LookHUMAN Mug Haul

LookHUMAN Mug Haul and Wish List

I’ve been a fan of LookHUMAN for ages, but it took me until just a few months ago to start my own LookHUMAN mug collection. Once I started, though, I dove in head first! Naturally, a LookHUMAN mug haul was necessary—as well as a wish list showcasing those I’d still like to add to my collection.

It’s worth noting that there’s more than just mugs on the LookHUMAN website. In fact, you’ll find designs like these on just about everything! Journals, t-shirts, face masks, and pins stand out as a few other fantastic products.

Cute Mothman Mug

Cute Mothman Mug

You might not know this about me, but I’m a big fan of Mothman. Is it normal to have a favourite cryptid? Regardless, between my go-to episode of Paranormal Witness and the wonderful Twitter bot, in-real-life friends and family know that cute Mothman merch is a quick and easy way to my heart. This mug was the first LookHUMAN piece in my collection and for good reason—how cute are these little mothmen? There’s a pastel version, too, that I’m hoping to get my hands on sometime soon.

Cute Mothman 15-ounce mug

Mothman Believes in You Mug

Mothman Believes in You Mug

Speaking of Mothman—how cute is this? Some days need a little extra motivation and Mothman is ready to offer just that. Unfortunately, this mug took a nose dive within days of getting it, leading to a nasty chip along the rim. I’m hoping to replace this inspirational mug soon for coffee/tea-drinking purposes, delegating the chipped version to holding some pens or pencils!

Mothman Believes In You 15-ounce mug

College Educated Evil Feminist Slut Mug

College Educated Evil Feminist Slut Mug

Full disclosure, I’ve actually got this mug packed away—while I’m stay at my parents’ house, it’s not quite the drinkware they’d want to see me using! Once I’ve moved away once more, though, I’m excited to pull this out and spread the word. Certainly, there’s nothing more evil than a feminist!

College Educated Evil Feminist Slut 15-ounce mug

Legally Blonde Harvard Mug

Legally Blonde Harvard Mug

Legally Blonde is one of my favourite movies of all time. Not only do I adore Reese Witherspoon, but I’m also a natural blonde with a small dog who nearly tried to become a lawyer (I talked myself out of that one for health reasons). This mug is the perfect confidence boost when adulting feels a little extra challenging!

Harvard Law What Like It’s Hard 15-ounce mug

Buy Me Books and Tell Me I’m Pretty Mug

Buy Me Books & Tell Me I’m Pretty Mug

I mean, this sounds like a pretty good plan to me! This mug always reminds me of an exchange between Firefly’s Wash and Kaylee (or, depending on the day, Kaylee and Simon—“pretty pretty” gets me every time!). Paired with my love for books, this mug just couldn’t be better. And who knows…maybe it’ll encourage the perfect bookstore date someday!

Buy Me Books and Tell Me I’m Pretty 15-ounce mug

Fueled By Crystals & Coffee MugFueled by Crystals & Coffee Mug


Even if you only know me through the blog and social media, this should be pretty self-explanatory. This combo gets me through more days than I could count!

Fueled by Crystals & Coffee 15-ounce mug

Need some more crystals in your life? Check out the Witchy One subscription box or my witchy Etsy haul!

I’m a Witch, I’m a Lover Mug

I’m a Witch I’m a Lover Mug

Who doesn’t love this oh-so-catchy Meredith Brooks song? The subtle word-swap for “witch” is perfect—I don’t curse much (especially around family), and I’m pretty darn witchy as a rule.

I’m a Witch, I’m a Lover 15-ounce mug

Spooks and Books Mug

Spooks & Books Mug

Former paranormal investigator, empath, and resident of a haunted house…who just so happens to be a bibliophile, too? What could be a better fit than an adorable mug that combines these interests?

Spooks and Books 15-ounce mug

Village Witch Mug

Village Witch Mug

This design is actually the first that drew me to LookHUMAN! After seeing it on Buzzfeed, I fell in love with the quaint illustration and the implications behind using this mug in my small hometown (technically a borough, but close enough!). So, it’s no surprise that this was one of the first mugs I ordered!

Village Witch 15-ounce mug

Perfectly Splendid Mug

Perfectly Splendid Mug

Any other The Haunting of… fans? While I love Hill House (if you haven’t read the novel yet, you absolutely must! It’s not the same as the Netflix series, but it’s perfectly splendid all the same. I mean, could Shirley Jackson write anything that isn’t?) Bly Manor (inspired by the Henry James classic, The Turn of the Screw) has a special place in my heart. That end-game couple is one of my all-time favourites, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen’s accent? Swoon. Bad guy or not, it’s impossible to deny it! Fan-girling aside, this mug is a splendid way to show off your love of this series.

Perfectly Splendid 15-ounce mug

Do I have space for more mugs right now? Not at all. Do I fully intend to grow my collection regardless? You betcha. These are just a few of the mugs on my wish list as of this writing:

Cute Pastel Mothman Mug

Cute Pastel Mothman Mug

I mentioned the “normal” cute mothman mug above—I definitely have to add the pastel version to my collection!

Cute Pastel Mothman 15-ounce mug

Ghost Cat Mug

Ghost Cat Mug

Adorably spooky kitty? How could I resist?

Ghost Cat 15-ounce mug

I’m in Love with the Shape of You Pumpkin Mug

I’m in Love with the Shape of You

Ed Sheeran meets Spooky Season? Yes, please!

Shape of You Pumpkin 15-ounce mug

Fireworks Make Me Anxious Mug

Fireworks Make Me Anxious Mug

Not only do fireworks aggravate my own PTSD, but they bother our poor pets, too. My parents’ neighbors, in particular, insist on setting off illegal blasts all summer long, so it’s an especial pet peeve! This mug illustrates my feelings pretty perfectly.

Fireworks Make Me Anxious 15-ounce mug

My Everything Hurts Mug

My Everything Hurts

This is a spoonie mug if I’ve ever seen one!

My Everything Hurts 15-ounce mug

Ruth BAder Ginsburg Justice Tarot Mug

RBG Justice Tarot Mug

I adore RBG, and this tarot card design adds a fantastically witchy touch!

RBG Justice Tarot 15-ounce mug

the Fall of the Patriarchy Mug

Fall of the Patriarchy Mug

It’s almost fall—this is a must-buy, right?

My Favorite Season is the Fall of the Patriarchy 15-ounce mug

Baby Goats Mug

Baby Goats Mug

Baby goats are adorable, satan eyes and all…and this mug is no exception!

Baby Goats 15-ounce mug

…You Know, Fall Shit Mug

You Know Fall Shit Mug

This mug made my sister and I crack up—we both adore autumn, and this couldn’t be more true for us as true crime fans!

…You Know, Fall Shit 15-ounce mug

I Like to Party Mug

I Like to Party Mug

Now that we mention true crime…how perfect is this one? Side note, drop your favourite true crime docs in the comments! I’m always looking for new titles for my to-watch list.

I Like to Party and By Party I Mean Watch True Crime Documentaries 15-ounce mug

Pride and Feminist Mug

Pride and Feminist Mug

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a Jane Austen fan in possession of feminist ideals, must be in want of this mug.

Pride and Feminist 15-ounce mug

Therapy Is Expensive, Sleep Is Free Mug

Therapy Is Expensive Sleep Is Free Mug

Therapy is a great concept (I’ve got Talkspace on my radar myself), but not always an accessible one. Sleep isn’t an actual substitute, of course, but it certainly feels good in the moment!

Therapy is Expensive, Sleep is Free 15-ounce mug

Tears of My Readers Mug

Tears of My Readers Mug

Any writer recognizes this sentiment, right?

Tears of My Readers 15-ounce mug

Witches Get StufF Done Mug

Witches Get Stuff Done Mug

This mug instantly makes me think of Hamilton’s “Immigrants—we get the job done!” Witches certainly do the same!

Witches Get Stuff Done 15-ounce mug

Of course, I’m sure there are even more LookHUMAN mugs I’d love—but I don’t want a 3,000 word wish list here either! For now, though, this wish list is plenty. In fact, getting each of these mugs would more than double my LookHUMAN collection!

I absolutely love the mugs in my LookHUMAN mug haul so far and can hardly wait to add a few more, especially as spooky season approaches. Do you have any mugs or other products from LookHUMAN? Let me know in the comments if you have any recommendations!

