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

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?


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?


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.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016


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.


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 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?


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.

214 lbs.
36.1 cm.
Left Arm
41 cm.
Right Arm
41 cm.
94.5 cm.
117.2 cm.
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.