This is me!


Who am I?

My name is Marlee and I’m 24 years old. I originally started this blog on Tumblr (I still update it, mostly with instagram photos and short posts) but this website is now my main blog, where you can find in-depth posts. When I started this blog in January 2011, I had just graduated with a bachelors of journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and moved back home to Montreal with my then-fiancé Josh (we broke up right when we got back from traveling – I may or may not go into that on here at some point) to live with my parents. My life was in a really weird spot because I finished school, but I had decided to go traveling that upcoming summer, so I didn’t want to find a full-time job in my field that I’d just have to quit. But a girl needs money, so I took random jobs here and there, while doing some freelance writing and keeping up this blog.

The blog focuses on everything to do with adopting natural healthy lifestyle. While that remains the foundation of SHN’s mandate, I also write bits here and there about my travels, such as the pre-traveling process (including how to stay within a tight budget and comfort scared-shitless parents). Trip details in brief: Europe with my best friend for 6 weeks. Southeast Asia alone for at least 2 months (edit: Josh ended up meeting up with me, so no solo travel for me in the end). Australia with Josh for a year.

Ok, now back to the health part of my blog and a little about me!

Why did I start this blog?

I had just graduated journalism school and I (unsurprisingly) love to write. I also started really delving into the world of veganism and natural health shortly before and have a lot to say, as well as a lot to learn. Oh yea, and I was also suffering from the worst acne breakout of my life at that point. I started going natural, which led me to break out, which caused me stress, which led me to break out more, which led me to delve into a natural lifestyle full-stop to try to get everything under control. As you can see, it’s a huge, crazy, complicated cycle.

But hold up a minute! I’m getting ahead of myself.

My journey really began three years ago when I became a vegetarian. But I was just dipping a toe in the water compared to what I’ve been up to since January 2011, when I dove head first into a natural lifestyle. That meant that I changed what I put in and on my body (food and skincare).

I LOVE juicing. Look at that beautiful rainbow!


I had been dealing with stomach problems as far back as I can remember. I had enough. It was getting bad and was really interfering with my life. After hospital visits and tests, it seemed as though I’m just “one of those people” who feels sick all the time, especially after eating.

I decided that it wasn’t normal to feel nauseous every day and have my stomach pains interfere with my life. So I took my health into my own hands. First step: going off the birth control pill. I had been on it for 6 years (originally to regulate my cycle), but in February 2010, I said goodbye to that devious little pill.

Let me point out that at that time, my skin was awesome.

Next step was to bid farewell to my acne prescriptions (June 2010). As I said, my skin was good so I didn’t think it would be a huge issue. I had pretty bad skin when I was younger (I started breaking out at 14) but I had in under control while on the pill. In retrospect, I should have weaned myself off of the topical prescriptions and not experimented with so many new products, natural or not, because I think I got carried away and rushed into it. I had been using a high concentration benzol peroxide since I was 14 so my skin has been adjusting ever since I stopped using it. Then I started trying out new skincare concoctions every second day thanks to the good ‘ol internet… that’s when I really started breaking out pretty badly. I realized that my skin needs a routine (something it had for the past 6 years), so I decided to use a combination of natural products that nourish my skin instead of strip my skin raw, like what most acne creams do (I have really sensitive, fair skin). I eventually decided to go for a minimalist approach, and now (March 2012) I only use grapeseed oil to wash off makeup and moisturise, water and the Clarisonic to cleanse, and rhassoul clay mask twice a week. I don’t even wash my face at all in the morning (while traveling I didn’t wash my face at all for 2 months!! It was awesome).

I truly feel that these breakouts signify that something isn’t right on the inside. I’m working really hard to try and give my body all the nutrients it needs and keep out all the crap. (March 2012 edit: I have since discovered the connection between stress and acne. I have become much more self-aware and I now realize that I have been dealing with many internal issues for much of my life. I am also pleased to announce that I virtually ZERO stomach problems. I have minor issues once in a while, but nothing that affects my everyday life. WOOHOO!)

In this blog, I’ll document my experiments with recipes, natural foods and beauty/skincare products, and hopefully I’ll meet some people going through the same journey.

Update June 27, 2011: I have to say that my complexion is a million miles from where it was 6 to 9 months ago. It has been such a long and painful road and I can’t even explain what I mean by that because I have way too much to say to fit it all in here. All I can say is that I’ve realized that the most important thing is to love and accept yourself for who you are. That is by far the best thing I have done for my skin. I was always nitpicking at myself, never feeling good enough. That it something I work on each and every day, but looking back, the stress I put on myself most definitely made my skin worse. I know my skin isn’t perfect. I know I’m not perfect, but that’s ok.

Update November 2, 2011: Wow, I can’t believe it’s November. Everything has gotten better and better in a “3 steps forward, one step back” kind of way. Life is a continuous struggle, and I know that sounds so negative, but I don’t mean for it to come off that way. There are so many highs and lows and most people deal with them subconsciously, but I feel like everything is right on the surface for me and I’m conscious of everything. I’m in Australia right now and at this very moment feeling a little down because I’ve been here for 2 weeks and don’t have a job yet. Other than that, all is well! Skin is great (see my skincare update for details) and I just try to remember where I was compared to where I am now.

Please keep up with my emotional journey, as well check out my posts from my physical journey across the world!

Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to share all my stories, experiences and insights with you all :)

Love love love