Study Motivation: Finding Joy in Little Things

10 Ways to Find Happiness While Studying

  1. Great-smelling candles or lotions
  2. Notebooks (I just typed nootbokes?) that are cute, colourful, sleek, modern, or whatever YOUR aesthetic is.
  3. An open window
  4. Simple snacks like fruit, nut butter, and yogurt
  5. Finding the right time of day to study. I love mornings, but I might be in the minority with that one!
  6. An energetic study buddy
  7. Big, beautiful study tables or calendars
  8. Essential oils like peppermint or citrus for energy
  9. Plants or some kind of greenery
  10. Relaxing music in the background. I always turn to Celtic music.

Speaking of academics, my sister recently received a $750 award for writing a great essay. She attended a brunch and conference to receive the award.

Meanwhile, I made an enchilada casserole! This was made with green chili sauce, lots of onion and garlic, roasted sweet potato (the best part) and delicious yellow corn tortillas. Broccoli and salsa on the side.

Another day I made a random dinner with couscous, a fried egg, salad with honey mustard dressing and nutritional yeast, and fried garlic broccoli. So good.

Friday afternoon is my Princess Cafe day. On Friday, I had the most delicious panini filled with roasted sweet potato, Sriracha mayo, spinach, black bean salsa, and lots of gooey cheddar cheese. The multigrain bun was perfectly crispy and tasted incredible next to broccoli-potato soup.

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Busy week ahead – happy Monday, everyone!

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?

My Top 10 Cooking & Baking Tips

TOP BAKING TIPS

  1. If a recipe calls for mashed banana, always mash your banana first. Then add eggs, and other wet ingredients. Flour should be the very last ingredient you add to the bowl. Voila – a one bowl recipe!
  2. Most cupcake recipes can be made into loaves or sheet cakes. Adjust the baking time accordingly.
  3. Streaks of flour are okay. Never overmix.
  4. Coating blueberries or chocolate chips with flour will prevent them from sinking in muffin recipes.
  5. Almond flour and coconut flour are difficult to substitute. Just don’t do it.
  6. A pinch of salt is necessary in sweet desserts. Salted chocolate?! Yes.
  7. A pinch of cinnamon adds great flavour to recipes with cocoa powder.

TOP COOKING TIPS

  1. Garlic makes any savoury dish taste good. So do caramelized onions, freshly-ground pepper, and lemon!
  2. Add ginger and soy sauce to any Asian dish. You’ll thank me later 😉
  3. Goat cheese is so flavourful that you’ll only need a couple crumbles.
  4. A fried or poached egg make any dish more flavourful, more beautiful, and more nutritious.
  5. Curries and chilis and stews taste even better the second day – make it a day ahead!

What are some of your best tips?

Check out my recipes HERE! 🙂

15 Reasons To Cook with Less Meat

  1. I’ll save you the spiel about animal justice and cruelty on factory farms. I am sure you are aware of the deprivation and torture that most animals experience before they reach your plate. This is not my #1 reason, however.
  2. It is better for the environment, helping to reduce pollution while saving energy.
  3. Reduced risk of heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis… the list goes on. Of course, these diseases are not primarily caused by diet (other factors certainly do play a role), but the reduced disease rate is food for thought. The nutrients in fruits and vegetables are excellent for warding off disease and can lead to longevity. In other words, your “five a day” are helping to fight aging! Interesting side note: the world’s longest-living people live in Okinawa, a group of over 150 Japanese islands. Okinawans have the world’s lowest rates of heart disease, stroke, and cancer, and most of them die of natural causes. The average Okinawan woman lives to age 86 (compared to 79 in North America) and the average man to age 78 (72 in North America). A 25-year study was done to examine the Okinawan lifestyle. The results? Okinawans enjoy around seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day, along with seven grain servings, two servings of soy products, and fatty fish several times a week. They also eat few dairy products and a very small amount of meat. Okinawans also season their food with a variety of herbs and spices.
  4. Imagine if all the grains harvested to feed cattle were used to feed the starving people of our planet.
  5. The standard North American diet is high in processed food and low in fruits and vegetables. When you increase the amount of fresh produce consumed, weight loss is a common side effect.
  6. You will be more “regular” – more fibre is good for helping push waste from the body. Meat has minimal fibre!
  7. You will have more room for fresh produce in your diet, nourishing your body with more antioxidants, fiber, and lean protein like chickpeas and lentils. With less meat, you can eat in greater volumes (think of how 500 calories of broccoli is physically more food than 500 calories of beef) – and who doesn’t want to eat more?
  8. Good nutrition means more energy and a clearer mind. When you fuel your body with great ingredients, your body will reward you with liveliness, alertness, and a positive attitude, as well as better thinking. That being said, I am quite familiar with the 2:00 post-lunch slump and have been paying attention to which foods drain my energy.
  9. An estimated 95% of consumed pesticides come from meat, fish, and dairy – and they cannot be eliminated by cooking. I’m also not a fan of the hormones, steroids, and chemicals that are pumped into milk and meat, which is why I try to avoid them when I can.
  10. Colourful meals are so much more Instagram-worthy. Plus, the rich hues in fruits and vegetables indicate the presence naturally-occurring phytochemicals that fight disease and boost immunity.
  11. You’ll save money. Compare the cost of a can of beans to a package of chicken breasts. It all adds up, even if you go meatless a couple meals a week.
  12. I’m a little paranoid about raw meat and eggs. When you omit them, it takes the guesswork out of frying a chicken breast or baking a pork tenderloin. In other words, you can stress less about food-borne illness. Plus, you can lick the bowl of any vegan cookie dough or cake batter without worrying about salmonella from uncooked eggs.
  13. It’s more fulfilling to explore and experiment. There are already thousands of beef burger recipes online – why not play with creating a healthier, but equally tasty, patty out of legumes? Plant-based cooking opened up a whole new world of options for me, as well as countless opportunities to be creative with food.
  14. Without meat, your freezer will have more room for muffins, brownies, ice cream, frozen berries, and other goodies.
  15. It’s easy. These days, it requires zero effort to find delicious and nutritious vegetarian foods, whether you’re browsing the aisles of a grocery store or enjoying dinner at a new restaurant. For instant inspiration, bookstores often have large vegetarian cooking sections and the internet is your friend for culinary advice and incredible recipes. When you’re in a rush, fast casual restaurants and cafes also offer wholesome and creative salads, sandwiches, and entrees.

