Kill Your To-Do List in 10 Steps

Studyblr. It’s one of those things that I love, adore, and admire – but simultaneously hate like nothing else. Mostly because I’m jealous.

How beautiful are these study notes?

As I work on this post, a creamy “golden milk” turmeric latte in my hand, I can’t help but be excited for the next couple of weeks of this semester!

Anyways, I’m probably the only person fazed my inspirational study quotes and dazzling study notes. So this blog post is more of a reminder to myself, when I’m struggling with some tricky courses, that I. Can. Do. It.

10 Steps to Kill Your To-Do List

  1. Make a list. Can’t kill something you don’t have! Try to make ONE list. I have the tendency to be scatterbrained and want to do 4059 things at once, so it helps a lot to smash them all together into one ‘master list’ and check off items from there. It definitely looks more intimidating, but is way more effective for me.
  2. In the mornings, visualize yourself doing what you need to do. Imagine yourself, as vividly as you can, sorting through your laundry, working through that annoying chart from that annoying class, or finishing your dishes. In the mind, in the body!
  3. Set a timer. My roommate once introduced me to Pomodoro studying, where you set timers for 25-minute study segments and STOP when the timer goes off, take a break, and come back. It keeps me refreshed, and the only downside is not being able to get back to work. Regardless, having a timer makes me more productive. Likewise, countdowns can be great. Which leads me to…
  4. Write down all the dates. It also helps if you draw tiny bubbles with numbers inside to indicate how many weeks, months, or even days (!) you have left until a certain deadline/exam.
  5. Stay hydrated! How are you going to be energetic, bright, cheerful, enthusiastic, and productive when your throat is parched? It’s practically impossible. I need to give myself constant reminders to drink, drink, drink – instead of going for hours without water and then chugging my whole water bottle. Along the same lines, take deep breaths of fresh air to renew your mind and body.
  6. Get inspired. For me, that might mean a beautiful new notebook, fresh air from an open window, or sleek highlighters.
  7. Journal and track your progress.
  8. Reward yourself. For some reason, face masks and exfoliation are some things that I truly look forward to. Perhaps you could buy a new mug after that exam. Or have a relaxing day out with a friend after a productive week of studying. I’m all about the positive reinforcement for your hard work.
  9. Calendars, planners, tape, pens, and other stationery make studying a lot easier. You need the right materials to do what you’ve gotta do.
  10. Get to work! 😉

Too beautiful for words. If only my own study notes were this neat! They’re not.

What do you think? Do you like your notes to be written perfectly, with all kinds of calligraphic fonts, or do you prefer scrawling it down quick and easy?

32 Refreshing Summer Salad Ideas

Summer Salad Ideas (Inspired by the salad bars at Loblaws and Longo’s Market)

Remember to add salt + pepper to everything!

  1. shell pasta with turmeric-curry mayo dressing, celery, green onions, yellow raisins
  2. seven grain salad with wheat berries, lentils, rice, couscous, mung beans (green), adzuki beans (red), pearl barley, navy beans, green onions, red pepper, soy sauce, turmeric, vinegar, honey
  3. apricots and couscous
  4. boiled and chopped white potatoes with cheddar cheese and green onions, mayo dressing
  5. tuscany bean salad with barley, chickpeas, navy beans, green and red peppers, green onions, pesto, sundried tomatoes, vinegar
  6. wheat berries, sunflower seeds, red peppers, raisins, lemon juice, parsley, honey, ginger
  7. bean salad with black beans, kidney beans, corn, lemon/lime juice, cumin, chilli powder
  8. fancy bean salad with chickpeas, black eyed peas, black beans, red kidney beans, canola oil, sugar, navy beans, red peppers, vinegar, celery, parsley, garlic, lemon
  9. curried quinoa salad with toasted pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, tiny purple raisins or cranberries, slivered or sliced almonds, maple/honey-tahini dressing mixed in
  10. Thai noodle salad with black sesame seeds, snap peas, cabbage, green onions, cubed chicken, cucumbers
  11. artichoke salad with chickpeas, chopped peppers, sliced kale, edamame
  12. California quinoa salad with mango chunks, raisins, black beans
  13. kale salad with lemon honey poppyseed dressing: cabbage, Brussels sprouts, radicchio, beets, sunflower seeds, cranberries, pumpkin seeds
  14. kale Caesar salad
  15. curried tofu salad with tofu, canola oil, red and green peppers, raisins, carrots, green onions, almonds, mayonnaise, curry sauce, cumin, sugar, shredded coconut, garlic powder, lemon juice
  16. quinoa salad with feta, corn, spinach
  17. chickpeas, beets, carrots, edamame, Israeli couscous
  18. tiny penne, cucumbers, tomatoes
  19. tabouli salad with couscous, cucumber, tomatoes
  20. beets and feta cheese chunks
  21. seafood salad with tiny shrimp, green onions, red bell pepper, shredded crab meat
  22. black grain firecracker salad with black rice, black barley, black quinoa, carrot, yellow pepper and red pepper with dressing of canola oil, honey, lime juice, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, rice vinegar, Italian parsley
  23. edamame and tomatoes, corn, shredded carrots
  24. quinoa with kale, almonds, feta
  25. macaroni 3-cheese salad with pasta, mayonnaise, sour cream, carrots, peppers, cheddar, green onion, mozzarella, lemon, garlic, sugar, parmesan, parsley, white vinegar
  26. chickpeas, shredded carrots, flax, red peppers
  27. cilantro tabouleh salad with bulgur, tomatoes, cucumber, quinoa, canola oil, lemon, coriander, mint, vinegar, parsley
  28. Silican pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, pesto, cheese
  29. summer rotini salad with pasta, tomato, spinach, green and red peppers, black olives, onion, white vinegar, garlic, parsley
  30. creamy salmon
  31. honey chicken with red and yellow peppers, poppyseeds
  32. quiche with leeks and brie (not a salad, but… yum)

