Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Life Updates

Hi there everyone! It has certainly been a while. I took a hiatus – don’t hate me. Time seemed to have slipped away from me this summer. There was such a rush, and I didn’t quite seem to follow along. I worked right until the end of August and then spent hours cleaning the pool out. After that, I had only a handful of days to get things set for school before I started training for my position as a soph. You will find no complaints from me – I had an amazing summer. I loved my job, I had a great time seeing all my friends again, and I had some awesome opportunities to do some fun things. The point of this post is to let you know exactly how I’m doing and where I want to take this blog for the future. I’ve made some much needed changes in my life, so why not share them?

1.       Drinking More Water
My actual trick for this will be saved for my monthly favourites because I am actually obsessed with it. I’m not exactly sure why I started doing this, but I did it and I have been nailing it. You hear all the time that drinking water helps your skin and overall health. I feel like no one drinks as much water as they actually need. I start my day with a glass of water as I’m waking up and checking my phone, and it has made me feel energized. I thought that was just a fluke, but two days in a row I didn’t have a glass of water right away, and I found myself feeling more groggy. No one likes a groggy Daniella.


2.       Sleeping for Eight Hours and Waking Up Early
This is a big one, I know. I only started this recently. It’s difficult, I must admit. The reason I started this is due to the latest iPhone update. Under timers and all the nonsense, there’s a “bedtime” option. With this, you can choose when you’ll be waking up, and they’ll not only tell you when you should go to bed, but they’ll set an alarm and wake you up gently. I have two days a week where I have to wake up early, but the other five days, I’ve been waking up at 7:30. For someone who has never been a morning person, this is shocking to me. However, after getting the full eight hours of sleep, waking up at 7:30 isn’t so bad. Plus, 11:30 isn’t that early a bedtime.

3.       Yoga
If you have followed me at all this summer, you’ll know I started a fitness journey. How did that go you may ask? Well, it was sporadic. I kind of did some great things at the end of the summer but then o-week hit. Then after o-week, I was sick. I am now at this point where I have actually worked out via yoga videos for about a week now. The turning point for me was coming home one day and actually doing a video then. Typically, I don’t do things when I come home for the night, so putting in the effort to do it is a great step for me. It also means it’s becoming more of a habit.

4.       Reading List
What this really means is that I am staying organized for school. I have made my lists for readings, planned out when to start essays, and planned around big events. I feel good about this year. I have a lot on my plate, so organizing is going to be key. That being said, I’m behind already. That’s the one issue with o-week – it sets you back from the beginning. I’m not too far behind at the moment, and I believe I’ll be fine by the end of tonight. Then, after that, I will be organized and ready to take on the world one cute agenda at a time.

5.       Rest Day
Now here’s the thing I never thought about before – rest day. People who work out all the time know the advantages of rest days. Rest days are so important not only for physical health but mental health as well. Working X amount of hours a day seven days a week drags on you. Over-working yourself can lead to so many more issues that tend to consume you. This year, I made it so that Sundays are me days. That doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t do work. It can also be a day to catch up on my weekly goals so that I’m not falling ever more behind. For the most part, I plan to read, spend time with my family, see friends, and play volleyball (also a very new thing in my life). Even if you schedule in a little bit of “me” time, it can be extremely beneficial. 

6.       More Lifestyle Posts
And now I am finally getting to the blog. My perspective on life has changed a little bit. I’m getting older, and I’m starting to make better decisions about my life (clearly). When it comes to this blog, I realize that I have things to share. I have experiences that feel unique but definitely aren’t. The whole point of starting this blog was to connect with people who share similar thoughts and views and experiences – instead of wasting my time on something that feels like a burden (outfit posts), I want to focus more on opinion, favourites, and lessons learned.
That’s about it. I’m not going to promise you a post on Saturday. I need some time to catch up on school as well as plan these new blog posts. For now, I’m going to continue getting my eight hours of sleep, doing yoga, eating healthy, and staying organized (I’m already failing at this one).

Do you have any big life updates?


