Cheers to this being the second monthly roundup post which I decided to continue after getting great feedback from you guys on the first one I put out last month.
July came and went like it was only a week long! Anyone else with me on that?
I spent the month continuing to cook healthy meals like a master chef, catch up with friends and family that I missed while abroad, and spending time healing my travel burn-out wounds.
The Month Of Saying No
I am still on a major self-love and self-care kick, so if it didn’t make me feel amazing last month, I didn’t do it! I only did things that added to my life and said NO to anything that didn’t feel amazing. Truth be told, I might have missed out on some amazing new experiences and collaborations, but there were a few things that did not feel authentic to me that I had to shed.
It feels SO good to have cleared my plate of some things that were only adding to my stress and anxiety. I feel a million times freer just by making a few tweaks and downsizing the amount of commitments I had on the go.
My Birthday Month
I also had my 34th birthday in July, which was fun and terrifying at the same time. It’s not that I am scared of aging, it’s just that it happens so FAST! More than ever I am so happy with the decision my husband and I made a few years ago, which was to sell our stuff, downsize like crazy – and spend our time travelling, working for ourselves, and ticking things off our bucket-list. Even though Vietnam gave me major travel burnout, I still wouldn’t trade my nomadic lifestyle for anything.
If I’m being candid, I can’t think of anything worse than spending my 30’s doing something I hate, like being stuck in a job I despise or feeling crippled by debt. I’m so grateful that we removed any debt from our lives and spent the YEARS of hard work in order to have jobs that can be done anywhere in the world.
My birthday this year was a great reminder that time will continue to pass whether I like it or not, so I’d better make sure I’m doing what I love every single day.
Things I Loved in July
Making Healthy RV Recipes
Since I’ve been back in Canada I have been cooking up a storm. Literally making every meal I eat from scratch and loving every minute of it. Not only did I lose the 10-15lbs I gained in Vietnam this year, but I also FEEL better throughout the day, which is what I am really going for. I am loving how energetic and vibrant I have been feeling throughout the work day, just from eating properly!
I’ve been getting a LOT of DM’s about recipes so I have decided to launch a little section on the site dedicated to the healthy stuff I ship up in my tiny RV kitchen. All my recipes are easy (because… duh… I am no chef!) and they can all be done in a super small kitchen with minimal equipment. Usually with just 1 pan/pot!
While it might not be the most travel related stuff on the blog, I still feel that it’s a big part of my travel and minimalist based lifestyle.
Here are a bunch to get you started, and some of my absolutely FAVORITES that are in constant rotation during the week.
Greek Lentil Bowls
This is my ride or die dish.
I am eating this meal 2-3 x’s a week and not stopping anytime soon. It’s so refreshing, easy to make, and fills me up for hours. I always feel so amazing after I eat it!
15-Minute Burrito Bowl
Because who doesn’t want a delicious burrito bowl for lunch? This recipe is really quick to make and also easy to meal prep for many days if you want to eat it all week long.
Thai Red Curry with Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower rice has been such a staple for me this summer, but this is my favorite way to use it! The recipe is so creamy, so coconut-y, with just that touch of heat, and of course much lower in carbs than using rice.
Vegan No Bake Peanut Butter Slice
I posted these bars on Facebook and my inbox LIT UP with everyone wanting the recipe. Basically, they are a healthy, vegan, refined sugar-free version of dessert that will make you believe they’re full of naughty things when they’re actually not. 100% husband approved. He can’t stay away from these bars.
Revlon Volumizer Hot Air Brush
Alright. I try my best not to buy gadgets and trendy things that will likely never get used, but I simply couldn’t resist trying this Revlon Volumizer Hot Air Brush. I have seen dozens of people talking about it online and it has almost 5-stars on Amazon after 8,000+ reviews. It acts like a blow dryer and a round brush all in one, drying while it styles.
I have naturally wavy/curly hair that needs to be blow dried then flat ironed unless I want it to look like Doc from Back To The Future, so I wanted to see if I could take those 2 steps and consolidate them into just 1 step. Without the frizz! I’m all about making my life easier.
I’m happy to report – this thing works! I actually really love the way it gives that “I just had a blow-out” look, but it only took 15 minutes in my RV bedroom to get it. It didn’t get caught in my hair, it didn’t get too hot, nor did it pull or (as far as I know) break any of my hair off.
I can honestly see why people were going nuts over this thing. I am now a super-believer. It will be coming with me to Mexico 100% where I can really put it to the test against the humidity.
Walking Every Morning and Evening
6 days a week I have been setting my alarm at 6:45am and making myself wake up with excitement for the day. Last month I conquered NOT checking my phone until about 9 or 10am (which has been the best thing ever by the way) but in July I wanted to take my morning routine to the next level.
