Toronto’s Best Cupcake

TORONTO'S

A few months ago, amidst finals stress and sleep deprived study sessions, my friend Alex and I decided we wanted to find Toronto’s best cupcake. We’d just been sorrily disappointed after eating some cupcakes from the Eaton Centre (they may look good, but the Urban Eatery cupcakes are a trap), and felt morally obligated to find a tasty treat worth eating.

Thus, the cupcake challenge was born!

We googled “best cupcakes in Toronto”, compiled a list of four bakeries (Bunners, Prairie Girl, Dlish, and Bobette & Belle), which seemed to appear on every blog post we pulled up, and made up a rating scale to judge each treat!

Our scale consisted of: Prettiness, moisture, frosting to cake ratio (if there is the right amount of frosting for the cake), balanced sweetness (between the frosting and cake), texture (for both frosting and cake), size, flavour overall, and value. Each item on the list was rated out of five, and then we tallied up all the points!

To help make our rating easier, we standardized the type of cupcake we would buy from each location, settling on a classic, chocolate cake with vanilla icing.

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Bunners

Firstly, excuse my (very) poor photography skills here. I didn’t realize that every single picture we took was blurry until after we ate the whole thing up!

Our first stop was Bunner’s on Dundas (there’s another location in Kensington Market)! This bake shop prides itself on gluten free and vegan products and is highly spoken of. Bunner’s didn’t offer a chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing, so we just got chocolate on chocolate.

Review — Firstly, we noticed that the store itself was not exactly welcoming. There was nowhere to sit (it was quite small) and though it was early in the morning, somehow it was quite dark inside. Their selection of cupcake flavours was quite small, and we were a little disappointed to see so few combinations. Atmosphere aside, the Bunner’s cupcake ($4.20) was very large and the icing was nicely piped. The cupcake itself was pretty moist, but the texture was off, it was very grainy and clumpy and the cake was very heavy. The icing also had a strange texture and didn’t sit well on the tongue. There was just the right amount of icing (which proved to be hard to find at the other cupcake locations) and while the icing was sweeter than we would’ve liked, it was balanced out well by the cake.

Overall, we were pretty disappointed with the texture and general flavour of the cupcake.

Prettiness — 2.5/5

Moisture — 3/5

Frosting to Cake Ratio — 5/5

Balanced Sweetness — 3/5

Texture — 2/5

Size — 5/5

Flavour Overall — 1/5

Value — 1.5/5

Total: 23/40

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Dlish

Dlish, a cute little bakery on Queen, was ranked Toronto’s Best Cupcake in 2014 and runner up this year! We ordered a chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing, but they boast a big selection of flavours.

Review — What really killed it for this cupcake (in our opinion) was the icing. The cake itself was pretty standard in texture, moisture and flavour, but the icing was way too sweet. Vanilla is usually a sugary flavour when it comes to icing, but this one was a bit over kill, and to make matters worse, it was grainy and didn’t taste all that authentic. The sprinkles on top were a great touch and they added a lot to the texture.

Overall, this was a pretty average cupcake, nothing all that special. We would’ve been happier had the icing been less sweet, but if you’re in the are, definitely check them out.

Prettiness — 2.5/5

Moisture — 3/5

Frosting to Cake Ratio — 3/5

Balanced Sweetness — 2/5

Texture — 4/5

Size — 2.5/5

Flavour Overall — 2.5/5

Value — 2.5/5

Total: 22/40

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Prairie Girl Bakery

Also excuse this poor photo. Lighting in the PATH is not ideal!

This gem is hidden under the heart of the financial district, in the PATH. It’s a little out of the way, but they have so many options it’s totally worth it! Again, we got a chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing.

Review — Let me start by raving about the cake from this place. It was airy, light, moist, everything you could want in a cake. Alex and I were barely able to speak we were so pleased. Sadly, the icing was the downfall of this cupcake as well. Not only was it too sweet and too thick, but it was barely vanilla at all! In fact we got a really strong cream cheese flavour (which is usually fine, but not when you’re expecting vanilla). Honestly, the unexpectedness of it threw us for a bit of a loop.