Daniella

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Review- The Circle by Dave Eggers

I promise after this post that I will stop talking about how busy my summer has been. For a while there, I wasn’t reading before bed like I usually do. One day, my mom put The Circle by Dave Eggers on my bookshelf, and I brought it to a shift where I knew I had some time to read. I ended up reading it in four sittings. The Circle is a company that is all about connection and social media and engagement. You know how Google is supposed to be the best place in the world to work? Well, this company is like that. They even have nap rooms. Mae starts her work there and falls in love with the way the company is run. It seems like a positive atmosphere with unlimited resources (don’t even get me started about their amazing library). The Circle is forward thinking and constantly changing. New people are always brought in and all treated with the utmost respect and care. Everyone is a visionary and takes inspiration from each other. Mae becomes the centre of The Circle’s latest technology and skyrockets in popularity all over the world. As The Circle reaches “completion,” Mae starts having anxiety issues about alienating her family and cutting ties to past relationships. This novel creates a powerful message about the impacts of expansion and growing technology in today’s world.

There was a lot I liked and a lot I didn’t like about this novel. Eggers does a fantastic job at giving relevant background on the characters. The descriptions build up a distinct voice for each character that is consistent throughout the novel. Eggers is talented at conversational text and highlighting things like natural human awkwardness. The bits of romance interspersed in the novel were seamlessly integrated, so it wasn’t unwanted in context (that means a lot coming from me). I really grew to love or hate certain characters. I was so unsure of Mae the whole time and ended up losing all my respect for her. Kalden (love interest) was a love/hate character but Mercer (ex) was my absolute favourite. The latter characters provided a refreshing opposition to the blind acceptance coming from the rest of the characters. The contrast of the opposition is blatant in this novel, so Kalden and Mercer were brilliant characters in that sense. The ending to this novel, to me, was completely unpredictable. The fast-paced text made for an easy book to read, but of course, there are certain things that I did not like.


I ended up questioning so much about The Circle and their intentions from the beginning. Their code names and exclusivity laid out a creepy feeling that hung there throughout the text. The way they can track everyone in the world made me uneasy. The problem solving techniques involved a lot of making an example out of people and talking down to people. It was a complete contrast to the respect that was previously paid to employees. The Circle forces engagement with on-site activities and inter-company relations. You forge to reply to a message? Too bad – that person now hates you. Everyone is willing to follow everything a leader says because they have all the power to make it the next big thing. There is no space to explore your own personal hobbies because it must be shared with anyone else. There’s no space to be yourself. You can see how that’s problematic.

The thing is, this book made me think. My mom told me she hated it because it goes against everything she has ever told me and my sister about regarding social media. There was this whole political aspect about being transparent, but I don’t see that as a good thing. I don’t want people to know what I’m doing at every point of my day. Sometimes, I have bad days where I am a passive member of society and watch Netflix all day. I choose not to expose that on social media because no one needs to see that. Personal time is important and I don’t care who you are, but you need it! Mae ends up becoming controlled and self-centered and isn’t that what happens to us? We want more likes on Facebook, more followers on Instagram and more views on our blog. I felt so sorry for Mae because she needs constant validation and the sad thing is, I can see that same characteristic in myself. There’s a point to be made about accountability. If we are being watched all the time, would it make people less likely to commit crimes? Sure. It will also make for less genuine moments. The best message in novel comes at the end. The ending is open-ended. There are pieces missing from the story. The ending is a direct reflection on how we all approach social media. The question turns to you – do you need to know the ending or can you be content with the way it is?

I give this book 4/5 stars. It was almost a 5, but there was just too much about it that made my stomach turn. Have you read this book? Comment below and tell me if you have or if you will read it after this.

-Daniella

P.S. I just found out that they’re adapting it to movie form starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My Fitness Journey - Month One

Hi there again with this difficult post (shout out to the one person who commented last time – you made me laugh). The one thing I forgot to mention in my last post is my ultimate goal. I am very happy with my body and the way it works. My goal isn't to be "healthy." I don't have an ideal weight or size or anything like that because I'm already the ideal version of myself. A few more tweaks is going to raise that bar. My goal is to not die walking up hills. It took difficult treks in Ilkley Moor and Edinburgh to make me realize that I needed to change something. I mentioned in a health tips post that walking up stairs becomes easier when you do it more. As true as that is, I just did not walk up enough hills to make it easier for myself. So my goal is to simply make that easier on myself and promote a lifestyle that can include all activities. I don’t want to miss out on things because I’m not fit enough.



