Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Monthly Favourites- March 2016

What a month this has been! I have been rather busy, and it has been one of my favourite months here so far; it was my birthday, I’ve been out a lot, and I got to be a part of true English culture. It seems like time is just flying by, and it’s hard to believe my time here is almost done. I’m so lucky to have spent my birthday in Leeds, and I’m even luckier to have gotten so close with someone who can show me English culture. I don’t think I would have the full experience without the true English elements.

1.       Birthday
Shirt- Reitmans
Jeans- H&M
Boots- Old Navy

My birthday was last week, and I had a great time! I’ve never had a good track record when it comes to birthdays, but this one was extra special. I made myself a cookie cake so I had a chance to blow out candles on my birthday, I went out to a burger place that made burgers to die for, and I met up with friends for a few drinks at a pub. I also absolutely loved my birthday outfit – I was so excited to have the opportunity to finally wear this shirt here! This is the best birthday I’ve had in a while.

2.       Blue John Earrings

These gorgeous earrings were a gift from my boyfriend. Now see, I absolutely hate surprises, and he has been torturing me about it ever since we got back from Leeds after Christmas! He gave me enough hints to let me know I should be expecting jewelry of some sort, but earrings ended up being one of my first guesses! Over Christmas, we went for a drive through the Peaks District with his mom, and we stopped at a little town called Castleton. Around this area is where they mine Blue John, and it is the only place in the world where this gem is found. This gift is extra special because of the stone itself plus they will always remind me of Christmas and Castleton and that drive.

3.       Kung Fu Panda 3


Matt got me into the Kung Fu Panda series because it is one of his favourites. If you haven’t seen the films, they are cute and feel-good – even for adults! We saw the third in theatres, and I loved it. The series always has good messages throughout the storyline, and this one was no different. Kung Fu Panda 3 isn’t as good as the second, but I strongly suggest checking it out. It’s a good rainy day movie.

4.       Polka- Dot Keds
The weather is getting warmer now! Here, we’ve had one warm day followed by a few days of chilly temperatures or rain. Whenever it has been warm(er) and sunny, I am quick to take these shoes out. I got them on a major sale last summer at The Bay, and I have loved them ever since. I wore them to the airport on my way here, and I wore them this past weekend because it was warm. I love that they’re a step above the plain white shoes that are in style now. Plus, they are so cute!

5.       Sheffield United Game

Now this is English culture at its finest. I got into football (soccer) since I’ve been here. I can pinpoint the best players from the teams in the Premiership, and I can name a majority of the 20 teams in it. The thing is, I’ve never been a sports person, but I’ve really been enjoying football. Last Friday, I went to see the team Matt supports. Sheffield United are not the best team, and they’re certainly not in the Premiership, but they played well and won their game! One of the best parts of English football is their cheers for the specific teams. We spent 15 minutes the night before so I could learn the “Greasy Chip Butty” song, and it was such a cool feeling to sing it with all the fans! Also, sorry for the awful quality of this picture.

Tomorrow, I will be off to York for a couple days. I am really looking forward to this upcoming April because I have quite a few trips planned! I realized that I’ve been to a few places, but I’ve posted nothing about it. Starting Saturday, I will be including some travel posts. I hope to share a few of my pictures with you guys and continue whenever I go on trips – big or small! Get ready for some exciting things coming up!

What are your favourites this month?


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Why You Should Journal

I love journals - I always have. I’ve always written in journals, but I don’t think I’ve finished one in a while. On Tuesday, I finished the most gorgeous journal I’ve ever owned. My best friend Julia gave it to me the night before I left Canada as a going away gift. Throughout, she wrote the sweetest notes that seemed to come at the right time. For example, I came across “keep going” when I was having a bad day stuck with some people I wanted to get away from. I came across “smile” when I was in a mess of frustration induced tears. On the last page of the journal, she wrote the nicest message that gives me strength on bad days. This journal was specifically for my adventures in Leeds, and I managed to cover the first 188 days of my journey. I’ve certainly struggled to write every day in the past, but I’ve now come into the habit of writing every day. I don’t want to forget anything about my time in Leeds.

Leather- bound Journal
To me, journaling has always been my way to vent and write out the thoughts I’m too scared to admit out loud. On a regular day, I write about two pages, but if I’m upset, I’ll write four pages straight. Journaling has been a tool for me to work through issues on my own. It has been a form of growth in my personal life. I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve never had one person to tell everything to, so journaling has been a vice in that sense. When I was younger, I think I wrote every time I was angry at my parents. It has clearly been an important form of expression in my personal life. I think the best part of journals is looking back at the old ones that bring back old memories or ways of thinking. With journaling, you preserve a piece of yourself within the pages.

