Monday Musings: August 29.

I just spent an incredible weekend away (recap to come!), but wanted to pop by with some thoughts after spending the weekend on the go!

  • This is my last week of vacation before heading back to the books. I’ve had an amazing summer (I don’t say that lightly), and honestly can’t believe how fast time has gone! This year will bring a lot of changes for me (something I’m learning to embrace!!), and I can’t wait to get started… but I’m clinging to the summer state of mind for now!
  • I truly admire people who are comfortable in daring outfits (fashion is certainly not my forté), but I have a hard time figuring how it’s a good look to have shorts so short you can’t bend over. Also, pockets hanging down below the hem… not cute in my books. Is my granny side showing?
  • Ice cream is probably my favourite summer treat, and I’ve had the best of my life this summer! Oddly enough, I’ve learned that non-chocolate flavours almost always beat out the chocolatey ones. Blasphemy, I know! This chocoholic is certainly surprised!
  • Although I love ice cream, it definitely messes with my face… Worth the pimples? I think so!
  • I wish more people would follow their hearts and their lifestyles when having a wedding. Just because it’s always been done/is always expected doesn’t mean it’s right for you and your partner! I think the best weddings are the ones that are true to the special couple… there’s something incredibly authentic and heartwarming seeing two people join their lives in a fitting and unique occasion! 
  • First-world problem: hotel rooms without a working air conditioner in late-August heat and humidity. Talk about hellish… and hard to get your frizz-prone hair special event ready! 
  • Also hellish: most public washrooms! This girl has a small bladder, so I’ve become a self-appointed connoisseur.
  • Speed limits should have both a maximum and a minimum number on all roads. It’s dangerous to have people driving <100kmph in a 110 zone. If you can’t drive at highway speed in good weather, you shouldn’t be driving. At LEAST put your 4-way flashers on!!
  • Is it too early to be excited for Christmas? Especially when you’re almost 30 and childless?
  • Family is everything… be it your given family, or your chosen one. Love everyone and remind them how special they are to you. 
  • Thank goodness for my incredible parents and partner (“s.o.”, “boyfriend”, etc. make my skin crawl). They make me smile without fail, and it makes me beyond happy to see them get along so well and truly enjoy each other’s company! They were, without a doubt, the best road-trip crew I could have asked for!

Love, Jenn

Lessons on Living Alone

Hello!

So recently I celebrated my 1st Year Anniversary of living solo. To be honest, even three years ago I would have laughed and called someone nuts to suggest I would consider living on my own… but now it feels incomprehensibly comfortable. I love the freedom and independence it offers. It also helps me feel empowered and in control. Of course, there have been some things I’ve learned along the way.

Set your own rules. Living alone means that you don’t have to deal with other people’s routines or quirks, but it also means that your routines and quirks can be front and centre. Maybe you hate doing dishes, or maybe you never want to mop… Since no one is there to take over these less-than-favourite chores, make sure you set rules for yourself like you will do dishes every 3 days, or mop once a month. Then stick to them. Really. 

Avoid scary things. I am a total scaredy-cat  slave to my overactive imagination. This means that I have occasionally lost some sleep when my brain latches on to something like a funny noise (or thriller commercial from evening TV). So I’ve tackled this a few ways. 1 –  I avoid thrillers and murder shows (etc.) like the plague after sunset has started. 2 – I strongly, and firmly tell myself that it’s nothing if my brain is playing tricks. Then keep reminding myself that it’s a trick. 3 – I exercise caution (to a daylight reasonable level hehe) and remind myself that I’ve done what I can.

Be social. I’m an introvert, so being around people isn’t always the most desirable activity (doesn’t mean I don’t love my family and friends!)… but it can be lonely to spend every evening on your own. Living alone means that you can have lots of your own space, but remember that ultimately we do need to enjoy the connections to those around us. Remember to do things with people, even if your book or show is calling. Consider going to a movie with a friend – social yet relaxing. Or better yet, have a movie night at your place.

Learn to do (or try) things on your own. I’m not a handy or naturally super-adventurous person, but I am someone who loves to learn. So I’ve tried to stretch my skills to include some things outside my natural abilities. Try something before considering it “not your thing” or “too hard/scary/overwhelming”. For me, this has included:

  • Navigating and using the bus system – I’m sure those of you who lived in legit-transit cities find this one hard to imagine… but this was a totally new skill for me! My hometown was anything but transit-friendly, so figuring out how to plan a bus route wasn’t the simplest of activities at first. Now I’m a bus-riding pro, and will definitely choose the bus over scraping my car any winter’s day!
  • Small repairs – my toilet paper holder hanging off the wall bothered me for a while until I tried to look at it like a problem that needed solving. Guess what? It was actually easy to fix myself! Go me!
  • Cooking meat – although I’m not a vegetarian, prepping raw meat has always bothered me. I started gradually and am definitely getting more comfortable with it!

