Wednesday, 28 January 2015

#BellLetsTalk and Into the Woods

"Someone is on your side. No one is alone."

Stephen Sondheim is a genius. Any musical theatre geek knows this. He has an ability to leave profound messages on an audience. Most people are aware of Into the Woods (the movie), which is the latest adaptation of his work. One of the songs, "No One is Alone", can be applied to so many situations. I think it could especially be applied to an event today: #BellLetsTalk . #BellLetsTalk encourages discussion about mental illness and acts to end stigmas surrounding it.

I have dealt with my own bouts of mental instability and most of it stems from this: not talking. As a kid, I think I was pretty outgoing. That changed over the years and I became very shy. So, as you see, I was never really a person who rambled on about things anyways. But then came a period a few years ago in which I knew I needed help. I should have started talking to people (like my mom or dad or my best friend) sooner, just so that they realized I was not in quite good health. In short, I began talking to people and focused on myself and I'm now on a much better path. I was lucky in that I did have a support system around me...Even when I hadn't quite realized it myself.

I know others will be in similar situations and too will think that they cannot talk to anyone or don't have anyone. While this may be true for some, it is not true for all. There are resources available, such as school counsellors. Most people really do want to help and will provide encouragement and information and support.

So what does this have to do with Into the Woods? Well, truthfully, the movie just came out and is still fresh in my mind. Maybe the messages are clearer in the stage version, but there are many, many great messages in the play. One of them attempts to tell audiences that even in your dark and feeling-like-you're-at-a-bottom-of-a-pit times, there will be someone out there who is ready to listen and help.
The song is beautiful and I suggest you take a listen!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

"Snowpocalypse" Part 2

Just a few more things I have to say:

As a kid, the best part about school during the winter was snow days. And we had a plethora of them. Less so in high school, even fewer in university. And its understandable why. The stakes are higher the higher you move up the education ladder!

Midterm season is somehow already firing up and my first was scheduled for this Thursday. BUT because class was cancelled today, we have no review. Ergo, test is pushed to next week. Normally I'd rejoice and jump and watch movies/bake/eat baking while watching movies (or you know, go tobogganing), but that is not the case.

You know when you have a plan in place and then it gets shaken up? This is one of those times. But its okay, sometimes you've just got to roll with the punches (side note: I don't really love that metaphor, but I couldn't think of anything else). So even though the next few weeks will be crazy leading up to reading week, today will only partially be a day to relax. The rest of it will be spent trying to reconfigure my plan and execute!

For any Game of Throne-ers, I thought this GIF was really funny:

Back to Baking + Snow Day!

So today is the day of that huge storm - Nor'easter/Atlantic Blizzard/whatever you want to call it. Its not thaaaat bad. I mean yeah, theres some snow! But come on, what happened to "We are winter!!" Oh well. But I get a day off of school so I'm not complaining about much! To prepare for this potentially monstrous storm, I stocked up on food last night with the roommates (one of my roommates keeps referring to it as "the apocalypse"). I don't really know why, maybe I've watched too many disaster movies, but I always liked the idea of being stuck inside and surviving. I'm not looking to be in anyone's survival of the fittest trial, but the whole idea just excites me. And now moving on....

From Eat Good 4 Life
To ensure ample food supply, I also did some baking. There was no real prediction for the severity of the storm, which meant that we had no idea if we would wake up to electricity. I utilized my access to power by whipping up some scones, peanut butter-date-corn flake-dark chocolate bars, stir fry, and quinoa. Who knows how long we would potentially be without power for, right? (Turns out its the afternoon of the day after and power is still functioning... better safe than sorry!)

I'd been meaning to bake both the scones and the other treat for a while, and this "event" seemed like the perfect opportunity! I got the scones from here - they are blueberry coconut and also vegan (if you sub the egg for flax egg) and gluten free. I don't always do gluten free baking - I think that if you are going to indulge in a treat, it may as well be the real thing! - but I had been wanting to try these for some time. They were delicious! I swear you wouldn't know by tasting them that they were GF. I'm not vegan, but I do cook/bake vegan sometimes. Though, I have sort of eliminated dairy from my everyday diet (I don't buy milk or yogurt anymore) but I do still generally use butter, etc. if needed. This recipe did not require it though!

