Staying Organized and Productive

Q: Describe school in one word.

A: Busy

School has been ridiculously busy since it started up in September.  Grade 11 is no joke.  Homework has ridiculously increased (last year’s Grade 10 was pretty much a joke as far as school work goes – but that’s another story), volleyball has started up, piano is on the go, dance is on, and on top of that, I have started tutoring a few different kids and am now one of the executive on my schools SRC.

To be honest, I am pretty much barely managing to get everything done.  I am expecting one of these days to end up having a major meltdown.

Until then, I just need to improve on being organized and productive (most teenager’s least favourite words, I think).

Here are some of my tips on managing your time wisely (hey, maybe if I write some down I’ll actually follow them).

1.) Keep a planner/calendar.  I would easily say this is the smartest thing you could possibly do.  Whether you put everything into your phone, keep a calendar, or log it in a planner.  Write EVERYTHING down.  You do not know how many times I have had to scramble to finish up my math questions because I did not remember they were due next period.

I write in a journal.  It is mostly filled with to-do lists that I write every morning before I go to school and than I jot down any other thoughts that may be accumulating in my head.

For the past couple of months I have also been printing off online monthly calendars I find on various places on the Internet.  I find this super helpful because I can jot everything down for the whole month and always know what’s coming up.

2.) Get it done.  I am extremely guilty of this (especially lately) of using up my spare time to just watch TV or do who know’s what.  Then, I end up having to cram and finish everything quite poorly around ten at night because it’s due the next day.  Plus, I always end up frustrated and tend to blame everyone else for why it’s not done.  Why would my teacher set due for the next day?  I have so much stuff due tomorrow – it’s so unfair!  I’m just not going to do any of it because I think it’s unfair.  That type of stuff.  I have to learn to stop complaining (it’s not unfair at all, it’s school, and I’m just lazy) and just get it done.  Something that I have vowed on this year is trying my hardest on all of my assignments, something I have not previously done.  I am still trying to work on this, but it’s always a good feeling, even if you don’t do so great on it, to know that you completely deserved your mark.

3.) Ask for help.  This I need to start putting into action.  The first month, being our school’s activities director, I thought it was solely my responsibility for planning one of our school events (a school-wide game thing we call survivor) and completely stressed myself out about getting it done.

It went over well, but I realized at the end that there are people who are willing to help me out and that if I do mess up on something, it really isn’t the end of the world.  Thank you SRC for helping me realize this.  We have a great group this year. 🙂

4.) Decide what’s important.  Sure yearbook and inMotion would be nice to join, but I do I really want more things on my plate?  Learn to say no because it’s important not to spread yourself too thin.

5.) Don’t forget to have fun.  If you have a ton of assignments due the next day, then be realistic about how much time you can spend on yourself.  Instead of spending three hours of watching TV and surfing the web, spend maybe half an hour or an hour depending on what your situation is.  Maybe watch a couple funny Youtube videos to boost your morale or give yourself a facial and nice shower.  You’ll thank yourself later.

Do you have any tips for surviving school?

Back to School

Back to School

 

I’ve decided to make a little inspiration board for back to school.  Click the link above to view the items I used.  I went with a lot of blues in this set but the colours could be adjusted to whatever you like.  I thought they were all very simple pieces which I like for school because it’s easy to look at and gives off a very clean, organized vibe.  I really like taking two pencil cases to school.  I go to a small school so I have a home classroom that I have the majority of my classes in so I have my own desk and locker in that room and it stays like that all year.  I like to bring a small pencil case to put pencils, erasers, and pens in for very quick access and so that if I ever have to go to a classroom, I can just bring the things I need.  I actually am currently using a LUG cosmetic bag as my big pencil case that stores my scissors and calculator and whatnot.  It’s actually really cute and you’d never know it was a makeup bag from just looking at it.  It’s great for keeping stuff organized.  I’ll put a link down below.
 
Hope you like it!  What are some of your back to school essentials?
 
