Happy Valentine’s Day!

A few days ago, I wrote an article outlining my views on the day of love, February 14th. Mainly, in my opinion, Valentine’s Day should be a day to celebrate love in all its forms: between family, friends, partners, pets… No sense being cynical. Nobody ever said that love can only be between a couple – you’re not alone on Valentine’s, no matter what! You have friends, parents, siblings that love you more than you could ever know. And I love you too! Thanks for always reading along with my blog, I feel so lucky to have so many great people in my life.

You can read the article (and get the recipe for these yummy treats) here.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Photo thanks to Neal

Today, love.

Appreciate, pamper, coddle, cuddle, hug, smile, reach out, embrace, accept.

Be kind, patient, happy, honest, caring.

Write that letter. Pick up that phone. Send that text. Reconnect.

Don’t expect, wish, or hope. Just appreciate.

This Valentine’s Day, don’t buy into the hype. No disappointment if you don’t get a candy-gram or a bunch of flowers. No shame that you don’t have a Valentine. No anger that your boyfriend ‘didn’t do enough’.  Let today serve as a reminder of how lucky you are to be surrounded by such magnificent human beings who love every inch of you! Be grateful for the people you love, and be happy just to spend time with them.

And make sure to take some time today to love yourself! Treat yourself to a day full of little luxuries, smiles, and unconditional love.

There are so many cynics out there about Valentine’s, but what a wonderful holiday – a day created to remind you to love the ones you love.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!


Ignore Your But(t)

This time of year makes it incredibly easy to be negative.

Think about it, we’re totally in limbo. Past the good parts of Winter – namely Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/awesome time with food, family & friends – and waiting for the beginnings of Spring. We stay inside most of the time, it’s difficult to find motivation to go to class, let alone to see friends. We’re marooned on a snowy island, waiting for a rescue boat! No, this isn’t exactly the time of year we tend to be optimistic and cheery.

Which is why it’s the perfect time for this message I’ve been ruminating on for a couple weeks. (Keep in mind, these ‘advice’ articles are just as much [if not more] written to remind myself of things as they are to ‘advise’ you). And the message is:

Focus on the wells, forget about the buts.

I will give you a few examples:

  • Well, I love most of my body, but my butt is too big”
  • Well, it’s bright and sunny outside, but it’s -20 degrees”
  • Well, my boots keep the slush out, but they’re kind of ugly”
  • Well, I love my boyfriend, but he works too hard”

I’m not saying that ignoring the buts is easy, because it’s not. The buts are the things that stubbornly invade our “otherwise happy” days. They shout out for our attention, distract us from the positive, and seem to constantly take up more of our thoughts than the wells. But I would venture to say that happiness is in the wells. Think of it this way: most of the time, the buts are things we can’t control. They’re constant. You can’t change them. So what’s the point of fixating on them? They’re not going away. You can’t alter the weather, no matter how much you try, and your body will always have the same basic shape, no matter how much you work out. So why waste so much time and energy focusing on the buts and ignoring the wells?

Another way of putting it: practice gratitude. It may sound all hippie and new-agey, but I honestly think one of the very best ways to find happiness is to learn to be grateful for what you have right now. Sure, you may strive to achieve a better life for yourself, more cash money, more clothes, etc, and that’s all well and fine – it’s great to have goals. But the real happiness comes with acknowledging every day how great your life already is. Focusing on the sweet spots of your day, reminding yourself to be positive, diverting your attention from buts to wells.

For a ton of perspective, please read this amazing article from Danielle Laporte on why you’re privileged. Two of my favourite quotes from it:

Really, what’s the worst of your problems?

We have so many rights, must we exercise the right to complain?

As much as possible, we should try to pull ourselves out from under the rubble of negative thoughts that crowd our minds. The way I see it, if the negative things are there to stay, and so are the positive ones, I’d much rather expend my energy stubbornly reminding myself to stay positive, stay grateful, stay happy. And no, I’m not being happy-go-lucky about this, it’s not always going to work, and there’s no such thing as being happy all the time. You can’t have light without dark after all! But in those everyday situations where we have a choice between acting/thinking/speaking negatively or positively, I think we should always try to choose positive.

  • “Well, I love most of my body!”
  • “Well, it’s bright and sunny today!”
  • “Well, my boots keep the slush out!”
  • “Well, I love my boyfriend!”

Some of you are sitting there thinking: “Wow, how naive! She is being so unrealistic. The world is a tough place, after all.” I know it is. We all do. But I don’t think that being realistic (read: pessimistic) about the state of the world is going to help us achieve any happiness. I’m well aware of the dangers, horrors, and terrors of our world. Yet I’m also aware of the wonders, loves, and beauty of it. And when given the choice of what to focus on, I think it will bring me a great deal more happiness to stay positive.

