What It’s Really Like Coming Home from University

“How is there so much space?!”

“I absolutely must run around in circles”

running-circles

“I would die happy if I could live in my bed forever”

“STARFISH!!”

“I wanna take a nap.”

new-girl-jess-zooey-quotes-35

“There is SO MUCH FOOD in the fridge! And it’s all FREE!!”

pooh-food

*in the middle of an argument* “I passed computer science. I win EVERYTHING.”

“Mom, bring me _______ please. I can’t get up.”

love-bed

“YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO I’M AN ADULT AND CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT”

“Do you want my ID?”

“Here’s my ID”

Jennifer-Lawrence-Oscars-GIF-4

^ that happens a lot. I make it a point.

Some things that will be interesting going back to school in January:

  • Do NOT EVER wake me up before 8am or I will physically harm you.
  • Do not attempt to start a conversation with me or expect me to be remotely productive before 10am.
  • Baking = the epitome of productivity
  • I am not required to remember anything, therefore I remember nothing

espressoExcept my coffee order. Espresso, obviously. 

And because of all the above, I’ve been pretty awesome at failing at life these past two weeks BY:

  • Smashing my foot into the dishwasher –> it’s now swollen and throbbing.
  • Forgetting if the above injury happened last night, this morning 20 minutes ago –> yup. no lie.
  • Forgetting my address –> I DON’T FREAKING LIVE HERE

All in all, it’s been a pretty amazing two and a half weeks at home. I still have two weeks left, and you had better believe I am going to be living it up before re-entering the “real world” –> in quotations because we all know university life is the best kind of life bubble. Here’s to thirteen more days of sleeping in, nonstop baking, personal space and a teeeeensy bit of productivity (damn program applications!)

Tell me one dumb thing you did recently! Make me feel better.

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Coming Home from University / Identity Crisis

Hey, guys.

So much for coming back right after my final exams, hey? I was a combination of energized and exhausted the day I got home, hence last Friday’s post. And then:

working every single day + writing a 2000 page essay due yesterday + readjusting to living at home = zero blogging capability

So now that I’ve had the entire weekend off, and more than enough sleepless nights listening to Ed Sheeran with my mind absolutely racing, I’m blogging. Because we all know I’m hopelessly awkward in conversation but as soon as my voice turns into visible words everything seems to make sense.

I talked about how much I loved my job a lot last year, and I blogged all the time about how incredibly sad I was to leave it. It was heartbreaking, but I was able to do it because I knew moving to Vancouver was the right thing for me. I still 100% believe that to be true – I am so much more confident and happy now that I’ve ever been. And yet, being home, there is nothing that makes me more happy than working again. My wonderful boss scheduled me for the entire month of December, and all my coworkers have hugged me and made me feel right at home.

I’m starting to learn how to steam milk / pour latte art and am fired up about it. I know – Emma, it’s milk! Get over it. But it really is more than that. It’s the whole coffee / barista world that I am becoming more and more passionate about and want it to consume my life.

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I really could see myself working in a cafe for the rest of my life and being totally happy. Which is something that makes no sense to me – on one hand, I want to go to university, get a degree, a successful job in writing / health / fitness and all of that. But on the other hand…I just don’t really care about it anymore. I feel like I’ve lost my passion for my current program and don’t know what to do.

I can’t drop out of university to be a barista. I can’t move back to Edmonton and abandon the great life I’ve started to create. I can’t get a job at a cafe in Vancouver and pretend like it’s the same as the one I feel totally at home at, where I would 110% pull a mattress over and move in if I could.

I am excited to go back to school. I want to see my friends, and I really do enjoy my classes. But am I seriously going to spend four years and tens of thousands of dollars on something that is just “kind of interesting”? Just wait it out until I can travel to France and then move back home and do what I wanted to do four years ago?

Judge me and tell me all your philosophical opinions on life. I’ll just be over here practicing latte art with my trusty 4L milk jugs. (<– I just wrote “milk hugs”. Coincidence? I think not.)

My Favourite Ways to Relax

I was -thisclose-  to starting off this post with “Happy Monday!”, since yesterday was a holiday and I was joyfully free from all my classes. It didn’t feel remotely like a weekend, though. Shall we do a quick recap?

4:45am: wake up. Glance at time. Curse time. Attempt to fall back asleep. Fail.

5:30am: unable to handle the idea of lying in bed wasting time, so gather my blanket, computer science notes and head out to the floor lounge to do some studying (my roommate was obviously still asleep)

6:30am: stomach growls. take a quick break to eat an entire container of greek yogurt, plus apple + PB

7-12: study

12-12:30 gym (bad idea…I was yawning during my tricep dips)

12:30-7:30 study

Yeah. And it ended up being one of those horrible days where you mentally exhaust yourself, but feel like you got nothing done. I know I was all gung-ho about computer science yesterday, and while I still am in the big picture, I’m feeling really discouraged right now! I’ve been working on this problem set for hours and can’t. figure. it. out. But instead of drowning in my own frustration I decided to take a break to do some blogging, which will hopefully refresh me!

