Fun with Fitness Friday

It has been a while since I posted about fitness. At the beginning of the summer I began swimming 4km of lengths most mornings but by mid-August my exercise regime was more or less non-existent as I was staying active in my everyday life and didn’t prioritize time for fitness. I’m not about to say that my leisurely swims in my backyard or nighttime walks were a replacement for the gym, but they were good enough for my standards. Just by looking at me you can easily tell I am not the gym type as dresses are skirts aren’t exactly athletic attire. In fact, the high membership prices and competitive natured individuals used to intimidate me out of even joining a club.1236506_341717389297379_1768538522_n 1305438_341709929298125_1728167817_n

Of course all of this changed when I  came to Western because within my tuition fees I was provided with access to aerobic classes, athletic courts, and a full range of equipment at the Mustang Recreational Centre on campus. The gym has offers televisions for entertainment but because it is a new facility it has floor to ceiling windows which is where I prefer to workout because the morning sunrise is much more motivating! Coincidentally my first week back I was also invited to be a SweatPink ambassador. I could not have asked for more perfect timing since I was already trying to incorporate a fitness component into 4-5 days per week. This was added incentive to stay committed. For those of you who do not know, SweatPink is a  movement, where tough and girly come together. Sweat Pink™ is all about sharing the joy that comes from living a healthy lifestyle. It’s a celebration of hard work and well-earned rewards. Our pink shoelaces are a proud demonstration of all we’ve achieved, and all we plan to become. 

Sweat Pink

Although I have difficulty falling asleep, my body naturally awakens by 6:30 a.m.. Unfortunately at this time it is still in it’s “groggy” phase so exercising is the perfect way to get myself going. I am already noticing a positive correlation between productivity, mood and exercising in the morning. It feels good to be done a workout at 8:00 a.m. and it allows me to have minimal wait time for machines since not many students enjoy working out before class. I can’t even begin to explain how many machines Western has, from a rotating rock climbing wall to circulating ladders, rowing machines to stationary bikes, free weights, exercise bands, medicine balls, yoga mats and just about a machine to work every muscle in your body. It helps that the machines are well labelled with instructions as to which part of my body the machine targets and how to use the machine properly! I tried the manual treadmill for the first time which was neat (and hard) but my favourite remains the elliptical. I’ve also been enjoying the fitness classes my favourites being Spin, Sweat and Sculpt and Pilates. I find it motivating being around instructors especially when I am unfamiliar with certain movements. I never knew just how tough Pilates was but boy is it relaxing and fun! It keeps me coming back because each week builds upon the last. My core strength has noticeably improved since I started!1369179_341709919298126_449645190_n 1372868_341709932631458_1586076928_n

I know everyone has different outlooks on fitness, mine being everything in moderation, so I know that how I sweat might be extremely different from your preferences. If I am doing strength components I prefer to target upper and lower body on different days so that I am not working the same muscles two days in a row. If I do a high-intensity cardio class one day (Spin), I usually do a slower pace workout the following day (Pilates). I’m definitely not aspiring to be the next body builder or marathon runner, so I have learned to set attainable goals so that I feel accomplished when I achieve them. There is no sense in asking myself to run on the treadmill for 1 hour when recently I have only been doing 30 minutes. It feels much better to end on a good note than to push my body past it’s limits leaving me dreading returning the following day. I find that if I overwhelm myself or tire my body out too much, I am less likely to enjoy myself so I start seeing exercise as a chore versus self-care. After all that is really why I exercise. I don’t run so I can eat cake because I can (and will) eat cake even if I don’t run.  Of course my physique and appearance is somewhat important but exercising gives me time to step back and assess where I am in terms of my values of life. It allows me to do something for myself and I don’t feel guilty taking a break from studying because exercising is just a different form of productivity.1241276_341709922631459_1059657912_n 380290_10150833258448428_1958867863_n

Gyms can be intimidating because there are unconscious comparisons. We’ve all run beside someone who feels the need to consistently be at an increase of 0.1 in their speed, incline or time than you just so that they can be “better”. I’ve had unwanted advice from individuals who believed their tactics were more efficient than mine. Especially for females, gyms can be a place where one feels inadequate or worries others are watching their every move.  I’m learning that everyone is so invested in their own regime that they aren’t paying attention to your form and if they do happen to feel the desire to workout longer, faster or harder than you than that is a reflection of their own self-consciousness. I don’t compare myself to others because I do not know what they did before they came to the gym or what they will do after when they leave. It’s all about finding what is right for my body and being satisfied at the end of your workout. Rest days are said to be equally important for your body to repair and I find it gives me time to rejuvenate. I’ve never been interested in sports nutrition but I am starting to dabble into some readings so that I can perform my best during my sweat sessions.

