than what it was a few years ago. The way you look at yourself matters and it will influence the way others treat and respect you.
  6. Surround yourself with only positive people: Toxic people and toxic relationships will only hinder your growth and happiness. Life is too short to deal with drama.
  7. Find best friends who will challenge you: This has been such a huge learning lesson. Without the group of friends I have now, I would be such a different person. Find people who will push you, who will question you and who will call you out. These people will make you stronger, better and much more humble.
  8. Travel: Whether it’s a few hours from your home town or across the world. The Earth is so big and has so many amazing places and people to meet.
  9. Learn to love yourself first: Love yourself first. Learn to respect yourself in a way that sets the tone for how you want and DESERVE to be treated.
  10. Find comfort in being single: You don’t need a significant other to be happy, and it definitely does not define your value whether you have one or not.
  11. Take time to focus on your mental health: There are enough pressures and obstacles in this world, the last thing you need is to make things tougher on yourself by neglecting your needs. This doesn’t make you selfish, this allows you to do and be so much more for everyone around you.
  12. Never dull your desire to learn: Yes, learning seems like a lot of work and potentially expensive but you see an incredibly different and more beautiful way of looking at the world.
  13. Most importantly, believe in yourself: You are stronger, smarter and capable of way more than you realize. With hard work, grit, and perseverance you have the potential to reach even your wildest dreams.

Girl, do I wish I could have given you a big hug and told you this over and over again.

With Love,

Alexis xo

 

 

July Sustainable​ Products Review

Over the past few months, I have started trying to make a conscious effort to reflect on and change my habits. I quickly started to recognize that I use a significant amount of plastic, create an unnecessary amount of waste and have far too many toxic products.

Now, being more aware, I am trying to replace or invest in products that will help reduce my plastic use, waste, and toxins.

For the month of May, I purchased a few products from Shades of Green in Parksville, BC to integrate into my everyday life.

I purchased:

Raime Bath Puff: I purchased this puff to replace my old loofah that was breaking down. I heard that loofahs can release plastic microfibres into the water. Plus, the loofah itself is plastic waste. This puff is nice on my sensitive skin, still giving a good scrub and is 100% natural. I highly recommend this product.

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Nelson Naturals Activated Charcol Toothpaste: Not going to lie, it has been hard for me to get behind this product. It feels like it cleans well but it doesn’t leave a fresh-tasting feel. In fact, the toothpaste tastes more like salt than peppermint. I will continue to use it over the next while and see if my opinion changes.

 

Cotton Reusable produce bags: I purchased a pack of three, all of different sizes! These have been great, along with reusable grocery bags, to cut down on plastic when shopping.

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Junglista: This is a natural bug repellant that deters ticks, mosquitos, bedbugs, fleas, and lice. I am one big target for mosquitos and bought this product for hiking and camping in the summer. This product does wonders for keeping bugs away. I am a mosquito magnetic and love this product. The natural ingredients used smell amazing and it is the perfect size to take traveling! However, the smell is super strong so I don’t recommend spraying it directly on your face. My only complaint is that the container is plastic.

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I also made a stop at Lush and purchased:

Lush Shampoo & Conditioner Bar: I purchased the Seanik Shampoo Bar and the Sugar Daddy-O Conditioner Bar. So far my hair feels very clean and free from any synthetic feeling. However, my hair has either felt extremely dry or like beeswax. It may just be the bar I chose but I will not be repurchasing this product.

Since finishing the Lush products I have bought the Unwrapped shampoo and conditioner hydrate bars and I am excited to report back on how they compare to Lush!

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I have also been making a constant effort to buy everyday products that have less packaging, use my reusable mug when getting beverages to-go and reducing single-use plastics by increasing Tupperware use rather than sandwich bags or plastic wrap. These have all been very simple things to implement that I hope will add up to a huge difference over time.

 

What’s Trending: Goat Yoga

Goat Yoga can’t cure everything but it can surely cure a bad mood.

This weekend I went to Yellow Point Farms in Yellow Point, B.C. to participate in their Goat Yoga classes. This was such a fun and stress-relieving activity that consisted of 10% yoga and 90% snuggling and cuddling.

