She's Back … the Blog and Home

To say my university career has been interesting would be a serious understatement. Last week COVID-19 started to become more active specifically in Toronto. After sitting like a duck for a few days waiting to see what was going to happen with school and work, the city started to shut down. Last Sunday I decided I was going to leave and Tuesday my mom came to get me. I still am trying to manage my emotions; literally scrambling to move everything out of my dorm, saying goodbye to the room that has been my home for 3 years, moving back into my house (a full house I might add). I kinda feel ripped off (insert here Ivy rolling her eyes and telling me to get over it), but it’s true. It’s not how I pictured or wanted my fourth and final year to end.

Needless to say it has been crazy and there is still so much uncertainty not only for me but for the world.

Being at home pretty much 24/7 is a challenge. But I have been trying to make the best of it; I finally had time to update my blog and I am so so happy it has a fresh new look. I also, took on a project of getting rid of my wardrobe and building an open clothes rack. With #noshop20 I figured it would be the perfect time to size down my closet and by actually seeing everything hanging up it made me realize how much stuff I actually have.

In addition to this, I have also reorganized my dresser thanks to Marie Kondo and I can’t describe the feeling of why it has made me more calm about my clothes. It is nice to actually see everything I have instead of dumping out my drawers looking for a shirt.

On the topic of clothes, I did make a purchase this month, one that I have been trying to make since last year. I have been on the hunt for a good quality white t-shirt, one that isn’t see through and I have been trying shirts on for months trying to find one I liked. Well I finally found one at Marshalls for $9.99 and it is the softest thing I own. I didn’t feel guilty about buying it because I actually needed it and I actually wish I would have bought two of them because that’s how much I like it.

The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy writing final essay’s for school (3 x 15 pages yippee). But hey, at least were in quarantine and I don’t have much else to do other than write!

I hope you are all being safe no matter where you are in the world, sending big virtual hugs.

Love always,

#noshop20 February

It’s that time in the month where a #noshop20 update is needed. Last month I posted on the 30th and then on the 31st I made a purchase. Did I feel guilty tapping my credit card at Gap, yes. But do I feel like I have failed my experiment, not really. You see, I am attending several weddings this year and though I have a bunch of nice dresses, I needed to find something a little toned down for the winter months. I bought a velvet jumpsuit for I think $29 which I plan to wear to at least two of the weddings. This experiment is a learning process and sometimes mistakes need to happen in order to learn more.

Anyways, February was a very busy month. And I did not purchase anything. I have tried stuff on in stores, when going out with my mom but in the back of mind I was constantly thinking, do I need this, will I wear this often, does this match other things in my closet. I think one of my main goals in doing this is to not only reduce the amount of stuff I buy, but also to find what I really like and to find pieces that I can wear often because they fit into the style of my closet.

March is going to be a very busy month in terms of the semester (MY FINAL SEMESTER OF UNDERGRAD!!!!) wrapping up and I think it is going to fly by. Usually to give myself a break from school, I will go shopping one day on the weekend, so now I just have to find something else to occupy my time. Thankfully this weekend is going to be beautiful outside so hopefully I can spend my free time out and about.

Thank you all for taking time to read my blog, your support means a lot! If you have any questions or want to see something new on the Blonde Traveler, let me know in the comments.

Love always,

#noshop20 January Update

Well January is coming to an end (finally), so it is time for a #noshop20 update! Oh the joys of trying to remember why I am doing this. Some days it feels like I am punishing myself and then others I am focused on living in experiences and not in items.

For those of you just joining me, my name is Libbey Dresser and this year I will not be shopping. No buying any clothes or shoes for twelve whole months. And if you don’t personally know me, this is a very big deal for me.

January seems to have been the longest month in existence, not because of #noshop20 but rather with getting back into the swing of school, dealing with miserable weather and very impatiently waiting for my vacation in February. Honestly, January has sucked.

For the past month I have been in Toronto, with no plans to visit home until the end of February for a wedding (and some birthday celebrations). The first few weeks of school weren’t busy, so I found myself sitting my room for a few weekends in a row, overthinking things and just being moody because I was alone. The second weekend I was back in the city, I couldn’t take it anymore and I had to get out of my room. So where did I go? Winners.

Now some of you may be thinking ohhh here we go, Libbey already bought something 15 days into January. Well, yes. But, as I stated in a previous post there were going to be some exceptions for my #noshop20. I was given some Winners gift cards for Christmas and I allowed myself to use them during #noshop20. I did buy some practical things, but I also used the card for a pair of leggings and matching top.

Needless to say the gift cards are all gone, so the true test now begins because I have nothing to fall back on. Which is good … I think.

