Archive for December, 2011

New Year’s resolutions

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

In two short days we will be ushering in 2012.

The new year is a time to reflect on the past, and to make resolutions for the future.

Common resolutions may be to quit a bad habit, to finally get in shape, to work harder at school or to do something new and exciting: cook more or travel somewhere exotic, perhaps?

It’s an exciting time, where anything is possible. Do you make resolutions with the new year?

I like to make resolutions, although, I rarely put anything in stone.

This year, however, I may just succumb to making an inspiration board! A neat, visual reminder of your goals and resolutions for the oncoming year.

Inspiration board via fitnessista.com

Inspiration boards come in all shapes and sizes and will depend on how you want them to look. The type of inspiration board I have seen the most is a collage on poster board that you can hang in your room or office.

fitnessista.com

Make them colourful and fun.

The other option is to begin “pinning.” The Internet site Pinterest has a cult following now – no exaggeration! Pinterest is perfect for creating an online inspiration board full of lovely ideas, images and information. You can “pin” from many categories, including fashion, travel, technology, music and so on. It’s addictive, but if you’re pinning the right stuff, it can be very inspirational and helpful when achieving your resolutions and goals.

These are some of the ways I will be welcoming 2012. What about you?

In the meantime, enjoy the reminder of the break!

Czech and colds.

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Yesterday I arrived back in Cape Breton after a quick two-week Europe trip. It feels great to be home, although, things are about to get very busy again with Christmas in a day.

The trip was wonderful, and I will share a few photos with you as a recap of what I did. I would elaborate, but I am very jet legged and seem to have picked up a cold while traveling. How am I fighting it? I am drinking lots of fluids, resting, gargling with warm salt water, and keeping my meals well-balanced and nourishing. What are your go-to tricks for fighting colds and flus during this season? I hope to kick this one by the weekend (fingers crossed) so that it doesn’t interfere with my holiday plans. Here are 9 tips to treat your cold and flu naturally if you happen to get one, like me!

Alas, I am off to rest and I leave you with a few of my snap shots from my two weeks in the Czech Republic this December.

Prague's famous Christmas Market in the Old Town Square. Very festive and beautiful!

Prague is a city you have to visit. Add it to your bucket list today!

The Dalai Lama in Prague. A momentous occasion! (More on that later.)

Warm cafe mochas with traditional Czech Christmas cookies. Every sweet tooth snacker's ideal snack.

Picture perfect Karlovy Vary in Bohemia, Czech Republic. The posing pigeon was a major bonus.

Happy holidays, Capers near and far!

Things you and your friends should be doing this December

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

The Holidays are about coming together with the people you love, and what better way to do that than with the following activities?

Host a potluck

Everyone loves a Potluck. Whether you make it a theme night, or just get everyone to bring their favorite dish, Potlucks are the best for securing lots of laughs, and full bellies.

Organize a cookie swap

Cookie swaps are no longer just for our Moms. Cookie swaps have become quite popular, and I can understand why: lots and lots of cookies. Find the ultimate cookie recipe and prepare to be the star of the… swap.

Attend or host an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

Wear the ugliest knitted Christmas sweater you can find and hit up an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party with friends. Remember to take a camera so that you can relive the embarrassment for years to come!

Have a movie night

Pop up some popcorn and let your favourite Christmas movies roll. I would stick to classics like Elf or National Lampoon`s Christmas Vacation to keep the mood light and the laughs coming.

Get crafty

Totes a la Martha Stewart

Crafting is a fun way to get creative with your friends, relax and catch up. Make Christmas cards for your family, or DIY presents like tote bags for groceries, or book marks for every book worm in your life! Thoughtful, and affordable on a student budget.

Work it out

Work off all of those cookies with your friends. Have a festive game of hockey, or partake in a fitness challenge. Who can run the fastest mile? Who can do the most push ups? This stuff is surprisingly enjoyable with friends. You can also opt for a scenic walk outdoors.

Order take out

Order some Chinese or pizza for a night-in with your pals. This is your chance to brag about winning the push-up contest, or to look through the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party pictures.

