Advice

Make Your Life Cozy

Just add tea and a book..

One of my favourite comments recently was from the Stir-Fried Dinosaur, who said that my blog was cozy. Isn’t that just the nicest? Thank you! This made me particularly happy because I try very hard to keep my life as cozy as possible. Today I’m going to share with you how I achieve coziness, and how you can too!

My Definition of Cozy:

1. Making your life work for you, so that your personal spaces always feel like home

2. Knowing what you love, and doing it

3. Feeling luxurious in your own way

How To Cozi-fy Your Life

Hot Chocolate and Magazines

1. Making your life work for you.

This means making the most of what you have. You may not have an unlimited budget, or you may not have unlimited space, or you may not have unlimited time to make your spaces perfect. What’s important is that you prioritize. What means the most to you? What will make you feel the most at home when you get home? Is it a big library? A doggie? Big windows and an easy chair? Photos of family and friends? Lots of delicious food? Zero in on what is most important, and make your lifestyle work around that. Budget your time, energy and money carefully in order to get the most out of your life, and the spaces you spend it in.

Marjorie Hillis’s book, Live Alone and Like It, was a bible written for the modern 1930’s woman, but still manages to be remarkably current. It’s one of my favourite books, and I always read it whenever I want to amp up the luxury/cozy in my life. She speaks about the importance of having a home that you really feel at home in, and how just because nobody will necessarily see your home, doesn’t mean you don’t need to make it fabulous! The time you spend nestled up in your rooms should give you lots of happiness – nobody will be happy and inspired if they don’t bother to make an effort in their living spaces!

2. Knowing what you love.

For many people, this is very intuitive. When we walk into a store, we can immediately say exactly what we love and what we hate. But I’m not talking so much about material possessions so much as routines and habits. Chances are there are many little things that make you very happy, but maybe you’re not doing them every day. And why not? What should stop you from incorporating as much happiness and coziness into your daily routines? Maybe for you your favourite thing is:

  • a quiet half hour reading with some tea
  • a long walk outdoors
  • a bubble bath
  • painting
  • people-watching in a café
  • spending rainy days in a record store
  • dancing.
  • skipping stones
  • driving aimlessly
  • spending Saturdays at the Farmer’s Market
  • exploring bookshops
  • drinking your orange juice out of a huge glass
  • making music
  • wrestling with your dog
  • napping
  • swimming
  • taking extra-long showers
  • mood lighting
  • listening to music without lyrics
  • etc.

The point is to make your life cozy you need to make time for the things that you love. I know,  you’re busy, burnt out and have no time for such frivolous things, right?. To that I say two things:

  1. You will continue to be perpetually burnt out and unproductive if you never take any time to relax or make yourself happy.
  2. Frivolous things? This is your life! If you keep your nose to the grindstone day in and day out, you’re going to wake up in fifty years and realize you haven’t really lived or been happy.

So take the time. Don’t deny yourself time to do exactly what makes you happy. You probably already spend a few hours a day mindlessly watching television or surfing the internet, so you likely do have the time! And of course t.v and internet make people happy as well, but once in a while it’s refreshing to spend some quality time, creating memories and happiness. And coziness, of course!

3. Feeling luxurious in your own way.

In addition to ‘daily happiness upkeep’, you should also treat yourself every so often. And don’t worry if your idea of a special treat differs from someone else’s, you’re you and they’re them. Don’t ever let other people dictate how you should live your life or spend your money. They’re probably just jealous anyhow, that you have such a cozy life! Some extra-luxe ideas for ultimate coziness:

  • Get a milkshake
  • Spend extra for something you really love: a type of tea, notebook, bed sheets, perfume/cologne, a mug
  • Breakfast in bed
  • Keep your house stocked with cookies, homemade if possible
  • Spray eucalyptus/lavender spray on your pillows
  • Invest in a bed tray – it will change your life
  • Get fresh flowers weekly, if you like them

Conclusion

So there you have it! Three simple ways to squeeze every drop of coziness out of your life. I’m not advocating frivolity, neglect of your daily duties or blowing all your money on expensive things to make your space better for you. It’s all about moderation, simple luxuries and getting the most out of your life. Take the time to think about what parts of your day you love best, and see if you can find a way to amplify that positivity throughout your day. Surround yourself with things you find beautiful and cheerful, and I bet you’ll find yourself more cheerful too :).

What sorts of cozy things do you try to incorporate into your life? What do you spend extra money on? What are your personal luxuries? What makes you happy!?

xoxo, S.



7 Easy Ways to Choose Your Dream School

Photo Thanks To Marco Bellucci

I wasn’t planning on writing this article so soon, but one of my best friends from back home has suddenly been caught in a whirlwhind of acceptances and a deadline! In order to try and aid her with her decision, I thought I’d share some of the tips I would have found helpful when I was making my decision last year. Enjoy!

1. Do Your Research

Flip through the Maclean’s magazine, see what they say about each of your choices. If you don’t think you’ll remember key stats like faculty-student ratio, bring a notebook and write them down. Make sure you look at everything that will affect you directly: residences, distance from home, class size. Write it all down! If you can, visit the schools. If they offer tours, take one! If not, go to the welcome center, get a map and explore all the areas that you will personally be using.