The yoga class itself was very basic and would be great for all adults regardless of your experience.

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There were so many baby goats and the staff were amazing at cleaning up any accidents and bringing the goats over to socialize. Just make sure to keep your hair up and leave anything you don’t want to goats to nibble on at home!

Visit the Yellow Point Farms website for further information!

How to Travel Conflict-Free with your Besties

Before leaving for a six-week adventure around Europe with two of my best friends, many people asked how our dynamic was and if we’d fight. I always told everyone that we wouldn’t, but it’s hard to jump into spending 24/7 with someone and not have a single issue. For the most part, the trip was all smiles but I think that was because we all planned and communicated with each other. Heres how we survived 6 weeks issue-free!

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Each plan beforehand what is important to you to see

Each person is different and wants to see different things. Before you leave, express to your travel mates what it is you really want to see and accomplish in each city you travel to. Often times, many of those things you will have in common. Some; however, might not be on everyone’s priority list, so it is smart to make people aware and get them excited about the different things you want to see beforehand!

 

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But if you make them get up at 5:30 for a sunrise… they may still look like I did, regardless of the hype beforehand.

 

Prioritize everyone’s main goals in each city first

Pick the top things you all want to do or see and get them out of the way first, then start to rotate doing the things each individual person wants to do! It makes things fair and makes everyone happy! With good planning, everyone should complete their list.

Always ensure a constant flow of communication

This is KEY! Let your travel-mates know if you are nervous about something, homesick, physically sick or annoyed. You can either get the support you need or work out your problems before they overflow into a trip ruining argument.

Seriously though, my besties brought me Gatorade in bed and reenacted a walking tour for me when they knew I was sick and had to miss it!

When times get rocky bring in a new vibe

Funny enough, in one of the moments it felt like the tension was rising ever so slightly, we made friends with a new hostel buddy who brought new life to the trip and got us laughing and out of our funk! A new face can be just what you need!

Remember, to laugh! These are a once in a lifetime trips!

Rough patches many happen but keep laughing and exploring through it!

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Some Santorini wine helps too.

 

To see our fun trip, watch our video here:

Our Europe Adventure

5040 Peak

The 2018 summer has been nothing short of amazing. One of the most incredible trips so far was a day hike up to 5040 Peak on Vancouver Island. The 360-degree views at the top, Cobalt Lake and the STUNNING hut being built are incredible.

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The Marion Main logging road that leads to the trail is easy to find, as it is 5km past Sutton Pass Summit on the left. However, after this, things got a bit tricky. We followed older directions that left us a bit confused. We managed to take an old trail up which was beautiful but missed the lake. Therefore, if you follow the logging road in approximately 10.4km you should find the trailhead on your left and have plenty of room for parking. The trailhead has a sign that reads 5040 Peak and is very distinct.

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This trail is steep and on a 30-degree day, it took a lot of energy… and WATER! I would recommend at least 2-3L of water, a first aid kit, snacks and a bug spray. We also brought a GPS, which came in handy on the old trail we took.

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BEWARE: Vancouver Island is incredibly fortunate to have spectacular wildlife. Running into wildlife on a trail like this is not rare. Respect any animal (or plant life) you come across and educate yourself on how to be safe in a situation like this. Our group saw a sweet black bear on the logging road.

Adjusting Into A Long Distance Relationship

When I started connecting with my boyfriend he lived away in Burnaby. Only a two-hour ferry ride and a bit of driving separated us. For the longest time, we were only accustomed to the long-distance ways. However, he then came back home for the Summer. We took advantage of that time and spent every second possible together. Although you make tons of memories, the downfall is when they have to leave again. This time, he was not only leaving off the island to the mainland, he was moving a whole province away. Now, this might not seem like a big deal because only a quick flight and an uber separates us now. This is true… but many other factors make seeing each other much more difficult. Our schedules are a complete mess. We are both full-time students and I work on top of it. Not to mention the financial constraints of being students. When flights are $400 round trip, a quick weekend visit makes you rethink things.

The adjustment to him leaving has been anything but easy. I’ve felt lonely, spent sleepless night and no matter how much long distance love I was getting, it just wasn’t filling the void of having him here.