Making time for myself has been something I’ve been relatively good at for quite a while. I will have absolutely insane, nonstop, unbelievable days, but I do carve out at least a tiny bit of relaxing most days, and I fully credit that for my sanity. Especially at this point in the semester!

WaysToRelax

1. My morning routine. My mornings have been sacred for YEARS. I wake up, write/publish a blog post, comment on a few blogs, and then get ready. I always allow a lot of time in the morning so that I can do my makeup slowly, figure out my outfit, and just stay relaxed. After that’s all done I  make my breakfast which I eat curled up on the couch reading blogs. ❤ It’s the only part of my day that I don’t feel guilty for taking a break, and it has been an absolute lifesaver for me. I always have that time to breathe, sit still and not focus on what I need to accomplish for the day.

oatsPumpkin season makes breakfast that much better. 

2. A creative outlet. I used to avoid writing “just for fun” because I imagined that it would feel like work and I was already way too tired. I’ve always loved writing, but when I got incredibly stressed out it felt like “another thing to do” rather than just collapsing, my only wish. But since blogging regularly, writing relaxes me more than just flaking out! When I do lie on my bed for X amount of minutes, I always lose my motivation to start back up again and just become more and more fatigued. But when I blog, it’s like my brain switches gears, gets a break and I actually want to go back to work!

3. Music. I actually discovered this on my way home from the gym yesterday – I had my music playing and didn’t want to turn it off! Normally it’s just a filler for me, but yesterday afternoon I kept it playing and just jammed out! I ended up in an incredibly happy mood and felt 100% relaxed. 

4. Backing off on workouts. When I’m super busy, adding in a ton of intense workouts makes it impossible for me to relax. I’m too tired, so I just feel awful all day and never feel calm or rested. Lately I’ve just been doing a few 30 minute lifting-only sessions in the gym and it’s been perfect. Enough to feel like I’m doing something, without a ton of added stress on my body.

WAYOUTTHERE

And that’s that! All the things that help me to actually relax when I rest, not just become lethargic and waste time. I hope everyone has a spectacular Wednesday!

What is your #1 time-suck?

Instagram for me, all the way!

Unique / Whole Food Ideas for College Dorms

All right you guys, there is something I need to confess to you – I hate the dining hall at UBC. The salad bar is exorbitantly expensive, and everything else available is full of processed chemicals, nitrates, and (most definitely GMO) soy. NOT. OKAY.

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I am most certainly not a typical college student in the sense that I refuse to live off of ramen noodles and free pizza. I prioritize my health, which has been turning out to require a lot of creativity.

College is an extremely stressful time! You would think that universities would realize this, and take into consideration the huge effect nutrition has on overall well-being. Alas, sadly, that is not the case. I haven’t been letting my health suffer, though! I have just become a professional dorm-style eater. I have actually come up with several things that are not the typical ‘cereal, sandwiches, etc.’ options, so I thought that it might be helpful to some other dorm-dwellers to share them! They can also be helpful in situations where you have limited access to a kitchen – moving, travelling, hotel rooms, etc.

There are a ton of excellent dorm room snacking ideas out there – nut butter, oatmeal, fresh fruit, nuts/seeds, the list truly does seem endless! I’m not listing those for you today though – check them out here!

Unique / Whole Food Ideas for College Dorms

1. Avocados: If you can find them on sale (I just got mine 2/$3 at Whole Foods!), these are perfect to stash away. I like to have half at one meal and half at the next, so that I can avoid them getting too brown while also not overdosing on delicious avo. Although, can you really overdose on ago? Debatable.

avocado

2. Toast: This one sounds typical, but it can switch up so many of your go-to meals! Turn sandwiches into open-faced toasties, make grilled cheese by popping a toasted sandwich into the microwave, and cut your toast up into strips for instant dipping vehicles!

eggs + hummus

3. Sweet Potatoes: Believe it or not, you can cook them in the microwave! Just remember to slice it lengthwise and poke holes in it first – the fire alarm went off in my building because apparently that is not common knowledge.

4. VerMints: I am currently on day EIGHT of being completely gum-free! A girl has still gotta have distractions while studying, though, so enter: Vermints! They are 100% organic and have zero sketchy ingredients. (And no, I am not cool enough to get paid to say that.)

VERMINTS GROUP W-MINTS 004

And you need to do something with all that delicious food! These are some of the things that I have been loving in my quest to avoid said horrific dining hall.

