Category Archives: University and College

Marvelous in My Thanksgiving Monday

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I’m writing this post from the Windows desktop in my family’s computer room, so my apologies if this post takes a while to show up. Who knew that a slightly different keyboard could present such a huge difficulty?

I’ve been seeing post after “Marvelous In My Monday” posts and so I decided to see what the fuss was about. Not only did it lead me to Katie, of The Healthy Diva but her weekly roundups are a shot of positivity across the internet that are greatly appreciated.

So here we go!

Marvelous is coming home Friday night after an easy bus ride with arguably the sweetest bus driver I have ever met. After catching up with mum and dad, I was finally reunited with my person, Erin when she and Mark picked me up for some much needed catch up.

We celebrated with drinks at the usual place and made full use of the new ping pong table. While there we invented “Extreme Ping Pong – Where The Bar is Your Table and The Ball is Always in Play”. This made up for the fact that Mark was skilled at the game, whereas Erin and I could best be described as “enthusiastic”

Still in play!

A post shared by Caitlin Evelyn Kennific (@caitlinevelyngrace) on

Being sick is not marvelous. However, sick days and rainy days often evoke the same feeling – how grateful I am to have a place to lie down, a place to be sick and doctors to visit. Marvelous is also snuggling with my pup, I love Wheatley to bits but this doesn’t make me miss Paddy any less!

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Marvelous is waking up Sunday feeling slightly more energetic, but taking it easy till around four when I was sure that I could make it through the evening.

Because of my illness I didn’t have time to prepare a proper centerpiece, so I improvised with an old decorative pumpkin, a gold sharpie and some fresh “not so” greenery. Crafting/arranging on the fly, and coming up with lists of things to be thankful for (we wrote them on the pumpkin) was absolutely marvelous.

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Marvelous is also an adorable dress in a bright pattern which lifted my spirits up from the cold and gloomy day outside.

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We shared Thanksgiving Dinner with family friends, which included their two boys Scott and Brian. Sadly the boys are of that age where they seem to move too quickly to take their picture, and my hands were full keeping them entertained, so pictures are minimal. Mario Kart, giggles and the sheer amount of infectious energy they put out are marvelous.

Thanksgiving Dinner is simply fantastic, especially the Torfurkey. I find we get a little better at cooking it each time, and its a “three times a year” treat that I always look forward to. I also appreciate how easy it is to make Thanksgiving vegan or vegetarian. Once turkey is out of the way, there are plenty of delicious options.

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Marvelous is being done with dishes by 8:30, sharing a cup of coffee and then heading out for a post Thanksgiving celebration with friends. I attempted to learn how to play Magic : The Gathering and am determined to actually “get it” one of these days.

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Marvelous is starting the day without my customary coffee is turn for a decaf tea, I’m trying to learn how to take things slow.IMG_1174

I’m feeling almost “good” today so I’ll be off to spend time with Erin and Kenzie before heading home to continue with classes and films.

This weekend has been filled with family – both blood and chosen, love and gratitude. I’m not sure I could ask for anything more.

How has your Thanksgiving Monday been marvelous?

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Cooking with Cait : Two Super Salads

When my good friend and housemate Angie was travelling this summer, she picked me up a furoshiki cloth. These cloths are used to wrap up things in inventive and beautiful ways.

Since I’ve had this I’ve been on the search for the perfect Bento box, and I think I’ve found it.

This box is modern, has a stupidly strong seal, is microwave safe, and has moveable compartments meaning that I have great control over my portions and ratios.

Since buying my bento box, I’ve made two meals in it, and I would like to share them with you today.

 Sweet Potato and Avocado Quinoa Salad

YOU WILL NEED

  • 2 Cups Cooked Black & Golden Quinoa
  • 1 Large Sweet Potato
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Minced Red Onion
  • Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper and Salt to Taste
  • The Juice of One Lime
  • Minced Cilantro (or Parsley depending on what you like)
  • 1 Avocado
  • Shredded Daiya Cheese to Garnish

Let’s Get Cooking!

Bring four cups of water to a boil and add your quinoa. While this is happening take the opportunity to peel and cube your sweet potato and prepare the rest of your veggies.

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Take the diced sweet potato and pop it into a pot of salted, boiling water and cook for 10-15 minutes. It’s important not to cook it all the way as you’ll be toasting it later!

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In a large bowl toss together the quinoa, bell peppers, onions and avocado.  Then mix your oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and cayenne in a smaller bowl.

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Mix your dressing in with the previously tossed ingredients and allow it to sit while you toast the sweet potato in a frying pan. This step is optional, but I think it adds a nice texture to the salad.

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This is yet another optional step, but you can then choose to garnish with a cheese of your choice. Right now I’m in absolute love with Daiya cheeses. They’re delicious, vegan and it MELTS AND STRETCHES! JUST LIKE REAL CHEESE!

Can you tell I’m excited by this prospect?

Here’s my salad! I had some leftover avocado, so I whipped up a super quick guacamole and added some tortilla chips in my second compartment.

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Pickled Vegetables and Marinated Tofu Salad on Rice

This is a much lighter salad compared to the first recipe, which is great for when you’re feeling like a light lunch. It does, however, pack a great nutritional punch by incorporating a rainbow of vegetables and the use of low sodium soya sauce.