So my month has been a little all over the place. I was really good about working out before I started work. Then, as I started picking up on my hours, I stopped working out altogether. It happens. Recently, I’ve been getting back into the swing of things. Work also gets me up on my feet, and I’m moving all the time. I’ve been walking on the treadmill for about 20 minutes a day with some extra YouTube videos afterwards. I like the 4 minute HIIT videos from Lucy Wyndham-Read. I’m not a huge fan of Lucy herself, but I like the quick videos. When I started, I worked out for two days and couldn’t walk for three days. I feel like once I get a hang of all of this, it will be easier to incorporate more intense workouts.


MONTH ONE

Weight
220 lbs.
Neck
38 cm.
Left Arm
40.5 cm.
Right Arm
41 cm.
Waist
94.8 cm.
Belly
117.8 cm.
Hips
127 cm.
Left Thigh
78.7 cm.
Right Thigh
76.7 cm.
Left Calf
46.5 cm.
Right Calf
44.4 cm.

In this coming month, I definitely intend on continuing what I’m doing right now. Based on these numbers, I can see a little difference in the measurement of my legs. I’ve clearly gained some weight in the past month, but maybe it’s muscle? I have no idea. I still feel pretty useless at this. I did measure myself about halfway through the month, and it was pretty upsetting to see that I hadn’t made any progress. That set me off track for a while. I decided that I don’t want to do that again this month. It threw me off so much, and I’m not going to let myself do it again. I’m determined to continue this and improve my condition. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Monthly Favourites- July 2016

I’m entirely disappointed that I missed May but oh well. July has been a busy month. I started working this month, and I’ve been very busy with that. I’m working at a small pool this summer, and I was worried that I wasn’t going to get many hours. However, I’ve been picking up a decent amount of shifts at other pools. I missed mentioning this before the summer, but I was rather nervous about starting a new position this year, but I’ve settled in well, and I’d say I’m doing a pretty good job too. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. This post isn’t work related, but since that’s what’s been taking up most of my time, I have to mention it.

1.       Revlon Black Cherry Lipstick


I’ve been out a few times since I’ve been back. Every time I’ve been out, I’ve worn this lipstick. It goes on really dark, but after blotting it with tissues, it looks so good. This picture was from my sister's 19th birthday, and it worked so well with my outfit. I’ve always been a fan of lipstick (throwback to last January), but this is one I was sceptical of for a while. I didn’t like how dark it was at first in all honesty. It makes me feel like the best possible version of myself. I feel cool and mysterious and kind of sexy, and that’s exactly how accessories are supposed to make you feel.

2.       Bachelorette Party


As of today, my best friend’s getting married in less than a week! A few weeks ago, I hosted the best ever bachelorette (yes, I’m tooting my own horn on this one). Marlee’s not into the whole strippers/huge night out thing. Instead, it ended up being the ultimate girl’s night. I’ll be posting specifics later in August. We went out to dinner downtown and had the most delicious drinks there, and then, we came back to my house for the party stuff. Of course, you can’t have a bachelorette without something phallic, so there was a cheese ball penis. That was fun.

3.       Podcasts

[source]
Okay. So I didn’t really listen to music when I was away. Then, I come back, and I don’t know what happened to music. Why is everything so repetitive? I think I like about three songs on the radio right now. As a solution, I’ve started listening to podcasts instead. My favourite will always be Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig, but I listen to a few others now. It makes driving so much better. I listen to one called Happier, and I’ve started to incorporate some of the tips into my life and my workplace. I strongly suggest giving it a listen.

4.       Returning Home Article


I mentioned in my last lessons learned that I was having a tough time adjusting to being back at home. It’s really hard to explain, and I don’t want to dedicate a whole post to something I can’t quite describe.  My friend sent me an article from Elite Daily called Why Returning From Travel Is Harder Than Leaving The Comfort Of Home. I was talking to this friend, and she described the same types of things I was going through. The best way to describe it is “walking around a museum of my old life.” This article helped me understand how I was feeling and why I’ve been struggling with certain things upon my return. I don’t have a solution to this. I don’t have advice. I’m just trying to understand it myself. Thanks to that friend for her immense love and support. The one great thing about being away is this picture - opening Christmas presents while eating Easter candy in June.