The bars.... I don't quite know how to describe. They are quite good though. A coffee shop in Halifax has these Skor Bars (as they call them) and they are sooooo good. A server there once told me that the bars are made with corn flakes and after I began a search on the internet for a recipe! Most of the recipes I found were loaded (I mean LOADED) with sugar. And then I found this one on Half Baked Harvest! Really just a healthy version of what I love so much at the coffee shop. I baked them last night and tried them today after they had chilled - they were delectable.

The quinoa was for a salad that I love to make. When in the Big Apple this summer, I went to The Smith. One of the best decisions of the trip (behind, of course, daily helpings of cupcakes). Their Quinoa Kale Salad changed by life. Thus, I set out to make it myself. One of the only reasons I am looking forward to this day to pass is so that I can dive into it for dinner.

I could feed a village, right? Ha, no. These will be gone by tomorrow.

And now I'm going back to marketing and economics! And writing a cover letter... How did January become so busy? Stay safe one and all!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Winter Necessities

Winter on a coast has a completely different meaning than my normal winter definition. Yes, slush is normal. But weeks fluctuating between 10°C and -10°C (...and down to -20°C) are not within my normal. Therefore, winter attire has evolved for me. Walking most places also affects wardrobe choices. 
Here are some of my winter necessities in Halifax!

Warm Winter Coat
I do love wool coats. They are gorgeous and make a wonderful statement. However, they will not suffice for winters where temperatures drop below 0. Okay...maybe they will. But you really have to bundle up. Well. I recently got the Arlington Down Jacket in black from Roots and I know it will serve me well for many years to come!
Sturdy, Weatherproof Boots
As a child, I'm almost positive that the only boots I wore were Cougar. They were perfect for tobogganing and playing around in the snow. I remember a pair of pink ones I had that I loved! Getting all bundled up with bright snow pants and matching jackets was always so fun...Taking them off not so much. I'm sure my parents felt the same way! 
But at school where I don't have a car, a good pair of boots is necessary to avoid cold, wet feet. I have the UGG Adirondack boots in beige and they are the best! My feet have never gotten cold and I never fear walking through snow. Highly recommended! Even though they are pricey, they will be worth it for the many years you get with them. 
Crossbody Bag
This really isn't a necessity, but I think it's nice not to have something to carry. I wear mine all year long, but I find especially in the winter when I want my hands in my pocket or in my gloves, swinging something across is perfect.
Do I even need to explain this? Cozy and it covers your whole upper body. Yes please.
Cabin Socks
Every Canadian has a pair of Roots Cabin socks. Male or female. They are just what we need for winter time. So cozy :)
Weatherproof, Non-Winter Jacket
In cities where weather can turn on a dime, it's useful to have a jacket that will function without making you feel like you're in a sauna, or making you feel like you still need to layer up. I have a few coats that are great for days when it's hovering around 0 and you don't quite need the full on warmth yet (but a raincoat still won't cut it).
Rain Boots
You never really know if there is going to be snow, slush, or puddles on the ground in the morning in Halifax. Which is why I believe in the importance of rain boots. A few weeks ago there was nearly a foot of snow on the ground at 9am, but by 2pm that fresh dump was turned to slush. It was horrendous. Okay... there are way worse problems than this. Such a first world problem. But still, thinking you are stepping into a centimetre of water and actually stepping into a 6 inch puddle is nooo fun.

Here's hoping for some consistent weather!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Let's Keep Going!

Today was my third day back at hot yoga for 2015. It has been wonderful! Two 6:30am classes, one 8:30am class. I'd be lying if I said getting up for the 6:30am classes weren't a pain in the ass... Luckily I have a good friend doing it with me - part of my motivation. I completely understand why some people don't love it. For a long time, I thought that yoga was somewhat silly and that I would never be able to get into it. I think it is something you need to work at to love, but once you are more comfortable, you feel fantastic! Part of getting up early for the class is knowing that I'm getting on a better routine. Last semester was okay routine wise, but I really needed to come up with something more consistent that also brought me to mental and physical health. I think I'm on a good path so far!

I've also done the Halifax Seaport Market each weekend since I've been back! That is one of my happiest places. I think farmer's market's just ground you. It's exciting to go and grab a nice breakfast, buy some local produce, and see the amazing artwork and jewellery. In times when reality can seem congested and too built up, I find it refreshing to see locals.
In the summer time (and fall and spring...basically any season that isn't winter!), the rooftop of the market has a gorgeous view. It overlooks the harbour and always manages to transport me. I love bringing some readings for class and sitting up there when it's warmer.

Who knows whether or not I will actually stick to this, but I am hoping that I can maintain this path! 
Have a wonderful day :)