Low FODMAP Blueberry Smoothie

Lately I’ve been on the hunt for recipes that don’t trigger my IBS and this is a breakfast that sits really well with my stomach. So if you have IBS and you’re sick of eating eggs every morning, give this a try! It’s pretty simple in terms of ingredients and it tastes incredible.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Banana
  • 1/2 cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter (or just a big scoop if you’re me)
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk or other lactose free milk
  • 1/2 Cup Lactose free Greek Yogurt (I like Vanilla)

DIRECTIONS

Throw it all in a blender and enjoy!

The Original Recipe suggested adding a tablespoon of sweetener such as honey or maple syrup but I didn’t use any and I honestly don’t think it needs to be any sweeter. Especially if you have sweetened/flavoured almond milk.

I found this recipe to be great and it was a prefect breakfast. It didn’t keep me full as long as I would have like but, if I remember correctly, this drink is only a few hundred calories.

The link to the original recipe does not work anymore but I’ve linked the list it came from: https://www.dietvsdisease.org/low-fodmap-recipes-for-ibs/. They had lots of great recipes.

Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian and this should not be used as medical advice for people who suffer from IBS. This is purely my own opinion. If any of these ingredients are triggers for your IBS, do not try this recipe.

If you have IBS let me know what your favourite breakfast foods are!

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14 Ways to Invest in Yourself

It’s no secret that the world is ever evolving and it’s not only beneficial to evolve with it but essential. The job market is changing with technology and is always requiring new and more broad skills sets from potential applicants. Not only that, but, with the idea of having multiple income streams, education in areas that aren’t typically regarded as formal education has become more important than ever. In this post, I’m going to talk about ways that you can invest in yourself as an adult, not only in terms of education but also in terms of health. Now that you are an adult, you might find that you have a bit more cash hanging around. While it is important to save, it’s also important to know when to spend. These are some self-investment purchases that I think are valuable to spend on.

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What does it mean to invest in yourself?

Investing in yourself can mean a lot of different things to different people. Essentially, you are investing time, energy, and/or money into something that will make you better as a person. Maybe it will advance your career, improve your health, or expand your mind. Whatever it is, it is really dependent on your current situation and the goals that you have for yourself. A good start to think about investing in yourself is to clearly define your long term goals in terms of your career, your well being, and your education. This will help you more accurately select which investment opportunities are a good fit for you.

Investing in your Physical Health

Gym Membership

A gym membership is a good investment if it’s put to good use. If you know you’re going to benefit from getting a gym membership and it’s not just going to go unused, then I highly encourage you to get one! Alternatively, personal training could be another wise investment. You only have on body and I encourage you to take care of it now while you still have years and years to build muscle, lose weight, improve your skills, and whatever else you want to do.

Massages

Regular massages have amazing health benefits. I had never gotten a massage until about a year ago and it was so relaxing and so great for my muscles. If you have coverage at work, use it. It’s so worth it. I’m not going to lie, they have a pretty high price tag on them, but of you have an extra $80.00 a month kicking around, this would be a good place to use it.

Take Cooking Classes

This could fit into a couple of different categories but I put it in physical health because food is so important to fuel your body and help it function at its highest potential. 

Running Shoes

A good pair of running shoes is something that everyone should own. Even if you aren’t an avid gym-goer, it’s still important to have a good pair of shoes for when you go on walks or even when you go out to do errands. Good shoes are essential to keeping your ankles, knees, and even your back healthy.

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Investing in your Mental Health

Books

Books are a great way to invest in yourself. I don’t only mean reference books and how to guides but I believe that no book purchase is a waste of money. Yes, I may be biased because I love to read but reading is a great hobby. So don’t feel bad about buying books. Reference books can be a great investment as well, especially if you are purchasing them to advance in your career or help your business. For example, if you own a blog and you purchase a book on blogging, it could be very beneficial in the long run!

Therapy

Just as massages are great for your physical health, therapy can improve your mental health. There is a stigma attached to this which deters people from going but I highly encourage you to seek out a therapist. Even if you don’t think you have any issues that need to be worked on, there may be something that happens down the line that you may need professional help with.  

Vacation

Sometimes, a vacation is need in order to reset and refresh from work. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant but even just taking a day trip to some place that you enjoy can be great for your mental health.

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Investing in your Education

Personal Training Certification

This is becoming more common but getting a personal training and/or group training certificate can be a great way to invest in yourself. If you are into fitness and are looking to share that passion with others, this could end up paying off in the long run if you can add personal training as an income stream. I know a lot of people who teach group fitness on the side and it’s both rewarding and brings in a bit of extra cash.

Hobby Classes

Say that you’re very interested in photography and want to take a class at a local college. This is something that I think is a great personal investment. You’re learning something new and getting to practice your hobby at the same time. Education is never wasted!

Music Lessons

Learning an instrument is such a great thing. It develops discipline and exercises your mind. If you want to take formal music lessons, I highly encourage that as a form of self-investment.

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Investing in your Career

Work Wardrobe

Invest in some staple pieces for your work wardrobe. When I started my current job, a lot of the clothes that I used to wear were no longer deemed work appropriate. I made the decision to spend a chunk of money on good quality clothing that I felt comfortable in and that fit with the dress code at my new office. You don’t need to go crazy but I would suggest buying a few staple pieces that you can wear frequently.