5.       Exploding Unicorn Twitter


This. Twitter. Account. Oh my goodness, it is hilarious. Exploding Unicorn from James Breakwell is a series of Tweets inspired by his children and wife. The amount of times I’ve taken a screenshot to send to Matt because it made me laugh is ridiculous. I actually subscribed to get a notification every time he Tweets something. His kids are adorable, and they constantly have Nerf wars/Star Wars fights/how to survive a zombie apocalypse tutorials. It’s priceless. Do yourself a favour and check it out.

So this month was clearly a busy one, and August is about to get even busier. I'm going to be working a lot more, getting ready to start school, train for o-week, and, most importantly, Marlee's getting married in a week! It feels like it's been so long since they got engaged, and I can't wait to be a part of their special day. In other news, I've realized recently that I'm not very good at being productive in more than one aspect of my life. For example: I was really good at working out every day in the beginning of the summer, but once I started working, that fell behind. My goal for these coming weeks as I get busier is to go slow and stay productive in all aspects of my life. I'll keep you posted.

What were your favourite things in July? Any big plans for August?

-Daniella

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Getting Over Childhood Teasing

I remember forever ago when I used to watch America’s Next Top Model, and they did an exercise where they wrote the word that made them feel bad about themselves and rephrased it to make it their source of power. For years, that has stuck with me. Everyone has one word that brings them back into a sad place. It may be a nickname they were teased about when they were younger or something that reflects their insecurities. Whichever it is, I feel like everyone has one. It’s a word that comes up every so often and uncovers feelings from the past. It doesn’t matter if you’re an adult and 10+ years past the incident, but it still has the power to open up old wounds. My word is bookworm.


I AM a bookworm. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what makes me who I am, and I knew that even then. However, when someone takes your identity and uses it as an insult, it hurts. I remember when this person called me a bookworm. It was said with so much disgust and opposition. It wasn’t the word itself that got to me – it was that this individual saw me and my hobby as a bad thing. It was that he looked down on me for my love of reading. It was that he saw myself as lesser than him because of the things I love. I never liked the word bookworm after that moment. It went from a description of who I am to the way people put me down. I felt ashamed for reading. I felt embarrassed that I was a "loser" for doing what I loved. Being a bookworm put me on the outside.


Today, I still don’t like the word, but I choose to embrace it. I’m a bookworm, and I always have been. I could read before kindergarten. I got to take books off of the big kid shelf in grade one. I hold the all time record for most read books in the same year. I once went to book camp. I can read a 400+ page book in four sittings. I am studying English in university. I want to teach English to inspire the same passion in teenagers. I write book reviews that authors have read and liked. Reading is an integral part of my life. I don’t want to shy away from being a bookworm. I'm proud of what I have accomplished; I’m proud of who I am. The thing is, what some use to take you down may actually be your biggest strength.

What word reminds you of childhood teasing? How have you overcome that as you grew up?

-Daniella

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Lessons Learned - Study Abroad Edition

I've been trying to look back on things I've written about in previoussummer, and I am struggling. As I wrote on Tuesday, I'm not very "on the ball" in the summer. I think this is a good time to share my actual reflections about my time abroad. To be honest, I'm glad I didn't write it as soon as I got home. There are certain things I've realized only in being back for a while and settling in. It seems like I should be settled in at this point, but I'm really not. I keep saying I was thrown into life as soon as I got back. There are certain things that I've realized since I've been back, and there are certain things that are simply reestablished. There are also things about my adventures in here that have a significant importance.

1.       Coming home is a more difficult transition than one would think.
This is surprisingly more difficult to write about than I would have thought. The thing is, I'm struggling to transition back to my regular life. I recently talked to a co-worker who did the same trip as me, and she's also struggling. I think there's this expectation that everyone wants to hear about your experience and it's all you're going to talk about. Now, all I say is "it was absolutely amazing. I absolutely loved it, and I'm going to move back." I'm old news, so I need to get back to regular life. The problem is, I don't fit into that old life anymore.

2.       Get to know locals.
This is something that actually bothered me about other people. I got lucky I suppose – I met a guy who was British and stole all of his friends. Then, there were other people who didn't bother. I met a Canadian girl there, and we're still friends, and that's okay. It's okay to want to hang out with people who "get you," but I think I would regret studying abroad if I hung out with only Canadians. I mean, I now get mail from England AND Switzerland AND maybe the US if I can convince my flatmates to write me letters. In spending time with people from England, I was able to fully grasp the culture. I was a part of the pubs and the football and the fish and chips. I got to go to places like Rother Valley which I wouldn't know about if I wasn't with British people. Get to know the people. Get cultured.