All round I have really enjoyed my exercise regime and I hope I can keep it up throughout the year.  I have downloaded a Western iPhone app that reminds me of the gym hours, fitness classes, pool lengths,  intramural or sports games, and neat events that are happening on a daily basis such as free health seminars. The variety of classes offered or different machines available should help to prevent me from getting bored! What is your favourite form of exercising? Do you prefer weight lifting or cardio? Are you biased towards indoor or outdoor activities? ♥ Molly

“I just don’t think that Brooke could’ve done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. ” – Legally Blonde 

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Myrtle Beach: Final Recap

Myrtle Beach’s warm temperatures and abundant sunshine left me spending most of my days by the pool or on the shore. No need to stay indoors since the weather cooperated leaving us without a drop of rain. Clearly we picked the week well because other vacationers complained that the days leading up to our arrival were dark and dreary.111111111 1333 133333

We stayed at the Sea Watch Plantation Resort located on a private beach with very friendly (and attractive) lifeguards. Our balcony overlooked the ocean so we frequently saw fireworks at nighttime. The resort was neither busy nor noisy, so I often fell asleep while reading in a reclined chair by the pool. I guess that is the advantage of traveling when summer holidays have ended for most Americans. 14 62

While I enjoyed lounging in the heat, my fair skin can only take so much sunshine so I did enjoy endless shopping, delicious dining, and plenty of tourist attractions. Some of my favourite activities included seeing salt water taffy being made, product surfing in Kroger and Lowe’s, go-karting, jet skiing, beachwalks by the pier, seashell hunting and of course card playing. I’d recommend stopping in at Barefoot Landing which had chain stores and one-of-a kind boutiques. I really enjoyed the “Natural Life” paper products at Ron Jon Surf Shop and the jewelery at Francesca’s. If you are looking for an afternoon adventure, try visiting Broadway at the Beach which is a combination of gift shops, eateries and kid-friendly activities such as Ripley’s Aquarium, Planet Hollywood, WonderWorks, MagiQuest and even Dragon’s Lair Mini-Golf. I really enjoyed “It’s Sugar” which was a candy shop with oversized Wonka products and a large assortment of gummies, M&Ms, jelly bellies, soda (I called it pop by accident) and other sweets. e2wwew 12212121212

The most entertaining piece of the trip was Pirate’s Voyage. The dinner show, sponsored by Dolly Parton, featured a combination of acrobatics, acting, singing, dancing and even performing animals such as dogs, sea lions and parrots. They did a great job rewarding and treating the animals with respect, which to me is very important. If you can get over drinking soup out of a cup or eating a quarter chicken with no knife, then you will really enjoy the show. They even got children involved in mini contests.144444 11111111 31312121185205_330724617063323_797455069_n

I would definitely recommend Myrtle Beach as a family vacation location, however if I returned to the Carolinas I might visit Charleston, South Carolina or Outer Banks, North Carolina instead. While the resort we stayed in was clean and updated, parts of North Myrtle Beach were a bit run down by tacky tourist shops. You know something is fishy when seafood buffets are only $6.99 for all you can eat. Overall I really enjoyed myself. Nearing the end I did miss my own bed and my family, but for the most part the time flew by and I was sad to say goodbye to the coast. I am so grateful to have been included in Caitlin’s family’s annual trip. I couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming group of people, although I did get laughed at for all of my food shots and selfies.

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I feel behind in blog posts and blog reading but it was nice to take a break from texting and facebook. I had many firsts for instance being stung by a jelly fish, seeing a pelican in flight, finding a lettered olive (South Carolina’s State seashell) and successfully running 2 miles on the beach without stopping. As I said before, there really is something for everyone whether that be golfing, playing tennis, riding the skywheel, visiting the theatre, or investing in some new clothes. It is an affordable destination and there really never was a dull moment. ♥ Molly

“To find a seashell is to discover a world of imagination.”  – Michelle Held

Myrtle Beach: MIMM #7

I still can’t believe I am here in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina soaking up the sun from the beautiful coast of the Atlantic Ocean. This past week has flown by since the days have been jammed pack with excursions. I am sad that I only have two full days left before I fly back home. It’s Monday though, and what better way to highlight some favourites than by participating in Katie’s Marvelous In My Monday.MiMM

Marvelous is running on the beach before the golden sunrises so that I can beat the humidity and hot temperatures. It’s allowing the waves to splash my feet as I search for seashells and sand dollars and it’s walking along the moonlit beach at nighttime to make room for dessert. 7 4