As soon as I am up I put on my workout clothes, down a massive glass of lemon water, and head out to do a 2.5km brisk morning walk. I haven’t been able to workout for over a year and a half now (which I will get into on a future post) so this morning walk has been key to getting my heart rate up and my steps in.
I have a trail that is out behind my house that takes me through the forest and is the most gorgeous and inspiring way to wake up! I love the walk so much that I also do it every single evening about 1 hour after I eat dinner. Then I know for sure I have been able to clock in 5km no matter what else the day threw at me. Even when we’ve had company out at the lake I have been taking them on my evening walk so I have no excuses on fitting it in.
Getting outside, smelling fresh air, getting early morning sun on my face and just being surround by trees is something that really makes me happy and inspired to take on the day.
American Eagle High-Waisted Shorts
These shorts from American Eagle are not your average denim short. They are EXACTLY the type of shorts I have been hunting down for a while now. This might be TMI for any dudes reading, but who else feels like every other pair of shorts on the market really hurts your hooha when you wear them all day? Sitting in shorts at my desk in the summer feels like torture after a few hours! I went on the hunt for shorts that were actually soft and not insanely constrictive and finally found the golden pair.
These A&E shorts are high waisted, still short but long enough to cover the bottoms of my bum cheeks, and SO SOFT. Like wear all day and not even realize I’m wearing anything soft.
I LOVE THEM. When it comes to clothing I put myself on a tight budget (as any good minimalist should), but I absolutely had to go back and grab another pair.
I had my 2nd PRP facial at Kelowna Medical Aesthetics in July and I’m already loving the results.
PRP (or the vampire facial as it’s sometimes referred to) is essentially micro needling, but with an extra kick. Instead of just microneeding the face with a serum, they used the platelet rich plasma from my own blood. Think of it like microneedling my face with my own stem cells.
So why was I doing this?
Firstly, after developing black mold poisoning in Vietnam, I got SUCH bad cystic breakouts on my face, mostly around my mouth. They left deep acne scars which I was getting really self-conscious about and I had heard that PRP could help reduce them.
Secondly, I just turned 34 and your girl isn’t getting any younger. I was starting to peer down the road of starting to use botox or filler but decided against it. Before I even consider going down that road, I wanted to see what I could make my OWN body produce while it still can. PRP can make your skin basically rejuvenate itself and produce its own collagen, without any chemicals or modifications.
I will write an entire before/after blog on my PRP experience once I have had my 3rd treatment, but I wanted to mention the great results I am having so far with it.
This is a 100% makeup free and filter free close-up of my skin right now after my 2nd PRP treatment. Honestly my skin hasn’t looked this even/clear/firm since my mid-twenties.
The acne scars are fading along the jaw line quite nicely! I can't wait to do a full before/after shot.
What I Wrote in July
July was such a HUGE month for the blog! Now that we decorated the RV last month and made me some ‘office space’ inside, I have been super productive and writing travel articles like a boss!
I had so many things I wanted to write about, including some great ideas from YOU GUYS!
Here are some of the most popular travel articles from July:
What I Read in July
Eat To Beat Disease – Dr. William Li
I LOVED Eat To Beat Disease! I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to know more about the science behind what we eat! I always see articles that say things like “Eat more extra virgin olive oil”, but it always left me with the question of WHY. I am the kind of person who wants the science-based explanations of what goes on inside our bodies when we consume good foods and what exact roles they play in keeping us healthy. This book laid it all down in a really easy to understand way.
Let food be thy medicine, right? We ARE what we eat and now I can see that even more after reading this book. The food lists he includes were really helpful in making sure I am cooking with some key superfood ingredients and avoiding some that have no beneficial use to my body. This book helped me to biohack what ingredients I am using in my meals so I can be the optimal version of myself, but in a really easy laymans sort of way. It’s fascinating from front to back!
It also focused a lot on how to avoid chronic illness and disease, but also treat it, by utilizing nutrients in whole foods.
I was supposed to also read another non-fiction biohacking type book called ‘Why We Sleep’, but I never got to it because I was distracted by these summer reads. My husband bought me these books so I could have some fun reading on the dock and I literally devoured them in two days.
The One – John Marrs
You know DNA tests like Ancestry and 23andMe? This book has a twist on those. Instead of taking the test to know your background, it uses your DNA to find your ‘perfect match’, only not everyone is as innocent as they seem. Such a perfect summer thriller read that was a page turner through and through. Also a little eerie because it’s easy to believe something like this could almost exist in the near future.
The Perfect Girlfriend
You get to see through the eyes of a super-stalker psycho girlfriend with this book, which was such a cool take on the plot! Usually with stories we see through the eyes of the person BEING stalked, not the actual stalker themselves. The weirdest part is, as freaking NUTS as the main character becomes, you actually start to feel for her a bit. Could NOT put this one down. It was SO extra crazy and psycho.
