Local Businesses I LOVE

With the economy suffering so much from this pandemic, I thought it was a good time to share some of the small, local businesses I support and love. I’ll keep this one concise, and just get started.

  1. DIY Dye

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Maxine is making the CUTEST custom tie dye pieces on Instagram. And did you even survive Quarantine ’20 if you didn’t wear a tie dye hoodie and/or sweatpants daily? I know I didn’t. Go to her order form on her Instagram and get you a vibrant, gorgeous piece. You won’t regret it!

2. KyKy Kookies

EasterKOOKIE_1024x1024@2xGuys, I can’t even with her cookies. They are the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen, and they’re packed with sweetness and flavour. Order on her website (linked in heading); she ships nationwide in Canada and does local pick up in Etobicoke or Vaughan.

3. Yumi Organics

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Based out of Montreal, this overnight oats company was created by nutritionists and is an amazing start to your day. They’re in ready-made packs; all you have to do is pour them into a glass jar, fill with your choice of milk (I use unsweetened vanilla oat milk), and leave overnight. Nothing makes me happier than waking up knowing my breakfast is ready! They’re delicious, organic, and keep me full for 4-5 hours, so honestly it’s a no-brainer for me. I do have a coupon code for this product too! It’s THEATHLEISURETEACHER15, and it’ll get you 15% off your order. Also, PSA, I like to top mine with cookie butter. Not the healthiest choice, but damn, it’ll change your life.

4. NextDoor Restaurant and Smash Kitchen

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If you’re in the Markham area, these two sister restaurants are still doing takeout and delivery, and are two of the most delicious spots I’ve been to. Both of them are doing weekly family platters (pre-orders recommended), and offering 15% off on pick up orders.

5. Herbaland Gummies

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This Vancouver-based company makes the best gummy vitamins and clean candy (low sugar, high fibre and HELLA delicious)! I’ve been buying their protein gummies forever as my 3 pm snack, but I recently started taking their supplements (love their vegan calcium, daily multi, and sleep aid), and buying their candy as well. They currently have an initiative to donate immunity gummies to healthcare workers during the crisis, and honestly, I feel so honoured and proud to associate with a company doing such good things right now. Use my code THEATHLEISURETEACHER15 for 15% off their website (linked in heading).

6. Sorry I’ve Got Plants

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I love this vegan meal delivery service. Their meal kits are low-waste, easy to make, nourishing, and incredibly delicious. Every week their menus change, and you can choose to order 2, 3, or 4 meals per week. Each meal feeds 2, and it’s really cost effective when you do the math. The produce is super fresh, and they come up with the most creative dishes. I highly recommend!

In a New York Minute

Last weekend, me and my sis took a three night trip to NYC. It was her first time, and I wanted to show her around (because, yannow, I’m basically a local at this point), and I thought I’d share some of our trip highlights with all you cuties (AKA, my mom, best frand who lived in NYC, and the two other blog readers who might have still stuck around for some gd forsaken reason).

Our trip began around 9 pm on Friday night. We stayed right in midtown Manhattan, and were fortunate enough to have a great bar (and rooftop bar) right in the hotel. So we immediately got a drink, relaxed a little, and then wandered around our neighborhood.

We awoke the next morning relatively refreshed, and headed to Ess-a-bagel to carb load for our lengthy day ahead of us.

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Requisite New York bagel shot, because duhhhhhhh.

We then took the subway up to Central Park for the morning. I’ve learned to navigate the subway system there like a mfin boss, and I’m pretty proud about it. My sister picked it up quickly too because she’s got good navigation skills due to being a seasoned traveler.

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The morning was a bit chilly, but it warmed up quickly. We wore a lot of layers and I went from jacket and hoodie to tank top in a matter of like 8 hours. Anyway, Central Park is nice and quaint, and it never gets old. I mean, it got a bit old, but she wanted to see it, so there we were.

We then subwayed back down south to Soho for an afternoon of brunch and shopping. In hindsight, we should have done the shopping in the AM so we actually had energy to try things on, but our bank accounts thanked us for not doing it correctly. We had a boozy brunch in Nolita at Pietro, where I met my awesome Instafriend @thepizzakween, AKA Jenna, and we had the nicest time. Until we got rudely kicked out because the table was needed for a reso. The food was actually so good, and the company was even better. PK is a real one, and I’m basically obsessed with her! Go follow her. She’s hilarious and genuine and so cool!

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She cute af.

After lunch and shopping, we went back to the hotel to relax before dinner and a night out. We had dinner at Koi in Bryant Park, which is the most incredible Japanese resto, with locations in NYC, Vegas and LA. Cocktails were on point, as was the food.