Prettiness — 3/5

Moisture — 5/5

Frosting to Cake Ratio — 2/5

Balanced Sweetness — 2.5/5

Texture — 5/5

Size — 5/5

Flavour Overall — 3/5

Value — 3.5/5

Total: 29/40

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Bobbette & Belle

This Leslieville gem is honestly one of the most adorable little bakeries I’ve ever been to! Alex and I were happily surprised by an inviting and stylish sitting area, and we’ve already made plans to go back just because it was so cute! The music was also on point if that’s your kind of thing! Once again, we got a standard chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing.

Lighting was also incredible at this location (as you can tell in this not terrible photo)!

Review — We had big hopes for this little cupcake. It was pretty (prime piping and sprinkle work), and it was from a really pretty place. Sadly, it was only average, and the frosting again, was it’s downfall. The icing was way too sweet, and I know I said that about the others, but somehow, this was the worst of them all. Had the cake been less sweet, it would’ve balanced out the icing, but alas, this was not the case.

Prettiness — 4/5

Moisture — 4/5

Frosting to Cake Ratio — 5/5

Balanced Sweetness — 2/5

Texture — 4/5

Size — 3.5/5

Flavour Overall — 2.5/5

Value — 2.5/5

Total: 27.5/40

A Note From Alex:

Someone once said “a cupcake can make even the worst day a little bit brighter”. Ok, that someone was me, but honestly a good cupcake – or any dessert for that matter – can help ease some of life’s problems. That’s why Lauren and I knew we had to go on a mission to find Toronto’s Best Cupcake!

Obviously, this can be kind of tough, especially since judging foods can be a pretty subjective sport. Some people like a cupcake with really sweet frosting, others only want a little bit of frosting; the list of preferences could really go on forever…That’s why we tried to stick with a set of criteria that we could use to rate them in an unbiased way (as you can tell we have this whole cupcake judging thing down to a science, we could get PhD’s at this point tbh).

As Lauren said, we went to four different bakeries and ate four cupcakes. One cupcake looked pretty but didn’t taste all that great, another was just average, the third had super amazing cake, and the fourth was sold from the cutest shop which definitely made up for the lacklustre cupcake. Oddly enough, at each bakery we found that the frosting was their downfall – I would label myself as a lover of all frostings so that was pretty disappointing to me.

All in all though, I got to tour around Toronto with some amazing company eating cupcakes all day so regardless of the outcome I had a super fun time!

Official Verdict: Toronto’s Best Cupcake? Yet to be found.

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While we were happy to have spent the day eating cupcakes and exploring our amazing city, Alex and I were a little bit disappointed after these treats failed to live up to our expectations. Of course none of them were terrible, but they all followed a similar downfall. Decent cake, and incredibly over sweet icing. As we walked home from Leslieville, something dawned on us! Why couldn’t we, try to make our own perfect cupcake? So, in the next instalment of The Cupcake Challenge, we’ll be taking you through our recipe for creating the best (or our best) cupcake!

I hope you enjoyed this segment, and if you’d like to see something similar but for other foods (like pizza, hamburgers or ice cream) don’t hesitate to sound off in the comments!

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101 in 1001

101thingsin1001days

I was inspired by Isabella Darden of Yep It’s Prep, to make one of these lists. The basic premis is this: you brainstorm 101 goals you’d like to achieve or things you’d like to try, and then work to complete them in 1001 days (approximately 2.7 years). When I first read Isabella’s list, I thought it would be a great long term project for my first few college years and would serve as something cool to blog about. So, starting today, you will be able to go to the “101 in 1001” page on Pin & Daisy to keep up to date with my list and the progress I’ve made! Hopefully I’ll finish everything (or most things) and can make a whole new one when this time is up. It’s like a bucket list with a time limit, which makes the whole project a lot more realistic.