Mini - An Ideal Life
Mini - An Ideal Life

East Coast Travel Destinations for your Summer Bucket List

East Coast Travel Destinations for Your Summer Bucket List

While I don’t get to enjoy it anywhere near as often as I’d like, I love to travel. The number of travel opportunities was one of my favourite things about life in Bath and, to some degree, college in Gettysburg. Here in the middle of nowhere (my current home base), the chance to travel is pretty rare. Reaching public transit to get anywhere is a trip in and of itself!

Still, the east coast offers some fantastic destinations. I’ve been lucky enough to visit quite a few, and others are on my own bucket list. So, with summer on the horizon and vacation plans being made, I thought there was no better time to share some of my top east coast summer travel spots.

Before we get into my favourite destinations, a few disclaimers are in order. A majority of these spots are in the Mid-Atlantic region since that’s my area of expertise. I even included a touch of Pennsylvania, though it’s not technically on the coast (most resources consider it a part of the region, if not literally touch the coastline).

Interested in PA travel in particular? Read about my weekend in Harrisburg!

There are a few must-see travel destinations, though, that I haven’t had the chance to visit just yet. Through my insatiable wanderlust and travel (ghost) writing experience, I’ve had the opportunity to “see” some incredible cities and points of interest across the country and beyond! Naturally, a few have piqued my interest and made their way onto my travel bucket list. Have you been to one of these places? Share your best tips in the comments or @anideallifeblog!

The Best Summer Travel Destinations on the East Coast:

Of course, be sure to follow any applicable health & safety guidelines when travelling, particularly in the wake of COVID-19.

Frederick, Md

Carroll Creek Park, Image via Visit Frederick

Frederick is quite possibly one of my favourite places anywhere, not just on the east coast. This city has all the amenities you’d expectyet somehow achieves a friendly small-town feel. I love the artsy atmosphere and see a dog nearly any which way I turn! Plus, Voila! tea is basically a dream come true.

It may very well be different for the people that live there (I know Gettysburg was like that for me), but, until proven otherwise, Frederick will remain one of my favourite spots in Maryland and beyond.

Miami, FL

Image via Miamigov.com

Beaches aren’t necessarily my forte, but the city of Miami has most definitely caught my eye.

From my writing projects and pop culture, the diversity here astounds me. If nothing else, I won’t turn down a chance to practice my Spanish listening skills!

Gettysburg, PA

Gettysburg Pennsylvania | An Ideal Life
Devil’s Den

Going to school there dampened my love for Gettysburg a bit, but I still have a soft spot for the tourist-packed summer months. Any history fan—or civil war buff, in particular—should have the National Military Park on their bucket list!

In addition to the battlefield, Downtown Gettysburg has a lot to love. Visit the Blue and Gray Bar & Grill for a veggie burger or grab a drink at the Pointe Pub (within the Federal Pointe Inn). Learn about Jennie Wade, the only reported civilian killed during the battle, or “meet” some Gettysburg ghosts at one of the town’s many paranormal tours. More spiritual visitors should be sure to visit The Crystal Wand’s new location on Baltimore Street.

Myrtle Beach, SC

Image via Visit Myrtle Beach

Technically, I have been to Myrtle Beach, but it’s been well over a decade. So, while I don’t have much in terms of specific recommendations, I do have a ton of happy memories.

It’s all too possible that my view of Myrtle Beach is clouded by nostalgia—as my disdain for sand & sun grew through the years, I think I’d still enjoy this one. But, still, that rose tint maintains my love of this South Carolina hot spot, hence its inclusion on this list of east coast summer travel ideas.

Inner Harbor, MD

Baltimore Inner Harbor | An Ideal Life

Apparently, most of my favourite destinations are in Maryland—who knew? Aside: one of my current writing projects is inspired by the town of Berlin, too!

Between family vacations as I was growing up and then school and professional trips in later years, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is near the top of my list of favourite places. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I’ve considered moving there!

But, so far as summer travel plans are concerned, Inner Harbor is the perfect weekend or day trip destination for anyone within a reasonable driving distance. From museums to adventures on the water, you’d be hard-pressed to not find something to love.

New York, NY

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, also known as Central Park Reservoir Manhattan | An Ideal Life
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, Manhattan

Given my limited interest in beaches, it’s only natural that I’d include some cities as potential east coast destinations to visit this summer. NYC has a special place in my heart, and it’s not only because of Tiffany’s.

From Times Square to Central Park, New York City is “centre of the universe” for a good reason. But there’s more to the Big Apple than tourist attractions alone. My number one stop? VLife, the source of some of the best vegan food I’ve ever eaten!

Amherst, MA

Amherst Town Hall
Amherst Town Hall, Image via Encyclopaedia Britannica

Amherst is the newest addition to my travel bucket list, primarily due to the Emily Dickinson Museum. But any destination described as being “known for its bookishness, its artsyness, its local food obsession, its openness and tolerance, and its beauty” is the sort of place I need to visit!

Save for Salem, I’ve never had much of an urge to travel through the more northern United States. The more I learn about Amherst, though, the more that changes.

Petersburg, VA

City Point, Petersburg | An Ideal Life
City Point

My experience in Petersburg was limited to a Civil War conference half a decade ago (in my “former life” as a historian).But, from what I did get to experience the battlefield and surrounding area, I really enjoyed my stay!

If you do visit Petersburg’s National Battlefield, try to catch a program with my friend Emmanuel—he’s an incredible ranger and so passionate about his work!

City Point is especially beautiful, and its stunning views have stuck with me through the years. And, returning to my Pennsylvania roots, the 48th’s efforts had a particular impact as well.

Ocean City, MD

Ocean City, MD | An Ideal LifeAnother notable exception to my not-so-positive feelings about beaches, Ocean City, Maryland (not to be confused with its New Jersey equivalent) is anotherwonderful destination for a summer vacation. The boardwalk, in particular, has such fond memories!

As a bonus, the shore is just a few minutes away from one of my all-time favourite places, Assateague Island. They’ve basically mastered the formula for getting a place to catch my attention—they have cute animals and some literary references.

There’s much more to the east coast than these particular destinations. But these are a few of my favourites—and hopefully future favourites, too!

Mini - An Ideal Life
Mini - An Ideal Life
Mini - An Ideal Life
Mini - An Ideal Life
Mini - An Ideal Life
Mini - An Ideal Life

Best Springtime Films

Best Springtime Films to Watch This Season

With winter finally coming to a close, we could all use a bit of springtime brightness. This means packing up Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerKrampus, and Elf for the season. We can’t let Christmas movies have all the fun! Instead, check out some of the best springtime films out there for all the flowers, Easter bunnies, and rebirth you could ask for. With direct ties to spring or more subtle springtime vibes, these movies will have you ready for petals and prom—without the threat of pollen you’ll find outside.

Pride & Prejudice

Colin Firth and the BBC portrayal of the classic Jane Austen novel are wonderful. But, when I’m in the mood for something fit for springtime, there’s no contest—the 2005 adaptation reigns supreme. Starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen as the iconic Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, this film offers both literal springtime views in its sweeping countryside scenery and the more metaphorical iteration of rebirth in Lizzie and Darcy’s growth through pride and (you guessed it) prejudice.

Tuck Everlasting

I recently stumbled across Tuck Everlasting on Disney+ and it was like the best parts of my childhood came rushing back. Long before I discovered Alexis Bledel as the eponymous Rory Gilmore, I fell in love with Jesse Tuck alongside Winnie. I don’t remember where I got my copy of the Natalie Babbitt novel but it quickly became a favourite. It was a few years before I found out there was a film to go with it. Unsurprisingly, I was just as hooked then. With a magical spring (pun completely intended for the sake of this post) and plenty of beautiful springtime setting, Tuck Everlasting is a must-watch (and must-read!) chunk of springtime.

Get yourself a copy of the book from: Bookshop | BooksAMillion | AbeBooks

The Producers

Musical fans just might have “Springtime for Hitler” stuck in their head all season long. What can I say, the show-within-the-show was meant to be bad, but it’s so darn catchy! The Gene Wilder/Zero Mostel original 1967 film is great and, in a rare case, I’ve really enjoyed the 2005 adaptation of The Producers starring Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane.


