Halloween Recap

Happy Belated Halloween! Is that even such a saying? Well it is now since I disappeared from the blog world long enough to miss one of my favourite celebrations… Or what used to be!

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Lottie’s pumpkin is her twin complete with a bow and soother since those are her signature accessories! 

I’m pretty sure I could still pass for a trick-or-treater but I gave up being greedy in grade 10 when I declared myself “too cool” to dress up. I was never the child with a pillow case (my mom always sewed me cute bags) but don’t be fooled I still collected my fair share of candy because it was a competition between my brother and I who could run the fastest and accumulate the most chocolate. Afterwards we’d sort and trade, organizing them in rows based on their colour and variety. 3/4 of my haul went uneaten considering most chocolate wasn’t nut free, but it was fun nonetheless. I still remember getting chocolate milk or pop from the house on the corner, gum from the dentist, and full sized chocolate bars from the family who worked at Mars. One year we gave out Dips bars because my Dad worked for Quaker, but nowadays we give out mini play-doh!

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I bet you could have guessed I’d carve an owl pumpkin! Thanks to my mom’s rubber gloves I finally didn’t react to the seeds!

This year the spark of Halloween was recreated since I took Lottie out trick or treating. As a child my costumes were always homemade by my mom and she continued the tradition by sewing Lottie her red cape. We called her Lottie Red Riding Hood and I think she stole the hearts of many homes that we visited. 65623_10151776202367950_1850942736_n 1426172_10151776201857950_146647149_n 1450170_359262524209532_100981362_n

… and then she got scared by the big bad wolf1414781_359390500863401_817863920_n

I celebrated Halloween as both Madeline (A throwback since Halloween was on a Thursday this year) and Eloise. While I didn’t attend any dances, on Tuesday our residence had a mini party with candy apples, punch and a pumpkin carving competition. It was a perfect ending after 6 hours of classes! I threw together a last minute costume (Thanks Kelsy for the suspenders) which had me looking pretty close to my favourite six-year-old character. Did anyone else use to envy Eloise who lived in a Plaza with her “rawther” British Nanny, cat-look-a-like pug Weenie, and turtle Skipperdee? I sure wish I had room service or at even just a flat in New York City. I also decorated miniature pumpkins with sharpie markers thanks to the Brescia student council. Definitely a good way to de-stress mid week and a perfect alternative to carving pumpkins since I get welts from the seeds. 536940_359393457529772_639104202_n 1381682_359393910863060_1026494725_n 1012711_359393924196392_1082952388_n 1394105_359394540862997_1963384993_n1395007_359390507530067_388802476_n

Western’s 2 day fall “reading week” could not have come at a better time. Although I have two midterms, a test and a Food handler’s certificate to study for next week, I look forward to catching up on some much-needed rest, family time, friend gatherings, blogging and coursework. It was nice to be home to celebrate Lottie’s first Halloween. Do you have any fond memories from Halloween? What was your first costume and what did you dress up this year? Do you get scared by Haunted houses or graveyards? ♥ Molly

What is a mummy’s favourite type of music? Rap music

What is a skeleton’s favourite instrument? The trombone

Where do movie stars go on Halloween? MaliBOO

What does a bird say at Halloween? “Twick or tweet”

What is Dracula’s favourite fruit? A neck-tarine

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MIMM #12: Did you miss me?

Blogging has definitely been taking a bit of a back seat as I study for exams. I had intended on sharing my Thanksgiving eats last week but it looks like I’ll be sharing them this Wednesday instead. We can reminisce about the good food we wish was still leftovers in our fridge right?MiMM

To be honest, even if I had blogged more frequently this past week, each post would have been pretty dull. I am thankful for so many interactions and opportunities I experience each day but none of them are that out of the ordinary. Right now I am at a time in my life where I am almost contemplating maintaining my blog since I don’t have many recipes to share or projects to explain. I feel like I am in a completely different spot in my life than many of the bloggers I idolize (and hope to someday meet) which works both against and for me. We will see, I’m going through a lot of personal changes such as devoting time to myself through journaling so I’ll just play it by ear.