If you’ve made your own list, or have decided to after reading this, let me know in the comments (with a link) and I’ll tag you on the page for everyone to check out, it’s so much fun to read other peoples lists (I’ve read a LOT of them while trying to come up with the 101 items of my own)!

Without further ado, here is my entire list! It took a few weeks to write in itself (figuring out 101 things I want to accomplish is a lot harder than I thought it would be), but it came together and I couldn’t be happier with it!!

101 in 1001

  1. Volunteer at Sick Kids Hospital
  2. Making working out part of my daily routine (stick to it)
  3. Become a morning person
  4. Master the art of using an agenda/planner
  5. Ombre my hair
  6. Blog consistently for a month (at least three times a week)
  7. Create a blog instagram
  8. Re-define my style
  9. Be accepted in to my program of choice in Uni
  10. Study abroad (Italy preferably)
  11. Travel with a group of friends to Europe
  12. Journal consistently for a month
  13. Run a 5k
  14. Run a 10k
  15. Buy my mom flowers randomly
  16. Host a fancy dinner party for friends
  17. Read 30 new books
  18. Try 30 DIYs (and post about them)
  19. Try 30 new recipes (and post about them)
  20. Bind a book of my own poetry
  21. Visit the ROM
  22. Visit the AGO
  23. Take a day to explore downtown T.O. by myself
  24. Be able to do the splits
  25. Make exam care packages for my best friends
  26. Clean out my closet and organize by colour and style
  27. Meditate everyday for one month
  28. Make yoga a regular part of my weekly routine
  29. Get a tattoo
  30. Create a blog series
  31. Create an inspiration board
  32. Go camping for the first time
  33. Go on a road trip with friends
  34. Get my drivers license
  35. Buy a polaroid camera and take tons of pictures
  36. Take a photography course
  37. Take a cooking course
  38. Put $2000 into my savings account
  39. Take a ballroom dance class
  40. Sign up for ballet lessons again
  41. Go to church every Sunday for a month
  42. Read the entire Harry Potter series
  43. Go a whole month without buying anything for myself
  44. Eat healthy for a whole month — be ruthless and make it a habit
  45. Create the ultimate workspace
  46. Invest in a good pair of pumps (nude and black)
  47. Throw an extravagant themed party for no reason
  48. Go rollerskating (at one of those rink places)
  49. Make a new blogging friend
  50. Send hand written cards to people I love the most
  51. Go to a drive in movie theatre
  52. Make an ombre layer cake (and post about it)
  53. Make a deconstructed layer cake (and post about it)
  54. Have a guest blogger on my blog
  55. Establish and stick to a blogging schedule
  56. Invest in a classic leather tote back
  57. Go apple picking
  58. Do a “colour run” (either running or walking)
  59. Visit a really cute farmers market (blog about it)
  60. Host a fun New Years party with friends and family
  61. Go to Alaska
  62. Get a real job
  63. Take a basic accounting course
  64. Take a basic programming course
  65. Be able to hold a plank for 5 minutes
  66. Buy a new pair of running shoes
  67. Revamp my bedroom
  68. Find and purchase the perfect camel fall/winter coat
  69. Host a fancy tea party for friends
  70. Learn how to make smoothie bowls (blog about it)
  71. Make a double layer pavlova
  72. Start a book club with some friends
  73. Buy a record player
  74. Start collecting records
  75. See an opera
  76. Go to a pumpkin patch
  77. Treat my parents to a fancy dinner on me
  78. Try a Barre Class
  79. Invest in good makeup basics (foundation/coverup & blush)
  80. Plant an indoor herb garden (and keep it alive)
  81. Watch the nutcracker every Christmas (NBC)
  82. Create the perfect gallery wall
  83. Invest in the perfect suit blazer
  84. Complete the “8-week beginner running challenge” or the “couch to 5k” running challenge
  85. Stick with Blogilates monthly calendars
  86. Live in Lisbon on my own for a few months
  87. Invest in a fancy silk pj set
  88. Learn how to french braid on myself
  89. Learn how to make a halo braid on myself
  90. Go somewhere warm (eg. Cuba) with the family
  91. Save up enough money to cover my summer abroad fees
  92. Go to the zoo with my best friends
  93. Take a Zumba class
  94. Go geocaching
  95. Find the perfect trench coat
  96. Visit a friend away at school
  97. Start writing a novel in ernest (get to 100 pages at least)
  98. Compile my favourite instagram photos (and other photos) in to a mini photo album
  99. Host a summer brunch
  100. Become a UofT tour guide
  101. Make fancy homemade ice cream

Thanks for the read, and if you’ve made one of these bad boys yourself, let me know so I can have a read through and post a link!!

