6 Things to Know After Your Engagement Ends (Especially if you have chronic illness)

“Have enough courage to trust Love one more time. And always one more time.” — Maya Angelou

(Thank you to Kelly from Little Blue Canoe for sending me this quote)

ICYMI – Around 10 days ago, my engagement ended. As did my relationship. It’s been heart breaking, overwhelming, shocking and sad. But, in the short time I have had to digest this life-altering change, there are a number of lessons I have learned. Some I already knew, but this unfortunate decision made my belief in them stronger. Others, wow — Never did I think they would be a part of my story. Most, I can relate to my battle with chronic illness for I always knew it was making me a more resilient, loving and grateful person.

A Look at Migraine Through the Stages of Grief

“Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life.” — Anne Roiphe

It was the “Why me?”, “Please make it stop.”, “I can’t handle this” feelings that had me stuck in cycles of grief every time I had a migraine. A year ago, I would still be going through these ups and downs every. single. migraine. Not now.

Now, I have looked beyond the migraine, journal-ed my way through each stage of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally made it through to the final stage — acceptance.

Energizing Cacao Elixir

In a funny turn of events…

I thought I was making myself a lovely elixir to help me fall asleep. Instead I’m sitting here awake at 5 am writing this to you because I completely forgot cacao could act as a stimulant. Oops!

In the end, what was a happy accident it was!

This creamy, hot chocolate-esque elixir is:

  •  Full of healthy fats from the coconut milk (Try to buy one with the least amount of ingredients on the label)
  • Loaded with magnesium, zinc, iron and fibre from the cacao
  • Has a large dose of amino acids from the collagen powder
  • Is a stress relieving, immune system boosting, rejuvenating adaptogenic drink because of the ashwagandha

Blogiversary Giveaway 9: 3 Yoso Products (aka vegan yogurts and spreads)!

Finding a vegan yogurt that tasted great and came in unsweetened versions was like looking for a needle in a haystack. 

After scanning the grocery store and health food store shelves, I would always walk disappointed and frustrated there wasn't an option that would work for me and my nutritional needs (Dairy-free and unsweetened). Especially when new yogurt brands and flavours seemed to be popping up on the daily. 

Then Yoso came into my life and my yogurt game has been forever changed! Their products are a person with specific nutritional requirements dream. They are: GMO free, vegan, gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free, peanut free, free from preservatives, carrageenan free and casein free.

Blogiversary Giveaway 6: 3 Bags of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts!

Just call me a hemp-aholic.

Since becoming a Manitoba Harvest Hemp Ambassador, hemp hearts have become a part of my daily routine. I make breakfasts, lunches, dinners and treats with them because of their amazing nutritional benefits. 

Each 30g serving of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts contains:

  • 8 grams of protein
  • 8 grams of omegas 3 & 6
  • 9 grams of fibre
  • All 10 essential amino acids.

Blogiversary Giveaway 5: A Social Media Consult with Sweaty Wisdom

Raise your hand if social media rules your day ✋

Guess what? It doesn't have to!! Through Sweaty Wisdom (aka Chris aka @sweatywisdom) and her signature program Social Media With Soul I've learned:

  • How to gain Instagram followers on the daily
  • Write a kick-ass IG bio
  • How the heck to use hashtags
  • The Golden Rule of Social Media
  • How to be authentic and take the "ick" out of sales online
  • Spend less time on social media but have my accounts GROW
  • Sign up for the next session here - YOU WON'T REGRET IT and use code LAURA for 10% off! 

Blogiversary Giveaway 4: Bare Skin Bar

Baths are one of my ultimate forms of self-care. 

Warm water, peacefulness, a good book and a Bare Skin Bar complete the picture! 

Since discovering Bare Skin Bars last year, there hasn't been a bath bomb since that I love as much. Made in British Columbia, these bars are sustainably-made in small batches from amazing ingredients that vary according to the flavour of your bar (Find the ingredient list here). What I love is that they're all free from preservatives, parabens/phthalates (commonly found in fragrance oils), and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)/sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). 

Blogiversary Giveaway 2: LocalBoom

Who doesn't love made in Canada products?

I fell in love with LocalBoom back in September. It was love at first sight with the array of products available and it's mission. 

LocalBoom is a full-circle, sustainable shopping website. When you buy online through LocalBoom, you not only support the local entrepreneur, but the community as well. A portion of each sale is donated back into the community, whether that’s through donating bars of soap to a homeless shelters or monetary contributions to local charities supported by LocalBoom customers.