What I Listened To in July
The School of Greatness – Jameela Jamil Episode
Every ONE, not just every woman, should listen to this incredibly eye-opening and empowering podcast with guest Jameela Jamil. She talks about key issues that plague society right now including the extreme stress, pressure and mental anguish that comes along with social media, especially if you are female.
She is an advocate for things like not being airbrushed on magazine covers, being your true and authentic self online, and stopping ‘influencers’ from pushing fake and damaging diet products on Instagram.
This podcast was so inspiring, powerful and uplifting that I listened to it twice.
On the days when I needed a real kick in the pants, I would listen to one of Ed Mylett’s podcast episodes. He is a no-bull motivator and personal development coach who really resonates with me. I love how he just says it how it is and doesn’t hold back on what he believes.
His energy is super masculine, which I love absorbing when I am in ‘crush it’ mode.
If you need some direction with goals, avoiding distractions, and getting out of your own way, really ANY of Ed’s episodes are a really great pep talk.
What I Watched in July
Talk about a mind bender! Dark is a German language science fiction thriller on Netflix that is best described as if Stranger Things and Chernobyl had a baby. If you are not into active watching (as in, if you like to passively watch a show while you scroll or snooze) then this is NOT the show for you. But if you like twisty time-travel mixed with some weird science… you’ll love it! (ps- It's not scary, even though it looks like it would be based on the cover art.)
As much as I personally loved the show, I kind of wish I watched it with a notebook to keep track of some of the crazy character twists. LOL!
August will be my last FULL month here at home in Kelowna (ahh!) so I want to make the most of being at the lake in the RV, which truly is my favorite place on Earth.
For the entire month of August I really want to spend at least 30 minutes a day OUTSIDE doing non-work related things. Whether it’s picking fruit from the trees in our yard, sitting on the dock with a book, or just enjoying the lake, I want to make the most of the rest of summer out here. It also helps that our next door neighbours (AKA my sister and brother in law) have a great boat I can hang out on!
Plans/Goals For August
→ Practice Spanish
When I was 18 years old I moved to Huatulco, Oaxaca (Mexico) and back then English wasn’t as widely spoken as it is now. That meant I took a very immersive dive into Spanish and started to soak up the language like a sponge.
Now that it’s been about a million years since then, I have to admit my fluency isn’t where it used to be. Now that we are moving to Mazatlan, Mexico in October for 6 months, I have to get a refreshed in everything Espanol.
Yes- in Mazatlan I could probably get away with speaking English every day, but I really don’t want to. I love everything about the Spanish language and nothing would make me happier than being able to switch my day-to-day conversations from English to Spanish while I’m there.
This means I have about 5 or 6 weeks to do some daily Duolingo on my phone before we get down to Mexico, which should help my brain come back to life. My goal is to spend 30 minutes a day on the app reviving my Spanish.
As great as free apps like Duolingo are, nothing compares to actually speaking the language with people in real time, so once we get there I’m going to get an advanced level tutor for a month!
Then (hopefully) I will be comfortable speaking Spanish on the daily!
→ Further Changing How I Use Instagram
Early in the year I published an article in the Huffington Post called “I spent 5 Hours a Day on Instagram and it Ruined My Life”. Everything I said in that expose was 100% accurate. Instagram was ruining my life, as shallow and basic as that might sound. I truly believe social media had gotten under my skin and the comparison game was stealing all my joy from day to day life. I legit used to get stressed out about thinking what I should post next or where I was going to get my next photo from.
It’s one of the reasons that I took a huge break from Instagram, going from posting several times a week to just a few times a month.
In August I want to change the way I show up on Instagram even more. I am so over the ultra-edited photos. They make me physically ill when I see them. I am not judging anyone here, but just being honest that I’ve hit my ‘fake crap on Insta’ limit. Curation is making me rage.
However, I love connecting with people because my lifestyle can be SUPER isolating and lonely.
So I want to use Instagram as just a way to connect with friends and family and not to play some sort of twisted popularity game on.
I want to be an advocate for mental health surrounding social media and start to practise what I preach. Apps like Instagram can be mentally damaging, emotionally draining and insanely addictive, but collectively we can change that. By limiting the amount of time I spend on the app, plus choosing to post more raw, unedited and helpful content, I can do my part in restoring a mentally healthy approach to how I use social media.
In the past I allowed Instagram to steal my joy, my time and my sanity, but I’m not going to stay in the victim mentality. Social media is here to stay, so it’s up to me to decide what kind of a role I will allow it to play in my life.
I want that role to be limited and care-free. And honestly, f*ck it if brands don’t like it. My mental health is more important than their marketing strategy.