September Favourites

Happy September! By now you are used to my monthly favourites and with today being move-in day to Brescia, there’s no surprise that the theme is back-to-school.

I was assigned a start-time of noon and since London is only a 2 hour commute I don’t have to leave until 9:30 or so. This leaves me ample of time to blog since the vehicle was packed up last night thanks to my Dad. I’m not quite sure how he managed to fit everything in while leaving room for four passengers. Saying I over pack is an understatement, which is precisely why I’m too embarrassed to post a photo of my load after the addition of clothing, technology and last minute room decor. Panicking that I forgot something is oh so common for me but it’s better to be over prepared right? I neglected to mention my suitcase was 10 lbs overweight when traveling to and from Myrtle Beach but lucky for me I was let through with no charge! Whoops. September Favourites

1. Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie 2. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 3. Kate Spade Le Pavillion Laptop Sleeve 4. Swingline Colour Bright Staples 5. Roots Mini Alex Pack 6. Swingline Red Stapler 7. Studio Oh! 2014 Live Simply Agenda 8. Wilson Jones Heavy Sheet Protectors 9. Pier One Sticky Note Pad Set with Owls 10. Quartet Screamers Dry-Erase Markers

But since today is the beginning of a new month not only is it time to post items I look forward to purchasing, I’ll also be taking the opportunity to outline some goals. I’m adding in a school category because I think those objectives should be kept separate from personal ambitions.

Blog

  • Reconnect: I took a lot of time off from blog writing and reading during my vacation to Myrtle Beach. While I am not about to dwell that my posts weren’t published to my standards (weekend posts, lack of consistency and weird timing), I do miss the friendships I was starting to build as I left comments on other blogs, or kept track of what other bloggers were pursuing. With school work fast approaching and homework soon accumulating it is unrealistic to think I will be able to dedicate more than an hour to the blog world each day. My goal is to become a more concise writer and really start to utilize organizational tools so that I can read blogs more effectively (blog updates).
  • Layout: My blog appearance still isn’t where I’d like it to be. I’m questioning whether I want to become self-hosted or even splurge for a customizable domain. Regardless I want to sit down and really learn what is available in terms of font sizes, colours, gadgets and widgets.
  • Subject Matter: Since I have a prepaid meal plan that I need to use, I don’t plan on cooking for myself very often. While I hope to create a recipe at least once a month either on a weekend home or using the oven provided in our lounge room, I am going to have to become more creative with my blog posts. While my blog isn’t necessarily a food blog, I have trouble coming up with equally interesting topics to write about (apart from food). If you have any suggestions just let me know!

Personal

  • Nutrition: I’ve been having a lot of allergic reactions recently, especially after being stung by a jelly fish in Myrtle Beach. Earlier in the week my arm swelled up and we aren’t sure if it is because of the sting or because I was around nuts. Usually I am not that sensitive but it’s really the only explanation since my sting wasn’t infected! I’m going to have to be extremely cautious about reading cafeteria food ingredients and asking how items were prepared. I’m also going to be extremely aware of fueling my body and brain since I have a tendency of eating less when I am busy with school work. Nutrition is so important for my concentration and with a history of restrictive eating I don’t have room for a slip because it could easily turn into a spiral.
  • Appointments: Come September 9th I will be having a lot of appointments. Right now many of them seem unnecessary but I know that they are in place for a reason and I need to stay accountable. I need to manage my time so that I don’t feel like they are taking away from study sessions.
  • Friendships: While I am open to meeting new people, I also don’t want to lose touch with my friends back at home. I am hoping to find a balance between my school and social work without one overpowering the other.

School

  • Readings: I am writing this as a personal reminder to stay on top of my homework. I’ve never been one to procrastinate but I do worry when deadlines approach. Not having enough time is a big stress for me. Being ahead of the course material is definitely better than being behind since lectures serve as a review as opposed to being an unfamiliar lesson.
  • Extra Help: I’m not very good at asking questions because I worry others will think I am stupid. This is an irrational fear and the bottom line is that if I don’t understand something I need to ask for clarification. Chances are someone else is thinking a similar thought. Western, especially Brescia’s campus offers so many clinics or help sessions and I should try to utlize them for all that they are worth.
  • Have fun: I truly love learning but when grades come in to play I often put too much pressure on myself which takes away from education being fun. My goal is to take this year as a learning curve and chances are if I am less stressed I will perform better. I also want to engage in extra curricular activities without taking on too many commitments. Volunteer work and involvement is equally important for getting the most out of your University experience and it does enhance a resume for purposes.

