Rethinking Romance

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A pictorial sarape snapped from the ROM’s ¡Viva México! Clothing and Culture exhibit.

When I was in elementary school, Valentine’s Day meant two things: homemade cupcakes and handing out cards. My teacher would photocopy the attendance sheet and give it to each student in my class. I remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom, writing out To: Ryan, From: Rebecca. To: Sarah, From: Rebecca. And the list went on and on. It didn’t matter if you were weird, a loner, or my best friend; you got a card with a cartoon bear hugging a heart. It was the social protocol amongst eight-year olds at the time.

As I grew older, I realized Valentine’s Day was not about cartoon bears or handwritten notes. It was about sex, lust, and relationships. If I wasn’t romantically linked with another person, I was supposed to hate February 14 and sulk in loneliness.

At the brink of entering my twenties, I now see Valentine’s Day for all that it truly is: a social construct. Once again, we are a pawn in the corporate hand, spending tons of money on flowers and chocolates to give to our significant others because societal norms dictate that we are not good human beings if we don’t. By not being in a relationship of some sort, we are losing out on a huge rite of passage.

Today, I can honestly say that I am working my way back to my younger self’s casual love affair with Valentine’s Day. I’m handing out cute cards to my parents and sending Neruda poems to my friends. I think today is valuable because it reminds us that it’s okay to be vulnerable, but we need to work harder to emphasize that romantic love is not the only valuable form of love out there.

Don’t buy in to the media’s idea of romance. Send flowers to your girlfriend because you want to, not because you have to. Tell your friends you appreciate them because you genuinely do, not because today is the “appropriate” day to make a show of it. Furthermore, let’s make it cool to be able to express unconditional love more often. Don’t wait for a commercial to remind you to express your admiration for those around you.

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An excerpt from Neruda’s “Epitalamio” 😍

 

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Daily Dose Monday (2)

Daily Dose Monday is a weekly meme inspired by Michelle’s Bookshelf where I hand-pick pictures and quotes that will help Mondays feel a little less blah, and a lot more inspired.

Happy New Year! I hope 2016 has amazing things in store for you. As for me, I did not make any concrete resolutions. It’s not that I don’t have anything to improve on, but more because when I previously made large, dashing goals for the new year, I was left exhausted and ultimately unfulfilled. We have a certain amount of control over how our lives go, but sometimes the waves simply do not sway in our favour. I did manage to narrow my focus to a couple of things in today’s post!

“I create entire romances in my dreams.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, White Nights

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My main focus this year is working on my degree. It’s the one constant in my life that always serves to make me better – mentally and emotionally. Image Source
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I spent so much of the past orchestrating the way my life needed to go and it got me nowhere. It’s time to stop the plotting and start living in whatever life is presenting. Image Source

Daily Dose Monday (1)

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Toronto Christmas Market

Daily Dose Monday is a weekly meme inspired by Michelle’s Bookshelf where I hand-pick inspiring, cute, and cool pictures and quotes that will help Mondays feel a little less blah, and a lot more inspired.

Nobody will stop you from creating. Do it tonight. Do it tomorrow. That is the way to make your soul grow – whether there is a market for it or not! The kick of creation is the act of creating, not anything that happens afterward. I would tell all of you watching this screen: Before you go to bed, write a four line poem. Make it as good as you can. Don’t show it to anybody. Put it where nobody will find it. And you will discover that you have your reward.” – Kurt Vonnegut

This week, I decided to share some pictures from my adventures these past few days. I recently visited the Toronto Christmas Market for the first time and loved it! I realize that I’m finding comfort in the little things this holiday season, versus the big get-togethers and such. Any holiday traditions you’re looking forward to this year? Let me know!

☀ Summer Reading List ☀

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After months of essays, reading and uncertainty, I can finally smell the roses of summer. From bare legs to flowy maxi skirts, I am more than ready to embrace spring. I am also ready to give my brain a break, but also a treat at the same time. After constantly being quizzed and tested on the books I’ve read, I’m excited to resume reading books simply for the pleasure of it. Here are my picks for the summer!

1) How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (Currently Reading)

2) Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes (Book Review to Come)

3) An Introduction To Greek Mythology by David Bellingham

4) To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

5) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

6) Lair of Dreams: A Diviners Novel by Libba Bray

7) Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

8) A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

What’s on your summer reading list?

New York Fashion Week (Fall 2015): My Highlights

Another round of New York Fashion Week has ended, along with the glamorous parties and endless front rows filled with amply couture-clad celebrities (Hi Kim!). If you’re like me and experienced the amazing event through Polyvore sets and Instagram pictures from all the top fashion editors, all the new trends can be pretty overwhelming to take in. One of my favourite things to do is to find collections whose clothes we can easily transform into our wardrobes. After all, we could all use some luxe in this frigid February weather, right? Feel free to click the sets, which will take you to my Polyvore account where you can see where each individual item is from!

1) DVF Fall 2015
DVF’s collection for Fall 2015 is nothing short of effortless glam, with the right amount of femininity and innovation. Here’s my favorite look from the collection and how you can incorporate it in your everyday fashion.

DVF2) Milly Fall 2015
Milly had a really cool mix of hot colours in the collection, which I think is a refreshing take on fall fashion. Below is one of my standout look and how you can make it yours.

MillyImages Courtesy of style.com

How to Get Through Finals

Courtesy of Pinterest, via seventeen.com
Courtesy of Pinterest, via seventeen.com

While there is hot chocolate to be sipped and cookies to be baked, most university students right now are studying for finals. It can be a stressful time, full of anxiety and worry, especially for a first year like me. But after my first week of studying, I have locked down on a few helpful tips that have helped me, and ones that I’m sure will help you too.

1. Schedule

Scheduling study times is essential. Lay out in an agenda or piece of paper of when your exams are and how you will spend your days in-between. Essentially, it is not about cramming a bunch of stuff into one night, but absorbing chunks of material over a long period. It is also important to schedule free time. Make sure to include breaks! Sometimes I will take an hour off, or even practice the 50/10 method: Study for 50 minutes, and for the next 10, take a break but a kind of break that engages your mind. It can be anything from yoga, reading an excerpt from a book, taking a walk or dancing around your room. This helps because you’re still engaging your mind and senses while still taking a break, opposed to simply watching TV or going on the computer which will tempt you more to slack off.

2. Affirmations

This might not help everyone, but I think it is worth the try. Normally, it is recommended that we use positive affirmations every morning such as “You can do this!” to help you get in the right state of mind for the day, but I like to use it for stressful times as well. You can put positive quotes on sticky notes around your house, or just make a list of your most motivating lines and reiterate them before studying. Use bright markers to make it the process more fun and your notes more enticing. To jumpstart your writing, Seventeen has round up some of their favourite quotes here!

3. Treat YOself

Throughout the exam period, definitely indulge yourself in all of the holidays’ goodness. Specifically, also decide to treat yourself with one specific item, whether it is a new phone or a new lip gloss, after exams. For example, I treated myself to a new book, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, and it has helped me put in perspective that it’s just a few exams and that after it’s over, I can get back to my usual self and enjoy the things I love. Super excited to read it after I’m finished with finals, and post a review up on the blog!

Feel free to comment or tweet at me (@_thewritegirl) about your favourite study tips, and good luck studying!