The Twelve Days of Christmas

December 15, 2014



Everywhere I look, snow is falling, cold winter air is blowing and holiday reruns are on full blast. Christmas time is back once again! Last year I discussed a bit about what Christmas meant to me, but this year I wanted to focus a bit on what makes it so special. So in order to get everyone in the holiday spirit I've decided to share a countdown of the twelve of the things that make Christmas, Christmassy for me. (P.S. Make sure to sing along)

Twelve Friends a Friending


Okay, I admit that this one doesn't really make sense, but I'm trying to say that I have a lot of great friends who help make the holidays more fun! I think the main aspect of every holiday is celebrating and developing new and old friendships by sharing your holiday traditions with those around you.

Eleven Readers Reading 


Whether you are rereading your favourite Christmas tale to yourself or to someone else, reading is the perfect way to get into the holiday cheer. I love that all of the bookstores and libraries showcase their books from their Christmas collections, and how they bring back so many holiday memories.

Ten Singers Singing


I think that one of the best parts about the holidays is the music. Everywhere I go I am surrounded by happy tunes, so I can’t help but be extremely joyful as well.

Nine Bakers Baking


I think that the best part of this holiday is the food. In my city, I am constantly surrounded by people from all over the world. Fortunately, many of them like to share a bit of their culture with the rest of us through the food. Thankfully I’ve been able to taste different traditional holiday dishes while appreciating and learning about a new area of the world. I also love how small cafés and big brands such as Tim Hortons and Starbucks have their signature holiday drinks that come out every year which seem to cater to the holiday loving person in all of us.

Eight Snowflakes Falling


As a Canadian, I love the snow almost as much as I love complaining about it. Christmas isn’t complete without a fresh layer of snow on the ground, the sound of neighbours’ shovels scooping it away and the exhaustion of having to put on all those layers in order to go outside and build a snowman à la Frozen.


Seven Skaters Skating


The great thing about the holiday season is the multitude of activities that it and the presence of winter brings. As soon as the right temperature hits, the snow is out and everyone is bundled up, it’s time to head out to either dig the driveway (it's fun under the right circumstances), outdoor skating under the Christmas lights, snowball fights and tobogganing.


Six Helping Hands                                                                                                                             


Seeing how helpful everyone is around Christmas time is the best reminder of what this holiday is really all about. It really makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, to see all the ways that people of all ages are willing and able to make a difference in their own communities. Whether it’s donating money, hosting a food or toy drive or just sending a card to someone, I think that every gesture (especially the seemingly small ones) count.

Five Twinkling Lights


Although they are utilizing a lot of electricity, I love how no matter the time of night, there are lights twinkling all over the city. Whether they are hanging from apartment balconies, in the windows of giant office buildings or, in the streets they all contribute to the bigger picture.

Four Christmas Trees


The part that I look forward to every year is decorating my house in preparation for the holidays. Unfortunately this year I wasn’t able to spend the whole day decorating with my family like I usually do, but I have been trying to contribute ideas and little crafts here and there. The Christmas tree is the largest decoration we have, and I love being able to take a step back and looking at the results of our hard work.

Three Reruns


My favourite thing to do during the holiday season is watch my favourite holiday shows and movies! Personally, I find that Christmas isn’t complete without them. Every year that I watch reruns of   How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, The Nutcracker, To Grandmother's House We Go or Elf (my all-time favourite), they seem to get even better and the message that each film sends becomes even clearer.


Two Secret Santas


Although it’s not the most essential part of the holidays, gift giving is one of the most common traditions linked to it. For the past few year, I’ve exchanged gifts with at least one other person, but in order to spice it up a little, my friends’ and I organized a Secret Santa gift exchange ( which is when you are secretly assigned a person to buy a gift for and on a predetermined date you exchange gifts with them)! When I was in elementary school, we used to do this as a class which made it more difficult to figure out who your secret Santa was, but doing it within a smaller group is just as fun.

and one Great Family


Last but not least, the most important part of the holidays is family. Whether this is composed of your kin and/or your close friends, Christmas is all about spending quality time with them. Whether it’s through the activities that I mentioned before or by sharing a meal, I feel that it’s a good idea to take a time just to be with them. Forget about school, work or any other problems that you may have and just take at least one day to just enjoy being around them. After all, the only requirement for making Christmas feel truly Christmas-y is enjoying the special day with the ones that you love. 