3.      People can make or break a trip.
Choose your travel companions wisely. When I think back to the best trips, they were with people who loved me and cared about me and cared that all parties involved were having fun. Then there were other trips where I was ditched or no one cared about what I wanted to do. Travel with people that can handle you at your worst falling asleep on the bus/yelling at you in a hostel/ being grumpy on early mornings moments, and you'll have a grand time. At the end of the day, no matter what happened, they won't care as long as they're doing it with you.

4.       You may not find people who are as good as your friends from home.
Maybe this was just me, but I thought I was going to come out of this with lifelong friends and wonderful memories. That didn't happen for me. I rely on my friends. I have specific people playing specific roles in my life, and I felt a little lost without them. I was hoping to find one person to connect with and be close with. I've built up my life with the most amazing people, and it's difficult to find people similar to that. I know I can never replace the people I have in my life now, but I was hoping to make a good connection with at least one person.

5.       Write Letters.
So I’m a complete nerd when it comes to stationary. While I was away, I ended up buying so much stationary at Paperchase (noted in December's monthly favourites). I was even keeping an eye on cards at home and had about six new sets waiting for me when I got home. The thing is, I loved writing letters or postcards to my friends back home. Most of the time, I got letters back which is so nice. It’s a great way to keep in touch with friends, and they always love hearing about your adventures. It also makes people feel good to get something in the mail.

6.       Keep a Journal
This is similar to writing letters except more personal. I went through a few journals while I was away, and it got me into a great habit of writing pretty much every day. Until I got back, I hadn’t missed one day this year. I wasn’t as good at the beginning of the year, and I’m a little disappointed in myself. It would have been great to look back on those memories. However, I’m glad that I got myself caught up in the last half of the year. All of my adventures are recorded so I can enjoy them in the years to come. It’s so special and personal in a way that pictures cannot be.


7.       Leaving home will test friendships.
This may be one of the most shocking things I discovered while I was away. There are my best friends that kept in contact all the time. There are people that held weekly Skype dates. Then there were those that I thought would stay in touch but didn’t. It hurt for a while, but I think I found my true friends. The good thing is, there were a few people that messaged me unexpectedly.  Moving away from home – whether it’s a city away or an ocean away – will reveal some interesting things about people, but it’s important to not take it personally.

8.       It’s difficult to fix issues at home.
I didn’t get homesick very often, but when I did, it was because something was going on at home. There was a lot of family stuff that happened while I was gone, and it was difficult to deal with the fact that I couldn’t do anything to help anyone. The thing is, most of the time, there’s nothing you can do about it. You can use your words to support your family, and it’s okay to struggle with it. Part of being away is knowing that you don’t fit into your old role as a friend/daughter/sister.

9.       Study abroad.
That’s it. This experience has opened my mind and changed my life. My dream for six years was to study abroad. My new dream is to move back. If you are in university/ going into university and you can find a way to study abroad, do it. There are so many opportunities to study all over the world. All you have to do is find the opportunity and take it. Get in touch with people at your university and figure out whether it fits your academic path or not. Maybe a summer exchange is right for you. Do yourself a favour and check it out.

My year abroad was one of growth. I learned so much about myself, and I’m continually learning about myself as I’m settling back in at home. I’ve had my difficulties, but looking back, there is nothing I could possibly regret about this trip. I had never left home for a long period of time, and I packed my bags and left for a different continent. I moved across an ocean for eight months, and I am itching to go back. This was the most amazing experience. I still can’t believe how fast it went by. I achieved a six year dream, and it feels so good.

Have you ever studied abroad? I would love to hear about where you went and how you succeeded.


-Daniella

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Galway

So. It has been a while. I've surfaced online once in a while, but otherwise, I've been pretty MIA. I promise I'll get to reflections on my time abroad once things settle down a bit more. Since I've been back, I've been thrown into so much life. I had work training the day after I got back, and the week after, I started planning Marlee's bachelorette. Basically, this is the first week I've had time to look at everything and figure out what I need to be doing over the course of the summer. As a side note, I know there are some bloggers that have a full time job as well as doing daily posts and taking care of their family. To them, I pose this question: HOW? I've never been consistent in the summer, and I say it's due to work, but there are no grounds to that argument because I work only part time. Oh well.

