MIMM #11: Thanksgiving Weekend

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, which means I have today off but this weekend has still felt much too short. I suppose that is nothing new since time spent at home in the company of my marvelous family is never too long. This Thanksgiving definitely felt rushed. Last year I had the opportunity to press leaves, pick pumpkins and help my mom with fall decorations, but this year I barely had time to eat pie let alone bake one! MiMM

My mom and Emma came to pick me up on Friday morning after the completion of my three-hour morning Nutrition lecture. I was all packed and ready to go, so what should have been a fun and marvelous class seemed to drag on. I fed them lunch at my cafeteria before we headed back onto the highway (thankfully with minimal traffic) stopping only briefly at Ikea to look for a highchair (unsuccessfully). I did find a duvet to layer beneath my quilt since my residence room is already starting to get pretty chilly.1385625_351530854982699_1631944843_n

Three weeks away from home was much too long. Friday evening I caught up with Elyse, Caitlin and Carly over a marvelous bonfire. I never really realized how complimentary chocolate, roasted marshmallows and graham crackers could be since I usually eat them separately as opposed to in a s’mores. By 12:30 a.m. I called it a night, which was hard to do since we had so much to discuss.1373539_351530628316055_375718286_n 1384731_351530618316056_1310684331_n

We hosted Thanksgiving appetizers and dinner on Saturday for my Grandparents. Besides a batch of brownies I barely baked but I have a few recipes to try out later today before heading back to University. I’ll save the meal for Wednesday’s post but the eats were more marvelous than ever. With a 21lb Turkey and only 10 guests (…but Lottie prefers sweet potatoes so really 9) there were lots of leftovers for sandwiches. Lottie definitely entertained us for the night with her smiles, giggles and waves. She’s sitting proudly on her own and I can’t wait to see her again dressed up for Halloween. Last year she was not born yet so we were all very thankful to be blessed with her company this weekend. 1377174_351530868316031_810513216_n 1379028_351530624982722_165337714_n

Sunday we were all still tired from the turkey’s tryptophan (kidding), which meant a later start to my studying session. I worked on a Library Assignment and I reviewed a bit of Psychology and Chemistry for my upcoming midterms but I was easily distracted by PVR (I haven’t watched television in 5 weeks) running errands with my dad, preparing homemade turkey soup and baking gingerbread cookies. A less eventful but equally marvelous day to say the least!1380896_351530621649389_2025998700_n

Today I’m meeting Joyce and tonight my dad will be driving me back to residence. It seemed short but I guess that’s partly due to the commute and the fact that schoolwork isn’t easing up. No complaining here, Thanksgiving was marvelous. I’m so thankful for my entire life including but not limited to my family, friends, health, home, education, food, emotions, challenges, privileges and abilities. What are you grateful for?  Don’t forget to check out Katie’s MIMM roundup – Friday she featured some marvelous snacks and marvelous advantages of being a mom and this morning she posted a picture of Rocco (Now 15 weeks) as baby Dracula! He is so precious!  Here’s to making Mondays a bit more marvelous even if it means I have to go back to school and leave my family! ♥ Molly

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

Advertisements

MIMM #9: Weekend Home

Early last week I started to miss my parents a lot. As beautiful as my residence room is, it still doesn’t feel like home. It’s not as though I haven’t made friends but our relationships naturally aren’t as close as those that I have back in Oakville. Thankfully the commute is only 2 hours and my mom was able to pick me up on Friday afternoon so that I could spend the weekend in my own bed.

