Wednesday, 30 September 2015

I Quit Caffeine for a Week

I've never considered myself myself to be someone who was dependent on caffeine but I do work at Starbucks so there's a lot of coffee in my house so I got in the habit of having at least one cup of coffee every day. A few weeks ago I was having trouble falling asleep so I decided to quit caffeine cold-turkey to see if that would help.
The first day hit me way harder than I thought it would. I had headaches and I fell asleep for over an hour on the couch in the middle of the day. The morning of day two I was already rationalizing with myself that it would be totally fine if I had just one cup of coffee; it was cold out and I was craving it.
I managed to hold off and only caught myself staring longingly at my coffee maker once and I did notice some changes. The first day post-caffeine break I cherished that morning cup of coffee that I'd been counting down the days to but after that first day I've noticed that I no longer feel like I have to have it every day. Some days, in fact, I even forget to turn on the coffee pot! I don't think I could ever be completely caffeine free, I like my coffees and teas too much, but I did not miss the caffeine crash in the afternoon. Now that I've significantly cut down how much caffeine I'm taking in my head feels clearer, I get more sleep, and because I get more sleep it's easier to wake up in the morning. If you've got a coffee habit like I did I strongly suggest taking a caffeine vacation, even for just a few days, you just might feel better afterwards.

Monday, 21 September 2015

4 Books You Should Be Reading

I read a lot. I love reading and will read almost anything; I’m not that picky but there are a few books that I’ve read that I immediately want to share with everyone I know because I NEED to talk about them.  These are the 4 books you should be reading (if you have time, I’m sorry I know school’s happening).

The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill
This book is without a doubt one of my favourite books of all time.  After I finished reading it I was pretty much forcing it on anyone I had ever met because all I wanted to do was to talk about how incredible the book was.  Written by Canadian author Lawrence Hill the novel follows Aminata Diallo from the time she is kidnapped from her Village in West Africa at age 11 to be sold into slavery in South Carolina to her freedom as an elderly woman.  Although Aminata herself is a fictional character the novel is based on true events and it’s first person narration makes it read like a memoir.  The novel is both beautiful and heartbreaking and Aminata is one of the most dynamic, strong, and interesting female characters I have ever come across in a book.  If you read only one book from this list make it this one; it’s not only a sweeping, gorgeous, incredible book but it’s also an important part of history that most of us don’t know enough about.

One Day - David Nicholls
One Day by David Nicholls follows Emma and Dexter on the 15th of July for 20 years.  Each chapter follows the two characters on one day a year (July 15th) so we get snapshots of their lives and their relationship with each other.  The novel is light and funny, easy to read, but also absolutely heartbreaking as it depicts not only two people who seem to keep missing their chance to be together but also beautifully captures real life in that it doesn’t always go according to plan.  This book absolutely broke my heart but it’s just as funny and uplifting as it is sad and it’s one of those books that I want to read over and over again.  Even if you’ve seen the movie so you know how the book ends I strongly suggest reading the book because as usual it is so much better than the movie.

Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Again, this book has a highly successful movie but the book is better, deeper, and more in depth than the film.  The novel, written by Canadian author Yann Martel tells the story of a young Indian boy, Pi, who survives 227 days stranded in a lifeboat with a tiger.  This book is smart, fantastical and seems to toe the line between realism and fantasy.  Some moments were thrilling and almost scary for me while others were really thought provoking and there is one moment at the end of the novel which will make you want to read the whole book over again right away.

Room - Emma Donoghue
This book is about to get a lot of attention because there is a movie based on the book that just won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award at TIFF.  I read this book years ago when my mom gave it to me for my birthday; the book is written from the point of view of a five year old boy who has never been outside of one room.  Jack was born in Room, he doesn’t know any different but for his mother it’s a prison where she is being held captive.  Because Jack is only five and doesn’t understand what is going on this protects the reader a bit from his mother’s harsh reality while still being able to understand what is actually happening.  Sad, heartwarming, and thrilling this book was hard for me to put down and being written from such a young child’s perspective it was unlike anything I have ever read.

If you do read or have read any of these books OMG LET'S TALK ABOUT THEM.  Or if you have any books you want to recommend please please leave them in the comments.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Living Away From Home for the First Time

Leaves are falling, there's a chill in the air, the lineup at the bookstore is 45 minutes long which means that school is well on it's way for University students.  For first years the beginning of the school year can also mean living away from home for the first time and that can be both intimidating and scary.  I've been living apart from my parents for four years now and these are some things I've learned along the way.

Budget Your Groceries
I didn't realize until I was in charge of my own food just how expensive groceries can be; that paired with the sudden ability to buy whatever you want can be dangerous.  To avoid getting overwhelmed plan what you're going to eat beforehand so you know what you need to buy before you get to the store.  Check what's on special to save money as well especially when it comes to meat!

Don't Be a Hermit
Living on your own for the first time (or even with roommates) can be scary and it can also be lonely especially if you've moved away from your hometown.  As lonely as it can be I've found that loneliness is only amplified by staying inside all the time.  Even if you don't have a lot of people to hang out with just going for a walk outside or to the mall or something can make it all feel a little bit better.  I can't count the number of times that one small outing (even if I was still alone) turned my day around but sitting alone on the couch has almost never made me feel better.

Clean Up After Yourself
You will never appreciate all the work your mom does to keep the house neat and clean until suddenly you have to do it all yourself.  Hard as it is I've found that I do feel better when things are neater.  At the very least do the dishes, do your laundry, and don't forget to wash your sheets every so often.

Most of all I would say enjoy it; it can be fun to figure everything out on your own and to decorate a new place, it's a new adventure that you get to do on your own for the first time and if you need help your parents are only a phone call away (seriously call you parents, they miss you).

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Summer in Pictures

It seems like overnight the weather has turned for the worst, it's cold, I wore a jacket and a hat the other day, and now it's September and I guess summer is officially over.  I took two mini trips this summer; one to the cottage with the famjam and one to visit my parents in BC.

Our family cottage is my happy place, unfortunately during that trip I had a concussion so I couldn't do a lot other than sit on the dock (on the warm days) and read in short bursts.

A month later I travelled to BC to hang out with my parents and luckily I was recovered from the concussion at that point so I was able to go on a fun hike with the mom and the sister; there's nothing like those BC forests.

The Summer ended on a high when me and the roomies roadtripped down to Edmonton to see Taylor Swift in concert!  I won't go into too much detail but it was incredible, I could post a full review if anyone wanted because I have SO MANY THOUGHTS about Taylor Swift.