Marvelous is finding good deals in Outlet malls as I shop until I literally drop. It’s treating myself to a familiar beverage such as Starbucks iced coffee and wishing Canada had Trenta size cold drinks too. I had never heard of Orange Spice Iced Coffee until this week.11111111

Marvelous is exploring grocery stores such as Kroger and Target to find unique products.  I did not locate Arctic Zero or actually purchase anything that out of the norm for me, but it was still neat to discover foods such as white chocolate KitKat and M&Ms, broiled peanuts and cinnamon Teddy Grahams. Canada is missing out on so many varieties of gold fish crackers, greek yogurt brands, gum and even chips.2 3

Marvelous is visiting tourist attractions such as Broadway on the Beach and Barefoot landing. It’s being a kid in a candy shop and it’s watching taffy and fudge being made. 10

Marvelous is playing games and not being ashamed of my competitive spirit. What can I say, I like to win! I’ve played Skip Bo while sipping tea at night, Corn Hole while waiting for dinner at Finn McCools, ladder ball while waiting to jet ski and peg puzzle while waiting for breakfast at Cracker Barrel.5 6

Marvelous is the sun kissed glow being taken on by my hair and skin. My hair has naturally lightened to a blonder shade and while my SPF 60 sun screen has prevented me from burning I have gotten a bit of a tan.1111

Marvelous is go-karting with the boys.  Again, I don’t think they realized just how gung ho I am about coming in first and my petite frame (in comparison to 6’0 feet tall boys) allowed me to soar through the course at a faster pace. I paid close attention to which cars were the quickest and often lucked out in getting the vehicle I wanted. There was also an arcade and rock climbing wall but I stucked to go-karting which reminded me more of bumper cars because of all the collisions that led me to spin out of control. Colin shot some hoops and gave me the stuffed elephant prize that he won. Thanks again!9 8

Myrtle beach is marvelous, to say the least. It’s obvious that I am having the time of my life with daily outings but I am equally enjoying relaxing on the beach or by the pool. I’m going to miss having someone else to make my bed and the convenience of eating out, although I have also liked the meals we prepared for ourselves. It’s going to be a shock when I return to Canada’s cooler climate, especially with fall on it’s way. I’m trying not to think about the fact that my vacation is coming to an end because I still have many marvelous memories to make before heading home. What was marvelous about your past week and weekend? ♥ Molly

“Beach House Rules: Relax, Unwind, Enjoy”

Alphabetically Speaking

Nothing was flowing as I typed this morning. I tried to write about my recent efforts to meditate, but I couldn’t come up with inspiring words to help you see the benefits of finding peace within your mind. I was going to talk about how I am packing for University, but posting pictures of my messy room wouldn’t be eye appealing and I don’t have a DIY project for dorm rooms quite yet. I thought about sharing a recipe, but recently my cooking and baking haven’t been out of the norm or anything special. There was also the idea of writing a book or restaurant review, but my words weren’t doing either justice. So instead, I chose to take an easier route by completing an alphabetical questionnaire that has been floating around the blog world lately. I’m not sure if you’ll be surprised by any of my answers but it’s a great way to find out a few additional fun facts about me. ♥ Molly

“Stay true to yourself because there are very few people who will always be true to you.” 

A. Attached or Single? Single!

B. Best Friend? I have quite a few and I am confident that they know who they are. I also consider my siblings and parents to be some of my closest acquaintances since they have supported me my entire life.IMG_3788

C. Cake or pie? Does cheesecake count? I’m not keen on pie crust but I do love lemon, rhubarb, apple and pumpkin filling!

D. Day of choice? I like Fridays because I have the schedule of being in school, but I can look forward to being able to rest on the weekend. There’s also no pressure to get things done since I have two school-free days to complete tasks. Saturdays are second best because I can relax but it doesn’t mark the end of the weekend.

E. Essential Item? My iPhone. It allows me to create lists, take pictures, stay connected through Texting, Facebook, E-mail, Instagram and Twitter, write blog posts and can even be used as a Calendar, Calculator or GPS.

F. Favorite color? Pink! Although turquoise is quickly catching up!DSC05383

G. Gummy bears or worms? To me gummy bears and worms taste the exact same. I do enjoy stretching gymmy worms and the neon flavours are pretty neat!

H. Home town? Peterborough, Ontario!

I. Favourite Indulgence? Ice cream although I’d hardly consider it an indulgence since I eat it on a daily basis.Yum

J. January or July? I love the weather in July although January marks the beginning of the year which is always refreshing.

K. Kids? I hope to have 3 to 4.

L. Life isn’t complete without? Steadtler Fine-Tip Markers! I’m only kidding… Happiness.20

M. Marriage date? I used to say I wanted to be married by 24 but that only gives me 4 years to find my Prince. Let’s just say the distant future, most likely during summer.

