Hello 2016

Good evening lovely readers, and happy 2016!!!

After giving 2015 one last farewell in my previous post, now it is only right to start the new year off on a positive note. After an intense year, both academically and personally, I am determined to approach 2016 with a renewed sense of determination and patience. I know resolutions often get a bad rap for not being accomplished, but I wanted to make a list of things I’d like to achieve so that, at the end of this year, I can reflect back and see which ones I managed to do. I find making resolutions really helpful because they give me something to look forward to and work towards. Plus, it feels so good once I accomplish something and can check it off my list.

♥Stay in touch 

With the first day of my spring term at university tomorrow, my social life will take a dramatic turn from nights out with friends to nights in the library with my daily dose of social interaction coming from the librarian telling me the library will be closing in 15 minutes. I really want to try to stay in touch with friends, and organize meet-ups whenever I can. Study date in the library, anyone???

♥Live as though no one is watching

I am a shy person by nature, and suffer from anxiety and OCD. I am the type of person who always looks at the ground when she walks and really tries her best to remain inconspicuous. While this means I have more than likely avoided being the protagonist in someone’s “I saw this girl the other day who . . . ” story, it also means that I probably have not been living my life to the fullest. We only come by this way once, and I want to spend more time trying new things, and less time worrying about what others will think of me.

♥Blog more

I have fallen in love with blogging over the past year, and I want to keep it up. I am currently working on a blogging schedule that I can fit around my university schedule so that I can post more regularly but also be able to take my time and write posts that I love and hopefully you all will love too.

♥Get in some exercise

As much as I argue that writing an in-class essay so quickly that your hand cramps up counts as strength training, or that power walking from one building to another during the 10-minutes between classes counts as cardio, I am forced to admit that these might not be the best forms of exercise. Don’t get me wrong, they are vital skills for the academically inclined, but they do little for your physical and mental health. This year, I really want to try and fit in some exercise. A yoga class, a running group, a pod of friends to quiz on linguistic terms while we all work off our stress on elliptical machines. Just any kind of physical activity that gives my brain a rest but my body a good workout.

♥ Drink more water

As someone who has such a tiny bladder that I have to pop off to the bathroom every two hours or so, come school time I tend to dramatically limit my water consumption. When you’re struggling to make it across the university campus in time for your next class, drinks of water must be limited and bathroom trips scheduled in advance. No joke, last term I had to go through my weekly timetable and block off areas where I could go, and where the nearest bathroom was. Granted, this was weirdly organized of me, but it often left me feeling lethargic. The brain needs water to function properly, and given all the academic work I force it to do on a daily basis, I owe it the courtesy of helping it run optimally.

So those are the little resolutions I have decided to set myself for 2016. Some are already in progress, like working on establishing a blogging schedule, while others have yet to be started. I plan on making the most of this year, and I hope you all do too.

What sort of resolutions have you set for 2016???

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Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette Giveaway: And the Winner is . . .

Good evening readers!!! Thank you to everyone who entered my Urban Decay giveaway that closed on December 24th, 2015. I received several entries, and many of you took advantage of the additional entry options, which was lovely to see.

I greatly appreciate your patience regarding the delay in announcing the winner of this giveaway. Due to various holiday engagements with family, I was not able to fully go through all the entries until today. But, I contacted the winner this morning to notify her so, without further ado, the winner is . . .

Desire4Beauty

She has a lovely beauty blog that I think many of you would enjoy reading, featuring wishlists, product reviews, hauls, and more. She also hosts giveaways too, if you’re interested!!!

Thank you so much again to everyone who entered, and to all of you for reading, commenting, and being such lovely people 🙂 🙂 

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Blogmas Days 6 and 7: Christmas Shopping and Present Wrapping

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Good evening readers!!!

It’s that time of the year again when we all hit the shops on the hunt for the perfect gifts for family and friends. Unlike last year when I was frantically rushing around doing all my Christmas shopping on the 23rd and wrapping Christmas Eve night, I am planning ahead this year.

Christmas is a time for giving, and I LOVE giving!!! Thinking of the perfect gift for someone, wrapping it up all pretty, and GIFTing it is one of my favourite things ever. Plus, I am so content when presents are all bought and wrapped and under the tree, ready for unwrapping on Christmas Day.