Now that I’ve gotten my troubling thoughts out of my mind, it’s time to share what marvelous “study breaks” I have been taking these past few days. 1373455_354366861365765_442852624_n

Marvelous is scrounging together ingredients for apple crisp. A few over ripe apples, oats, raw sugar packets and butter packets from the cafeteria can go a long way when you are a student! Note to self: Bring baking supplies from home in mason jars. 1383569_354367951365656_106611557_n

Marvelous is visiting the Covent Garden Market. We arrived just after 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning which gave us plenty of fresh selection from the outdoor portion of the farmer’s market. I found the venders so helpful in educating me about different squashes and kale. I ended up getting purple kale, buttercup squash, 3 large apple (this photo does not do their size justice), 50g pumpkin rooibos tea, Brussels sprouts and romanesco broccoli for $12.00! My friend Katie got purple carrots which we will be roasting later this week. What deals!1058954_354366851365766_2115642163_n 1376692_354366848032433_1312319324_n 1379175_354366858032432_1711697502_n

Marvelous is studying until your brain hurts. I had a few really long periods of productive studying which always feels good. I found this perfect booth area in Weldon library that is both comfortable and quiet (unfortunately it tends to be full) and since it isn’t directly beside my residence I find it less tempting to go home to take a nap! The key is keeping my technological devices in my backpack although recently I tried studying with music, which also worked well!  I’m starting to find enjoyment in learning again which is very pleasing since the past few weeks have been more anxious than fun. I had a research assignment and a few other homework projects that were interesting to complete this weekend.1384290_354367968032321_1445225764_n 1382963_354368031365648_1159859669_n

Marvelous is winning a chocolate bar for understanding Psychology during a review jeopardy game, fishing out (no pun intended) the mussels, scallops and shrimp in a pot of seafood soup, treating yourself (and a friend) to Tim Horton’s Pumpkin Tea before writing a Chemistry quiz, polishing off a 5lb bag of carrots in under 3 days without turning orange, breathing in fresh air on a fall afternoon and witnessing a wedding on campus and in your residence. This picture was just the beginning of their transformation of our eatery as they added in pictures from their destination wedding (in France), an Eiffel tower and more flowers!1380662_354368051365646_997331028_n 1201_354368008032317_822970106_n1381350_354367988032319_152883727_n 1381062_354366854699099_1519896172_n

Marvelous is finally getting time to blog which has changed my mood for the better.  What is marvelous about today for you? Since your positive math-y thoughts worked for Calculus (I am very pleased with my mark), please think about Psychology on Tuesday and Chemistry on Friday! Thanks Katie for a great MIMM roundup and star to the week! ♥ Molly

“It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.” – Amelia Barr

WIAW: Normal Eating

I have a busy day ahead so I wasn’t going to post this morning, but then I decided why not skip the gym and blog instead. Sounds like a good compromise right?

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Since I’ve been at University I’ve definitely noticed an increase in my appetite. Maybe it’s because I am awake for more hours during the day, or perhaps because my exercise has increased (especially walking up the Brescia hill and 5 flights of stairs each day!). My brain is definitely devoting more energy into learning and studying, plus it consumes energy as I shiver in the freezing cold library (I was told this is suppose to keep me alert but I think it does the opposite). What I do know is that I’m still not eating big enough breakfasts (this has always been a challenge) and without falling culprit to the “I don’t get enough protein” bandwagon, I seriously don’t get enough protein at each meal! After tracking my nutrition for a food and nutrition assignment, it was brought to my attention that although I’m consuming adequate milk and alternatives and meat and alternatives, most of my starchier foods come from vegetables leading to a lack of grain products. Contrastingly, my diet overall is high in carbohydrates but low in fat and protein which would be the opposite of what my food groups suggested. Could my hunger be a result of the fact that carbohydrates are the fastest source of energy so my energy source is being depleted quickly? 564029_349519251850526_1469426416_n1391661_349518861850565_1541284653_n

While I know this isn’t necessarily an accurate representation since it was only a snapshot of my intake (plus the nutrition tracker was limited in terms of brands of foods and I eyeballed serving sizes) it got me thinking about how unaware I truly am of my daily consumption. I believed myself to be a pretty balanced eater but in actuality some days were examples of under nutrition while others were over nutrition. I’m not going to go into detail otherwise I mind as well have posted my reflection, but I wanted to spark a conversation in your mind as to what makes you eat the way you do? Do you track your nutritional intake? Do you take into accordance what you have already consumed in the day or are going to consume in an upcoming meal before selecting an item? Do you eat each meal in the present?1375229_349518875183897_1017553201_n 1377970_349519185183866_1543147004_n