To make up for lost time, I thought I would share a couple of the trips I went on before I came home. I haven't picked the pictures yet, but I am already excited to go through them and relive the trip. I went to Galway, Ireland with my friend Natalie (find her on Instagram and Twitter). Natalie and I met a few summers ago when we worked together, and we've become closer over the years. So when she told me she was going on a European trip, I had to see her. We saw each other in the airport, and it was the most amazing moment. She cried, not me. It was the first time I had seen someone from home in months, so I was feeling rather overwhelmed.


We had a wonderful breakfast, caught up, and waited for her friend from Spain to show up.  We landed in Dublin, so the bus drive to Galway was still a few hours away. When we got there, our friend mentioned a boat tour we could go on. The boat tour itself wasn't fantastic, but there are some amazing ruins along the coast. Also, they started playing the Titanic theme song at the end, and that just seems a little ominous to me....


We spent a bit of time wandering around Galway and the area we were staying in. The road was full of little shops and restaurants, and the flags were flying everywhere. It was so much fun to walk around. People have the best spirit in Ireland.


We settled into hostel and found a pub for dinner where I had a Guinness (because where else would I have one?). There was also a football (soccer? I feel weird saying that now) game on, but it was an English team playing a Spanish team, and the English team lost, so my Spanish friends made fun of me.



The next morning, we had an early start for a bus tour. There were so many stops, and I was asleep for half of them because it was too early for me. We stopped by Dunguaire Castle although we couldn't actually go in it which was disappointing.



The other cool thing is the Gleninshine Tomb we stopped at. It's one of those mysteries like Stonehenge where they're not 100% sure what it was for or what kind of rituals were involved, but it was fascinating.



Personally, I love the Irish countryside. I wish I took more pictures of it. It's all hills, but it stretches out forever. It's all farmland, so there are animals everywhere. Every type of farm animal is in Ireland, including alpacas. So yes, I saw alpacas from a distance in Ireland.



The main stop on this trip was the Cliffs of Moher. Now, I have been to some cool places, and I have seen some cool things. However, this was the absolute best. The Romantics called experiences like this "sublime," and I totally understand how that feels now. I was standing there in complete awe at how beautiful nature is. Man had nothing to with the power in front of me.



The thing about the Cliffs is that the water below eats at the side of the cliff – erosion and stuff. The bus driver told us not to go near the edge (we took this picture there and that's it). They actually have a sign dedicated to all the people who lost their lives at the Cliffs. How terrifying is that? Yes, I know my eyes are closed in this picture.



There were a few other stops, but these were the mains ones in my mind. Our final stop was along Wild Atlantic Way which is the highway along the ocean. It was beautiful, and Natalie and I couldn't resist just one more adorable picture.



When we got back, there was still some daylight left, so a few of us went to find the Spanish Arch. It was underwhelming.



On the way back to the hostel, I bought myself a souvenir knit sweater that says Guinness (I have no regrets whatsoever). We also found ourselves near the marina, so the walk ended up being pretty nice.



The morning we had to catch our buses back to Dublin, we ended up going to the Cathedral. It's one of those buildings that has a looming presence like the York Minster. It looks old from the outside, but it turns out it was built only 50 years ago.


The way home was rather uneventful. It was a few hours on a bus, then an hour on the plane, then a couple hours on the train. Needless to say, I was tired. Galway itself was not the prettiest. It's actually kind of ugly. I loved the road we stayed on, but that's about it. If you go to Galway, you're going to the cliffs. The bus tour had another trip to take people to the islands, and I wish I had more time to go on that one as well. When Natalie saw me for the first time since she got back, my parents told her I didn't stop talking about it, and it was my favourite trip. It was definitely the best experience. If you're in Ireland, go to the Cliffs of Moher. I've learned that the people you travel with can make or break a trip, and Natalie and I have already made plans to travel together in the future. It's just a question of where.


Daniella

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Pinterest Challenge - June 2016

I must say, Tuesday’s post was not the easiest thing in the world. It was a challenge for me to post. I was going back and forth about it for so long. I’m glad I decided to do it, and although it was quite a strong post to write after more than month of silence, I needed to do it. Other than that, my life has been absolutely insane in the past few weeks. To be honest, my life is a little bit in shambles. I need to get back into a routine. That also means that I need you catch you up on the adventures I’ve been on! I haven’t said anything about the Cliffs of Moher, London, or Paris. I have so much to share! For now, I’ll share what I’ve been doing from Pinterest. I decided to change the format of my Pinterest posts to fit in a few more things. So check out what I’ve been doing since I’ve returned to Canada!