One of the more recent films on this list, this 2011 movie is an animation-live-action-hybrid. I actually saw it for the first time within the past two years or so! It’s hard not to love James Marsden and Kaley Cuoco in any context. But it’s even easier when they’re joined by adorable characters, like Russell Brand’s E.B.. Hop is a great spring film for the family (rated PG for “mild rude humour”), whether you celebrate Easter personally or you just want to watch a funny movie about the springtime holiday.

Easter Parade

This is actually the only film on this list that I haven’t yet watched myself. But it’s most definitely on my list! Starring the incomparable Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, Easter Parade tells the story of performer Don Hewes hiring Hannah Brown, a chorus girl, to prove that he can make anyone a star. Of course, there’s a bit of romance along the way, as well as plenty of musical numbers!

Alice in Wonderland

Whether you’re following the white rabbit or painting the roses red, the springtime vibes in Alice in Wonderland aren’t exactly subtle. With plenty of merch to complement the film (and much of it, of course, showcasing the iconic Cheshire Cat grin), you can watch this one at the start of the season but embrace the Alice in Wonderland aesthetic all year long. Personally, I prefer the animated Disney classic, but the Tim Burton adaptation featuring Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter is certainly valid, too.

A League of Their Own

For me, one of the best parts of spring starting is the arrival of the softball and baseball seasons. My grandfather was a long-time softball coach), so each season I’d come to the field with him It’s been years since I watched A League of Their Own, but I’m willing to bet those same fuzzy feelings come back with the sound of the bat hitting the ball!


You didn’t think I was finished with animated films, did you? From the grassy hills Rapunzel rolls down and the magical flower that gives her hair its flowers to the personal renewal both she and Eugene face by the end of the film, you can’t deny the springtime feeling in Tangled. This Disney princess movie will leave you wanting to reach your dreams this spring (and likely humming “I’ve Got a Dream” while you do). And, of course, you can find plenty of Tangled merchandise, too, from collector-ready pins and dolls to a LEGO tower or plush Pascal!

10 Things I hate About You

Every good film list needs a high school romantic comedy—and a Shakespeare adaptation or two. 10 Things I Hate About You includes plenty of literal springtime, personal growth and new beginnings for its leads, and Heath Ledger at his most adorable alongside Julia Stiles. Believe it or not, I actually hadn’t seen this late-90s classic until watching it for a college course! Needless to say, I’m glad I did.

Whatever your favourite, the right movies can be the perfect start to a new season. Any of these springtime films will have you ready for all things spring!

Looking for more film recommendations? Check out our picks of the best movies for self-care days!

What’s your favourite springtime film?

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A Weekend in Harrisburg

A Weekend in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Despite living in Pennsylvania for a huge portion of my life, I haven’t spent much time in the capital in a long time. When I was young, my mom worked for the State, so she spent plenty of time in the Harrisburg area. I got to accompany her fairly often but it’s been years since I visited the city. Or, that was the case until this time last year. That changed after a (pre-COVID, of course!) weekend in Harrisburg!


We first arrived in Harrisburg late Friday afternoon, with time to catch up and unpack. We’d gone with a particularly budget-friendly accommodation option, so there’s not much to say about the hotel room itself. Though it’s always a pleasure to sprawl out in a hotel bed—it’s a quality I’m forever trying to emulate at home!

Naturally, we were in need of sustenance not long after. For that, we headed to O’Reilly’s Tap Room & Kitchen, an Irish pub attached to The Central Hotel & Conference Center of Harrisburg. This 2020 Friday evening was coincidentally Valentine’s Day, so we were worried we’d struggle to find somewhere to eat without a reservation. But, fortunately, O’Reilly’s had seats available and attentive service to match.

After months in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania, I was thrilled to see vegan offerings. O’Reilly’s was the first of several veggie burgers I indulged in over the weekend. And, as a bonus, the burger itself was beautiful!

A Weekend in Harrisburg, PA - O'Reilly's Beyond Burger

Once we’d finished eating and enjoying our drinks, it was about time to head “home” to our hotel room. A few YouTube videos later and it was time to rest up for tomorrow’s adventures!


Day 2 of our weekend in Harrisburg began with a visit to the AACA Museum. When your travel companion’s a car enthusiast and you’re minutes from one of the top automotive museums in the world, the itinerary is pretty clear.

While I don’t have the technical knowledge to back it up, I’ve always loved cars, too. I have fond memories of going to an annual car show with my grandparents and appreciating the classics as they’d drive by! So the museum was a special treat for me as well.

In particular, these two exhibits stood out to me, for arguably silly reasons. The bus from Speed (1994) was a highlight for a rather silly reason—its reference in an early episode of Bob’s Burgers.

A Weekend in Harrisburg - AACA Museum - bus from Speed

But the DeLoreans made for something even more special. For my sixteenth birthday, my grandparents surprised me with a car reminiscent of our old car show days—a little toy DeLorean. So it was a particular treat to see the real thing displayed!

A Weekend in Harrisburg - AACA Museum - DeLoreans

After the museum, it was once again time for food. For that, we turned to The Mill, a must-visit spot in Hershey. With “a unique collection of dining spaces,” The Mill really is a restored historic mill. And, just as importantly, it’s got to delicious food and drink! I didn’t snag any photos while we were there, but I enjoyed another plant-based burger. And it’s worth noting that my (non-vegan) lunchtime partner enjoyed The Mill’s crabcakes, even as a native Marylander!

Post-lunch, it was time for a stop I was especially looking forward to—Midtown Scholar Bookstore. It’s been much too long since I got to enjoy the beauty of a bookstore and I’d been staring longingly at their shelves through my phone screen. And, not only did we pick up (more than) our fair share of books, I was excited to pick up a few books by my fellow poets. While I can’t quite call them “friends,” per se, I finally had the chance to read the work of some of my Twitter connections! As a bonus, I stopped by the children’s section for a few sentimental favourites—Guess How Much I Love You for myself and Goodnight Moon as a gift for my mom.

A Weekend in Harrisburg - Midtown Scholar
How gorgeous are these Shakespeares?

Looking for some used or indie books of your own? Head to Bookshop, IndieBound, AbeBooks, or Thriftbooks!

Thriftbooks Coupon

As undeniable bookworms, that called for an end to our adventuring—we needed to head back to enjoy our new reads!


Our weekend was coming to a close around mid-day, so there wasn’t time for a ton of activities. Even still, the day had to start with the all-important cup of coffee on my part. That’s where the City Line Diner came into play. Not only did I get that coffee, but I enjoyed a tasty veggie panini. Plus, our waiter offered some of the best service I’ve ever encountered!

A Weekend in Harrisburg - City Line Diner - Coffee

As a final event, we headed to Fort Hunter Mansion and Park. The Archibald McAllister House was unfortunately closed for the season, but the grounds alone are stunning. You can genuinely feel the history of the land around you!

A Weekend in Harrisburg: Fort Hunter Mansion

But the gorgeous view of the Susquehanna just might have been my favourite point of it all. Even on a cloudy day, it was absolutely stunning!

A Weekend in Harrisburg - Susquehanna River

Even with these must-see spots throughout Harrisburg, I know we hardly saw all that Harrisburg has to offer. While COVID’s halted our travel plans for the time being, it’s definitely a city we’ll have to return to, not to mention the larger Hershey-Harrisburg area!

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How would you spend a weekend in Harrisburg?

Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day

The Ultimate Guide to a Cruelty-Free Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day only comes around once a year. And, while it’s chided by cynics as overly commercialized, Cupid’s favourite holiday really does lend itself to all things romance. Want to give the environment a Valentine? Set yourself and your sweetheart up for a cruelty-free Valentine’s Day, with all the red-and-pink-heart trappings the celebration warrants.

Skip ahead:


As Laurie of The Laurie Loo writes about affordable ethical clothing, “In the past 5 or so years Old Navy [and H&M, later in the post] has improved their ethics immensely, and honestly I think the quality of their clothing has improved too.” These are two of my favourite budget-friendly brands, too! If you’re looking for an ethical date night look that won’t break the bank, look no further—and save those extra funds for the rest of your cruelty-free Valentine’s Day.

Shop H&M’s full line of sustainable women’s fashion or learn more about their sustainability efforts. Or, learn more about Old Navy’s sustainability plan.


Ribbed Turtleneck Sweater (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via H&M

If you live in a climate like mine, it’s as important to stay warm on Valentine’s Day as it is to look good!


