2018The Preppy Scientist: 2018
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Monday, July 23, 2018

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: Thoughts and Picks

The Nordstrom sale is officially open to the public in what felt like its most controversial year to date. During the early access days, I read a lot of commentary on bloggers pushing the Nordstrom credit card. I will say I agreed with the majority of people who say retail credit cards are not the best option for many people, especially if the goal is accessing a sale early. In my experience, retail credit cards are only worth it if you frequent the store who issues the card. Nordstrom is just popping up in Canada, with only a few locations - so it wouldn’t be worth it for me to open their credit card for the Nordstrom ‘perks’. I also find that the interest rates can be a little high and I’d rather not be in that position.


All that being said, I do like Nordstrom and I think the sale is worth shopping once it opens to the public. If you are in need of certain items in your closet, now is a great opportunity to purchase and receive some very good deals! I went into Nordstrom the first day of the ‘public access’ sale and was pleasantly surprised at the selection and availability of the sale items. The store was also wonderfully organized considering how busy it was. If you don’t have the chance to visit a store, shopping online is a great option as the Canadian shipping rates are super reasonable and the online selection is greater than in store. I’ll liksly place an online order for the things I couldn’t find in store!

Now on to my picks. I don’t really need much but I was drawn to great deals like these Hunter boots, this great sweater, and a hard shell carry on! You can shop all of my picks using the widget below!




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Friday, July 13, 2018

Staying Hydrated

I absolutely love drinking water, but many people I know mention they need some help in this area. In my pre-water days, I did find it difficult drinking enough water. I didn't love the taste and I had a really difficult time keeping track of my water bottles (😛). Now, it's worth noting I have extremely dry skin all over, and my hydrophobic ways did not help my case one bit.  A few Winters ago, I couldn't manage the dryness and went looking for topical creams and products to help hydrate, and a Sephora employee asked me about my water intake. I told her I wasn't drinking enough and she kindly let me know that no product would reduce the dry skin if I didn't start drinking more water. I took her advice and haven't looked back.



Your body needs water in its natural state for every function it carries out. We lose water through mindless functions like breathing, digestion, and obviously sweating; so it's highly important we rehydrate. Water makes up a large portion of our organs (your brain is about 85%) and they cannot function properly when dehydrated. You may start to feel very sluggish, irritable, and experience digestion issues if you are not well hydrated. Your kidneys also use water to remove toxins from the body - which alone is a great reason to start drinking some more water. I also learned from the Sephora employee that your skin is the last organ to receive water molecules; which can lead to a dull and dry appearance. So while skincare products help our skin on the surface, we have to pair that with hydration to get the full effect! Wild!

If you know me personally, you've seen me with a handful of drink cups and tumblers filled with water. For a while I was using a $3 jug from Walmart that held 8 cups of water. That jug kept breaking, so I went looking for a sturdier alternative. I'm pretty hard on my water bottle as I throw it from my work bag to my gym bag and wherever else I need to go. It never leaves my side.

Now, I can't purchase anything without doing a little research first - so I spent a couple hours searching for the best water bottle on the market; the HydroFlask. I was a little weary about the price, but after having mine for a few weeks now - I totally get it. I chose the 1.8L bottle (the largest size) and I fill it up about twice a day. It keeps ice cold water ice cold for 24 hours and hot liquids hot for 12 hours. Even if the outside metal feels hot or cold, your drink is safe inside. There is also a lifetime warranty included if you tend to be a little rough with your things.

If you're not drinking enough water, now is the time to start! I've included my favourite Hydro Flask products and hydrating skincare products to get you started. Let me know what your water drinking goals are in the comment section below!


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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Niagara on the Lake

Today I'm sharing some photos from a recent trip I took out to Niagara on the Lake (affectionately known as NOTL). If you're unfamiliar with the area, NOTL is a mid-sized town just minutes away from Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is a well-known tourist area, which means it's always very crowded and the attactions are overpriced. NOTL is much quieter (even during the busy season) so you can take your time exploring the incredibly unique shops and restaurants. I'm so drawn to NOTL because it's away from the hustle and bustle and a huge break from the sameness you find in the suburbs.

If you ever have the chance to visit, I'm also sharing some of my favourite places to visit in town!




Food and Drink:
Bistro Six One:
I always pop in here for a quick bite when I visit. There is a pretty decent wine list featuring local wineries.

The Ice House Winery:
If you enjoy sweet wines, the Ice House is a must. They specialize in ice wine, which is created through an incredibly tedious process. If you stop here, try the ice wine slushies and be sure to take a bottle home for special occasions.