1.       Flaming Drinks

 All you need is 1 oz vodka, 1 oz blue curacao, 3 oz lemonade, Splash 151, Pinch of cinnamon. However, this was a fail. It didn’t look anything like the original picture from Little Pink Blog, and it didn’t even flame! It ended up being pretty good though. Marlee and I added a lot more of the Bacardi 151 and topped it up with more lemonade. It was really strong, so it went straight to the head. Not a bad start for girl’s nights for the summer.

2.       Bobby Pin Updo

Maybe I should have put my successful pins first, because this clearly did not work out. I had these adorable bobby pins for the longest time, and I’ve never really used them. When I saw this hairstyle on Oh Joy, I was looking forward to trying this out. And it turned out like this . . . I tried it by myself, then my sister tried it out, and it somehow managed to look worse. Maybe it would be better if someone had long hair, but this did not work out for me.

3.       Cinnamon Roll Breakfast


You need ½ cup cottage cheese, honey (or sugar substitute), pecans. This is a pretty picture. The idea from Food.com is a delicious and healthy breakfast. Breakfast is my favourite meal, so I’m always down to make something amazing. And if it tastes like a cinnamon bun? Even better! This cottage cheese bowl tasted close to a cinnamon for sure. However, I do not like cottage cheese. The texture messes with me. Bleh.  But I promise you, it’s actually tasty.

4.       French Toast in a Mug


You need one piece of buttered bread, ¼ cup milk, 1 egg, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. This is the best thing I did all month. Again, I love breakfast, but I’ve also missed maple syrup. Sometimes, you’re craving a breakfast food like pancakes or French toast, but making a batch is too much. This, my friend, is your answer. This recipe from Princess Pinky Girl is amazing. They suggest using chocolate chips, but I didn’t. I also suggest using cinnamon bread (I used a cinnamon raisin bagel in this picture. As a topping, I drizzled some extra maple syrup, and it was utter perfection.

I already can’t wait for next month’s Pinterest Challenge because some bachelorette planning things will be on there. I’ve planned a bachelorette party for tonight, and I am really excited about it. I’m not too sure what I’m going to do for posts for the rest of the month because there’s so much I’m behind on, but we’ll get there. What’s been inspiring you lately?

-Daniella

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My Fitness Journey

My name’s Daniella, and I’m fat. It’s a scary word, I know. People shy away from it by saying “curvy,” “plus size,” and “more meat on your bones.” It’s true – I am all of those things. But I’m also fat. The thing is, I don’t see myself that way. I don’t believe that my identity is linked to my body. I’m a person in a body, and that’s all there is to it. I have a shining personality, I’m a great friend, and I am passionate about the things I’m involved in. None of that has anything to do with the way I look. I have a healthy relationship with my body. It does what I need it to do. It works well. However, that doesn’t matter to some people. They will look at me and see me as fat – period. As of recently, I’ve started to see what they mean.


I’ve never really struggled with self esteem, but the past school year, something changed. I wouldn’t say I have low self esteem now, but there are more days where I look in the mirror and I don’t like the way I look. And then, a couple events really hit me. Near the end of my time in the UK, I was walking up a lot of hills. I was struggling. It was much more difficult than it was supposed to be. In both cases, I was nearly in tears over the prospect of walking one more step up the cliff/moor. It made me feel awful about myself. The worst event is when I went to the seaside and wore a skirt. That was a stupid decision in the first place, but because of all the walking I did, I got the worst chaffing blisters I have ever experienced. I actually put myself into shock just to force myself to keep walking. I’ve been left with awful scars on my thighs that will never go away. After all that, I’m ready for a change.
WEEK ONE

Weight
214 lbs.
Neck
36.1 cm.
Left Arm
41 cm.
Right Arm
41 cm.
Waist
94.5 cm.
Belly
117.2 cm.
Hips
128 cm.
Left Thigh
79 cm.
Right Thigh
75 cm.
Left Calf
47.8 cm.
Right Calf
46.1 cm.

