Valentine’s Day Gift Guide For Her

Happy Sunday dear readers 🙂 🙂 Earlier this week, I published a gift guide post featuring some nifty Valentine’s Day gift ideas for men, so today I wanted to share with you some of my Valentine’s Day gift ideas for women.

While women, me included, can think of ourselves as easy to buy for, apparently this is not the case. My friend so informed me the other day that shopping for girls is way harder than the reverse because thoughtful and sentimental gifts can be difficult to come up with. So I rounded up a few ideas of gifts for the ladies in your life this Valentine’s Day.

A Few Beauty Goodies

Picture 22These Sephora Collection Heart-to-heart Makeup Sponges are absolutely adorable and can be used for a variety of applications with streak-free and buildable coverage.



Picture 23Of all the eyeshadow palettes out there these days, this tarte Tartelette In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette is one I would love to add to my collection. It features 12 brand-new shades, 9 mattes and 3 lusters, which are paired for lid, crease, and liner use for easy-to-create smoldering smoky and nude looks. All of Tarte’s eyeshadows are highly pigmented and blend really well, with all-day wear.

Picture 24 Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment has been my saving grace during winter months for about three years now when the days have been chilly and my lips need some extra TLC. I started out using the clear shade in the brown case, and then branched out to the tinted ones. These are really great if you want hydration and colour because you don’t have to worry about smearing lipstick or getting more lip balm on the lipstick tip than on your lips. It is formulated with reparative oils and waxes and real sugar, and has a really nice citrus scent. Also, if you don’t want to opt for the gift set route, these lip treatments are available individually.

A What I Love About You Fill-in-the-Blanks Book

Picture 25 It is often difficult to list things you love about someone when put on the spot, like when trying to write a personal note in a Valentine’s Day card, so for those of you out there, this little book is perfect. With 112 pages of prompts, you can simply fill-in-the-blanks and gift it to a best friend or a significant other so they can read about all the things you love about them that make them who they are.

A Handmade Heart Box

Picture 28 If you already have a gift picked out but are looking for a unique way to package it, then this might just be the solution. For any bookworm friends or lovers in your life, this box is perfect for gifting small items like a necklace, and it’s handmade

We First Met Here Jigsaw Puzzle

Picture 29 It is not often that I wish I lived in the United States of America as I love my little Canadian city, but this is one of those times. This item only ships to the US, it is one of the cutest gift ideas I have come across thus far. While you may not remember the exact day you met someone, chances are you remember where you met them, and this personalized 400-piece jigsaw puzzle is handmade around the zipcode provided of that special place. It even has novelty pieces that read “I LOVE YOU” with a heart marking the location. Measures 18″ x 12″ when completed.

Rectangle Dates Necklace

Picture 30

So you decided to give a necklace to your best friend/girlfriend/random person you’re hanging out with on Valentine’s Day. This necklace is such a neat idea because it allows you to engrave up to 5 special dates on it, like when you first met, your first kiss, your first inside joke, whichever dates are important to you both. While the numbers are in MM/DD/YY format, there are no dashes in between, making them look like random strings of numbers that only you and the other person will know the meaning behind. This idea is pricy at $113 but I just think it is such a unique approach to the cliché of giving jewelry.

A Flatterbox

Picture 32 I first found out about this company late last year when my mother was planning a retirement party for a co-worker. In my opinion, I saved the best gift idea for last because I am so in love with this. First, you select a box type between a transparent acrylic one or a signature one (pictured above). Then you select a card colour and an occasion. This website lists so many already like Birthday, wedding, anniversary, baby shower, graduation, get well, christmas, mother’s day, father’s day, goodbye, just because, etc, but there is an “other holiday” option if yours isn’t listed. Once you have completed this, an email will be sent with a personalized message to all of the “Flatters” you would like to contribute sentiment notes to the box. Alternatively, you can use a provided unique link and send it through email, text, or social media. You do not pay for the box until all of the sentiments are collected and are then printed on their own card. Up to 50 cards are included in the box price, but you can add up to 100 for an additional $15, and even up to 200 for an additional $35. Starting at $49, I think this is simply the coolest gift idea I have ever seen, not just for Valentine’s Day, but for any special occasion. Alternatively, if you do not have enough time to create a custom box for a special event, there are several Grab-N-Go options, where you can purchase the box and then fill in the cards when the box arrives.