Space-Dye Sweater (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Old Navy

Stay warm & absolutely cosy in this oversized sweater.


Patterned Top (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via H&M

Splurge on this gorgeous, ethical top, and know your Valentine won’t take their eyes off of you all night.


Swing Shirt (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Old Navy

This blouse would be such a classic addition to your cruelty-free Valentine’s Day look!


Denim Pencil Skirt (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via H&M

Denim is another classic, as are pencils skirts. Put them together and what’ve you got? This gorgeous skirt from H&M!


Flutter Mini Skirt (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Old Navy

Looking for a skirt with more flow? This is a perfect choice, with the bonus appeal of polka dots!


Vintage Jeans (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via H&M

Add a touch of vintage to your casual Valentine’s Day look with these vintage-inspired jeans.


Black Skinny Jeans (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Old Navy

Will the black colour or the skinny cut of these jeans be more flattering? All of the above!


Balloon Dress (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via H&M

This stunning dress will give a whole new meaning to “LBD.”


Cami Dress (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Old Navy

This form-fitting dress simply screams “be my Valentine!”


If you’re planning a particularly sexy cruelty-free Valentine’s Day, you’ll need some ethical lingerie!


Deep V Bodysuit Cosabella (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Cosabella

This bodysuit combines a sexy deep V with a brilliant red lace for the perfect Valentine’s Day combination.


Ballet Bodysuit Cosabella (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Cosabella

Classic black more your style? This bodysuit showcases black lace in a style that’s simultaneously sexy and not showing too much skin.


Magnolia Romper Cosabella (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Cosabella

I love rompers of all kinds, so it’s no surprise that this piece caught my eye! And that “Nocturnal Blue” shade is absolutely to die for.


Never Say Never Cosabella (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Cosabella

Prefer a set of separates? Check out Cosabella’s Never Say Never collection in its entirety to mix and match your favourite styles!


Myah Mary Young (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Mary Young

This set by Mary Young combines an almost athletic silhouette with a sheer fabric that’s sure to have your partner’s eyes on you from the moment they spot it.


As great as those sustainable clothing options are, your cruelty-free Valentine’s Day outfit won’t be complete without some ethical accessories! Jewellery is a must and, in the current state, so are face masks. And don’t forget a great pair of shoes to finish your look!


Rose Quartz Earrings Niyanta Shah Creations (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Niyanta Shah Creations

I first connected with Niyanta on Instagram and have been staring longingly at her gorgeous jewellery ever since! These earrings are just one example of her incredible work. From her website: “All your jewellery will be safely sent in eco-friendly recycled card boxes. I’m committed to being as environmentally friendly as possible. When you buy from me you are helping to build a dream. I want to run my own jewellery school in India to teach children how to be confident and be brave enough to follow their own dreams.” I couldn’t create a more persuasive reason to order from her shop if I tried!


Rose Studs Catbird (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Catbird

I’ve been a longtime fan of Catbird and their ethical accessories from afar, and these stunning studs are no exception. Get yourself roses this Valentine’s Day by treating yourself to these earrings!


Sea Turtle Bracelet Pura Vida (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Pura Vida

Help save the sea turtles, rock an adorable bracelet, and coordinate a simple accessory with your cruelty-free Valentine’s Day outfit? Say no more. Pura Vida is one of my all-time favourite brands, and they have an incredible impact, even as they give us some absolutely stunning accessories.


Pink Tourmaline Bezel Bracelet Brilliant Earth (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Brilliant Earth

I’ve seen countless ads for Brilliant Earth on Instagram and other platforms, but I hadn’t scanned their site for myself until researching this post. There are some absolutely gorgeous pieces, like this bracelet! Plus, with “Beyond Conflict Free” diamonds, responsible sourcing, recycled gold, and other give-back efforts, you can feel good about supporting the company.


Wild Hearts Ring Pura Vida (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Pura Vida

You can’t get much more Valentine’s Day-y than hearts, right? Even better if they’re rose gold! This one is definitely on my ever-growing Pura Vida wishlist.


Chain Ring Pura Vida (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Pura Vida

If you’d rather not be as festive as a ring of hearts, this simple ring with a chain accent will give a touch of elegance in a beautiful, dainty way.


Rose Quartz Heart Necklace Pura Vida (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Pura Vida

I live by an important rule: there’s no such thing as too much rose quartz (I mean, come on…can you have too much self-love or soothing energy?). I just might need to get my hands on this necklace for myself soon!


Caravaggio Ruby Catbird (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Catbird

My Catbird wishlist grew exponentially while writing this post! How beautiful is this ruby necklace? The perfect showpiece for a simple neckline—this piece demands to shine!


Cornelia Cat Backpack No Faux Vegan (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via No Faux Vegan

I have had my eyes on this bag for an absolutely inordinate about of time. One of these days, I’ll splurge but, for now, I’ll share it with you! This adorable vegan cat-pack will add a sweet touch to your cruelty-free Valentine’s Day look. No Faux Vegan is an absolutely inspiring brand that showcases vegan & cruelty-free accessories alongside ethical insights and information.


Doctor Bag Stella McCartney (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Stella McCartney

I had no idea that Stella McCartney had vegan handbags! This one is most definitely going on my wishlist (and a few others, I’m sure!), especially given their social sustainability and environmental impact efforts.


Grace Mini Crossbody Angela Roi (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Angela Roi

This bag instantly caught my eye as reminiscent of the classic Chanel crossbody bag. It’s a perfect way to make an elegant fashion statement while staying true to your beliefs—the Grace mini crossbody is made from pebble textured vegan leather and Angela Roi, the company behind the bag, is dedicated to ethical accessories.

karissa nylon large backpack (Kate SpadE)

kate spade karissa nylon backpack
Photo via Kate Spade

I love the look of Kate Spade’s bags and accessories, but all too many use genuine leather. Fortunately, there are a few exceptions, like this beautiful nylon backpack!


ABBI Tote Bag Matt & Nat (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Matt & Nat

Worried about having to carry more than your go-to handbag can carry? A tote bag, like this one from the vegan, sustainable, ethical brand Matt & Nat, can give you space for all the essentials without sacrificing style in the process.


Make An Impact Boot Moo Shoes (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Moo Shoes

Skipping out on leather doesn’t mean you can’t pull off the aesthetic of high leather boots. Reach for a pair of vegan leather boots, like these from Moo Shoes!


No Cow Boot Vegetarian Shoes (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Vegetarian Shoes

In cooler climates especially, a good boot is a Valentine’s Day must-have. These are especially fashionable, and vegan, too.


Mulan Heels VEERAH (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via VEERAH

A simple pair of pumps can make a big impact, especially with a subtle blush colour like these. VEERAH is committed to sustainability and feminine strength, with enough vegan shoe options to rival Carrie Bradshaw’s closet.


Vegan Velvet Pumps Cult of Coquette (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Cult of Coquette

I’m not sure it’s possible to see these shoes and not have to catch your breath. And I say that from just seeing them on the internet! Cult of Coquette is another vegan option that’s sure to please.


Vicky Flats VEERAH (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via VEERAH

More of a flats fan? These VEERAH flats are stylish despite being close to the ground—perfect for my fellow clumsy fashionistas.


Grey Leopard Toms (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Toms

Going for a casual vibe for your cruelty-free Valentine’s Day? These TOMS will keep you comfy all night! Not familiar with the company’s global giving and other efforts? Read up on the TOMS impact and feel even better about your Valentine’s Day leopard-print slip-ons.


Sweatheart Face Mask (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Old Navy

I’m genuinely afraid to count out just how many Old Navy face masks I’ve accumulated throughout the coronavirus pandemic. What can I say—having chronic illnesses and being at high risk of COVID doesn’t mean you can’t be fashionable! This pack of five masks is the perfect addition to your sweetest Valentine’s Day style.


Blush Face Mask Pura Vida (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Pura Vida

Add a subtle nod to the holiday with this simple blush pink mask from Pura Vida!


Petal Pushers Face Mask (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Old Navy

This five-pack of masks has pink, red, and floral options for Valentine’s Day and beyond.


I honestly love just about everything Kate Stoltz does, and her face masks are just one example. I haven’t ordered one of her Valentine’s Day prints as of this writing, but I just might have to add one to my growing collection! In addition to her philanthropy efforts, I was super excited when my most recent order came in environmentally-friendly packaging, too.