Some days, as a food and nutrition student especially, I let others impact my food choices. I’m not saying this is a good way to be. In fact, it’s probably bad that I get gratification out of teaching others lessons and watching their reaction.  It gives me satisfaction to eat “junk food” in front of girls that believe you can only stay thin by eating vegetables. I enjoy being a positive example in front of the kids I babysit by eating a balanced dinner. Occasionally I purposely choose an unhealthier item with individuals who believe “Dietitians to be” only eat “clean food”.1384012_349518921850559_416927265_n539664_349519225183862_948359017_n

Notice how I am not listing specific foods? That is because I have adapted an “everything in moderation” approach where foods aren’t labeled as good or bad and nothing is off of limits.1391939_349518911850560_1314527251_n1380291_349519081850543_214560278_n

Sooner or later I would like to eat without feeling like others are judging me, but I am happy to say that I am no longer embarrassed by my choices and though I am consciously aware of what I believe to be their thoughts to be, they do not influence my choices so much that I ignore my cravings.1381581_349519171850534_1834493708_n 1186765_349519261850525_1195892337_n

So I’m not exactly sure where this post went, in fact it started and finished with me wondering what to write, but I guess I just wanted to talk a bit more about food since it is WIAW after all. I try not to over think food, but I’m noticing so many correlations between food in social situations some of which are criticized (food as a reward) and others which are supported (bringing a family together at meal time) that can really throw a loop in one’s eating patterns and it’s hard not to wonder whether the way in which you choose to eat is healthy or not. But I guess we are all left with the question what is healthy, what is disordered and what is obsessive? I’m proud to say that for the most part I have a healthy relationship with food and I eat a variety of vitamin and mineral (sodium and fibre included!) dense foods in moderate but adequate quantities balanced with the occasional (or not so occasional) less nutritious indulgence.  ♥ MollyWIAWbutton

“When the joy goes out of eating, nutrition suffers. ” – Ellyn Satter

MIMM #10: Get Togethers

Another marvelous weekend was spent here in London! I pride myself for working hard throughout the week so that I can enjoy marvelous outings on Saturday and Sunday.  I deserved a break, especially after completing my first midterm of the year on Friday evening. Thank you everyone for thinking math-y thoughts for me. Your kindness and my studying definitely paid off because the midterm went well. There were some challenging questions but I tried my best so I am hopeful to see a good mark when I get my results.MiMM

Not only was Friday marvelous because my midterm was a bit of a reassurance that I can succeed in University, but I thoroughly enjoyed my Food and Nutrition lecture. How it works is we have three professors who rotate through the different three sections that are taught on Friday morning. As opposed to having a big lecture of all first year Food and Nutrition students, they break it down into smaller sections, which allows us to have great discussions.  This past week our class’s topic was Digestion. I was fortunate to be able to take a Food and Nutrition class taught by an excellent teacher in grade 12, and my High School’s biology program was thorough so this lecture was a bit of a review for me (but much needed since I haven’t seen this material for 2 years). It fascinates me when Food and Nutrition brings together Chemistry and Biology in the form of Digestion. I find it neat how our food uses chemicals to break down food in conjunction with mechanical digestion. Our bodies are composed of some pretty specialized and marvelous cells. Honestly I could probably do a whole post on abnormal digestion, for example Celiac and Chrohn’s disease, but I have a feeling it might be a bit boring.1380598_348788808590237_2011727979_n

Friday was also marvelous because golden beets were back in the salad bar. I’ve decided that I should start loading up on the vegetables that I most enjoy for the days when the selection is scarcer. I also roasted acorn squash at 10:00 p.m. because that is what you do when you have a craving.1393003_348788748590243_441210251_n 1383879_348788785256906_1454995811_n1378730_348788765256908_1811413386_n