Happy Holidays!

20 Seconds of Courage

November 24, 2014
Just-Keep-Swimming
For some people fear is a tricky thing. It’s a known fact that when you are put in a stressful and scary situation your trusty, “Fight or Flight” receptors kick in. I for one would like to challenge this idea by adding another option into the mix – freeze. When I get really scared I tend to freeze up physically. I sort of get that deer caught in headlights look and it feels almost like I’ve hit a wall and I'm unsure how to move forward, so I tune everything out and just stare at the wall, hoping that inspiration or some sort of spark will manifest with time.

Last month, I went on a school trip to a sports camp up north (more on that later), in which the majority of the activities involved not having your feet or any of your body on the ground. I’m talking high-ropes obstacle courses, rock climbing walls and zip lining, my worst nightmare (except for the zip lining which is pretty cool). I’ve mentioned before how I felt that I was overcoming my fear of heights thanks to all those fun trips to the amusement park, but I’ve learned the hard way that zooming through the sky while being strapped into a machine rolling on a fixed track is nothing compared to zipping across with nothing but a fancy harness and a helmet.

Why are you needlessly putting so much stress on yourself you might ask? Well, on the trip, we were split into groups and a few other designated classmates and I were the "group leaders" and helped to round up the rest of the kids to take them to their daily activities. As a leader, I took it upon myself to set the good example by participating in every activity, so that everyone else would feel involved too. However, instead of serving as inspiration for others to face their fears, I probably became the poster child for why you should always have at least one foot on the ground. On the first high-ropes activity, we were forced to climb up a thick wooden pole and then walk across a wooden plank bridge which --just to make things interesting-- were missing planks and had no railings, causing us to have to balance across à là Indiana Jones to get to the other side.

I distinctly remember starting my ascent up the wooden pole thinking, “As long as I make it to the top, I’ve already done enough.” But at this point, I was one of the last people to go and everyone was in need of a bit of entertainment (i.e. me). At the top almost everyone was watching me (and I learned later that due to my bright pink sweater and the altitude, I was visible from pretty much all over the camp), and so I felt that I had to continue on. The height and difficulty of the bridge were largely misleading from below, and I soon found out why a few people had had trouble making it across. My first step made the whole bridge bounce and sway, causing me to scream, scramble back to the pole and freeze up (evidently, not one of my best moments). At this point I was more of the Willie Scott (the character from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), than Indiana himself.

I'm must’ve stood up there gripping onto the pole for about 10 seconds (it felt so much longer), and I was just about to turn around and shimmy down the pole when I heard loud cheers from my group below. Although the cheering was heart-warming, it wasn’t nearly enough to make me move away from the safety of the first plank. Then amidst the cheers I heard the counsellor say, “Come on! All it takes is 20 seconds of courage!" and the next thing I knew I was on the move. I have always had pretty good balance and so I managed to swiftly and agilely make my way across the bridge and back to the centre to be lowered down with only a few minor slip ups and the occasional scream. Feeling a bit embarrassed, relieved and thrilled, I was successfully lowered to the ground and given a hug.

It’s safe to say that I learned a lot during that trip. I learned that I was capable of accomplishing a lot more than I previously thought. Throughout the trip I constantly had to introduce myself and meet new people and that same afternoon I went the zip lining -- which was something I hadn’t been able to complete before because I froze when I was half way up. Most importantly, I learned that it’s important to just keep moving. In life, I find that it gets really easy to slip into the everyday flow and to not want to leave your comfort zone. I find that sometimes people just stop trying, and when we stop trying to better ourselves and push our boundaries, we get stuck. When we stop ourselves from exploring the world and people around us because of fear, we stunt all the positive growth that could have occurred. Yes, I probably looked like a scare sloth when I was wrapped on the trunk, but it was a small price to pay for all of the fun memories and achievements that I was able to make.