For the LUG cosmetic bag I use as my pencil case click HERE

 

What to do When I Feel Insecure

1. Prioritize – Realize insecurities are not the end of the world (good way to do this is to watch the news and realize what is going on in the world)

2. Do something special for myself

3. Exercise 

4. Try something new (ex: hairstyle, food, book, etc.)

5. Watch a feel good movie

6. Talk to someone

7. Play piano

8. Eat something delicious

9. Think of things I am thankful for

10. Do something nice for someone else

11. Clean

12. Let it out

13. Wear comfy clothes

14. Wear my favourite outfit

15. Sleep

16. Have a fresh start

17. Come up with a mantra

18. Think of my role models

19. Do something fun

20. Learn to love myself

 

Role Model: Payson Keeler from Make it Or Break it

Name: Payson Keeler

Status: Fictional Character from ABC Family show Make it Or Break It

Occupation: Training to become an Olympic gymnast

 

Why Payson Keeler is special: Payson is special because she is so dedicated and passionate about her sport.  In the first season, she is the top gymnast due to all of her hard training, but then she suffers a life-changing injury.  We watch Payson defy the odds and climb her way back up to the top, despite what anyone believes.

Why I look up to Payson Keeler: Her work ethic is amazing.  She won’t stop until she reaches her goal and she always gives her whole effort.  Payson also is an awkward teenager (very much like myself).  Even, being a top gymnast, she has body issues and troubles with boys.  It is nice to have a TV character so relatable.  Payson is a good teammate and friend, too.

Lessons to Learn from Payson: Give it your all, don’t stop until you’ve reached your goals, dream big, and believe in yourself – I like to apply some of these things that I’ve learned from Payson to when I play volleyball.  Whenever I get really tired, I just think to myself: Would Payson quit?  I think it’s a great motivator.

20140723-142505-51905474.jpg

Tips to Feel Naturally Beautiful: Part II The Look

I think that looking good can give you a boost of confidence. I know that when I have a new outfit on or my hair looks great, that I feel good.
Now, I never wear makeup. The only time is wearing a bit of tinted moisturizer and/or blush, and I almost always curl my eyelashes (they are really long and the ones in the edge of my eye get tangled – OUCH). I am actually incredibly happy that I don’t wear makeup at my age. I’ve heard so many girls say that they feel like they can’t even leave the house without makeup and that they don’t feel comfortable without it. I am not saying that makeup is bad. I think it’s its own art medium and can give you a serious confidence boost. It’s also a pretty fun way to express yourself! My issue with today’s society is that so many people can’t seem to love themselves in their own skin. That’s these tips are for: some easy ways to maintain your natural beauty!

Natural Beauty

1) Skin Care – Whenever I see someone who has truly radiant skin, I think they are absolutely beautiful and get jealous immediately. I have very large pores and blackheads and the occasionally pimple (I think I’ve really ‘outgrown’ my acne stage, thank goodness). My skin care routine has been the same for quite a few years.
I don’t cleanse my face in the morning, I just splash some cold water on it. Then I follow up with a moisturizer with SPF.
In the evening, I use a cleanser and then a light moisturizer. Once or twice a week I’ll use a clay mask or exfoliator. I try to keep my routine simple.
I always put on hand cream before bed, and if I remember I’ll moisturize my arms and legs.
I also put on a soothing lip balm.
Your skin care could differ completely from mine. Experiment until you find something that works for you.

2) Eyebrows – I have naturally thick eyebrows (both a blessing and a curse). I am constantly tweezing and getting them waxed. Personally, I find nothing can make my face look better than having nicely shaped eyebrows. Filling in my eyebrows with makeup has never really been an option for me so I’m not really sure what to tell you about that idea. I think just having them nicely shaped and cleaned up from stray hairs is perfect. If you have never tweeted your eyebrows before, go to a professional. At least for the first time, and they should be able to give you some good tips.

3) Hair – I wash my hair every other day. I only really have two guidelines for hair: it should be clean and out of your face. Experiment with products (I use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner because I like to keep my hair healthy) and develop a solid routine. Sometimes I also use hair oil on the ends.
When it comes to styling your hair, I like to limit myself to fifteen minutes (I normally never reach that, but I think it keeps you prioritizing that your hair isn’t that important). I love styling my hair because there are so many different things to do. Your hair is unique, just like you. I normally straighten my hair (my hair is straight, so I just have a few kinks to work out) and always pull back the front somehow. I really like French braiding one side back or wearing headbands. I also use classic ponytail. My hair is currently at a growing out stage, but when it was longer, I did lots of braids and buns.

4) Shave – I believe this is totally optional, depending on your views, but being from Canada and just not liking body hair in general, my razor is used quite often. Legs, armpits, bikini line (if that’s your thing), I think are all musts. Nothing makes me feel more uncomfortable as walking out in shorts with hairy legs. Just pick up a razor and some shading cream and follow up with moisturizer after. Super easy.