Certifications/Professional Development

Find out what kinds of certifications and courses are available for people in your line of work. It’s possible that your employer may pay for some of this training but if not, it is a great investment. It might even pay off in the way of a promotion down the line.

Home Office

If you work at home regularly, whether it’s for your regular job or your side hustle, think about investing in some home office equipment. It can make working at home more comfortable and more efficient. Whether it’s an ergonomic chair or a fancy printer, find out what suits your needs and invest in it.

Software/Subscriptions

Maybe you have a side hustle that you are trying to get off the ground. It’s hard to make a side hustle flourish without any investment. Yes, time is an investment but sometimes you’ll have to put in money for it to make money. If there is a kind of software or a program that you want try out, do it! It’s not like you’re shackled to it for life. Try it out for a year and if you don’t like or need it then don’t renew your subscription.

That’s it for this post! If you enjoyed, please comment below a personal investment that you have made that paid off!

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14 Ways to Fill Empty Journals

If you’re anything like me, you have empty journals adorning many a shelf in your house. I’ve gotten them as gifts, bought some for myself and collected them from events I’ve been to for school. It’s such a shame to let such pretty things sit unused on the shelf so I’ve compiled a list of ways you could fill up a journal so you can sleep easy knowing it’s purpose has been fulfilled. 

Quotes

Find your favourite quotes from books, movies, songs, and compile them all together in a journal. This can be a really nice thing to have and look back on when you’re lacking inspiration. 

Gratitude Journal

Write down all of the things that make you happy. Cuddles, dogs, rain storms, anything that brings joy to your life. Go back to this journal whenever you’re feeling down and pick something off of it to do. If you like dogs, go for a walk and pet someone’s dog. If you like baking, bake something. Do something off of that list that makes you happy. 

Recipes

I have a leather bound notebook that I keep my favourite recipes in. It was probably not a good choice because I’m terrified of getting it dirty but oh well, there’s no going back now! 

Journalling

I used to journal consistently when I was younger but I think my last journal entry is from 2016. Don’t get too ambitious and try to journal every day right away. Try maybe two or three days a week to get started. Journalling can be great for mental health and your creativity.

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Lists

Grocery lists, book lists, to do lists. Put whatever type of list you want in your journal. You can stick with just one type of list or you can use it for many types of lists. 

Bucket list

Having a nice planner to write in can inspire you to start a bucket list. Check out my bucket list for ideas.

Spending Tracker

If you want to track your spending the old fashioned way, write it down in a planner! I used to track my spending in a spreadsheet on the computer but doing it by hand is so much more satisfying. 

Write a Book

Typically, people write on a computer but why not write a book in your journal? I always find writing by hand to be more satisfying anyways.

Day Planner

Just because there are no dates in it, doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a day planner. Add in some dates and get creative to turn your empty journal into a stylish planner!

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Bullet Journal

Bullet journals have blown up in the last couple of years. I’ve never made one but people with far more creativity than me could turn an old empty journal into a bullet journal. 

Doodle in it

If you’re feeling creative, use your notebook for doodling or drawing. I have no artistic talent, so this one isn’t for me, but there are definitely people who draw on every surface that they can find and this would be a fun way to keep all of your doodles together.

Turn it into a Scrapbook

Paste in ticket stubs from concerts and movies, pictures from date nights, and other keepsakes from your adventures. Ran a marathon? Put your bib number in here. Volunteer somewhere? Put your name tag in. You can write a little journal entry about each object so that you remember the meaning behind it. It’s not like a traditional scrap book. It will be a lot messier but it will be a cool keepsake.  

Use it to Plan your Wedding (even if you’re nowhere near getting married)

There’s so much that goes into planning a wedding, you’ll have more than enough to fill up a journal. Start a list of songs that you want to play during it. Pick some for the ceremony, the first dance, and the reception afterwards. Print out pictures of wedding dresses that you’d like to model yours after, bouquets that you might like to have, plan our your dinner menu and your guest list. The possibilities for filling this journal are infinite. Even if you’re years and years away from getting married, planning out your wedding can be lots of fun. 

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Write Poems

I have an entire notebook dedicated to poems. I haven’t written a new one in a few years but I have a lot of old ones in there and they’re fun to go back and read.

Right, now that I’ve made this list, I am seriously considering ordering another journal from chapters. I’ve linked my favourite ones below. Comment below with a picture of your favourite journal! Or just tell me what you use your journals for.

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15 Job Interview Tips

Let’s get real for a second here. A lot of people are going to be looking for jobs once this situation is over. That means a lot of people are going to be going to job interviews. I’ve done quite a few interviews in my time and I’d like to think I’ve gotten pretty good at them. Here are a few tips that I think can help you land the job. 

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Dress up for the Interview

Acing a job interview starts long before you actually walk into the interview. How you dress is very important. One time, I went in for a job interview for an IT job and afterward (after I got the job) my boss told me that he was very impressed because most people just showed up in jeans a hoodie but I made an effort and put on a blazer and everything. So, even if you’re interviewing for a job that won’t require you to dress up every day, at least put some effort into your appearance. 