Parker Pen and my new Journal
I tend to write full sentences without much structure to the layout. My sister keeps a journal of emotions. Some people keep dream journals. Some people have journals where you write a sentence a day. Whatever works for you, do it! Ms. Coumans is the most influential teacher I had, and one of the most memorable moments of her class in grade nine was when she read us a bit of her journal from university. It was a special moment for me because I kept a journal back then too. I have started a new journal since Tuesday, and I was so excited to begin a new book and continue to record my experience. This one was also a going away gift, so it means a lot to be able to write in it. I think it’s important to keep memories safe and private in a world where everyone feels the need to share everything. I think journaling is a good way to keep in touch with yourself. It’s a way for the present you to reach out to future you.

Do you journal?


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lessons Learned- Birthday Edition

Yesterday was  my birthday, and I am 21, and that feels like a big deal for some reason. The last couple birthdays have not been fantastic, but I had been looking forward to this one for some reason. It was my first birthday away from home, and some of the people I’m closest to here are away for Easter break, but it was the most amazing day. I didn't do anything over the top, but I did make myself a cake made out of chocolate chip cookies. For my birthday-themed post, I looked back at pictures from the past year to remind myself of some important lessons I’ve learned.

1.       Living with people is going to come with issues.

I moved to Leeds back in September, and I have to live with people for the first time. It’s more difficult than I thought it would be. Between the Tetris-esque stack of dishes by the sink, flatmates who refuse to clean the bathrooms, and thin walls that make it so you hear all the sex everyone is having, there have been some frustrating moments. The only thought getting me through those times has been “this is temporary.” Of course, there will be some great things that come out of it. I’m thinking about a trip to Philadelphia next year to visit my current American flatmates. It's certainly a balance of good and bad, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to meet so many different people.

2.       The right friends will make an effort.

The thing about moving away is that you start to see who is fully supporting you. When I found out about my exchange, I made a discreet post on Facebook so that only some people knew what I was actually talking about. I was overcome with messages of congratulations, and one friend even bought me a cake! When it came to the day I left, the same people messaged me or came out for a night out before I left. The night before I left, one friend came over after work, and two friends came over after their busiest day at school so they could say goodbye. Some friends didn’t bother. The friends who put the effort in make all the difference in my life, and I know that more than ever now.
20th Birthday Wine and Cheese with Marlee.

3.       You’ll catch up with the people who seem to be ahead of you.

I have always been the single girl with friends who are in long-term relationships. It sucks. I always felt like I was missing out or behind. Over the past year, I had one friend get married and another get engaged. I had a conversation with my dad about this, and he told me that’s going to happen all throughout my life. By the time I’m at the same stage in my life, these friends will probably be having kids. It happens, but my dad says you’re going to catch up. I’m no longer in the same position, so I’ve realized that as slow as it seems to be taking, your lives will synch up again.

4.       "Grin and bear" it is a key tip to professionalism.

I love my job, and my staff over the summer was the best yet. I worked with a lot people from the past and maintained old friendships. We partied and hung out often. However, there was one staff member that I didn’t get along with. I made the mistake of calling him out a party (another lesson learned), and things were tense between us. I obviously couldn’t let this tension show at work, so I learned about what it means to be professional even when you don’t want to be. Sometimes, you need to suck it up and pretend like they're your best friend.

5.       It is okay to speak up when you don’t believe in something your friend is doing.
I’m the kind of person who will speak up for something I don’t believe is right. Over the past year, I found myself confronting a friend about a life decision I thought to be questionable. It almost lost me a friendship. However, having mature adult conversations is a part of life, and we both learned how to talk things out in that way. I don’t regret my decision. Even though it caused a major riff in our relationship for a time, I know it was worth it to speak up because I would have tortured myself by keeping it in.
Stonehenge with new friends.

6.       Spontaneity can be awesome.

I don’t consider myself to be a particularly spontaneous person. At the end of the last school year, I got it into my head that I wanted to chop my hair off. Within 24 hours of that idea, I booked an appointment and went through with it. It was one of the best decisions I have made regarding the way I look. I don’t think I’m going to make spontaneous decisions a part of my everyday life, but it would be cool to see how future spontaneous decisions could be included in my life.

7.       Be careful who you host parties with.

Whether it be a flat party, birthday party, or bridal shower, this point is valuable to keep in mind. It may seem like the greatest idea to host a party with your roommates, friends, or siblings, but you need to make sure everyone involved is completely on board. If you’re hosting a party together, tasks should be divided equally. A party isn’t just about the social aspect or pulling food or drinks together. It includes a lot of work before, during, AND after. For example, splitting food/drink costs before, checking on food supplies during, and doing the major cleanup after are all important aspects. Make sure everyone is committed to splitting ALL the tasks at hand, and the party will be flawless.

So there we go. I’ve learned a lot in this past year, and I can’t wait to see what I will learn as a 21 year old!