Also, my sisters have been finding my #noshop20 extremely amusing and whenever they can, try to throw it into conversation.

In addition to not shopping I have been trying to be more aware of my wasteful practices. I have been using my reusable plastic ziplock bags when buying bulk items and also trying to bring my reusable mug wherever I go. I think something I am already learning from my #noshop20 is being more aware of my daily practices. I usually get 2/3 teas a day, times 5 days is already like 10 cups that can’t be recycled or reused. No I am not perfect and sometimes I don’t have my reusable cup with me, but you don’t have to be when trying to make a change. Every little bit helps, even if you reduce the amount of garbage you make by 1 or 2 coffee cups a day.

I think February is going to be a walk in the park, mainly because I am going to be so busy getting ready for vacation, going on vacation and then coming home and having a wedding the next weekend. Oh and don’t forget February is my birthday month so it’s bound to be good.

I hope you all have a great month and I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated on #noshop20!

Love always,

#NOSHOP20

Anyone that knows me well is going to one, find this blog post shocking and two, think I am absolutely crazy.

Where to begin… 

For a few years I have been following a blogger @meghall who last year embarked on a journey she called #NOSHOP19. This past year I have been watching her journey and have been so inspired that an avid shopper like myself went from buying, buying, buying to not buying throughout 2019. 

Though I haven’t added it up, I probably spend a couple thousand dollars on clothes and shoes every year. In addition to this, I end up throwing away a bunch of clothes every year too. Why? I honestly think shopping just gives me something to do, it takes up time and it’s fun. Or at least it was fun. Since moving back to Toronto, I have only gone shopping three times, all with friends. Minus the friends, I haven’t found the joy in shopping that I used to and I think it is because I have started realizing that clothes, shoes, purses; they are all just things. They aren’t where the real memories in life are. 

It is seriously atrocious how much money I end up wasting on clothes that I only end up wearing a few times. I am a deal finder. But what I ended up doing was buying things just because they were a good deal. So I would buy, buy and buy clothes on sale to only wear maybe once (if at all sometimes) and then give them away. 

So back to @meghall. Seeing Meg’s blog and Instagram this past year has made me realize that there is so much more out there than just shopping. So I have decided I will be following in Meg’s footsteps and I will not be buying any clothes, shoes and pretty much useless items that I already have (like I seriously have at least 5 very good reusable water bottles). Is this going to be hard? Probably. The first few months will most likely be easy and come as a relief but when summer hits and new clothes start coming out it will definitely be hard. 

Now there has to be a few exceptions:

  1. If something I use often is damaged or worn out, I can purchase the exact same item to replace the old item which I must get rid of. 
  2. Essential items such as underwear, bras, socks can be purchased but I must get rid of the old version before buying new. 
  3. I must do a summer closet clean out to get rid of any old things I don’t wear/use anymore. (I just did my winter clean out yesterday and honestly it was like a massive weight has been lifted off of my shoulders). 
  4. If I need to purchase work clothing and shoes, this is exempted from #NOSHOP20.
  5. I just cannot buy clothing and shoes for myself. If I need to purchase birthday presents/Christmas presents that involve clothing I can buy them.

Overall, my main goal is to just start focusing on my life and not having to spend money to be happy. I am hoping that #NOSHOP20 allows me to start fresh and start appreciating the things I already have. I am also hoping to reduce the amount of stuff I own to make it more simple to not only organize but make it easier to get ready everyday!

I will be updating my blog every month or so on my progress through #NOSHOP20. I hope you enjoy following me on this journey and who knows maybe even join in!

Love always,

* This is definitely going to be a learning process and things are bound to change but I will update everyone if they do!*


She’s back

I don’t know where to begin this post, but I think an apology will suffice. I truly am sorry that I have been missing in action for 117 days. I keep getting asked when I am going to write again and I have been given different ideas for new posts, but for some reason I could not bring myself to complete something. I have written this blog post several times now and I finally feel ready to put it out in the internet world. 

So now to actually begin, I am forewarning you that this is going to be a long blog and it may seem confusing (probably because I have literally spent a whole summer without writing anything). 

May 2019: Coming home from Barbados was hard

I found a new lifestyle there that will always be a part of me now. If you have heard of the term “Culture Shock” well let me tell you about “Reverse Culture Shock”. I experienced this when I came home from France and in some ways it put my life on hold because I couldn’t get used to the fact that I had to live in Canada again. I knew it was going to be different coming home from Barbados and that I would have to cope again with this shock again. Though the shock is currently minor (getting used to not going to the beach everyday, being cold all the time, etc.) I know that it is going to hit me the hardest when I go back to school in Toronto. Going from an island lifestyle to a big city is a very big change. This year I sadly have to take several classes at the main campus of York University. 52,000 students. It is going to be like going to a new school all over again, except this time a school that is roughly 17x bigger than the size of the town of Wheatley. 