Bring a Copy of your Resume 

Make sure you bring a copy of your cover letter and resume to the interview with you. I have never actually needed it but it looks professional to have it with you and if, for some reason, your future employer doesn’t have a copy, you can provide them with one. If your employer required anything else (I had to bring a writing sample to one interview) make sure you have copies of that on hand as well. I would suggest bringing enough so that every person interviewing you can have one. 

Research the Company Beforehand

When I applied to a Faculty at my University I studied the ins and outs of that Faculty like I was studying for a test. I researched their website and even went to the Faculty office to pick up some brochures. It paid off because they asked in my interview “so, what do you know about insert company here”. I was able to rattle off the information that I had learned in my week or so of research. I’m sure they knew that I was just regurgitating what I had read on the internet but it was clear that I had put in effort to learn what I knew. 

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Read Through the Job Description

Reading through the job description is one of the best things you can do. Every point in the skills portion of the job description is something that they can ask a question about. Does it say you should have attention to detail? Come up with an example that you can tell them about a time where you had to put this skill into practice. If there is something listed that you don’t have experience with (such as a computer program), be honest. Tell them that you don’t have experience with it but you are willing to learn. Because I have a background in IT, I always make sure to state that I am quick to pick up on new programs due to my IT background. 

Be Polite

I think this one goes without saying but be polite. Act as if you’re meeting your in-laws for the first time. First impressions are everything. This includes shaking your interviewer’s hand when you meet them. This doesn’t only apply to the people who are interviewing you. As soon as you walk into your place of potential employment you need to be polite to everyone you interact with. You never know if they have your future bosses ear. And make sure to thank your interviewer at the end for their time. 

Have Nice Nails

You want to have nice nails for your interview. Because you will be shaking hands, it is likely that your nails will be noted. Have them cut, cleaned, and if you’re really ambitious, you can paint them a neutral color. 

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Don’t Chew Gum

Never chew gum in an interview. If you want fresh breath, have a mint beforehand but by no means should you be smacking on gum during your interview.

Wear Less Make up

You don’t need to load up on makeup for an interview. The more natural the better in my opinion. Put on some concealer, mascara and lip chap if you want to have something on but too much makeup can negatively impact an employers perception of you. 

Determine your Transferable Skills

As I said before. Look over the job posting and make sure you can answer any questions related to the required skills. Another thing you can do is take a look at your resume and determine what skills from old jobs will transfer to this new job. For Example, if worked independently most of the time at your old job and weren’t a supervisor but you were chair of a committee. You could say that this is an example of leadership skills. 

Research Common Interview Questions 

We all have access to google so use it to your advantage. Search common interview questions for your industry and write down answers to them. Make sure you answer the ever dreaded ‘Tell us about yourself’ question. 

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Bring your Reference List

You don’t need to include your references on your resume. You can simply write “references available on request” and bring a list of your references with you to the interview. This way, it allows for the employer to let you know that they will in fact be contacting your references and then you can let them know to expect the call.

Arrive Early

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Early is much better than late. 

Formulate 2-3 Questions to Ask

At the end of the interview, they will always ask you if you have any questions for them. Prepare a couple of questions. One of my go to questions is:

“So what does a day in this job typically look like”

Bring a Notebook and Pen

Jot some notes down during your interview when it’s warranted. It looks professional and looks like you’re engaged and serious. One of my old employers told me that he was very impressed when someone did that in an interview. Since then, I have never gone into an interview without a notebook. 

Don’t be too Serious

Be professional but don’t be too serious. A little humor goes a long way. I was told that my lightheartedness and humor was a great personality trait for my job. Definitely judge the personalities of the people who are interviewing you before you start cracking jokes though because not everyone will appreciate that.

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That’s all for my job interview tips! If you enjoyed this post be sure to leave a post about your job interview experiences! I would love to hear what you think got you the job! Or simply leave a comment telling me what you do for a living!

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8 Things I Don’t Spend Money on- And 8 Things I Do

Everyone could do with a little bit of education on how to manage their money. I did not make this list to tell people that these are things that they should and shouldn’t spend money on. This is simply a list of things that I don’t personally spend on. I think it’s very important to spend wisely and form good spending habits. Part of that is making a decision as to what you want to spend on and what you don’t. This is meant to guide you in figuring out what you priorities are when it comes to spending.

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Things I Don’t Spend Money on

These are things that I do not currently spend money on. I haven’t even spent much, if any, money on these things. I may start eventually but, right now, they just aren’t a priority.

Alcohol

This is something that a lot of people spend inordinate amounts of money on every month. Whether you’re buying it for your home or buying it at the bar, alcohol is expensive. I understand that for some people, this is a social activity but I encourage you to really think about how much you are spending on alcohol every month. I’ve known people that spent hundreds of dollars every weekend on alcohol which makes my Starbucks runs look like pocket change. If you’re not careful about this, alcohol could be one of the biggest wastes of money in your life. 

Music Streaming

This includes things like youtube premium, amazon music, spotify premium and Apple music. My biggest tip here is to avoid wasting money on things that you can get for free. While these services only cost 5-10 dollars a month, that’s money that you could be saving and not spending on some intangible thing. Personally, I just listen to Youtube since I have wifi almost constantly which you likely do too. 

Cable

We all have Netflix anyways right? Cable is extremely expensive and most of the programming is garbage anyways. My parents have cable and ever since I was a kid, all I’ve ever heard were complaints about how little there is on TV, especially considering how expensive it is. So really think about whether or not that is something you need. 

