Tips for Success at School

30 Jan

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Good day!

Our days lately have been mostly consumed with school, class mainly (and volunteering for Denise). It’s been good though because it’s our fourth year and we’ve kind of picked up on the number one key to success in University, which is BALANCE.

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The reading never ends but making time for daily enjoyment is an absolute must. Unfortunately, the majority of students around us follow the “go big or go home” kind of mentality. All work and no play, GRADES, GRADES, GRADES. (Or sometimes the opposite! All play and no work–> common for first years) The pressure to get into grad school is overwhelming by ¬†fourth year, since a lot of our classmates are preoccupied with the next step in life. In addition to the emphasis put on our grades, as fourth years, we certainly feel the pressure to sort out the next year of our lives.

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It’s unfortunate really that the focus in fourth year is not to savour your last moments in school but to compete with all those around you. However, we can truthfully say we have stepped out of that competition a long time ago. We spend most of our time here because we want to!

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A lot of students mistake University for being the BIGGEST thing in their lives right now, and it becomes the ultimate preparation for “real life” in fact. However, University is life. No need to wait until you can do fun things because life will always be busy and you will always be under some sort of pressure, except you won’t have summers to wind down ūüėČ

Really, if we were asked to give any person entering University some advice it would be to balance your time. It is absolutely essential. Balance maintains sanity and ultimately keeps you happy. Stress often feels like your new best friend when burdened with hours of school work and endless amounts of papers, but carving a few hours a week, or simply an hour a day to engage in an activity you love is so worth it.

Next, we would have to recommend exercise and a balanced diet. Exercise is, as everyone knows, a stress relief and can really be fun. Do it often, enjoy it, and rest when you need it. As well, eating a balanced diet is a no-brainer, eat well feel well. Also, it always helps to take vitamins to make up for what you are lacking.  The math is simple and easy to follow. Be engaged with the quality of your life and days.

Which, then brings us to probably the most overlooked aspect of success that so many students seem to lack, and that is SLEEP. ¬†Oh yeah, students are notorious night owls and catching those extra zzz’s will truly influence how engaged you are in class and the quality of work you produce.

And finally, drink lots of water. A lot of students discover the magical powers of coffee once they go to University. This new and wonderful drink that can keep me going for hours! But replacing big tall glasses of water instead of coffee will keep you feeling more energized in the long run and will ensure more quality sleep.

Anyway, that’s our quick list of tips! Hope someone found them useful! We may go into more detail again of how we follow these tips but basically this is what has worked for us. Not to say, we have never faltered or do exceptionally well in school, but overall we enjoy ourselves and do fine.

Until next time,

Denise and Laura

What are your tips for living a balanced lifestyle in school or at work? Anything specific that works for you? 

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The Best

14 Jan

Oftentimes I ponder about coincidences. Are there such things? Or is everything carefully composed by the Universe? 

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Sometimes I have to wonder. I mean how often do your socks match the paint? Especially, when its lime green. 

Sometimes, coincidences aren’t all the obvious, sometimes they just seem to happen, like when your mom and your nonna send you baked goods on Sunday.

 

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Just because they happened to be baking (and they never bake). 

Or how about when you really wish you had a dog to walk and you parents walk in with this: 

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(She’s just a friend’s dog, but still, the timing!)

I guess life just might be made up of a bunch of coincidences or maybe the Universe knows how to remind you of all its wonderful things. 

Either way, coincidences are meant to make you smile right? Because these ones sure made me. 

As we discussed in our last post about brightening this month up a little, and aside from plants, coincidences seemed to do that for us this weekend. Just leave it up to the big ol’ Universe to do its thing.¬†

Until next time, 

Denise and Laura 

 

Say Hello to our Newest Rommate

7 Jan

Hi there.

It’s the first day back at school for Laura, while Denise is enjoys a nice break until the 14th. Either way it is officially January and we are experiencing all the side effects this month brings, such as renewed vigor for the new year while simultaneously experiencing January “blues” that are a direct result from post-vacation commitments, cold and icy weather, along with the sun setting before 5pm. However, we have decided that there are many ways that we can beat the mid-winter slump.

Such as introducing this new fella to our place:

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His name is planty. (Our third roommate helped pick him out too–and she’s human).