Saturday I slept in until 8:30 a.m., which was a marvelous, win in my books! I woke up intending to study but received a text message from Chelsea asking if she Andrea, Shannon and I could get together. Chelsea and Andrea had intended on visiting London the following day however a change in schedules meant that Saturday worked out better. A spontaneous car ride on their behalf left them arriving in London at 2:00 p.m. leaving us with just enough time to do a quick residence tour before we had to head to the Covent Garden Market to meet Shannon. On the way we stopped at Starbucks where I tried my first ever Salted Caramel Mocha! 1/4 syrup, non-fat milk with whip cream is definitely the way to go as it is pretty sweet! I really only purchased Nutritional Yeast (Chelsea C. you would have loved all the spices at Snack and Bake) because I was too busy catching up on everyone’s life to focus on fresh produce. Afterwards we visited Organic Works, the bakery and café that Chelsea used to work at. It was my first time visiting (although I’ve tried their bread before) but will not be my last. The eatery is so eclectic I just know my Mom would have loved their displays. It was a tough decision between the Smoked Salmon Sandwich, Kale Salad or Vegan Taco Salad, but I ended up deciding I wanted the crunch of black bean tortillas and a bit of a Mexican salsa kick. Although it was big, it wasn’t super filling, which is why I had plently of room for Chil frozen yogurt. After trying Chil with Shannon earlier in the year, no generic frozen yogurt tastes as good as organic Greek frozen yogurt offered at Chil. They are completely GMO free and offer Kerif, Soy, Almond Milk, Gelato and other dairy free options. This time I opted for Plain, Maple and Cake Batter Greek frozen yogurt with apple and pumpkin pie, sprinkles, butterscotch chips and oreo bits as my toppings. My bowl definitely was not full enough for my appetite. 1390697_348788658590252_1262545042_n 1383818_348788618590256_2092311122_n 1374306_348788638590254_2119040308_n

Sunday I managed to sleep through my alarm until 9:00 a.m.! Clearly sleep was a priority in my body’s mind but I felt a bit guilty for wasting valuable study time. I had been meaning to grab lunch with Victoria but we decided to grab coffee instead. This girl literally reads my mind when we are together; we have so much in common we could talk for hours. She’s definitely been a great support as I transition back into University. Her hugs make me feel so loved and her texts offer equally as much marvelous care.1378282_348788601923591_871201385_n

Apart from blog reading, pinteresting and chatting with my floor mates, my weekend was composed of studying. Last night I tried my first slice of Pumpkin pie thanks to Katie, which was absolutely delicious. I can’t believe there was a time when I didn’t like pumpkin! I was missing out!1381773_348788571923594_412897182_n

I’m counting down the days until I get to go home on Friday afternoon. I had been hoping Friday classes would be cancelled for Thanksgiving but we have an in class assignment instead. It’ll be marvelous to be in the company of my extended family over Canada’s Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to bake some festive desserts. I’m also looking forward to the leftovers that I will get to bring back to residence with me. Some Universities get the week off (Fall reading week) and I am so envious! I could use a week of marvelous “me” time to catch up with my sibblings, parents and friends!1375306_348788585256926_49624765_n

So as did last weekend, Saturday and Sunday were so marvelous they flew by. I could have used a bit more sunshine as it rained a fair bit, but that did not stop me from walking around campus (My hair sure paid price (FRIZZY))! Nothing too big is happening this week which will give me time to review and work on group assignments. Thanks again Katie for hosting MIMM, I hope you are having fun at Kalahari, that Rubber Duck definitely couldn’t fit in Rocco’s baby bath! MIMM sure does make Mondays a little more marvelous and manageable don’t you think? Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. What was the highlight of your weekend? Has it started to look like fall in your neighbourhood? Are you a fan of frozen yogurt? Will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this coming weekend and if so what are traditional dishes that your family serves?  Take care, ♥ Molly

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

5 Favourite Things Friday

Thank goodness it is Friday! I cannot wait until 8:30 p.m. when I have finished my first midterm of the year! It’s calculus so think positive math-y thoughts this evening for me! Despite this week flying by since I’ve been absorbed in studying course material, I’ve managed to participate in some extracurricular activities and better my relationship with my floor mates. For example…1368740_347525048716613_591684650_n

Meditation

Western Student Services offers workshops to promote healthy living so I took advantage of their drop-in mindfulness meditation class yesterday morning. It surprised me that I was the only female student (The instructor was female) that attended. We did 3 ten-minute tapes (Jon Kabat Zinn), one that focused on awareness of breath, one that focused on awareness of external noise, and one that focused on awareness of body as a whole. I personally prefer to lay down but it was meant to be a sitting session. What I took from it is that unwelcome thoughts will inevitably work their way into your mind. Rather than becoming frustrated or trying to control your thinking, acknowledge your worries and let them go until a later time when you can figure out their deeper meaning.1370293_347525055383279_1680521912_n

Study Session

I’ve always thought that I studied better individually but this week I was finding my concentration to be off in my room or in the library so I decided to study with a friend in our floor’s study room! I was reminded how beneficial it is to talk out loud about what you are learning or how a solution is reinforced if you teach a friend your method. Our RA also held a discussion where we talked about study tips, which offered suggestions for calming anxiety and staying on top of course material before and during the exam.1374700_347525052049946_1663818256_n