Dorm Room Recipes

1. Mug cakes. Specifically Amanda’s Double Chocolate Mug Cake – my one true love. I swear to you, I have not tried any other mug cake that even remotely compares to this one. Rich, dense, creamy, and 100% healthy. All I need in life.

2. Grill-less Grilled CheeseWhen I’m deprived of my panini press, do NOT expect me to abstain from grilled sandwiches entirely. Enter: ghetto grilled cheese using the toaster and the microwave.

3. Microwave Pumpkin Creations. Specifically, this cookie and oatmeal from Fannetastic Food! I am in love with all the pumpkin things, all the time. (not since August or anything…)

oatsI am obsessed with banana + blueberries + PB. Pumpkin takes it over the edge! 

4. Peanut Butter + Apple Muesli Bowl. Alternatively titled, The Breakfast Emma Ate Every Day for Two Years and Counting. But that is an obscenely long title so we will stick with the first one. 😉 This recipe is exactly what it sounds like, and hardly a recipe! Dice an apple, then mix it into a bowl of greek yogurt. Top with muesli and peanut butter. DONE. Beyond delicious, fast, filling, and all easily kept in a dorm room! I’m expecting to carry on the five year streak.

yogurt

Do you have any kitchen-free food/recipe suggestions?

Have you ever lived in a dorm? What did you do about food? 

College – The Myths Are True (Weekly Workouts)

NO – I am NOT referring to the Freshman Fifteen. Although I honestly have no idea how much I weigh, since I don’t have a scale here, I am pretty confident that I haven’t gained much weight. I think a huge part of that is the fact that at my school, campus is MASSIVE. And unless you have a bike, you literally walk everywhere.

Case in point: last week I took an average of 18 000 steps per day. Most days it was actually over 20, but I had a slower day on Sunday and only took about 6500. I haven’t been keeping track of/planning my workouts very much, just trying to run a decent amount of miles and fit in some strength training. The latter of which I totally failed at, though. The student rec center here (while DIRT cheap) is just so far away and sooooo full of big sweaty guys 24/7 that it’s not very appealing.

Running = life.

national-running-day

But back to the title! The myth (that is not a myth at all) that college students don’t need sleep is SO. TRUE. At home, if I slept for less than 7 hours I would be soooo exhausted and cranky. But here? I got less than 6 hours every single night last week and felt perfectly fine. I definitely felt it last night when I passed out at 10pm, but for the most part I think our brains recognize the fact that we are in college and adjust sleep needs. 😉

So in addition to walking ALL THE PLACES, this is what went on this week!

Monday: 2 miles + 2 miles. I ran 2 miles on my own around an ~8:30 pace, and then met up with a friend and did 2 more! We ran an easy conversational pace along a gorgeous path, down fifty million stairs and walked along the beach. ❤ Climbing back up said fifty million stairs was not as enjoyable…but satisfying. 🙂

Tuesday: OFF. My legs were SHOT from yesterday + Sunday’s tougher run.

Wednesday: 2 miles + strength. I ran 1 mile to the gym (felt way farther), did about a 25 minute strength workout (random exercises trying to avoid scary gym rats) and then ran/walked back to my res.

Thursday: OFF. It had been maybe 2 weeks since I did strength training and I was beyond sore.

Friday: 7 miles @ 8:40. THIS was the run that I needed. I woke up not feeling awesome, and told myself I only had to do 3. Once I got to 2.5 I decided I felt good enough to go for 5, the distance I’m trying to make my minimum. And then after that I STILL felt awesome so I pushed for 7! My ultimate goal is to be able to run 10 miles comfortably before starting half marathon training, so this made me feel reeeeeallly awesome.

Saturday: OFF. 

Sunday: 3 miles @ 8:22. I didn’t look at my watch the whole time – first mile was slower around ~8:50 and the other two picked up at ~8:10! 100% by feel – loved it.

All in all, I am super happy with how the week went! I’m not used to doing so little strength training, and I know I need to figure out a better system for that – but I had 2 SOLID, INTENSE workouts and 2 easier ones. Ideally I feel like I prefer 5, but with my new schedule/increased activity I think 4 will be perfect. 🙂

Never Apologize for YOU.

WOW. These past 2 days have definitely been a whirlwind. On Saturday, I moved into my dorm room, met a million new people and started figuring out what life would be like on my own. On Sunday, I said goodbye to my mom, realized that I was REALLY on my own, and only freaked out a tiny little bit. These are my achievements of yesterday:

  • First run on campus without getting lost
  • First shower in shared bathrooms without being grossed out/forced to wait
  • Found a textbook online for 1/2 the price that the bookstore wanted ($100 for a book I will never touch again…no thank you)
  • And a few more things because I’m awesome like that but we can leave it at that.