MiMM1

Coming home to parents who will cook you meals, clean up after you and chauffeur you around is pretty marvelous after living independently for 2 weeks. London is full of marvelous opportunities such as the Covent Garden Market but it is a bit of a trek to walk or bus everywhere and the rainy weather has discouraged me from venturing off of campus. IMG_8110

I had an incredibly marvelous weekend and it started out with some marvelous mail. Joyce knows my obsession with tea and owls too well which is probably she sent along this variety of David’s tea (there is an owl on the package). Joyce also wrote a beautiful card and enclosed it with Owl stickers and sticky notes. As well, I received my Vega One French Vanilla and Vega Sport Vanilla, Silver Drinking Straws from the Maine Drinking Straw Company and the book “Whole Foods to Thrive”. Charissa put so much work into hosting the Colourful Smoothie Contest and I am so thankful that I was able not only to participate but win a prize.IMG_8173

The marvelous-ness continued when my mom picking me up from Chemistry class. The fact that she didn’t make me walk up the Brescia hill was not kind but pretty good door-to-door service. We had so much to catch up on the drive flew by. I’m pretty sure I talked my mom’s ear off. IMG_8187

Marvelous is being given Moon Cakes to celebrate the Harvest Moon. Our neighbours, the same ones who gave us Lobster from P.E.I, surprised us with Moon Cakes on Friday evening. They are so generous and thoughtful.The flavour and texture is definitely acquired and I can’t say I’ve ever had anything quite like it before. The box they delivered the cakes in was beautiful.

554664_342894899179628_1807322675_nMarvelous is getting together with Chelsea because we seem to relate on so many levels. It’s pretty obvious Chelsea’s blog is one of my favourites so I never turn down an opportunity to meet with her. It’s also pretty evident that our preferred places to meet up include Kindfood and Whole foods so it should be no surprise that I tried my first quinWOW bowl and fell in love with the marvelous miso gravy.1234268_342894942512957_1400790597_n

Marvelous is also attending Yoga class with Chelsea. We wanted to add in an extra component to our usual lunch date but the weather forecast was not promising which ruled out our idea of apple picking, frequenting the farmer’s market or hiking. Thankfully Chelsea had heard Be Yoga and Wellness was celebrating their birthday by teaching free yoga classes. We weren’t sure how hard it would be so we decided to stick to Hatha 1, but neither of us were overly challenged so we agreed to try Aerial or a more difficult level next time. I could definitely tell that my Pilates workouts have helped strengthen my core because I found myself more balanced while holding the tree pose. I haven’t practiced yoga in ages which is probably why I woke up sore the next morning. Amanda, the instructor, had a beautiful voice and finished the class with a powerful chant. The class was accompanied by live music so you could really feel the energy waves and rhythm of the beat. I found it a bit distracting because I wanted to watch the drummer and singer, but it definitely made for a positive atmosphere.1260869_342894869179631_1096412141_n1239528_342894962512955_1285484907_n

Marvelous is also discovering new local bakers. Nourishing Nook was giving away free samples at BeYoga and Welless so I got to try my first Sweet Potato muffin. She had kale chips that I found to be quite good since they were had a bit of a spicy kick to their crunch. Chelsea and I each had a granola circle and tried to decipher the recipe but found ourselves finishing the last bite before we had identified all the ingredients. I guess that just means I’ll have to purchase some which is definitely not a complaint on my end since they were marvelous.1368914_342894759179642_443416321_n 1371409_342894762512975_659219238_n1375906_342894845846300_507576849_n

Marvelous is also meeting Caitlin for coffee or watching Lottie blow bubbles and giggle. It’s having my last ice cream cone of the summer and then huddling with a blanket because Fall is definitely not frozen dessert weather. It’s hugging Emma, seeing Nathan, getting advice from my Mom and grocery shopping with my Dad.  It’s waking up to the smell of breakfast food and a full stocked fridge and winding down the evening with a cup of tea and in the company of my family. It’s being given the opportunity to go to university and to study a subject I am so passionate about. It’s taking time for myself just to be and it’s finally catching up on blog reading after being so behind. It’s being able to participate in things such as Katie’s Marvelous in my Monday tradition. What was marvelous about your weekend? What is marvelous about this upcoming week?  ♥ Molly

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey 

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

MIMM #4: Positive Reminders

I think it is important for you all to know that I am still working on my recovery from mental illnesses. I am by no means 100% recovered from disordered thinking around food, weight and happiness. These days, my mood is much more stable and I am pretty happy-go-lucky however I do still have episodes of negative self talk that bring me down. “Bubbly, Personable, Happy, Smiley, High-Spirited, Fun” are all terms used to describe me but they also go against my diagnosis of being chronically “sad”. How? The reality is you can be depressed and cheerful at the same time.