I think that if you put the right effort into something that you want and believe in, than they will be rewarded somehow and in some unanticipated form. Like for all the struggle I went through in my little Indiana Jones adventure, rewarded me by giving me enough courage to actually jump (okay, step -- but it was an important step) off of the zip line platform without too much delay after my partner jumped off. For all my efforts, I've been rewarded in the form of a blog post idea about my experience. So I hope that when the going gets tough, that you start fighting, because I'm sure that you won't regret it. As the counsellor told me, it only takes 20 seconds of courage and if that doesn't help just remember to just keep swimming.


4 Perks of Wearing Glasses That You Probably Never Thought About

November 18, 2014
Wearing-glasses-logo-resized

I remember the day that my parents told me that I needed glasses. I was on the sofa and squinting at the screen trying to enjoy an episode of my favourite show, when my parents gave me the big news. They had been watching me struggle with my eyesight for a while, but never to action because I would always play it off and stop squinting.  I was desperate and since I knew that I was being surveyed, I made sure to hide my squinting as best as I could from my parents. In my defense, I didn’t to be labeled a “nerd” or be called “four eyes” by peers, like all the other poor unfortunate souls that I saw on TV. Even for a kid in the first grade, I knew what fate lied for those cursed with having less than stellar eyesight. My 6 year-old self thought that I was being smart by trying to “cheat” fate, but ended up getting caught and making problems worse for myself.  Long story short, a few weeks later after running tests, trying frames and whining, I found myself with my first and coolest (at the time) pair of glasses.

I still remember the day that I got my first pair of glasses, because it was what any young girl who loved Barbie could dream of!  Not only did I get my glasses (they were a simple pink, oval-shaped frame), I got glasses with the official Barbie stamp on the side, with a matching hot pink case that looked like a handbag and mini portable radio. Albeit, I was more excited about the gadgets than the accessories, but it did succeed in getting me excited about having glasses and made the idea of going to school with them on Monday much less daunting. Ever since then, I’ve graduated from my childhood Barbie frame, to the trendier Ray Ban glasses, with many more other brands in between.


Every few years or so, I have the task of picking out a new pair which leaves me a) excited to go shopping and b) dreading the amount of time required to find the perfect pair (it’s a big commitment). So, when I am faced with the decision of which frame to buy, there always comes a moment when I or someone else asks, “Why don’t you just get contacts?” I’m on the hunt for a new pair of glasses and  was recently asked this question, which got my asking myself, “Why don’t I just get contacts?” After a few days of deep self-reflection and a bit of soul-searching I finally found the answer, “I just don’t want any right now.” It’s not that I don’t like what contacts have to offer, I’ve just grown so accustomed to my glasses that I’ve gotten over the preliminary jitters and worries that come with first getting them, I’ve worked around any rude comments and I just like them – more on that later.

Wearing and maintaining glasses can be a tricky practice filled with many amusing mishaps (depending on the type of person you are)  which can take years to master. I’ve learned over the years that wearing glasses isn’t for the weak. If you are like me and pretty much grew up wearing glasses, you’ve faced many challenges like trying to find a nice frame to suit your changing face shape, the pain of having to wear safety goggles over your glasses during chemistry labs, not to mention having to fend off other curious classmates from trying to wear them without your permission. So, for my fellow glasses wearers out there who are; veterans like myself who have accepted their bespectacled fate or newbies who may be worried about joining the rest of us, here are a few reasons why I enjoy wearing glasses.

Clark Kent vs. Superman


I love Superman and anything superhero related (Avengers and X-Men anyone?), and so I exploit any opportunity to feel like one. Essentially, Clark Kent (and Cyclops from X-Men) keeps his glasses on so that he doesn’t accidentally zap anyone with his laser-vision, but once the glasses are off, he’s an unstoppable force of awesome!

“What’s up dawg ?”


I grew up watching American Idol and I realized that Randy Jackson used to always have a new pair of glasses per show. To the novice glasses’ wearer that I was, this was the coolest thing ever, and it ultimately inspired my new goal. Once my prescription stops changing, I’m definitely going to start a small collection of glasses!