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Sis snapped this in front of the carousel in Bryant Park.

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Crispy rice with spicy tuna. NO WORDS.

We then head out to 230 Fifth Rooftop, because every damn tourist needs to go there for a drink to see the Manhattan skyline lit up at night. It got a little messy, not gonna lie, so here’s the requisite tourist shot and I’ll end this night here.

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Views.

The next morning, I did a quick photoshoot with the most incredible photographer, @wildnyc. I wasn’t feeling my best, but I think the shots turned out incredible. Here’s my fave one:

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On Instagram, I dubbed this one “2019 Blair Waldorf.” Outfit is entirely from Aritzia, obvs.

We spent the rest of the day exploring different neighborhoods in Manhattan, and then went to check out Brooklyn, because I had never been.

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Iconic.

Overall, it was a whirlwind long weekend, but as always, I left my heart there and will have to return ASAP. There’s just something magical about this city. I get butterflies every time I fly in, and my heart sinks every time I fly out. Thank you for the fun times NYC; ILYSM!

A Very Athleisure Teacher Summer

Good morning friends and happy Monday! I hope you’ve enjoyed the first two weeks of summer! I wanted to check in and let you know what I’ve been up to, because it’s been a minute, and truthfully today is the first day I’ve actually had some downtime to reflect on the last couple of weeks.

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My summer began with a surprise delivery of the most incredible charcuterie/grazing box from Savourly Society. I don’t know what I did to get it, but I felt like the luckiest girl alive, and devoured that beautiful baby that evening!

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We’ve also had a lot of quality family time, going to splash pads and Wonderland almost every weekend! It’s been fun, because the kids are becoming a lot more independent and don’t need us as much, and my daughter has even become much braver and started going on coasters!

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Despite not having a spring at all, the weather the past few weeks has actually been super hot and sunny! I’ve been hydrating with my Welo watermelon lime cucumber probiotic drink, and it’s the perfect summer drink (other than say, margaritas or mimosas on a patio). I don’t think I’ve ever shared this before, but I’m an ambassador for this incredible Canadian company, and have a coupon code for you all if you want to order any of their delicious probiotic beverages or bars. They make adult sized bars AND kids one, and my kids are obsessed. To get 30% off your order on their website, use my code THEATHLEISURETEACHER30. Their products are already very well priced, but 30% off can’t hurt. I highly recommend the spicy pineapple drink, as well as the matcha almond bars. They’re both my personal favourites.

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Another incredible opportunity I had was shooting a campaign for EATABLE, a line of alcohol-infused popcorn. We shot it at the waterfront down in Etobicoke, and it was such a fun experience! I haven’t seen the photos yet, but I’m excited for how they turned out!

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I’ve also finally been able to try some of the restaurants on my extensive list of places I’ve wanted to go, but couldn’t, because…well, teacher life. I had brunch at Bluestone Lane, which is a really cool Aussie-inspired restaurant chain from NYC. They do iced matchas and coffee, as well as avo toast and bowls, so clearly it’s the restaurant of my dreams. I also went to KOST, which is some next level exciting ish for me. It’s on the rooftop of the Bisha hotel, and you dine poolside with legitimately the best view of the city. It was a gorgeous day, I had frose, and obviously endless photo ops, so clearly I was the happiest basic b*tch in the world. Funny story about my “belt bag” (euphemism for fanny pack, let’s be real). It’s from Aritizia (duh, obvs, sponsor me you cows), and it was “on sale” from $128 to $118. BUTTTTTTT some moron labeled the sale price as $75, and they had to honour it, so SCORE FOR THE ATHLEISURE TEACHER. Don’t be jealous.

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Aaaaaand a summer roundup blog wouldn’t be complete without me addressing my self care routine. I’ve honestly felt so relaxed this summer. I’ve been working out 3-4 mornings a week, gone for a massage, and just generally been taking very good care of myself. There’s been no partying (yet…I feel like it needs to happen), and I’ve stayed consistent with my early ass bedtimes. The one thing I’ve been slacking on is my meditation, but I intend to resume that as well.

So there you have it. 2 weeks of my life, all shared in my typical mediocre way. I hope you enjoyed and see you again in another 2 weeks, k thx bye.

Spring Fashion Trends

Guys, I forgot I had a blog. True story. The other day I got an email notification reminding me that my auto-renew was coming up for my domain name because it’s almost been a year, and I was all like “Oh right, the place where I used to put the words, and sometimes the photos. That thing.” I almost decided not to let the auto-renew happen, because DUH, writing’s hard y’all, but you know what? I’ma leave it, because an Instagram blog and a podcast need a domain name to support them. ALSOOOOOO, maybe this summer I won’t be so cool and actually have time to rediscover my roots. Don’t bank on it. Okay, so here we are. Easter long weekend and I’m writing. Well, mostly posting photos and sharing some insight into my spring fashion choices, but enjoy anyway, here you go, and ok bye.

