YOUR New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve made my resolutions, now it’s time for me to help you make yours!

These, of course, are suggestions that you can take or leave but if you’re looking for inspiration or confirmation, this is it.

  1. Find a type of exercise you actually love. Story time: my mother is one of those people that wanted to do something about her current fitness level and tried to sign up for gym memberships and even beginner volleyball classes but nothing stuck and all motivation would peter out quickly. Just 3 months ago, she signed up for some aquafit classes at the local YMCA because she heard it was good for your back and she’s been going around 3 times a week since then! She’s become one of those people that complains when she had to miss a class! So you CAN get fit or lose those pounds, you just need to find your method! The gym is not for everyone, it might be competition or environment that gives you a reason to keep coming back to it.
  2. Read one book per month. Reading is something that people feel like they don’t have time for but books are, in my opinion, a great part of life and important to expand your imagination. So by setting aside your commute to listen to audiobooks or before bed to read a chapter or two, it is definitely plausible to get through at least one book each moon cycle. Definitely try to get a diverse selection from fantasy to non-fiction because the world is huge and there’s no telling what you might learn.
  3. Invest in friendships. You have no idea how important this is. It’s so easy to let great people slip out of your lives or to not initiate getting to really know someone because you already have your family to talk to. Coffee dates are easy to plan, letter writing is not dead and potlucks are really fun. You don’t have to become a social butterfly but do hold on to the friends you have and make sure they know that they are important to you! That isn’t done enough in my opinion.
  4. Create. Totally open-ended, totally depends on what you enjoy and what you’d love to try. I believe we all have something inside of us that needs to create things whether it be an elegant computer code, your very first knitted scarf or a story. I’m sure there’s something that you’re passionate about and if you’re passionate about it you will totally be able to make the time for it in this coming year!

These are my tips to making your year a success (hopefully), let me know what you would have added to the list or what you’re taking from mine!

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2016 Goals

I’ve decided that if I don’t call them “resolutions” that there might be a higher chance of me trying to accomplish them.

I’m actually one of those people that tries to take every opportunity I can to make promises that I inevitably don’t keep to better myself. At the beginning of a new school year, after a particularly unproductive weekend, whatever might motivate me to try and have a New Start to create a Better Self.

At least I realize that I’m not that disciplined of a person and am not that disappointed in my failure but I do know that I steadily improve each time I try to create new habits. In conclusion, it’s not like setting goals for myself is making anything worse so here I go!

1. Develop skills. This includes but is not limited to my coding abilities, decreasing my aversion to networking and spending more time crocheting cool projects.

2. Spend more time reading. Honestly I’ve gone from reading 100+ books a year to less than 50 and I’m not sure why, maybe it was because I’ve been spending more time on the internet or homework is much harder than it used to be but I would like to go back to the former please.

3. Put effort into others. Just because I am an introvert does not mean that I’m allowed to never plan hang outs and not stay friends with the cool people that I have the pleasure of knowing in my life.

4. Clean up. My ability to walk through a dirty room unfazed is stellar, unfortunately that is exactly what I’m trying to curb. Hopefully I can create habits that make it less of a chore to stay tidy!

5. Track money and time. I find that if I know where I am spending my money and my time then I will be much more capable of deciding whether that is something I want to continue or if there are things I need to cut back on.

6. Be the nerd I want to be. Which is someone that is always on top of their schoolwork and rewrites their notes are prettily and pretty much knows everything about all their subjects. Serious goals.

Throwback Thursday: Boggle

I don’t know why I still remember this story.

So we’re at a camp retreat during the winter months and my two friends and I had gone tobogganing, gotten cold then warmed ourselves up with hot chocolate. We skimmed through the board games and settled on playing boggle for a bit.

The interesting portion of this story commences when one of my friends heads off to the bathroom and the remaining one and I decide to mess with the letters.

We arranged the letter cubes so that the word “dictionary” could be legitimately created if one looked hard enough. Then, keeping our smiles to ourselves, we played that round once she returned only focussing on whether our third friend could find our hidden word.

To be honest, I can’t even remember if she did, I don’t think so because, knowing her, she’d have definitely freaked out about it and that’s a very memorable thing.

If you were in her situation, do you think you would have spotted the glaringly obvious? Like actually, let me know in the comments!

The Stresses of Being Early

This may be a plausible reason to explain perpetual lateness.