I don’t say this to earn sympathy but rather to avoid comparisons. Too often bloggers glaze over their lives only highlighting the “happy” moments. I post pictures of my room when it is tidy and avoid photographing it’s areas of clutter. I only post recipes that I have perfected but that doesn’t mean they started out as 100% fail-proof. I appear as though I never get in fights with friends or family but in truth, I am a human as well and I don’t have flawless relationships. Some bloggers are inclined to showcasing the fun activities they do, without letting on that they have moments of “doing nothing” as well. I don’t think I’d earn many followers if all I ever did was complain since nobody wants to be left feeling emotionally drained after reading a post. I think it’s strong that some bloggers are able to admit to the hard times they are facing and shed light on issues so many of us battle on an everyday basis. CaitPlusAte and ItzLinz are two of my favourite blogs for this reason since they address sensitive subjects while remaining positive and inspirational.

So while I might appear to have my life in order, rest assured it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I live a happy life and most of my smiles are genuine, but that’s because I have plans in place to lift my spirits when moments of sadness arise. Marvelous is having continuous support and unconditional love whether I feel I deserve it or not. My friends and family continue to remind me that they have my back. In times of sadness I have a little bucket of marvelous “reminders” as to what is marvelous about life and what others find marvelous about me.

IMG_6295 Screen Shot 2013-07-28 at 2.54.58 PMPositive Affirmation Books: No matter how old you are, I truly believe you need to own at least one picture book. These three books, “Heart Thoughts”, “In the Garden of Thoughts” and “Every Thing Is Going To Be OK”,  contain inspirational thoughts that are not only uplifting but empowering. Accompanied by whimsical illustrations or photographs, these books always leave me feeling happier and more optimistic.  “If you stumbled today, remember where and how it felt. Tomorrow, take a different path. Life flourishes from its pain and the lessons we gain.” – Dodinsky

IMG_6305Blessed Bracelet: The idea is to wear this bracelet until it fades in colour and eventually falls off. These bracelets have been carried through India and blessed with love on the banks of River Ganges. I was given two from my Life Coach as a reminder not to worry about the past or future but to live blessed in the moment. The colour red symbolizes protection, healing, commitment and spirituality. The first one stayed on my wrist for over four months and I have yet to tie the second one onto my wrist. “When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” – C.S. Lewis

IMG_6113 IMG_6302“Why We Love You” Letters: For my twentieth birthday, two of my best friends, Elyse and Caitlin, compiled a box filled with 20 letters from my closest friends and family members for me to read next year when I am away at University. Since I couldn’t wait until I felt sad, I read them all in one night, but I will definitely continue to re-read them in moments when I need to be cheered up. It was neat to see which memories were most prominent in the minds of others. My dad wrote a poem recalling when I ran around an MBA court with the “Raptors Flag”. The comments were so flattering and made me feel very important and special.  Some were stories from when I was a baby, others were work-related,  some were just funny things I’ve said (and wish others had forgotten by now) and of course some offered advice for my future. One of my favourites came from my niece Lottie as she signed it only with ooo’s (not xo’s) since she still hasn’t learned to kiss yet! What a cutie! Elyse and Caitlin also included some inspirational quotes and fun photographs they pulled from my instagram and pinterest accounts. “I remember your drive, passion, determination, and insane energy from your grade 7 year like it was yesterday. I remember your landfill, your lock bridge, your uber-organized binders and your straight A’s. I always loved how you presented yourself with such poise, but were so darn adorable in your little cardigans.” – Tammy

photo-89Willow Tree Angels: Angels are said to represent protection, inner peace, virtue and love. Today I have three and each one offers me comfort when I am searching for answers. I purchased myself the Angel of Freedom, was given the Angel of Happiness from my grade 12 English teacher on the day I graduated, and the Angel of Friendship actually belongs to my mom but I keep it in my room.
“Angels have no philosophy but love.” – Terri Guillemets