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Yum.

Life.

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 1.08.40 PM.pngDo you like poetry? Quick promo, friends! Did y’all know that my crazy, studious, funny, awesome 17 year-old sister writes a blog, too? Hers is called Purely Poetic, and she writes all about mythical lands, strange sensations, and weird-but-wonderful worlds. Seline has a way with words, and is quite talented when it comes to writing creatively. Paired with some incredible aesthetics, I think you will love her writing. Take a look by clicking on this link, which will open up in another tab.

On another note, Mother’s Day was last weekend, and I was more than happy to wish a special day to my one and only mom. ❤ She is such a resilient, compassionate, caring person.

I had oatmeal this morning with an overripe banana, cocoa powder, tons of sunflower butter, and granola with hemp hearts to top.

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Yesterday night’s dinner was fresh pasta from the market, cooked with a pumpkin sauce and market asparagus with frozen peas. Parmesan on top!

The same sauce paired gloriously with fresh gnocchi. I love gnocchi. In fact, I think it is my #1 favourite pasta. What’s yours?

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For lunch yesterday, I met up with some friends to enjoy a meal at Cafe Pyrus. Every semester, the Schulich Leaders Foundation sponsors a get-together, and this time one of my friends recommended this vegan cafe in downtown Kitchener. I savoured every sip of my vanilla steamer, and loved the Angry Vegan sandwich: a panini with Daiya, caramelized onion, spinach, tomato, and a great garlicky aioli. Broccoli soup of the day was tasty, too.

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I wish I was back in Toronto so I could see this aerials showcase, starring my friends. 😥 They all look so beautiful in this shot.

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Eggs, broccoli, cheese, yogurt, fruit, granola – what better breakfast can you ask for?

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Loved this dinner that I enjoyed two nights in a row: baked herb salmon, broccoli, and a side of schoolwork.

I went to Freshii last weekend for this deluxe salad, which was loaded with brown rice (it was essentially a grain bowl), beets, carrots, corn, mushrooms, beans, aged cheddar and feta cheese, crispy wonton strips, spinach, and a spicy yogurt sauce. Loved this!

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Pancakes are another love, of course: this tasted awesome smeared with peanut butter and sunflower butter.

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A tasty lunch featured eggs and frozen almond croissant from Thobors.

Met with my friends at The Works, where I had a big turkey burger with great toppings! I love arugula on my burgers.

Meal prep, which involved a mediocre quinoa pesto chickpea salad and subpar cucumbers.

Chocolate baked oatmeal always exceeds my expectations. This tasted incredible with yogurt and granola… plus peanut butter. Always, peanut butter.

Baked sweet potato, beans and corn, cheddar, avocado, salsa. I need to buy more sweet potatoes this week. They are so versatile.

These are Seline’s drawings. Her artwork never fails to impress me. She did these spontaneously, somehow… with just a pencil and an old notebook!

Her oil paintings are equally wonderful. The waterfall painting is one of my favourites that she’s done. I cannot believe that she is self-taught, and has only been painting for two years.

