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!

Introspective Walk

Today I went on a very long accidental walk.

I don’t know what got into me because even though I knew I was meeting up with someone at 6:30, I was rushing out the door at 4:50 to catch the bus that would get me there in half an hour.

Needless to say, I had some time to kill.

So, instead of transferring onto the last leg of my trip and getting there in 7 minutes, I decided to walk alongside the route on a convenient bike path located there. If the walk wasn’t so gorgeous I might have just camped out at the location we were meeting but it was so I walked.

The weather was gorgeous, I had music I liked playing in my earphones and then weather was phenom so basically I was having the time of my life!

To an introvert, having 40 minutes of time that are completely mine to think and wonder about the things around me and in my life is spectacular! I planned some life things in my head, I people watched and I was just content and it was literally amazing.

Just wanted to share this moment with the internet, A+ activity for introverts.

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!

Oscars 2014

I’m not the biggest watcher of all these award shows.

I rarely know they’re happening until I start seeing gifs and commentary on tumblr. (No, I’m not always on tumblr. Just when I’m not sleeping, okay?) But this was the Oscars and they’re big enough that I did clue in on them. And with Ellen Desgeneres hosting and Benedict Cumberbatch in the audience there’s a high chance I would be incredibly sad if I missed it. Also my mom and sister have randomly become crazy award show buffs?? Like they watched the Grammy’s together and I don’t think my mom even likes any of that kind of music…

But a lot happened tonight so let us condense it in the best way possible: bullets.

  • Leonardo DiCaprio did not finally win his first Oscar as everyone on tumblr was holding their breath for. I expected this because Wolf on Wall Street isn’t a very deep movie and that’s a little bit of a requirement.
  • Was that too long of a bullet? I’ll stop explaining myself.
  • Lupita Nyong’o is the queen (and also won Best Supporting Actress)
  • Ellen literally ordered a pizza and brought the poor pizza guy in to feed the first few lucky rows
  • Ellen also took a selfie that was probably the greatest thing ever

  • All the musical performances were actually phenomenal (shoutout to Happy and Let It Go)
  • Frozen won some awards!!
  • Gravity won 7/10 awards it was nominated for
  • Croods didn’t win best animated even though, in my opinion, it should have probably because, well at least my theory is, it was released way earlier in the year and people forgot how awesome it was.
  • 12 Years A Slave won best picture
  • Lots of the winners had premade speeches on folded up pieces of paper and some were shaking and some literally jumped up and down and they were all adorable and it was so exciting watching them be happy about their wins
  • How To Train Your Dragon music was playing in one of the interludes

And that’s what I took from the show! What was your favourite part?

February Masterpost

BOOKS

Perfect Ruin – Lauren Destefano

The last book I read from her was the final book in her Chemical Garden series, Sever. Can’t say I super loved it at all, the premise was a little weird but I did read to the end of the trilogy instead of dropping it so there was something. All that to say that even though I did like Perfect Ruin, I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t expect too much from it or because it was genuinely good. But anyway it was an interesting premise with a couple really complex characters and I’m interested in seeing what happens next! I would also love for the science of some things to be explained a teeny bit more…

Champion – Marie Lu

Book three in the Legend trilogy aka I was super pumped for it to finally come out!! Let me just put it out there that the cover art was phenomenal. It just looks so hardcore and kind of somehow perfectly depicts the mood of the book. The actual book was quite good, it moved pretty quickly and had me wanted to read it at all times which sucked because school. It was very nicely woven together, just a tad too political to become one of my favourite books. I was definitely in shock after it ended; I needed to just sit and let it sink in for a while. It was a very satisfactory conclusion to an amazing series!

Movies

Stuck In Love – I decided to just watch this movie on a whim because I’d seen so many gifs of it on tumblr and when would I ever not want more Logan Lerman in my life? It was super cute and totally underrated! It sorta chugged along and kept me interested the whole time with the lives of this odd writer family. Definitely worth a rewatch! The only thing was that it was slightly weird to watch Clary Fray (Lily Collins) fall in love with Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) and then Isaac from TFiOS (Nat Wolff) was her brother just chillin there.

But you will literally not believe what happened afterwards. I have a friend that pretty much has the exact same taste in books and movies as me so I went to text her that this was a super great movie and that she needed to watch it in the near future so that we could discuss in it detail and she was already in the middle of watching it. Yes. Like what the heck we did not plan it, I didn’t even know if she knew that movie existed and then the same night at the same time like no how is that possible. We freaked out of course.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 – This was a fun movie that I watched with my whole family. Wasn’t expecting much from it except good animation but it proved to actually be something. The main message was to not get full of yourself and that friends are there for a reason and the plot twists were pretty much obvious yada yada but other than that there were some gem scenes hidden in there. The entire movie was absolutely filled to the brim with puns from your taco-diles to shrimp-anzees to toast-quitos to susheeps to you get the picture. The small child in me was delighted anytime a pun was made which was every second sentence pretty much. Shoutout to Flint Lockwood’s dad and his newfound pickle family, that was just the cherry on top.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World – This movie as well came from seeing way too many gifs of it on tumblr and finally caving and watching it. Gotta say, having never read the comics, it really took me by surprise. I usually only watch intensely mainstream movies so all these special effects and weird cinematic things were a new experience for me. (Except when I watched Fantastic Mr. Fox and let’s not go there because why would they do that to my favourite Roald Dahl book??) It took a bit of time to get used to but it was pretty neat having more than just the acting to look at. Not that the acting wasn’t great, Michael Cera I don’t even understand how you’re a movie star you’re so awkward but it just works and I was rooting for Scott the whole time. The one who stole the show though was Wallace. Just like he stole Scott’s sister’s boyfriend in that one part. He was literally hilarious! Loved the movie minus Ramona Flowers pretty much. Like what did she even do to be cool enough to fight over? Her hair isn’t normal? Like is there anything else? So that was a little frustrating but yeah.