N. Number of brothers/sisters? 2 sisters, 1 brother and 1 brother-in-law! I’m the youngest followed by Emma, Nathan and finally Caitlin (the oldest).

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples because I like a good crunch plus oranges take longer to prepare. I’m all for convenience. Pink Ladies or Royal Galas to name a few.IMG_8338

P. Phobias? Loud chewers and Spiders. They both make me cringe.

Q. Quotes? “You is kind, You is smart, You is important” – The Help, Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

R. Reasons to smile? Because it takes fewer muscles than frowning, because it’s the cheapest thing to wear, because it spreads positivity, because it makes others happy to see, but most importantly, because I genuinely can and haven’t always been able to.IMG_0485

S. Season of choice? Spring tulips, Summer hydrangeas, Fall leaves and the crisp snow of Winter. In terms of temperature, Summer for sure! I hate the cold, brrr.

T. Tag 5 People. Anyone and everyone.

U. Unknown facts about me? I can curl my tongue into a three-leaf clover. My hair colour is natural, it hasn’t ever been dyed. I’ve always worn a homemade (Thanks Mom!) halloween costume (or recycled dance costume).  My favourites include Madeline (Age 6-7), Pippi Longstocking (Age 8-9), Paper Bag Princess (Age 12) and a Peacock (I made this one myself – Age 19).IMG_0605IMG_0592

V. Vegetable? It’s harder to name a vegetable I don’t like. If I had to choose, I would probably pick red onions as my favourite.

W. Worst habit? Never feeling good enough. I often have trouble believing in myself because I can’t seem look beyond comparisons long enough to recognize my own potential.

X. Xray or Ultrasound? I’ve had both done!

Y. Your favorite food? Everything in moderation right? Except sushi! It’s labour intensive but I do enjoy making it! IMG_7441

Z. Zodiac sign? Cancer. The Crab. Water element. Moon planet. Sensitive, dependable, romantic, creative and protective. Hypothetically I should like the colour silver and my lucky day is Monday which completely contradicts the above statements!

DIY: Flower Crown

My Instagram feed was filled with flower crowns after Digital Dreams and this floral trend continued throughout VELD and Osheaga. I think it’s safe to say the song “Flowers in your hair” by the Lumineers inspired this decorative accessory.

I’m not really into concerts, so I didn’t attend these music festivals, but I did enjoy hosting a mini “What not to wear” session while critiquing photos from the events. Kidding, but seriously, I don’t know why people think it’s appropriate to go out in sequinned lace bras? Maybe as a dance costume! I must admit, I never thought I’d be a crop top kind of girl, but I’ve fallen in love with the look of a little midriff. Just a peak though. I figure if someone has the confidence to show a bit of skin, why not because done right, it can look super cute. Curls, a high waisted skirt and a vintage crop top is my new casual but sophisticated look. Oh and don’t forget the flower crown!IMG_6545

But since we don’t all have $20.00 – $30.00 to spend on (essentially) a nice headband, I’ve come up with my own DIY. With the exception of fake flowers, which you can find at almost any dollar store, I used items I had on hand so my homemade version not only provided me with an afternoon craft, but was extremely affordable. Be sure to try it out! Would you ever be caught just wearing a bra in public? What’s your outlook on crop tops? Are you enjoying the return of the “flower power” era? What’s your favourite song by the Lumineers? ♥ MollyIMG_6580

Daisy CrownIMG_6563

You will need…

  • A bunch of fake flowers, small petals (daisies) are preferable
  • Twine, colour of preference, 60 feet
  • Light-weight craft wire, 90 inches
  • Scissors, strong enough to cut wire
  • Glue gun and extra hot glue sticks

DIY Flower Crown

  1. Gather all supplies and begin heating (plug in) hot glue gun.
  2. Cut twine into eight, 90’ strings. Braid two separate braids using three twine strings each, tying at either end to prevent braid from coming undone.
  3. Braid a third braid using remaining two twine strings and strand of wire. Braids do not have to be perfectly consistent in size, but should remain fairly tight throughout. Braid all three braids together, tying at either end.
  4. Measure against head. If your head is smaller, you may want to trim off excess length before creating the crown. If not, twist ends together to make a continuous circle. Tuck in ends and secure in place with hot glue.
  5. Cut flowers from the bunch, making sure to leave long stems. If using multiple colours, be sure to pick an equal amount of each. For a fuller look, cut more flowers, alternatively if you want to see more twine, cut less. I used a total of nine between the three colours.
  6. Interweave the stems of the flowers into the braid. To prevent the flowers from slipping, glue stem to the twine on the inside of the crown so that the glue cannot be seen. Repeat until complete.
  7. Wear as a headband to hold hair out of eyes, or as a crown on top of your head.