I’m feeling preeetty positive now, but I’m forcing myself to a little. You guys, starting university is SCARY! At first (last night) I felt SO lame because it seemed like my whole floor was going to this gross frat party and I would literally have rather scooped my eyeballs out with a fork. I was exhausted, not to mention I’m so not a party chick anyways. SO yeah. I was blaming myself for being weird and abnormal because I hadn’t made best friends in the 12 hours I had been there and would rather go to sleep than rub against sweaty people. It sounds ridiculous now, but in the moment it was tough!

After a couple of phone calls with my dearest mother and talking to myself a little, I realized two very important things.

1. I CAN DO WHATEVER THE HECK I WANT. Seriously. I am 18 years old, and made the (really freaking hard) choice to move away to university instead of choosing the safe option and living at home. Seeing as “whatever I want” is things like going to bed earlyish, not drinking, and sometimes chilling in my dorm room, yeah, I can do what I want. There is no one telling me that I HAVE to go to this party or spend all my energy from dusk till dawn trying to make friends. I can spend a lot of time doing that and go to a party if I feel like it, but I don’t HAVE to. It sounds obvious but has been so comforting.

2. I don’t need to apologize for being myself. I knew all throughout high school that I wasn’t a typical teenager. I love to work out, eat healthy, and do well in school. THOSE were my priorities then, and just because I am now a university student doesn’t mean that has to change. It can…but only if I want it to. I’m not going to apologize for not drinking / sleeping a normal amount / BEING MYSELF.

I am Emma, a health nut who runs and reads. And I ROCK. Thank you.

Canadian Once More, Adult for 1 Week + NYC Highlights!

I have returned to the land of the living blogging! Thanks for sticking around. 🙂

WOW. This past week has been SUCH a whirlwind. I woke up last Saturday morning, turned 18, found out I was going to New York City, flew to said city two days later, spent the best 5 days of my life exploring a city the size of my country, and then returned home in a frenzied panic trying to prepare to move in a week.

Yeah, I think WOW is pretty appropriate. Right now I don’t even know where to start with my New York recap – we did so much but were never stressed about it. My mom and I hated the idea of jumping from tourist spot to tourist spot, hopelessly trying to fit everything in (impossible). Here are some of the highlights:

ground-zero

Visiting Ground Zero. The plan was actually to go to Times Square, but (comparatively) small-city dweller Emma equated “downtown” with the main part of the city – nope, in NYC, downtown is the bottom! Funny how that works, hey? Anyway, we went into a Duane Reade and found out we were within walking distance of the 9/11 memorial. I honestly had NO. IDEA. that they were like this. When they televised the opening on the 10 year anniversary, I saw one square with (too many) names written around it. When we arrived, there were not one but two HUGE square openings in the ground, with water flowing down all the walls. It was absolutely breathtaking, in a tragic way. Again. Too many names.

top-of-the-rock

Top of the Rock! Excuse my hair-covered face – apparently it’s windy on the 70th floor. 😉 We chose to do the Rockefeller instead of the Empire State Building, and I am SO GLAD we did! I loved seeing the city from that viewpoint. Also, the elevator – 1/2 second per floor! Insanity.

central-park

Walk through Central Park. You guys can see the leaves on the ground – middle of August, and it’s FALL! What is happening?! I was so weirded out when I saw it – on the west coast, we don’t get fall until maaaaybe late October. For a total fall/winter girl, I was jealous! And oh yeah, the park was pretty beautiful, too. 😉

les-mis

Les Miserables on Broadway. So, yeah, this happened. And even though my legs went numb after sitting for 3+ hours, I totally sobbed my way through it like a little crybaby. I’m not remotely knowledgable in the theatre world so all I can tell you is that everything was done FLAWLESSLY, the actors were the most talented I’ve ever seen in my life and they kept someone occupied for 8 times as long as she normally is. Spectacular.

rock-night

Top of the Rock (again). We went up at night, too! We got the Sun & The Stars package – best idea ever. We didn’t stay too long this time, since it was 11pm and we hadn’t eaten dinner yet (!) but I’m so glad I got to see the city all lit up like that. It was magical.

I have soooo SO much more to say but I will leave NYC at that for now! But it’s for a good reason, I promise. I’m sort of moving in a week. WHAT?!?! akshjdasd. Cue major panic attack. I’m off to go spend all my money (pretending I didn’t do that already in NYC), pack like a maniac, and oh yeah, hit up the liquor store. Yep, I just said that. I’m moving to a province where the drinking age is 19 so you had better believe I am getting carded every chance I get. 😉 Have an awesome Monday!