Category Archives: Thoughts

And… We’re Back

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The thing about hiatuses is that they have to be announced; otherwise they’re just absences. So please allow me to apologize for my absence.

Things have been strange, to say the least, for the past few weeks. It’s only recently that I actually admitted it and went in to see my doctor. We’re still in the process of figuring out exactly what is going on.

However, it has taught me something incredibly important. Being in tune with your own body means recognizing when something is wrong and taking care of it. Your body is yours; it deserves your respect, your care and attention. Even healthy people get sick, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Seeing as getting this “thing” under control could take a while, I’ve decided to put even more energy into functioning, I don’t know when I will get better, so I better try to get my life back.

See you all Monday!

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Quick Review, and How I Use My Lilly Pulitzer Agenda

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When I was in third grade, my school started giving us agendas in hopes to teach us lifelong organizational skills, improve parent/teacher communication and help keep us on track.

This early attempt at a life lesson instead taught me the value of faux panicked lying, mediocre forgery skills and instilled in me a belief that I was an organizational disaster.

We’ve established that I was a bit of a black and white thinker as a child, right?

It’s taken eleven years, but I now feel that I have excellent organization and time management skills. So this summer, I rewarded myself with a Lilly Pulitzer Agenda.

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Today I’m going to give a quick review of the agenda, show how I use mine and hopefully pass on some tips!

I have the “Large Sized” Agenda, and although it is pretty well sized (6 3/4″ x 8 7/8″.) I can tell you already that I’ll be investing in the Jumbo size next school year. The longer I have this planner the more I use it, and I’m starting to fill up the boxes on the daily.

Probably my favourite thing about this agenda is how it starts the year in August and runs into December of the next year. It’s perfect for students!

The agendas themselves are beautiful, filled with trademark Lilly patterns and bright colours. The paper is of a great quality and all the tabs are laminated to keep them in good condition.

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I use my agenda for a number of things, keeping track of school work, barista work, blogging things, social activities and general things like grocery lists.

I like to keep my agenda extra pretty with a set of colourful gel pens and a pack of Lilly Pulitzer stickers which also serve as great reminders for things like papers being due, or even just to call back home.

At the beginning of each month, I sit down with my monthly calendar page and plan out everything I can. From birthdays, to film screenings and of course – blog posts, I set up as much of my month as possible.

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Other than that I update the book at the end of every class, or whenever something new comes up on my schedule. The trick to good agenda keeping is to update and check constantly. There’s little point in writing all these things down if you don’t bother to check up!

Well, I’m off to a long lecture, an appointment with an academic advisor, and a run to the kitchen supply store so I’ll talk with you soon!

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Do you use a day planner? What are your best organizational tips?

Let’s Talk About Trich

As you may already know the Trichotillomania Learning Center declared October 1-7 a week of awareness for Trichotillomania, Dermatillomania and related disorders.

Here on Cait and The Real World I am trying to do my part to raise awareness and hopefully let people know they are not alone. So without further ado…

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These are my shins, and this is how I cover them up.

I’m a blogger, a filmmaker, a bunny owner, a sister and a friend. I’m also a person who has been living with Trichotillomania and Dermatillomania for the past five years.

I know that these are not very well known disorders, so I’m going to try and give a crash course right now. It is Awareness Week!

Trichotillomania and Dermatillomania (henceforth referred to as Trich and Derma) are dual classified disorders on the Obsessive Compulsive and Impulse Control Spectrum.

What this means is that these conditions can be the facets of multiple disorders, they can exist on their own or be part of a larger condition like OCD.

Trich and Derma, usually manifest around the ages of 9-13 though it can appear at just about any age. Picking or pulling is usually “focused” on one major area, with smaller areas throughout the body. Most people with Trich or Derma will literally spend hours working on their patches, though they might not even realize it most of the time.

These conditions are difficult to treat, and there is still no “cure”. However treatments such as Habit Reversal Training, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and medication have proven to be effective.

If you’re struggling with either of these disorders, the first thing I want to stress is that you are not alone. There are so many people all over the world, some of us live in shame, others silently fight, and some speak out. But, no matter what the circumstances; most importantly we are out there.

If you’re looking for help, information or support the Trichotillomania Learning Center offers a wealth of resources. Please check them out here.

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You’re Invited! Guest Writing on Cait and The Real World

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Like this picture of a sparkler “light painting” some of the most beautiful things come from people working together. Not to mention that we seem to have the most fun making anything as a group. So that’s what this post is in a roundabout way about.

As I try to learn how to grow this blogs audience, and move forward with my goals I continue to hear and read the word “networking”. This can be a very scary word for those of us who deal with social anxiety, introversion or general awkwardness, but it’s crucial to “moving up in the world”

So I’m sending out the call, Cait and The Real World is looking for guest writers. Can you teach us how to make a thing, or share your go to recipe? What about talking about your business, sharing tips for University, decorating, or keeping house plants alive?

Whatever it is, whether you’re a blogger or just someone who likes to share I would love to give you my blog as a platform.