Yesterday, I took my grandmother out for her first round of Christmas shopping this year, and a Blogmas day 6 post was not published. Instead, it is going up today, combined with day 7, a second round of shopping and some wrapping.

Thus far I have only picked up a few presents, mostly for my mother, but I still have many more to go. The vast majority of my family members have winter birthdays, starting with me in November and ending with my grandmother in January. This means shopping for birthday and Christmas gifts simultaneously. The pros for this are that tons of sales come out this time of year, and there are plenty of gift guides and ideas. The con is that, more often than not, birthday gifts end up being wrapped in Christmas paper.

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet??? Do you love giving presents as much as I do???

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Getting Ready for Blogmas!!!

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Hello there readers!!!

I have been AWOL for the past week due to the end of school approaching faster than I would like to admit. With only this week to go, I am four days and five tests away from being off for Christmas vacation . . . well, until I write exams, but those are different. At least I can eat Christmas cookies while studying for them.

Starting tomorrow, I will be participating in Blogmas, blogging daily from December 1st to Christmas Day. Stop by to read posts about all kinds of Christmasey things, from makeup looks, to baking, present wrapping, to even some neat DIY gift ideas.

Are you doing Blogmas this December??? Let me know!!!

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Room Movie Adaptation Review

MV5BMjE4NzgzNzEwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTMzMDE0NjE@._V1_SX214_AL_So often we go to the movies to escape reality: enter into fictional worlds of international intrigue with James Bond, dystopian action with Mad Max, and intergalactic travel with James T. Kirk and Spock. But every now and again, a movie comes along that forces us to confront the world and all of its flaws head-on. This is one such movie.

I reviewed the book Room by Emma Donohue back in September after returning from my trip to Paris. The fact that I was able to finish reading this book on a plane with babies screaming, an elderly man snoring, and this sick kid across the aisle sniffing every five seconds speaks volumes about the immersive quality of this novel.

When I found out that a movie adaptation was to be released, I was skeptical, as I know many fellow bookworms probably were. The common assumption is that the movie adaptation will not do the book justice, and will leave out crucial details, shatter peoples’ mental images of the characters, or even change the entire direction of the plot in some cases. But this movie did none of those things, probably because Emma Donohue wrote the screenplay. I love when authors do that.

This movie adaptation brilliantly captured the raw emotions of Jack and Ma invoked by their solitary life in Room, while also honing in on the beautiful naivety of Jack and the world seen through his eyes. The actors selected to play Jack and Ma were near-perfect selections. In many cases, I find there is a bothersome juxtaposition between actors and the roles they play. It’s like if Justin Bieber was picked to play Mr. Knightley in a movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. It’s just not what you picture. In this movie, however, the actors were talented but unembellished, which allowed me to focus entirely on the adaptation of the story, and the elements used to propel the plot forward.

This film is startlingly real, yet its dark and disturbing themes were gracefully adapted. Plus, the unique shift in perspective to that of a young child who believes that his life in an 11x11ft garden shed is as normal as anyone else’s makes the story all the more powerful, and all the more heartbreaking. Admittedly, I cried during several scenes because it is difficult to think about life in such an environment, and equally more difficult to think about the courage required to even consider escaping.

While society tends to filter what we see to only include things it thinks we will enjoy, this movie is one that needs to be seen, and what it represents needs to be talked about. I would highly recommend this movie to everyone, to people who have read the book, to people who haven’t, and to people who still have doubts about the value of a movie adaptation of a novel.

Give the movie trailer a watch below if you’d like 🙂 🙂

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Mini Autumn Book Haul

imageOk, it’s official: I have a problem.

I don’t know what it is about me and buying books. It’s like I think that if I don’t own it, I’ll never read it. Helloooo, that is what libraries are for. They even have the hold system to make sure you always have a book to read. And the renew feature so you can finish books at your own pace.

So maybe I buy books because otherwise I won’t remember that I wanted to read them. Well, I’m pretty sure that is a top feature of GoodReads for many people, keeping track of books on your shelves, what you’re reading, what you want to read, and even adding books to such lists without having to buy them and then completely rearrange your bookshelf to get them to fit.