I overall wasn’t feeling like myself. For a while, I wished that he had never come home at all because I wouldn’t be feeling this way if he hadn’t. It wasn’t until I started going through all my photos,  remembering all the memories we made and how much closer we became in those three months of being together full time, that I accepted the new distance between us.

Here is a couple of the little tricks we use to make the time apart easier:

Communication: We live in a lucky world where we have so many resources to bridge the geographical gaps between our loved ones. All I can say is use these resources to KEEP THE COMMUNICATION GOING! Even something as simple as a good morning text message can make all the difference. We like to use FaceTime, even if we study while on it together, or having nightly talks.

Know your phone plan. Don’t get stuck with hefty phone bills. Know what your plan includes and work with it. Many plans, like mine, have unlimited calling after 6pm and weekends, which can be a huge saviour for those long chats.

The Future: As scary as it may seem at first, talking about the future makes long distance easier. It lets you know that the distance is temporary and gives you both goals to work towards. Stay within your comfort zone of what kind of topics to touch on that relate to the future but don’t feel like you shouldn’t talk about it at all.

Time Gap: We are lucky because we only have a one-hour time gap. That being said, scheduling things can sometimes be a pain. “Did he want to FaceTime at 9 my time or his?”. Remember to clarify this and set aside reasonable amounts of time that work for both of you to chat.

Be Sensitive: Just because you are feeling secure and happy with how the long distance relationship is working, doesn’t mean your partner is. Check in with them and be there if they aren’t feeling great. Highs and lows happen and they are going to need your help along the way.

When it’s you feeling a little off, don’t be afraid to say something. Voice how you feel and if the relationship is strong and mature enough, you will be able to talk through it and solve any issues.

Trust: People constantly ask about how trust plays into long distance. My answer has always been if you don’t trust them you shouldn’t be with them. If you find yourself social media stalking them or keeping yourself up at night thinking about what they may be doing and who they are doing it with, that relationship needs some work. Be with someone who you are confident in and who you trust will do the right thing.

Remember The Little Things: Those “how was your day?”, “I love you” and “I appreciate you” statements go so far. They are small but meaningful.

 

 

Knocking Out Back To School Nerves!

“Are you ready for back to school?” said every one of my customers and co-workers.

Good question.

As some may know, I have anxiety. It is anxiety that is very livable, but this is because I really focus on what I need in order to be the most successful version of myself. Going back to school is one of those times that is a little more challenging. Lots of expenses accumulate, your schedule does a complete 360, and it means more brainwork rather than physical work. Now, going into my third year of university, I think I have a smooth transition almost figured out.

Here are a couple of my little tricks:

-Get prepared well in advance. After August long weekend, start thinking about what you need to get done and write yourself a list. I try to knock one thing off this list every day.

-Set yourself a realistic budget for how much back to school will cost you.

-Start looking for textbooks for sale well in advance, you can get great deals on used books and save loads of money.

-Start posting about your used textbooks to receive some money back.

-Get yourself an agenda and consistently update it. Seriously, put your life into this book.

-Cut the liquor, cut the bad foods, increase the water intake and get thinking about your exercise routine and how it can be improved.

-Clean up your life! Clean the house, car, purse, and anything else you frequently use or spend time in.

-Try giving meal prepping a go. The more prepared you are in the morning, the more time you’ll have to sleep in.

-Speaking of sleep, strive to get at least an 8-hour sleep. It makes a world of difference when you are well rested.

-Find a solid support system to help push you through the hard times.

Getting back to school is a hectic time. Learn what works for you in terms of beating the stress! Everyone is different, but I guarantee that getting a head start will lead to greater success.

Let me know the things you do to kick stress and anxiety’s butt by commenting below!

 

 

What’s Trending?: Hammocking

On Vancouver Island, the trend of hammocking has exploded. People come in large groups and will hang hammocks off anything, anywhere, at any time. These hammocks are very reasonably priced and easy to find. The best part about it, you get to hang with friends, relax and get outdoors. What could be better?

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I recently got a hammock for my birthday and had to go try it out. A friend and I set our hammocks up over top of one another at Nanaimo’s Neck Point Park. The area overlooking the bay in the back of the park is a hot spot for hammockers. Within half an hour of being there, we had three other people join us in their hammocks.