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Why I Don't Believe in Five Year Plans

We’ve all seen it on TV: the 30 years olds having a crisis because they realized their life is not what they thought would happen. Whatever plans they set out for themselves have not gone the way they expected, so they are unsure of their identity. There’s an anxiety about not becoming who you set out to be. The thing is, I don’t want to look at my life in five years and feel like I’ve failed. Therefore, I don’t believe in five years plans. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to be having for breakfast tomorrow, and I find meal planning for a week difficult enough, so why would I place that kind of pressure on my life? The thing is, life is unpredictable. Most of the time, you can’t control that way things play out. Things are not going to work out just the way you intended it to, and that’s okay. Due to unforeseeable circumstances, I think it’s silly to map out your path for the next five years.

That being said, I do have goals in mind that shape my decisions. Within the next five years, I WILL be graduating, and I WILL be looking for a job. However, am not putting an expiry date on my dreams. Dreams are fluid, and any moment in your life could change your dreams. I’ve changed so much in the past year, and I’ve found my dreams changing as I change. If I’m aiming for something to accomplish in five years, who’s to say I’m going to be happy with the choice five years ago me made? The truth is, I’m not sure where I will be in five years’ time. I could be in Canada, but I could also be back in the UK. Nothing is for sure, and there are no guarantees, but I know what I want my next step to be.
All of this doesn’t mean I’m not focused on my goals for the future. I believe that to have a stable future, you need to have a stable present. Like I said before, life is uncontrollable, but you do have control over what your current priorities are. My focus is on what I’m doing right now, and right now, my major focus is graduating university. At the end of the year, I’m going to have to start applying for teacher’s college, and that’s my next step. I have a framework of goals and dreams that I base my decisions on, but those ideas don’t come with a leering time stamp. I’m not putting the pressure on myself to have my dream life in five years, but I’m slowly working my way to that life on a day to day basis. The thing is, your accomplishments will make you feel good no matter how long it takes for you to finish it. Five year plans might work for some people, but I don’t want to live my life according to a time-based success plan. Life will happen when you’re ready for it.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

My Favourite Blogs- 2016

Sorry about the super late post! I actually got homesick last weekend, so I was dealing with some of that personal stuff last week. As for posting this yesterday, I was away for the weekend and forgot my laptop charger. Whoops! I thought I’d share a little bit of a peek into my personal life today. I’ve been blogging and following blogs for just over two years now, and I realize that I have never done something like this before. I’m currently sorting out my email situation (1251 unread emails- yikes!) because I’m the email subscription type of person. As a side note, my emails don’t go unnoticed, and I always reply to emails from real people. Among my hundreds of emails, a few blogs stand out to me as my favourites. On reflection of this, I realize that my tastes have changed and my favourite bloggers have changed. When I first started subscribing, I was looking for outfit inspiration. In the summer, I was looking for blogging tips. Since the beginning, I love a good lifestyle blog. For now, these are my top five favourite blogs.

1.       Atlantic Pacific

Blair Eadie has a coveted fashion blog. Her inspiration and fashion wisdom has been cited over many platforms. I can’t afford to dress the way she dresses, and my life does not require me to dress extravagantly, but this is how rich me in another life would dress. Her shoes are to die for, and the locations are enviable. I have followed this blog from the beginning, and I never intend to stop.

2.       HelloFashion
I originally followed Christine’s blog because of her outfit styles. I still take inspiration from her. She cut her hair around the time I cut mine, and she has great date ideas for the different seasons. One of the biggest things that keeps me following is because she has the MOST adorable son named Beckham. He’s the coolest little dude I’ve ever seen, and his dimples make me squeal. Is it bad that I follow this blog just to see her son?

3.       College Prep

I would have to say this is my favourite blog to follow. When I say lifestyle blogs are my favourite, this is the prime example. Carly’s posts range from recipes to motivation to checklists to travel to Lily Pulitzer. Her and her boyfriend are also adorable together. I always love reading up on what she has been up to. I think she maintains the perfect lifestyle balance, and I’ve been following this one since the beginning.

4.       The Effortless Chic
Jen Pinkston’s blog is another great one to follow for lifestyle but remains different to the previous blog. She also has an adorable little girl which is clearly one of my soft spots. She has a lot of great outfit posts, home DIYs, drinks, and the everyday life stuff which I love. I think I started following this one in the summer, and I was never hesitant about continuing my following.

5.       Marlee and You
I simply cannot get through a list like this without mentioned my best friend’s blog. Without Marlee, I never would have started blogging in the first place. Her posts are definitely lifestyle, but with a personal flair. They are short and sweet, and her personality really comes across through her blog. It’s interesting to know the person writing because you can hear their voice. This is also the only blog I’m completely up to date on.
It was an interesting process to go through my subscriptions list and check out which blogs I’ve been following since the beginning and how they’ve changed over time. It’s also interesting to see how my own tastes have changed and how that is reflected in my blog subscriptions. Perhaps this is something to revisit in the future.
If you know any (or write any) lifestyle blogs, feel free to leave me a link below. What are your favourite blogs to follow?