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Movies

My boyfriend and I go to the theatre maybe 3-4 times a year for dates but other than that, we don’t spend money on movies. We wait for things to come on Netflix. With everyone paying for streaming services, I think it’s impractical to double up on costs by purchasing things on disc.

Manicures/Pedicures

Sometimes I see people my age walking around with those sharp gel nail manicures and I wonder how they can afford it. It’s not a cheap thing to do and requires expensive maintenance if you want to keep it looking good. As much as I would love to get that done every few weeks, it’s not an expense that I feel comfortable with. It’s just a little too extravagant for me. The last manicure that I got was for my high school graduation in 2015.

Makeup

I don’t really wear makeup anymore. I used to wear makeup every day in high school and during my first few years of university. Gradually, I got more comfortable with wearing less and now I only wear it for special occasions. It’s bad for my skin and I honestly feel so comfortable without it that it doesn’t even cross my mind when I’m leaving the house. If I have a bad spot on my face I’ll throw a dab of foundation on it before going to work but other than that, it’s a bare face for me. 

Lottery Tickets/ Casinos

I have never bought a lottery ticket for myself. Not to say that I never will but, right now, it’s not an expense that I consider. As much as I’d love to win the lottery, I just don’t have enough hope to actually buy a ticket. As for Casinos, I’ve been to one. I didn’t like it and I don’t have any desire to go back. I actually found it depressing to see so many people sitting at slot machines throwing their money away. Not my scene.

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Cigarettes

Never have and never will. Not a habit that I want to start. 

Things I Do spend money on

Alright, so, I’m not perfect. I do spend money on things that I probably shouldn’t. This post isn’t about knocking the things that I don’t spend money on and justifying the things that I do. It’s about putting things into perspective for people and making it clear that you have a choice to make in terms of your spending. You can’t afford every luxury that you want so you need to determine what is important to you. For example, I spend money on coffee but not alcohol. That’s a choice I make. If I spent money on both, my pockets would empty very quickly.

Coffee

I am a big coffee drinker. I buy coffee at Starbucks about 3 times a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I feel a little guilty about this expense but it makes me happy.

VIP Movie Tickets

My boyfriend and I go to the movies a few times a year and, when we do, we don’t skimp on the cost. We buy tickets to the VIP theatre where you can eat dinner and cuddle in the attached seats. We make the compromise that we rarely do it and the last few times we went we actually had gift cards. For a date night, it’s honestly not bad. It’s usually around $80.00 for tickets and dinner but the food isn’t any more expensive than if we had gone out to a restaurant. It’s a nice date night and I think it’s a reasonable expense because we don’t do it very often. 

Gym Membership

Fitness is very important to me and I make full use of my gym membership. I have no issues with this expense as long as it is being utilized. An unused gym membership is an unnecessary expense. 

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Books

I am a huge bookworm which, for me, means that I reject every form of book other than the print version. I do not like E-books, audiobooks, or any other form of book that I cannot hold in my hand. Journals are another weakness of mine but I haven’t bought one in a few years. 

Phone Bill

Some people can do without a phone or at least do without data and go on a pay as you go plan. This is an expense that I’ve had for a long time and I don’t even think about it anymore. My parents and the rest of my family don’t live in the same city as me so I use my phone to communicate with them. Plus, it’s very hard to not have a cell phone these days. I just feel a lot safer having it on me. Plus, how would I play Pokemon Go without data? The gist of this is, some people can get away with a cheaper phone plan or no phone at all but this is an expense that I am ok with. While I would like a cheaper phone bill, it’s not outrageous so I’ll keep it for now. However, if I was really in trouble, I would happily switch to a pay as you go plan to save money.

Fancy Soaps

Yes, I shop at Bath and Body works for our hand soap and for shower gel. I always buy it on sale. Sue me, I want to smell good. The thought of buying body wash or hand soap from the drugstore that smells super cheap and chemically just makes me cringe. This may sound ridiculous, but I just love taking a shower and washing my hands and smelling like my favourite things. 

Air Fresheners

Also from Bath and Body Works. More commonly called wallflowers. They last about a month each and I also buy these on sale. We live in an apartment so sometimes smells from other suites can seep in. These wallflowers make our apartment smell delicious all the time. There’s nothing better than walking into an apartment that smells like fresh baked cinnamon buns without actually having to bake cinnamon buns.

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Regular Hair Cuts

I get my haircut every two months at a fancy salon in my neighbourhood. It costs about 50.00 after tax and tip which I think is very reasonable. The salon is so amazing and it’s so refreshing to go. They make me a cappuccino when I get there (some people have wine), wash, cut, blow dry, and style my hair and they even do my makeup when I leave! They’ll also give you samples of whatever products you want to try. It’s pretty awesome! For years, I didn’t get my hair cut regularly. I got it cut once or twice a year if I was lucky because I just didn’t need to spend money on it. I was also a little traumatized from times that I’d gotten my hair cut and they took waaay too much off. I love my long hair.

That’s all for this post! If you enjoyed reading please let me know in the comments what you avoid spending money on and what you splurge on!

