07 Feb 2018

In regards to relationships, the term “better half” has never sat easily with me. I suppose the over-achiever in me in conjunction with my Asian, 99%-isn’t-good-enough upbringing isn’t content to develop only as far as to form HALF of a person. I would rather bring a WHOLE person to the table, and be met in kind by another whole individual.

Having been in some form of a romantic entanglement over the last 15 years, the most valuable lesson that I’ve gleaned is that while a healthy relationship requires compromise and balance, each person needs to be able to stand by themselves. We have to be as committed to ourselves as we are to our partners. It sounds like a bit of a contradiction, but taking care of ourselves allows us to be the best person we can for our loved ones.

Think of the most overused metaphor of putting the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. You can’t help anyone if you’re passed TF out. How can you make someone else happy if you aren’t happy yourself? The most important (and enduring) relationship we have is with ourselves.

So this Valentine’s Day, by all means OD on all the heart-shaped chocolates, indulge in extravagant prix-fixe dinners and explode in a pink and red shower of confetti… but press pause on carving your and your partner’s initials into an oak tree to carve out some time to show love to yourself.

Here are 5 Ways to Practice Self-Love This Valentine’s Day in Toronto:

The rest of the year it’s perfectly understandable to to scrimp pennies together to save for your next vacation, but on this day of (self) love, don’t take half measures! Pamper your paws at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, a light-filled, white and gold decorated salon/spa and cocktail bar. Perch at the marble countertops among cute, potted plants for a manicure while munching on a flakey pastry or recline on white Adirondack chairs and sip on Prosecco while your toes are buffed to perfection.

Calories don’t count on Valentine’s Day, right? Well, in the loving spirit of the holiday, we’ll choose to believe that that’s the case. Maybe I’ve still got Paris on the mind, but I suggest treating yourself to some delicate, colourful French pastries. You can’t go wrong with the Sea Salt Caramel macaron from Butter Avenue, and (notice I said “and” NOT “or”) a couple handcrafted eclairs from Nugateau. Works of art in and of themselves, the IG-worthy packaging design by Arc&Co ups the luxe factor.

What is better than a day at the spa? A day at the spa that doesn’t require me to change out of my onesie pjs or venture far from my beloved Netflix. Grab a bottle of your fav wine, throw on a horrible/wonderfully predictable chick flick and settle in for an evening of face masks that freaks TF out of your roommate and/or significant other. I’m currently obsessed with the multitasking Retexturizing Mask by Origins, made with Mediterranean rose clay, that minimizes pores and leaves behind silky soft skin. For a boost of brightness, I slather on the Caudalie Glycolic Peel so my inner radiance (har har) shines through my face. Finish it off with the classic animal face Korean sheet mask for hydration.

Spending some quality “me-time” doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself in and throw away the key! Rejuvenate your body by relaxing in the therapeutic water circuits at Body Blitz. This women’s only spa provides the fan favourite services like massages and healthy smoothies, in addition to the featured communal bathing facilities. Reap the benefits of hydrotherapy in the open, hushed space with a cold plunge and hot epsom salt pool flanking a warm dead sea salt pool, and sweat it out in the eucalyptus steam room and infrared sauna.

Who can argue the difference a vibrant pout can make to a gal’s confidence? Pair that confidence with your perfect shade that you concoct yourself at Bite Beauty’s Lip Lab. Celebrate your individuality; your very YOU-ness with a personalized lipstick experience that is as unique as you, glass of champagne in hand (Are you sensing a theme? I’m such an alcoholic…) as you choose everything from the vibrance to the scent (I picked lime and coconut so it smelled like a mojito!) to the texture. Walk away with a bit of a buzz and an all-natural lipstick good enough to eat!

ETC is the overflow of thoughts in the mind of Teri Yeung. It’s a place full of stories of travel adventures, imparted lessons learned from life’s achievements and failures, behind-the-scenes of projects and experiments, and anything else that inspires excitement and joy.

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