Creating Healthy Balance When Life Is Chaotic

What’s a healthy balance? Let me get back to you when I figure that one out, but for now, these are my go-to methods of achieving a sliver of sanity.

My life is in chaos. We’re talking upside-down, exhausting chaos. Within the last seven days I have:

✔ packed up five years’ worth of a combined household
✔ moved into a new home
✔ moved to a new city
✔ started a new job
✔ unpacked five years’ worth of a combined household

On top of all of that, this is what our bathroom currently looks like:


Like I said, chaos. Sometimes events in our life – whether large or seemingly insignificant – can cause a shift that will topple our sense of balance. I’m typically a cool, calm-headed kind of gal, and while some of that is simply my personality, a lot of it also has to do with the choices I make.

As I am navigating new streets in the midst of an entirely new routine (and new life) with my husband, I’m relying heavily on four key things to help me maintain my sense of self.

1. Sleep – I can’t lie. I have been exhausted at the end of each work day this week. I feel that listening to our bodies is crucial, and when your body tells you to rest, grant it its wish. Go to bed earlier than usual and try to maintain your nighttime rituals. For me that includes warm pajamas, sleepy tea, and diffusing lavender oil.

2. Diet – At one point last week, I counted eight – eight! – pizza boxes in our recycling blue bin. Gross, right? And I felt gross. Since we moved into the house, I’ve made a point of fuelling my body with what it needs to function well. Like a car, your body will perform much better when you’re feeding it high-quality fuel.

3. Skincare – Diet inevitably leads me to my skincare routine. I’m one of those women who, when eating a lot of dairy, gets an icky breakout on my décolletage. And lots of pizza with mozzarella will do just that. Eating better has helped, but maintaining a consistent skincare routine with a high-quality, gentle product like METRIN has been my skin’s saving grace. Washing the day away at the end of the evening feels absolutely necessary.

4. Exercise – Okay, I’ll admit it: this one has slipped a little bit this week. Only recently I got back into running, but I’ve had very little time (or energy) for it this week. I do, however, make a point of getting out and walking for at least 30 minutes on my lunch breaks, taking the stairs at work, and standing at my desk when I’m working on something for a long stretch of time.

Photo: Victor Hanacek

The beauty of finding a healthy balance and administering a little bit of self-care is that there’s no cookie cutter answer. What that looks like for you and, more importantly, what works for you is entirely for you to discover. Maintaining a sense of routine, even if it’s a new routine, and implementing these four keys has certainly helped me feel like myself again.

Over to you: What does striking a healthy balance look like for you? How do you implement a little bit of self-care. And what is the most vital part of your daily routine?

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post; however, the views and opinions contained herein are entirely my own.

20 Questions with Paul Jarvis

Paul Jarvis answers this week’s 20 Questions instalment. 20Q profiles bloggers, creators, artists, inspiring people, innovators, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs. Don’t miss these past features.


20 Questions with Paul Jarvis

Years ago, I’d heard whisperings about a man named Paul Jarvis. “Try his cupcakes,” they said. “He and Lisa make amazing cupcakes,” they said. So all I really knew was that there was this guy named Paul and that he and his wife made incredible cupcakes – vegan ones, no less. I also knew that they fronted an acoustic folk band known as Mojave. The band’s name makes sense, know that I know much more of Paul, being that he’s rather fond of California’s Mojave Desert. In fact, when I contacted him about participating in 20 Questions, the desert is where he was.

In recent years, Paul and Lisa packed up their lives in Vancouver and traded the city for the west coast of Vancouver Island. Paul now spends his days writing, podcasting, creating, growing his garden, and living a lifestyle that reflects his fierce love of the environment. Lucky for us, Paul has found the time to answer 20 Questions and his (sometimes surprising) answers are, in a word, rad. Read for yourself…

1. What are you really excited about these days?

​Growing stuff :) This year I built a fairly large greenhouse as well as expanded my garden. I’d like to get to 50/50 in summers as far as food I buy versus food I grow. I think it’s totally doable on the island with a mix of greenhouses and beds. I’m lucky to have a few acres to play with, but it is slow work.​


2.What was the last thing you created?