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Things to Do on Sunday for a Productive Week

Sundays are a blessing and a curse. I always feel the lurking threat of a new work week but also still feel the freedom of having a day off. I try to be productive on the weekends but sometimes Saturday just gets away from me and before I know it, I’ve been unproductive all day and now I have to do it all on Sunday, and that’s if it even gets done at all. These are just some small things that you can do on Sunday to make your week a bit less stressful. Especially since a lot of people are working from home, it becomes even more important to have your to do list done on Sunday. If you don’t get everything done you’ll be tempted to do it during the workday, ultimately lowering your productivity in regards to work. 

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Empty the Dishwasher

5-10 Minutes. That’s all of the time that you need to empty the dishwasher so don’t tell yourself that you don’t have time. I know it’s annoying, and not a fun thing to do but if you can empty the dishwasher and make some room for the dirty dishes that are currently piling up on your counter, it will drastically impact the cleanliness of your kitchen. So grab a dish towel and put away those clean dishes.

Make your Bed

3-5 Minutes. This isn’t only a Sunday thing, it should be an everyday thing. Trust me, making your bed will make you feel good and it only take a few minutes. 5 tops. Definitely less. For me, it’s the first thing in the morning that I do that is productive. It starts my day off on a great note because I already feel that I’ve accomplished something. Before I started working at home, I never made my bed in the morning. Mostly because my boyfriend sleeps about an hour more than I do so I wasn’t able to make it immediately when I woke up. Now, since we’re both working from home, I make it while he’s in the shower. I got so sick of looking at a messy bed all day that I just bit the bullet and started doing it. Now, I can’t go without making it, it’s just part of my routine and that’s really the aim here. To form a routine with these habits so that they don’t feel like a chore. Once you do something enough, it just becomes part of your day. Just like brushing your teeth or washing your face.

Pick an Outfit for Monday

10-20 Minutes. Something that can cut a lot of time off my morning routine is picking my outfit the day before. I’m super indecisive about what I wear, especially since I started a job where I have to look professional all of the time. I don’t have a lot of options and a lot of them are uncomfortable because it’s not the type of clothing I’m used to. I’m more of a tights and hoodie kind of gal not dress pants and a blouse. If you’re feeling ambitious, pick out your outfits for the whole week and see how much time it saves you!

Wash a Load of Towels

20 Minutes. This time estimate includes the actual act of putting the laundry in the wash, transferring it to the dryer, and folding. Let’s be real, the machines are doing most of the work! I like to wash my towels on Sunday so that I can start the week with all clean towels. I don’t only mean bath towels either! Gather up all of your bath towels, hand towels, tea towels, and dish cloths and throw them in the wash. I like to wash my towels in hot water so that I know they are getting as clean as possible.

Wash your Work Clothes

20 Minutes. If you have some clothes that you know are going to need to be washed for the work week, do it now so you aren’t digging through a pile of dirty laundry on Monday morning looking for a shirt only to find that they’re all wrinkled and you won’t be able to fix it in time for work. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…

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Do Some Meal Prep

1-2 Hours. Now, I’m not saying you have to make every single meal for the next 5 days. What I really mean is, try to make enough food for lunches for the week to avoid eating takeout or going hungry. Cook up something in the crock pot that you can eat for lunch so you’re not stuck cooking and making dishes every night of the week. Trust me, it makes a huge difference. If you aren’t feeling up to this much cooking, at least make your Monday lunch.

Make a To Do List

10 Minutes. Make a list of the things that you want to accomplish during the week at home. Break it down into categories and write out what you’re going to do on each day. If you have errands to run or people to call, include this too. Make a commitment to do what you need to do and it will become easier to complete the tasks.

Skincare Routine

10-20 Minutes. Create a Sunday skin care routine to refresh yourself for the coming week. Exfoliate, cleanse, moisturize! Do whatever makes your skin happy. It can be as involved or as simple as you feel like doing. Pore strips and face masks can be a great idea as well! 

Clean Out your Fridge

20-30 Minutes. This is pretty self-explanatory but this is a really great thing to do on Sundays. I tend to shuffle things to the back of my fridge and forget about them so it’s important to stay on top of my fridge cleaning. Throwing out old pasta, or expired milk can do wonders for keeping your fridge organized. 

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Take Out the Trash

5- 10 Minutes. Empty out all of the garbage cans in your house, not just the main one. We have garbage cans in both bathrooms and we have one for the laundry closet as well for dryer sheets and lint (yes it’s a closet, not a room). It’s easy to neglect these smaller trash bins so make sure you’re taking them out weekly.

That’s it for my list of things to do on Sunday for a more productive week! I included times in all of the descriptions because I think it helps put into perspective just how little time these individual tasks take. We always tell ourselves that we don’t have enough time to do these things or we are too intimidated to start certain tasks because they seem to be so overwhelming. I thought including time estimations could help some overcome these thoughts. I’m guilty of it myself. If I tell myself- just empty the dishwasher, it’s only going to take 5 minutes, I find myself more likely to get up and do it. Plus, after I finish one task, I find that I’m more likely to go right into another task rather than sitting back down on the couch.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please leave a comment! Tell me what you’re Sundays are looking like these days and how you get prepared for your week!

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9 Ways to Show your Partner you Love Them

During these trying times, everyone is likely in need of a little extra love. Even if you are at home with your partner more than ever, it doesn’t mean that you are necessarily spending quality time with them. I feel more tied to my work than ever, now that I’m working at home. I find myself checking my email far later than I should be and typically some kind of problem arises that I need to deal with. It can also just be hard to be cooped up in the house, even with someone you love. So what can we do for our partner that reinforces that love?