Most trends are not all they are cracked up to be… but let me tell ya… after about five minutes I was so relaxed I was about to fall asleep (as you can see, I was ready to fall asleep in that picture).

I loved this evening activity so much that I bought a double hammock for my boyfriend’s birthday. This hammock was large enough that we could hang in it together, and this time, we really did nap. We chose an afternoon on Parksville’s Little Mountain to hang. If you bring a few snacks and a drink, it is the perfect little date. Not to mention, these hammocks are super light, transportable and can be brought along on any adventure, whether it’s camping, hiking or a road trip.

Our Double Hammock: Amazon Double Hammock

Tip: Spend the extra money and get a hammock with the loop tree straps. This makes set up much faster and convenient.

VI’s Century Sam Lake

By far, one of the most memorable moments of the 2017 Summer, was my hike up to Century Sam Lake.

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Yes… the water really is THAT blue!

This gem is located in Strathcona Provincial Park, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Although it is completely worth it to attempt this hike, it is not the easiest hike to get to. The trailhead is located on the Comox Main logging road, which is owned by Timberwest Forest Corporation. The area is open to the public on weekends only; however, with the rising fire hazards in British Columbia, the gate can be closed at any time. I recommend visiting the Timberwest Facebook page to check on the status of gates before attempting the trip.

Once you pass the gate hurdle, you go down the logging road until you hit a bridge which will be followed by signage for Cruickshank Main. Turn right onto this main. Follow the road until you come to a fork in the road. Then turn left onto the road that is signed “East Fork Main”. After about 5 minutes of driving, there will be small signs for the Comox Glacier trailhead. Comox Glacier and Century Sam Lake have the same trailhead so continue to follow these signs. Our truck began to struggle about 2km from the trailhead, as the logging road is full of deactivation ditches. We parked 2km away from the trailhead and walked the road. The trailhead is very noticeable and well marked. You will cross the river and come across 2 signs. One sign points to the Century Sam Lake Trail and one points to the Comox Glacier Trail. Once on the trail, the path is beaten and easy to follow. The trail is not maintained like the rest of Strathcona Provincial Park.  The trail is full of roots and requires some bushwhacking. Watch your step on the trail and be prepared.

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The hike is about 8km from the trailhead and took about 2 hours each way. Leave lots of time to spend at the Lake!

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If you can manage to find a way to cross the river flowing from the lake, go check out the rock cairn and snow caves on the other side.

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The water was still high in mid-July, so in order to cross the river, we removed our hiking boots and walked through the water. The water is so cold that my water obsessed Spring Spaniel didn’t even go for a swim.

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Just look at her unimpressed face…

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REMINDER: Please be respectful of the wildlife and ecosystems. Pack out everything you packed in and take nothing but memories!

Strathcona Provincial Park: Kwai Lake

Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, is jaw-droppingly beautiful. This Summer I have done two trips out to the park, one to Forbidden Plateau and one out to the Battle Lake Area. The Kwai Lake Loop is located in  Forbidden Plateau and is moderate day hike spanning approximately 15-16km. The hike takes roughly 5 hours depending on speed and the number of breaks taken. The lake has a number of campsites surrounding it that give incredible views to mountains like Mount Albert Edward.

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The hike starts from the Mount Washington Access of Strathcona Provincial Park and trails through Paradise Meadows, a very touristy section of the park, which consists of flat and boarded walkways.

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Moving past paradise meadows, the Battleship Lake Loop will take you up to Lake Helen Mackenzie. Instead of following the rest of the Battle Lake Loop, continue onto Kwai Lake.

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This is the Forbidden Plateau Ranger Station ft. my little springer spaniel, Gypsy. The Ranger Station is a neat place to stop for a quick snack.

fullsizeoutput_1170The Forbidden Plateau Ranger station from the trail.

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Parts of the trail in early July still had snow on the ground. I was not prepared to go up to Kwai Lake as I thought I was only doing the Battleship Lake Loop. Runners were not the best choice of footwear, my feet were very wet and muddy by the end. Be prepared!

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Taa-Daa! Kwai Lake! Look at that backdrop!

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