Arrange a Secret Santa exchange

Secret Santa is very exciting, whether you`re 5 or 25. Keep the spending limit low (under $25) and wait for all of the unique, hilarious and sweet gifts your friends will come up with.

Go caroling

Caroling is not reserved for die-hard choirs, Glee clubs or Charlie Brown. Get the musically gifted friends of yours to play some tried and true Christmas songs for everyone to sing along to. You don`t have to knock on doors around the neighborhood, staying indoors for a Holiday jam session can be just as nice and merry.

Decorate a tree

Inside or outside – find a lonesome tree and get decorating. Decorations can be made from popcorn strung together on string, or buy some on a trip to the Dollar store for ornaments and candy canes. As they say, ¨friends that decorate trees together, stay together¨… or at least, they should say that.

What are your favorite things to do with friends over the Christmas break?

Oh, the places you`ll go

Monday, December 12th, 2011

As the end of the year approaches, 2012 graduates look not only into the new year – but also into the future.

What is next after earning your undergraduate degree at CBU? Graduate studies, travel, a job?

Perhaps some of you have it already figured out, but for others (myself included), the pending choices can be quite nervewrecking and exciting, too.

It may be December, and therefore we still have a few months to figure it out, but graduate studies often have application deadlines in the early new year. And, if you have done any research on graduate studies: you know that the application process takes time, organization, and concentration. While December may be a great time to kick up your heels – it is also a good time to get thinking and working on post-graduate plans.

Internships are a great way to spend a year if you want more experience in a field before committing to graduate studies in it. To find the perfect one will take a lot of looking around! I suggest aiming for the stars here, and going straight for your dream internship. From there, even if you your dream job doesn`t offer internships – they may have some ideas as to where to go from there. Follow all of your leads and ask questions. Internships are also a good way to mix work with travel. Spend 6-12 months interning anywhere under the sun.

If you really just desire a break from your academic and career pursuits: travel for a year. You gain valuable experience and knowledge by seeing and understanding the world. Go with a tour group, friends, or solo. But, a word of advice: start planning now! Figure out your finances, where to travel, how you will get around, and so on. It is not something you want to rush into come graduation.If you have a job lined up: congratulations! That is not an easy thing to accomplish these days. I cannot offer any suggestions as to what to do, asides from what I would do: booking a well-deserved vacation somewhere tropical to relax post-grad, pre-job.

So whether you have got it all figured out, or are taking the so-called ¨scenic route¨, do some reflecting on yourself and your dreams over the break. The new year will be here fast, and graduation will be here before we know it.

It’s that time of the year…

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

It’s exam season!

It’s not hard to tell it’s that time of the year at CBU. Students are crowded in the library and cafeteria studying, studying, studying. Empty coffee cups are strewn about with text books and pages of notes. Students wear what’s most comfortable, and lose track of the time trying to tackle their to-do lists. I know the feeling!

The good thing about this time of the year, however, is that it is over in a blink of an eye. While the days may seem long, and the all-nighters longer: they fly by, providing relief when you pass the finish line.

For me, I was able to fast-forward exam season just a little bit early. As an Arts student, we are hit with countless research essays and papers to complete – instead of a more exam heavy schedule. The rush to write can be even more tiring than studying for an exam, but, you just have to power through it.

I had tons of papers to write! I am still amazed they are complete. I also wrote two exams. On my schedule now is a final course reflection – and that’s it. Last week flew by in a flash – especially because 24 hours after I finished my last exam – I hopped on a plane to Europe.

The flight was tiring, but I’ve spent the last two days catching up on sleep. And, for the next two weeks I can read (nothing course related!) and enjoy the sights and sounds of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.

While it can be a stressful time of year that seems it will never end, it does, and you will have your own vacation to enjoy after that! So, put in your time studying and get ready for a sweet vacation. Remember, we don’t go back to class until next year ;)

Also: while I’m here, I will make sure to update on all of my comings and goings in the Czech Republic.

Good luck and happy studying!