I’m both excited and nervous for school to begin. I’m excited to be reunited with friends in London but I am sad to leave my family (and other friends) behind. I never realized that I am actually kind of a homebody! Thank goodness for Skype and Facetime or else I might not recognize Lottie when I come home in 3 weeks. I’m only kidding but she is growing and learning at a fast pace. Luckily I have a week to settle in before classes begin which allows me to re-familiarize myself with campus and a sleeping routine. Can’t wait to share photos from my new room with you. Take care. ♥ Molly

August Favourites

Can you believe it is August already? I typically fall culprit to saying that “time flies” at the beginning of a week or month, but I just can’t get over the fact that we are over half way through 2013.

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At the start of July I set a few goals for myself. I am happy to announce that I have accomplished most of them and feel pretty satisfied with the progress I that have made on the others. When I found myself in a pinch as to what to blog about, I fulfilled the objective of creating two DIY posts. I successfully participated in MIMM (#1#2, #3, #4) and WIAW (#1, #2) by adding a personal twist to each! I also really enjoyed commenting on posts as I got to know fellow bloggers on a more personal level. Blogging is a learning curve and I’d love to hear what sorts of posts you enjoy reading or find boring. I really do value the insight some of you share through remarks.

With September fast approaching I am going to cut myself some slack and go easy on my August goals so I am only setting 6 as opposed to 10. After all, I am headed to Myrtle Beach mid-month so I don’t know how much free time I will have between packing for my trip and buying items for residence. I’m also planning on continuing to soak up the sun, stay active and maximize my social gatherings with friends from home before I move away. I’m going to try to pre-write a few posts although I will have my laptop with me on vacation. If anyone would like to do a guest post I’d love to feature your writing. This being said, come September I won’t be able to blog every weekday like I am used to, so I should begin transitioning to fewer posts. It’s hard to practice scaling down because I like sharing my finds, eats and activities on a daily basis. Sigh.

Anyway, it is August which means it is time for some “favourites”. I noticed that I do things a bit backwards by posting my “favourites” at the beginning of the month as opposed to the end (recap format), but I can’t help myself from getting excited about the new fashion trends and cool décor. Here are some items I am hoping to purchase this month!

August Favourites1. Crocheted Fruit Coasters 2. Full Steam Ahead Nail Polish 3. Catherine Street Pippa Purse 4. Instant Mom 5. Anchor Necklace 6. Pinterest 7. Strata Dress 8. Garmin Swim Watch 9. Handwritten Quotes 10. DIY Headband

As for my goals, here are some realistic endeavours I hope to achieve this August:

Blog Goals

  • Editing: My posts have been getting pretty long which I know can be discouraging for followers. Not only are they time-consuming to read but they also take a while to write. I am hoping to cut out unnecessary details so that I am able to focus on improving my grammar and spelling mistakes. The perfectionist in me despises the fact that I always have at least one error in every post. I haven’t been very thorough about re-reading before publishing. This being said I am not an English major, so don’t hold your breath on complete accuracy!
  • Photography: Lately I have been skimping on my photos by using my iPhone instead of my DSLR. Some people can capture great shots with their phones but mine never seem to be in focus. As a result, the quality of my photos is lacking so I would like to get into a routine of bringing my camera with me on more excursions. I am also hoping to read a Food Photography E-Book so that I can become more creative when capturing pictures of my recipes. Even though I have Photoshop I don’t actually know how to use it, so for the month of August I am going to try and learn how to do basic colour enhancing and photo editing. When I began my blog my intent was to showcase more photos than words so to match this desire my posts need to be switched up a little!
  • Schedule: I recently purchased a new agenda and I am going to sit down and pre-plan some blog posts. I want to create a schedule so that each day features a different type of post. This way I can continue to offer posts including DIY projects, Recipes, Nutrition Facts, Everyday Living Topics and even Reviews. Come September I know I will be thankful if I already have a topic for each day of the week. It would become very monotonous if each post was about the same subject or in the same format.