I hope that these gift ideas have given you some inspiration for what to get your friend, significant other or, in my case, my cat. Click on any of the images in this post to be redirected to the website from which you can purchase them, and let me know in the comments below if you decide on any of these gifts. Also, please share other ideas you come up with 🙂 🙂 

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Valentine’s Day Gift Guide For Him

Hello there lovely readers 🙂 🙂

With New Years almost a month behind us (how is that even possible???), another holiday is fast-approaching: Valentine’s Day!!!

For me, Valentine’s Day usually consists of hosting an Anti-Valentine’s Day dinner party with heart-shaped desserts and take out. And, of course, a Secret Valentine gift exchange. I find it quite easy when I draw the name of a female friend, but for male friends, and undoubtedly for boyfriends or other male significant others, it is much more difficult to pick out a present. Thus, I wanted to create this little gift guide to give you some inspiration.

Tommy John Underwear


I know underwear is traditionally a female gift idea for Valentine’s Day but hear me out: Tommy John has the best mens underwear, undershirts, and socks, along with t-shirts and loungewear. The underwear comes in a variety of styles like boxer brief, trunk, square cut, brief, and boxer short, and is available in a number of colours (Valentine’s collection available February 2). I had never really thought mens fashion could be uncomfortable. I mean, women are the ones who wear dresses and high heels, but just picture a man trying to comfortable fit a pair of bulky boxers into a pair of skinny jeans. Not a pretty picture. All of Tommy John’s products are made with patented silky smooth and non-pilling fabric that is designed to stay in place when playing sports, working at the office, or lounging at home. With a best pair guarantee, 15% off upon subscribing to their mailing list, and free 3-day shipping upon spending $50 or more, Tommy John underwear and other items are definitely gift ideas I am going to hang on to.

Warby Parker Sunglasses

warby parker sunglasses

Warby Parker has so many colours and styles of sunglasses to pick from, that it should be easy to find a pair someone might like. I picked out the Preston sunglasses in Whiskey Tortoise because I think they are a great modern take on the traditional eyeframe shape, and apparently this style suits narrow faces, which tends to be difficult to find. All Warby Parker sunglasses have Akulon-coated screws to avoid those moments when your sunglasses break on vacation and you’re forced to resort to the old method of using your hand to shield your eyes from the sun. They are also cut from a single sheet of acetate so that the colour parity is consistent. I find this is really important with tortoise sunglasses because any changes in pattern or colour are really noticeable. And, you know, these sunglasses have 100% UV protection, which is always useful.

A Yankee Candle

personalized yankee candle
So maybe your candle will be for a special someone and not your cat, but you get the idea . . .

More and more, candle companies are introducing new scents and packaging to appeal to the male demographic. Yankee Candles has such a wide variety of sizes and scents, and they now offer the option to create a personalized candle. Simply select your candle and fragrance, then upload a photo of you and your friend or significant other and customize the label. Some really nice scents for men are Balsam & Cedar, Sun & Sand, Black Cherry, and Midsummer’s Night, While I used a photo of my cat as an example, I think this would be such a cute idea if I draw the name of one of my male friends for this year’s Secret Valentine gift exchange because it is both memorable and useful. But act fast, because only orders placed before February 5th will be processed in time for Valentine’s Day!!!

An “Ussies” Photo Album

ussies photo album

While selfies might be all the rage, so are the lesser termed “ussies.” You know, those photos you take with your significant other or a whole group of friends where one of you holds a camera way above your heads and you all squish together to fit into the frame. Or, now that I think about it, those photos approached civilly with one person simply holding out a selfie stick that could smack someone in the face at any moment. This photo album would make such a nice gift, especially if you gift it already filled with ussies.

Cologne or Eau de Toilette Spray

Finally, the classic mens gift: cologne. One of my favourite fragrances for men is Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million Eau de Toilette Spray. With grapefruit, mint, and blood mandarin among the scents included in this spray, I find it to be so fresh yet spicy, and long-lasting. Plus, this spray comes in three sizes (1.7 oz, 3.4 oz, and 6.8 oz) making it fit most budgets, and offering the chance to gift a new fragrance or an old favourite for at home or on-the-go use.


I hope that these gift ideas have given you some inspiration for what to get your friend, significant other or, in my case, my cat. Click on any of the images in this post to be redirected to the website from which you can purchase them, and let me know in the comments below if you decide on any of these gifts. Also, please share other ideas you come up with 🙂 🙂

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A Few Knitted Creations

img_0309 Well hello there lovely readers 🙂 🙂 Back during Blogmas, I did a post about a huge wool haul at the local wool shop. Over the holidays, and now that university has resumed, I have been knitting up a storm, so I thought I would show you a few things I’ve made thus far: img_0301img_0304img_0308img_0295img_0291 Let me know in the comments below if you would like pattern instructions for how to make any of these things, or if a tutorial would be helpful!!! What have you been knitting lately???