IMG_5982Pandora Bracelet: Last year for my birthday, Elyse and Caitlin gave me my Pandora bracelet along with the “Inner Strength”, “Journey” and “Angel of Hope” charms. They both have the “Journey” charm as well to symbolize that they will always fight alongside of me. While we were away in France, my family gave me the “Eiffel Tower” charm. They also gave me the “Camera” charm since I love photography. This year Joyce gave me the “Faith” charm. Each charm is so special since I didn’t purchase them myself and instead they were given to me as a reminder of friendship or love. While wearing the bracelet I am constantly thinking of those who believe in my potential. “Friends give us the courage to lift the blinds on our hearts to open up and show what we generally keep hidden from the rest of world.” – Ritu Ghatourey

IMG_6292Oracle Cards: These decks help me to manifest my thoughts and put words to my feelings. They seem to relate to whatever emotion I am experiencing, happy or sad, confused or awakened, and offer vague advice open for personal interpretation. “Today I will tell myself that who I am is okay, and that what I am doing is good enough. Of course I make mistakes and get offtrack sometimes, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not as good as everyone else. No one is perfect and that’s just fine.” – Melody Beattie

MiMM1Happiness is a journey not a destination, similar to the path towards recovery. You don’t get to a state of utter confusion and chaos overnight, so you can’t expect to be healed in a second. Even in my worst days, there is something marvelous to be celebrated. Thank you Katie, for yet another wonderful link-up that reminded me to take time to reflect on marvelous memories.  ♥ Molly

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

It’s a Boy!

Usually I am the last to find out about celebrity gossip! I was three days late in finding out Kim Kardashian had her baby and to this day I still get confused as to what direction the baby girl was named after (No offence)! I began and ended reading tabloid magazines in grade 7 and while I try to use Twitter and Facebook, I am not very good at keeping up with the most current news.

Of course a Royal Baby is a bit different! Our community library began celebrating the pregnancy of the Duchess of Cambridge long before she was said to be due. I thought it was cute that they created a contest for kids to vote whether they thought it would be a girl or boy. They asked the children to write down the name he or she thought the royal baby would be given. “Princess Jasmine” “Cinderella” and “Princess Aurora” were definitely the most common if the child thought the baby was going to be a girl. The library also filled a table with newspaper articles about Kate and William, baby name books and books about Canadian history since Canada is part of the British Commonwealth.

Royal Baby 1 Royal Baby 2

Canada had pre-planned to celebrate the birth of the baby by illuminating landmarks in the colour of the baby’s gender. The Peace Tower up on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Toronto’s CN Tower and the Niagara Falls were all lit blue last night. Before hand, a hospital in Oshawa Ontario even proposed that Kate should have her baby there, since she would have more privacy because everyone expected her to give birth in London, England. That would have been cool as Oshawa is only an hour away from where I live!

I think it’s pretty neat that my sister Caitlin and her husband Aaron got married the same year as Kate and William but it’s even more of a coincidence that my niece Lottie, their baby, was born exactly 5 months before the royal baby boy was delivered. Caitlin announced that Lottie doesn’t mind dating a boy a bit younger. I think I could get used to being a distant member of a royal family. She is already loving fancy dresses and I love tea parties!

1069859_10100531811058981_1959849486_n Lottie 1

So while there won’t be a Queen to inherit the crown quite yet , I think everyone was equally pleased when Kate Middleton delivered her healthy baby boy at 4:24p.m. Monday July 22nd. While we know his weight, 8lbs 6oz, we have yet to find out his name. What do you think it will be? Prince Charming? Congratulations again to the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William on one of their best moments in life. I have tremendous faith that they will make excellent parents and may this little parcel of joy bring with him prosperity, happiness and bliss. ♥ Molly

“We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

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.

photo-111 photo-110

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.

photo-114 photo-105 IMG_6104photo-115

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!

IMG_5967 IMG_6109

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!

photoMiMM

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.)