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15 Ways To Improve Your Mood

15

Sometimes life gets tough! Things don’t go our way, we trip or fall down and can’t seem to get back up on our own. While you always need some dark in order to appreciate the bright, when things keep rolling down hill it can be very difficult to stay positive and appreciative. We’ve all been there at one point or another, but there’s no need to let yourself fall in to a slump! There are always little ways you can pick yourself back up when you notice that familiar blue cloud passing by.

While ultimately I (highly) recommend speaking to a psychologist or physician about recurring low moods (for real treatment), here are 15 little tricks you can also keep in your back pocket for when life gets rocky!

Go For A Run

While any form of exercise (even a relaxed walk) should do the trick here, I always feel like a good quick sprint is just what I need. Not only will your exercise produce endorphins, burn some calories and give you an excuse to get a donut (guilt free) later, but there’s no better feeling than pushing yourself and literally running your worries in to the ground. While it’s always hard to get started, you will never regret a run when you’re done.

Talk To A Friend

Our friends are our friends for a reason. Calling up your BFF to chat can be a perfect way to shake off a bad day. While you can tell them what’s been bothering you and work through it together, the best thing about our friends, is that you don’t always need to tell them what’s going on, often they can sense it. A conversation featuring a funny story from last night’s shenanigans, some plan making, and general chatting will often help brighten your mood, and remind you that you aren’t alone.

Listen To Your Favourite Song

Music is an incredible power. It can comfort us, empower us and move us to tears all in three or four minutes. Whenever I’m feeling down, I whip out my ukulele (because let’s face it, everything sounds happy on those guys), or blast my favourite feel good tunes! A good solo dance party (hair brush mic included), never fails to pump you up and distract you from feeling low.

Put On Something Nice

While this might sound silly, dressing up has always been one of my favourite tactics to avoid feeling upset. If you’re wearing something you feel powerful and cute in, it will translate into your mood and attitude, which can really help combat negative feelings. Not only do you get an excuse to bust out that new dress or blouse, but when you feel fierce and confident, those around you will notice too!

Watch Funny Videos On YouTube

This one is a quick fix. I’m partial to baby and baby animal videos (cuteness overload) but whatever you find funny will work just as well. Get yourself laughing for a few minutes and you’ll go back to your day feeling rejuvenated!

Cross Something Off Your To-Do List

In many cases, negative emotions are brought on by stress and anxiety, especially during the school year! If you’re like me and live to make to-do lists, crossing things off can really help your mood! The act of writing a to-do list is helpful in itself, as it breaks everything we have to do into smaller chunks. As soon as you start crossing things off (even if they’re the smallest ones on there) it will boost your confidence and get you in the mood to tackle the bigger tasks with gusto!

Paint Your Nails

This is another quick fix, but it always works really well for me! While not everyone admits it, painting your nails is an activity that requires a lot of attention, and that’s exactly the kind of thing you want to do when feeling down! While you’re drawn in to making smooth strokes and not smudging the polish, your brain gets some much needed down time to process and relax, and you get a fancy new set of nails to show off.

Clean Your Room/Workspace

Cleaning is therapeutic. I’ve always thought this way, and probably always will. There is no better feeling than reorganizing your room or work space, throwing away old papers, vacuuming the floor and rearranging your pencils. If there’s one thing that will help you feel more relaxed and ready to take on the day, it’s this! Cleaning and reorganizing is also the perfect way to take your mind off things you can’t stop thinking about so your brain can have a nice little break.