But still, I see the need to shop for books every few weeks. The books in this little haul are the result of me pity-shopping. My logic: Self, you stressed over a test; you deserve the sanctuary of a bookstore. I think this is just one way of helping me be stressed about money, but hey, if the worst thing I binge buy is literature, I think we’re good.

imageThe first book I picked up was Margaret Atwood’s latest novel The Heart Goes Last. On promotion for $15 in hardcover, I didn’t think I could go wrong. I started reading it a few days ago, and I am hooked. Mini series, it’s set in a future America where a giant economic crisis has left hundreds of thousands of people without work, living in their vehicles, and forming gangs for protection. And then comes the chance to move to the Twin City of Consilience/Positron: a new project designed to solve both unemployment and organized crime. Participants in this project are given a nice home to live in, with three meals per day, and a job in the community. . . but only for six months out of the year. Every second month, they are sent to the Positron prison to serve out a month-long term as a prisoner, while Alternates move into their home. And so the process repeats. This is all I really know about the book, but it is such an addictive read, and when I finish it, I will most likely be doing a review post, so keep a lookout for that.

imageThe second book is Juliet Was a Mistake by Bill Gaston. This collection of short stories focuses in on the lives of people who are often at the periphery of society’s spotlight: a tree surgeon, a schizophrenic, a pizza delivery guy. From the few stories I have read so far, this collection seems to focus on the consequences of misinterpretation. You know, like when you think that guy likes you, but really, he likes your best friend. I haven’t read any of Gaston’s work before, but I have heard that he is most well-known for his short stories, so I have high hopes for this book.

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The last book is All the Words Are Yours: Haiku on Love by Tyler Knott Gregson. It was so weird stumbling upon this book because not a week ago, I reviewed Gregson’s first book Chasers of the Light. I didn’t even know a new book had been released, but when I saw it, I had to scoop it up. I am reading a few of the haikus each day because as much as I want to binge read them, I want to savour them.

Have you read any of these books before??? What did you think of them???

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Chasers of the Light by Tyler Knott Gregson

IMG_6144I picked up this book from Chapters way back in spring, and even mentioned it in a book haul post, but it got stuck near the bottom of my TBR pile, and it wasn’t unearthed until about a week ago when I did a major overhaul of my bookshelf organization system.

I started reading the poems in this book yesterday afternoon, and had them finished by the end of the day they were so good. I didn’t want to put the book down, so I ended up toting it to all of my classes and reading during lectures (oops . . . ) But then this morning I picked the book up again and started re-reading them all, knowing something new would be revealed the second time.

The poems are part of what Tyler Knott Gregson calls the typewriter series, which shows his ongoing love of crafting poetry using whatever paper is at hand, and the permanence of typewriter ink. The best way I can describe these poems is that they are recordings of the poet’s stream of consciousness, yet at the same time sound as though they were crafted with such care and attention that they must have been written over long expanses of time.

IMG_6143A neat feature about this book is that it is as much a book of photography as it is a book of poetry. As you can see in the photo on the right, the poems are written on anything, such as a library book slip, or the last page of a book. The way these poems are typed on such paper fragments and photographed in this book makes them seem haphazardly, but their words ring so true and are so thought-provoking that they must have been written with gentle finger strokes on keys, and pauses in between every few words to ensure they said everything Gregson wanted them to, and hid even more in the spaces between.

Just to give you a little hint of what these poems are about, I’ve included a larger scale of the picture above so you can read two of these incredible poems. The one on the right is one of my favourites 🙂 🙂

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Have you read this book before??? What did you think???

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My TBR Pile | Autumn 2015

IMG_6137Hello readers!!!

With autumn in full seasonal swing, I figured it was time to establish an Autumn TBR pile. Aside from all my course readings, which mostly consist of psychology textbooks and a plethora of psycholinguistics journal articles, there are the books that I would really like to read this season. Everyone needs some pleasure reading. None of the books I’ve selected are overly long, and all of them have received excellent reviews on GoodReads, so I should have no trouble motivating myself to finish them. I’ve even blocked off reading time in my study schedule so it doesn’t get overtaken by school stuff.