MIMM #5: Time Flies When You are Having Fun

Did last week go by in the blink of an eye for anyone else? Maybe it was because we had a long weekend so my Dad was home on Monday? Of course it could also be due to the fact that my schedule was jammed pack with marvelous moments!MiMM

I became a Healthy Living Blog, which was pretty marvelous. Amongst other things, they share some incredible tips, offer ways to promote your blog and build a sense of community. I really want to attend the Healthy Living Summit in September, but I know it’s not a good idea to leave for Minneapolis the second weekend of School just incase I have a mountain of homework. I suppose it gives me something marvelous to look forward to for next year!HLB

Does anyone else love back to school shopping? I have most of my residence décor from two years ago, however my sister Emma is moving into a new apartment so she needed to pick up items that she and her roommate were still missing. Ikea is our go to place for marvelous deals. I found these cute flower tea infusers that match my pink and green room decor. They also have really good frozen yogurt that I’m convinced is a greek variety.IMG_6696

Of course if you go to Ikea, you can’t help but fall in love with their interesting dishware. My goal is to improve my food photography and I am using that as a perfect excuse to pick out accent cups, marvelous mugs and printed plates. They are a bit mismatch to store, but hopefully they allow me to be more creative. Earlier in the week I also picked out some more latté and serving bowls from Anthropologie. I might be slightly addicted.

My Kobo is marvelous but having a hard copy of a book is pretty fun too. I’ve missed flipping real pages. Thanks Tammy for the new book! I’ve been to Me to We, read most of Craig and Mark Kielberger’s novels and also done volunteer work with Free the Children, so this book was right up my alley.IMG_6683

Year after year we have garage sales, claiming that it will be our “last one”. The trouble is we end up with extra antiques as my Nana downsizes or style changes. This year I learned that I am a firm bargainer, some customers look forward to our annual garage sale since we have “neat things”, what an angel food cake cutter is (a customer taught me), and that near the end discount like crazy because “everything must go”. It felt marvelous to donate the remaining items to goodwill, although to tell you the truth it was so successful we didn’t have that much! I did manage to find two retro lamps for my dorm room, and I also picked out a nutrition book that must have been my Nana’s because I had never seen it before.IMG_6688

After the garage sale Lottie came over but I was so tired I just wanted to have a nap. My time is limited with this little cutie, since soon I’ll be away in school, so I couldn’t pass up an offer to spend time with her. I scooped her into my arms and brought her on my bed hoping we’d both fall asleep, but she was too fascinated with my glasses, nose and lips to let me close my eyes. I don’t know where she gets all of her energy from?! She’s starting to get ticklish and it’s marvelous to hear her shriek and giggle when you touch her tummy.Lottie

Driving. Despite my driving instructor cancelling on me twice, I haven’t lost motivation to practice driving with my Dad. I’m getting more and more comfortable with higher speeds, although I am still learning basic tools such as parallel parking and three point turns. It’ll be marvelous to have my license so that I can drive myself to social gatherings.

I met up with an old friend of mine, Alexis, downtown Oakville. We opted to go for a walk along Lakeshore instead of sitting down for coffee because the weather was too beautiful to pass up enjoying. I took a few photos, since she is very photogenic and the sailboats were picturesque, we got frozen yogurt and then we even found our way to a park with sand. I love wiggling my toes through sand but I miss being able to swing without feeling motion sickness. Sometimes I think it’d be marvelous to be a kid again.IMG_6652 IMG_6662

Last night I concluded my weekend with a trip to Whole Foods. Chelsea C was home for the weekend and decided to venture into Oakville with her parents for dinner and a treat. I haven’t seen her parents in years so when she invited me to join I had no trouble saying yes. The food selection was marvelous as always and it was great to reconnect. We’ve been friends for 6 years but don’t see each other often enough. 1080233_323666541102464_1035833262_n

Every day seems to be falling into place. Sometimes I start the morning with no plans but end up with a full plate of activities. This week is going to be filled with packing and last minute marvelous get togethers because I leave for Myrtle Beach in 8 sleeps and will only have 3 days in between returning home and moving into residence. Time seems so precious these days, I hate when days slip away. Thanks again Katie for hosting MIMM! What was marvelous about your weekend, morning, or week ahead? ♥ Molly

“The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that your the pilot.” – Michael Althsuler

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

MIMM #3: Birthday Celebrations

First off, I just wanted to thank everyone who wished me a happy 20th birthday on Thursday. It was so kind of people to take the time to acknowledge my special day, and none of those comments went unappreciated. My birthday was definitely marvelous!