This idea stemmed from a conversation my friend and I had concerning arrival times to an event we were both going to.

See, we both had this intense dislike of being the first one there. There are so many things that stressed us out about the concept of there not being anyone there before us. This includes

  • Stressing out about it being the wrong location
  • Double and triple checking that you got the time right (Man, I’ve gotten somewhere an hour early by accident and it sucked so this is a thing)
  • Worrying that information was passed around about a change in plans but it didn’t get to you
  • Secretly wondering if everyone just decided to ditch you
  • That people are already there and are just in a different place and can’t see you and you’re the one that’s late
  • The people around you are wondering why you’re all alone and why you look so awkward
  • That you might kill your phone battery because you need something to do to not look out of place

Let me know in the comments if you are a late person and this actually makes sense to you or, if you’re an early person, what motivations overpower these worries to make you early!

School Year Resolutions

Forget New Year’s Resolutions, let’s talk about School Year Resolutions!

I know it’s a new year and everything which makes people want to turn over a new leaf but when you’re between the ages of 4 and 22ish then change in your life is really dictated by the school year starting every September. You have to adjust to different classes and different people so why not change up a few more things in order to make your life a little better.

Here are a few of mine for my third year of university! If you feel inspired to do the same, please put the link to your post in the comments so that I can check it out!

Write everything down. This ranges from due dates, ideas and journal entries! I know for school especially that I will easily forget about a project or assignment as soon as I leave the threshold of the classroom which tends to be a bad thing. So by physically writing it down somewhere (aka an agenda or wall calendar) that I look at often will alleviate me of future stress! I adore looking back onto old memories – I should give you a room tour at some point because my walls are covered in this sort of thing – and a journal is the most compact way of keeping them. These are some of the years I would love to look back on so this is me telling myself to write it all down.

Set aside time for socializing and being alone. If these moments are already predetermined, life just gets a heckuva lot easier. It’s easy enough to schedule time to hang out with people and go out and have fun but this tends to squeeze out any time I need to be alone and recharge. I’ll often just give people all of my availability and book it up until it’s a Thursday and I’m grouchy and I just want to go home but I can’t because of previous commitments. It’s not healthy to be alone all the time just like it’s not healthy to always be surrounded by people so I need to make sure I keep this in mind now that I have actual university friends.

Read and go outside!! As soon as classes start, I
have a real excuse to be on my laptop all the time and my time spent reading and exploring the outdoors severely drops. It’s easy to get sucked into the black hole of checking every five seconds for notifications that will still be there in a couple of hours.

Cook one meal from scratch each week. This is not my doing, this is my mother’s. I am not a cook. I like to spend the least amount of time in the kitchen as possible because there are just so many other things to do! But since I live at home still and she wants my sister and I to recognize the importance of having some cooking skills, I will need to plan and prepare one meal per week that did not originate from the freezer. I’m only against this in theory cause I also see the value of knowing your way around a kitchen. Still, it’s gonna be hard.

DON’T PROCRASTINATE. It ruins your life and everyone else’s too for that matter. There is not much else to be said here except try harder to stay on top of things! Limit your internet usage! Reward yourself after you’ve finished something, not before! Pleeeease let’s not let the stress build up! There needs to be a support group or something where we just guilt trip each other.

note to self
note to self

Help out around the house. This is something I’ve been steadily improving on since I do live here free of charge which is not something I should take lightly. I’m not renting out my room from my family, I’m living in a house with them and I need to continuously do my part with the workload that comes with it. I don’t care if that’s not how other families do it, but here everyone pitches in (supposedly without being told to) to keep the house well-stocked, clean and functioning.

Man, writing this all down already makes me feel more calm about the new semester and all the work that’s going to come with it. Hopefully I stick to my guns and you won’t see me here 3 weeks later crying about how hard school is when you pretend you have no responsibilities!

Road Trip Essentials

The most summer thing to do.