Mail

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I love getting mail! This week my mom sent me a card with some stickers and a friend, Laura, sent me a homemade postcard. Simple gestures, or random acts of kindness, can really make a difference in your day! I found them to be extremely uplifting.1372919_347525042049947_1277531894_n

Gym

As if the 5 flights of stairs in my residence isn’t enough, I’ve been going to the gym about 4 times a week! I’m realizing how much more I enjoy weight lifting and strength training as opposed to cardiovascular activity. I typically do a 15-minute elliptical warm up followed by a Pilates or a Sweat and Sculpt class. If not, then I stick to a 20-30 minute elliptical session followed by some weight machines, a 5 minute plank and some other abdominal exercises.1371470_347525045383280_1660948070_n

Quizzes

I’ve officially completed two chemistry quizzes and tonight I’ll have also finished one calculus midterm. Test taking has always been anxiety provoking but I’ve felt surprisingly calm these past few days. With the help of my sister’s advice, I’m learning to set small attainable goals and move on when I complete them. I find that over studying can actually confuse me to a point where my confidence lowers.1379167_347525038716614_1541801768_n

What five things stood out in your week? Do you practise guided meditation? Do you have any techniques for studying? Have a great weekend! ♥ Molly

Fun Fact Friday: Did you know that 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 is equal to 12,345,678,987,654,321 !!

WIAW: Mercato Café

From sandwich bar to a variety of soups, wood fire pizza ovens to fresh baked healthier pasties, I’m definitely in a cafeteria catered toward food and nutrition students. How often do you find fresh smoothies or sushi in a dining pavilion? I suppose this only makes sense since Brescia is home to one of the few (and best) dietetic programs in Ontario.IMG_7844 IMG_8139

What I love about the cafeteria is that it is designed so that you are bombarded with fresh options as soon as you enter the cafeteria. The less healthy options are on the outer corners of the perimeter and tucked away from plain eyesight. What I don’t like is that those options are still cheaper than many of the fruits and vegetables, however nutrition is definitely worth my penny and I have to spend my meal card right? Not is it nutritionally beneficial to buy an apple, but you obtain “stamps” after purchasing fruit which add up towards free fruit.IMG_8056 IMG_8171 IMG_8105 IMG_8071Filled with a selection of typical fruits and vegetables, the salad bar is my favourite part of the Mercato Café within my residence. For a base of my salad I usually use quinoa or argula but they also offer romaine, spinach, mixed greens, bulgur wheat and even wild rice. I normally add plain tofu, lentils or tuna for my protein but others might prefer their hardboiled eggs, kidney beans, chickpeas, bacon, ham, chicken or shaved turkey. There is quite the selection of fresh premade salads such as potato, cucumber and tomato, greek pasta, macaroni and tuna, rice and lentils, coleslaw, almond apple, couscous and vegetables or even a Mexican corn and bean, but a lot of them aren’t guaranteed to be nut free. That’s okay though because within their selection of vegetables they typically have olives, golden beets, mushrooms, and pickles which allow me enough variety. For topings there are “superfoods” such as goji berries, pumpkin seeds (which I cannot have), chia seeds and flaxseeds not to mention dates, raisins and dried apricots for some natural sugars.

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If I am not eating at the salad, I tend to lean towards the soups, my preferences being the sweet potato soup, carrot ginger and apple parsnip.  I was adventurous and tried a Portobello quinoa burger which was a bit bland, but the side of sweet potato fries really hit the spot.IMG_7848 IMG_8102 IMG_8123

 There is always a “home cooked dinner” option which I’ve never tried but does look good. It is composed of a protein (usually chicken or roast beef, occasionally salmon), vegetable (green beans or broccoli/cauliflower/carrot mix) and starch (potatoes of some form). I always go for the Global Cooking Bar, which they prepare in wok’s in front of you which gives you more control of what goes into your meal. I enjoy the stir fry (tofu, chicken or beef over rice noodles, rice, egg noodles or quinoa), seafood soup (mussels, halibut and shrimp in a tomato broth), taco bowl (chicken, beef or bean in a whole wheat tortilla with vegetables, fresh cilantro, sour cream, homemade salsa and guacamole) but I’ve seen Macaroni Bar or Homemade Pizza bar as well.1373026_343724812429970_961238998_n1376063_343724805763304_1196948331_nIMG_7770 IMG_8147 IMG_8055 IMG_8028