Get as much information as possible about all your options.

2. Don’t Expect to Just ‘Know’

A lot of people that I go to school with now have told me that when they first visited our campus, they knew it was the place for them. And while that’s fine and dandy for those folks, not all of us can simply feel that, and feel it confidently.  Personally, I didn’t feel that any school was the one for me upon visiting it. It wasn’t until I had put careful thought into it that I made my decision. So take the pressure off yourself! Don’t sit there going, “Well, how can I go to that school if I didn’t just feel it was right for me! There must be something wrong!” NO. If you get that feeling, great. If not, you just have more thinking to do.

Don’t worry yourself about not ‘knowing’ a school is ‘the one’.

3. Visualize

After you’ve been to a campus, toured a dorm room and seen the cafeterias and classrooms, sit alone for a while and visualize. Picture yourself using those facilities, walking through the streets. Do you like the city? Can you imagine yourself decorating that dorm room? And be honest with yourself. Again, this technique may not work for everyone, since there are so many unknowns in the picture, like new friends and classes. For now though, visualize as much as you can. Be true to who you are. Are the bathrooms too dirty for you?  If they are, make sure that you love the rest of the school more than you hate the bathrooms!

Try to picture yourself at the school, and observe your reactions.

4. Make a List

So you’ve done your research, visited the schools, and you still don’t know. That’s okay! Sometimes it takes more thought than that. It’s a huge decision and you, of course, want to make the right one. So put some energy into it. Make the most comprehensive pros and cons list you have ever made. Write down everything, even if it seems silly to you. You don’t have to show it to anyone, so don’t leave anything out for fear of judgment. Get it all down! All the stats you’ve looked at, how you felt when you were there, your visualizations, everything! If you’re making your decision over a couple days, start it and carry it around with you to add to it. Just keep listing.

Write down all the pros and cons of your options.

5. Talk It Out

So you’ve made your list. You still can’t decide. The next step is to talk it out with anyone who will listen. Parents, sisters, friends. Attack all of them with your urgent dilemma and make them listen. Explain your current thought process and dilemma to them, get their opinions. Sometimes they can surprise you by knowing more about you than you do. By talking it out, you’ll gain perspectives you didn’t have, and it might just help you to clarify what you really want.

Find someone who will listen, and get their opinion.

6. Step Back

It’s very important in this stressful time, to take a gigantic step back. You’re so caught up in all the little details about the softness of your rez bed or the kindness of new friends. And while these details are extremely important, you also need to make sure you look at the bigger picture. What are your goals in life? Why are you going to university, and how can a specific school fill that role? What is important to you? What have you always wanted and how can university help you achieve that?

I’ll give you an example: my decision. I was torn between Queen’s and McGill. Both are beautiful schools with lots of talented professors, friendly people and nice cities. I was really torn. I’d done all of the above tips, and nothing was helping. Then I thought about what I’d always wanted, all through high school: to get away! My entire high school career was focused on getting out, getting away from a few unfriendly faces. But when it came down to it, I was terrified that I would only know two people going to my new school, if I chose McGill. TWO! Versus approximately 35 at Queen’s. But then I stepped back. I realized that it was the fear that was talking. What I really wanted was to get away and make all new friends, international friends, but it was a terrifying thought. If I simply went to Queen’s, I’d have the comfort of many friendly faces. Fortunately, I remembered to look at the whole picture, swallow my fear and make the right decision. If I had gone to Queen’s, I’m sure I would have been happy, but McGill fits me like a glove. And guess what, at McGill there were tons of friendly faces, they were just new ones! :)

When you’re making your decision, stop and think about your life goals. How does a certain university fit those?

7. Take The Plunge

Give yourself a deadline and stick to it. Getting to the point when you can say, confidently, which school you’re going to is very hard work, but it’s also exhilarating. Making this decision is the most empowering one you’ve probably ever made in your life, and it will feel good to say out loud where you’ve chosen. A couple of tips for biting the bullet:

  1. Never let fear be a reason for doing or not doing something. You’ll regret it more than anything else.
  2. Once you’ve made the decision, don’t worry if you still feel nervous and uneasy. You’ve done everything in your power to choose what’s right for you, and the anxiety you feel is the fear of something brand new and scary. University is unlike anything else, and it’s terrifying! But that’s okay, because everyone is going through the same thing. :)
  3. Always make sure your reasons are your own. It’s easy for parents and friends to accidentally (or on purpose) say what they think is best for you, and it’s easy for you to feel pressured by that. Before you make your final decision, ensure that you’re 100% doing it for you, and not because of any parental pressure, etc.
  4. Say it out loud. “I go to ______ University”. How does it feel? Are you giddy with excitement when you say it? Good sign.

Conclusion

Your university years are both great and impossible. You do more growth than you ever thought was possible (yes, even in just my first year) and everything changes. Choosing where you’ll spend these years is a big deal, but just remember: you’ll be happy at any university. They’re all great! They all have something to offer, and you’ll have fun at any one you attend. The important thing is figuring out which will make you happiest. I hope my tips helped you out, good luck with your decision!

Feedback?

What else did you do to make your decision? What strategies worked best for you? I’d love to hear about them :)

xoxo, S.


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