DIY Paint Drip Bottle Holders

May 25, 2015
I've recently been bit by the spring cleaning bug, and so every moment not spent finishing up assignments or studying for exams has been devoted to cleaning up my bedroom. I had these old Starbucks bottles sitting in my room for a while now, and so during a study break I decided that it was time to unleash my artistic spirit.

As the name suggests, I decorated the inside of these bottles by letting acrylic paint drip down and dry inside of them. This craft requires very little tools or work. Just drip, swirl, dry and presto! I hope that these help to freshen up your bedroom for the new spring season and that you put them to good use.



Tools:

  • Empty glass bottles
  • 4 different acrylic paint bottles 
Note: Bottles are a quicker and less messier to use, but using a brush to let the paint drip inside works too.

Steps:

  1. Rinse the bottles, and remove the labels and any residue on the front.
  2. Choose one color as your base. This will be the one you use first and will ultimately show up the most. (I used a  special metallic silver)
  3. Once the bottle is dry, squirt your base color in the bottle, swishing the paint until desired coverage is reached.
  4. You can either let this layer dry completely (I didn't), or continue step number 3 with your other colors. 
  5. Leave the bottle to dry overnight until all the paint has hardened.
  6. Insert your supplies and you're done.

Note:

  • Don't use too much paint! Trust me, I went a bit overboard and when gravity took its toll it made the paint cover more surface area than I had intended.
  • Check the label. My paint was fast-drying (a.k.a. a real blessing). It got the job done quickly and didn't continuously drip everywhere, 
  • Be patient. Let it dry properly before putting your supplies inside the bottle.

~Alexandra

7 Ways to Study Better and Ace your Exams

May 18, 2015
7-Ways-To-Study-Better-and-Ace-Your-Exams  

As most students know, as the spring arrives and the sun shines brighter, the less of it you actually see. Every year at this time, just as the weather gets nicer and you can practically taste the summer warmth, school decides to throw its students one last curveball called exams. It's the inevitable hurdle that each student has to successfully clear before getting to enjoy the summer. Despite the added stress, we don't get an added month off to study for exams, and so it's important to spend what little time that you do have efficiently. Hopefully, the following tricks along with my note taking tips should help you do just that.

1. Location, location, location


 Pick somewhere comfortable, that won't distract you (or make you fall asleep) like the library. Make it somewhere easily accessible where you have enough space to spread out all of your study equipment, and where you will be able to use the following steps.

2. Make a playlist


 I love making playlists for anything I do. I have one for working out, walking to school, boosting my mood and several for studying or schoolwork. When doing my homework I generally listen to either classical music (Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Bach), or the scores to some of my favourite movies (How to Train Your Dragon, Pride and Prejudice, any Disney movie, etc.) so as to not be distracted by the lyrics in most songs. This is a tactic that works for many others as well, and can be easily adapted based on your study methods. Just remember not put the volume on full blast (it defeats the purpose).

3. Break it down


 If the idea of studying for one hour makes you sick, try studying for 30 minutes at a time and taking breaks in between. Set an alarm to your desired time frame, take a break and then get back to work.

4. Treat yourself


 Another way to motivate yourself to work hard is to promise yourself a little treat. The longer the study period, the bigger the prize. For every 25 minutes of studying, you get a 5-minute break to make yourself a snack or check your phone. Or how about for every hour of reviewing, you get a longer break of 30 minutes to watch a missed episode? Only you know what motivates you to get work done. Figure it out, and get it done.

5. Make it a group activity


 Whether it’s when you need advice or just to have a fun time, friends are always useful when you are in need. Turning solo studying into group studying, is bound to motivate you to study longer, harder and more efficiently. As soon as you begin to slack off, your friend will be there to make sure you focus, or to remind you to take a break.

6. Shake it up


  There comes a time during the studying process when no amount of determination or motivation can help you to focus on the task at hand. This is your body’s way of telling you to take a break. Do not fight it. Do not try to uselessly binge read information in hopes of it sticking in your mind – it just won’t. Close your books and your computer, get up and move around. Go for a walk, or a jog, just get the blood flowing and allow yourself to relax. The change of scenery will help to get you in the zone, and make the rest of your studying much more bearable.

7. Sleep


 Just get enough sleep. Last year, I was the queen of all-nighters. I would stay up until 4am studying and doing work, only to be completely unable to focus throughout the day. I was young and foolish, and now I am young and a lot wiser. Trust me when I say that whatever you do, make sure you get a goodnight’s sleep.

~ Alexandra


For study tips and tricks visit examtime.com or academictips.org, or the Google Chrome webstore for useful browser extensions. 

How do you stay focused?  

The Importance of Putting Yourself First

May 04, 2015

I am a pretty busy person. I generally only have 3 days of the week where I am free to do as I please. As the school year draws to a close, so does my amount of free time. I have a perfectly packed schedule in which I have to accomplish everything when I set time aside for it in order to not overwhelm myself.

In the past, I was great at sticking to my own agenda and successfully crossing things off my to-do list. One week flowed smoothly into the next, developing a cycle of extremely stressful weeks and extremely calm weekends. But life, as you know is never calm. Soon, the line between work and play blurred, and I found myself stuck in a living nightmare filled with endless bouts of sleep deprivation,  and large amounts of stress. 

Then I came across this quote, 

"I don’t care if you have 3 hours of homework left. If your friend is crying, you need to go comfort her. If your boyfriend is upset, you need to go give him a hug. If your mother wants to talk, talk to her. If your brothers are jumping in leaf piles, go join them. If your family wants to go out to eat, go with them. You can’t miss your life because of the demands of school. You can always finish homework later or get one bad grade; but life.. you can’t push that off for later. You only get that one chance. And no homework assignment is more important than actually living your life."

Which made me question why I could carve enough time out of my life to finish all of my homework, but I couldn't find it in me to actually find a moment to do something for myself. How much of my happiness and sanity, was I willing to sacrifice in order to ensure that I got all "E"s for excellent on my next report card? How many weekends was I prepared to spend locked in my room, hunched over my textbook, for the sake of a good grade? The answer as it turned out was way too many. I had already spent six months of flourishing academically but remaining stunted in growth in all other aspects of my life. On my report card, everything was as it should be, but I wasn't any closer to fulfilling any of my own goals than when I first made them six months ago. 

Now I'm not saying that school isn't important, but making your whole life revolve around one aspect is. Whether it's sports, work or animals, once you have more focus on it than taking care of yourself and your needs, it becomes a problem. Yet, I think the real dilemma that many of us share is our difficulty with putting ourselves first. We see relaxation as detrimental to achieving our goals, rather than as a necessary water break after a marathon. Sometimes, taking a pause doesn't mean putting our whole life on hold, but actually jump starting it to the next level. 

Putting oneself first is often promoted as selfish, but I think that it's the key to helping others. If you are unhappy, you'll feel as if everything you do is harder than it truly is. If you are too busy focusing on how tired you are, how can you accomplish anything to the best of your abilities? The truth is that you can't. And that's why there comes a time where you have to stop neglecting your needs and your happiness and start caring for yourself, in order to put your best foot forward. 

~Alexandra

For more on why you should put yourself first, click here

How do you find me-time?

@itsalamb