Of course, my #1 reason: an excuse to eat many more tablespoons of peanut butter. You know… for protein.

What do you think? Do you like meat? Do you like vegetarian meals as well?

Study Strategies I Wish I Knew Earlier

Top 25 Study Tips
  1. Eat well and exercise.
  2. Join a study group full of people who care about the subject.
  3. Meet with professors.
  4. Set a timer to space your study blocks into nice increments.
  5. Reward yourself.
  6. Study in an appropriate environment that works for you, and change it up!
  7. Know your distractions. Mine is the “ding” of my phone when I get a message. I put my phone on airplane mode when I’m trying to study.
  8. Make reasonable study schedules ahead of time.
  9. Get enough sleep.
  10. Ask questions – to yourself and others.
  11. Test yourself frequently. I like using online practice exams.
  12. Study when you are most alert.
  13. Take good notes in class.
  14. Do not memorize words and ideas – understand them.
  15. Rewrite notes in your own words.
  16. Do a little bit each day.
  17. Make charts, diagrams, flows, and mind webs.
  18. Write neatly!
  19. On rush days, cut out things that are unimportant and not urgent.
  20. Take advantage of notecards, planners, whiteboards. etc.
  21. Spend time on what you DON’T know, instead of what you know.
  22. If music works for you, listen to some.
  23. Relax.
  24. Envision yourself doing well on exams.
  25. Have fun learning and know that you are improving LOTS every day.

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Top 10 Realistic Ways to Be More Active

Top 10 Realistic Ways to Be a Healthier You

  1. Keep your water bottle nearby all the time. That being said, why not toss your gym clothes and a good pair of shoes into your school/work bag? Now you have no excuse for not stopping by the gym on your way home from work 😉 Don’t forget a hair tie!
  2. Change up your fitness routine so you don’t experience any boredom. I think they key tip is to find something you love to do, whether that’s Zumba or TRX. Find something that you find fun and entertaining. If you’re suffering through every class and watching the time tick by during your squats, you’re probably not getting the most out of it.
  3. Don’t go so hard that you’ll “feel the burn” tomorrow. Just go enough so that you sweat, get tired, but NOT sore enough that you won’t be able to come back the next day.
  4. Don’t let stretching fall to the wayside! I think it’s great to learn a couple simple stretches for the parts of your body that need it most (shoulders? hips? hamstrings?) and work on those before or after exercise.
  5. If you’re not feeling very confident, groove it! Turn on some music and just jam out. No one cares what you look like. Just move in a way that feels great – whether that’s a high-energy jumping dance or a slow, expressive dance.
  6. Avoid exercising on a full belly or an empty stomach – snack ahead of time!
  7. Check yourself out. I like having mirrors in yoga (and even cardio) so I can make sure that I have the right form.
  8. Listen to music that you love. Why not make a killer playlist to make you excited to move?
  9. Watch a movie or TV show while moving around! America’s Got Talent, for some reason, is my favourite thing to watch when I’m stretching.
  10. Always ask yourself WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. WHY do you want to deadlift 50 pounds? WHY do you want to do the splits? Does that help you in daily life? Is it for yourself? Are you doing it for personal satisfaction?
BONUS: My favourite tip – reward yourself with non-food items afterwards. For me, it’s a long shower with my favourite cocoa sugar body scrub from the Body Shop. How about a week of workouts in exchange for a manicure? Or 10 yoga classes before you purchase that new notebook? It helps me a lot to tell myself what I’m going to “give” myself for doing a workout. It’s so much more rewarding to get something that lasts, as opposed to “I’m allowed to eat an 8×8 brownie because I did an hour of cardio today”. Food should be a pleasure, not a reward, in my opinion.