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 

MIMM #2: Weekend Recap

This weekend was filled with some pretty marvelous events. I love going to the gym to swim, grocery shopping is always fun, and I treated myself to Ice Cream and Booster Juice which were both delicious. I am also proud that I conquered my fear of driving on “major” streets, since up until now I’ve only practiced in parking lots and on rural streets. My G2 will bring with it more independence, which is something I gladly welcome. This weekend my dad let me drive to the grocery store and I was rewarded with a venti coffee. The Longos I drove to is brand new, so in hopes of attracting customers, they offer one free Starbucks tea or coffee (any size) a day to “Longos Members” which is a free reward club. Starbucks launched a “True North” blend, which is the mildest roast, and it might just be my new favourite (I normally like a darker, richer blend). Check out this cute cart and amazing beverage holder! The cart is perfect for when you need to pick up a few times that are too heavy to carry! The layout of the store is beautiful and it reminds me a lot of Whole foods as it features beautifully arranged Salad Bars, Pastry Cases and Organic Produce!

photo-91Saturday and Sunday were great, but Friday was a bit more special. On Friday I got together with Joyce. She lives in Hamilton since she attends McMaster University, but was heading back to her family’s home for the weekend and offered to stop in Oakville for a visit. We find every excuse to get together as we share so many similar interests and values in life. Honestly, sometimes I think she reads my mind because she’s always finishing my sentences. Most of the time we just meet up for coffee in alternating cities, but since she wasn’t in a hurry we decided to switch it up and go downtown.

IMG_5929I met her at the go station and from there we walked down to the lake as it’s only about twenty minutes. I had planned on bringing her to the Marilyn Monroe Café, but I was in need of an immediate caffeine fix so Starbucks was a bit more convenient. As a treat, I got a Mocha Light Frappuchino (my only simple order at Starbucks), and later got a “True North” coffee refill since I am a gold card reward member (and loving that blend). We spent a good hour or so just catching up and to my surprise, she showered me with gifts as a pre-birthday celebration. Joyce just returned from a work conference that was in New York City. Look at what she picked up for me? I am a bit coffee obsessed and since I used to be a Starbucks Barista this gift was perfect.

IMG_5932 IMG_5936Neither one of us purchased anything, but it was fun to soak up the sun and enjoy the downtown scenery. Lululemon had some great sales but I didn’t really need any of my finds. Bluboho is a really cute shop that we looked in, but again nothing caught my eye as a “must have”.

IMG_5938 IMG_5939 IMG_5944We decided to head back to the go-station, but took a much needed detour for frozen yogurt on the way home. You’ll never hear me complain that I am too hot, but we both agreed that we wanted a refreshing treat. I was overwhelmed by the selection of new flavours and had trouble deciding what I wanted to try. I am always really impressed that Yogurty’s dedicates one machine to nut flavours, so that there is no cross contamination. S’mores caught my eye, but I decided to go for fruity flavours instead. I got Raspberry Sorbet and then Tart and Lime Frozen Yogurt. I topped them with mango, lychee and strawberry balls, fresh strawberry and mango pieces, and a few gummies. It was simply delicious.

IMG_5946 IMG_5948 IMG_5951IMG_0101I am looking forward to a lot of fun events this week. Today I am helping out with a room makeover, tomorrow and Wednesday I will be in Toronto, Thursday is my birthday and Friday is well, marvelous nonetheless. I’m even having a girls night/ sleepover on Saturday with two of my best friends from elementary school. It’s going to be busy, but it will definitely be exciting. There is nothing greater than surrounding yourself with opportunities and people that lift you higher, make you laugh and are enjoyable to be around.

MiMM

This post is linked up with Katie’s, Marvelous in My Monday weekly post. Be sure to read what others are finding Marvelous this Monday. Katie’s son Rocco reminds me of the days when Lottie was a newborn. What was marvelous about your weekend?  Any marvelous events planned for this coming week? ♥ Molly

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” – Aristotle 

MIMM #1

This summer I am not working, so I am able to live a more relaxed lifestyle. While I do love a schedule to keep me on task, it has been nice to make last-minute plans with friends. Despite not having a set routine, I still seem to be keeping pretty busy. From the upbeat “Color Me Rad” race, to low-key Strawberry picking, I’m so thankful for everything that I’ve had the privilege of doing this summer. My life has been pretty “marvelous” so in appreciation, I’ve decided to participate in Katie’s “Marvelous In My Monday” link-up.