I’d love to know what you think! How often do you find yourself “but-ing” the heck out of your day, getting pulled into a spiral of negative thinking? Or do you try and make a conscious effort to be grateful every day? Any tips or tricks for us newbs about how to stay positive?


Filofax Girl For Life

Well, it’s October. That means, for university students at least, that life seems bleak and crazy, confusing and stressful. You’ve become forgetful, wound up, psychotic even. It certainly doesn’t help that on top of the endless avalanche of assignments, midterms, lectures and readings there is another impending avalanche – of snow – that is descending at a rapid clip.

It’s enough to make any girl cry herself to sleep! Not that I have..or anything..

Now would be a really good time to look at that article on stress-busters and pick me ups. Or the one on how to survive exam season, parts 1 and 2.

But what I want to talk about today is the thing that’s saving my life throughout this hectic time: MY FILOFAX. I have the Mode organizer in pink/green. And I love it.

Here she is, in all her glory:


Sometimes I just take it out and look at it. Because I think it’s beautiful.

Our relationship is perfect: I am physically attracted to it and feel very strongly about its personality. Sigh. True love.

Maybe you don’t get it. I don’t reaaally blame you, it’s hard to know what this type of love feels like. Which is why I want to tell you 3 reasons I love this thing.


Three Reasons I Love My Filofax

1. It consolidates all my crazy.

Grocery lists, books-to-read lists (right up there with groceries, obviously), homework, important dates all the way until next Christmas, to-do lists, study plans, my Mom’s Kili itinerary, my blood donor reminder card, articles I loved and printed out, my wallet, sticky notes, a calculator, notes-to-self, affirmations, quotes, reminders..

There’s a lot of stuff in there. To be honest though, I wish I used it more! I’d love to have more lists in there, but right now I don’t have enough paper.. so I make my lists on other papers and slip them into the pockets. It works well enough, but the point is – I could exploit this thing even more! More paper! More crazy! More compact! I never have to remember anything except: “Bring your Filofax with you” and I’m good.


2. It’s prettttyyyy.

One thing I love about Filofaxes in general is that they’re all so adorable! I can’t tell you how much time I spent on the Filofax website before buying mine, just looking at all the features and colour combinations available. If you wanted to, you could get one made of ostrich! (Although, why would you want to..?)

They’re not too bulky, they come in a variety of sizes, they’re cute and fun and in every colour of the rainbow. Mine is bright pink with bright green (bright bright bright I love bright colours!!), in the Personal size. Personal is the most common size, I’m told, probably because it’s very handy. Anything smaller and my huge writing would take up the whole page. Anything bigger and I wouldn’t be able to carry it absolutely everywhere! :)

The red Domino was featured in the movie 27 Dresses, if a movie sighting means anything to you. (I think it’s kinda cool!)

Besides, just look at this pretty thing! I can’t take my eyes off it sometimes.. :)


3. It is amazingly customizable.

One of my favourite parts of shopping for my Filofax in the first place was reading the lists of all the goodies that come with each organizer. It seems endless: world maps, address book inserts, calculators, mirrors, plastic envelopes, sticky notes, to-do lists, notepaper.. so exciting. And if something doesn’t automatically come with the planner you choose, you can just add it into your order. They make it dangerously easy.

And all this pre-shipping customization is nothing compared to what you can do with it once you’ve gotten it into your hot little paws. I have sections for quotes, books I want to read, and affirmations. My front pocket is for important articles, notes-to-self and anything pretty I find lying around. Behind the front pocket is a long-term to do list..

Etc, etc! I have all my grocery lists tucked inside, receipts fit easily, I can even slip change into the pockets, I can fit a pen and a highlighter inside. It’s perfect for me.

:D = big smile demonstrating my love for this thing.



..obviously this particular system can’t work for everyone. As I mentioned in this post about getting organized for school, there are tons of different methods you can try: anything from wall calendars to scribbled to-do lists. I just wanted to give my personal account of the system that works for me!

Also, I’d like to add: I am in no way endorsed by Filofax to say this stuff. The idea of that is simply ridiculous to me: as if Filofax would know who I was!! But I’ve gotten weird comments asking stuff like that before, so I just wanted to clear it all up beforehand. No people, this post is simply (dorkily) because I have a relationship with my personal organizer.  Someone has to be this dorky in real life, and it’s me. You’re welcome.

Anyone else geek out about stationary/organizers/awesome stuff like that?? I’m looking at you Isabelle..back me up here! Let me know!