To say this past week was “busy” would be an understatement. From shopping in Toronto to driving lessons in Oakville, appointments to eating almost every meal out, each minute has been spent on the go. I’ve been waking up earlier and going to bed later than normal, and many nights haven’t been slept in my own familiar bed. While it’s been fun and the constant shuffling is a distraction from my anxieties, I was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone a majority of the time. Thankfully supportive people surrounded me so most of my worries and challenges went unnoticed. While I enjoyed eating out, I do miss saving money by cooking for myself. Shopping was fun and I found so many purchases that I wanted to buy, but again trying on clothing and spending money on myself isn’t one of my strong suits. One regret I didn’t have, was watching “High School Musical” and “Glee” during my Toronto sleepover with Megan. I might be twenty but the dancing and singing performed by Vanessa and Zac were just as enjoyable as when I was 13! Megan and I share similar personality traits, and we can be pretty boring when it comes to boys and bars. We both find cheesy lyrics and chemistry class a bit too fun but we are also able to laugh at our quirks. It’s marvelous.

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Since my birthday falls in the middle of July, which is prime vacation time, many of my birthdays have been spent in travel. Honestly, I’d have it no other way. It’s marvelous to celebrate abroad! When I was little, the added attention of “Birthdays” didn’t seem to phase me. I loved hosting a party, eating cake, and appreciated the gifts. Over the years, I’ve begun to feel undeserving of my celebration and the extra acknowledgements, so on my actual birthday it’s easier to be doing a family activity than something centered around me.

Sometimes we are at cottages, last year we were in France and this year we decided to venture into Buffalo for some shopping. For all of you who live in the States, I envy your assortment of Goldfish Crackers and Chobani! You also have some pretty cool coupon clippings! When we got home around 8:00p.m. I decided to open up my presents. I noticed there was a very appropriate theme going on which all had to do with baking and ice cream. If you read yesterday’s post you know that I’ve never enjoyed ice cream more than I have this summer. My sister Caitlin, her husband Aaron and her daughter Lottie all gave me an ice cream maker with some cute ice cream cups. They match my residence room perfectly. They also included a marvelous ice cream cone card. Emma is very crafty and as one of my gifts, made a “neapolitan” ice cream cone using a base she purchased from Anthropologie and pom poms she made out of wool. She wrapped hers using ice cream cone stickers. My brother is an avid Poker player so he made me “Win” my present. We played a round of simplified poker in which I dominated and won a generous monetary gift. Amongst many clothes and other things, my parents gave me money towards my trip to Myrtle Beach, Lululemon and Ivivva, an individual cupcake platter that has a glass bell and this really neat “memory” stamp.

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Of course, my friends don’t let me escape all of the attention. Joyce showered me with gifts, Megan took me out for Frozen Yogurt and I went for appetizers and drinks with Caitlin and Elyse. My friends are marvelous to say the least. Caitlin and Elyse made me a “Because I love you…” memory box. I’m definitely going to be talking more about how much I appreciate inspirational and sentimental gifts later this week. This present hit the spot and left me in tears of joy all night. I am so blessed to have such incredible friends and family. I really couldn’t be more fortunate!

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The last marvelous thing I want to mention about the week was receiving marvelous birthday “perks”. Does anyone else enjoy signing up for birthday “perks”? I was able to receive a free lipgloss and mascara from Sephora and I have yet to redeem my coupons for a free ice cream at Marble Slab, a free starbucks beverage or food item, a free meal at Milestones and a free yoga class (plus I can bring a friend) at both Kula and The Clarity Centre… and those are just the perks that interested me most!

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So there is a very brief (well actually pretty long) summary of my week, although I am sure more will come out through WIAW. After all, I have to share some of the neat eats and treats that I enjoyed.  Don’t forget to check out the other MIMM posts linked up at Healthy Diva Eats. Katie celebrated her husband Mike’s birthday this past weekend. Happy Birthday Mike! Thanks again Katie for hosting MIMM, it’s such a great way to reflect on the marvelous life that I live, and to look forward on the great things that are planned in my upcoming week. What do you like to do on your birthday? Are you a fan of the added attention? What was marvelous about last week and what marvelous events are to come? ♥ Molly

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou (… And I will never forget how happy and special everyone has made me feel throughout my birthday week. I am so grateful.)

It’s My Birthday!

Today I enter a new decade as I celebrate my twentieth birthday. While I still have most of my life ahead of me, I can’t help but feel “old” when I hear my new age. Unlike 16 (Driving Permit), 18 (Lottery Tickets), 19 (Canadian Drinking Age) or 21 (American Drinking Age), the number 20 isn’t rewarded with an added privilege, but to me, it is still equally important. I am so thankful for everyone who has helped me achieve great health, happiness and memorable moments in the years leading up to this milestone.