A little bit of pizazz


Other than being a very useful tool, glasses are also an accessory. Like how a pair of shoes can change the mood of any outfit, the right frames can totally change your face shape and make you look completely different. Like how the right pair of sunglasses adds the perfect air of mystery, intrigue and sophistication, I think that glasses can create the same effect à là Audrey Hepburn.

It’s a whole new world


Perhaps, the best part about needing glasses is that they help to put you in a whole different headspace. For example, when I really need to zone out or focus on one thing, I can just take them off. Sometimes when I really don’t feel like doing much of anything, I simply remove them (within a controlled environment) and relax. When I really need to focus and am surrounded by distractions, taking my glasses of helps me to focus on the task at hand by blurring out the rest. I can be a bit overly dramatic, and their great tools for emphasis when making a point.

If you don’t want to take my word for it, here is another article that I read!

Are you team contacts or team glasses?

How to Love Your Body

November 11, 2014
Self Love To Do List

For the longest time, I always assumed that the über-confident vibes that some people who avidly worked out were due to the realization of how good they looked after months (or even years) of work. Now, I realize that while that may have a part in the overall “look” that they seem to have, it was a factor that came into play way before any results could be seen. I’ve learned through my own tale of fitness and health, that those vibes all begin within the moment you decide to take an extra step in loving your body, by putting it to work.

Yes, work. Whether, it’s the moment you decide to begin to eat healthier foods, or the moment you decide to stop constantly reprimanding yourself about not eating enough healthy foods, or the moment you sign-up for your first Zumba class, or you decide to go for a walk, no matter how small it may seem, it’s a viable moment and most definitely the essential one towards loving yourself.

I think that most people (myself included) don’t really allow themselves to love their bodies because they haven’t achieved in creating rock hard abs, or the perfectly toned arms. They tell themselves -- especially around New Years’—that they will be able to love their bodies, and treat themselves to things (whether by purchasing sweets or a new wardrobe) only once they’ve reach their desired weight. Like the concept, of being grateful before you really feel that you have something to be grateful about, you should learn to love your body in the same way. Learn to love yourself, not only based on looks, but on what you, or rather your body, can do for you.


A few weeks ago, I had an epiphany. After struggling over the past week to properly word what I was feeling (sorry for the delay), I scoured the internet for inspiration and finally found some in two articles from two of my favourite blogs Goldfish Kiss and Lauren Conrad. Each article spoke of the same topic but in different ways. They mentioned the importance of loving your body at any size, because when it comes to what healthy looks like, it’s not one size fits all. It’s really about making your healthy lifestyle work for you, which is something that I am still learning to do and finally figuring out for myself.

I’ve mentioned in past articles, how I practice the Korean martial art of Taekwondo. Being one of the few females in the class as well as being the only teenage girl, caused a few problems for me when I first started out. At first, I would often times get plagued with the all too common (and annoying) teenage girl problems. I learned quickly that a) no one was really looking or cared about my appearance (I love the sport but I admit that doboks aren’t that flattering) and b) I should be more focused on my techniques and how they look, than how my hair does (there’s a big mirror in the room and so I couldn’t/can’t help but stop and take peek). Over time, I’ve learned how to take control of my body thanks to various Taekwondo techniques and how to control how I saw as well as what I think about it, thanks to a bit of soul-searching, a whole lot of Pinteresting and a dash of internet surfing.

So, I hope that as the holidays roll around (are you excited for Christmas, because I sure am) and we start trying to fulfill the rest of our New Year’s resolutions, I hope that I’ve given you one more thing to put on your list.

How do you show your body some love?

For the Sweet Tooth: Simple Pumpkin Pie

October 27, 2014
I’ve mentioned before when making pumpkin purée, how much I love fall and pumpkins, but after showing you guys how to prepare your pumpkin so that you may use it to make more delicious treats, it occurred to me that I hadn’t shown any examples of what you can do with it once you’re done. So it seems that I’ve been bitten by the Baking Bug, and so I’ve decided to try my hand at making  the always popular and one of my all-time favourites— pumpkin pie.