​I created a podcast episode this morning for my show The Freelancer. I can’t think of a day that doesn’t go by when I’m not making something: mostly articles, podcasts, courses, software, and ​workshops. It’s been part of my life for a few decades now, so I’m fairly addicted to creating, ha.

3. Making yourself accessible through social media opens the door to admiration but also criticism. How do you handle criticism?

​I get everything from hate mail to death threats… fairly regularly. My words and voice show up a lot in certain circles and I think that really bugs some people. I’m pretty good at brushing it off because: a) it happens a lot; and b) pretty much every single time it has more to do with the other person and bad shit in their life than anything I’ve said or done. It also matters a lot for the type of criticism – I get criticized by people who don’t buy things from me, so their opinions of me don’t really matter. If I was getting constantly criticized from my students or customers, then I’d probably pay attention to it (thankfully that doesn’t happen).

I’m human, so sometimes criticism can sting. But most of the time, after the initial shock, ​I forget about it pretty quickly. I’d rather focus on helping the people that support me than the opinions of people who don’t care.

4. When I first heard the name “Paul Jarvis,” I associated it with music. Your life seems to have taken off into a different trajectory, so what was the catalyst for the shift?

​So I’ve always been both a maker of things online and a touring musician. It just depends what circles you run in for what you think of if you hear my name. :) Music has taken a serious back seat lately, because my focus has been pulled away from it – which I’m cool with. I’m sure I’ll circle back on it at some point and be happy that I took a break.​

5. What’s something you aspire to that might surprise people?

​I really want to distill my own spirits. Which is a little funny since I don’t drink. But still (​a little distillation humour), it seems like the right mix of science, art, and wackiness for me. Plus, I grow barely, rye, and corn so it’d be interesting to take those from seed to finished alcohol. I have no elaborate plans to operate some Vancouver Island moonshine business. I just want to see if I can learn it and do it.

6. The Breakfast Club featured a rebel, a princess, a brainiac, an outcast, and a jock. Who were you in high school?

​The geek. Was there a nerd in that movie? I never saw it because I was watching Star Wars on repeat.​

7. If I gave you $50,000 to expand the scope of something you’re currently doing, what would it be?

​I’d give it back. I hate owing people money, ha.​


8. If I dropped you off at the airport with a ticket to anywhere, where are you headed?

​Palm Springs. Luckily there’s a direct flight from Victoria. I love the desert, it’s such a nice juxtaposition to living in a rainforest.​ ​Especially come February when I haven’t seen the sun for weeks.

9. You’ve seemingly accomplished a lot in the very short time span of the last few years. Where do you see yourself in 2021?

​My hope is that I’ve got a jetpack. Or a teleporter.​ Failing that, I just hope I’m happy. I suck at planning long-term or setting goals. I’d rather just go with the flow and see where it takes me. Hopefully… to a jetpack.

10. If I was a highly skilled bartender, what drink would you ask me to make for you right now?

​I’m allergic to alcohol. So I’d probably just ask for your strongest ginger ale.​

11. It’s now 2:00 a.m. and I’ve served you half a dozen ginger ales. Where are you going for your greasy food fix?

Oh geez, that’s a LOT OF SUGAR, KEIRA. I also don’t think anything South Island is open that late. But if it was a little earlier, I’d cut through that sugar rush with spicy curry from my favourite restaurant, Turmeric.

12. On southern Vancouver Island, what’s the one restaurant that no one has heard of but everyone should eat at?

​Turmeric in langford. I’m vegan and gluten-free and they have a ton of options. Even if you’re not, they have a ton of options. I could eat there every day. ​The owners are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet too.

13. What’s the biggest misconception people have about you in real life?

​That I’m extroverted. ​I’m absolutely comfortable writing or doing my podcast, but get me in a group of people in real life and I have a really hard time. I’d also rather stay home than go out (unless it’s to Turmeric since they don’t deliver to my area).


14. If you could star as any character in the remake of any movie, which famous role would you reprise?

​Darth Vader. He was a badass, but also, I could do the role without speaking (James Earl Jones does that) and without anyone seeing my face. ​

15. If you could learn a new skill, language, or hobby, what would it be?

​Definitely woodworking. I can cobble together rough things with wood (like raised beds), but every time I try to build something that looks finished or polished, it’s awful.​

16. What are you most proud of?

​That I’ve earned a living doing creative stuff for 20 years. ​

17. Who is (or was) the single most influential person in your life?

​I can’t honestly thing of any one person. I’ve never been one look to others, I like to figure things out for myself (e.g. the hard way).