Yay for cookies! Make this recipe, friends. I adopted the recipe slightly from Oh She Glows, and it is brilliant. And vegan. 😉 I made it with some arm power and a handheld whisk. You don’t need an electric beater for this. You won’t regret it – I baked ’em up and all ten were gone in 4-5 days. I was the only one eating them.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

10 large cookies

Ingredients:

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (do not melt)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (see note)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1.5 cups oat flour
  • 1-2 teaspoons non-dairy milk (only if needed to moisten batter)
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flax and water and set aside for a few minutes so it can thicken up. Whisk the flax egg again once thickened.
  2. Add the rest of the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flax egg (coconut oil, sunflower seed butter, brown sugar, cane sugar, and vanilla). Beat the ingredients until combined and smooth.
  3. Now, beat in the dry ingredients, one by one, as you go down the ingredient list (baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, oat flour). If your dough is a bit dry, add a teaspoon (or two) of non-dairy milk and beat the mixture again. The dough should be moist enough to form balls without cracking, but not super sticky.
  4. Beat the chocolate into the batter or simply stir by hand.
  5. Shape balls of dough (about the size of a golf ball or 2 heaping tablespoons) and place on the baking sheet 2-3 inches apart. Gently press down on each ball with your hand to form a disc (it should be 1/2-inch thick or so). Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes until the cookies are spread out nicely.
  7. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 7 minutes or so and then transfer to a cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes.

One more recipe! This one was a killer dessert that satisfied every cakey craving.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MICROWAVE MUG CAKE
 Serves: 1
INGREDIENTS
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon butter extract (optional)**
  • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
  1. Spray a microwavable mug with cooking spray and then mix together oat flour, baking powder, salt, milk, maple syrup, vanilla and butter extract (if using). The batter should be somewhat thick, but not dry. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons more of almond milk as needed for consistency. Stir in mini chocolate chips and sprinkle a few over the top, if desired.
  2. Microwave on high for about 1 minute and 25 seconds. Take out of the microwave and if desired transfer to a plate. Enjoy!

Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone!

9 Days of Mindful Fitness

DAY 1 – Wednesday, April 19

What I did: gentle stretching at home

How I felt: lazy, wanting to move

 

DAY 2 – Thursday, April 20

What I did: 1 reduced heat level 1-2 yoga class, 1 flow and glow yoga class, 1 reduced heat level 1-2 class

How I felt: I felt energetic during the first class, but after shavasana in the second class, I felt tired. I listened to my body in the third class and had to “simplify” a lot of the poses by lowering my knees. The yoga classes went from 6:45 to 10:15, with 15 minute breaks in between. I felt like my insides were warm after the three heated classes, and wanted to lie down and sleep after the three classes. My mind was relaxed.

 

DAY 3 – Friday, April 21

What I did: 2 hours of stretching and easy silks tricks

How I felt: I did my stretching and silks right after eating a lot of indian food and an ice cream sandwich, so I felt too full to do big tricks and intense conditioning. I went home feeling good, but still bloated. I felt out of breath after doing silks. I stayed up in the air for two 5-minute intervals as an endurance challenge.

 

DAY 4 – Saturday, April 22

What I did: gentle hatha yoga class, flow and let go yoga class, restorative yoga class

How I felt: I wanted to move, move, move. Even now, I ‘want’ to move, but I just cannot force myself to do it. I loved the flow and let go class today. In restorative yoga, I really wanted more hands-on adjustments. The gentle hatha class was relaxing.

 

DAY 5 – Sunday, April 23

What I did: aerial silks practice for 2.5 hours

How I felt: I felt energetic for the first part, after my warm-up. After I ran through the tricks that I wanted to work on, I felt tired and needed to sit down to relax for a little bit. I relaxed by doing some stretches, but felt extremely lethargic in my straddle stretch. After that, I had very little energy left. I also walked home after silks practice, which took just over 1.25 hours. Walking home made me feel great. I was not hungry afterwards, but really wanted to eat.

 

DAY 6 – Monday, April 24

What I did: aerial silks practice for 2.5 hours

How I felt: I felt energetic during the first part, but lost my energy once I didn’t feel the vigour to climb. Once I started stretching, I felt too relaxed. After a lot of stretching I was able to get back on the silks and feel  more energetic. Near the end of the practice, I wanted to keep moving. I realized that I am not changing because I’m not challenging myself enough. I know that the thing that is holding me back the most at this point is strength; I need to work on the pull-ups, chin-ups, and dead hangs. At the same time, I don’t want to lose any grace or flexibility.

 

DAY 7 – Tuesday, April 25

What I did: Nothing

How I felt: Lazy 😦

 

DAY 8 – Wednesday, April 26

What I did: simple yoga stretches by myself in the morning, 1-hour Core Yoga class

How I felt: I feel great today, even though I did the same amount of sitting/computer as yesterday. I felt awesome after doing the stretches in the morning, and I liked doing some balancing in the morning before breakfast. The Core Yoga class felt great, but there were some postures and sequences that I didn’t like. The class went by fairly quickly, and I felt like my shoulders and core had a reasonable workout (though fairly easy). I would not go back to a Core Yoga class taught by the same instructor.