Blogiversary Giveaway 1: Beautycounter + My Top 3 Favourite Products Right Now

Can you believe A Lush Life is 1 YEAR OLD?

I can still remember the day and night before the site and my first blog post went live on Jan. 13, 2017. I was nervous wreck, barely slept and was SO excited to start sharing my recipes and skin care/beauty reviews with you. Only nine months in and I made a big change to the blog — I started talking about my chronic illnesses. I had no idea what the response would be but I knew it would make the blog more authentic. And, let me say, I am BLOWN AWAY by the love, support and encouragement you have shown me. I couldn't ask for a better community that is growing by the day! 

My 3 Biggest Migraine Mistakes This Year and How I’m Going to Fix Them for 2018

Hello #migraineseason.

You know the saying “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer?” Well, my health invaders, migraines, anxiety and depression, and I have become uncomfortably close again this fall. You may have noticed my blogs in November have been less frequent and the posts a little shorter. This is simply because fall is my worst time of year for migraines.

For the past three years, I’ve lived in a constant state of migraine for most of October, November and December. The first year I coined, “Death December” and last year became “Fuck All Fall”. This year’s theme? “Why didn’t I see this coming?”

Adding to the clichés, it was easy for me to think “third times the charm” and this #migraineseason would be smooth sailing.

Easy Vegan Protein Chocolate with Quinoa and Hemp Seeds

Well, my lovely friends, I’m going to keep this blog post short and sweet.

#migraineseason has hit and I’ve been in and out of bed for the past few weeks. With this, my anxiety has also risen so I’ve focused on health and self-care rather than my blog. But, you’re the most understanding group out there and have supported me nonetheless! So, for that, I thank you!

Now on to my new favourite recipe — one that has helped me because migraines definitely give me chocolate cravings! Luckily, I’ve added some protein and the recipe is low sugar so I don’t feel bad indulging one bit!

25 Quotes That Inspire Me to be Kind to Myself through Chronic Illness

“Kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give.” — unknown

As a chronic illness sufferer, you are bound to have bad days.

To cope, I’ve learned acceptance, found ways to reduce anxiety and taken time out for my health.

In essence, I’ve learned to be kinder to myself — to show myself love in the moments when I feel like I don’t deserve it.

But, it’s on those “bad days” that it takes extra effort.  Today, on World Kindness Day, I wanted to take the time to say it’s just as important to be kind to yourself as it is to be kind to others.

Kindness starts with YOU.

5 Winter Skin Care Secrets Revealed

What isn’t fair game though is winter skin care. If you haven’t hit the day when it feels like all the moisture has been sucked out your skin, then I applaud you for living in a humid climate — you’ve already won half the battle!

For the rest us, or those traveling to different climates, winter can wreak havoc on our skin. It can feel tight, dry, flaky, red, irritated, and the cold can worsen blemishes.

When the seasons change, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your skin care routine and make a few tweaks. It can be as simple as changing a product or stepping up your regime to get your glow back. If you don’t already have a skin care routine, it’s a good time to start!

I have five tips and tricks that I like to review every winter to make sure my skin is prepped for freezing temperatures, blizzards and even warm fires and increased indoor temperatures. And now, I’m ready to reveal my secrets to you!

Why it’s ok to take time out for your health (And why you should)

It all became too much.

Three years ago, almost exactly, I made a radical decision in my life.

It was time to focus on my health.

The decision didn’t come easily. I had a dream job, loved the people I worked with, was using the skills I attended university for and had just started a wonderful new relationship. Yet, my health was robbing me from the joy of experiencing it all.

I was in a constant cycle of migraines and anxiety. I wasn’t being a fair co-worker — my sick leaves put other people under more pressure. Adding on additional responsibility at work made me feel unworthy and useless instead of valued and respected because I was constantly worried I wasn’t doing a good enough job due to my health. 

Easy Baked Sweet Potato Bowl for Two

If you were a potato, you’d be a sweet one.

November always brings pictures of sweet potato casserole to mind. I’m pretty sure this is a conditioned response to marketing campaigns and the prevalence of sweet potato casseroles at American Thanksgiving dinners because as a Canadian, sweet potatoes don’t make a big appearance at our October holiday. Nonetheless, Halloween ends and I’m focused on less pumpkin and more sweet potatoes.

This dish is inspired by a few of the lunch bowls I’ve seen across Instagram. Easy to make, easy to transport and super healthy — I’m sure you’ve seen a few of these bowls on your feeds too.