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!

Smek For President: Review

Oh J.Lo, how I love you.

It’s hard to give this book a real review explaining why I liked it and what I thought about the themes found inside when all I really want to do is quote all the funny parts to you. I’ll end up doing both, most definitely.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog at one point or another, Adam Rex’s The True Meaning of Smekday and anything that is remotely related to it is automatically my favourite thing in the world. I don’t make the rules that’s just how it is.

smekforpresident

Summary from Goodreads:

After Tip and J.Lo banished the Gorg from Earth in a scheme involving the cloning of many, many cats, the pair is notorious-but not for their heroics. Instead, human Dan Landry has taken credit for conquering the Gorg, and the Boov blame J.Lo for ruining their colonization of the planet. Determined to clear his name, J.Lo and Tip pack into Slushious, a Chevy that J.Lo has engineered into a fairly operational spaceship, and head to New Boovworld, the aliens’ new home on one of Saturn’s moons.

But their welcome isn’t quite as warm as Tip and J.Lo would have liked. J.Lo is dubbed Public Enemy Number One, and Captain Smek knows that capturing the alien is the only way he’ll stand a chance in the Boovs’ first-ever presidential election.

With the help of a friendly flying billboard named Bill, a journey through various garbage chutes, a bit of time travel, and a slew of hilarious Boovish accents, Tip and J.Lo must fight to set the record straight-and return home in once piece.

It was a little harder for me to get into Smek for President (you know, like reach that point where it doesn’t feel like you’re reading words anymore and are just experiencing the story) but it was a delightful read. I feel like the plot was less crazy than The True Meaning of Smekday as the setting remained the same the whole time and the reader wasn’t getting introduced to all of the characters this time around although it did have a pretty hilarious, spoilery twist that I found hilarious and perfect. You’ll know it. It’s even illustrated.

The novel made up for any of that by being classically random in the most ingenious ways. Our 7th grade selves that were known to sometimes say “I’m so rANdoM xD TACOS!!” have got nothing on Adam Rex’s genius. It’s example time now:

  • We’ve got the complete rules to Stickyfish which are actually coherent and could be adapted to the real world just like JK Rowling’s creation of Quidditch
  • A friendly billboard named William “Bill” Board
  • A hoverbutt
  • A boov not understanding the concept of “I can’t wait to do this thing” and explaining that you indeed will have to wait
  • Guns that turn everything blue
  • Some poomps, pardon my language
  • An appearance from “Rihanna”
  • The museum of noises

In short, read this book then come back and agree with me! (Or not, you do you)

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!

Smek For President

The first answer to any of those “what person dead or alive would you want to have dinner with” questions is Adam Rex.

smekforpresidentHe’s the author and illustrator to many a book, including my all time favouriteThe True Meaning of Smekday.

We’ll get into exactly why that is in a later post so that I can put all my focus into converting you into a major fan also but the point of this post is to celebrate and anticipate!

After 8 long years, there is now a sequel. The first book was a standalone, the ending was satisfying (actually it was a lot more than that) so it’s not like we’ve been dying over a cliffhanger for the past couple years but it excites me to no end that there will be more of an alien named J.Lo and a girl named Tip in a post-alien invasion world that will apparently include a presidential campaign but I know nothing because I haven’t even read the description I just want to go in blind and be amazed.

that was one very extremely long run on sentence

Things I Hope To See In The Sequel:

– more boovish history

– comics

– Gratuity and her mom

– J.Lo not understanding normal human things

– J.Lo’s horrible grammar

– how the aliens have integrated themselves into our world

The novel came out February 10th so there is absolutely no reason as to why I am not reading it right now. That makes me a little upset. Not sure if I should just go out and buy it or wait for the 8 people in line ahead of me at the library to hurry up and finish…

If you guys are fans of Adam Rex’s work, let me know so we can discuss at length how awesome these books are!!

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

Reasons It’s Good To Have A Messy Room

messy room

Instead of cleaning my room, like I should be doing, I have decided to use my time to make a post about why it’s actually a good thing to have a messy* room. Makes sense. Maybe this is my teenage rebellion. Never really had one of those so I guess I’m due.

*Now, by “messy” I mean clothes a little all over the place and an unmade bed and random paper everywhere. I don’t mean anything gross like food and garbage everywhere and all that extreme stuff.

1. It’s a time saver. If you have to put every single thing away, all the time, it takes up your time to do that. To make sure your floor is completely spotless, your bed is made and everything in its place is a lot of effort that you can spend doing other things. (Yes, I know there are arguments on the other side of this one but we’re just going to ignore them because that is not the point I am trying to make.)

2. Natural parkour course. You may laugh but it’s true! Coming home and trying to get into your bed but having to avoid piles of papers and a random box you have out is no easy feat. There is a lot of jumping and balance required. This is not only fun but also improves agility and foot-eye coordination.

3. It’s more “you”. Seriously, you don’t want your room to look like it just came out of an IKEA magazine. By having your collection of paint samples or all the make up you use on a regular basis out in the open, you give your room personality and make it your own.

4. Improves memory. It’s like having all your contacts saved on your phone. Do you actually know your best friend’s number or do you just know what button to press on your cellular device? That’s the same with having a spot for certain things in your room. You won’t even think, you don’t even have to turn on your brain to find whatever you’re looking for. Now if it’s just ~somewhere~ you’ll have to recall where you last saw it or what you were doing while you had it to discover its location. A great workout for the mind!

Once your read all these arguments, there is no way you could go back to having a regular ol’ cleaned up living space, it’s inconceivable!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: You don’t even know how much I died laughing alone in my room while writing this. If I could have a job that involved thinking up plausible reasons for dumb things, I would die happy and so pleased with myself.)

Resolutions 2014

Not off to a good start here, especially considering one of my resolutions.

It’s a few days into the year of 2014 so I figured it would be a good time to make my resolutions publicly on the internet. That way, when I fail miserably, more people will be able to point and laugh. I’ve never been too big on resolutions; I like to make big, life-changing decisions at an easier time like, for example, not in the dead of winter. But it’ll be good to have them written down for when I want them.

1. Stop procrastinating. This is a serious issue in my life that can easily be resolved with me just doing stuff when I get it. Much less stress, and better quality output. I seriously don’t understand myself. And looking at the syllabi (syllabuses??) for my coming semester, there is literally no time to slack off. I just need to go hard for the next 4 months and then I’ll be free!

2. Be less selfish. Now, I’m not a horrible person but I do notice things about myself that I don’t like. And I’d like to change that. It’d be super cool to put other people first and have that become a habit pretty much, instead of it taking effort. Even little things like giving my sister the bigger bowl of ice cream even though I scooped it for everyone. I have very good role models within my friends and family so hopefully by following their lead I’ll succeed!

3. Read 100 books. This normally isn’t a big deal for me. I usually read more than 100 books per year, according to my Goodreads, but this past year fell very, very short of my goal. I know exactly what went wrong though: 1) I didn’t read a single book the entire summer because of camp, 2) I started university which takes a lot of effort and 3) I got a laptop which is just a gateway drug to procrastination. Not going to be at camp for the entire time this summer and hopefully will learn to manage my time which should equate to more books read!!

4. Clean my room. Like deep clean. Scour through every box and corner under my bed, in my desk or in my closet and just make it nice. The outside looks nice (sometimes) but there’s so much hiding in all the nooks and crannies so I think it’s time to fix that.

There we have it! Tell me your resolutions, if you have any. And if you have any advice for how to achieve mine, then, by all means, let me know!