Heart Print Face Mask (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Glitter Heart – Photo via Kate Stoltz
Red Black Face Mask (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Maroon & Black Splash – Photo via Kate Stoltz
Red Hearts Face Mask (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Red Hearts on Black – Photo via Kate Stoltz


black face mask pura vida (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Pura Vida

Coordinate with your little black dress or avoid drawing attention away from your outfit with a solid black face mask.


No Valentine’s Day date would be complete without putting together the perfect look! e.l.f. & Shop Miss A are two of my go-to cosmetics brands (and both are super budget-friendly, too!), and sell exclusively cruelty-free makeup. The options I’ve linked to here are all vegan cosmetics, too! Want even more makeup inspiration? I love Urban Decay for a more high-end look, or you can always head to your local ULTA Beauty store to get some staff suggestions.


elf camo cc cream
Photo via e.l.f. cosmetics

Start with a creamy base coat for the perfect canvas to build your cruelty-free Valentine’s Day look.


BareMinerals Foundation (Cruelty-Free Valentine’s Day)
Photo via bareMinerals

Hoping for a bit more coverage than a CC cream will provide? I had the chance to try this newly released bareMinerals foundation (which also happens to be vegan and cruelty-free)and absolutely love it!


elf rosewater palette
Photo via e.l.f. cosmetics

The “Rose Water” palette would be especially fitting for a cruelty-free Valentine’s Day!


elf monochromatic multistick
Photo via e.l.f. cosmetics

If there’s ever an occasion for a rosy cheek, it’s Valentine’s Day. This e.l.f. multi-stick can be used beyond your cheeks, too!


elf rose gold lip vault
Photo via e.l.f. cosmetics

Feeling indecisive? This vault of lip colours will give you plenty of options to find the perfect addition to your makeup look! And the shades couldn’t be better for Valentine’s Day.


All About Eyes (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Shop Miss A

Want to apply your favourite eye products and support a wonderful charity programme? Look no further!


Christine Faux Lashes (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Shop Miss A

Want to frame your favourite feature? Faux lashes can be the perfect accent to make your partner say “wow!” Miss A has a wide variety of options for every preference.


Wonder Baked Highlighter (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Shop Miss A

A little sparkle can make a big difference on Valentine’s Day or any day. Miss A’s highlighter is as budget-friendly as it is beautiful.


Coconut Lip Mask (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Shop Miss A

This coconut lip mask is a new addition to my own beauty supplies, but it’s quickly become one of my favourites! It will help your lips be perfectly kissable for the big night. Plus, A+ is another charity initiative you can support through Miss A!

All Nighter Setting Spray (urban decay)

urban decay all nighter setting spray
Photo via Urban Decay

Crossing your fingers that the gorgeous makeup look you put together stays put all night? Urban Decay has got you covered with this setting spray so you can keep the party going.

Stoned Vibes Eyeshadow Palette (urban decay)

urban decay stoned vibes eyeshadow palette
Photo via Urban Decay

Craving some vegan Valentine’s Day sparkle? This gem-inspired eyeshadow has glitter and gorgeous jewel tones that will make sure all eyes are on you.


Most date nights, especially on Valentine’s Day, focus on food. Create a delicious meal with these vegan appetizers, entrees, and desserts!


Mix Up and Blenda Focaccia (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Mix Up and Blenda

Start your meal off with this easy vegan focaccia by Mix Up and Blenda for a tasty, elegant appetizer.


French Onion Soup This Savory Vegan (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via This Savory Vegan

I have fond memories of serving French onion soup in my school’s French club before going vegan. I can hardly wait to try this vegan-friendly version for myself!


Potato Mushroom Ravioli One Green Planet (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via One Green Planet

Fun fact: every time I hear someone mention mushroom ravioli, I think of Edward & Bella’s “first date” in Port Angeles in Twilight! Vampires aside, this dish is as beautiful as it’s sure to be delicious.


Seitan Steak It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

I’ve been meaning to try Sam’s seitan steak recipe for ages—Valentine’s Day sounds like as good a time as any to test it out!


Vegan Chocolate Cake Nora Cooks (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Nora Cooks

When a recipe calls itself the “best,” I’m usually wary. But this one’s telling the truth!


Vegan Jammy Dodgers Wallflower Kitchen (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Wallflower Kitchen

You can’t get much more in the spirit of a cruelty-free Valentine’s Day than with these yummy vegan jammy dodgers!


Whether you can’t be with your favourite person on Valentine’s Day or you’re just looking for a way to brighten their day, a card will go a long way.


Personalised Valentine's Day Plantable Seed Card (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Aubrey & Coco (It Won’t Cost the Earth)

Ever wish you could plant the cards you give and receive each holiday? Plantable seed cards can make that dream a reality!


All Is Full of Love Catbird (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Catbird

Share a Björk reference alongside this eye-catching card!


Something's Fishy Card Paper Culture (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Paper Culture

This photo card is sure to put a smile on your loved one’s face. Better yet? It’s printed on eco-friendly paper and Paper Culture plants a tree for every order.


Beautiful & Strange Catbird (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Catbird

Bond with your loved ones over all things weird, strange, and beautiful? This is the card for you!


Eco-Friendly eCard Friends of the Earth (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Friends of the Earth

If you’re open to a digital alternative, this is a great way to spread the love and help the earth! Friends of the Earth offers a variety of beautiful ecards for Valentine’s Day and other occasions.


Flowers are a classic addition to any Valentine’s Day. Did you know that 1800Flowers has a fair trade flower delivery line? Have a beautiful bouquet from their Planet Friendly Smile Collection delivered to your sweetheart to keep them smiling every time they catch the scent.


Pink Roses White Daisies 1800Flowers (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via 1800Flowers

These bright, cheery flowers are perfect for Valentine’s Day! 1800Flowers offers other rose-centric bouquets, too, if you’re not sold on pink.


Lovely Lavender Medley 1800Flowers (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via 1800Flowers

This medley of purple and white flowers and greenery is like a breath of fresh air.


Snake Plant 1800Flowers (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via 1800Flowers

If you and your loved ones have allergies, aren’t fond of typical flowers, or want something that will last longer than a holiday bouquet, consider a pot of greenery, like this air-purifying snake plant!



It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without chocolate! Maybe you want to avoid the excess waste that comes with a classic heart-shaped box of chocolates. Vegan or dealing with a dairy allergy? Health-conscious? Simply looking for something different this year? Your cruelty-free Valentine’s Day comes with plenty of chocolate options.


Lily's Sea Salt Extra Dark Chocolate (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Image via Lily’s Sweets, Amazon

Salted chocolate, salted caramel…a bit of sea salt just makes your favourite sweet better!


Cats in Love Chocolate Bar Catbird (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Catbird

My first spot when I came across this chocolate bar on Catbird’s website? “I have never needed anything more.” Rose flavour, cats, and vegan chocolate? That, my friends, is a recipe for heaven.

Organic Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans (THRIVE MARKET)

Chocolate Espresso Beans Thrive Market (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Thrive Market

Is your significant other having a tough time choosing between you and coffee as their Valentine? Make the choice easy with these organic, vegan-friendly chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Unbelievably Vegan Sleekster (Hotel Chocolat)

Hotel Chocolat Unbelievably Vegan Sleekster
Photo via Hotel Chocolat

I fell in love with this gourmet chocolatier back in Bath, but only recently learned that Hotel Chocolat has a US presence. Who could say no to more than two dozen delicious chocolates?

My Vegan Valentine chocolate box (VEGAN TREATS)

Vegan Treats Valentine's Day Chocolate (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Vegan Treats

If you’ve read my Vegan Treats review, you know that this Bethlehem, PA bakery is a spot that’s close to my heart. I’ve yet to try their chocolates for myself but, based on how quickly they sell out every holiday, I have no doubt whatsoever that they’re phenomenal!


Organic Chocolate Truffles Thrive Market (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Thrive Market

Truffles are a quintessentially Valentine’s-ready treat. These organic truffles from Thrive Market are vegan-friendly and a product of France. Ooh-la-la!


Dark Chocolate Raspberry Protein Bites Enjoy Life (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Image via Enjoy Life, Amazon

Have a more health-conscious partner? These chocolate protein bites by Enjoy Life offer the taste of chocolate (and a holiday-ready raspberry) with some extra protein to keep you (and your sweet tooth) satisfied, even if it’s not time for a cheat day.