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Cook them Dinner

Since no one can go out to eat, why don’t you cook dinner for the two of you? It can be as fancy or as simple as you want but sometimes it’s nice to take on that responsibility (especially if one of you always does the cooking). A nice touch would be to cook your partners favourite meal if you have the food on hand. Also, don’t forget to do the dishes after! You know what one of the perks of working from home is? 

Make them Breakfast in Bed

If your partner is a heavy sleeper, you can make them breakfast in bed. If someone tried to make me breakfast in bed, I would wake up in all of 2 seconds but my boyfriend is a pretty heavy sleeper.  I feel like I could make a 5 course meal and he wouldn’t even know. That says a lot because it’s likely I’ll be dropping things and bumping into things which usually makes quite a ruckus. Utilize the extra time that we have before work now (work from home life anyone?) and share breakfast in bed with your partner!

Give them a Massage

Massages are a great way to feel connected to your partner. I know that for me, my level of physical activity has gone down to almost none so my muscles are constantly sore from disuse and from sitting in my not so ergonomic chair at home all day staring at my computer. A massage can be a great way to say I love you to your partner. If you’re feeling really adventurous, grab some massage oil, it makes such a difference!

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Surprise them with a Gift

Just because we can’t go out to the store and buy them something, doesn’t mean we can’t surprise our other half! Amazon is still functioning and we can still order packages. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant or expensive but if there is something that your partner has been talking about for a while and it’s within budget, order it in secret and surprise them with it! 

Talk about your Future

With the current circumstances, it’s likely that your relationship is going through something that you never expected.This is a very unique situation for couples. You may be going through financial challenges if one or both of you has lost their jobs. You may be going through emotional challenges if you’ve lost loved ones. This means it’s a great time to talk about the future. Try to focus on the good stuff like a future house, your wedding, or other milestones that you are excited to hit. I’m a planner so I love talking about this stuff with my boyfriend. When you bring things like this up with your partner, it shows that you’re in it for the long haul and that you are planning for the future. 

Reminisce about the Past

Talking about the beginning of your relationship can bring up so many fond memories. My boyfriend and I frequently talk about how dumb and irresponsible we were (staying up until 5 or 6 in the morning when I had class and he had work the next day) and we laugh, not knowing how we survived on so little sleep. To be fair, I was still in university and he had just finished so our sleep schedules were a lot different than they are now (if I’m not in bed before 10 I fall asleep wherever I am). I think it’s really fun to talk about the past of your relationship. In the early days, neither of you knew what the other was thinking and getting insight into that from your partner can always be interesting. My boyfriend told me that after our first date, I bolted out of the car so fast he definitely thought there was not going to be a second date. Obviously there was, but I was so nervous I didn’t want to seem weird by sitting in the car too long. well , I definitely didn’t sit in the car too long! That one always makes me laugh. That will probably make a good wedding story. 

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Tell them How Much you Love them

There’s nothing more effective than just flat out telling your partner how much you love them and how much they mean to you! Everyone loves hearing how much the are appreciated and loved, and it’s likely no different for your partner. 

Write them a Love Letter

I know not everyone will want to do this but I would honestly be so happy if I got a handwritten love letter. As a self-proclaimed bookworm, I think this is just something that I’m obligated to want. Not to generalize, but I think a lot of women would melt if they got a hand written love letter from their significant other. Try it out! See what the reaction from your partner is. If you’ve never received one, write one of your own and see what your partner says! Maybe it will inspire them to write one of their own.

Have an at Home Date Night

 Light some candles, drink some wine, make dinner, watch a movie, eat popcorn, maybe even make dessert! Try and recreate what you would do as a couple if you were able to venture outside for more than a walk. You could incorporate a nice stroll into your walk as well (maybe at sunset) or go for a picnic (do people actually do this? Because I’m not convinced). You could even get flowers from your local grocery store when you pick up your groceries (please don’t make a special trip for this as we are trying to minimize outings for our own and others protection).

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These are some things that we can do for our partners to show that we love them. And I know some people might be reading this list and think, I wish that my partner was doing this stuff for me! Talk to them, tell them that you’d like breakfast in bed or say that you want to do an at home date night. Communication goes a long way in relationships. Your partner probably has no idea that you want these things. 

What do you do to show your partner that you love them? If you enjoyed reading this post, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear about your ideas! Also, tell me if you’ve ever been on a picnic because it’s so romanticized in every movie but all I can think of is that it would be windy and there would be bugs everywhere, but what do I know!

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8 Ways to Motivate yourself

We all have days when it feels impossible to complete even the smallest of tasks. All we want to do is lay in bed and watch Netflix. Emptying the dishwasher or making the bed has turned into a Herculean task that absolutely cannot be tackled. So what can we do when we feel like this? What do we do when all motivation has been lost and we are all too comfortable to be unproductive? Read on for some tips to combat lack of motivation!