MiMM1

Marvelous is sitting down for a family meal, cooked by someone with love. It’s learning about what is going on in the lives of your parents or siblings, because you are truly interested in hearing what they have been up to.

IMG_5794

Marvelous is for the moments when you wake up to the sound of birds chirping in time to see the sunrise and for the times when you sleep in unexpectedly. It’s for falling asleep while reading a good book, but also for the times when you wake up energized for the day ahead.

IMG_5815 IMG_5572 IMG_5898

Marvelous is being able to get together with a friend who you haven’t seen for a while, without it being awkward since you share so many similar passions and interests. It’s for having friends like Chelsea, who you can ask for good recommendations when it comes to television shows, books, restaurants and foods.

photo-97

Marvelous is trying a new restaurant or a new dish, and eating until you are completely satisfied. It’s being able to pick an item off of the menu that you truly want or are craving, able it’s being able to enjoy every mouthful without regret.

photo-101

Marvelous is staying active in your every day life, whether walking to get the mail, biking to the library or completing a workout video. It’s being able to go to the gym five days in a row because you enjoy exercising, but it’s also being able to take several days off without guilt.

IMG_0088

Marvelous is catching up on a TV series with a cup of tea in your hands. It’s being able to watch an uneducational show without feeling lazy, because you find yourself entertained by the humour and suspense.

Marvelous is spending time smiling and laughing with family. It’s watching your niece learn and grow, as she discovers new things each and every day.

photo-95I have so many great adventures to come this summer, but already, I’ve managed to make my day to day life pretty marvelous. Thank you Katie and everyone else, for reminding me how marvelous my life truly is. Be sure to check what other bloggers find marvellous in their life, as it is a great way to find favourite products, DIY projects, new recipes, motivating quotes, fun songs and of course fitness tips. I bet Katie has had a lot of marvelous moments this past week, as she recently delivered a handsome and healthy baby boy named Rocco. He is definitely a bundle of joy and my best wishes out to their growing family.  ♥ Molly

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

“Should” Statements

These past few weeks, my mind has been clouded by “should” statements; “I should start lifting weights”, “I should keep my room tidier”, “I should have a job”.  These statements are assumptions that I make, because I feel pressure to be a certain way. I might not actively wish to be more muscular, have a more organized room, or even work, but these are all things I feel I ought to be or do.

Sometimes it is hard for me to realize what I truly want in life, or whether the expectations I put on myself are because I want to conform to societal norms. I am influenced by my surroundings which includes friends, social media, magazines, news and more. I forget that what works for others, isn’t necessarily what will work, or what needs to work, for myself.

In some cases, I don’t have a choice. For example, if I want to succeed in my schooling, I do need to study. However, at some point, it becomes a personal decision as to whether or not “I should study more”. This is where I run into some difficulty. I need to realize that the implementation of “should statements” is a cognitive distortion that only ever leaves me feeling guilty and wrong.

Right now one of my “shoulds” actually has to do with my education. I can’t tell if I am striving for a profession that I am truly passionate about, or because the title is “well respected” and something I have always seen myself achieving. While I am still early on in reaching my degree, for volunteer experience and course selection, I do need to decide where I see myself going. I guess I struggle a bit with finding my own identity.

Should statements can be difficult to break through, especially when my perfectionism continues to reinforce that nothing is “good enough”. The reality is, nobody is perfect, life can’t be viewed as black or white, and I need to accept myself for who I am. I don’t define others by “should” statements, so I need to stop living my life according to how I believe it “should be”. Things happen for a reason, what is meant to be will be, and happiness doesn’t come from worrying.

My goal for this week is to replace the shoulds that I truly believe in, with “I want” or “I will”. Should leads to shame, but a choice leads to action. ♥ Molly

“Shame should be reserved for the things we choose to do, not the circumstances that life puts on us.” – Ann Patchett