Set the mood with a little better-for-you candlelight! Soy candles offer a more natural, renewable wax source and a cleaner burn—with all the ambience of your standard candle!


Love Soy Candle RareEssence (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Thrive Market

What could be more appropriate for this occasion than a candle labelled “love?”


La Jolie Muse Soy Candle (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via La Jolie Muse, Amazon

Not only does this beautiful pink jar reflect a distinctly Valentine’s Day feel, but this candle is also an editor’s choice for “most romantic” on Amazon!


Kitten Candle Catbird (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Image via Catbird

Admittedly, they had me at “kitten.” But “dusty records, lipstick, & feather pillows?” That sounds like the smell of romance.


Vegan Soy Candle Unscented (Cruelty-Free Valentine's Day)
Photo via Bear Natural Organics, Amazon

If you’re sensitive to scents, dyes, or other additives, go for the most natural option possible, like this candle from Bear Natural Organics.

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

How will you and yours be spending your cruelty-free Valentine’s Day?

chewy must-haves

Chewy Must-Haves: My Favourite Pet Products

My emotional support cat, Fitz, is three years old now (and the star of one of my poetry books!) and has been with me since he was just a baby. For pretty much that entire time, we’ve been using chewy.com for all of his pet product needs! From food and litter to toys and treats, we turn to Chewy for all our must-have pet products. Today, I’m sharing a few of our favourites, plus some items from my Chewy must-haves wishlist!

New to Chewy? Check out my review of chewy.com!

Our Chewy Must-haves

Chewy Goody Boxes

For a gift that will work on several levels, look no further than a specially curated goody box from Chewy. With options for both cats and dogs, your fur baby will get an assortment of toys, treats, apparel, or other goodies—not to mention, the box itself. Fitz has had four of these now (the standard cat goody box, birthday box, and the Halloween and Holiday seasonal boxes).

Melatonin Chews

Fitz has always been pretty anxious, and bedtime is no exception. One of these melatonin chews just before bed makes things easier on us both! He prefers them to be split in half before he chows down but, once they’re halved, they’re one of his favourite snacks.

Lamb Chop Squeaky Plush

This is one of the family dog, Cooper’s, favourites! He got his first “Lambie” years ago, and we’ve since added to his Lamb Chop collection at least once a year.

Friskies Chunky Chicken with Extra Gravy

According to Fitz, the best part of his favourite wet food is the gravy. So, his go-to wet foods are always the saucy sort! We’ve started keeping a large pack of this Friskies canned food on hand so he can get it regularly.

Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Litter

Fitz & I live in a small space, so his litter must do its job. We’d been using a pretty decent variety for a while but, when I noticed how well this brand seemed to work while pet-sitting for friends, I knew we had to try it. I still try to run our hand vac (the one I use is similar to this!) around his litter area every morning as I scoop, but the Arm & Hammer clump & seal cuts down on any scents and definitely minimizes the mess.

Temptations Mixups Backyard cookout cat treats

It’s hard not to love the adorable packaging of these cat treats, but they also happen to be one of Fitz’s all-time favourites. They’re currently out of stock but we thankfully have a few extra packs on hand—and will be keeping an eye out for the chance to order more!

Hartz delectables squeeze-ups

Not long after coming home with me, Fitz had a spurt of urinary tract issues. It was pretty scary but, thankfully, some prescriptions and diet adjustments had him feeling better in no time. Believe it or not, these kitty go-gurts, as I affectionately refer to them, were the key to getting him to take his medicine…and even be excited about the next dose!

Redbarn barn bagels

This is another one of Cooper’s favourites! I’ve had to stay away from Coop & his barn bagels since developing a peanut allergy but they remain one of his must-have Chewy items. Plus, there’s nothing cuter than that 11-pound pup prancing through the house with a “donut” in his mouth!

Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer

When Fitz first came home, his Aunt Monica (coincidentally, my best friend) gave us a few items, including this cat litter deodorizer. While we don’t use this in his current litter, we keep it on hand for another reason. A little sprinkle on the bottom of his litter genie makes all the difference in keeping it tolerable between (and during) cleanings.

Litter genie disposal system

Speaking of Fitz’s litter genie…my mom picked this out as a gift for us a few years back and we’ve used it ever since. With the same concept as a baby’s diaper genie, this nifty device makes sure your fur baby’s waste is kept just as clean!

Purina ONE Urinary Tract Formula

After his issues as a baby, the vet recommended we move Fitz to a urinary tract-specific formula of dry food. I spent some time researching “good” brands but, much to my surprise, Purina came highly recommended by our favourite vet at the practice! Ever since, this has been our go-to, must-have brand.

SmartyKat Skitter Critters

Fitz’s “mousies” were one of his earliest toys and remain one of his favourites to this day. There’s just something about a simple catnip mouse, it seems!

SmartyKat Fish Flop Catnip Crinkle Toys

Another one of Fitz’s earliest toys and long-time favourites, these catnip “fishies” are another of our absolute must-haves. These colourful fish are catnip-filled, crinkly, and perfect to entertain your kitty.

smartyKat Bubble Nip

A while back, “Nanny” (aka my mom) surprised Fitz with some catnip bubbles. It quickly became their “thing,” and they made time for some bubble fun as often as possible!

SmartyCat Catnip Mist

Can you tell we enjoy SmartyCat products? This catnip mist is perfect for refreshing older catnip toys or making Fitz’s unscented favourites even more appealing.

Greenies Feline Smartbites

One thing Fitz absolutely despises? Getting his teeth brushed. Just before COVID hit, we were working on getting him a dental appointment. But, in the meantime, feline greenies (he loves the catnip and chicken varieties!) and the occasional water additive keep his teeth a bit cleaner. Plus, a bit of hairball prevention never hurt!

SmartyKat Cat Caves

Catnip-infused paper bags are a cat toy made in heaven! These were a Christmas gift from Nanny just this year and quickly became a new favourite.

Cat Grass Seed Kit

This is another new addition, though one we’ve had on hand for a while. I first got a cat grass kit when Fitz was a baby…and he quickly set out to accomplish his life’s mission of knocking it everywhere. Eventually, I bought a replacement but hadn’t put it together until just recently. I actually put a few seeds in a Yoda planter I had on hand and am already growing a few sprouts! For now, Yoda is safely out of Fitz’s reach. But, once it’s had a chance to grow more, we’ll put it at ground level.

I couldn’t find the exact Yoda planter I have online, but here’s an awfully adorable Grogu (“Baby Yoda”) version that just might be on my wishlist now. 

Bones & Chews Slim Beef Gullet Stick

While “cow oesophagus” isn’t exactly an appealing phrase in my eyes, these gullet sticks just might be number one on Cooper’s list of Chewy must-haves. Mom always makes sure there are a few of them in his autoship!

Purina Beyond Chicken & Egg Grain-free Cat Treats

These grain-free treats probably wouldn’t have been on my radar if we hadn’t gotten them in one of Fitz’s goody boxes. But I’m so glad we did because they’ve quickly become a must-have!

Cat tunnels

Treats aren’t the only goody your pet will fall in love with after opening a goody box. Two of Fitz’s favourite surprises were tunnels! We first got this Frisco cat chute, then received a second in buffalo plaid (no longer available) in the holiday box. I rotate the two tunnels (and his newest addition, a cardboard cat cafe from ALDI) for the sake of saving space and keeping each toy fresh for him.

Red Dingo Breakaway Collar

A brightly-coloured collar gives me peace of mind knowing that, even if Fitz were to get out, it would be clear at a glance that he has a home. Paired with his microchip, I like to think that nightmare would be a temporary one! But my top priority was making sure it was one that wouldn’t put him at risk if he got stuck on a branch or other obstacle. Red Dingo saves the day with a collar that does just that!

Outward hound hide a squirrel

Cooper loves this puzzle toy, both as a whole set and with the individual squirrels. Even Fitz has cuddled with a little squeaky squirrel from time to time!

Fitz - Chewy Must-Haves

Cooper - Chewy must-haves

We’ll occasionally add to this list as we find some new favourites. But, for now, a look at what’s on our wishlist!