It may be quite late into the summer but it’s not too late to get in one last hurrah and plan a road trip for the fun of it! I’ll be going on one this coming weekend and thought it would be a great idea to outline all the essentials to keep this bon voyage from becoming a chorus of heavenly “are we there yet???”

roadtrip - destination

The first thing you’re going to want to decide on is where you’re going. The road trip could just be driving aimlessly but then there’s no real purpose. Some ideas are:

  • A place where a lot of your family lives
  • A city where a friend you haven’t seen in a while lives
  • Somewhere you’ve never been before and know no one and are just going for the adventure
  • A place from your childhood

Anywhere you’ve been itching to go in order to see the sights or catch up on life stories is doable as long as there are roads between it and you.

roadtrip - transportation

I may be blowing my cover as Captain Obvious here but it needs to be said. Not only does there need to be a human that can drive a car in the party of people going, there also needs to be a car that
a) will survive a trip of your desired length and
b) can comfortably seat everyone.
It will be no fun sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck for a couple hours and neither will a blast be had if you have to be in the middle seat scrunched between two other people. Think of these things beforehand and you’ll be thanking yourself by the end.

roadtrip - company

In the previous paragraphs, I’ve been directing this post towards one person – you. But it doesn’t have to be like that at all. Even though solitude is nice sometimes, to just drive without anyone around you either in the car or on the roads, the friends are what make a road trip memorable. Make sure you get along with anyone in the car because if there’s something between you guys, it’ll most likely be amplified in the tiny space of a moving vehicle. Best friends are great candidates because willingly spending this much time with them isn’t a chore, unlike family road trips sometimes end up being.

You’ll have plenty of time to talk, invent silly car games and just be around each other so if you don’t know your travel-mates’ life stories at the beginning of this journey, you just might by the end.

roadtrip - music

This deserves capital letters because most people have strong opinions on the music they want to listen to. And since there’ll be a lot of time to fill during any road trip, the songs are going to need to happen! It’s best to know what common ground everyone coming along has in terms of music taste, including everyone’s vetos. Of course, everyone should be willing to be flexible in order for everyone to be happy and I really don’t think you can go wrong with Disney!

Some people like creating playlists that have the theme of summer or vacation or road trips to set the mood so if anyone in the car has a knack for that, get them to go right ahead and you’ll feel 10x more legit.

roadtrip - snacks

Humans need to eat in order to live. [citation needed] Whatever your food situation may be, be it quick runs to the Timmies* every time you stop from gas, an entire picnic meal/dinner or easy access snack items, it’s important to have some on hand so that everyone stays comfortable and happy. Water is also an important thing to pack, although in this scenario you have to think of when you’ll be able to let it out.

*non-Canadians can calm their confusion, I’m just talking about Tim Horton’s, our equivalent of your coffee and donut shops.

roadtrip - entertainment

We’ve talked about music which is a large portion of car ride entertainment but there’s plenty of other things to do. As I child, I was the queen of making up something to keep my sister and I occupied in the back seat. I’m not sure how many I got from other places and how many I got from my brain but I will share them all willingly here.

The Alphabet Game – Very straightforward, you’re competing against or working together with everyone in the car in order to find all the letters of the alphabet in order on anything you see outside of the car. (stores, licence plates, road signs, etc) One of my rules is that you may only take one letter from a common location before you move on

The Rainbow Car Game – Same deal, look outside your window and find a car that is each colour of the rainbow in order (red, orange, yellow, green blue, purple). Orange and yellow and quite rare and you may find yourself stuck on those for a while

Car Count – This is a straight up competition. You each pick a colour of car and count every time you see one of that colour. Whoever gets the most wins! Heads up, silver and red are quite common.

Animal Name Game – this game definitely was invented by me. It involves looking for animals outside and then giving them a name. That is all. Good for going through the countryside and seeing cow after horse after llama. I’ve given a flock of birds names, they get quite silly at this point.

Bingo/Scavenger Hunt – If someone wants to put in the necessary effort of thinking up things you could potentially see on a road trip, they should definitely do so because that could be a lot of fun!

roadtrip - plan

Overall, you just really need to plan this kind of thing out. I know in the movies and books, they just jump in the car with their sunglasses and romantic tension and off they go but really it’s important to have a very good idea of certain things like

  • what route you’ll take
  • where you’ll stop and how often
  • where you’re going to sleep
  • who brings what
  • how long it’ll take

Everyone should also be aware of the plan so that it’s not up to one person to stress all about it. If you’ve got locations in mind in advance, there’s much less of a chance of something going wrong and therefore a higher chance of everyone having a great time!

A Few Final Things…

You should keep in mind the distance as well because sometimes a road trip can be too long and cars can start feeling like a sardine can – smell and all. The longer the trip, the higher the cost with food and gas and places to sleep so although it feels very freeing to just go, it won’t do to use up all your funds on this expedition.