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Celebrating my 19th Birthday

IMG_3982I would also like to wish my parents a very happy belated 31st wedding anniversary, as yesterday marked the day of their 31st year being married. If it weren’t for you Mom and Dad, I don’t know where I would be today. May every new tomorrow draw you closer to each other and may it keep the promise of today. You are the perfect example of what parents should be and how a married couple should act. Wishing you wonderful years filled with tremendous happiness and great health, in the years to come. You have me setting high expectations for my future husband Dad, and Mom you have me hoping that I can be as positive of a role model for my daughter(s) as you were for me.

309008_999118087991_630881735_nI have a busy day ahead of me, but before I go, I’d like to leave you with 20 fun facts, you might not already know about me! What are some birthday traditions your family participates in? When I was little, my parents would wrap money in coins, and hide it underneath everyone’s “slice” at my birthday party, that way everyone got an extra surprise. ♥ Molly

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” – Voltaire

Birthday

0. The day I was born 2. My second birthday 5. My “Arthur” themed 5th birthday party 6. My “Olympic” waterworks obstacle birthday party 17. We went to see the Legally Blonde musical on my 17th birthday 19. Last year we were in France so my dad and I went to the Catacombs the morning of my birthday

Twenty Interesting and Slightly Embarrassing Facts about Myself!

  1. I can do my splits. At the age of three my parents signed me up for ballet, but in all honesty, I would run around the room instead of skipping or stretching. Regardless, I fell in love and began competing when I was 7. I’ve done Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop and more, but my favourite (and strongest suit) will always be Tap.
  2. I love my name because of it’s “ring” and truthfully, it suits me perfectly. Molly Martha Schoo (pronounced shoe). People call me “Molly Pocket” because I am just barely 5’3” and I look about 14-16, but nicknames have ranged from Molly Moo to Schooster.
  3. When I was little I thought “Tim Hortons” was “Tim Portons” and I called Figure Skaters, “Finger Skaters”. My parents preserved this innocence for a bit too long!
  4. I’ve been on national television. This year I was part of a “Bell Let’s Talk Campaign” advocating for Mental Health, so I was featured on a Marilyn Dennis (Canadian Talk Show) Special!
  5. I’m a dare devil and I love adventure. Skydiving, Bungee Jumping, Surfing (In Hawaii!!), Climbing a Mountain and White Water rafting are all on my “to-do” list.
  6. As a kid, I always wanted to experience living with braces, glasses and a cast. While I’ve had braces, and continue to wear glasses (or contacts) on a daily basis, I’ve never broken (nor do I want to) a bone in my life.
  7. I went through French Immersion beginning in Senior Kindergarden, so as a result I am bilingual. I hope to become fluent in a third language such as Dutch.
  8. You’ll hardly ever find me in pants or shorts. Skirts and Dresses are staples in my wardrobe (I have more than 50 everyday dresses). I admire people that can look cute in sweatpants, but I don’t think I’ll ever be someone that can feel “put together” in a tracksuit.
  9. I’d pick cardio over weight training any day. A goal of mine is to run a full marathon but I have a ways to go with my running abilities. Swimming or Zumba are my go to exercises.
  10. My taste buds are well rounded. I like vegetables and fruit equally, I enjoy “sweet” desserts but also enjoy “salty” snacks, I value protein but still love carbohydrates, and I have no preference between butter or applesauce in my baked goods!
  11. My favourite movie is Legally Blonde, I continue to watch re-runs of Gilmore Girls and the song “Just Give me a Reason” never gets old. Miss Congeniality, Everwood and Ho Hey are all close runner ups!
  12. In grade 8 I had a shirt that said “I got an A+ in Talking”. I can be pretty loud as my voice carries almost TOO well. It comes in handy when presenting or debating, but it’s also one my biggest challenges in classroom settings (Particularly meditation and yoga classes).
  13. I’d eat onions like apples if it didn’t make me cry. I find every excuse to put onions in a recipe.
  14. I collect postcards. In grade 3 I bought a package of “Hello Kitty” postcards from my school’s book sale, and ever since I’ve enjoyed picking them up when I travel. Feel free to send me one from your hometown or vacation!
  15.  I’d rather go grocery shopping than clothes shopping. Fashion interests me and I enjoy pretty attire, however I am not good at spending money nor am I eager to try things on.
  16. I swallowed a penny when I was a baby! The doctors thought I had asthma but my parents later found the evidence in my diaper!
  17. I’m a games person and as much as I try to play for the fun of it, I can get pretty competitive. I’ll play just about anything, but to name a few Apples to Apples, Scattegories, Risk, Catch Phrase, Cards and Scrabble are some of my favourites.
  18. I’ve always wanted to be a twin. I have three incredible siblings (I am the youngest) all of whom I am close with, but having a relative my own age would be convenient in a lot of circumstances.
  19. If money weren’t necessary, I’d volunteer my time instead of working. I hope to find a career than enables me to give back to my community by helping others. To me, one of the greatest gifts in life is seeing the results of my generosity. Acts of kindness are so little and can have such positive effects.
  20. I love quotes. They can be so inspiring and finding the perfect one to counteract a negative thought is extremely rewarding. Some of my favourites were first spoken or written by Helen Keller, Shakespeare, Julia Childs, Dalai Lama, Albert Einstein and of course Audrey Hepburn! Here’s another applicable one for today! “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey

City Life and Shopping Tips

Today I am headed to Toronto. Despite living only about a half an hour way, I don’t make my way into the city that often. When I do go, the temptation of spending all my savings is so powerful as Toronto is home to some of the nicest shopping districts and boutiques in Canada. While I don’t exactly need a new wardrobe, I haven’t bought many summer items this year. My friend from High school, Megan, goes to the University of Toronto and has a Condo downtown. I see her on a daily basis as she is my gym buddy (she’s a great motivator and doesn’t take “I’m tired” as an answer), but the few breaks that we take in between laps at the pool don’t offer us enough time to catch up. We’ve been meaning to have a girls night for awhile now, and we decided that we wanted to escape Oakville for a fun shopping trip. I’ll be catching the train around 10:00 a.m. and then coming home tomorrow in time for my driving lesson at 3:00p.m. This leaves us lots of time to shop, chat, eat, and of course watch chick flicks. I really hope to go to Brandy Melville as I’ve never been, try out a Vegan restaurant called “Fresh” and then check out some of my favourite stores including Urban Outfitters and Forever 21. Since I have another shopping trip planned for later this week, I’m limiting my purchases to essentials only. I make myself sound like a “crazy” spender but in fact, I actually have trouble parting with money. I fall in love with so many clothes but by the time I reach the cash I’ve usually talked myself out of most of my finds. This being said, I do consciously think of a few tips before and during my excursions. I try to …

  • Shop with a list:  Today I hope to find a new sunglasses, a pair of cute sandals or wedges, a fashionable bathing suit, and a pair of shorts. These are all things that I need. Even though I probably have too many dresses, they are never frivolous purchases because they are something I wear frequently. I am going to try my best to refrain from buying one, but I won’t be that upset if I happen to find a cute maxi on sale.
  • Set a budget: I’m pre-setting a budget, because I don’t want to get caught up in the moment and overspend on things that I don’t need or won’t use. I’m going to try and use cash for clothing purchases as I find it helps me stay conscious of my total spendings. Did you know that statistics show that you are willing to pay up to 50% more for an item if you are putting it on your credit or debit card? Of course it’s not safe to carry too many lose coins and bills, so I’ll be using debit (lower limit) for food and travel expenses.
  • Start Early: We picked an early start time so that we don’t get stuck in traffic on our way into the city, the malls are less busy and we aren’t fatigued from a day’s worth of activities. We are also mid-week as opposed to the weekend in hopes of avoiding crowds since many will be working.
  • Set a timeframe: While we have all day to shop around the city, we have many areas to check out such as the Eaton Centre and Queen Street. We don’t want to be mindlessly wandering as we have other things on our to-do list.
  • Look Online: To be honest, I already have an idea of exactly what I want to buy. I’m not getting my hopes up since stores hardly ever have the exact item I am looking for, but it gave me a rough idea about sales, prices and what to watch for.
  • Pack Snacks: Nobody can have fun if they are hungry. Food courts don’t always offer the healthiest eats, and you don’t want to be wasting your time searching for a snack when you could be better using your time to try on clothes. I know that I get emotional if I am starving, and I don’t want to have a meltdown in the change room.
  • Trust my instincts: If you aren’t sure, put something on hold. It’s much easier to go back to a store than it is to make a return, especially if you only receive a “store credit”. Shop with a friend who’s opinion you value because it’s hard to trust a sales person who is more focused on selling than whether or not the outfit truly suits your body.

July Finds 2 July Finds July Finds 31. Brya Skirt 2. Solitude 3. Polka Dot Bikini 4. Antica Maxi Dress 5. Floral Wayfarer Sunglasses 6. Kimchi Blue Molly Jacquard Pinup Short

Happy Tuesday! What are you mindful of when going to a mall? Do you pre-shop online or do you like to be surprised when entering a store? What is your favourite trend right now? ♥ Molly

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” – Bo Derek