For the sweet tooth, here is the perfect homemade pumpkin pie recipe. It's easy to make and even better to eat. Buy the crust, make the mix, pop it in the oven and go! Click to read more or pin and save for later.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups  pumpkin puree (click here for a homemade recipe)
  • 3 egg yolks (note: separating the yolk from the egg white can get pretty messy)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 pie crust
(Note: I ended up having to use 2 premade pie crusts that I had in the fridge (they were very shallow), but I think that a 9-inch pie crust should work as well)

Time to bake!

  1. First, preheat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Then, whisk the pumpkin puree, the egg and egg yolk until it’s smooth.
  3. Now, add the ground cinnamon, ground ginger, salt, ground nutmeg, and the sweetened condensed milk to the pumpkin-egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
  4. Finally, it’s time to fill up the crust! So, pour the pumpkin mixture into the pie shell and remember to lightly tap it on the table/counter to get rid of any bubbles that may be in it.
  5. Once in the oven, bake it for 15 minutes (at the same temperature) and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until knife or toothpick inserted to the pie comes out clean.
  6. Now that it’s ready, let it cool and enjoy with a big scoop of your favourite ice cream!

Do you like pumpkin pie?

For the Savoury Snacker: Homemade Pumpkin Purée

October 20, 2014
It’s that time of year again and  the leaves are changing color and falling to the ground. Everyone is pulling out their coziest sweaters and wrapping their warmest scarves around their necks. It’s finally FALL, one of my favourite times of the year and most importantly, it’s the time of the year where there’s pumpkin everywhere! So in order to get into the autumn spirit and to begin combatting those Winter Blues early, I bought a pumpkin! I think that having one around simply makes the cold outside a bit more bearable and brings a bit of all of the lovely fall colors into your home. (Note: Buying a pumpkin is a big investment in your time, so be prepared!) As a baker and photograph loving gal, charged myself with the task of properly documenting and preparing the pumpkin so that I can use it for baking later on and to clear up some room in our kitchen.

For the savoury snacker or for the sweet tooth, this is the most perfect homemade pumpkin puree recipe. It's easy to follow, fun to make and makes for a great time with friends and family while preparing. Carve the pumpkin, steam, scoop, mash and voila! You have the perfect, homemade (and free of preservative) pumpkin puree for all of your baking needs. Click here to read more or pin and save for later.









First, you need to prepare two oven-safe trays by filling them up with a bit of water and to set the oven to about 375F. Once that is done, you just need to chop up, clean and de-seed the pumpkin and place the chunks with the flesh side down into the water, and place them in the oven for about an hour, or until the flesh is soft ( a knife can easily slide through) and it’s more of a vibrant orange.

For the savoury snacker or for the sweet tooth, this is the most perfect homemade pumpkin puree recipe. It's easy to follow, fun to make and makes for a great time with friends and family while preparing. Carve the pumpkin, steam, scoop, mash and voila! You have the perfect, homemade (and free of preservative) pumpkin puree for all of your baking needs. Click here to read more or pin and save for later.

For the savoury snacker or for the sweet tooth, this is the most perfect homemade pumpkin puree recipe. It's easy to follow, fun to make and makes for a great time with friends and family while preparing. Carve the pumpkin, steam, scoop, mash and voila! You have the perfect, homemade (and free of preservative) pumpkin puree for all of your baking needs. Click here to read more or pin and save for later.


Next, it’s time to let the pieces cool down and to get ready to start scooping!

For the savoury snacker or for the sweet tooth, this is the most perfect homemade pumpkin puree recipe. It's easy to follow, fun to make and makes for a great time with friends and family while preparing. Carve the pumpkin, steam, scoop, mash and voila! You have the perfect, homemade (and free of preservative) pumpkin puree for all of your baking needs. Click here to read more or pin and save for later.
For this part you will need:
  • A big bowl (to catch all of the water from the pumpkin)
  • A colander (to put the pumpkin flesh in)
  • A plate or garbage can (to dispose of  all of the pumpkin skin)
  • 2 big spoons
Since the pumpkin is soft, you simply have to use to spoon to scrape off the pumpkin flesh into the colander!