The dining pavilion is great at accommodating allergies, intolerances and preferences by providing nut, gluten and meat-free dishes. They usually have a warm vegetarian dish such as ratatouille and baked tofu for each meal and not only is a salad offered in replace of a bun  (i.e. Chicken breast on Caesar/Greek salad) but there are gluten-free breads as well. IMG_8126IMG_7847

Breakfasts are also quite good although I’ve been cutting costs by making this meal in my room. I have tried their crock-pot oatmeal once which was unreal and I’ve also heard they have quinoa, home fries, hash browns, breakfast sandwiches, bacon, eggs and omelets bar.IMG_7754 IMG_7753 IMG_7756

There is always yogurt, whole fruit, cereal, toast, bagels, muffins and cookies if you are just wanting a quick snack, or if you wanted more typical cafeteria food there are burgers and fries, pizza and pre-made sandwiches for convenience. For the most part the café is fresh, but there is a selection of candy, chips, pop and ice cream novelties. They can’t expect the entire residence to want to eat broccoli pizza so it is thoughtful to make more traditional takes on pizza too.

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So while this isn’t a standard WIAW post, I hope it gives you a feel about what Brescia’s new cafeteria is all about. I do miss home cooked meals seeing as eating in a dining pavilion feels like I’m “eating out” and spending money that I could be saving if I purchased items in bulk. Regardless it is definitely convenient and I don’t think I would have time to balance school and healthy eating if I had to cook. I feel that there is enough options to suit a variety of needs and wants, but not too much that it overwhelms me. Did I mention I can use my meal card at our school’s Starbucks Kiosk? I’ll save that for another post. Happy Wednesday!  ♥ Molly

“Human beings do not eat nutrients, they eat food.” – Mary Catherine Bateson

Life’s A Balance Act

University is a big adjustment to say the least. It’s kind of scary to think that I’ve only had 2 days of classes and yet am already a bit overwhelmed. My first midterm exam is October 4th, which is less than a month away, and I have several following the week after!

It’s not so much the course material that I am having trouble understanding, but rather how to juggle the amount of work. I’m learning that I am not the best at deciphering between relevant and irrelevant facts, which is resulting in some pretty slow reading, long notes, and a tired brain from memorizing every bit of information. I suppose it’s a learning curve and I have been out of school so it’s only expected that I need to re-find my groove. I’ve found it particularly helpful to chat with my professors independently after class to get a sense of their exam layout so that I can start basing my studying habits on their advice. My chemistry professor informed us that for every hour spent in class you should invest 3-4 hours into your homework. Subtract my 20 hours or so lecture time and my 60-80 hours spent reviewing and I’m left with 68-88 hours in my week for sleeping, eating, exercising and hopefully blogging.1

Thankfully I am pretty good at managing my time but I do get a bit anxious when I start to number crunch! Thinking far ahead is only so beneficial. Dates in the distant future, such as exams I have in April, definitely do not need to be stressed about yet, if ever! In short what this all means is that I am forced to prioritize which can result in my wants and needs to conflict.

In a perfect world I would blog for an hour every night but lately I’ve found myself feeling under the weather (head cold) so I just want to fall asleep! I suppose I could take a break for “me time” but it’s hard to justify writing a blog post when I could be getting ahead. You know? I could substitute exercising in the morning for blogging but I’ve been enjoying my fitness routine and it wakes me up! I understand that I am blogging for myself, and that blogging is more about quality than quantity but I can’t wait until I get settled and have a better routine. I’ve said this for a few weeks now but my life, though enjoyable, has been pretty frantic! I have so many ideas and thoughts to share so hopefully I can pre-write some of my posts this weekend. I admire bloggers that can keep up with regular posts but I have to realize that this blogging realm is new to me and having infrequent posts isn’t the end of the world. I definitely don’t want blogging to become another “all or nothing” topic and as everyone has expressed before, it’s okay to take breaks once and a while.3