5) Nails – I really like painting my nails, because it makes me not chew them (I have a really bad habit here, guys), but i think it’s most important to have your finger and toenails be clean and trimmed. Nothing else I think is really that important. Invest in a pair of good quality trimmers and maybe a nail file. Just be careful doing this! You don’t want to cut your nails too short.

That’s pretty much all I can think of. Notice there was nothing like, contour you nose or wear colored contact lenses, because that’s not naturally you! If you like that stuff then that’s fine and dandy, but it think it’s always important to learn to love and accept yourself as who you are.

For part I click HERE

Tips to Feel Naturally Beautiful: Part I Attitude

Lately, beauty has been getting me down. I’ve felt bad about how I look and keep comparing myself to others. I wish my nose looked more like hers…her hair is so perfect…she must not have a worry in the world.
This has led me to come up with some ideas on how to feel and look more naturally beautiful. The first part will be all about attitude.

Attitude
Truly the most important step is attitude. I think it really either makes you or breaks you. What’s a pretty face if they are actually really mean on the inside?

1) Stop comparing yourself to others – This to me is the most difficult step. With media shoving down their ideas of perfection, it makes us think that our beautiful and unique features are actually flaws. Learn to accept not only yourself, but everyone around you. We are all different. If you try and focus your whole life about changing your face shape, you’ll only get sad about something you can’t change.

2) Don’t think it’s bad to think you are beautiful – Often, if I have a day where I feel particularly pretty, I think I’m full of myself or delusional and end up feeling sad again. Why can’t I feel pretty? Understand it’s not a bad thing to love yourself.

3) Be a nice person – Be grateful, kind, listen to others, the works. This is what truly makes you beautiful.

4) Don’t make looks define you or rule your life – There are so many more important things. I think volunteering at your local hospital is a lot more beautiful than the shade of lipstick you have on. That being sad, you don’t have to ignore looks completely. I think that if you feel pretty, it can lead to confidence. Just remember to prioritize.

5) Let someone know they are beautiful every day – You know how great you feel when someone compliments your hair or your eyes. Make someone else feel that way too. Saying a few words like “I like your blouse!” can give someone a great feeling.

I will post some beauty/appearance tips later!

For part 2 click HERE

Tips on being Fit and Healthy!

Summer is here and these past couple of months I have been really interested and trying to get healthy and fit.  I’m not looking to lose weight or try crazy diets, I just want to live a healthier lifestyle and be more active.  Here are some tips!

1) Drink lots of water – bring a bottle everywhere you go (I am bad at this step but trying! And my water bottle is right beside me today!)

2) Eat healthy snacks – be creative!  This doesn’t mean that you have to completely ditch junk food, but try and stick with the 80/20 rule.  80% of your day’s food should be healthy, while 20% can be whatever you like.

3)  Do exercises daily – they don’t have to long or hard – just do something!  Set up a routine.  I especially like doing workout/activities in the morning and at night.

4) Try new activities – change up your routine and you might discover something new and fun!  Being fit and healthy isn’t about making everything strict and no fun.  Try yoga, swimming, zumba, or rock climbing for a change!

5) Get motivated and inspired – I follow tons of Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts.  One of my favourite websites is by Shawn Johnson.  Check out thebodydepartment.com!

6) Find a workout buddy – it keeps it more fun.  It could be your mom, friend, or, my favourite, your dog!

 

My favourite ways to exercise:

– swimming

– volleyball

– walking

– bike rides

– trampolining (is that a word? haha)

– dancing

-ice skating

– frisbee

 

My favourite healthy snacks:

-trail mix (unsalted)

– homemade muffins

– peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread

– yogurt parfait (to find out more about my favourite click HERE)

– apricots

– cereal (not sugary) with fruit

– bananas

– snap peas

– cherry tomatoes

– baby carrots

– frozen yogurt

– applesauce (unsweetened)

– berries

– apples

 

What do you do to be healthy?

 

Book Review: Lake Rescue by Annie Bryant and Self Confidence

I am really proud that i have been reading so much lately. Last year I hardly read at all.
Lake Rescue is the 6th Beacon Street Girls book. The girls and their class all go on a four day field trip to Lake Rescue where they will learn about the outdoors and maybe some new things about themselves and each other.
I think my favourite thing about this book is a new character named Chelsea Briggs. She is overweight and tends to get teased a lot. At Lake Rescue, with the help of her counsels Jody, she learns that being healthy doesn’t have to be a nuisance. She can have fun and discover new things about herself. Chelsea gets more self confidence and her classmates really start to enjoy her company and get to know her.
I have been trying to get healthier lately and this book is great for that. It also highlights spending time outdoors and how it can be such a positive experience. I got to camp in August and am so excited! This will be my fifth and final year because next year I’ll be too old.
Lake Rescue also shows the girls being able to accomplish way more than they thought they ever could. Sometimes you just need a little confidence boost and try to get out of your comfort zone and you’ll really surprise yourself.
Read this book!