Cook for one. So this is definitely one I’m still working on. I’m not used to making single batches of anything. I love both baking and cooking, so scaling down has been a bit of a challenge. I’m starting to get it though! I definitely find that if I make too much of something I have to find ways to use it/gift it/freeze it because otherwise 3 things usually happen:

  • I get super sick of the food item in question
  • I eat way too much of something that should definitely fall in the “moderation” category (mmm…cookies)
  • Food ends up going to waste – which is awful for so many reasons!

I have definitely found that meal planning is a lifesaver when you’re living alone. I try to make sure that I know what I want to cook/eat that week and buy accordingly. And buy a little less than you think you might need (within reason). Like, you will not need 2 gigantic Spanish onions for a week consisting of 2 main meal recipes. Not that I’d know from experience…

Budget. Ugh…I know. But bear with me. Not having a roommate/partner/etc. Living with you means that all.your.bills are just that: YOUR bills. Knowing exactly how much you have to work with, where you need the money to go, and where it has gone are super important! Also, remember that using credit doesn’t mean it has been paid for! Be smart and find ways to save where you can.

This is your life. ENJOY IT!  Living alone is kick-ass and means that you can do your thing! Want to eat pie for breakfast? Done. Want to dance around in your kitchen, in your pjs, re-enacting your favourite musical number? ROCK IT! (I have never done either of those… Just trying to give you inspiration!) Remember that living alone can be an empowering and judgement-free experience. Embrace your wild side and enjoy it! 

Love, Jenn

Tuesday To-Do List: School Prep Edition.

September is approaching fast (eek!!). That means that back to school season is upon us, so inevitably there are things that need to get done. Since I love any sort of list, it comes as no surprise that I’ve been keeping a running mental to-do list for a few weeks. 

Here is what I want to do before school starts in September…And let’s pretend I haven’t been telling myself I would do them since last term ended. In June. 

  • Buy school supplies – DONE! I dislike crowds (I’m impatient at the best of times), and genuinely love supply shopping, so this one was easy.
  • Empty and re-pack my book bag – DONE! Yes, I still use a backpack. It has something to do with the 20+ lbs (I weighed it!) of stuff we had to cart back and forth last year. 
  • Buy some new jeans – DONE! I am not a shopping pro… unless it’s for books. Book shopping is the best shopping.
  • Sort all my course materials from last year – Yikes. This should have been done ages ago, but it’s just been on the back burner. We accumulated so much paper last year, but I know I won’t need most of it. Time to recycle what I can.
  • Register/pay tuition and buy my textbooks – Full disclosure: I’ve TRIED to get this done before now but my school was only ready to deal with 1st year students until this week. At least I hear our books are only going to cost an arm and a leg this fall (instead of last year’s 2 arms, 2 legs, and your first-born offspring).
  • Freezer meal prep for the first month or so – I find that school makes this lover of cooking dread making supper during the school week. I found last year that prepping some meals/recipes and freezing ahead of time was a huge help!
  • Finish my medical clearance paperwork – We need to have some immunizations and tests before being cleared for our on-the-job practicum. I am still waiting on blood work to confirm immunity for a couple of vaccinations, so hopefully I can cross this off my list in the next few days!
  • Clean out my storage closet – Alright, this doesn’t have to be done for school, but I know that I will appreciate having it done once I’m trying not to procrastinate by cleaning (am I the only one that does this?).

Eight items with three already done. Totally do-able. Maybe now with some public accountability I can stop putting this off and get to it? Here’s hoping!

Love, Jenn

Having the Nerve.

Life is challenging, surprising, and exciting…. you could almost say it’s a frenzy (see what I did there?). I’m on a mission to enjoy my life and embrace the bumps in the road. I’m figuring out my world a little bit at a time, and always try to focus on the big picture. I’m not perfect (who is?) but I know that I’m ready to tackle everything in life as best I can! 

This is the beginning of something that I’ve contemplated for a long, long, (long) time. I’m a dedicated blog reader, and have often thought that I would like to give it a try. I’m not a natural writer, and I’m not exactly sure what form my blog will take… I’m just going to start the journey and see where it takes me. I’m late to the party, but excited to be here!

So here’s me in a nutshell:

  • I’m in my late 20s. Don’t let that fool you: I am simultaneously a 6 year old girl, a 20-something, and an old woman
  • I’m a perpetual student, but should be on the job during the 1st part of 2017 (yikes!)
  • I have an awesome family, and am part of a ginormous (and close) extended family
  • I have lots of life experience in many areas…  but sometimes lack common sense
  • I’m a nerd. Seriously. 
  • I’m a very passionate person. It’s both a blessing a curse, but it certainly spurs me on!

One more thing about me: I LOVE quotes. So here’s one that I’m living by today: “Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” (Yes, it’s from Harry Potter… I warned you that I’m a nerd!)

Love, Jenn