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5 Things I Do at the Start of Each School Term

Hello there lovely readers!!!

I had my first day of the Spring 2016 university term on Monday, and I am already excited for the next 13 weeks of classes. I know that sounds weird, but when you’re a Psychology and Linguistics nerd, small things fascinate you and you can spend days analyzing an utterance like “I can’t even” without getting bored.

The first three weeks of university are usually pretty slow, with professors starting to delve into new material, course loads being shuffled, and no midterm in sight. It’s really tempting to pilfer away this time, which is exactly what I did in my first year, and I instantly regretted it when the first wave of midterms hit me. So, while this is a time to blog more, read more, and cherish the last weeks of social life, here is my list of five things I do at the start of each term to prepare:

1. Create a Master Syllabus

What is this, exactly??? Well, it is a page-long list, organized by month, of all of the important course dates for all classes over the course of the term. It provides an easy way to quickly glance at deadlines, cross off completed items (so satisfying), and identify gaps of days that can be used to catch up, or get ahead in, classwork. I also find it really helpful to put the weight of each assignment and test in brackets so I can keep track of grades.

2. Organize my planner

This one is huge for me because I find it both cathartic and necessary to map out my study time to ensure I’m using it well. Using a day planner, I keep track of everything I have to do, with separate columns for appointments, assignments, and the sliver of life leftover. This way I never forget to do something or be somewhere and, once again, I get the euphoric rush that comes with crossing something off my list (or, in some cases, scratching the name of the item in Sharpie repeatedly out of spite).

3. Buy my textbooks

I know a lot of people who purchase their textbooks over the Christmas holidays, and even a few people who purchase their textbooks in September for the winter and spring terms all at once. Me, I like to wait until the first week because I tend to change up my schedule a lot. In the event that I decide to drop a course it will be because of one of three reasons:

a) It was meant to be an elective and doesn’t look nearly as interesting as I thought it would be.

b) It is taught by a professor whose teaching style I know won’t work for me, or

c) After getting all the course outlines and creating my Master Syllabus, the workload looks like it will be too much, so I swap out a course for another, less demanding one.

Regardless of which of these reasons motivates me to change my schedule, I don’t want to deal with any of the issues that can arise when trying to return a textbook to the school bookstore. If you are reading this and you are in high school, and therefore don’t have to worry about this, I envy you.

4. Get my desk set up

Turn your desk into the ultimate study space, stocked with pens, pencils, index cards, sticky notes, and a few snacks hidden here and there. Make sure you have a water bottle close by, because staying hydrated is key for a productive study session. Also, since you will be spending a lot of time at that desk, make sure it is at the right height for you, and that you have a comfortable chair. There are few things that irritate me as much as the discomfort characteristic of studying in a hunched over position for too long, or realizing too late that I was sitting at a weird angle and now my back is sore.

5. Decide how I plan to take notes in each class

To me, there are two main course styles: fact-based and idea-based. You may define these differently, but to me fact-based courses are those that involve memorization, like anatomy or history, while idea-based courses are those that involve understanding and applying concepts, like math or philosophy.

For fact-based courses, I really like using a coil-bound notebook so that all of my notes stay in one place and no stray piece of paper detailing key final exam information floats away on me. Index cards work really well for these courses, too, because you can use them to study word definitions, or to test your knowledge by summarizing a concept in its limited space.

For idea-based courses, I will either use coil-bound notebooks or loose paper on a clipboard depending on the speed at which the professor goes through the material. I don’t like leaving blank spaces in my notes that I have to fill in after class because the prof blew through an entire concept in one lecture, so for more fast-paced courses, loose leaf paper is the way to go. Highlighters and sticky notes are great for these types of courses because you can have little aside memos about things mentioned in class, or flag areas you want to study more.

I have written these five things from a university student perspective, but they also work really well for anyone in middle school or high school. A lot depends on your learning style though, so I’m curious: what do you do in your first week back at school to prepare for the term ahead???

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Hello 2016

Good evening lovely readers, and happy 2016!!!

After giving 2015 one last farewell in my previous post, now it is only right to start the new year off on a positive note. After an intense year, both academically and personally, I am determined to approach 2016 with a renewed sense of determination and patience. I know resolutions often get a bad rap for not being accomplished, but I wanted to make a list of things I’d like to achieve so that, at the end of this year, I can reflect back and see which ones I managed to do. I find making resolutions really helpful because they give me something to look forward to and work towards. Plus, it feels so good once I accomplish something and can check it off my list.

