The Beauty of Boundaries

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#Liveyourbestlife is everywhere now. But, have you ever really thought, "What does it mean to live your best life and how do you know if you are?" For you to be certain it’s your best life, you have to recognize what it is not:

If you believe that living your best life is being reduced to proving your haters wrong with; getting a certain number of followers/likes and comments and, looking for validation and seeking to impress others before loving yourself, then you aren’t living or living your best life. You are living life as a counterfeit of the one you truly want.

The quality of life and the level of success you are able to reach is all dependent on one thing - Boundaries. Therefore, you must be thinking, 'What, Rachel? It can’t be that easy!' Well it can! And how do I know?

YES, Boundaries!! They’re the foundation of unshakable confidence, love and self-respect. They allow others to recognize that one has limits and standards without having to verbalize them. At the end of the day, you are what you attract. They have transformed and attracted mutual value, quality in all aspects of one's life (friendships, family and business) that you may think isn't possible. Boundaries are the non-negotiables of what you are willing and not willing to put up with. They teach people how to treat you and block out what doesn’t serve you. What you tolerate is always in directly correlation with the quality of your boundaries. Boundaries are powerful because they help shape your life. Without them, you will always allow the decision and actions of others to fog your judgement, cater to your fears and subject you to be a doormat character in the story of your own life.

“I can’t tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”

– Ed Sheeran

1. Strip off every weight that slows you down.

Know when to fold. Do not get emotionally attached to anyone who consistently brings you down, lies to, and dishonors you. Trust me, your self–esteem will thank you in spades. Remember that everyone’s actions are a reflection of themselves. Nothing is ever about you, whatever they say or do is a display of their own emotional state – release them. Don’t get mad, disappear . Peace out on people who disrespect you or bring any level of nonsense, drama and negativity into your life.

The only people that will get upset and be against you having limits are the ones who would have benefited the most from you not having any.

In the past I wanted to keep someone in my life where I was willing to compromise my own standards – Wrong! You can never take someone more seriously than they take themselves. Stop giving credit to people that haven’t earned it.

2. Honesty

Telling the truth has really become a lost art. People have been scared of inflicting pain on others, so they would rather lie. True honestly isn’t painful – it’s freeing. There is a fine line between brutally honest and being kind. Always be kind to others when speaking your truth and be honest with yourself. It will begin to transform your life and build respect. Honesty and honor go hand in hand. I admire those who live a life with complete transparency.

3. Take note

Talk is cheap, actions show you everything you need to know about someone. Especially during the hard times – how they treat you is how they feel about you. It’s in these moments that people reveal who they are and that is a gift. Also, be sure to notice how those who are close to you treat others – family, friends, elderly and the homeless.

Raising your standards or setting boundaries isn’t an overnight process. Just like losing weight or building muscle. It takes time and dedication, knowing that a desired result will exceed the fear of pain or temporary soreness

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and remember that you are so loved.

4 Things I Learned from Blogging

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The origin story of this blog started with me wanting to inspire others through style and tips that I learned along the way. However, the truth is I waited two years before actually launching this website. Why? I held back out of fear. I knew I had the passion and drive, but I second guess myself way too often. I was very blessed to be surrounded with a small group of friends and family,  who gave me encouragement to make my dream a reality and who promised to keep me grounded if things were to become too much. Taking a look back and reflecting, today I'm sharing what I have learned and what I will continue to do.

1. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you.

Rejection and failure have always been two feelings that have slowed me down in life.  I’ve learned that I have given too much power to my setbacks, but I will no longer allow them to take control.  Not all my plans have turned out as scheduled, but now I use them to grow and come out the other side even stronger.

2. Patience

This is still something I work on every single day. It also flows into every other aspect of my life.  Too often I want things right away, and focus too much on my own timeline. The journey to success is rarely an overnight process and the destination can feel like it is miles away. Be mindful that there will be trials and obstacles. You may not always be prepared for them. But, when hindsight is 20/20, you will be glad to see how far you’ve come.  Nothing worth having comes easy.

3. Self-Reflection over Self-Comparison

Don’t miss this! Culture has called us to compare ourselves to others instead of looking at what we already have. The only way to have a sustainable career as a blogger/influencer is by being honest and true to yourself, your partners, and your followers .  If you don't,  people will eventually see right through that and lose respect for you.   Being an authentic blogger means staying true to oneself. Personally, there have been times I get great partnership offers and I wind up turning them down because it’s not a fit for me or my brand. In the short-term, it may seem painful, but staying true to my brand is far more important than any immediate gains. 

