There's nothing worse than parched, cracked lips this time of year— lipstick becomes impossible to apply, not to mention the fact that physical pain is actually involved. It's not pretty. Living in a super cold, dry climate has made lip balm (and, well, moisturizer) a top priority of mine, and while I've come to love many more products than just what you see here (shout out to NUXE's Reve de Miel and Bite Beauty's Agave Lip Mask!), here are my current go-tos for keeping my lips soft and smooth. Can I get a hands-up emoji?
First up, the sexiest and potentially the biggest tease if you live up north— Glossier's Balm Dotcom. Now I call it a tease because unfortunately the company still doesn't ship to Canada (so make nice with your friends down south), and sexy because, well, just look at that packaging. It's hot. But more than that, this universal skin salve is a true star when it comes to cracked, problematic skin in general. Slather on lips, cuticles and dry patches alike— this little wunderproduct can take anything you throw it's way thanks to all those antioxidants and natural emolliants it's packed with... plus its thick formulation helps it stay put and seal in moisture. Balm dotcom indeed.
Next up, a new and old favourite— Gatineau's Defi Lift 3D Revolumizing Lip Care (new) and By Terry's Baume de Rose (old). They're both luxurious, effective and a total treat to apply. Gatineau is formulated with powerful active ingredients to give lips a smooth and plumped up appearance (see ya later, fine lines!), while natural ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil and lavender extract help moisturize and soothe cracked skin. Similarly, By Terry's cult favourite balm is super replenishing and hydrating, but the true appeal of this one is it's appearance— have you ever seen a more luxe lip product? The smell is heavenly as well, so if you're feeling spendy (we're talking $60 spendy), this could be the product for you.
And last but certainly not least, I had to give it up for this drugstore hero, the EOS Smooth Sphere Lip Balm— it's a classic choice. Compact and perfect for throw-in-your-bag-and-go applications, this product smells great (mine's in the flavour 'Sweet Mint'), and more importantly, it works— all for a fraction of the price. It's packed with Vitamin E, jojoba oil and shea butter to give chapped lips all the nourishment they need, but with none of those pesky parabens, phthalates or petroleum. Yup, we're talking straight up, good-for-you lip care here people (it's 95% organic and 100% natural), and all for under $5. Not bad, huh?
The New Year is a great time to reflect on what you've accomplished professionally throughout the year, as well as consider where you want to find yourself in the next. It's a time of optimism and promise— you know, a fresh start and opportunity to do some serious day-seizing. So before the buzz of the New Year inevitably wears off (sorry, you know it's true), take a moment to reevaluate your blog now to see if there are any areas you can improve or expand upon. We can always do better, or do more, but we can't do everything, so take a moment to think about what's currently working for you and what you want focus your efforts on moving forward... go ahead, I'll wait. When you have a clear idea of where you want to take things, consider implementing the following five goals into practice to help you move the needle forward in 2017. You got this.
1. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
This one sounds obvious, but we all fall into the trap of churning out content that sometimes a few less-than-stellar pieces creep in. This year, resolve to only post work that you feel truly proud to put your name behind; if you miss posting one day, no one will notice or fault you for it. If it's -30 outside, give yourself permission to skip outfit photos (hypothermia isn't a cute look anyway), or if your DIY project was a major bust, don't kill yourself trying to salvage it just to make a deadline. The world won't end if you don't post, and your readers (and brands) will respect you for sharing your best.
In the spirit of showcasing quality content, take some time to go through your published work to see if there are any posts that no longer represent your brand or your aforementioned standard of quality. Now's your chance to delete any posts that you're no longer proud of, or update old posts with fresh links or current information. You never know which post might introduce a reader to your blog, so make sure that everything on your site is the best possible representation of you.
3. GET SOCIAL
Having a great site that's informative, entertaining, inspiring, or whatever the case may be depending on your niche is only part of the puzzle; you also need a strong presence on social media to take things to the next level. So take some time to map out where you would like to be in terms of numbers on your various platforms, as well as strategies for getting there and by when. If it's Pinterest, you might decide to reorganize and audit your current boards, only pinning images that are beautiful, cohesive and relevant to your brand; if it's Twitter, you might want to up the frequency of your tweets, sharing a variety of pictures, quotes and personal musings while highlighting other people's work that you admire. Whatever the case may be, think long and hard about where you want to be and how you can get there... as Iggy would say, impossible is nothing.
4. DIVERSIFY INCOME
A reality of blogging is that you rarely know what your income will be from month to month, so a good rule of thumb is to diversify your revenue streams. Do you currently rely on collaborations for the bulk of your income? You might want to dabble in affiliate marketing or try your hand at speaking engagements. Does Instagram or Youtube bring you the bulk of your earnings? Maybe it's time to consider a product line or service. Whatever the case may be, think about different ways you can monetize your blog in 2017 and try to put your eggs in as many baskets as possible. The blogging world is ever changing, so you don't want to focus all your energy on one area to only have it fall apart or stop being viable in six months time.
5. CONSIDER VIDEO
And going back to Youtube for a moment, if you're strictly a photo/copy creator, it may be time to consider adding a video component to your work. Youtube is undoubtedly king at the moment, and intimidating as it may seem, it's definitely not too late to start— if nothing else, it'll help your readers see another side of your personality and deepen their connect with you, as well as open you up to a whole new market of brands that focus mainly on video... win-win.
Teddy coat- gifted | turtleneck- Zara | mom jeans- Topshop | sock booties- Zara | bag- Forever 21
You want to know the mark of a great friendship? When your friend hears you go on, and on, and on about wanting a teddy coat and not being able to find the right one (*ahem* I'm talking to you and your sold-out perfect teddy, H&M) and proceeds to give you the one she bought on her honeymoon just to shut you up, once and for all. That's right friends, my pal Lyndsey has a heart of gold. She even stood outside in -17 weather to snap these photos, furthering her heart-of-gold status... I tell ya. She's the real deal.
In other news, these Zara booties were my one Boxing Week indulgence— if you can really call a $35 purchase an indulgence— and I'm loving the look of them, although a word of warning should you find yourself looking to buy these or a similar pair of sock booties: They're impossible to put on and take off. Like, a literal struggle happens everytime I decide to wear them... not ideal, but hey, what's a little struggle in the face of a metallic heel? #truth