Adding plants and flowers to a house or apartment seems to just brighten up the place doesn’t it? Of course, we would have loved to add a bunch of beautiful bright flowers, such as these:

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or these:

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Aren’t orchids beautiful? Too bad we have a horrible habit of killing them…

Anyway, this month our main focus is getting settled into our new class schedules but we also want to introduce some new habits that will make the long winter months seem less dark. We have been making an effort to get out more even if its cold and all we want to do is stay in and drink ridiculous amounts of warm tea. Also, introducing some nice plants into our space also brings some light and freshness, reminding us that summer is not so far away.

Yet, we think that there is some comfort to the winter months. It’s not all about the doom and gloom of January! It may get dark early but that means we don’t feel guilty for spending an evening with our noses in our books.

Well, hopefully we can keep planty alive! At least until the end of January…

Until next time,

Denise and Laura

Do you like decorating your place with plants in the winter? 

Just a Thought

4 Jan

Hi there!

Today I thought I would share something that I recently read and thought was quite interesting to mull over. Yesterday on the website zenhabits, there was a post that¬†discussed the idea of creating 12 personal rules to live by in order to live more of a guilt-free life. Although I really do not like following other people’s rules, I must admit, I do create a lot of rules for myself. Well, maybe not so much as strict rules but more like principles and habits I work to stick to and rarely stray from, such as my sleep patterns. Immediately upon reading I thought “yeah! I want to do that!”. However, ¬†when I got to thinking about making a list of rules to live by, I thought rather then make rules for myself would it be more beneficial to break the rules I’ve made for myself?

That depends on what the rules are.

For example, some rules I live by include consistently going to bed before 11pm on week nights and most weekends and I would not want to break this rule. Why? Because I truly love the benefits of a good night’s sleep and for me that out ways whatever nightly activity that may keep me up. Yet, a “rule” I would want to break is my reluctance to try new places alone. For instance, I may chose a¬†familiar¬†restaurant over a new one just because I am more comfortable that way. So, the rule may be chose comfort over the unfamiliar. In this case, the benefit of breaking a “rule”, which is the rule that leads me to chose the familiar over then unknown, may inhibit me from experiencing new environments. Obviously, in certain cases it is good to feel comfortable but it becomes very easy to become too comfortable sometimes.

Why am I bringing this us? Well, I think it is important to make a list of rules that you want to break if you ever create a list of rules you want to live by in order to prevent becoming too rigid and in turn inflexible to life’s curveballs. I think it is incredibly important to have certain personal rules and morals though.

Why write about this? I think it makes for a good discussion and because it applies to this here blog. The blog is called “baking with bite” and yet we talk about more then just baking. When we cook we will blog about it but when we have something to say we may want to write about it. We do things a little unconventionally I guess ;). We also are not professional bakers in any way and cannot really offer any legitimate tips on baking but we can share our experiences with you, whether that be in life or in the kitchen.

What’s the point of this post then? There is no point. I just thought you should think about this idea ūüėÄ

Peace,

Denise and Laura

A Very Green Lunch and Some Good Readin’

2 Jan

Hello!

Let’s talk about the green stuff. We go through an unnatural amount of avocado and kale in a week. Our lunches sometimes look like this:

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Basically a big ol’ plate of kale, which tastes awesome all the time. Our favourite way to make it is to saute kale, onions, and mushrooms in olive or coconut oil. As for the avocado, Denise likes hers as a dip with crackers best, whereas Laura likes it with a sprinkle of salt with crackers or straight up on eggs. Our nonnas both tend plentiful gardens in the summer and fall so we usually have bags of home grown kale in our freezer to last us awhile. Sadly though our stash of kale has drastically dwindled and we are now forced to go out and buy our kale. We certainly have a fond appreciation for homegrown vegetables. We also have a connection to rural areas and spent part of our childhood summers in this place:

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Baby Denise and Laura! ūüėÄ We were always swimming around, swinging, or playing in the garden with our cousins as kids. We also don’t have any reason to post this photo other then the fact that we miss summer already lol.

On another note, for Christmas Laura received this book:

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And promptly read the entire thing in one day. The book is by the famous blogger Jenna Weber, from the blog Eat, Live, Run (one of Laura’a favourite blogs). Her opinion? It was a great read, especially because it was a coming of age story that was incredibly¬†inspiring to read. Jenna writes about how she follows her heart rather then following what other people have to say, all while engaged in a¬†rigorous¬†culinary program. This is a good book for any young woman to read because life in our early twenties is not always so easy as we are trying to “find ourselves” and “figure stuff out” and this book reinforces the idea that we need to listen to our gut and take ¬†CHANCES. Sometimes we don’t have a clear reason as to why we must do something but we simply¬†feel¬†like we should. Jenna basically says “listen to that feeling!” with her story. It’s nice to read about someone else’s success story because it inspires our own. For those interested in culinary pursuits or even just a story of personal triumph,¬†White Jacket Required¬†is certainly worth checking out.

