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!

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)

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.

The Opposite Of Writer’s Block

My thoughts go at a million miles per hour.

Seriously, there’s an individual, albeit sometimes subconscious, thought in my head about every shred of information I take in with all 5 of my senses. That’s a lot.

Some of those thoughts turn into ideas and some of those ideas I find worthy of becoming a blog post! Sometimes I even get these thoughts stuck in my head, as if they were the lyrics to a song or something and basically that’s the main reason I even have this blog: to get them out. (Although it pleases me to no end that people actually enjoy reading this!!!)

Usually what I’ll do, since it’s often due to the situation I’m in aka an interesting one that I find inspiration and I can just sit down and start hacking away at a draft, is write down the mains points and tell myself I’ll get to it later.

There are so many of these jot notes. On sticky notes, in the drafts of my dashboard (currently there’s 29), in my organizational computer notes; they’re everywhere. And truth be told, they rarely make it out onto the internet.

It’s not that they’re not good! (I’m not cocky and full of myself….) It’s that I never get around to writing all the words that need to be added in order to make it a worthwhile post. I used to have the excuse of time and not having enough of it to spend on this side-hobby but now it’s really just the fact that I don’t have the willingness to sit myself down and write it all down.

//especially those hard ones that require research and taking corresponding pictures//

So in my head, it feels like backwards writer’s block. I have tons and tons of ideas but I’m not sitting at the computer staring at the screen. Just thought that was cool, not really even complaining or berating myself, it’s just funny.

Study Tips

Having just had three midterms in the past four days, I think I can classify myself as a sort of expert in this kind of thing.

And now I’m about to pass my expertise down onto you guys, do with it what you will. These are the things I usually do to stay focussed and to actually get the information to stay in my brain when studying for tests. Let me say now that it’s a really good idea to study before the night before a test because you’re hardly going to retain any information like that, even with all the tricks in the world.

1. Figure out what kind of learner you are. This is super important when studying!! I cannot stress that enough! You could be totally visual, auditory, kinesthetic or any combo of the three in how you learn. This really affects how you should go about preparing your notes.

–> Lets say you’re more visual. You should definitely try to use lots of colours and flashcards because those things tend to stick in your mind better. I’m like this and I always colour code my notes and organize them on an unlined sheet of paper (why I am saying that in the singular, it was definitely a plural amount of paper) so that it’s really easy for me to physically picture the paper in my head and pretty much read off the information I wrote down from memory.

–> If you remember things by hearing them, you’re an auditory learner. If you’re really a go getter, you could totally record your lectures and listen to them later. Otherwise, just reading the textbook and/or your notes out loud to yourself, family or even pets helps ideas stick in your brain.

–> If you’re the type of person that can’t sit still in class, it’s likely that you’re a kinesthetic learner. I am also very much this. And I know how much it sucks to make yourself sit down and memorize stuff. That’s why I like to rewrite my notes. Yes, it’s pretty time-consuming (even though I do condense them quite a bit) because writing is moving and my brain seems to remember things once I’ve written them down rather than just looked at a paragraph of text. Also, by putting little notes all over the house with things you need to know means that you don’t have to be sitting down at your desk the entire time you’re studying. Whenever you go to the fridge, you can read your list of strong acids and bases. Every time you open your laptop, you’ve got your list of formulas necessary to memorize for calculations. Works like a charm.

2. Set goals. When all you have on your to do list is “study”, not a lot is going to get done. By breaking up everything you need to do into smaller, more manageable chunks, it makes it easier to stay on track. Seriously, if your closest goal is to just “know everything I need to know for this test” then, man, you’re doomed. Try things like “finish notes on this chapter” or “do every second example on page 455” or even “understand  this one concept” because not only does tell you exactly what you have to do but you feel a little more motivated every time you finish something, no matter how small it is!

3. Reward system. Related to the above tip, treat yourself!! Let’s say you’re kind of hungry and there’s a container of strawberries in the fridge you would just love to demolish. Instead of rationalizing your ability to both eat something messy and stay focussed on the task at hand (which obviously you won’t do) just tell yourself that after you finish this one thing, then you get to go feed yourself guilt-free! Works with watching an episode of your favourite show or chilling with your pet. You’ll be really excited to go do whatever it is that you’ll just have to finish what you set out to do first.

4. Schedule. When you plan out your day/study time, it’s a lot easier to stay on top of things. You can set expected times to be finished with certain things and can even schedule in free time in there. That way it’s not 1am with you wondering where the time went.

5. Examples! Some things are pretty much just memorizing (looking at you, bio) but other things are just practical applications of skills. There are infinite situations that can arise and it’s next to impossible to have them all memorized so the best thing you can do is examples. By repeatedly using the same method tweaked a little bit for each question you try out, it becomes all the more easy for your brain to recognize what to do in that kind of situation or something similar. (I’m looking at you, integration)

6. Background music. Definitely put on music if you’re the kind of person that listens to music while studying but be careful about what kind of music it is! I know you really like Elle Me Dit by MIKA but do you really think you can quietly read your notes while the music is begging to be danced around to. And don’t even think about Disney soundtracks because there is no way in heck that you won’t break out singing to Let It Go. I suggest quiet music that doesn’t really demand to be heard like Owl City’s quiet songs or wordless soundtracks. (The How To Train Your Dragon one is phenomenal)

6. If you’re going to procrastinate, do something useful. With all these previous tips, I’m making it sound like I am the jedi master of studying and nothing ever gets to me. Could not be more opposite! For instance, I’ll be writing blog posts or thinking of hilarious tweets when I should really by thinking about differential equations. And I’ve been known to discover new music instead of memorizing the properties of inverse matrices. But my advice to you is that should you find yourself in a situation when you just physically cannot make yourself be productive school-wise, be productive elsewhere! Make your bed! Make a sandwich! Make a scarf! Yes, you’re not studying by something good still came from it and you will feel 400% less horrible about yourself than if you just sat staring at your papers or playing flappy bird. Trust me.

So there you have it! My surprisingly long-winded post regarding everything I know about shoving information into your head so that you can later regurgitate it onto a test! Let me know if you find anything helpful or if you have some super secret technique that I didn’t mention here!

//If you’re nowhere in the mood to study and nothing can change your mind, check this post about Procrastination Tips out