With that, on to the books!!!

1. The Hunter and the Wild Girl  by Pauline Holdstock

IMG_6139I have heard wonderful things about this book and, as an added incentive to read this book, I will get to meet the author!!! On November 10th, Pauline Holdstock will be having a reading and book signing at one of the local bookstores!!! I have already marked it down in my calendar, and have resolved that, as I read it, I will note down questions to ask her. I always love meeting authors because it is one thing to read a book, but another thing entirely to meet the person who wrote it and hear about how the story transferred from their mind onto the page. For some, the story flowed naturally; for others, there were extensive rewrites and multiple drafts; and for others still, a writing process somewhere in between these two extremes. I am really looking forward to hearing about Holdstock’s writing process, and hopefully some little inside facts about the story’s development.

2. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

IMG_6140This is one of those books that comes along and takes society by storm. Not in a Twilight “I-am-so-totally-ok-with-like-dating-a-guy-who-could-kill-me-at-any-moment” kind of way, but rather in a powerful way that forces us to re-evaluate how we see things, and how we define them. Professor, writer, and voice-on-the-Internet Roxane Ray wrote an essay titled “Bad Feminist” and then proceeded to write a book of the same title. Rather than try to describe this book, Roxane Gay has made it easy for me. She actually did a TED talk that will give you a good understanding about what her book is about and what she stands for. Feel free to watch it below 🙂 🙂

3. If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie 

IMG_6141This book was on my local bookstore’s recommended book club reads table. I have never been in a book club before, but I would love to start one up on GoodReads, and this would probably be the first book I would choose for the book club. This book tells the story of 12-year-old Will, the son of an extreme agoraphobe who has not left the house, nor allowed Will to leave, in years. But one day Will realizes that his life Inside is not normal, and prepares for imminent death as he ventures to Outside on his own. This is Michael Christie’s first novel, which I found surprising given the incredible reviews it has received. What a coup for Mr. Christie.

4. How to Be a Heroine (Or, what I’ve learned from reading too much) by Samantha Ellis 

IMG_6138I came across this book on my local bookstore’s staff recommendations table. I always like going through staff picks because I find it gives neat insight into who people are. Some people say you can tell a lot about someone by the contents of their purse, their shoes, etc. Well, I believe you can tell a lot about a person by the books they recommend to others. The title really caught my eye, and it turns out that this book describes what the author has learned from the female characters in classic literature. Many of us have had to study at least one of these ladies in English class, and I hope this book puts a quirky spin on the clichéd profiles of prominent fictional women in literature.

So now it’s your turn: what books are on your autumn TBR list??? If you have read any of these books before, let me know what you thought of them in the comments below!!!

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Autumn Favourites Tag

20150908-124755.jpgHappy Autumn everyone!!!

I was tagged by the lovely Amy from Polished by Amy to do the Fall Favourites Tag. She has an incredible beauty blog with a spotlight on nails, and I am always so jealous of the designs she comes up with, so definitely check it out.

Side note: Maybe it’s a Canadian thing, but I was taught to say Autumn, and didn’t learn that it was synonymous with Fall until much much later. Anyone else have that???

But I digress. Let’s get into the Autumn spirit with some nostalgic favourites:

Favourite candle scent?

Oh goodness, I love so many. I think my favourite would probably be Aveda’s shampure scent.

Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?

Hot chocolate all the way. About this time of year, I start making hot chocolate every few nights and have it while I do homework. Sometimes I even put an After Eight mint stick in the cup so it melts and gives the hot chocolate this super nice minty taste. I am all about the different flavours of hot chocolate. Like Rolo hot chocolate: yes please!!!

What’s the best autumn memory you have???

This one would have to be raking leaves with my grandfather in my grandparents’ backyard. I had this tiny little, red rake that he had made for me, and he used the giant green rake. We’d get them all into a pile and then proceed to throw them at each other and frolic in them. That’s right: a man in his seventies frolicked in leaves. Just picture that.

Which makeup trend do you prefer: dark lips or winged eyeliner?