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First look up. I dub this one “2019 Peggy Bundy.” I’m sorry, I just really love leopard print, and also the look of a fitted shirt tucked into a baggier jean. If I had topped this one off with a heel, for sure I would have been Peggy Bundy 2.0, but alas, I think the dad shoes give it a more modern feel, and hey, I’m into it. I’m in the mood for taking risks and elevating my game a bit.

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I am LOVE LOVE LOVING neons for spring. My wardrobe is usually so dull; my closet filled with neutrals like black, gray, and white. But NO MORE. A friend persuaded me to go brighter, and I dug this old yellow shirt out of the back of my closet, and the world raved (and by world I mean 15 of my 3400 Instagram followers). The positive encouragement prompted me to head out to Aritzia and purchase this neon pink sweatshirt, along with the bicycle shorts, and honestly I’m thrilled that I did. I rocked this outfit in 12 degree weather, got some stares, some DMs questioning my sanity, etc., but #whatever.

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By far the best purchase I’ve made for this spring is this hat from Aritzia. Blair has dubbed it my “influencer hat”, but I guess it’s a fedora in layman’s terms, or something. I’m totally not a hat person, and I usually look like trash in ’em, but this one is versatile and I pair it with almost anything, so I’m basically obsessed. Also, the jeans in the second picture are also from Aritzia, from their new denim line called Denim Forum, and they were legitimately reasonably priced. Like $120 I think, which is way less than I’d usually spend on jeans there.

Annnnnyway, I hope you enjoyed my spring line-up, where I actually did you no service at all, because I didn’t hyperlink to any of the items, mostly because I’m way too lazy, but also, not doing it til Aritzia sponsors me. Aritzia, sponsor me please?

Toronto Christmas Market

This past weekend I visit the Toronto Christmas Market in the historical Distillery District (55 Mill St.). This year it runs from Thursday November 15th to Sunday December 23rd, and is free on weekdays and $6 per person on weekends. The market has a bunch of vendors and pop-ups with gifts, little chotchkes (I totally spelled that wrong), amazing food, and other fun things (shout out to Beekeeper’s Naturals for having a vendor there so I could stock back up on my lifesaving bee propolis throat spray).

The highlight of our visit was these cookies and cream donuts from Holey Dough.

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There were 6 mini donuts ($9) in there, and we split them halfway. They were perfectly light and airy, and went down a little too easily because they weren’t too rich. We both agreed we could have easily eaten all 6 ourselves.

Other than that, we mostly just strolled around and window shopped, stopping periodically for a photo op (PSA: It’s much prettier at night with all the lights, but alas my grandma lifestyle does not allow for evening outings much lately). If you’re looking for a meal beforehand or after, I highly recommend El Catrin, which serves amazingly authentic Mexican street food and cocktails.

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Name a more iconic duo. I’ll wait.

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Obligatory lifestyle blogger photos.

Coat: Aritzia

Jeans: Gap

Shoes: Town Shoes

Headband: Saks Off Fifth

Purse: Marc Jacobs

Thankful.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving friends! I know I haven’t blogged in forever, but the reason for this is threefold:

  1. I’ve been bogged down with planning and marking at school.
  2. I’ve been focusing on our podcast (episode 2 about food and nutrition as self-care is now available on the podcast app! Just search “Self-care with Lauren and Blair” to listen!)
  3. Aaaaand I just haven’t been inspired to write, unfortunately, and I didn’t want to blog for the sake of blogging.

But here we are, and damnit, I’ll try to write something relatively coherent and engaging for all of y’all, because I know my 5 loyal followers want it.

What am I thankful for this year? Like, a lot. It’s been a really good time both personally and professionally, and I need to make a list because I love lists and lists are awesome.

1. My health. Always first and foremost. How lucky am I that my body is healthy enough to allow me to do high impact exercise 3 days a week? To run around with my children? To get out of bed every day and live a productive life? I will never ever take this for granted. When I sit on that spin bike, I thank gd for my health multiple times. I also thank gd I’m not pregnant, because being in that body really freaking sucks, but that’s a whole other blog post.

2. My family. I mean, duh. I’m eternally grateful that my children are happy and healthy and not the spawn of Satan. I also feel so blessed to have a wonderful husband, the best parents, and the cutest of sisters eva.