4. Your Inner Circle

Lastly, I have to express the importance of having a strong circle. I have been so blessed to have had a business partner to guide me through the beginning stages and into this year. There have been many times where tears have been shed,  attacks from whispers and others judgments have gotten me down.  This partner has encouraged me and pushed me forward to continue to strive. They believed in me even before I did.  From there my team has grown to friends and family who have through acts of kindness and generosity helped me out when times have gotten tough. To them - I cannot thank you enough or express my gratitude for the constant support.  (#DinhDynasty – a phrase two my friends made up, I use to hate it but now it’s a term we use while working) . Who you align yourself with is so important because it can help you grow, reach purpose and live a life that is joyful. I make it a point in my life to do the same for them.

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Thank you so much for reading.

Dress: Forever 21 (in store only - sold out online)

Spring Beauty Refresh from the Inside Out!

Being busy to me has never been a bad thing.  It usually means that things in life are going well and you on the right path to success. But lately, I have noticed that there is such thing as being too busy.  You lose sleep, time with loved ones and sometimes you even begin to neglect yourself if you aren’t careful.  It’s been known that when one aspect of your life is thriving, there is usually another side that involves you being stressed out or worn down.  When we don’t manage stress properly, it can be hard for us to live a productive, yet balanced life. So, with that in mind, I have come up with strategies to help you feel and stay beautiful during the high-stress times in your life.  The best part is that each tip only takes about 10 minutes! Whether you have 10 minutes or 10 seconds, try out some of these tips to take 10 for yourself and relax your mind! 

Make a List

A great way to manage your stress is to create a “to-do list”. This will help keep you organized and I must admit checking items off throughout the day is pretty satisfying. Be mindful to make a reasonable sized list or it will begin to overwhelm you. Your to-do list should include tasks that involve taking care of yourself. This can even include giving yourself a mini facial after a long day at the office. Trust me your future self will thank you. 

Little to no refined sugars

Sweet snacks and soft drinks can spike your insulin levels which causes inflammation in the skin. it really messes with your energy levels. I like to hydrate myself with a delicious tasting glass of SunRype Slim 10 which contains no aspartame, no artificial colours or flavours. It is super refreshing and the best part is it’s only 10 calories per serving (250ml) and can be found in the non-refrigerated aisle of your grocery store.  It’s one of my favourite drinks to share with friends, family and whenever I decide to take 10 minutes for myself.

Feeding your body foods and drinks that will keep it working at its best is so important. It is extremely tempting to grab fast food when we are in a rush and flustered. But, taking time to plan your meals even if you are meeting friends for lunch can have positive effects. Taking time to meal prep or study a menu ahead of time will save you from the uttering “Why did I just eat that”?

Going Dark

A good night’s sleep is crucial for a stress free day and beautiful skin. It’s also important to unplug yourself from your smartphone or laptop. It can be hard to put our devices down, but staring at a screen can really ruin your sleep habits, your eyesight and internal clock. Instead, grab a glass of your favourite beverage – caffeine free of course, and curl up with a great book to allow your body, mind and soul to unwind. I find SunRype Slim Lemonade helps me relax instead of scrolling through my Instagram feed for the 100th time before bed! Plus, instead of a glass of wine, a nice refreshing glass of SunRype Slim mixed with alcohol is the best way to unwind after a long, hard day.

I hope my tips help you take 10 and distress after a busy day. It is going to take some practice, but in time, you will be able to manage your stress both internally and externally. Remember, a true beauty knows how to take care of herself and knows when she needs to take 10. So, whether it is 10 seconds or 10 minutes, take some time for yourself and just relax!

Discover More With SunRype Slim 10!

This post has been generously sponsored by Sun-Rype, the opinions and language are my own and in no way do they reflect Sun-Rype.

Full & Fabulous Hair with Kérastase

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The question I get asked most often is surprisingly not about my clothes, but about my haircare routine. What products do I use? How I style it? etc...

Of all the hair related question, the one I get the most is how is what’s the secret to your hair looking full and fabulous?  Today I am excited to share my hair care routine in partnership with Kérastase. The line has been around since 1964 and they know what they are doing when it comes to all things hair. 

Having beautiful hair starts with the shampoo and how often you do it. Some professionals have said that you should only wash your hair once a week, while others say it can be done on a daily basis. For me, I know that lathering up every day can strip your natural oils causing your follicles to produce even more to compensate. This is can definitely weigh down your hair causing it to look flat and lifeless. Rumor has it that drugstore shampoos contain fillers instead of higher quality ingredients like the salons.

Kérastase Bain Volumifique is what I use twice a week. This shampoo smell is fresh, the lather is luxurious and it gives your hair a feather-light volume.  It contains all the good stuff like:

  • ·         Cationic Polymer: Targeting vulnerable zones from roots to tips
  • ·         Intra-Cylane: strengthening the structure of the hair for long-lasting hold.