Take A Shower

Wash your worries away with a nice hot shower. Wash your hair, use fancy soap, yummy smelling lotion, and generally care for yourself. Your body is so incredible, it’s your home, and when you take care of it, it will return the favour! The shower is also a perfect place to sing (great acoustics), cry, or think through problems so that you come out feeling refreshed and ready to go.

Make Yourself Something Healthy

On a similar wellness note, your body is your home, and when we aren’t feeling 100%, we tend toward eating fatty comfort foods. While “junk food” treats are important to staying sane, I 100% guarantee that you will feel better after cooking something fresh and healthy for yourself. Not only are you providing important nutrients for your body, but the act of preparing the meal will calm you down as well.

Call Your Mom

Your mom likely knows and loves you more than anyone else, and that is the exact reason you should call her when you’re feeling down. She can help you work through your problem, give you encouragement, and remind you of how loved and needed you are. Also, few things are better than a mom hug, so if you can, get a bunch of those too!

Write It Down

Journaling is a great thing to do when you’re upset. Paper is the perfect opinion-less listener, and you can delve as little or as deep in to your thoughts as you’d like. If you enjoy symbolism, try burning what you write (very satisfying), or just work things out on paper to get a better understanding of what you’re feeling. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to emotions, and if you can identify what’s bothering you, it’ll be that much easier to deal with.

Get Creative

Making something is always helpful for me. Whether you like painting, sewing or dancing, getting lost in the creative process works wonders for your mind and body. If it’s something you really enjoy, you will no doubt feel better after flexing your creative muscle. Not only will you give your brain a break, but you get something cool at the end of it!

Read A Childhood Favourite

Picking up the story book your parents always used to read you is another great way to calm down and feel better. They often bring back great memories and the warm fuzzy feelings we often associate with our childhoods. If anything, funny picture books are a great mindless thing to read to distract yourself!

Buy Fresh Flowers

There has to be some science to back this up somewhere, but fresh flowers are the ultimate pick me up. Whether they’re a gift from someone or just something you picked up at the market, it’s impossible to feel upset around brightly coloured blooms and gentle fragrances! Add a vase of peonies to your desk, some tulips to your bedside table, and revel in some of natures most beautiful handy work!

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While this post is full of little tricks you can use to get out of blue moods, sometimes our feelings goe deeper than a surface fix can reach. If this is the case, know that seeking professional help should never be embarrassing. You are not weak for admitting that you need a little extra help.

Mental illness is such a serious issue, and while I won’t be going in to it much in this post, it is so important that we address the stigma around it. So please, remember that your emotions are valid. The way you feel matters, and if you are struggling, there is no shame in asking for help, just strength.

Your mind is just as important as your body, treat it as you would a best friend.

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More Me Time

In between the crazy demands of school, family, friends and the gazillion other things we cram into our lives, it becomes really easy to forget about yourself. As a student, I’ve learnt not only that me time is precious and hard to come by, but that making room in your busy schedule to make it happen is so worth it.

It’s the same story for most: We have class, homework, assignments, tests and in-between the never ending work, still have to find time to eat, socialize and get enough sleep! I seems just about impossible when you first start getting in to the groove of the school year, so “me time” is something a lot of people overlook or forget about entirely.

But here’s the thing… you shouldn’t!

I know, I know, it’s so easy to start worrying about taking time away from the library (it’s definitely hard for me) but once you exercise your “me time” muscles, it really does help you out.

School is important and obviously staying on top of assignments and readings is why you’re here, but burning yourself out by not taking breaks or time to follow hobbies and relax is sooo counter-productive! Not only will you feel the stress building up on your shoulders, but almost every other area of your life will begin to feel the effects of overwork.

Our schedules are so hectic as students, they start early and end later than they should, and amidst it all, it’s hard to fit in all the things we need, to get done. Here are some simple ways to add “me time” back in to your schedule without putting school on the back burner!