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Apple picking when it’s still hot out is fun too. (TB to a few weeks ago…)

3. My friends. I tightened my inner circle A LOT this year and it’s been very liberating. I have the world’s most patient friends, because for the last four months, my conversations, meals, and life in general have revolved around Instagram. They don’t get to eat until I’ve photographed (or rather, they’ve photographed because I’m a shitty photographer) their meals, and my conversations with them are a steady stream of follows and unfollows, podcast plans, and asking which picture to post. I’m sorry guys. I really truly suck. You’re all amazing for tolerating me.

4. Impromptu weekend trips to NYC. The fact the most incredible city in the world is just a one hour flight away is nothing short of amazing! I don’t want to live there, but every few months I just feel the pull of the city and gravitate towards it. It’s an addiction, I suppose, but the energy, food, nightlife, and shopping are beyond magnetic.

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5. My job. I have the best students this semester. We have the most interesting class discussions, and they’re all so engaged and participatory. It’s rare to get a group where the majority of the students have strong opinions, so this is pretty much English teacher heaven for me! Also, in case people think teenagers are rude and disrespectful, I want to tell you that every morning, my students come into my class and greet me with a “hello” or a “good morning.” When they leave the class, they say “have a good day miss,” or “bye!” They’re such mensches! I really appreciate their warmth and kindness, because it keeps me in a good mood and sets a really positive tone for the day.

6. Refined carbohydrates and gluten. Pizza. Donuts. Tacos.

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This maple bacon donut from Dipped Donuts in Kensington Market is pretty much the epitome of fall in Canada, amirite? I think I am most grateful for this donut. Like, I love my family and stuff, but…donuts win.

Pizza, Podcasting, and Promotions

Oh my gd, I just love an alliterative title so effing much.

Anyway, hi. This is a shameless self promotion post. But no one else is going to do it for me, so here we are.

Some exciting things have been going on for me in the blogosphere. First of all, I started a podcast!

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This is Blair, my 22 year old former student, and podcast co-host. Not only could she be my little sister, but she’s eloquent, mature beyond her years, so cool, and just generally very knowledgeable. Her values regarding self-care totally align with mine, and so we decided to make something special together.

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This is our podcast. You can find it in the podcasts app. Give it a listen if you want to hear about how we live our lives, caring for ourselves through food, exercise, meditation and mindfulness, beauty, and lifestyle. Right now we just have our introductory episode out, but stay tuned for episode 2 very shortly! Please subscribe if you like what you hear!

Also, I wanted to share a clothing promotion I currently have going on. I’m an ambassador for a women’s fashion website called Poppy Apparel!

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(Purchase this top and other amazing pieces here.)

Use my code ATHLEISURE10 at checkout for 10% off your order! Their stuff is so cute, and shipping is free!

Lastly, I’ll leave you all with pictures of me stuffing my face with tacos, because well, that’s what I do best.

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7 Stages of Grief – Acceptance

This is a post about accepting the impending doom of fall and back to school. I know my post title sounds serious af, but it’s not. My dad always said I have a flare for the hyperbole and called me the “hyperbole queen,” and maybe he isn’t wrong. Like, sorry for being dramatic, but this past week I went through a lot of stages of grief, and here we are…acceptance.

So I did what any normal woman does once they accept the inevitable. I shopped. I retail therapy-ed it up, and I have no regrets. I bought some cute fall pieces, and I’ll link ’em for you, because maybe you also need an amazing vegan sherpa jacket or oversized sweatshirt to help you work through your grief.

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Purchase here. Mine is an XS for reference, because I know you’re all thinking it’s hella big. But no, that’s just the style. I received some hate for this one via an Instagram story poll (which is of course, written in stone, much like the word of god), but forget the haters. I feel like a mf pimp in this, and it stays. I’m gonna get myself a pair of OTN (over the knee) boots to pair with this beautiful baby, and I’m gonna ROCK IT.

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And continuing with the oversized theme, you can purchase this sweatshirt here. Pretty sure this will be my Friday ZFG (figure out that acronym yourself) go-to outfit for work.

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This dress was $19.99! S’cute, right? Not sure how I’ll pair this yet, but it looks pretty versatile, so I think it’ll be okay.

AAAAAAAND because I’m an asshole and talking about fall, I’ll leave you all with some summer content now.

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I love summer. SUMMER FOREVER!!!

Carrots and Cake

Oh haaaaaay! It’s been a hot minute. Sorry friends; this past weekend we threw a joint birthday party for the kids, and frankly I’m still recuperating. It wasn’t quite the type of rager I’ve been enjoying this summer, but it’s left me exhausted regardless.