Epicurean Bistro - This restaurant has the best patio! They play jazz music all day long and serve delicious meals. The vegetarian penne is my top choice!


Maple Leaf Fudge:
Fudge is a huge deal in NOTL and many places sell it - but Maple Leaf is the best. Maple Leaf makes their fudge fresh in-store daily and everyone who works there is so friendly.


Dress (similar) // Shoes // Cardigan // Sunglasses // Necklace (similar)

Shopping:
Niagara on the Lake is well known for its antique shopping. Some of my most well-loved furniture and accent pieces were found in NOTL. I recommend looking inside of as many antique shops as you can as there is so much variety and you'll never know what you could have found in a shop you passed by. Aside from antiques, there are many unique shops sprinkled through town. I personally love Just Christmas (a year-round Christmas store), Serendipity (an adorable French store) and Ten Thousand Villages. You really can't go wrong popping in and out of any shop you come across, they're all worth a visit!









Sights:

Niagara Whirlpool: I love stopping by the Whirlpool. The pool is created by rushing water over Niagara Falls being forced into a narrow gorge. The result is a counterclockwise spin which is surprisingly fun to watch. If you're brave there is an aerocar that takes you across the whirlpool, and if you're daring a jet boat that takes you INSIDE of the whirlpool.

Fort George: History buffs will enjoy the site of a very pivotal battle in the war of 1812. The Fort has been carefully reconstructed and offers live reenactments of the battle.

Shaw Festival: Thespians will love the variety of plays offered throughout the year. You can purchase your tickets online ahead of time to avoid the disappointment of sold-out shows.

Niagara Jazz Festival: If music is your cup of tea, the Jazz festival which runs two weekends in July is for you. Featuring both Canadian and international musicians, there is so much to enjoy and take in.







This post only scratches the surface of the things to do, places to go and most importantly food and wine to consume in NOTL. Each time I visit, I look forward to exploring new places and finding new favourites. I can't wait for my next trip!


Monday, July 9, 2018

On Authenticity

I really feel that I'm in no place to pen a blog post on authenticity, but here I am. I struggle with this topic a lot because I really feel that I'm playing a game of catch up in terms of really knowing myself.

My birthday is coming up, and I've been really stressed out about it because I find there is sooooo much pressure to have it all together by a certain age, and I'm just not there. I had a moment where I realized I don't have a firm idea of who I am as a person and that I should probably figure it out. 

I started squirreling away on this project, but it all came to a halt when I caught up with some friends at a wedding. Each of us took turns sharing how we don't really know what we're doing, despite the fact that we should. I was pretty surprised to hear these admissions because, on the surface, it seemed that these friends were doing well. 


I silently thought about this conversation for days and came to understand that a lot of us (myself included) are just faking it. I then fell down a rabbit hole of reflection and came to the conclusion that I've been faking it for a long time. And I'm tired.  

There are so many 'shoulds' thrust upon us, which is incredibly difficult to navigate when you're young. For me as a young black girl, I was told that I should dress a certain way, listen to certain music and enjoy certain activities. I wasn't interested in much of it and the teasing was relentless. I decided to hide that side of myself from the world to get by. I spent a lot of time trying to fit in because I just wanted to belong somewhere. Anywhere. Looking back, I get really upset with myself because I wasted so much time hiding, and now in my adult life I have to spend more time unlearning some self-loathing and figuring myself out. 

I know I'm supposed to provide some life-changing advice at this point, but the truth is - I don't have any. I'm learning (much later than I care to admit) that it's okay to like the things you like in spite of the 'shoulds'. Our lives are so short and you're cheating yourself if you're spending the time doing anything you hate or pretending to be fine if you're not. I have so many regrets, but I can't go back and change anything. I just have to press on - one day at a time - and figure it out along the way.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Cool For the Summer

All winter long I dreamed of summer. I absolutely love the long days, short nights and hot temperatures. We are currently in a full-blown heat wave and while I'm glad it's here, getting dressed has been interesting. When the temperature climbs above thirty, I gravitate toward dresses because they don't 'stick' to you like shorts do. I always carry a cardigan with me because I hate the feeling of my arms burning in the sun, and once your indoors - the air conditioner is usually blasting. 

I love the way this look came together. It's not overly fussy and could be worn from day to night, with a change in footwear (sneakers during the day, wedges at night) and the addition of accessories (think a straw bag and fun earrings). The dress comes in three colours and while I own them all - the stripes are very flattering and on-trend for summer. The sleeves have a fun ruffle detail and are also adjustable using buttons placed in the back. 





How do you dress for a heatwave?

Dress // Cardigan // Shoes (similar)

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