The Chewy Must-haves on our wishlist

Collapsible wire crate

Fitz has always been a big cat—not fat, but large. We’ve gone through a few different cat carriers, with limited success. He was too big for most crates I could carry and even chewed through a lightweight fabric version! Thankfully, he’s pretty good on his harness and leash, so vet visits and other nearby visits are manageable. But this wire crate is on our wishlist to snag sometime before my big move (if you didn’t know, I’m aiming to move to an apartment in the city in the next few years!). This seems like the perfect solution for the inevitable long car ride!

Cat treat cake

How adorable is a cat cake? I definitely plan to add this one to an upcoming autoship to surprise Fitz with a special treat.

PetCube Bites 2

Even working from home, I can’t spend 24/7 with Fitz. I absolutely love the idea of a camera with two-way audio so he doesn’t feel so alone! I’ve got this one, in particular, on my wishlist because the occasional treat will make him even happier.

Frisco Hide and Seek Guacamole Toy

I would never have guessed that a guacamole-themed dog toy would be this gosh darn cute. But guess what? It is! Similarly, you can even get a puzzle toy shaped like your pet’s beloved Chewy box!

Trixie Lounger Wall Mounted Shelves

Right now, we don’t have the room for Fitz to have the ginormous cat condo/castle he deserves. To be honest, the apartment I have my eye on likely won’t either! In the meantime, I’m eyeing up these wall shelves as a way for Fitz to climb on something more appropriate than the human furniture.

Frisco Faux Fur cat Tree & Condo

We don’t have the room right now but, someday, I’d love to treat Fitz to a cat tree/condo of his very own!

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

What chewy must-haves do you swear by for your fur baby? Let us know in the comments so Fitz or Cooper can give them a try!

Books I'm Reading

Books I’m Reading

One of the items on my 101 in 1,001 list is to read 300 books in the next ~2.75 years. Like any good blogger, I plan to share the books I’m reading with you here!

I’ll include my “currently reading” list here, and create a list of those I’ve finished below as I make my way through them.

Or, check out my list of Books I’m Reading on Bookshop!

Books I’m reading right now:

Books I’ve Read So Far:

Are you on Goodreads? Me too! Check out my ratings of these books and more, or head to Pencils & Pages for even more recommendations.

Thriftbooks Coupon

Looking for even more books to read? I have six poetry books available, with topics from Fitz (my Emotional Support cat) to Anne Boleyn!

Chewy Review

Chewy Review: Why We Love Chewy.com!

When I first adopted Fitz, I was excited to try chewy.com for the first time. I’d heard great things and knew it would be a simple, effective way to get all of his essentials quickly and easily. We haven’t looked back since! We get all of his goodies from Chewy, and even Uncle Cooper has gotten in on the fun. Naturally, this much enthusiasm calls for a Chewy review.

Both Fitz and Cooper love getting their monthly (if not more frequent!) shipments of treats, toys, and other goodies from Chewy. Even if there were no other benefits, I would want to order just to see their excitement when it comes time to open that distinctive blue-labelled box.

What is Chewy?

Chewy.com is an online retailer of pet products.  They’ve got all your favourite brands for all of your furry/feathered/scaled family members, from cat litter to fish food.

When your order is delivered, you receive a cardboard box with distinct Chewy labelling.  I’ve never seen proof that the boxes are specially scented, and it may just be from being packaged with so many other pet goods, but the pets always know when the box coming to the mailbox is for them!

What makes Chewy so great?

Well…lots of things! Some of my favourite factors:

Great prices!

In my experience, most products are the same price as, if not cheaper than, the same products from “normal” stores!  From this alone, I’m usually saving money just by purchasing from Chewy.  Adding in an autoship discount (see below) makes it an absolute steal! If you’re trying to save money while still treating your “other” family members, Chewy is a great service to check out.

Additionally, I’ve found this to be a budget-friendly alternative to typical pet subscription boxes.  I’ve always wanted to get the pets their very own monthly box of goodies, but the price is a constant deterrent. With Chewy, I’m purchasing items that I’d need to buy for them anyway, but they’re still getting a special package!


You’ll never have to worry about forgetting to restock Fluffy’s favourite treats with autoship.  You can adjust it going forward, too, so it’s okay if you find you need to change your delivery frequency.  Certain items receive a discount when ordered by autoship, too—plus an extra percentage off your very first!

For example, I keep Fitz’s dry food, most-used treats, and litter on autoship. I also add additional products, like other treats, catnip, and toys, every so often to mix it up a bit for him.

You can have more than one autoship, too! So if you know you’ll need food in a few weeks, litter in two months, and shampoo in three months, you can make each one an autoship of its own.

One more selling point for autoship? Chewy sends you a quick email a few days before your autoship to remind you that you’ve only got a short time to change anything or to reschedule your delivery. As long as you’re checking your inbox, you won’t forget about it.


Even if you don’t utilise the autoship feature, the sheer convenience of getting items brought to the door (big bags of food or litter, especially!) is a godsend.  Physically, lugging certain things like this through a standard brick-and-mortar store is difficult, if not impossible for me on most days. It’s significantly easier to bring it from the porch inside!

Additionally, Chewy makes for an excellent way to check out new items that might not be available in your local stores. Hear about a great new dog toy that Rover really needs to try? You’ll probably find it on chewy.com, even if the nearest pet supply store doesn’t have it.

Amazing customer service

Personalised service is a major benefit, like personalised postcards!  Little touches like this make an experience with a company like Chewy so much better.

And on the rare occasions I’ve had issues with an order, it’s been remedied almost instantaneously by Chewy’s amazing customer service. Plus, they offer a live support chat option—this sort of accessibility is so important and so helpful!

Overall, I’ve truly had an amazing experience with Chewy so far, and that doesn’t seem to be changing! They’re consistently adding new products and new features to the site which just keeps making the Chewy experience even better.  Fitz and Cooper love their monthly autoship deliveries (and the “small pets” [our turtle and my parents’ cockatiel!] enjoy their occasional goodies)!

Thinking of trying chewy.com yourself? Now that you’ve read through our chewy review, be sure to check out our favourite Pet products they offer!

How I Published My First Poetry Chapbook / How to Publish Poetry

How I Published a Poetry Chapbook

As you may or may not know, I published a poetry chapbook, Mistakes Were Made, in 2017.  If you follow along on Twitter, you know I was pretty darn excited.  In this post, I’m taking you behind the scenes of creating the collection and how I published my first book (after lots of Googling “how to publish poetry”).

(For those who don’t know, a chapbook is, in it’s most basic sense, a tiny book.  You can read more here!)

Since self-publishing my first Poetry book, I’ve got a total of six to my name! Grab your copies from my bookshop.

First, a confession:  I’d never been a fan of self-publishing, for an array of reasons.  But, for this project, Amazon CreateSpace was ideal!  I’m not trying to pay off college or become the next Emily Dickinson with Mistakes Were Madethis was entirely for me.

Amazon later merged Createspace with Kindle direct publishing (kdp). however, most of the process remains the same!

Publishing a chapbook was a chance for me to accomplish something, however small, in the field I’ve fallen in love with.  This was a way to share some of my writing, which I’ve done surprisingly little when it comes to my personal stuff.  The process was cathartic, to say the least.

Mistakes Were Made

I’ve written poems for what seems like forever.  I stopped almost entirely between finishing high school and heading off to college, focusing on prose and journalistic pieces.  Then, late freshman year, a friend of mine, a fellow writer, asked about my taste in poetry.

“I love to read it, but I don’t write it much.”  I went on to list some of my favourite poets.  In my mind? “I’m not as good at poetry as I am at ‘normal’ writing.  I’ll stick to that.”

Not long after, I read that same friend’s poems. While you go pick up Mistakes Were Made, grab The Stick Soldiers and thank Hugh for me—that simple question launched an entire creative career! As I read, I remembered why I loved poetry so much.  So, I started writing again.  I revamped some old pieces and wrote some new ones.

What to write about?

Almost exclusively, I found myself writing about mistakes—the Poe fan in me has always stuck to the Gothic when possible. Friends turned their lives upside-down as I watched.  I liked guys I shouldn’t have.  People did things that were utterly stupid, myself included.  And it all fueled my writing.

Until recently, I kept these exclusively to myself.  Despite being told otherwise, I wasn’t confident in them.  Some of them were really personal.  Some of them were pretty obviously about certain people.