♥Stay in touch 

With the first day of my spring term at university tomorrow, my social life will take a dramatic turn from nights out with friends to nights in the library with my daily dose of social interaction coming from the librarian telling me the library will be closing in 15 minutes. I really want to try to stay in touch with friends, and organize meet-ups whenever I can. Study date in the library, anyone???

♥Live as though no one is watching

I am a shy person by nature, and suffer from anxiety and OCD. I am the type of person who always looks at the ground when she walks and really tries her best to remain inconspicuous. While this means I have more than likely avoided being the protagonist in someone’s “I saw this girl the other day who . . . ” story, it also means that I probably have not been living my life to the fullest. We only come by this way once, and I want to spend more time trying new things, and less time worrying about what others will think of me.

♥Blog more

I have fallen in love with blogging over the past year, and I want to keep it up. I am currently working on a blogging schedule that I can fit around my university schedule so that I can post more regularly but also be able to take my time and write posts that I love and hopefully you all will love too.

♥Get in some exercise

As much as I argue that writing an in-class essay so quickly that your hand cramps up counts as strength training, or that power walking from one building to another during the 10-minutes between classes counts as cardio, I am forced to admit that these might not be the best forms of exercise. Don’t get me wrong, they are vital skills for the academically inclined, but they do little for your physical and mental health. This year, I really want to try and fit in some exercise. A yoga class, a running group, a pod of friends to quiz on linguistic terms while we all work off our stress on elliptical machines. Just any kind of physical activity that gives my brain a rest but my body a good workout.

♥ Drink more water

As someone who has such a tiny bladder that I have to pop off to the bathroom every two hours or so, come school time I tend to dramatically limit my water consumption. When you’re struggling to make it across the university campus in time for your next class, drinks of water must be limited and bathroom trips scheduled in advance. No joke, last term I had to go through my weekly timetable and block off areas where I could go, and where the nearest bathroom was. Granted, this was weirdly organized of me, but it often left me feeling lethargic. The brain needs water to function properly, and given all the academic work I force it to do on a daily basis, I owe it the courtesy of helping it run optimally.

So those are the little resolutions I have decided to set myself for 2016. Some are already in progress, like working on establishing a blogging schedule, while others have yet to be started. I plan on making the most of this year, and I hope you all do too.

What sort of resolutions have you set for 2016???

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2015 Flashback

My goodness 2015 has flown by!!! Almost a year ago, I began this little blog to chat about my love of books, beauty, and all other lovely things like knitting, baking, and more. I received my very first annual report for Literary and Lovely from WordPress the other day and was shocked and amazed by the figures it posted. I am so happy and grateful that so many of you out there have enjoyed reading my posts, and have shown your support through liking, commenting, and following.  Today I wanted to repost the five most popular posts of 2015:

  1. Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen
  2. Clinique Cheek Pop Blush Pop Collection
  3. Clinique Long Last Soft Matte Lipstick
  4. Clinique Autumn 2015 Haul and Bonus Time
  5. Blogmas Day 15: Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette Giveaway

(As we can all see, I have a bit of a Clinique obsession, and so do you, dear readers, since those are the posts you liked best).

Thank you again for reading my posts and for all of your love and support; it really does mean a lot to me. Hopefully there was something for everyone and I’d love to know which post was your favourite this year. I am forever grateful to each and every one of you for reading, commenting, liking, and following, and being a huge part of my little Internet nook.

-digital hugs-

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Blogmas Day 20: Favourite Christmas Lipsticks


Happy 20th day of Blogmas everyone!!!

With Christmas Day only 5 days away, many of you will be spending the remaining days planning and hosting a Christmas party or attending one. So today I thought I would share with you some of my favourite holiday lipsticks to give you some lipspiration of the festive Christmas colours that could adorn your lips at Christmas parties!!!

Clinique’s Long Last Soft Matte lipstick in Matte Crimson


BITE Beauty’s Matte Crème lipstick in Mulled Maple


NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella


Clinique’s Different Lipstick in Heartfelt


Clinique’s Chubby Stick Intense in Grandest Grape


BITE Beauty’s Matte Crème lipstick in Sugared Maple


Clinique’s Long Last Soft Matte lipstick in Matte Plum


 What festive lip colours are included in your holiday makeup looks???

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette giveaway here!!! Giveaway ends December 24th at 11:59 pm PST!!!