Now,  just like shampoos, conditioning your hair is just as important as washing it. Conditioner has the power to change the quality of your hair. It delivers moistures, creates volume and protects your hair against future damage from styling. I like to use the Kérastase Gelee Volumifique. It is the first rinse out treatment in the form of a transparent gel. The lightness gives your hair mega volume. Since it is in a form of a gel, I find myself using less product than I would with a traditional conditioner. Make sure to never condition your scalp, but start from the ends and work your way up.

Lastly, just for volume insurance. I use the Resistance Spray Volumifique. This gives my hair an extra lift, better hold for styling and leaves my mane soft and shiny. 

When it comes to hair care,  less is always more. Remembering that the quality of the product does more than a countertop full of them.  I am looking forward to answering more of your beauty questions, Let me know in the comments below.

Thank you Kérastase  for partnering on this post

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE WITH AMAZON

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It's official! Christmas is one week away and this is when I normally pull out my list and check it twice. Finishing my Christmas shopping can be a bit stressful because I want to get the right gift so bad. Luckily Amazon Prime has a wide range of gifts that can be delivered to my door within two to four days which means I can shop in my Pajamas and avoid the chaos of the malls. Here is my ultimate last minute gift guide that is guarantee to put a smile on your loved one's face:

FASHION PICKS

   ZAC by ZAC POSEN BAG   on sale (additional 20% off for prime members)

ZAC by ZAC POSEN BAG on sale (additional 20% off for prime members)

   RUD by RUDSAK   Down Coat. An investment pieces that will keep you warm for many winters to come 

RUD by RUDSAK Down Coat. An investment pieces that will keep you warm for many winters to come 


Best of Cameras

 The   INSTAX SQ10   has been one of my favourite purchases this year. (on sale) 

The INSTAX SQ10 has been one of my favourite purchases this year. (on sale) 

 Always have eyes on your baby with the   ARIO   Baby Monitor (in HD) 

Always have eyes on your baby with the ARIO Baby Monitor (in HD) 

   Sony A6500   - I currently shoot all my photos with the Sony A6300 and this update is worth every penny. 

Sony A6500 - I currently shoot all my photos with the Sony A6300 and this update is worth every penny. 

FOODIE FINDS

BEAUTY PICKS

Thank you Amazon for sponsoring this post

HOLIDAY TIME with BULOVA

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Hello December! 


Can you all believe that we are in the last month of the year?! The holiday season is full of the hustle and bustle but this year I am determined to enjoy every moment that this magical month has to offer. Making the most of precious moments means managing my time and this season I'll be doing that with this beautiful Bulova watch from the Rubaiyat Collection.  

The most valuable thing we have is our time. What we wear on our wrist should be a representation of our time and how we choose to spend it. The watch is a symbol of our hard work and the time we put into the things we love. Wearing this watch has had a positive effect on my attitude as it has made me more attentive to how I spend my 24 hours. I simply love how this watch wears like a piece of jewelry. The design has incorporated the hallmark Goddess of Time —graceful and strong, two things that every modern woman should be. 


Not only is this timepiece the quintessential gift for anyone - it doubles as a heirloom. No matter how you see things we can all agree that people can live on through the memories of those who knew them.  I plan on wearing mine to to every holiday party this season. This month I will never be late, just fashionably on time.

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Dress: Ted Baker,  Watch: Bulova, Bag: Chanel 

Thank you Bulova for partnering on this post 

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS ON AMAZON

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Black Friday is upon us once again. It's one of the biggest shopping days of the year and quite frankly it can be an intimidating experience to go out and navigate the busy malls. Have no fear though because Amazon and I have done the legwork for you. Below I've shared some of my favourite deals as you begin holiday shopping.

Good luck out there! 

BUNDLED UP WITH BENCH

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Winter is closing in which means it's time to really start looking at fashionable options that are also warm. If you are anything like me being cozy is a must. I hate the feeling of being constricted in my clothes which is why I began a long term relationship with sweater dresses.  They are warm, cozy and chic for the transitioning weather. This piece from Bench comes with serious style points. First of all, it's super soft and comfortable and most importantly I can wear it with anything! Today, I’m pairing it with a bold pair of ankle boots but you can also dress it up with a killer pair of over the knee boots for a night out.

The pom pom beanie I'm wearing is probably one of the best purchases that I’ve made all season. I wear it almost every day and I think it is the perfect touch for a simple (but stylish) outfit. I suggest you get one before it sells out!

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Thank you Bench Canada for partnering on this post.

