How to Deal with the Winter Blues

Wintertime always seems to be connected to spending a lot of time indoors compared to summer, and the lack of vitamin D can actually cause people to feel blue. In my evolutionary psychology class, we learned about melanin and how our skin absorbs the UVb light from the sun, and our body creates vitamin D. This is why summertime is seen more of a happy, energetic season. Really, when I think of winter, I imagine lots of pretty snow, but very cold and very lazy (especially in Canada, we have had two huge snowstorms this week alone).

For today, I decided to give my fellow bloggers a few tips and tricks to get through the long, cold days of snow season.

  1. Keep warm and cozy while indoors! 

There is nothing worse than coming home from a freezing walk outside, and your house being cold and dreary. I love to decorate my little apartment with different types of Christmas lights (all white bulbs), as well as lots of picture frames on my walls of warm scenic views, and soft, fuzzy blankets for each couch!

       2. Find an exciting TV series to follow

For those days where boredom hits and there’s nothing to do, why not turn on the Netflix and catch up on an action-packed show? I recommend Stranger Things, Orphan Black, and Wentworth. (Also Prison Break is coming back soon for any of you Scofield/Burrows fans).

       3. Bake a cake!

Or any kind of sweets! What is better that the smell of chocolate chip cookies filling your kitchen, and wafting through the whole house? Um… nothing? These two recipes for snicker-doodles and no-bake cheesecake will keep you happy, and full for days.

        4. Put down your phone and pick up a book

Yes, that’s right. A book. Anything to immerse yourself into a different world, and get lost for a few hours. I love to read anything that makes me feel like I’m the protagonist of the story line. Right now, my book of the month is The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). I also highly recommend Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, and the Humans of New York series.

        5. Host a gathering with friends

Whether it be a potluck full of delicious foods and desserts, or a games night consisting of Cards Against Humanity, and Katan (please play, best game ever). Being around close friends and family will help relieve any blues you experience and bring lots of happiness and laughter instead.

EXTRA SECRET TIP:

        6. GET OUTSIDE!!

Lastly, don’t be a full hermit. Yes, it’s fine to stay inside and get things done, whether it’s cleaning or even studying. But your body still needs that vitamin D in the wintertime. And though vitamin supplements give you the amount necessary to function, nothing beats good old fashioned sunshine. There are so many wonderful, fun activities that involves being outdoors. Many cities have huge hills for sledding, public skating, snowball fights, shoveling, skiing, etc. So just get outside once in awhile!!!

Though the list is small, it has surely helped me beat some of the blues. A few other quick tips include joining a gym/yoga studio, working out at home, planning a trip for the summertime, and just keeping yourself busy!

Sunny days are right around the corner, we can do it!

Making the Change

Every year I tell myself that “this” is my year. That this year I’m gonna cry rainbows and get really fit, and healthy, and become who I have always pictured myself as. I will save thousands of dollars, become a successful writer, and meet my future, perfect husband. And yet… every year ends up the same. Me, still a child, ending up on my couch eating chocolate cake and watching 13 Going on 30 *forever alone*.

But doesn’t one of these years have to be my year? I mean, everyone has their “year”, don’t they? Where they accomplish a ton of things, check a lot off places their bucket list or even just eat better and get active. Hell, if you worked hard enough every year can be your year. And I guess that’s what I’m trying to get at, is that I’m going to make this MY YEAR.

You saw it here first, folks! I’m about to make 2017 my betch. And how will I do this, you ask? What is my secret? Honestly… I’m still trying to figure that out. Whether I start working out and stick with it, or finally learn how to meal plan after many failed attempts, I will conquer a few things to push myself towards the person I can see myself being.

I’m tired of being a couch potato, and lazy, and sleepy. I’m tired of not feeling the best about my body, or how I look and feel. I’m tired. But I feel like I’m finally starting to wake up.

I’m finally starting to move in the direction my life needs to go, and I’m finally starting to wake up.

Is My Favourite Number Naughty or Nice?

Alright, first of all… how cheesy is that title?

I was literally chuckling to myself as I typed that out.

Any-who, let’s make it more obvious than it already is. My favorite number is 69!

“LOL you naughty minx”…“whoa cowgirl calm down”…“so inappropriate”

Whatever some may say, this number actually is said to have a huge significance to it!

For months on end, the only number I saw on my phone battery seemed to be at 69 percent. Or at least more than all the other numbers from 1-100. And for some reason, every time I saw it displayed by the bar of battery juice left, I felt a source of comfort. In search of some higher power source, I googled “what is the meaning of the number 69”, and found some pretty cool information!

The first thing that popped up was “Angel Numbers” on Sacred Scribe. They say that the number 69 is an actual message from your angels saying “that it is time to detach yourself from your material possessions and items, particularly if you have an obsession with anything in particular”.

I am human, so of course I have made mistakes and lots of lessons learned. Some that I have felt would never come to an end. But there was a small comfort in seeing that number all the time. With my mom passing by the time I was almost 4 years old, I always knew and felt she was still around.

This special (but naughty in context) number made me feel that she is sending me a message each day saying, “relax… you’re okay… you’ll get through this”. And I really do believe that she is still around, watching over my family. But my lovely mother has always been my guardian angel, and lucky for me I get a funny favorite number out of it too!