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Set a Bed Time

This one seems a little odd but let me explain! I go to bed (or try to anyways) at 10:30 every night, and at 9:30, I stop any work I’m doing and do something I want to do. My evening me time usually consists of self-care type things and doing yoga. Setting this time standard is so helpful because it becomes really easy to build this hour in to your schedule (taking an hour to wind down before bed is also an amazing way to fall asleep faster if you have trouble with that).

Wake Up Earlier

If you’re more of an early bird, waking up an hour, or even half an hour early can work wonders. Starting the day quietly by taking care of yourself (maybe make a fancy breakfast or take a soak in the tub) will start your day off on a totally different foot. I’m determined to become a morning person this year and while I’m not fully there, I’ve definitely noticed a change in my mood and stress level if I start the day out by doing something I like (it’s also so much easier to wake up if you have something to look forward to!)

Extend Your Lunch

If you aren’t a night owl or an early bird, taking an extra long lunch might be just the right thing for you! Lunch is a lovely time of day to focus on doing something to destress and focus on yourself, I mean what’s better than reading a few chapters of your favourite book while eating?

Take Breaks

During study sessions, make sure to take breaks. They don’t have to be long (fifteen minutes usually does the trick) but make sure you take them regularly (say every two hours). Not only will this break free up your mind, you can take some time to stretch or grab a snack, and  you’ll feel so much more motivated and ready to sit down and work again!

Schedule It In

Sometimes, there’s nothing else we can do and our time seems to escape us. If you live because of your planner/daily schedule, physically pencil in some me time. It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be extravagant, all you need is twenty minutes to decompress and focus on yourself! Writing this time into your daily schedule makes it easier to work your day and responsibilities around it so that you can make everything work (it’s also another reason to spend a good half hour organizing and list making – a favourite pastime of mine).

Join A Club

Joining a club for something your passionate about and interested in is the perfect way to put some me time in to your schedule. It might not be your typical “alone time” but with mandatory events and meetings, this time to get away from the stress of school work is built in! Clubs also provide the perfect setting to make friends and build a support group from people with similar interests and values!

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Life can get pretty hectic and if you don’t take the time you need to rest and recoup, you can hardly expect to reach your potential! Hopefully this post has given you a few tips for adding “me time” back in to your crazy schedules!

What’s your favourite way to spend free time?

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2016 // Get It Girl

2016 has become (to my surprise) a year of action. The “Get it Girl” year I’ve been pining for. The last few months of 2015 were incredibly trying for me and as New Years came and went, I decided I was sick of feeling powerless in the face of my life, like I didn’t have any sort of control over what was happening. The exact opposite is true of course, my life is in my hands, and the moment I realized that, everything changed.

I’ve made some lofty goals for myself, and while it isn’t impossible to implement them all, New Years resolutions have never been my forte. In an attempt to make sure I stick to all this good stuff, I decided to share them with you good people of the internet, not only to hold myself accountable, but to hopefully inspire one or two of you to stop saying “tomorrow” and finally do the things you’ve always wanted to (Nike was right guys, Just Do It).

One of my favourite Instagramers Karla Reed (a fabulous/hilarious/goals worthy mom and blogger) inspired me to follow in her tradition of picking a word/quality to focus on in the new year, and through some weird coincidence, we picked the same one: JOY. After a difficult 2015 full of changes and some not so great stuff, focusing on joy and cultivating self-love seemed like the perfect plan of action. When I say I want to focus on joy, I mean looking at the little things, the blue sky or chirping birds; finding and enjoying the beauty already in my life, more than I have been.

I’m excited to see what happens when I start appreciating these little joys more regularly and I’m excited to see who I’ll leave 2016 as. I’ve written a bit of an essay here (#sorrynotsorry) so bare with me here!

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Journal More

I recently started journaling because I’ve heard so much about it’s therapeutic effects, I figured if it helped me get things out on paper (something I often find difficult to do) it would be worth while. Journals aren’t judgmental, they aren’t going to yell at you for bad ideas, or bitchy thoughts. What they will do, is egg you on and never get tired of listening to your problems. You can go on and on about so-and-so and what’s-her-face without the thing batting an eyelid; essentially, it’s a cheap therapist.