 

DAY 9 – Thursday, April 27

What I did: aerial silks for 1.5 hours

How I felt: today I had a private lesson in silks for 30 minutes. I felt energized in the class and very excited to be in the air. We worked on creative exercises. During the private lesson, I was in the air only two times, each time for around 6 minutes. I was very proud of myself for being in the air for 8.5 minutes at the end of a session, during a slow routine. Now I feel more confident in the air.

30 Recipes I Can’t Wait to Make!

My schedule for the spring/summer semester is quite packed! With courses going from as early as 8:30 to as late as 6:20, and aerials classes 5-6 days a week, I could use lots of meal prepping help (or maybe a personal chef – that’d be nice too).

That being said, life gets a lot easier when…

a) it’s summer, so there’s less reason to turn on the stove and truly “cook”

b) meal-prepping is an option, simply by cooking 3-4 servings of one dish and enjoying leftovers for lunches/dinners for days to come

Check out my list of 30 quick, easy, healthy, and colourful summer meals!

Healthy Summer Eats

  1. grilled shrimp with tomatoes and romaine lettuce on whole grain flatbread with feta cheese and tzatziki
  2. rice and beans (this recipe looks simple and delicious) with broccoli on the side
  3. over-easy eggs, half of a nut-buttered bagel, avocado, fresh fruit
  4. pizza topped with BBQ sauce, black beans, corn, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella
  5. shrimp pasta with black beans, zucchini, bell peppers, and baby spinach, topped with breadcrumbs and parmesan
  6. healthy corn cakes: this recipe and this one look healthy and delicious.
  7. quinoa tabbouleh, served with pita wedges and hummus: this recipe looks awesome!
  8. gnocchi with corn, zucchini, onion, basil, half-and-half, parmesan
  9. seafood-salad stuffed avocado (canned wild salmon mixed with celery, peppers, Greek yogurt, mustard)
  10. egg salad made with Greek yogurt
  11. super berry summer salad with raspberries, blueberries, candied nuts, avocado, goat cheese
  12. zucchini bread
  13. blueberry smoothie with 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/4 cup oats, lemon zest, and vanilla extract
  14. quinoa breakfast porridge with bananas and nut butter
  15. healthy grain bowl with quinoa, fried black beans, wilted spinach, avocado, lemon wedge
  16. lots of veggies and fresh fruit with yummy dip
  17. avocado caprese salad with romaine, cherry tomatoes, avocado, fresh mozzarella, basil, balsamic reduction
  18. grilled salmon on couscous with spinach and corn
  19. caprese lasagna – this recipe is the one!
  20. summer rolls with cucumber, cabbage, peppers, carrots, wrapped in rice wraps and dipped in peanut sauce
  21. chia pudding with blackberries, coconut, pistachios
  22. lots of overnight oatmeal
  23. vegetable feta quinoa with honey lemon vinaigrette (1 tbsp lemon zest, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1.5 tbsp honey, minced garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper to serve 3)
  24. caprese pesto tortellini skewers with fresh mozzarella pearls, cherry tomatoes, basil, and pesto-covered tortellini
  25. black bean quesadillas with pepper jack cheese, salsa, whole wheat tortillas, and smashed avocado
  26. green smoothies!
  27. skillet gnocchi with dark leafy chard, onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, white beans, and mozzarella and parmesan cheese
  28. fresh sliced mozzarella, yellow peach, tomato, basil, EVOO, balsamic vinegar
  29. pinwheel sandwiches
  30. this cookie dough dip made with chickpeas and blended up:
  • 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup nut butter
  • up to 1/4 cup milk, if needed
  • 2 tbsp oats

Are there any delicious summer dishes that you’re dying to make?

Goodbye, Toronto

I may physically be in Waterloo, but my heart is still in Toronto!

I moved to Toronto on January 1, and worked in downtown Toronto for four months. It was a wonderful (and delicious) experience, at times exciting and invigorating, and other times boring and exhausting.

In other words, I loved it.

I loved browsing through leotards and practicewear at Malabar on Queen and McCaul.

I loved listening to dramatic Disney songs and reading analyses.

I loved working at the Toronto Health Centre, where I helped to create all kinds of posters, catalogues, and flyers.

Creating these were the highlight of my work term!

I loved making lists and preparing to move out. I also loved looking at summer vacation packages to the Sunshine Coast. I can’t wait until we go! Mom has been working hard to create the trip itinerary.

Goodbye, 123 Edward Street!

Goodbye, Aura Condos!

Also, goodbye to these horribly dirty, worn-out shoes that somehow managed to survive a trip to Paris, a trip to Kathmandu, and two trips to the Sunshine Coast.

Thank you, Toronto, for the beautiful memories.

And hello Waterloo, as I continue with my spring/summer semester!