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This little cutie turned 3 last Saturday!

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And of course he just wanted alllll the mommy cuddles cuz he’s a total suck and being a high school teacher who has seen her share of teenage mama’s boys, I know this means I will probably let him live in my basement til he’s 40, making him pizza pockets and calling his employer to let them know he’s going to be late, but it’s all good because I lololololooooooove him so freaking much.

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Wow, the puke green wall really accentuates my crazy.

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So my best friend snapped this pic because she was all like, “Leave it to the Athleisure Teacher to be eating carrots at a birthday party.” Full disclosure: this is NOT the only thing I ate. Yes I do gravitate towards the fruit and veggie platters (just not the dip because there’s a 236% chance that at least one nasty person has double dipped or stuck their indoor play place germ infested finger in that shit), but we all know I’m about balance, so I usually treat myself too. I make a conscious choice between pizza or cake, but not both. It all depends if I’m feeling sweet or savoury that day, but usually it’s savoury because pizza is life and I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t eat carbs or cheese.

And because you all come here for the adult content…

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I had a beautiful lunch with one of my favourite friends last Friday at Sorelle and Co., the cutest little vegan bakery with amazing savoury lunch options. I got to hear about her new puppy, and snagged the most incredible s’mores tart to take home for later.

We also had an impromptu photo shoot, because…hmm…well…we had a photo shoot because I’m vain. Yup.

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RBF.

I Live Under a Rock

This summer has truly been one of new discoveries. I’ve been exposed to many new things that haven’t just changed my summer; they’ve changed my life. I don’t know how I didn’t know about some of these things, but in case you didn’t either, I thought I’d share them with you, because sharing is caring and I’m nothing if not the nicest most generous person in the world.

Spotify – Apparently I’m living in 2015, because I didn’t know there was a free version of Spotify. But there is, and I downloaded it, and now I have a soundtrack to my summer. Virtually the only difference between the free version and premium is you get a limited number of skips (6 per hour I think) of tracks you don’t want to hear, and you have to listen to an ad every 30 minutes. I’d invest in the premium, but tbh, my matcha habit is really effing expensive. I’m especially loving using the app at the gym, because it can stream on the wifi while I run on the treadmill, do my cardio circuits and my strength training

Aerie – WTFFFFFF guys. How did I not know this is literally the best store on the face of this planet? My travel companion/bad influence bestie (love you A) introduced me to their cute bralettes in early July, and since then, I’ve dropped half my summer lump sum there. I love it all. Their workout gear, comfy pj-esque clothes, and undergarments (you know you’re a real adult when you use that word) are all amazing. Well priced, good quality, and so adorable. Plus their ad campaigns support the #bodypositive movement; featuring models of all shapes, sizes, and abilities.

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Exhibit A

Calm – This app is life changing. At the beginning of the summer I discovered it, and questioned whether to invest in the $77/year membership. A super kind former colleague alert me to the Calm for teachers application, which gives educators in the classroom a FREE membership! Needless to say, this was a no brainer for me. I got the free membership, and have spent the last 6 weeks or so beginning my meditation/mindfulness journey. Full disclosure, I totally suck at it, but I’m getting better. I like it because it’s helped me work on things I struggle with, like non-reactivity (I like reacting. Reacting is fun), letting go of control and other negativity that doesn’t benefit me, and just generally being more in the present and not dwelling on memories, plans, etc. What I still grapple with is not letting my thoughts wander during the practice, but I like that the narrator tells me not to judge myself for it, and to gently bring myself back to the moment. Like, obviously I still judge myself, because it’s kinda what I’m best at and I like to recognize my strengths, but I appreciate her telling me not to.

Snapchat – Okay so this was a re-discovery for me. I used to have it before Instagram Stories existed, and it was a lot of fun using the filters with the kids and posting them publicly. This summer I’ve used it differently, because I don’t think people post their stories publicly anymore. Now I kinda just chronicle my life in quick photos and send them to my nearest and dearest. It’s a great time waster, and that’s why I use it. Don’t worry though, I’ve already read three massive novels this summer too, so my brain hasn’t turned entirely to mush. I’ll likely delete it the second I step foot into my school.

VSCO and Lightroom – How did I not know about editing apps before I made this public Instagram account? Here I was thinking people actually *use* the Instagram pre-set filters. But like ew, they’re all hideous in hindsight! Even though I’m the world’s shittiest photographer still, I can make my pictures a little less horrendous by increasing the exposure, saturation, contrast, etc., and it really improves their quality. I don’t spend too much time editing them, but I just try to make the finished product look a little prettier.

Anyway, have the greatest weekend friendships, and…you’re welcome.