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Write Down your Goals

Writing down your goals when you feel unmotivated can be one of the best things. Sometimes we lose sight of why we are doing what we are doing and it’s easy to lose sight of long term goals. Life can get hard and sometimes we wonder why we’re putting in all of this hard work when it’s much easier to slack off. Think about where you want to be in 5 years, 5 months, or even 5 weeks. How is what you’re doing now connected to where you want to be in the future? Being able to see how your actions contribute to your future goals can be enough to motivate you when you’re feeling sluggish.

Listen to a Motivational Video

I listened to motivational videos a lot during university. I used them as motivation to study or workout when I was really feeling like I didn’t want to. They remind me that I’m doing all of this to reach long term goals (which is easy to forget when things get tough) and that all of my hard work would pay off. These would motivate me to just push through and stop being lazy. I usually had to be in the right mood to watch these because sometimes they would just annoy me. Motivational videos and speeches are not for everyone so you will have to decide for yourself whether they are your jam. These are a few that I listened to during my time in university. I’m listening to one of these videos right now and honestly they are a real wake up call sometimes. It’s easy to sit around and feel sorry for yourself and tell yourself you’re too tired to study or too tired to workout but sometimes someone just needs to kick your butt into gear to make you realize it’s all just excuses.

These are not my videos and all credit goes to the original owner of these videos. I am simply sharing my favourite motivational videos to watch

Get Moving

If you can’t seem to shake your sluggishness, exercise! I’m not telling you to go for a run or a swim, however both of those are invigorating and will get your blood pumping. When I talk about getting moving, it can be as simple as just stretching for 10 minutes or taking your dog out for a quick walk. I highly recommend doing some kind of light exercise outside because fresh air itself can do wonders for your motivation. Sometimes, just stepping outside and breathing in the smell of rain or flowers motivates me to get off my butt and accomplish something.

Wash your face or take a shower

I know this is a bit of a weird one but I swear it works, especially in the morning. If you are having a hard time dragging yourself out of bed or starting in on your to do list, just get yourself to the bathroom and wash your face. It will make you feel awake and ready to take on the day. If you have time, take a shower, use your favorite soap, shave your legs, whatever you want but the better you feel about yourself, the more motivated you will feel to take on the day and accomplish your goals.

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Listen to Some Great Music

This one is very similar to listening to motivational videos in the way it works. Just pick some music that makes you feel great! It doesn’t matter is it’s country, rap, or classical, just pick something that makes you want to get up and get something done! I have different music for different moods so when I want to get motivated I have specific artists that I listen to. Zayde Wolf, Valley of Wolves, and The Score are all artists/bands that I like to listen to for motivation.

Read Some Personal Development Books

I am going to preface this by saying personal development books are not for everyone. I have quite a few here sitting on my shelf that I haven’t been able to get through. You just have to find what reads well for you. One that I really like is The 7 Habits of Highly Productive People. This really depends on what you have access to at home. Whether it’s an e-book, an audio book, or a physical book, pick one up and read 10 or 20 pages. This can be very eye opening and motivating.

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Stalk Someone Inspiring on Social Media

Who are your idols? Why do you admire them? It’s likely because they have worked hard to get where they are in life and you want to be there too. Stalk your idols on the internet. Read their books, find out more about them, learn how they got where they are. If you truly want to be like them, this will inspire you to work just as hard as they did.

Listen to a Ted Talk

Ted talks can be great because you can look ones up that are specific to your situation. They have such a wide variety of people speaking on a wide variety of topics and these talks can be very insightful. Who knows, you might even learn something. I love listening to Ted talks and hearing about others struggles and stories. Sometimes when I hear about how hard other people had it in their early life, I feel that I have no excuse for being unmotivated because I have it so easy.

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These are some of my tips for motivating yourself when you are feeling like you don’t want to do or accomplish anything. I’m not saying that it’s not ok to have a day where you feel unmotivated but it can sometimes be hard to motivate ourselves to do things that are unpleasant or tough. Try out a couple of these tips and see if they work for you!

If you enjoyed reading this post please leave a comment telling me some of the things that you do to motivate yourself to study, to work out, or to get started/finish a project that you have been putting off!

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How to Start the New Semester off Right

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With the winter semester coming to a close, I thought it would be a good time to reflect and talk about what we can do to make next semester more successful. Better grades, better time management, less stress. It’s all achievable. If this semester left something to be desired, read this post to see how you can get on track early next semester. Whether you want to get better grades or stop feeling overwhelmed with assignments, this post can help you.

If you are planning on taking summer classes, you should be able to put this into practice right away. Since summer classes will likely be online, things may look a little different but that’s ok. To be honest, I loved online classes when I was in university and I took them whenever I had the chance. If you aren’t taking classes again until the fall term then hold on to this information and use it when you’re ready.

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Things to Do Before your First Day of Classes

You can never start preparing too early in my opinion. This section contains things that you can do before you even start classes for the year.

Buy A Planner

I don’t care who you are or how much you hate planners. I am strongly suggesting that you buy a planner. At the very least buy a big calendar that you can hang up and write all of your important assignments and other due dates on. A planner is a better option in my opinion (or buy both) because you can carry it around everywhere and whenever you are trying to make a decision about what you are going to do with your time you can refer to your planner. Did you get asked out for drinks this weekend? Before you say yes, open your planner and see what you have going on. Oh right, you have a paper due on Monday morning that you haven’t even started. I guess drinks will have to wait. Your planner, combined with your syllabus, will be the recipe for success next semester. 