For the savoury snacker or for the sweet tooth, this is the most perfect homemade pumpkin puree recipe. It's easy to follow, fun to make and makes for a great time with friends and family while preparing. Carve the pumpkin, steam, scoop, mash and voila! You have the perfect, homemade (and free of preservative) pumpkin puree for all of your baking needs. Click here to read more or pin and save for later.

Once all of the flesh has been scraped off, begin using the spoons to breakdown the pumpkin, to get rid of more water.

For the savoury snacker or for the sweet tooth, this is the most perfect homemade pumpkin puree recipe. It's easy to follow, fun to make and makes for a great time with friends and family while preparing. Carve the pumpkin, steam, scoop, mash and voila! You have the perfect, homemade (and free of preservative) pumpkin puree for all of your baking needs. Click here to read more or pin and save for later. For the savoury snacker or for the sweet tooth, this is the most perfect homemade pumpkin puree recipe. It's easy to follow, fun to make and makes for a great time with friends and family while preparing. Carve the pumpkin, steam, scoop, mash and voila! You have the perfect, homemade (and free of preservative) pumpkin puree for all of your baking needs. Click here to read more or pin and save for later. For the savoury snacker or for the sweet tooth, this is the most perfect homemade pumpkin puree recipe. It's easy to follow, fun to make and makes for a great time with friends and family while preparing. Carve the pumpkin, steam, scoop, mash and voila! You have the perfect, homemade (and free of preservative) pumpkin puree for all of your baking needs. Click here to read more or pin and save for later.
Now, using a blender (I’m using a hand one), blend the pumpkin into desired purée consistency.

For the savoury snacker or for the sweet tooth, this is the most perfect homemade pumpkin puree recipe. It's easy to follow, fun to make and makes for a great time with friends and family while preparing. Carve the pumpkin, steam, scoop, mash and voila! You have the perfect, homemade (and free of preservative) pumpkin puree for all of your baking needs. Click here to read more or pin and save for later.
Transfer the purée into the colander, with the bowl underneath once again and let it sit for another 15 minutes and voila!

For the savoury snacker or for the sweet tooth, this is the most perfect homemade pumpkin puree recipe. It's easy to follow, fun to make and makes for a great time with friends and family while preparing. Carve the pumpkin, steam, scoop, mash and voila! You have the perfect, homemade (and free of preservative) pumpkin puree for all of your baking needs. Click here to read more or pin and save for later.
Enjoy your purée and begin to create all the delicious pumpkin filled creations to your heart’s (and stomach’s)content!

How do you get into the #FallSpirit?

Success, Glamour, and the Tale of a Fisherman and a Businessman

October 06, 2014

I was flipping through an old Glamour magazine when I came across an article written by Zosia Mamet, one of the stars of the television show Girls. Although I have heard of the hit show before, and I have yet to watch an episode, but I stopped skimming through the pages and began reading mostly because of her cool name— I know very few people who aren’t named Zoe and whose names begin with a Z! The article entitled Zosia Mamet on Why She Won’t Lean In, Thanks, talked about success and people’s different versions of it, which really struck a chord.

She went on to paint a scenario about potentially wanting to own a small coffee shop, instead of act. In the end, her dream would come true and she would be perfectly content with having one café location, instead of a whole franchise. Yet, the people around her would most likely say that she wasn’t living up to her full potential (she’s just settling), or they wouldn’t be as impressed with her achievement , as they would be if she had struck a multi-million dollar deal that allowed her to sell her coffee to all the citizens of the world. Or better yet said (in the words of the author herself), “We are so obsessed with “making it” these days we’ve lost sight of what it means to be successful on our own terms.”

This statement was the part that intrigued me the most because a) I realized that she was right and b) her article reminded me of a story I had read once before – the beloved tale of The Fisherman and the Businessman. Which in turn really got me thinking about what success meant to me. Unfortunately, I don’t have a full game-plan that I can show you all, but I can offer a few things that I’ve learned and noticed whilst trying to answer this question.