When I got home, I had a little less than two weeks before I was on the move again. This time to remote Northern Ontario (if you have ever been, then you understand that culture shock can happen within a single province). 

June 2019:  A new (very authoritative job) 

Last summer I made the decision to return to Ontario Parks for a job that had a two year contract. I ended up getting offered a Park Warden position at another provincial park which was a hard decision considering how much I loved my old job but I decided to take it. In June, I spent most of the month in North Bay, Ontario where I trained to become a park warden along with 25 other students. And it was the highlight of my summer. (If any of you guys are reading this you have a special place in my heart #wotn). I had the chance to meet people from all across Ontario and we became good friends, some of whom I still talk to. Then we had to leave  each other and go to our respective parks. Just throwing it out there that I hate saying goodbye and this year has been filled with a lot of the word. 

July and August 2019: Living an unconnected life

So that leads up to now. I have been working away to pay off school and hopefully pay off a few more trips. Fingers crossed that I will have a few weeks off at Christmas to pop over to another country. 

I have exactly one week left here before I come home and I cannot tell you how excited I am. Excited to be back in my own bed (even if it is only for a week), to see everyone again and to have some me time before school starts. It is going to be a crazy busy week with a lot to do but I know it’s going to be a great last week of summer. 

Love always, 

The Earring Girl

If you’ve seen me in public chances are I am wearing a pair of earrings. I don’t usually leave the house without them. When I was younger my ears used to be super sensitive to earrings and I would get so frustrated that my friends could go into any store in the mall and buy a pair, throw them on and never have their ears hurt!

I think when I was in Grade 11/12 I noticed that I could start wearing cheap earrings and my ears didn’t hurt! Well I became obsessed in the winter break of my first year in university. I was in a little store in Paris and I found a bunch of amazing earrings that the shop owner had brought back from his travels around Africa. So I bought a pair (more like a few pairs) and voila, the obsession had started. This semester, some of the girls have been calling me the Earring Girl and they say I have given them earring inspiration!

They got a little rusty cause I wore them in the ocean, so if you have any tricks on how to get it off put them in the comments section!

I pretty much buy a new pair of earrings every time I go somewhere new now and also my sisters and mom have helped with my addiction so when they go somewhere they pick me up a new pair too.

Elle’s find all the way from India!

Birthday present from Ivy from Chicago!
Another pair from Ivy that she gave me for Christmas
These were given to me by my cousin Elizabeth and are my favorite pair of studs! (For those wondering, they are my initials L. D)

Of course when I went back to Paris this year I had to add to the collection and I found myself two of my new favorite pairs!

I get so many compliments on these tassel earrings and they match like 75% of my wardrobe!
The evil eye, pompom and star earrings (the star is kinda hard to see on the bottom of the pompom)

I’ve already added a few new pairs to my collection in Barbados and I am sure I will add more by the time I leave! If you want to start your own collection, it is a process! Don’t just buy a bunch of random earrings at the same store. It’s like buying a wedding dress, take your time and you will find the perfect pair, plus the hunt is half the fun!

I would love to see your earring finds, so tag me in your Instagram pictures or post in the comments!

Love always,

The Last 40 Days

I can’t believe that my exchange will officially be over in 40 days. I also can’t believe that I have been living in Barbados for 7 months! It has gone by so so fast, especially since I came back at the end of January.

There is going to be a lot going on in the next 40 days, including finishing up my classes, writing exams, my sisters (Ivy and Elle) coming to visit, and soaking up as much sun as possible before coming home.

My classes here run later than the universities at home because I had a month long break at Christmas so I don’t finish classes until the 18th. My exams also start late because we have a study break before exams, so I have an exam on May 3rd and one on the 7th.

I am really excited that Ivy and Elle get to come to visit me and we are actually all flying home together so they are going to be embracing my last week of living in Barbados. We just placed a massive swimsuit order (like I needed anymore!) for their trip and I swear Ivy is going to have enough swimsuits to wear 3 different suits a day and still never wear the same one.

When I lived in France for a year I wrote a journal every single day and I wanted to turn it into a book. But honestly, my 16 year old writing skills were not that great and I still can’t read that journal without crying. I decided that I would also write a journal here in Barbados and lets just say my 20/21 year old writing skills are much better and so, I have decided that my summer project is going to be turning my journal into a book. (Who knows, maybe it will be a hit and I’ll become a millionaire and can stay in the Caribbean forever).

My journal and an empty cup of coffee

I know that leaving is going to be so hard but I am excited for new adventures in this upcoming year, like starting my fourth year of university (talk about time flying by). Yes my year definitely won’t be as warm as this one but I know that it is going to be a good year.