My Favourite Accessory with Melitta

Scroll through my Instagram feed and you are guaranteed to see photos of my favourite things: Food, Fashion and Friends. You'll often also see one of my favourite accessories, in fact, I feature this accessory quite a bit and it's a lot cheaper than a handbag or jewelry. It's coffee! Coffee to many is a pick-me- up, however, for me it is more than that. Coffee helps set a social mood that is calm and warm and it is surprisingly very photogenic.

Before you try your hand at this kind of 'gram though, it's good to keep these four things in mind:

The stage is yours to create

It has become completely natural for me to have an impromptu photo shoot with my cup of coffee before drinking it. I make coffee every morning and it’s safe to say that my daily routine wouldn’t be the same without it. Since I’ve discovered Melitta’s Pour-over coffeemakers, snapping pictures is especially easy since I no longer have to go out to a café to get a great shot. Lately, I’ve been handcrafting my coffee at home using the pour-over method and it’s quick, convenient and the flavour is great.

After I make my morning cup, I use whatever I have around me as props for styling. I often like to add a colourful handbag to give the shot a punch of color. I experiment, find the best angle and then snap away.

Remember to use symmetry your photos, the surrounding objects should be pleasing to the eye while helping you tell your story.

Inspired by the Interior

Incorporating some interior details are often more dynamic than a close-up of what's in your cup. It also allows your audience to see where and when you’re making and enjoying that cup of java. The bright side to that is you don;t have to be in the shot and shoot it all on your own.

Give your hands something to hold

One of my biggest challenges I have when taking any photo is surprisingly not my outfit but what to do with my hands. I don't always know what to do with them, so I find holding a cup of coffee always feels natural and more comfortable for me.  Holding something also adds movement to your shot. Try placing a hand around a coffee mug to bring more life to your photos. (literally)

Get Messy

The established norms with regards to photos are that we take the pictures before consuming our tasty subject. Why not flip it around and do it oppositely? Next time your at the coffee shop try taking a photo of what remains. Photos can show off how good food looks but after shots can show how good your food or drink WAS.

Coffee is such a favourite photo category because of how much it intertwines in our daily lives. No matter where we live or what we do for a living, most us enjoy a cup of Joe. I hope these tips help you next time you take a snap!

Do you think I missed any pointers? Let me know in the comments below!

Although this post has been generously sponsored by Melitta Canada, the opinions and language are my own, and do not reflect Melitta Canada.

Find out more about Melitta at Melitta.ca

INSTAX SQ10 REVIEW

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If you know me then you know I love to take photos! There’s a beauty in being able to capture a moment in time because I’m able to cherish it forever. Digital technology has made it easier to store my photos but arguably more difficult to go back and cherish them because of the sheer volume of photos I’ve got stored. On my recent trip to New York I wanted to make sure that I capture the highlights of my trip in a way that was easy to go back and look on and also share with others. The Fujifilm Instax SQ10 was the answer for me! The Instax SQ10 takes the old Fujifilm that many know and pairs it with modern technology to create the perfect travel companion. I got mine on Amazon. It was easy to use, travels well and is tons of fun.

Here are three things that set the Instax SQ10 apart:

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1)      It’s Digital

You can now see what you’re shooting from the screen, similar to shooting on a cell phone. It makes getting the image that you want faster and easier unlike its ancestor. You can store up to 50 photos at a time on the camera with an option for additional storage in the SD card slot

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2)      Editing

The Instax SQ10 allows you to play with the exposure and filters before, or after an image is taken. Modes like double exposure and slower shutter speed are all a part of the fun when you use a new camera. The SQ10 allows users to play the trial and error game so you can get the right shot, without wasting film paper!

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3)  To print? Or not to print?

My friends and I were just as excited to shoot and pose for photos as we normally would on our cell phones and cameras. You could feel the anticipation every time we pressed the print button and watched our photo develop before our eyes. The best part was that there were no fights over who got to keep the photo. The SQ10 is the first instant camera that allows multiple prints of the same image to be printed. Birthdays, Weddings and Holidays just got a lot easier because everybody will be able to get the photo they want by simply choosing it in the menu. This will definitely be a staple at my next Babes and Brunch event.

If you’re one for instant gratification, do not worry – there is a switch on the SQ10 that allows you to print photos automatically.

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In the future it would be nice if the SQ10 had wi-fi capabilities so the photos could be shared both digitally AND in print and it would even better to have more than 10 film in one pack. However, if you’re looking for a camera that will allow you to capture and share special moments simultaneously then this is the one for you.

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You can buy your SQ10 + Film bundle on Amazon. Click below to shop other Instax cameras from Fujifilmthat are more affordable and fun to use.

Thank you Amazon for sponsoring this post