Then, only a few short weeks ago, I sat down to transfer some pieces from the notes of my phone to my writing notebook and stopped.  I wondered, “Why not publish some of these?”  I have so, so many, and they’re not doing much of anything locked away in this notebook.  In a brief surge of confidence, I did some Googling (“how to publish poetry?”) and came across CreateSpace (now KDP).

The site had stellar reviews and, most importantly for me (being a poor college student is fun!), consists of completely free software.  So, I went for it.

After years of writing poems (literally) behind locked doors, I typed them up and created my very first manuscript.  I got in touch with some writing friends and shared my excitement and got a few of them to look over the final drafts.  I got a free trial of Photoshop specifically to work out the cover image that was taking over my brain.  Then, I submitted the finished product.


Within a day, CreateSpace had approved my file, and the book was almost immediately ready to be ordered.  I shared it all over social media (again, going completely out of my comfort zone!) and got an incredible response.

Friends and family from all over sent me screenshots of their Amazon tracking page, telling me how excited they were to get their copy and requesting I sign it (which led to another Google trail:  how do you sign a book like a real author?).  I couldn’t believe that so many of my loved ones were so quick to jump on board with my fledgeling writing career.

Mistakes Were Made - Envelope / How to Publish Poetry

I’ve had my share of doubtful moments.  It’s not a real book.  It’s self-published, it doesn’t really count. What if people get it and don’t like it?  And through it all, I’ve had the most supportive people behind me saying “No, it’s great! I’m proud of you!”  The book may be about mistakes, but it proves that the people I’ve surrounded myself with are anything but.

That same friend who asked me about poetry way back when once asked me what the people back home would say if I told them “I’m a poet.”  I laughed at the absurdity of it all.  And yet, here I am today:

“I’m a poet.” 

To date, I’ve published more than 200 poems, as well as stories, essays, reviews, photographs, and articles. I founded Nightingale & Sparrow, where I get to publish poetry and other work by amazing creators from around the world. And it all started with this tiny, DIY chapbook, and a question—how the heck do I publish poetry?

Published Poetry Books

If you’re interested, you can get your own copy of Mistakes Were Made in paperback or Kindle here or follow along on Goodreads and my writing website! Or, browse all my books in my bookshop!

Best Gifts for Dads

The Best Gifts for Dads: The Ultimate Guide

Did Father’s Day come up at out of nowhere?  Maybe Mom just called to remind you that Dad’s birthday is tomorrow?  No need to panic! Whether you need something for a special occasion, or you just want to thank him for everything he’s done, you’re bound to find the perfect gifts for dads of all sorts.

Prices are accurate as of May 2021 but are subject to change.

For the dad who loves sports:

Baseball, football, or hockey? There’s a gift out there for every fan!

NYT Custom Baseball Book $72.00, Uncommon Goods

New Era NFL Men’s Team Pride Dri-Tek Short Sleeve T-Shirt $15.65+, Amazon

Mullybox – Better Golf, $39.58+, Cratejoy

NBA Men’s Full Primary Logo Tee $9.10+, Amazon

For the dad who’ll always be your favourite sweetheart:

You’re never too old to remind Dad you love him.

What I Love about Dad Fill in the Love Book $10.32, Amazon

“I Love That You’re My Dad” Sign $9.99, Amazon

Best. Dad. Ever. Tee $12.99+, Amazon

Like Father Like Daughter Personalized Mug $14.50+, Heartwarmeies (Etsy)

For the absent-minded dad:

You’ve helped him find his keys more times than you can count.

Tile Essential Pack $69.99, Amazon

Davek Alert Umbrella $135.00, Davek

All Out of Pad $8.10, Amazon

Emergency Cash Capsule for Key Ring $9.65, Amazon

Lightning Cable Keychain Charger $8.29, Amazon

For the literary dad:

He can and will quote Shakespeare.

Shakespearean Insults Chart $25.00, Uncommon Goods

Personal Library Kit $20.93, Amazon

Banned Books Socks $12.00, Out of Print

The Intoxicated Intellectual $47.00+, Cratejoy

For the grillmaster dad:

It’s a win-win. . . you can help him eat his creations!

Quesadilla Grill Basket $18.00, Uncommon Goods

18-Piece Stainless Steel Barbecue Accessories Set $63.00, Amazon

Flavor Infusing Grill Wraps $10.00, Uncommon Goods

Grill Masters Club $24.99, Cratejoy

For the techy dad:

He had the latest tech device before you did.

Zamkol Bluetooth Speaker Portable 30W Waterproof Wireless Speakers $55.99, Amazon

PhoneSoap Smartphone Sanitizer $80.00+, Uncommon Goods

Echo Show 10 $249.99, Amazon

BREO BOX $144.75+, Cratejoy

For the dad who’s a fitness fanatic:

You could even be his spotter!

Fitness Dice $19.00, Uncommon Goods

Massage Gun $129.99, Amazon

Sport Medical ID Bracelet $24.95, MyID

Running Buddy Running Pouch $18.99+, Amazon

gain[z] box $29.00+, Cratejoy

For the dad who’s always down to open up a cold one:

Perk of turning 21? You can join him!

Beer Foaming Stones $9.95, Uncommon Goods

Go Fetch Magnetic Bottle Opener $15.00, Uncommon Goods

Growl’r Gift Set $84.99+, BrüMate (get 15% off your first order using our ambassador link!)

First Sip Brew Box $20.99, Cratejoy

For the geeky dad:

He probably has a strong Star Wars/Star Trek preference. 

Boba Fett (Re-Armored) Premium Electronic Helmet $119.99, Amazon

Geeky T-Shirt Club $23.17+, Cratejoy

Dungeon Master Beer Mug $41.99, Amazon

Marvel Ultimate Periodic Table Of Elements Graphic T-Shirt $22.99, Amazon

For the dad who’s most happy behind the wheel:

It’s the journey, not the destination. 

Mechanix Wear – Original Gloves $15.99, Amazon

TEKTON 5941 Digital Tire Gauge $7.99, Amazon

Car Molding Strip $13.59, Amazon

GloveBox $89.99, Cratejoy

For the dad who’s really just a big kid:

Has your mom joked about him being her “other” child?

Microwave S’mores Maker $14.20, Amazon

Desktop Boxing $9.95, Amazon

Foldable Quadcopter Drone $59.99, Amazon

Shark Socks $10.00, Uncommon Goods

Candy Time $14.95+, Cratejoy

For the movie buff dad:

He’s seen all the classics, he knows every line.

Universal Classic Monsters Collection $19.99, Amazon

1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die $35.00, Amazon

Movie Buff Card Game $17.97, Amazon

Microwave Popcorn Maker $20.00, Amazon

Reel Snack Box $30.00+, Cratejoy

For the dad who loves to cook:

Like the grillmaster dad, this one will feed you, too. 

Italian Cheesemaking Kit $29.00, Uncommon Goods

Annual Membership $59.95, Thrive Market

Molcajete with Tortilla Basket $62.00, Uncommon Goods

EatTiamo $74+, Cratejoy

For the dad who’s always hungry:

. . . and doesn’t want to grill or cook the food.

Microwave Pasta Cooker $16.98, Amazon

Jerky Snob subscription box $15.00+, Cratejoy

Nostalgia Taco Tuesday Heated Lazy Susan Topping Bar $34.99, Amazon

Hot Lollies, $43.33+, Cratejoy

For the dad who wants to go camping every weekend:

He knows all the best spots to pitch a tent.

KEDSUM Portable Camping Shower $47.99, Amazon

Folding Camp Stove Toaster $9.99, Amazon

Outdoor Survival Paracord Bracelet/Emergency Kit $6.99+, Amazon

Camp Life Crate $41+, Cratejoy

For the dad who’s always cracking jokes:

So. Many. Dad. Jokes.

Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers $18.40, Bookshop

Dad Joke Fuel mug $14.99, Amazon

The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm $13.75, Bookshop

Hi Bored, I’m Dad Tee $19.99, Amazon

Dad Joke Button $16.99, Amazon

For the dad who would rather be travelling:

He’s got wanderlust down pat. 

Camry Luggage Scale $11.29, Amazon

Watch Roll Travel Case $22.99, Amazon

Road Trip Pillow $55.00, Uncommon Goods

Travelon Multi-Bag Stacker $12.99, Amazon

Explore Local Box $39.00+, Cratejoy

Did you find the perfect gifts for dad? Let us know in the comments if the list helped you out!

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life

Mini - An Ideal Life