Personal Goals

  • Exercise: On my vacation I will naturally be living a more active lifestyle so I don’t expect to be swimming laps in the ocean. This being said I don’t want to forgo the exercise regime I’ve created this summer so I am going to challenge myself to run on the treadmill or beach even though I am not a natural, fast or very good runner. I would like to focus on increasing my endurance level in running since my swimming stamina is already pretty good. This will also be beneficial come September. It will be a lot easier to run outside or on the treadmill than to try and work around the available free-swim time slots at the gym.
  • School: School used to be my “constant”. It was something that went well despite everything else that was going on in my life. Even when I was dancing 24/7 I managed to keep great grades and stay on top of my homework. People tell me I am “naturally” smart although I am not very confident in my academic abilities. Since I took time off from University I am a bit anxious to return. My intent is to mentally prepare myself so that I don’t go into University with an all-or-nothing mindset. I am used to getting over 90% but I have decided to take this year as a learning curve and to set my standards lower. In reality, first year doesn’t really count towards your final GPA.
  • Nutrition: The reality is I don’t like breakfast. I yearn for the day that I will wake up hungry but I always seem to crave coffee or protein shakes instead. Eggs, bacon, French toast and waffles have never been my thing. I admire the people that can eat cold pizza or dinner food, in the morning! Sure, I enjoy oatmeal but I much prefer eating it as a snack. This month I am participating in a Smoothie Challenge hosted by Charissa from “Colourful Palate” so I hope to have one each morning. Be sure to join in the fun! Lately I’ve been seeing some pretty interesting combinations and I am intrigued to try them for myself (Sweet Potatoes, Avocado, Oats). After all, breakfast is suppose to be the most important meal of the day and with school on it’s way, I need to practice fuelling my body so that my concentration remains is enhanced to it’s peak.Colourful-Smoothie-August-2013-Challenge-Copy-510x253

Well that was long winded and went against my goal of keeping my posts concise. Whoops : ) Happy August! Do you have any travel plans for this month? Have you set any intentions for yourself? What types of posts do you enjoy reading most? Would you like to see more recipes, DIY projects or personal messages? ♥ Molly

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.” – Henry Ford

The Truth Is…

The blogging community has been so honest lately, that I feel compelled to share a glimpse of my story. The reality is, I don’t live a perfect life. I am learning, like so many of us, and in order to succeed, I must first fail several times. I was given my life because I am strong enough to handle it, but that doesn’t mean everything has been successful from the start.

This past decade has not been easy. I’ve had many positive experiences, but also frequent moments of sadness. I’ve made lasting friendships, but also lost loved ones. Sometimes I wake up motivated to make the most out of my day, but on several accounts I have slept in, as a way to avoid my anxiety about the day awaiting me.

I used to think my struggles weren’t fair. I didn’t ask to be dealt “a bad hand”, so why did I have to play my cards strategically? I wanted to live a normal childhood life, free of worry and obsession. I should have been enjoying social activities, but instead I found myself sitting through appointment after appointment.

The reality is, experiences happen for a reason. Although I can’t always quite understand why things don’t adhere to my plans, I am coming to terms with the fact that I don’t always have to be in control.  My struggles have definitely made me stronger, and I have matured in a way I don’t think would have been possible, had my eyes not been exposed to truth. There is so much more suffering in the world than what any of us can grasp, but we are also all given tools so that we won’t give up. I will never understand what others are feeling, because as similar as situations may be, they aren’t identical.

My anxiety can be paralyzing even though it is self-imposed. A smile can be deceiving, and for a while, nobody knew the worries I faced within. I have finally developed the skills to make peace with my internal fear, by acknowledging it, and then letting it go. From academic achievements to my food intake, I have controlled so many aspects of my life as a way to deal with my insecurities and emotions. I have put my family through so many hard times, and they’ve only repaid me with unconditional love and assistance.

Today, I do not look back and feel sorry for myself because my experiences have shaped me into a better person. I may have missed out on many opportunities, but I am okay with that, because I have reclaimed my life and I have more life to live than what has passed. We all go through difficult times, and I am not here to say that my life was any more sad than others, but I am also not here to belittle my obstacles, as they weren’t easy hurdles to overcome. Instead, today, I try and be more grateful for what I now have because I never know what my future entails. I am now blessed with a forgiving body, good health and great healthcare, nutrition, a supportive family, amazing friends, a beautiful home and proper education. Each day I awake to a peaceful community, the freedom of speech, endless means of technology, and much much more. I am thankful for what others went through to achieve the lifestyle I am able to experience on a daily basis. Just like a flower, we must all grow through dirt.

Everyday I might have to consciously choose happiness, choose to nourish my body physically and choose to take care of my mind and spirituality, but it doesn’t matter that it’s not yet a habit as long as I am continuing to choose life. So even though I still have my setbacks, and even though each day I ask myself how I can step outside of my comfort zone, I am finally living a life that I am proud of. ♥ Molly

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined. – Henry David Thoreau