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Blogmas Day 10: My Favourite Christmas Movies

 I’m sure all of you have had this kind of day at least once: you wake up, have a short lie in, head into the kitchen to fix some breakfast, and just decide that nothing productive can be done on this day. Instead, pyjamas will remain on, and movies will be watched all day with a cat curled up in your lap. This was me yesterday. I don’t know if it was the stormy weather that did it, or that being off school has finally sunk in, but hot chocolate and movies seemed like the only thing to do yesterday. Christmas movies, though. So today, I thought I would share with you some of my favourite Christmas movies!!!

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer



The Year Without a Santa Claus

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Arthur Christmas

Are any of these on your favourite Christmas movie list??? Have I missed any??? Let me know!!!

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Blogmas Day 9: Chocolate Chip Cookies

blogmasbannerHello there all!!!

The last few days have been kind of crazy with Christmasy goings-on and I haven’t been keeping up with my daily Blogmas posts about them. So today, December 13th, will mark the most posts published on Literary and Lovely in one day to date. I’ll do my best to stagger them a little bit so you aren’t bombarded with the last five days of Christmas action, but be prepared: there are more posts to come today, so keep an eye out for them!!!




Back on December 9th, I met up with a friend and, spur-of-the-moment, we decided to bake some chocolate chip cookies. His kitchen is incredible, decked out with all the bells and whistles, and I had been dying to give baking in it a whirl, so this was so much fun. His aunt uses Irma Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking recipe for her chocolate chip cookies, and they always get eaten before midnight on the day they are baked, so it seemed like a fool-proof way to go. We did, however, make a few alterations to the recipe, which will be shown between *. . .*


  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • ‘½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  •  ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 °F, and grease or line two cookie sheets. *We did not grease the sheets because my friend’s family typically uses PAM, and I can’t eat it. It was definitely a mistake to bake on an unlined baking sheet, but who doesn’t love less-than-perfect cookies that become testers???*

Step 2: In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until well-mixed.

Step 3: Whisk together the flour and baking soda.

Step 4: Add egg, salt, and vanilla to flour mixture, and stir until well-combined and smooth. *We actually added 1 ½ tsps of vanilla because my friend’s family really likes it, but next time I would stick with just the ½ tsp.*

Step 5: Stir in chocolate chips. *We put in the suggested ½ cup but I would definitely put in at least a full cup next time*

Step 6: Dollop the dough in teaspoons onto the cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. *Pretty sure our drops of dough were larger than a teaspoon . . . *

Step 7: Bake for 11 minutes, then let stand briefly before moving them to a rack to cool.

This recipe makes about 45 cookies. *We didn’t make nearly this many cookies with this recipe, mind you, we had a few people snacking on the cookie dough . . . *

What is your favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe???

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Blogmas Day 4: A Christmas Miracle

blogmasbannerGood morning everyone, and happy fourth day of Blogmas!!!

Today I wanted to do a bit of a different style of post, and talk about something that is really important to me: my family.

Earlier this year, my aunt was told that one of her kidneys was riddled with tumours that were thought to be cancerous. After seeing my grandmother through intense cancer surgery and recovery two years ago, my family was in pieces over this. The doctors believed that the tumours had formed inside her kidney and were pushing their way out, and it needed to be removed as soon as possible.

My aunt called to tell us this news, along with the harsh reality that 95% of cases seen like this involved cancerous tumours, and these tumours had a nasty way of spreading to other organs.

She was scheduled for surgery in January, but thanks to a last-minute cancellation, she was able to go back in November. She has now been at home recovering for several weeks, and last night we got the call that the hospital had tested the removed kidney and figured out what was wrong.

It turns out that my aunt was among the lucky 5% whose kidney was not overrun with cancerous tumours. Instead of pushing out from the inside, these benign tumours had formed around the outside and started pushing their way in. While the kidney still needed to be removed, this meant that my aunt never had cancer.

This is my Christmas miracle. Knowing that my aunt did not have cancer, and therefore would not have to worry about it spreading to other organs, is all that I needed for Christmas.

Image from

So often I, like many other people, get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and forget what Christmas is truly about. In the words of Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch, “Maybe Christmas . . . doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

So while so many of us are out shopping for presents, decorating our homes, and stressing over what to make for Christmas dinner, I hope that we can pause for a moment and think about the things we are thankful for this year. Learning that my aunt did not have cancer is a Christmas miracle, and I am so grateful that she will be here this Christmas and hopefully many more Christmases to come.

Now it’s your turn: What is one of your Christmas miracles, from this year or previous years???

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