And that is all of my knowledge about road trips, please put it to good use and tell me about any road trips you’ll go on in the future or have gone on and loved. It’s good to enjoy the summer while you can because school is just around the corner (small gasp)

Things I Would Say To My Younger Self

This is a list of things that stemmed from the fact that I tend to cringe a lot when thinking about my past self and what I did or thought. Things that took me forever to figure out and by the time I did, I was very late to the party and second guessing why my friends even stuck around with me.

1) Yes, people can see that pimple. No, they don’t care.

2) Use conditioner, for everyone’s sake. Pretty please.

3) Learn to study now when it’s still easy because in the future you’ll need to and you won’t know how and there will be tears.

4) Don’t be intimidated by people your age or older. Or younger, they really aren’t that intimidating. Maybe that 12 year old dresses better than you but you’ve probably got a few things on them too.

5) Be more comfortable with your silence. You are a quiet person and if you don’t feel like talking, you don’t have to!! That being said…

6) You’re allowed to talk. Just because you don’t talk often doesn’t mean you have less of a right to have everyone hear what you have to say.

7) Please wear jeans. Yes, I know your fuzzy pants match your fuzzy sweater. Now make that go away.

8) Maybe you should have broken a few more rules so that when it came to being older your mom wouldn’t still expect you to do everything she said without question. This one’s iffy actually, past me, but I’m not sure how to get around it here on my part.

9) You like music, go discover it! How did you manage not to have a favourite artist until well into high school?

These are only a couple things that come to mind for advice that could have been useful to give to the past versions of me, albeit I might not be the same person I am today if I suddenly grew a fashion sense in the 8th grade. Who knows. And I’m definitely going to be embarrassed of 19 year old Karen in the future because the cycle never ends.

What about you guys, what are some tips or comments you really really wish you could go ahead and say to previous you? Tell me them in the comments!

TWO DOTS

aka the only thing I spend any time doing.

I discovered this app while my friend was visiting from Kingston and I stole her phone. She hadn’t actually played any of it and just had it downloaded so of course I investigated.

twodots

The premise is really simple, you connect dots of the same colour in vertical or horizontal or any mix of those to get rid of them and then more dots fall down randomly to replace them. Kind of the concept of a lot of phone games actually. The fun part is when you make a box of dots and every single dot of that colour gets eliminated!! Once you’re on a streak of those you feel like you can do anything.

So the levels started out simple enough, there’s no time limit, just a move limit so you get to be strategic and plan everything out, and each level has an objective, whether it’s to get rid of a certain number of dots or, as you’ll see when you get into higher levels, you do other challenge-y things.

I don’t want to outright spoil it, but if you scroll up the levels (that part of the app is super aesthetically pleasing. the whole gosh darned thing is.) there are clear definitions on when a new section will start and with it will come a different type of challenge.

I super recommend it to people who don’t really like games that are all up to chance (although you can be dealt a good set or bad set of dots) and are very goal oriented and like focusing on doing something until they get it right.

It can get extremely frustrating and there’s a set number of lives you have that if you run out, you have to wait a while (LITERALLY THE MOST ANNOYING THING) but it’s so addictive and fun!

I’ve pretty much made every single one of my friends download it so that I can race against them up the levels and so that they can experience the sheer joy of this game.

This isn’t a sponsored post or anything I mainly wanted the rest of the world (or the part of the world that reads my blog) to know about this game and join me in tearing their hair out and moving on up, slowly but surely.

Oddly Specific Questions

I want to know everything.

And that includes everything about a certain person. Doesn’t matter if you’re one of my besties or the friend of a friend that I’ve been left alone with until the mutual friend comes back and we’re just standing there awkwardly. I will always be interested in what you have to say about a vast amount of topics.

I satisfy this curiosity by having random questions on hand to spark these conversations. Some regulars include “What is your favourite tree?” and  “What is your ideal ugly sweater design?” and also “What store would you live in for a week?”.

I like when people really put thought into their answers and make it a personal thing instead of just giving me a look and shrugging some easy answer. It’s my way of getting to know who the person is through what kinds of things they think about. Like for the tree one, I legitimately have a top 3 so you know I like nature and lists for starters. Also people that clarify the questions even further gives me even more insight to who they are and how they think. For example, with my last question, someone who thinks more logically than impulsively might ask if they can bring anything while they’re living there or if it’s some weird type of camping where you have to survive off what’s there already.