Speaking of taking pauses in life, did anyone remember that yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day? If not I challenge you to take a moment today to reassess your mental health and to check that your brain is just as healthy as other organs within their body. Your thinking should be inline with the rest of your values, goals and knowledge. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem but in a moment of hopelessness, helpless or desperateness it often seems like the only option. In reality, suicide is not a fix and as much as I hate to associate it with shame or guilt, it has a lasting effect on anyone around you which isn’t at all fair. Too many lives are lost to suicide, in fact more than one million die by suicide worldwide every year and it does not discriminate based on gender, age or race so everyone is eligible. Yet even though suicide is so common it is rarely talked about. Please take today to make sure that your teacher, student, neighbour, friend, sibling, parent or even self isn’t hiding behind a smile. We all deserve happiness and it is possible for each and everyone of us to experience joy in our lives. Reflect on what it is that your life may be missing or why exactly you aren’t feeling yourself.   Asking for help is not weak, in fact it is an act of bravery. I myself know that therapy can be life changing if you find that right connection so don’t hesitate to seek out additional support. Even if it is just talking to a colleague about what is troubling you, reading a self-help book or picking up a pamphlet about a possible treatment, it is a step in the right direction. Each and every one of us cannot be replaced which is why it is important to diminish the stigma attached to Mental Health in hopes of inspiring others to seek support before it is too late.

I can’t stress how important it is to find a balance. You need to focus on a healthy goal and be satisfied once you achieve it. There is no sense in comparing yourself to others because they may have completely different circumstances than you. Once you commit to maintaining your values I can guarantee that your actions and behaviours will realign leaving you with more energy and a positive mood. ♥ Molly4

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.” – Thomas A. Edison

MIMM #8: Orientation Week

Without pain happiness is not nearly as special. Joy is so much more enjoyable in comparison to grief. It’s sad to say that it sometimes takes a tragedy to open our eyes to how marvelous life really is. Last week is a bit of a blur. There were definitely moments of happiness amongst the tears and sadness, but many of the memories were clouded by confusion and tiredness.

I am glad that I had already done Orientation Week once because I did miss out on a few key components such as the “Can I Kiss you Speech” which talks about building trusting and healthy relationships, “One Love Rally” which brings in influential speakers to discuss controversial topics in hopes of building respect and equality within Western’s campus, Jacob Deng who is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan and even “Foundress Day” which was a blessing of the Dining Pavillion an event unique to Brescia University. I also was unable to participate in Shinerama, which is one of the biggest fundraisers for Cystic Fibrosis, but I am happy to have donated regardless and to be able to participate in the Terry Fox Run next weekend.

Thankfully even without the preceding opportunities there were plenty of other events to attend and motivational performers to listen to. The week was rather marvelous as Katie would say.MiMM

Marvelous is tie-dyeing bandanas to wear to opening ceremonies. It wasn’t exactly marvelous to get blue tie-dye on my purple dress but my mom is a miracle worker and managed to get it out even after it had set for 5 days.4 5

Marvelous is attending opening ceremonies and cheering your lungs out. I am beginning to lose my voice and I woke up with a throbbing throat. Everyone frosh student learns a dance for their faculty and or residence and has the opportunity to perform it during opening ceremonies. Some of the cheers are pretty impressive, Brescia residence included. Opening ceremonies was also fun because the Emcees were entertaining, I got to meet the President of Western University and Student Council, the music was loud, the crowd was louder and there was a hypnotist as a closing act.1234094_336746163127835_122455623_n 1

Marvelous is beginning to cook a feast at 11:00 p.m and eating until 1:00 a.m. The orientation week schedule was so crammed that events went until 2:00 a.m. each morning. There was “Around the world cooking” where about 30 frosh students and 10 soph leaders cooked Butter Chicken, Poutine, Tabouleh, Guacamole, Fresh Rolls and even Vanilla Cake! My stomach asn’t too thrilled about the assortment but each dish was so intricately prepared I couldn’t pass any down!212 19

Marvelous is making an appearance at the school’s carnival. It’s getting a henna tattoo, popping for powdered donuts, spinning wheels for prizes, jumping in a castle and just pretending to be a kid again in general!10 6 12

Other marvelous events were listening to MJ speak about her “Rethink” Breast Cancer campaign, participating in a campus wide scavenger hunt, attending a mock lecture and meeting some of my professors within an open house, winning free Brescia apparel such as a lanyard, shirt, bell and some bows, throwing Thursday (The orientation theme is “Kicking it Old School”) back while watching Clueless and Fresh Prince of Belair, attending toolkit seminars to learn tactics for test taking and bussing it to Fleetway for rock climbing, glow in the dark mini putting and bowling.14 16 17