YOU WILL NEED 

  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Snowpeas, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 Small Radish, Julienned
  • Red Pepper, Julienned
  • Carrots, Julienned
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Chopped “Superfood” Green Mix
  • Rice
  • 1 Tablespoon White Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • Scallions, sliced on an angle.
  • 3 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soya Sauce
  • Sesame Oil
  •  Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • Firm Tofu

A note, this salad is definitely a “prepare the night before” sort of deal, the prep work can seem a bit much, but if you incorporate it into your dinner prep it’s not much work at all.

Mix your soy sauce and five spice powder together in a container add your tofu and allow to marinate for at least three hours.

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When the tofu is done marinating prepare your rice and throw it in the fridge to cool.

While your rice cools, take the opportunity to julienne the vegetables. If you can’t tell, it takes a bit of practice and I’m still learning.

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In your bowl, or bento box make a bed of cooled, cooked rice. This will serve as a foundation and a small midday carbs fix.

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Add the sugar and vinegar into a small pan and boil for five minutes, allow to cool and then add to the chopped veggies and leave it to sit for 30 minutes.

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Lastly toss your ingredients together and dress with a sesame oil/soya dressing and toasted sesame seeds.

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How do you make your boxed lunches special? Whats your favourite salad these days?

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?

This Weekend!

So I absolutely meant to post last Friday, as I was having a bakeathon for my upcoming weekend.

However, that upcoming weekend – which included; a bakeathon that lasted into the wee hours of the morning, two long barista shifts, and most importantly being on the crew for my first film of the year!

Expatriation is a film written and directed by my good friend Alex Laird. I’ll be editing the picture, and I already know it’s going to be fantastic! Because I’m editing the picture, I served as set caterer/photographer/general help/person who got in the way this weekend.

Here are some pictures from set this weekend!

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This weekend I learned a lot about filmmaking, in that way you only can understand from actually getting out and doing something.

More than that, I was reminded of the importance of “good sleep, good food, good thoughts”. This reminder that my parents like to throw at the end of conversations is a mantra for healthy living. Despite the stress of the weekend, I made a point of cooking as much of my own food as possible, sleeping well, taking the time to “recharge” myself and generally promoting self care.

I do know that there was a time in my life when this weekend would have been entirely unmanageable, and I’m proud that I can now enjoy hectic weekend like these.

With midterms and holidays on the horizons how are you managing the stress?

 

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

“What if It Happens Again?”

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?

Let’s Make a Thing – Monogrammed, Printed Notebooks

Sometime this summer I sort of became obsessed with Monograms.  They just add this beautiful, personal touch which immediately make everything look incredibly luxurious.

This newfound love combined with my love of pretty school supplies and a University student’s budget created my latest DIY project.

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I picked up some cheap notebooks from the Dollar store and after some extreme couponing at Michael’s (seriously, check their website before you go) which allowed me to create a collection of one of a kind notebooks for under thirty dollars.  However, if you’re a crafty type there’s a chance you have the supplies at home.

So let’s make a thing!

YOU WILL NEED 

  1. Notebooks
  2. Scrapbooking Paper (two sheets per notebook)
  3. White Glue
  4. Varnish
  5. Stencils or Stickers
  6. Cardstock

THE MONOGRAMS 

The first thing I did was make my monograms. Using a teacup I traced out four circles on the cardstock, Then I cut them out and used a sparkly pen to fill in my stencils. I highly recommend using stencils over stickers, you can pick your own colour and use them again and again! I used this kit from Martha Stewart

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Here’s the final product

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Once the monograms are done you can start on the notebooks.

THE NOTEBOOKS

Apply a line of glue at the edge of the notebooks binding and place the scrapbooking sheet overtop of it. Then at a thin layer of glue overtop of the first layer and smooth.

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Open your notebook and fold the excess onto the inner cover. Follow the same gluing strategy as you did when attaching the paper to the front of the notebook.

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After this you can open your notebook halfway and rest it on your crafting table (or floor) and apply your first coat of gel medium and allow to dry.

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The trick to durable notebooks is a bunny helper and many thin layers of protectant.

After your first layer of gel medium dries you can glue on your monogram and cover with another layer of gel medium.

Once that dries you can start applying layers of a matte varnish to seal it all in. I used three layers to finish it off, but in the end it’s your call.

Allow to dry overnight and then enjoy having the coolest notebooks in class!

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Let’s Make a Thing – Nerdfightastic Doormat

It’s 11:45 on Friday. I’m pushing this deadline, but I’m not even a month into blogging, and I don’t plan on breaking promises now.

Though I always knew the difference between a house and a home, it’s only now that I’m realizing how much work that takes. You have to start from the front door inwards, in this case it’s the doormat.

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I chose the saying to represent my Nerdfighter pride, and also to remind myself and my housemates to never forget to be awesome.

This is a simple, sweet, short and cheap DIY so let’s get to it!

YOU WILL NEED

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  • A Doormat ( I used this one from IKEA)
  • Stencils
  • Tape
  • A Measuring Tape/Ruler
  • Spray Paint

Step One – Choose a phrase, spend some time and pick something that will make you smile as you fumble for your keys. Then draw up some drafts and finalize your placement.

Step Two – Unless your a master stencil artist I suggest practicing with a mock up. I had never used a stencil/spraypaint combination before in my life and without my mockups would have ruined at least three doormats.

Step Three – Measure your doormat and calculate the exact centre and use that centre to plot out your phrase.

Step Four – Start taping down your stencils. I cannot stress this enough. Without proper taping your stencils will leak to the point of being unrecognizable. Luckily the sort of rustic look of woven rugs and spray paint gives you a margin of error.

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Step Five – Spray Away!

Step Six – Enjoy your cute new doormat!

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