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!

Let’s Make A Thing Really Quickly – Oven Mitt Heating Pad

As fall continues to march on the temperature keeps dropping, and I turn into a shivery Victorian Orphan. Wheatley seems to be similar to her mum in that respect so the other day I whipped up these microwaveable heating pads.

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These are cute, incredibly simple to make and can be used to soothe cramps, heat up beds or warm extremities in a snap!

You Will Need

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One 900g bag of rice

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An Oven Mitt

STEP ONE

Fill the mitt with rice up to an inch below the opening at the wrist, finish off by stitching it closed. I used a catch stitch to close mine up.

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To use your heating pad, throw it in the microwave in one minute “bursts” until you figure out how long it takes for it to heat up.

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These projects are great, within minutes you have a physical, functional “thing” and a great sense of accomplishment.

Enjoy the toasty warmness!

All Pumpkin Everything

This passing Sunday marked the first day of fall.

Autumn is by far my favourite season; the changing weather makes everything especially beautiful and crisp, and it’s just cold enough to still enjoy getting cosy.

For me, cosiness means a good story, something to nibble on and a warm drink. It being fall of course, means that everything should be pumpkin flavoured.

Today I’m going to share a Vegan Pumpkin Bread and a Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe. Hope you enjoy!

First … The Pumpkin Bread!

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Unfortunately, I was missing a proper loaf pan, so this does look more like a cake. But I assure you that this is much more savoury and spicy than it is sweet.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp  ground cloves
  • 1 cup pumpkin pie filling
  • ½ cup oil – ( I used Sunflower Oil)
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup chopped pumpkin seeds

LET’S BAKE BREAD

Preheat your over to 350, then grease and flour your loaf pan.

Mix together your dry ingredients – flour, sugar, salt, spices, baking powder & soda.

In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients – pumpkin, syrup, oil and water.

Pour the wet ingredients into the larger bowl and mix well. Fold in your nuts and seeds.

Add the batter to your loaf pan, and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Bake for around 45 minutes.

Once cooled you can add the optional spicy sugar dusting. Simply combine a pinch of all the spices used in the cake with icing sugar and dust overtop.

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LET’S MAKE A LATTE

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As this petition on change.org shows, people are really passionate about their pumpkin spice lattes, and getting them veganized.

Now I don’t want to brag, but I really do prefer the taste of this latte, made with natural ingredients and a “true” pumpkin taste.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 2oz Strong Coffee or Espresso
  • 14oz Milk of Your Choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 2 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Filling
  • 1 Tbsp Raw Sugar
  • Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice and (optional) Cayenne Pepper to taste.

In the bottom of your cup add the pumpkin puree, sugar and spices.

Mix in your piping hot coffee and warm milk and “blend” well. I use my handheld milk foamer from IKEA but you could also use a small whisk or even a fork.

Top with cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice or anything else you fancy and enjoy!

How are you enjoying the new season? Are you making pumpkin treats or sick to death of “All Pumpkin Everything All The Time”?

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?

Three Super Simple Hairstyles

I learned how to blow dry my own hair about a month ago.

I don’t know why, but somehow I convinced myself that I could not style my own hair and therefore made no attempts to actually learn. During my hot roller phase in high school I had my mum putting my hair up for me.

But I’ve decided to be a grown up, and I think I’m getting better. In fact it’s provided a pretty good lesson about mental blocks, and the idea that if you just believe you can do something then everything can change.

Life Lesson aside, I’m going to share three simple hairstyles that a total novice like myself can do.

Enjoy!

Romantic Curls

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Twisty Buns

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Crown Braid

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Are you a braid wizard or follicularly challenged? Either way, what’s your go to hairstyle?

September Favourites

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Reading Monthly “Favourites” posts are one of my many guilty pleasures when it comes to blogging. So after spending the entire day battling “bloggers block” I’ve decided to make my own. Here are the things I’ve been loving, wanting and using this September.

 

1.  Hershel “Little America” Backpack – I bought this the summer before first year, and I’m still loving it! It looks brand new, carries a metric tonne of textbooks, notepads and other bits and bobs and compliments whatever I feel like wearing.

2.  Lilly Pulitzer Jumbo Agenda –  As a child I never used my school-provided agenda, or any agenda for that matter. These days I keep film schedules, little notes, assignments, my work schedule and other reminders meticulously organized in this adorable  book.

3. My Kobo Touch E-reader –  Though my backpack could carry all my textbooks and then some, I’m happy it doesn’t have to because everything fits on my kobo! Textbooks, PDF copies of additional articles and “just for fun” books with me all the time. It doesn’t get much better!

4. My DIY Monogrammed Notebooks are holding up fantastically, and make me happy every time I pull them out in class.

5. My Phone – This summer I swapped out a half dead Blackberry for an iPhone and I absolutely love it. I’m not much of a phone girl, but it’s synced to my desktop back home and is just really pretty.

6. My Sony Headphones – They’re durable, comfortable, and provide fantastic sound for the price point. I’ve been using these since 10th grade, and I don’t think I’ll switch anytime soon.

7. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy and Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend – These are my go to albums- oldies but goodies. Really I could do an entire post about each, so I’ll just link to where you can take a liste

8. My Keurig – I won this through a little competition at my workplace this summer, but kept the thing in storage till I moved into the new place. Though I’ve been a “French Press or Death” girl since I started drinking coffee, there’s nothing like the convenience it provides in the morning. I’ll let you in on a little secret too – I can’t taste the difference.

PS. I’m currently brewing Starbucks Anniversary Blend. It’s a little different each year, and I can say without a doubt that the 2013 blend is the best I’ve ever tasted. It’s a limited time offer so don’t miss out!

9. I had to do a Wheatley pick! – She’s loving Willow Balls  for playing and chewing. They help keep her mouth busy and her brain sharp! 10/10 bunnies agree.

10. Lilly Pulitzer Murfee Scarf – Oh My Goodness, this is the softest thing that has ever touched my neck. 51% Silk 49% Cashmere it makes a great outfit finisher, and although it’s light as air it keeps me bundled up. It’s possible I’m in love with this scarf.

11. G.H Bass & Co. Loafers – I inherited a pair from my mum, and although the shoes are older than I am, it’s only now they’re starting to show their wear. The key word here is quality. Seeing as they are my go-to-for-everything shoe I’m planning a replacement and I’m loving this pair.

12. Apples – I lived on peaches this summer. I was on a 5 peach a day habit. Now though if you gave me a peach I would throw it at you and go searching for an apple. I’m super excited to bake with them, go apple picking and drink lots and lots of cider (alcoholic and not). Also, Molly of The Happiness Recipe had a lovely post on apples which is worth a read!

 

What are you loving this September?

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?