Marvelous is also returning home for the weekend. I hadn’t expected to return to Oakville so soon but it was kind of nice to reunite with my family and friends, pick up some items I had forgotten and even take Lottie on her first apple picking excursion. Friday and Saturday were very low key so it was nice to do something fun as a family on Sunday. Caitlin, Aaron, Lottie, My parents and I all went to the Willis Family Fruit Farm for some apple picking and picture taking. Afterwards we headed to Starbucks to catch up some more. Don’t you love when Starbucks accidentally makes you a smaller size and compensates you with a free bigger beverage and lets you keep the one they mistakenly made? I had no complaints about drinking a tall and a grande non-fat Americano misto. Yum!3

Overall my week was very marvelous and it is only continuing into today since September 9th marks the first day of classes! Marvelous is so many things including learning, living, loving and even squeezing in blog writing and reading between the gym, class and studying! I find myself having to remind myself to slow down and take time to reflect on all that life has to offer. I worked hard to be back at school and although it was a tragedy to lose a friend, I have to remember that my needs are equally important and I can’t let my health fall by the wayside. At first I felt a bit guilty for enjoying myself but Brock would have wanted me to make the most out of my university experience. Thank you to all whom privately messaged me as extra support. None of those comments went unnoticed. ♥ Molly

“Begin today. Declare out loud to the universe that you are willing to let go of struggle and eager to learn through joy.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

The Beginning Of It All

I’m all moved in and boy what a change is residence from two years ago. I went from being in Ursuline Hall, an old, less air-conditioned residence with twin size beds and common bathrooms, to Clare Hall which is brand new, has an abundance of storage, queen size beds and offers semi-private washrooms. While the Ursuline Hall had character, I can’t say I don’t enjoy living in a more modern style room.IMG_6996 IMG_6989 IMG_6986 IMG_6988I left Oakville around 10:00 a.m. Monday morning and arrived in London just before noon the same day. Like Huron and Kings, Brescia is an affiliate college within the University of Western Ontario, the only difference being that it is all girls as opposed to co-ed. In the end I graduate with a Western Diploma but I chose to be part of the Food and Nutrition program, which is specialized and only offered at Brescia’s campus. The downside is that many of my science classes are on main campus, which is a bit of a hike since Brescia is at the top of a half-mile hill! The advantage is that Brescia’s classes are around 30 students in size as opposed to 500 like my lectures on Main campus!3 4

Despite barely lifting a finger since males from Huron and Kings helped Brescia Sophs (Upper year orientation leaders) move first year students like myself into their rooms, I was still extremely exhausted by the time I reached my room on fifth floor! The “movers” must have been exhausted by the end of the day because I wasn’t the only one who brought their entire wardrobe and a large selection of room décor. Thank goodness for the floor to ceiling built in storage cupboards! I am definitely going to need a step ladder since I can’t exactly reach all of the drawers and shelves.IMG_7004 IMG_7006With just my luck I am on the top floor, which is both good because I don’t hear noise from above and bad since the elevators haven’t been installed yet since there was a strike. I guess I won’t be gaining the freshmen fifteen since I’ll be climbing stairs and walking uphill everyday! The good news is my bathroom-mate shares a similar personality so we get along well.

10 9Some highlights of my time here in residence so far include Tie-Dying, Human Scavenger Hunt, Residence Mixer, Baking brownies and Brescia’s Opening ceremonies. I’ve learned many cheers and dances and I am working on remembering the names of many new faces. I also had the privilege of hearing a motivational speaker, Andy, who reinforced that University is what you make of it so don’t be afraid to answer questions, ask questions and most importantly volunteer. He agrees that University is 50% learning in class and 50% learning outside of class and you should never be afraid of putting yourself out there because equally passionate and academic students surround you.2 1

I ended yesterday evening by attending the opening Western Mustang Football game against Carleston. My phone died or else I would have taken more photos but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the cowgirl ride around the track on a Mustang (Horse), watching the cheerleaders perform, screaming with every winning touchdown and dressing head to toe in purple.2 3I must say I am pretty tired but every event is too fun to pass up. I did skip out on “Yoga dance” which was glow in the dark because I am trying to get into the habit of going to sleep earlier. Despite the comfortable mattress, morning sweat sessions and receiving plenty of fresh air, all of which should tire me out, I’m having difficulty falling asleep. I guess all of the excitement is keeping me wired!IMG_6980 IMG_6983 IMG_7003IMG_6981

Can’t wait to share some of my cafeteria experiences in tomorrow’s post. I feel busy as a Brescia Bee so I am sorry in advance if my posts aren’t as frequently spaced as usual. ♥ Molly

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