It’s a really great way to simultaneously break the ice for what they’re getting into when being my friend/acquaintance since weird is my bread and butter while also fast tracking the learning about each other phase. I can find out what you’re doing in university later, let’s talk about which one you think is more gross: worms, snakes or spiders.

I know my answers and what it probably says about me and I’m always ready to give them if my conversational partner decides to bounce it back to me. (In this scenario: 1) Aspen, Willow, Birch, 2) Yellow, orange and purple with hot dogs and teabags and a pretentious quote and 3) IKEA)

If we get all psychoanalyze-y here, I’m pretty fairly certain that the reason my questions are so specific, as in they can usually be answer in one word or sentence, is because that’s the kind of question I like answer. The open ended ones are too broad and I never know what to say and I assume the other person doesn’t really care anyway so what’s the point. When I’m given specific questions, then I know exactly what is being asked of me and I know they want that information. It’s a win-win!

Also would you rather have a conversation about flying squirrels versus regular squirrels or about what you’re thinking of doing with your life once you graduate.

Top 10 Things To Do With A Onesie

This is going to be utter nonsense so buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Onesies are an item of clothing that have become more and more popular in recent years due to their funny look and extreme comfort! But who says all you have to do is wear the thing?? This is so much more to be done with this Thneed-esque ensemble!

1. Wear it as pants with the sleeves tied around your waist. Okay, this isn’t the most out there things to be done and I’m betting a lot of you have already discovered the joy of fuzzy warmth covering your legs PLUS the feel of a lumberjack sweater wrapped around your middle. This way you can wear a tshirt on your top half instead of having long sleeves!

2. Wear it as per usual, but at a fancy event. This time, don’t change up the outfit, change up the scenery. You’ll probably get labelled as the quirky kid or at least get some strange looks but those are so fun to get when you really don’t care what others are actually thinking of you. If you want, you can do this for science and write down reactions and words people have about your situation.

3. Fill it with stuff because it would feel cool. Works even better if you have the footie variety. But if you have some random markers or fake flowers or whatever floats your boat, just dump it in the top and shake around until it makes its way to the bottom. Or whatever. Do what you want.

4. Put it on straight out of the dryer. It’s like a full body hug. Except without all the awkwardness of another human being. (Human being hugs are quite amazing though)

5. Pretend it’s a thneed and make up weird uses for it. Kind of already described it as such but you have to admit the resemblance is pretty close. SO why not wrap it around your head as some sort of sun hat or throw it across one shoulder in a sort of sash. There’s leg holes and arm holes that can be put on the wrong places. You could make a whole fashion event out of it and have people rate each other on creativity and style. Also, there’s the important part where you memorize and perform the song from The Lorax.

thneed

6. Eat lots of food and watch as the onesie hides it from everyone! Seriously, those things aren’t form-fitting at all so you can get your eating game on and enjoy that food baby while wearing this thing.

7. Get together with friends and climb a tall wall with them. Keep in mind that in this scenario you aren’t actually wearing the onesies. It just sounds like a cool adventure to grab some people and descend down or ascend up an obstacle by using what materials you have on hand (in the case, the 7 onesies y’all brought specifically to do this but that’s just a minor detail) and actually accomplish something that’s probably quite hard. Team building! Looking ridiculous in public! What’s not to like!

8. Use it as a body double. More on that later.

9. Use it for costumes. There’s probably a whole bunch of costumes that can come from adding a few frills to a onesie. You choose the colour and then anything goes! Tails, ears, pins sequins and more; the whole lot can be added with some easy sewing or hot gluing and voila!

10. Stand on a heater. The kind that blows hot air. If you can follow my train of thought, you’ll see this ending in head being blown directly up through your leg holes and just pillowing around you and keeping you the toastiest you’ve ever been. The best situation to remedy being up too early on a winter morning. Or eating ice cream even though the temperature is not optimal for eating ice cream. You do you.

So. There you have it. My top 10 things to do with a onesie. Nevermind that I thought of the title first then had to come up with 10 things to fill the list up with, I think it turned out pretty well. These could actually be quite tame compared to what some people are willing to do. So, in the comments, let me know if you’re a fan of any of these ideas or you’ve cooked up a few fantastic ones yourself.