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Warm weather, maybe a palm tree or three, a couple of days to relax, and yes, absurd fruity cocktails - I could really go for a vacation. A change of scenery does wonders. Unfortunately, like many others, none of my travel plans have panned out over the last year. Economic unpredictability aside, most of us simply can’t get out of town right now. But we can dream.

It might be because the world has been flipped on its head, or maybe I’m just ready to shake off winter, but all I can think about are my ultimate getaways. I could really go for room service, a day at the spa, a bonfire on the beach, and crystal blue waters. Feel-good vacation vibes. Anyone else?

While it’s not possible for me to jetset around the world to a fancy island bungalow, I can channel those vacation vibes into my space at home. So give me all the goodies and bring the beach to my doorstep. This woman is in dire need of a tropical vacation, even if it’s just from the comfort of my own apartment.

Don that fluffy robe and shake up those mai tais! Here are some ideas for a beachside getaway when you’re dreaming of the tropics.


Put the world on hold.

This means turning off your phone. I mean it! No, I really mean it this time. “Airplane” mode exists for a reason. I set an “out of office” message for my email inbox, click that little “x” in the corner of the browser, and pray the earth continues to turn even if I’m not checking my notifications all weekend (spoiler: it does).


Embrace the power of aroma.

Alright friends, buckle up. Have you heard of Monoi? Before I became a regular shopper at Kolya Naturals, I had never heard of it.

Monoi oil is simply an infusion of the Tahitian gardenia in pure coconut oil. That’s it! Both the flowers and the oils are native to French Polynesia - if it’s not from this area, it can’t carry the name Monoi.

Let me tell you, the first time I stuck my nose into a pot of this stuff, my heart went a-flutter and I was mentally transported to another place. I visualize lounging on a beachside veranda, moonlight filtering through palm fronds gently swaying in the warm night breeze. And while I’ve never actually been to any fancy ocean resorts before (prairie girl through and through), monoi is in my regular rotation to keep the dream alive.

It is delicately floral, rich with coconut, not too sweet, and fantastic in cream, lotion, and soap recipes. But honestly, I just use it as a simple and luxurious hair treatment and body oil. Before I plan on taking a long bath or steam shower, I comb Monoi through my hair and clip it up to soak in. I leave it for a few minutes up to several hours. Then, after a good wash, my hair is beautifully revitalized with moisture and shines brightly. Occasionally, I’ll apply it to the ends of my clean hair to reduce frizz and keep my head swirling in that completely intoxicating scent.


Cleanse & invigorate.

Continuing with intoxicating scents, the Tropical Fruit & Coconut Rejuvenating Mask from Helena Lane is the ticket to the Tiki Room. This is an ultra-potent coconut mask made up of 100% whole organic fruit acids: pineapple, mango, and apple. Yes, really, it’s that simple.

What I like about it is the immediately-noticeable rejuvenating effect on my skin. On days when my face looks dull, or tired (hello, late-winter lockdown blues), I indulge in this mask to brighten my complexion. Mango boosts collagen, pineapple sloughs off dead skin cells, while apple contains malic acid, which reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation. As I personally have problems with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (from acne), I particularly benefit from the effect, but almost anyone can use it to bring a brightened look to the face.

I enjoy this tropical facial while simultaneously waiting for my hair mask of pure Monoi to set. I watch an indulgent TV show (for me, this means Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the 50,000th time) and sip on a super-healthy, ultra-green smoothie (which, let’s face it, just means more mai tais). Once I rinse it off, I bask in the glow of freshly exfoliated, healthy-looking skin.



Take a culinary adventure.

In the past, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel through some of Europe and a few Scandinavian countries. In my memories, food and experience go hand-in-hand. The tomatoes of Italy are unlike anything I’ve ever tasted back home. Iceland, believe it or not, serves up much more than dried fish and fermented shark (though I tried that too). I’ve had wickedly terrible wine in the south of France (but mostly excellent). The gift of travel has shattered my expectations and broken my palate wide open.

If you’re craving a getaway, treat yourself to a new recipe (or swipe of a delivery app) that lets you explore the cuisines of far-off places. Your choices need not be exotic: find adventure in hot dogs, cotton candy ice cream, or fresh fish if you’re craving the seaside. I love strawberry shortcake because it reminds me of summer as a kid. Tune into your tastebuds and see where it leads you!


Get some sun!

I am a redhead. Scratch that, I am ginger. Like, seriously ginger. I am pale, freckled, and I burn on a cloudy day. Because of this, I go through sunscreen like nobody’s business. I was so excited when Eminence launched their Lilikoi Mineral Defense Sunscreen, because not only is it a completely safe, natural zinc sunscreen, it’s rich with beautiful botanicals and plant essences. My acne-prone skin loves it, and it’s good for high-performance activities such as playing sports, swimming, and all those beachside workouts I’m definitely getting around to doing, someday, maybe.

Lilikoi (passion fruit) seed oil and rosehip contains the Vitamin C and antioxidants I love to help with my complexion, while aloe vera keeps my skin looking hydrated but non-greasy.

See also: How to be in the Sun Naturally


Fake it ‘till you make it.

Because I’m naturally fair-skinned and I have neither the patience nor desire to visit a tanning bed, I cheat. Cheat on my tan, that is. I use the Master Radiance Base paired with the Buriti Bronzer, both from RMS, to get that delightfully cliché sunkissed glow we’re after.

The Master Radiance Base contains a decadent combination of jojoba, chia, and meadowfoam seed oils, but also a light-reflecting combination of minerals which work to diffuse the appearance of imperfections and blemishes. It’s like an instagram filter in a bottle. I follow up with the Buriti Bronzer, made with oil from the Brazilian moriche palm tree. I like it because it is creamy and hydrating: my Albertan dry winter skin needs all the help it can get.

This bronzer gives me an ultra-sheer colour without the overly sparkly, pinkish-orangey-ness I get from many conventional bronzers. Though the colour works well on my fair complexion, it’s also beautiful on dark skin tones as a luminizer. Any shade in-between will find just the right amount of warm, dewy, sun-basked colour.


Get creative!

Invent a new cocktail (though I’m still stuck on those mai tais). Push some paint around a canvas, or play new music. Music is deeply connected to emotions, which makes it particularly transporting when we wish we could be someplace else. Throw on Aloha from Hawaii, or jiggle to the salsa, for a quick trip to your living room dream destination. If that’s not for you, try experimenting with makeup, or checking out our blog for DIY recipe inspiration.

I love this sea salt spray recipe! It’s very easy to throw together. When my hair is slightly damp or dry, I spray it all over and lightly scrunch my locks. This results in the most glorious beachy waves I can possibly get, short of bumming around on the sands of Miami. Of course, if you’re not feeling the DIY, you can always try I Create Waves from Innersense and accompanying it with an oceanic facial mist - my favourite is the Sea Minerals Mist from Osea



Vacations are important for our well-being. With travel restrictions and budget constraints, we can’t skip out of the country at the drop of a hat. For those of us unable to venture forth, a little time out and ingenuity can give us some of the benefits of a tropical escape. Remove the bearings of familiarity and try something new. Disconnect as best you can. Create your own joy!

Which faraway destination are you dreaming of next?

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