Welcome to my fitness journey. My issue with seeing these things online is that they always seem to be sponsored posts, and it always seems to be by a blogger who is already thin. I am not thin, and I know there are other people out there like me. I think this series encapsulates my theme of “real, not ideal” perfectly. I’m putting myself out there in the scariest way possible. I’m making myself vulnerable by sharing pictures and posting actual measurements. I hear that people who track their progress through pictures are more successful. I also hear that weight is not a good scale for success, so measuring parts of your body is better. So that’s what I’m going to do on a monthly basis. I hate working out, but I recently discovered that I actually like yoga.  Pairing that with walking more and that’s the plan.
-Daniella

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hull * Ilkley Moor * Scarborough

I’ve been on a few day trips recently, and I’ve been looking forward to sharing them. Day trips are so short, so it’s tough to get a full blog post on each trip, so I shmooshed (Daniella word) them all together. I loved it when I walked around Rother Valley, and I wanted to fit in a few more trips before I leave. It’s too easy to get around here with the train that’s able to go everywhere. Depending on where you go, it can be pretty cheap too. It’s so expensive to travel within Canada, and it’s so vast that day trips aren’t always ideal. It’s been so great to take advantage of the ease of travel here. Day trips are a great way to break up the week if you’re in school. When you go in the middle of the week, it’s not as busy either! I went to Hull, Ilkley Moor, and Scarborough, and they were all widely different trips.

Hull

The reason for going to Hull was for The Deep Aquarium there. It is a huge building, and it flows really well. I’ve been to so many museums where you don’t know where you’re supposed to go or what the order of the rooms is. The Deep was perfect. They had some awesome animals there. They did have a wall of skeletons from ancient fish which scared me because I’m terrified of skeletons in museums. They also have a room about the extreme deep parts of the ocean where the creepy fish live, and it was, well, creepy! There’s an elevator that goes through the major tank, but we took the stairs which has viewing windows at every floor, so it’s the same effect. We didn’t spend much time around Hull itself, but it’s a rather quaint waterside town. They had some major construction going on in the city centre, but I’m sure it will be beautiful when it’s done.

Ilkley Moor

If you’re into hiking, I would definitely suggest going to Ilkley Moor. Similar to Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, this is a pretty hilly hike. It was another struggle, but I made it to the top once again! The weird part is that you walk up a hill from town to get to the bottom of the hill and then you walk up the hill! Needless to say, it was exhausting. On top of that, Matt wanted to go to a particular pub, and we ended up walking down the hill and then back up to get to the pub!

The walk back up to the pub was so worth it just for the pints we had! It’s called The Cow and Calf, and it’s set right in the hills. It’s a classy place, but it’s considered a “walker’s pub,” so people expect you to come in all wind swept and sweaty. But I mean, check out that view from the window.

Scarborough

The only place I actually requested was to go to the seaside. Matt chose Scarborough, and it was wonderful. It wasn’t a particularly sunny day, but it wasn’t raining. We did a big walk to a different beach where the aquarium was. For the record, this is the day I got the bad chaffing blisters that I mentioned in my lessons learned. Other than that, the seaside was beautiful. We stopped to have a “greasy chip butty” which is a Yorkshire tradition.

Once we got to the beach, we found Sea Life, so we decided to check it out. The tickets were pricey, but I say it’s worth it. We didn’t plan to go originally, but order your tickets online to save a few pounds. Anyway, this was amazing. They had so much to see with talks or feedings every half hour. We spent about three and a half hours walking around and getting to the talks. We saw about four different ones. Sea Life is all about preservation of animals, so their talks are dedicated to what we do that impacts the animals and how to avoid that. It was eye-opening.


My favourite part of the day was mini-golf. The Sea Life ticket included a round of mini-golf on their pirate adventure course, and we ended up playing another round. The decorations were elaborate, and it was really fun. I love mini-golf even though I’m horrible at it. Although, I did beat Matt the second time around. After this, we played around in an arcade/casino place, and it was goofy, silly fun. We had some fresh fish and chips and made our way back to the train station. It was another long and wonderful day.

I’ve been inspired by my own travels. I want to do a few more day trips in Canada. Beach days are always fun in the summer, and it’s great to get a group of people together to do it. We’ll see what I can pull together. What’s the best day trip you’ve done?

-Daniella