Focusing to hard on the wrong things, can make you get lost.


Like Zosia, I think that many people (including myself) are so focused on making a name for ourselves and trying to achieve such great things, that we end up lost and go about finding success in the wrong way.

Happiness = Success


I think that whatever makes you happy, is what ultimately makes you successful. How can you claim to have “made it” (whether that means having a huge house, or owning a palace, etc.) when you aren’t even able to actually enjoy your newfound prosperity? When you do something in life that makes you happy success will soon follow.

There’s no clear definition to success


Defining success to me, is a there’s-no-right-or-wrong-answer type of thing. I think that finding success is as much as an introspective type journey, as a physical one. It’s a journey whose degree of ease or difficulty is unique for everybody. I think that it’s easier for those of us who know what they want (even if the path to take may not entirely be clear), and it’s a bit more difficult for those of us who aren’t exactly sure about what their own brand of success looks like and feels like, and most importantly how it will make them feel (hopefully happy) and how they will be perceived (once again, hopefully they will look happy).

There are a lot of  external pressure which warp our perspective of success


Whether, it’s from your friends, your family or just society in general, there seems to be a lot of outside forces which influence the way you identify success as vs. what success actually looks and feels like to you. In life, I think that some people are the Businessman, from the story of The Fisherman and the Businessman, and want to live the “American Dream” and have tons of money. Then there’s those who are more like the Fisherman, and prefer to live out there days with everything they need (the small coffee shop scenario). Both are right and neither are wrong, but the true question is which one is right for you.

There are a lot of internal pressures which warp our perspective of success


The number one thing holding you back (and potentially making a mess of things) is yourself! Self-doubt is a huge factor in how we feel about ourselves and shaping our goals. For example, being put on the waiting list of an Ivy League school, while your close friend got accepted, can be a major blow to your self-esteem and can cause some to re-evaluate their goals for the worse. Rather than taking it as a good sign, you begin to be excessively tough on yourself and embittered, possibly letting a great opportunity pass you by.

Albeit, I get the whole “being obsessed with ‘making it’” idea. Whenever, I watch movies  where the protagonist is this fierce, independent woman, who can simultaneously manage her business, children's care and stick to her personal fitness regiment, I feel empowered I to do it all too. The problem is, I can barely juggle going to school, working and going to Taekwondo, without ending up sleep-deprived and looking like a member of the walking dead! (At this point, my definition of success is just being able to get enough sleep.) So, I have a hard time imagining someone who can actually do all that and get the recommended 7 hours of sleep per day, who isn’t secretly Wonder Woman or a member of the X-Men.

I’ll admit dear readers that I’m not exactly sure what I want to do in life,and it’s been a question that’s been plaguing me since grade 6. However, after writing this post and reading that article (thank you Zosia!), I think that I’m beginning to have a clearer idea and I’m positive that once I can finally define what success means to me, the answer to that question will be revealed as well.

What is your definition of success?

Quick and Easy Agenda Decor

May 03, 2014


I find that every time I go to a workshop or some sort of event they always hand out free goodies, which almost always include a blandish notebook or an agenda (a day planner). Due to its dull look I tend to not use it and therefore have accumulated a whole box full of them. One day when I was cleaning around my room I found this collection, and decided that something needed to be done -- for the sake of the environment and my bedroom space. My solution to the problem, DIYing of course! So, here are the steps that I took to funkify my own agenda, but feel free to switch the colors and the designs and make it your own!





After you have collected all of the tools needed, here comes the fun part. Go wild, have fun and let your creativity soar! Both sides of the agenda don’t have to be exactly the same. You can cut strips and paste them the way I did in the photo above. Or you can get more creative and make cool patterns and shapes to really bring your agenda to life. Do whatever screams you!

Note: I used a mix of washi tape and fancy Scotch tape, which can be found at any Dollar store, craft store, or home improvement type store. 

Now that's it. You're done. No muss, no fuss, no pixie dust, just a brand spanking new agenda cover. Enjoy!


~Alexandra XO


@itsalamb