The Tattoo Decision

Okay, so yesterday I decided to take a HUGE leap and get another tattoo. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not new in the poking needles section. I have a long quote on my back, 4 lines of Roman numerals on my ribs and a semi-colon on my wrist (to signify suicide awareness and Crohn’s/colitis).

But I made an impulse decision to get a big mandala tattoo on my arm and I absolutely LOVE it. Of course, it’ll still take time getting used to it and everything since it’s so gigantic and the first tattoo I can see at all times. But I don’t regret it one bit.

I feel tattoos are the parts of people that show their inner self. They are pieces of art that are portrayed on the body to show everyone their raw, beautiful creations. My tattoos mostly represent my past experiences and my family. The quote on my back is the quote on my mother’s tombstone and the Roman numerals are my family birthdays.

This tattoo means the circle of the universe and everything in it. For even more inspiration behind this, I got the idea from the song Wildflower by Tom Petty.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Make Your Own Homemade Candles… WITHOUT WAX

So back in December I had a “yolo” moment (you only live once, words spoken by Drake) and decided to sign up for a three week volunteer trip to Ecuador next summer. Well, I decided to put a down payment of $700 on the trip, without really thinking about how I was going to actually pay for the final total. Let’s look at it this way, I’m a full-time student living paycheck to paycheck, on my own, working a decent job but, also love to use money on entertainment and food. I had to find a way to raise some money so I could play with monkeys in a rural village and hike some wicked volcanoes.

During hours of research, I came across a YouTube video where the blogger created candles for a very cheap price, WITHOUT WAX!

Instead, she used a shortening called “Crisco”. I calculated how much all the products would cost me and felt like I was over the moon. If I sold a small candle (250mL) for $5 and a large one (500mL) for $8, I would make double the profit! I was so ecstatic to start. Luckily, my dad was kind enough to help me in the kitchen because I’m not the best chef in the world dealing with a stove and hot material. SO without further a-do, my step-by-step to making some cheap but cute candles.

Jars:

I buy all my jars at the Dollarama close to my house. Usually I’m able to find a pack of 3 Mason jar knockoffs for $3 ($1.00 a bottle). They are the exact measurements I need and also so adorable!

Use of Crisco:

Small candle (8oz or 250mL) – need ½L of Crisco for each jar

Large candle (16 oz or 500mL) – need 1L of Crisco for each jar

Fragrances:

I actually buy all my scents from Walmart in the candle section, usually named “wax fragrance”. I love this so much because they come in ah-maze-ing smells (apple pie, fresh linen, cinnamon, lavender, etc) and only cost $1 each! They are quite small bottles, but work amazing with my jars!

Small candle – need ½ bottle of fragrance for each jar (so 1 whole bottle will fit 2 small candles)

Large candle – need 1 whole bottle of fragrance for each jar

Wicks:

I found that buying wicks at Michaels or another craft store were so expensive for what I get, so I went on EBay and ordered 50 6” wicks for $4.00! They are a little big for my small candles, but cutting them in half doubled how many I have to use.

Extra Pretty Things:

Lastly, I buy some sparkles and ribbon to decorate my candles (totally optional). You need very small sparkles in order for them to stick to the side of the jar, but if you add a teaspoon amount before adding the wick or liquid, you can put the lid back on and swish the sparkles around. After making the candles, I tie some ribbon around the rim of the jar, and make a little bow to add some OOMPF to it.

WHAT TO DO:

I’ll explain using a large candle because that seems to be the easiest measurements.

SO this is my plan of beginning to end to making a homemade candle:

  • Grab a 500mL jar and add a teaspoon amount of sparkles, add the top and swish around
  • Glue gun wick to the bottom of the jar, try shooting for the center
  • Place the stove on medium heat and put a large pot halfway full of water on top
  • I go for the double-broiler method so I use a large measuring cup (Pyrex) to add my Crisco
  • With 1lb of Crisco, I add the Pyrex cup into the boiling water and start stirring the contents until fully melted
  • Once Crisco is fully liquid, remove from heat and let cool (but not too much, I usually take the temperature and find the perfect time to add fragrances is at 140 degrees Celsius)
  • Add the full bottle of fragrance to the liquid, stirring frequently (smells so yummy)
  • Pour the contents into the jar, and secure the wick with a pencil and some tape
  • Let it solidify for a few hours and ENJOY!

Sorry I’m not the ultimate best at explaining how to make this little craft. Some of you are probably looking at this with your mouth open thinking “uh what the heck”. I apologize, I tried my best but it’s definitely easier to look at a video and see exactly what they’re doing. So if you didn’t quite get what I was putting down and what to try the candle making out for yourself, I suggest going to the YouTube search engine and typing in “Homemade no wax candle”, a video by Lisa Pullano. It’s so fun and easy to do (plus extremely budget friendly!!!). I was able to make a few hundred dollars for my trip using this method, especially since lots of moms, as well as my girl-friends LOVE candles and sparkly things (I had to keep a few for myself because I loved them so much!).

Hope my friendly bloggers and readers have a great week full of copious amounts of coffee but hopefully stress-free!