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!

Hello, It’s Me

and I’m back to annoy you with (potentially already outdated???) pop culture references and life updates!

If you know me at all, you can probably guess that school is over and my responsibilities have disappeared which is why I have circled back to this poor, abandoned blog. I had my last of 5 difficult finals today and can safely say that I passed them all but the waiting to know my final mark is always killer.

Currently I’m easing into this feeling of not having deadlines every two seconds. My mind still hasn’t accepted that I’m free yet.

Of course, I’m going to try and get back on the Make-A-Post-Every-Day train so expect some Christmas baking, school project recaps, updates on the construction going down in my city and movie reviews coming at you in the near future!

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DIY Easy Upcycled Pen/Pencil Holder

Or, Karen tries to stuff as many google-able words into the title as possible!image

If you’re looking for something quick and easy to give your desk space a fresh feeling while simultaneously using something that would have otherwise been recycled or thrown out, here’s an idea for you!

Materials
– Coloured tape (ex. washi tape, duct tape)
– Plastic container (ex. packaging from anything cylindrical, icing containers are great!)
– Your creativity (just picture me saying that as cheesily as possible please and thank you)

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I barely even need to explain the rest of this craft project because it’s pretty self-explanatory from the pictures above. Use the tape to create a design on your container, abstract or realism, until you’re happy with the result and then fill it with your writing utensils and plop it on your desk for easy access.

A few things I’d suggest:

  • Wash the insides and outsides of the container before starting to ensure that there’s nothing gross or dusty previously in it and to make it easier for the tape to stick to it
  • Use as much or as little tape as you’d like! I left gaps because my container is clear but you can fill the whole thing with tape and I bet it’d also look awesome
  • The potential patterns you can create are endless, there are stripes and zigzags and polka dots and herringbone and lots more to play around with
  • Go further with your design with stickers and jewels and paper cutouts!

Quidditch

Wizards and broomsticks and snitches oh my!

I don’t know if you’ve heard of this book series called Harry Potter? I think they made a movie or two where he was the main character also. Well, on the off chance that you have, you will probably then have heard of quidditch. It’s the biggest sport in the wizarding world so who would have thought I would be able to spend the last year physically playing it?

Quidditch has become a real sport in recent years, mostly starting up through universities thanks to enthusiastic and determined people. Getting a team together for a fictional sport off the ground can’t be easy! (And by off the ground I don’t mean on flying brooms, unfortunately physics is not on our side here.)

Canada gets more and more teams joining its ranks every year and many of the US teams are quite formidable. There’s been a world cup tournament that has happened for the past few years and I actually have friends that played on team Canada. Amazing to think about.

For people who are just trying to wrap their heads around a way for muggles to be able to play the sport (and yes, it is a sport) without any magic, let me break it down for you.

The first thing to note is that yes, we kept in the broom part but no, we have not yet figured out how to use them to fly. There are official quidditch brooms but most people just use a length of plastic pipe that is has to be held between their legs at all times while playing. Having one hand occupied most of the time does make the game a little harder!

You’ve got chasers which are the ones that score. Each team has 3 chasers and a keeper who does exactly what a chaser does except they’ve got a few extra privileges. They deal with the quaffle and the hoops. It’s basically handball where they can run with the ball and pass to each other in order to put the quaffle/slightly deflated volleyball through one of the three hoops. It’s pretty much the same as in Harry Potter except that it’s not way up high in the sky and we have full contact tackling.

Next are the beaters which are super important to muggle quidditch strategy. They use the 3 bludgers which look suspiciously like slightly deflated dodgeballs to hit whomever they want from the opposing team in order to make them get off their broom and run back to their own hoops before remounting. Where it differs from the movies is that the bludgers do not have a mind of their own to be redirected by beater bats but it’s still not fun coming against a beater that could make you basically run a suicide during a game. A quidditch team must always have 2 beaters on the field at a time.

Finally, the piece of equipment most people tend to ask about first: the snitch. In Harry Potter, the snitch is a tiny golden ball with wings that flits around very quickly and must be caught by the seeker in order for the game to be finished. Our real live snitch is a human being, usually dressed in gold or yellow, that has a sock with a tennis ball at the toes velcroed to a pair of shorts. There are manufactured snitch shorts that looks way more official than what I just described and it’s actually really difficult for a seeker to actually reach this sock located right above the snitch’s bum. The snitch does not have to use a broom and can mess with the seekers however they want, throwing them to the ground or pulling their broom out from under them, it’s all fair play.

There used to be off-pitch seeking, in which the snitch would be hiding somewhere away from where the game was  actually happening and the seekers had time to go and look for it just like in Harry Potter but as the sport developed, that was deemed impractical and all the seeking is done right in the middle of game play.

It makes for a difficult time for the spectator to choose what to watch with the scoring and the face-beating and the yellow-clothed person running around.