While it’s been difficult to get into a steady journaling habit (university, need I say more?), the time I have taken to write, has been good. It’s been emotional, fun, healing and it’s let me figure out some things that I would’ve needed longer to process on my own. I hope that throughout the year, I can get in to a groove (even if it’s only writing a couple times a week) at the very least I can actually use all the pretty notebooks I’ve hoarded throughout the years!

Be More Active

This is probably the world’s most popular New Years resolution, and while I’ve said this every year since middle school, for some reason in 2016 I’ve finally acted on it. Miraculously, I now workout six days a week school permitting (my parents are just as surprised as I am). I’ll do a more in depth post on this change in my life at a later date but let me just say this: boy was Nike right when they said “Just Do It”. Honestly people, pushing yourself to get up and move is one of the most rewarding and productive feelings and I can only hope to keep my motivation up throughout the year!

Take More Me Time

Throughout my first year of uni, I’ve learnt that me time = sacred time. In between readings, homework, assignments, tests and like, a billion other commitments, the only me time students seem to work in regularly is checking social media or going to bed (if they’re even that lucky). This year I’m making me time a priority, be it taking an extra half hour before bed to do yoga and read a book, or an entire day to relax and do the things I love to do (shopping, eating, crafting…the list goes on).

I know as a student things pile up and taking time away from studying seems scary and impossible, but when you take a moment to clear your head and relax, it’s amazing how much more productive and motivated you’ll be when you come back to your to-do list (again, an in depth post about this is also on the way).

Be More Creative

It’s become my opinion that stress (read: school) kills creativity. There doesn’t seem to be any time to craft, or read, or write anymore and that makes me sad! While this one kind of goes with my “me time” goal, I’m also trying to find smaller ways to be creative. Taking more pictures of the beautiful things I see everyday, finding things that inspire me in the ordinary and not holding my life to unattainable standards, but enjoying it for what it is.

Creativity is, I believe, something you make yourself with what you have, and while Pinterest, magazines and the internet in general are great for inspiration, it’s also really easy to get caught up in comparing your peaches to someone else’s kiwis. All this fancy wording to say, I want to focus on my own form of creativity, my uniquely “Lauren” ideas, without worrying what anyone else thinks of them. This is certainly going to be easier said than done, but we’ll see what happens.

Surround Myself With Beauty

This is a pretty simple goal really. I’m already surrounded by beautiful people and places, but this year, I want to expand this a bit more to the little things (like fresh flowers and scented candles) and to my general life. I like to call myself a positive person, but in the last couple of years my positivity hasn’t been around much. In 2016 my goal is to purge the negative vibes/people/habits/shoes/clothes etc. from my life. Anything that doesn’t support or make me feel strong, has to go.

I think as I’ve gotten older this has been an easier thing to do. During my first semester of university, I was really hit with how temporary some things and people are, whether you want them to be or not, and while it’s hard and sad at first, I’ve learned to accept that sometimes, even when it feels crappy, getting all that bad stuff out is better in the end.

Cherish The Little Things

This is exactly what you think it is, no hidden meaning here. My mom has always been a big believer in “Gratitude Journals” so as part of my journaling goal I’d like to start doing this (maybe I’ll make a series on the blog?).

Find New Hobbies & Explore Them

This definitely ties to my creativity goal, but throughout the year I’ve found a love for sewing and working out (among other things) and really want to explore these hobbies and work them in to my life in a more significant way.

Appreciate The Wonderful People In My Life More

This is also pretty straight forward, but the world is so busy that sometimes amidst it all, we forget to take a moment and thank the people who help keep our heads above the water. I am so blessed to be surrounded by amazing friends and family and I don’t tell them nearly enough how important they are to me. I definitely have to up my game here!

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So, those are my goals. I’m sorry this post was so wordy and essay like, but I really wanted to get in to (more for myself) the nitty gritty of this stuff, to explore it a little bit.

Do you have any goals for 2016? Let me know in the comments because I’d love to hear them!

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