18. I’m throwing a dinner party next weekend. You’re invited and can bring three others with you (dead or alive). Who should I set the table for?

Awesome! One, my wife Lisa; two, Andy Weir (the guy who wrote The Martian); and three, my internet boyfriend Jason Zook (because he’s fun to hang out with).​


19. What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you?

​Want two tickets to Palm Springs?​

20. ​I should have known! So do you want two tickets to Palm Springs?​


Meet Paul Jarvis:
Twitter: @pjrvs
Instagram: @pjrvs

All photos are provided courtesy of Paul Jarvis.

Happy Birthday! 85 Years of METRIN

METRIN Skincare is celebrating 85 years of a truly incredible product.

Nearly a century ago, a chemist with skin issues of his own, Dr. George C. Runnels, developed a natural process for treating everyday skin problems. What he developed would eventually become METRIN‘s skincare system. Once the system was finally formulated in 1932, I don’t imagine Dr. Runnels ever dreamed that METRIN would become what it is today! The company was eventually purchased in the late ’70s by long-time user Macil Sumpter. Macil soon turned it into the international empire it is today. And all that for a company now based out of Vancouver? I am, as always, impressed.

METRIN 85 Years

2017 marks 85 years of METRIN’s five-step skincare system, a product I have become rather fond of since discovering it. Even my mom has all five beautiful bottles lined up in her bathroom! To celebrate this milestone, METRIN has designed an exclusive anniversary bottle of Step 1, the Deep Cleanser. With its colourful motif, I was instantly smitten. Want to get your hands on one of these bottles – and the whole set? METRIN has offered a discount code for the Black Friday long weekend, exclusive to my readers.

    Enter coupon code Keira15 to save $15 off your purchase of METRIN’s five-step skincare system.

Act fast because when this weekend is over, the discount will disappear! From November 25th – 28th, METRIN’s Black Friday sale is your chance to stock up on the product at one of their biggest sales of the year.

And, in case you didn’t already know, METRIN’s products are always:

✔ gluten-free
✔ fragrance-free
✔ vegan
✔ dye-free
✔ cruelty-free
✔ made in North America
✔ made with organic ingredients

Finally, and most importantly, please join me in wishing METRIN (and their rad customer service team – seriously!) a very Happy Birthday!

This post was sponsored by METRIN Skincare; however, the views and opinions are entirely my own.

Vancouver Wedding Dress Preservation

Like most brides, I planned on dry-cleaning my dress after the big day. However, I recently discovered that wedding dress preservation is a service unlike any other.

At the show’s height of popularity, I was (and still am) obsessed with Carrie Bradshaw’s “mille-feuille” dress from part une of a Sex and the City episode titled “An American Girl in Paris.” (Click here for a refresher.) With its layers upon layers of tissue-soft, stunning, ruffled fabric, the gown was nothing short of dreamy. Though my husband and I decided to elope to Kailua-Kona when we got married, I didn’t want to be without what would no doubt be the most incredible gown I’d ever wear – a wedding dress.


With its corset bust reminiscent of a swimsuit, a waist of delicate flower pedals, and a train that swirls like the ocean, this dress was perfect for a beach wedding at sunset in Hawaii (and would be totally Carrie Bradshaw-approved). With aloha comes the inevitable black lava rock which became ground in to the hem of the gown after our photoshoot on the ocean. It was never my intention to “trash the dress,” but it was certainly worse for wear once all was said and done.


Recently, after nearly three years of being stuffed in a closet, I brought the gown to Busy Bee Gold – Vancouver’s wedding dress preservation experts. Moments after I entered the store, I was greeted by Mohamud, the soft-spoken and kindly owner of Busy Bee Gold. I was slightly embarrassed over the nearly three years of neglect I’d inflicted on my gown. I told Mohamud I’d all but lost hope that the dress could ever be revived to its original glory, but he was confident that he could work magic.


Busy Bee Gold’s process is unique in that they do not simply dry-clean the wedding gowns that come into the shop. Mohamud and his team personally preserve each gown that Busy Bee Gold’s clients bring to them using an eco-friendly, multi-step system. Each detail, sequin, ruffle, and stitch of embroidery is first documented, then cleaned, and carefully protected.


