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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☀ 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?

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!

Summer Fashion Inspiration

Summer is officially in full swing, and with warmer weather comes a less strenuous morning routine when figuring out what to wear. The longer days can make it pretty easy to resort to your usual cut-offs and white tank uniform, which can eventually lead you into a fashion rut. Summertime is for fun and for being adventurous, especially with your style! I rounded up some of my favourite fashion bloggers’ recent outfits to draw inspiration from for your next summer date.

Outdoor Event: The sophisticated tank

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Courtesy of: Song of Style

Whether it’s an outdoor art fair, street festival, or a barbeque in the park, the summer season brings on an array of fun outdoor events. It can be tricky to find the right balance between casual and dressy when figuring out what to wear. Look no further and take a cue from Aimee Song. I love the element of romance and billowiness in Aimee’s tank The light blue colour is perfect for summer, but is also great for a night out. Maybe a movie under the stars? Late night bonfire with friends? Paired with a casual striped skirt, it’s a great outfit that mixes casual and classy all at once.

Wedding: Bright pops of colour


Courtesy of: Cupcakes and Cashmere

Emily Schuman is hands down one of my all-time favourite style bloggers, and this dress is no exception to the never-ending list of clothes I want from her closet. We all know that at a wedding, the bride is always going to outshine you, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear something boring! This fitted, bright canary-yellow dress is the perfect homage to summer and paired with a coral lip, you’ll be sure to snag best-dressed of the night.

Vacation: Patterns galore


Courtesy of: Ring My Bell

When you’re on vacation, it’s a time to relax and explore. But that doesn’t mean you should be wearing the same old outfits from home! I love how Ashley Madekwe mixes this lacy top with a fun patterned mini. It’s casual enough for walking along the beach, but nice enough that you feel energized and stylish at the same time.

 

How to Book Shop Effectively

Books, books, books. We love them, we hate them, and sometimes a little bit of both. They let us escape for a while, to new places ans sights, and lets us become someone more dazzling, secretive and adventurous.

But is it just me, or is book buying sometimes treacherous? Whether it’s finding the right book, finding too many great books, or not finding anything at all? Well, fear no more! I’ve broken down book shopping and curated the best tips, just for you.

1. Make a List

Always do your research, and this goes for all shopping endeavours. Write down exactly what you want, and what you’re willing to afford. Whenever you see a cool book in a magazine or article, write it down for future reference. Also, check out their reviews! What might look like a great read, may actually be a dud.

2. Be Strong

Do not fall for glitzy displays and glossy pages! Most times we will deviate from what we really want and buy something else, which may appear to be something you might like, but ends up being eventually tossed aside and forgotten. That’s not to say you shouldn’t treat yourself; you utmost should. But if your treat isn’t something you need, then it will just take up more space in your beloved bookshelf.

3. Think Longevity

Try to aim for books that you can use for a good couple of years, for whatever age. For example, if you love Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, you should definitely get yourself a copy! It will be your own, one that will always be ready for looking back at your favourite scenes or quotes, and you can show it to friends or future offspring/grandchildren. Make sure your purchase isn’t just based on a current interest, that you might not care for later on.

4. Why?

It’s an odd question, but it works. Sometimes when buying books, especially non-fiction ones, you’ll want to really narrow it down to what you will use it for. Why do you want/need this book? You can use books for reference, creativity, knowledge, and pleasure, just to name a few. Before buying that book, be confident that you’ll make time to use it effectively.

Now off you go, my fellow book lovers!

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How to Actually Keep Your New Year Resolutions

Happy New Year! Sorry I’ve haven’t been on for awhile, things got a bit busy and I wasn’t able to update as frequently. Nevertheless, I’m here now!

A new year undoubtedly comes with a new set of goals you have for yourself: a healthier body, higher grades, and other areas of your life you want to improve. These all seem like wonderful and exciting things to venture on, but after the first week or so, you slowly revert back to your old self. We’ve all been through it, and it’s okay, we’re not robots. Although, it’s not impossible either to make your resolutions a concrete presence in your life.

Hence, I’ve concocted some tips and tricks on how to hopefully help you keep your resolutions:

1) Smaller

Keep your resolutions small! We all get swept away by the swift change of our calendars and feel the need to change our life instantly. But in reality, we learn pretty quickly it’s not as easy as it seemed in our head. First, start off with smaller things. For example, if you want a healthier body, try breaking every step into smaller pieces. Instead of starting out by doing hard core workouts at the gym, try doing simple yoga stretches in the morning. Instead of your morning coffee, try drinking some green tea, or at least drinking it a few times a week. Green tea has countless antioxidants and nutrients for your body. By breaking down your big resolutions into smaller ones, it’s a lot easier to accomplish and you can keep working your way up.

2) Fun

Make some fun resolutions as well! We all concentrate on serious, life-altering goals for ourselves, but who said resolutions should be limited to that? Add to your list some of the things you want more in your life, instead of focusing on the things you want to cut out. For example, some of mine are to spend more time with friends, read more books, and to try to just live my life and let whatever happens, happen. You could add other fun things too, such as to do more travelling, learning a new skill, or just treating yourself more often (I do this with sugary treats!)

3) Don’t Worry About It

Much of the reason why people can’t follow through on resolutions is because it doesn’t work out the way they want it to and they get frustrated and give up. You have to realize that it takes time to love yourself and change. Sometimes things don’t work out, and THAT’S OKAY. It’s totally okay to be angry and confused. The trick is to not let it stop you. Adjust yourself accordingly to a pace you’re comfortable with, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. You have the whole year after all!

All in all, just enjoy the ride. Whether you made resolutions or not, remember that you don’t need a new year to be a new you. You can change whenever you like, and how often as you’d like. That’s what life is all about.