So send me an email at caitandtherealworld@gmail.com and let’s talk!
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Hope to hear from you soon!

Check In

It’s been a month!

I encourage all of you who placed bets on the success of failure of this blog to cash in now. Pretty soon people will stop thinking you’re actually serious.

A month ago I introduced myself and set a few goals with the promise to check in. Since then this blog has seen a total redesign, and you’ve watched me move, bring a bunny home and make a lot of stuff.

Now, let’s take a look. How have I done with the goals I set?

1. Start Following More Blogs

In the past month I’ve gone from reading about thirty blogs regularly to over forty. Most of these blogs were found through perusing comment sections and my own new followers. So let’s consider this one checked!

2. Comment on Posts

Yet another goal I can check off my list! I’ve exceeded my own expectations and now commenting on at least three blogs in standard for my mornings. It’s lovely to feel part of a community and my heart does beat a little faster when I see all the referred hits.

3. Fall into a Schedule with Blogging

Um… Well? I’ve started to fall into a schedule, but this past month has been incredibly resistant to scheduling. However, I’ve met my own post quota, and I think it’s something I will achieve if I keep working at it.

4. Take More Pictures

Check! I haven’t reached the level of my summer photography, but I’m starting to think that had more to do with the summer. From blog, to “day in the life” type photos and a few art pieces for class, my camera is frequently in use and that makes me very happy.

This post was a great little pick me up, I’m feeling rather accomplished now!

Did you set any goals for September? How are they going?

Overcoming Lecture Anxiety – A Guide in Four Steps

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The first time I stepped into a University lecture hall I was terrified.

Not for my class, not because I was worried I couldn’t keep up, not even because I did not know where to sit.

It was just so big – the lecture hall, the number of students, the screen that my Professor used to start up his presentation. Instantly my anxiety skyrocketed. I couldn’t breathe properly; my hands shook and I had to leave early. I felt embarrassed, confused and even more nervous as the tape of the chronically anxious played over and over

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Since that first lecture, over two years ago I’m doing better. I don’t skip lectures for anxiety based reasons. I feel proud to speak up when the Professor asks a question, and I can focus – which means I can learn.

So here are my tips for Lecture Hall Anxiety, I hope they can help!

1. Identify Your Anxiety – When I first asked this question I thought the answer was simple – I have anxiety disorders. However, this just means that I’m more prone to anxiety. My anxiety still has a root cause. For me, it was the adjustment from a class of 30 being a huge class to classes where the students range in the hundreds. Once you understand the cause of your anxiety you can begin to unpack it.

2. Find What Works – From stress balls, to progressive muscle relaxation and (my personal favourite) box breathing there are tonnes of ways you can reduce your anxiety without causing a scene in a lecture hall. Spend some time finding an area of the lecture hall where you are the most comfortable (for me it’s the very back) Try taking a mug of decaf tea, or a cosy sweater to your classes, though it may take a while to find the perfect combination, you’re worth the time to figure it out.

3. Practice Kindness – Treat yourself as you would treat your best friend, little sister or child. Positive self talk, gentle reinforcement and patience, patience patience. You are not going to get everything “right” all the time, sometimes you will “fail” and that is going to be okay. Practice realistic thinking, a great example of which can be found in this chart


4. Set Small Goals – Overcoming Anxiety is a monumental and sometimes lifelong task. By setting small goals, you can reward yourself for the HUGE steps you are taking. Start small “I will attend my entire lecture today” and work your way up to things like “I will participate in class discussion” Don’t forget to reward yourself! Buy yourself a fancy coffee drink, a new notebook or a scarf, that way you have a double reward for the work you have done to move forward.

What are your experiences with anxiety at University or College? How did you combat them?

Thoughts on Blogging

 

It’s Sunday night, and my brain is very busy.

When I was thinking about how I would define this blog, I placed it under the “blog genre” of lifestyle blogging. I’ve been thinking about this because a snarky favourite of mine the forum “Get Off My Internets” describes lifestyle blogging as

“You don’t know how to live, they can help”

I would like to state for the record that most of the time I have no clue what I’m doing.

My last post, a cake recipe, shows my second attempt at that cake (as my instagram followers probably already know) in two days. When I went to pick up ingredients, my anxiety levels were through the roof because sometimes I find grocery stores overwhelming.

Our blogs are like our lives, some things we choose to share, and others we hide. For me, this blog focuses on the good things, the lessons I’ve learned and the things I have made.

I want to create a brighter spot on the internet, the way that writing this blog has made my life a little brighter. This blog doesn’t gloss over the bad days; I want you to know they happen, but I’ve learned that dwelling on them outside of phone calls home or therapy sessions doesn’t make them any easier.

I tried to write a manifesto before I started this blog, I don’t think I’ll ever post it, but I do like this quote.

“I believe in living ethically, truthfully and beautifully.”

I’m going to continue to work at it.

PS. I would like to thank the fantastic people at effyeahnerdfighters for featuring my doormat DIY post. If you’ve found my blog through them, I would love to hear from you!