20140622-172355.jpg

How to Calm Down

Calming down is useful in all sorts of situations. Maybe you are about to get extremely mad or burst out crying. Maybe you’re just too loud or hyper. Learning to calm down requires a great amount of self control. Here are some ways I try to calm down:

1) If possibly, leave the situation for a few minutes. Go to the washroom for example just for some easy and quick alone time. This can help give you a clear mind to focus.

2) Take deep breathes and focus on them. It will really help calm you down and focusing on them can give you something else to concentrate on, besides what is stressing you out.

3) Put it in perspective – so you’re best friend is dating your ex, or you overslept 15 minutes and are going to be late for first class! Is it really worth stressing over?

4) Have a mantra. It’s sort up fun coming up with your own and I find it really helps. It could be an inspirational quote, song, or, if you are like me, just listing off your role models and asking yourself “What would they do?”. I like to repeat this in my head, or even say it out loud if I’m in an appropriate situation. (I like to repeat “Shawn Johnson, Audrey Hepburn, Gabby Douglas, Misty Copeland, Bubzbeauty, and then list off the entire cast of Bunheads!”)

Last Few Days of School…and How to Survive Them

I’m down to my last couple of weeks of school, and while the excitement that you’re almost done and summers around the corner is here, so is the brutally exhausting week of studying and final exams.  With my school if you are above a mark of 80, then you automatically get a recommend and don’t have to write a final for that class.  I am above 80’s in all of my classes this year so I then have to write whatever was my lowest mark.  I don’t really have much to complain about.  One exam?  That’s nothing compared to what some of you have to go through!  Only problem for me is that some of my teachers are so unorganized is that we have to cram to get the last three months of work finished in one week (Yes English class, I’m talking about you.).  I would be just fine actually doing work in class, but lately we’ve gotten so slack that it seems like a colossal waste to go to school and learn absolutely nothing.  So here we are to cram it in.  Still, I don’t have it very bad.

Here’s my list of tips to help survive these last few weeks!

Harper’s Tips and Tricks on Surviving the Last Days of School

  1. Write everything down – We all have those last few assignments in every class that we scramble to get finished before time’s up.  Write them down.  Whether it’s on your iPhone, a notepad, or a planner.  Keep a list of everything you have to do.  When you finish, cross it off (P.S. That’s the best feeling ever – crossing stuff off your list)
  2. Now that everything is written down, do it – Don’t wait to the last minute.  Use your will power and get started as soon as possible.  This will be a life saver so that when it comes time to study for exams, you can put all of your attention on that.
  3. Make your studying worthwhile – Do you learn better reading everything?  Or copying your notes down?  Maybe you like finding quizzes on the Internet or having your parents ask you questions.  Whatever way you feel helps you study best, do it.  Because if you can retain information in 20 minutes one way compared to 8 hours another way, that is a whole lot easier!  Also sort out what is the most important to learn and go over that more.
  4. Don’t be afraid to take a break – While you have to study, don’t let it completely consume you.  If you are feeling wiped or like your brain is fried, take a break and do something you like for a bit.  Maybe you want to take your dog out for a walk or paint your nails?  You will feel much more refreshed and energized when you get back to the books.
  5. Have a nice, quiet place to study – Me? I have a great big desk in my room.  I close my door and light my favourite candle (currently Bourbon Vanilla!).  I try to be very relaxed when I’m studying.  I can’t concentrate if there is a speck of noise so I always make sure to study in a quiet place.  Find your place.  If home isn’t an option, go to your local library!
  6. Remember to ask for help – If you are still having trouble remembering the difference between parallel and series circuits, don’t be afraid to ask!  It’s what your teacher get paid to do.  If you need a little more help than in the classroom, organize a time to come in before or after school.  You’ll feel way better than getting frustrated trying to figure it out by yourself.
  7. Keep things in perspective – Will this test really determine the rest of your life?  No.  So don’t get super stressed over it.  Do your best job and study hard, but keep in mind that this isn’t going to make or break you.
  8. Reward yourself – Have you been waiting to go to the beach for months?  When you finish studying, give yourself a reward.  Plan the reward ahead of time so it gives you something to look forward to.

Good luck!

Do you have any tips for surviving the last few days of school?