No Strings Attached – I have to admit, the only reason I watched this was because of Ashton Kutcher. I just felt like seeing him for an hour and a half. The movie also did sound interesting in theory but it fell short of my expectations. Sure, there were some very adorable moments and lovely montages but it was just meh in general.

Killers – This one was watched in the same night at the last one after perusing Ashton’s imdb page for a bit. Not my kind of movie at all but it did get me hooked. I’m assuming the point was to be over the top and outrageous because that was what was accomplished. Also Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher most beautiful on screen couple ever, yes?

SONGS

The Draw – Bastille

Natural Disaster – Pentatonix

Love Again – Pentatonix

Camilo (The Magician) – Said The Whale

Fake Your Death – My Chemical Romance

We Are Golden – MIKA

A Million Ways – OK Go

Here It Goes Again – OK Go

Happy – Pharrell Williams

Just Give Me A Reason – Pink

Say Something – A Great Big World

 

January

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

Pointing Out Puns

I am always on the fence about this.

Let’s say that you made an incredibly pun or joke and you real casual like slipped it into the conversation you’re having really excited for whomever you’re speaking to to notice. And then they don’t. What happens next? Do you become That Guy that needs to point out the fact that they made a joke for anyone to actually tell they did or do you let the moment slip by unnoticed?

I know that I myself have this awkward anticipatory smile that I do whenever I slip in a gorgeous pun that is the outward appearance of me waiting for you to get it. If you know me well enough you will notice it and actively search through your brain for anything that could pass as a funny but if you don’t then it probably looks like I just passed gas or something and this is the point where I’m faced with the dilemma.

Because it can go in very different directions if you stop the conversation to point it out. You can get genuine laughter and appreciation, they can totally not get it and you’ll have to explain it which is totally the worst thing to happen in your career as a funny person or they can get it but not thing it’s funny and do a little pity laugh. VERY TOUGH DECISION DO YOU GET IT NOW?

Oh well, I’m already known for my awkwardness and I guess I’ll point out that yesterday’s post, Musical Moods, was a play on “musical chairs” because you have to switch chairs really quickly and that’s what my mood is doing music-wise.

Yeah.

Musical Moods

Music is an integral part of my life.

I have a constant soundtrack playing in the background of my day to day activities that range quite a bit on the spectrum of All Music Out There. Not even shy about the smattering of punk, hipster, pop and movie soundtracks I have going on in my itunes.

But I’ve noticed there are sort of mood swings that I cycle through concerning my music. They can change at any second or go on forever and it’s really weird and I just want to make sure I’m not the only one here.

1. Every Song No Matter What. This usually happens when I’m doing my homework or there’s just something else that has my full attention with my music just playing as that happens. This is when they skip button gets a break and every song gets their chance in the limelight. When this happens, I’m just totally down to hear whatever song comes up next on shuffle and will hum along amicably probably. It’s a nice place to be where you’re just really content with your music situation.

2. No Song Is The Right Song. I hate when this happens. Picture this: you’re totally in the mood to listen to some sweet tunes and get a little funky (oh god how I embarrass myself) but none of the songs that start playing seem right. You feel? It’s like you’re bursting to hear a wonderful and fabulous song but you can’t for the life of you fine The One. So you’re left skipping through every song on the list or listening to one but still being a little dissatisfied. (Hint, that usually means you need to get cracking and add some more music)

3. Repeat. This situation is mostly when you’ve recently done a big haul of new music and it’s all shiny and not overplayed yet. You could have discovered a new band or your favourite artist might have just dropped a new album. Whatever the case may be, you make a playlist containing like 1 or 2 songs and then literally loop that until you physically cannot listen to it one more time and probably hate it for the next 24 hours. By then, you’ve memorized the lyrics and know the baseline by heart and just feel happy to have found that song. I am immensely guilty of pulling thing move. I think it was on Tuesday that I played a song 46 times in a row before I called it quits.

4. Dance Party. This is happens when you’re feeling wild and hyper and like you need to make a ruckus. Dance parties of 1 are one of the literal best things on the planet. No one is judging you, except perhaps your cat, and you can yell-sing the lyrics you know by heart and make up the ones you don’t all the while jumping around in your room being as crazy as you feel. All the up beat songs are wonderful for this sort of thing but don’t underestimate bringing our your inner ballerina for the slow ones.

Music is just one of those things that makes me glad to be alive and in a world where this is so much of it. Gah, I’m just so happy.