Love always,

Step into Spring in Style

Honestly spring is a weird time of year in Ontario. One day it is snowing and the next day it is warm and sunny. The weather is changing from winter to summer but doesn’t know which season it wants to be in. Thankfully this year I don’t have to deal with Wheatley Spring (thanks Barbados), but to most of my readers you have to put up with it. So to help you, I have put together a collection of outfits that are perfect for Springtime in Canada.

Click here to view this look

The good thing about this outfit, is that the skirt is paired with a long sleeve shirt! You could also pair it with a cardigan or sweater in case it gets chilly! But your legs have been hiding all winter long and it is time to break out some dresses and skirts. Also LOVE these wedges, I am definitely investing in a pair when I get home (hopefully I’ll find some at Winners!).

CBL’s Guide to 30A Florida
Click here to view this look
12 outfit ideas to wear espadrilles during spring and summer
Click here to view this look

A tank top and jeans is a perfect casual look for the spring weather. Bring along a sweater in your bag and you are prepared just in case! Also how cute is her bag? Wicker basket bags and mesh hole bags are in style this year and your spring outfit is the perfect way to debut them.

Click here to view this look

Don’t be afraid to pair shorts with a sweater or cardigan! This outfit is the perfect example of how to style shorts when it isn’t yet summer. You can also wear some sneakers or flats if you aren’t ready to break out the sandals just yet!

Merrick's Art | Light Wash Overalls and Striped Shirt #MerricksArt #freepeople #overalls
Click here to view this look

I said this last year and I’ll say it again, overalls are IN! They are also the perfect transition piece, as you can wear a long sleeve or sweater underneath without having to bring a jacket along!

Click here to view this look

I am obsessed with this outfit! (I actually got my grams to look for the sweater in store for me but they didn’t have it). White jeans are an easy item to dress up or down depending on the occasion and are also perfect for spring. Pair them with a bright top to get rid of your winter blues!

I hope that this post inspires you to break out some fresh styles for the warmer weather! I would love to see your outfits so you can tag my on my Instagram @mslibbeyjean ❤

Love,

Family Vacation

March has been a crazy month here in Barbados. A few weeks ago my Mom, Dad, Gramma and Grampa came to visit me for 10 days! School is at its busiest time, all final assignments and essays are do, tests are being written and presentations are being given. That being said, after taking a 10 day vacation, I have been playing catch-up for the past two weeks and I am finally nearing the end and I can relax again.

On March 11th the family came to Barbados and we had an amazing time together. Our main activities were lying on the beach all day and snorkelling, and honestly I needed a break so bad. I have been so busy with school and with no reading week it is just constant work so I glad I got to get away for a little bit.

I also got to go scuba diving with my Dad which was a lot of fun. He did a Discover Scuba course with Barbados Blue (the dive shop I dive with) and he learned the basic skills then got to come diving with me in the ocean! He was really lucky and got to see a baby octopus which is really cool.

My Mom and Gramma are actually the best/coolest people ever and they decided to re-celebrate my birthday when they were here. My Gramma made me a pink birthday cake and my Mom brought me a deep dish pizza all the way from Chicago. If that isn’t true love people I don’t know what is.

We actually ended up planning our next vacation while they were on vacation, and I am super excited because we taking a girls trip to Mexico in October! I am so excited to go diving in the Pacific Ocean, hopefully with some dolphins or whale sharks (fingers crossed!).

It was an amazing trip and I’m glad I got the chance to show them where I have been living for the past 7 months. Next up is Ivy and Elle in May! It was bittersweet to see them leave, but I know my last two months are going to be a lot of fun and are going to fly by. I know that it is going to be super hard to leave this island which has forever gained a piece of my heart.

Love always,

Banana Oat Balls

Going on exchange means meeting new people and learning new things. Well boy am I glad I met Jana. Jana is from New Brunswick and is a super track star. One day a bunch of us got together for a potluck and Jana brought these Banana Oat balls and she gave me the recipe for them. Ever since, I have been addicted and they are my favorite go-to snack.

Jana heard about the recipe from a Youtuber called Madeleine Olivia. And has been making them ever since. Here is her recipe guide to making the Banana oat balls.

I have somewhat modified the recipe to my tastes, so I usually add more oats so that the oat/banana mash is very thick. You could also add some peanut butter or protein powder for something a little extra. Also instead of raisins I like to add cranberries but you can also add chocolate chips!

I usually bake enough balls to last me the week so I keep them in the fridge so they last longer and I prefer them cold.

I hope you get to baking soon! Let me know what you think in the comments 🙂

Love,