Definitely dark lips. I feel like winged liner can go one of two ways: it looks absolutely perfect and makes your eyes bigger and bolder, or it goes horribly wrong and your eyes look misshapen and lopsided and questionably over-defined. With dark lips though, they are such a lovely, sultry Autumn trend, and make any look more dramatic and sophisticated. Berry lip and a little black dress and you can go anywhere.

Best fragrance for autumn?

I don’t know . . . I don’t really have fragrances designated for certain seasons. I am loving Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire though. I found out about it while in Paris, and then got some at a local store, and it smells so lovely. I don’t know if I would brand it an Autumn scent, but it’s assumed the role of my Autumn scent, at least for this year.

Favourite thanksgiving food?

This one is a toss-up between my grandmother’s turnip crumble and her turkey casserole. I know what you’re thinking: . . . she likes turnip??? but my grandmother makes this dish every Thanksgiving and Christmas and I can’t get enough of it. I’ll see if I can get a copy of the recipe this year and share it with you all so you, too, can experience the rare glory of tasty turnip. As for the casserole, it’s just the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten, and it makes spending all day cooking a turkey worth it when you can get multiple meals out of it.

What is Autumn weather like where you live?

It’s perfect, at least in my opinion. It’s crisp, but not cold. It’s sunny, but not warm. And there are even a few foggy mornings thrown in.

Most worn sweater?

I don’t know if I have just one, but I have amassed quite a collection of Lord and Taylor cashmere sweaters over the years, and they have started to make their annual appearance in my recent outfits.

Football games or jumping in leaf piles?

Definitely jumping in leaf piles. Canada isn’t known for its football (I don’t think???) but hockey is a game that we will spend all day watching.

Favourite type of pie?

I’ve only ever had one piece of pie in my life . . . but the slice of homemade green apple pie that my friend’s grandmother made was delicious!!!

What song really gets you into the fall spirit?

Ed Sheeran’s Autumn Leaves. It is such a lovely song, and I just get lost in it.

Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?

I’ve only had one pumpkin spice anything, and that was Starbuck’s infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte. My friend’s father brought me, her, and another friend one each while we were marshalling a marathon in seventh grade. It was actually pretty good, but I wouldn’t go as crazy over it as I know some people do, and I don’t think I’d want a candle or anything else that smells like that.

Favourite Fall tv show?

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

“You’re holding my hand, Chuck, you sly dog” –Peppermint Patty

Skinny jeans or leggings?

Skinny jeans. Once the days get colder, I find leggings just don’t keep me warm enough.

Combat boots or UGGS?

UGGS. I know they aren’t super flattering, but they keep my toes oh-so-warm. I just wish they would do better in the rain. Or at least do ok in the rain.

Halloween: yay or nay?

Whatever’s in between yay and nay . . . okay??? I like Halloween and all, but I’m not big on dressing up, going to parties, scaring people or being scared, or watching horror movies so that I never have a nightmare-free sleep again for years.

Fall mornings or evenings?

Mornings. I love the low-hanging fog, and the smell of burning leaves.

What do you think about Black Friday?

Meh. It’s ok. I don’t think I’ve ever gone out on it, not for shopping anyways. I have real issues with crowded places, so I like to avoid hoards of people all cramming into stores for good deals that are usually just as good throughout the year.

One fall 2015 trend you love?

Bold bags. I usually purchase more conservative bags so they will go with more things, but I think this year I might treat myself to a super out-there bag; maybe a Kate Spade.

Thank you so much for reading!!! I tag all of YOU reading this to do this tag!!! If you do this tag, please link me so I can have a read about all your favourite autumn things!!! Have a lovely day 🙂 🙂

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100 Followers Giveaway: And the Winner is . . .

Good morning readers!!!

Thank you to everyone who entered my 100 followers giveaway that closed on October 1st, 2015. I received over a dozen entries, which is so exciting, and right at 12:01am I imputed all entries into a random name generator to select the winner. I contacted the winner this morning to notify her so, without further ado, the winner is . . .

carlynnsblog

She has a lovely beauty blog that I would high recommend checking out, and hosts giveaways too, if you’re interested!!!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered 🙂 🙂

I will be hosting another giveaway when I reach the 500 followers milestone. Thank you all for reading, commenting, and being such lovely people 🙂 🙂

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