Hopefully that makes quidditch make sense to those of you who hadn’t heard about it being played in real life and hopefully you agree that this full-contact, co-ed sport deserves being called a sport despite its eccentricities.

I have included a video below to showcase the sport in action:

Oh, and what’s my position? I’m a chaser and I just love it. If I could seek, I would but I might just be too small for the job.

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!

Reasons to Smile #7

Genuine smiles

Being able to quote a movie while watching it

Eating ice

Starting a new notebook

Beating a personal best in something fitness related

Knowing exactly where you left something (and it actually being there)

When the wind doesn’t blow your hair in your face

Being as comfortable in your friend’s house as your own

Seeing a deer in the wild

Shredding paper

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Laces for Necks

Let’s have a looksee at all the necklaces that I own, shall we?
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This is my classic, tried and true staple. It’s silver, it’s simple and it’s blue, what more could I need. I am not a person that’s into big or flashiness when it comes to the jewelry I wear (all you will be able to find on my wrists are 2 hair elastics and a waterproof watch) and this matches with that aesthetic style perfectly! Blue is my favourite colour so throwing this around my neck makes a simple outfit a little cuter in my opinion.
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Do you heart this one too? This necklace is incredibly cute; the flower design on a glass heart is a really pretty pattern that’s perfect for making an outfit brighter. (I was going to use the adjective “smiley-er” but I don’t think that actually makes sense.)
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If we’re going for originality points, this one wins hands down. The context is that this was a craft at the summer camp we worked with and there were enough supplies left over for myself and some other staff to get one! I love this simple idea to death, this well-known lego piece can now be a statement jewelry item! It also makes the connection with my being an engineer as building things is a central theme there. Also it’s blue, can’t have a bad day with a blue lego piece swinging from your neck!
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I feel like a lot of people have this one lying around their house somewhere. I definitely first got this shark tooth necklace some time ago at the Museum of Nature and recently rediscovered it. It helps me feel hardcore when I wear it even though everyone keeps gently reminding me that I am a few degrees away from being hardcore.
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This one doesn’t actually get worn very often, mostly because it isn’t anything too special and it’s gold. I think having blonde hair limits the amount of gold or yellow that I can wear because if they’re not the exact same shade then it just looks wrong. I’m also very sure this necklace came along with my Secret Garden book someone gave me a long while ago.
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This is definitely my fanciest necklace, it was a gift for graduating high school! It is similar to the first necklace, keeping the blue gem, silver chain trend, although I think these gems are actually real instead of just glass. The shape of it signifies the path of my life that I’ve started as high school came to a close. I should wear it more often.

And there you have it! My vast collection of neck-themed jewelry! (read: 6) I’ve never been someone that wears them too often though, so they usually sit on my dresser until I remember that they exist!

Your turn! Let me know your favourite necklace that you own or even just favourite type of necklace that you’ve seen!

Reverse Procrastination

While I was shirking my responsibilities, discovering new corners of the internet to get lost in, I had a novel idea.

I’m pretty sure everyone in the universe experiences the phenomenon where when you really need to get something done but there’s still enough of a window that you’re not in last minute panic mode it seems like absolutely everything else is way more interesting. I find that things are more relatable on tumblr, the click bait on facebook is much more enticing and my room is way too messy to continue this way. Every activity, be it learning how to lip read or discovering some new music, is ten times more exciting than the actual thing that you are obligated to do.

I know I myself have tried the method of inducing that last minute panic earlier than it actually would come by giving myself random deadlines but it’s so easy to pretend you didn’t see the clock turn 6pm or something.

So this brainwave that I had incorporates this concept and attempts to transform it into something useful for productivity rather than detracting from it.

If you rig it right, somehow, you need to trick yourself into thinking that the work you have to do is a distraction from your real distractions.

Confused? I would be too.

What I’m trying to get at is turning the tables on yourself. Open twitter and give yourself a deadline to write a fantastic and retweet worth blurb and pretend like you are not allowed to do anything until that happens. Then, in another tab, have the research on solar panels that you’ve been trying to do all afternoon just sitting there and see what happens.

Obviously I haven’t actually tried this and there is the obvious pitfall that you could open an entirely different tab with a quiz on what famous internet cat you are (is that a thing?? you never know… And there is!!) BUT it’s an idea is all I’m saying. And as someone that actually needs to be researching solar panels right now, I have written two blog posts in a row so at least I was slightly productive with this technique…

Try this and tell me your findings, fellow internet scientist/procrastinators, whichever you identify with most!

I couldn't resist
I couldn’t resist

New Theme

I wanted a better font, pretty much. My requirements were that I needed a sidebar and the colour blue needed to be around.

Voila, what do you think of the transition? I miss the cuter vibe and the blue everywhere but readability of the font really didn’t work for my mostly-text blog. Apparently I’m into having the title in capslock though…

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