Mohamud explained that my wedding dress would be cleaned by hand (yes – really!) and then washed with a custom blend solution, tailored for my gown. As the final step, it would be carefully stuffed to maintain its shape, draped out beautifully, and wrapped in soft muslin fabric. The dress would be packed with a pair of white gloves to wear when touching the dress so that the fabric would remain protected from my hand’s oils. This is the same method that is also employed by the Smithsonian Institute for all textiles. I knew my wedding gown was in the best possible hands.


After several weeks, I finally picked up the gown several days ago. When Mohamud carefully opened the box to unveil my gown, I was left speechless. Each and every lava stain, Mai Tai spill, and drop of oil from my coconut-scented sunscreen was gone. Inside the box was a perfectly-presented, pristine gown, more beautiful than I’d remembered. I fell in love with my dress all over again, and was reminded once more why this gown was the one I said “yes!” to as I proclaimed “I do” to The One.

Busy Bee Gold Dry Cleaners is the highest-rated dry cleaning service in Vancouver, and they are open six days a week. Busy Bee Gold is located at 704 West 6th Avenue (at Heather Street). Call the store at (604) 872-1519 for more information, or book your wedding dress preservation in-store consultation online. You can also find them on Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp.

Disclaimer: I did not pay for my wedding dress preservation service, but the opinions, views, and experiences shared in this post are entirely my own.

Five Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Despite what magazine covers, news reports, and Pinterest may tell us, living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to be complicated.

Get clearer skin!

Lose weight the easy way!

Feel rested and look your best!

Media headlines constantly bombard us with messages designed to cause us to pick ourselves apart while we hunger for change. Fad diets, trends, and health gurus would love us to believe that their solutions are the only solutions. And then, when we don’t achieve the results we’re promised, we feel like failures and give up.

Want to hear a secret? A healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to be complicated. Here are five quick, easy tips to achieving a healthy lifestyle – on your own terms.

1. Diet – Have you ever noticed which foods energize you versus which ones cause you to crash or feel tired and bloated? Fresh and delicious fruit and vegetables, healthy proteins, and whole grains are some of nature’s best medicine. Skip the processed food aisles at your grocery store, and instead opt for salads, wraps, soups, stews, chili, smoothies, and other tasty treats for your tummy.


2. Exercise – I know without a doubt when I have not been running or stretching or practicing yoga. My entire body feels seized and fatigued. Muscles that are normally limber feel tighter, and my stress levels start to rise. Getting your heart pumping is one of the best things you can do for your body. Skip the marathons, though. Even just a walk around the block on your lunch break can make a world of difference!

3. Body Care – Your skin is your body’s largest (and probably most absorbent) organ. If you live in a city like I do, you bring the day home with you on your face: car exhaust, dirt, oils, airborne pollutants, and other nasty toxins. Wipe the slate clean with a high-quality product that is gentle and non-toxic while working to rid your face of everything unwanted. You know I love METRIN‘s simple, clean, five-step system.


4. Mental Health – An equally-important component to a healthy lifestyle, keeping your mental health and wellness in check is a must. Sometimes it takes a lot of work, but the rewards are worth the effort you put into it. We can all benefit from a reduced stress load, so find what works for you. Whether it’s yoga, journalling, talking with a friend, or spending time doing a hobby you enjoy, making time for yourself is something you’ll feel grateful for.

5. Sleep – Sweet, sweet sleep… the one thing that tends to elude so many of us. With sugar coursing through our veins, pent-up energy from lack of exercise, and the stress of the day carried around on our slumped shoulders, is it any wonder so many people lack quality sleep? When we bring all of the other pieces in line, it’s likely that we’ll have an easier time catching Zzzs. If not? Diffuse some lavender or cedarwood essential oils, cuddle with your dog, take a warm bath before bedtime, or sip a rest-inducing herbal tea.


You’ve already got the tools and the ability to choose what’s best for you. No one knows what your healthy lifestyle looks like better than you do, and no one is able to make these choices for you. If you want to feel better and live a healthier lifestyle, only you can take those steps, make those plans, or prioritize what’s important.

Photos 1 and 3: Victor Hanacek