What to look for in a planner

Format: What is the layout of the planner? There are so many kinds to choose from it can be hard to know what is going to suit you best. You can choose a weekly layout or something with a page for each day. Also think about whether there is a monthly overview at the start of each month.

Class Schedule: Some planners will have a section for your class schedule. I know that everything is digital nowadays but it never hurts to have it written down on paper. What if your phone dies?

Pocket: It can be helpful to have a planner with a pocket at the back for loose papers. If you get a business card from someone or have a receipt you need to save you can just slip it in here and you won’t have to worry about losing it.

Size: There are so many different sizes of planners which means you need to determine what suits your needs. I always went for a medium sized one (not pocked sized but not as big as an 8.5 x 11 paper). It was the perfect size because it had lots of space for me to write things down but it wasn’t so big that it was taking up a ton of space in my backpack.

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Plan Your Schedule

Success starts with your schedule. You won’t be able to succeed if you load your schedule with more courses than you can handle. Determine how many courses you can handle. Do you have a job? What is your commute like? What other commitments do you have (clubs, student groups, side hustle, etc).

For maximum productivity, I would recommend scheduling your classes on two or three days of the week and leaving the rest as dedicated study days or maybe just having a lab or two on those days (depending on what degree you’re doing). At my university, the maximum amount of courses that you can take per semester is 5 but almost no one does that. I did it for my first two years of school andI thought it was fine but as your courses get harder and more demanding, the reality is that taking 5 courses is probably unrealistic. 

Once you have determined how many courses (and which courses) you are taking, it’s time to pick days, times, and locations. Look at the different days that each course is scheduled on and try to pick sections that are on the same days. If you can take classes that only run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can leave Monday, Wednesday, and Friday open for studying and working. Alternatively, you could try subbing out a lecture for an online class.Like I said, I am a huge fan of online classes so I would recommend it . However, if you are not an independent learner, online classes may not be for you. 

Set up your Study Space

Break is over and you’ve moved back into dorms (or maybe you commute from an apartment or your parents house) and you’re ready for the new semester to start. I know dorm rooms are small but chances are, yours came with a desk. Wherever you live, no matter how small, you need to make a dedicated study space. Studying in your bed will promote a wandering mind and does not lead to productivity. Invest in a good chair and make sure your work space is clean and organized so you won’t have any distractions while you’re trying to study. 

Buy Supplies

Determine what kinds of things you need to buy for your work space? Do you want a whiteboard or cork board to pin things on or write on? Are you out of your favourite pens? What are some things that worked for you last year when you were studying?

Don’t clutter your work space but make sure you have all of the things you need accessible so that you don’t have to get up and grab things during your study session. This includes textbooks, pens, pencils, hi lighters, note cards, and anything else you think you need.

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Things to do On/After your First Day of Classes

Gather your Syllabi

Let’s be real, the first week of classes is usually a joke. You go into lecture and sit for 15 minutes while your professor goes through your syllabus and then they let you out early because they know no one is prepared to learn new material on the first day. 

Your professors will either hand out the syllabi in class or post them online for you to read along with in class. When I started university, I got hard copies of almost all my syllabi but I think that is less common now.

As I mentioned in a previous post, you need to keep your syllabus in a safe place so that you have it when it comes time for finals. I used these note binders from 5 star to keep mine safe and to store assignments and other papers for classes. They are pretty pricey (I think they were a lot cheaper when I was in school) but I really liked them. I still have the two I bought in 2015 so they hold up very well.

Fill your Planner

You bought a planner right? Good, because you’re going to need it right now. With all of the extra time between lectures during syllabus week, you should have lots of time to read through your syllabi and mark down all of the important dates. Assignments, quizzes, tests, anything that you need to do in a certain time frame. If, for some reason, your lecture doesn’t end early, make sure you read that syllabus at the end of the day and mark all of the dates down. Don’t wait. Live by the syllabus.

Write your Notes by Hand

I know it’s a lot easier to take notes on you laptop but it is proven that writing your notes by hand facilitates better memorization. Leave the laptop in your bag and bring out a notebook and a pen to take notes in class. 

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Re-read your notes after class/ at the end of the day.

Don’t just take notes and never look at them again. If you have some time after your class, read over your notes and star anything that you had trouble understanding or need more clarity on. If you don’t have time right after class, do it at the end of the day.

Do your Readings Every Week

Get ahead early and do your first readings during syllabus week. I know it seems early to be doing readings but you’re going to have to do them eventually anyways. Whatever the syllabus requirements are for week one, complete them now! You have more time right now than you will all year. If you can get ahead now, you have a better chance of staying ahead for the entire year. 

Something else you can do is plan out when you are going to do which readings for which class. Write all of the required readings down in your planner to make sure you do them on time.   

That’s it for my post on starting the semester off right! I hope that this gave you a little bit of insight in to how best prepare for the new semester to kill it for the whole year! The most important thing to take away from this is that you need to keep up with your readings from the start of the year. Don’t fall behind! Thank you so much for reading. If you enjoyed and would like to see more content please subscribe!

What Are your Tips?

I’m interested in hearing from my readers about the tips that they have for preparing for a new semester! What are some things that you have done in the past or are planning to do for the upcoming semester that you think are beneficial and help you start the year off right? Please comment below and let me know!!

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