There has been lots of good reading going on this break. Denise is usually buried in her psychology textbooks so Christmas reading is always a treat for her. There is nothing like getting into a good fiction novel that does not require reading with a highlighter!

Well, that’s it for now!

Peace,

Denise and Laura

Have you read any good books lately? 

Hello 2013

1 Jan

Ah, a new year.

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We’ll all be turning another year older and hopefully be a little more wiser too.

New Year’s eve was good, since we spent it out and about in Toronto.¬†

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Earlier Monday evening we took the train down to Toronto to celebrate the new year. We picked up a quick dinner and got ready at our apartment. Around 8:30pm we made our way to the pub we would be spending our evening at and as we walked over from the subway there was a light snowfall. It was a cold but beautiful evening and the streets were dark but comforting. There is something eerily peaceful about quiet streets late at night.   

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To be honest, Laura struggled a bit with staying up until the clock struck twelve. For a girl who hits the pillow relatively early, random late nights aren’t so easy. Anyone else struggle with this? Denise, on the other hand was her energetic self as always. ¬†

However, all in all it was an enjoyable night and we rang in the New year with a shot to end 2012 with a bang. It would be our last New Year’s all college students (assuming we pass all our courses this semester ūüėČ So we had to end it in true college fashion!

This morning we took the train out of Toronto to finish off the New year’s celebration with our own families.¬†

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And now we are nestled in our houses recuperating from our late night. With lots and lots of coffee of course. 

And a warm fire. 

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Anyway, we rang in the new year like true college kids but soon it will be time to get serious again and focus on our studies. It’s only a matter of days before we start school again and we cannot exactly say we are thrilled about it. But why dread the inevitable? We feel quite inspired by this new year as well. 2013 holds a lot of changes for us, graduation, new jobs, new living arrangements, new post-grad schooling… (and new episodes of the walking dead…haha just kidding…sort of). We talked about ways we could make it our best year yet too. Hopefully, it will be a great year!¬†

Until next time, 

Denise and Laura 

What is your preferred way to spend new year’s eve? Are you a stay in kind of person or go out?¬†

Fun Food and Workout Tips

30 Dec

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Hello!

It’s the Italian flag! A total coincidence that made a simple lunch even more delicious.

In two days it will be January first and our plans for the new year involve going to Toronto with some friends to celebrate. As we sat trying to decide what to bake for the new year we were kind of stumped actually. What seems to be a New Year’s treat (other then alcohol of course ;)?

Months and moons ago we had written a post about our June goals. Running was the main goal that month and we’re glad to report that we were extremely successful with that one. We had gone on lovely morning runs twice a week. We can be quite dedicated when we set our minds to it. However, when the summer seemed to get busier our fitness goals fell by the wayside, a completely natural effect. However, it’s January and we do have some fitness goals that we would like to renew. Denise wants to get back into the gym more regularly, so does Laura, who also wants to renew her love for yoga with a little more dedication this year. How do we plan to make this happen you may ask?

Well, our plan goes as follows:

1. Always schedule in gym time (ALWAYS). Otherwise it becomes too easier to skip

2. Work out with a buddy (We share a room, when the alarm goes off in the morning we both know we have to get up, especially if its a gym day).

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3. Love your workouts. It’s simple, if you hate it you won’t want to do it.

4. Workout close to where you live. Fortunately, we have a gym a few floors down of our apartment, which makes for a ridiculously easy “commute” to the gym.

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5. Spend some time outdoors. Fresh air invigorates and energizes, a few moments outsides wakes ya up and gets you moving.

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6. Never workout hungry. Nothing like feeling hungry and sluggish to ruin a workout!

7. Get motivated. Sometimes all you need is to pump yourself up a bit and channel that awesome feeling you get after a good workout.

8. Rest. Necessary for muscle repair and sanity.

Obviously, we are not professionals in this field but we are smart when it comes to working out. Clearly, we love to bake and experiment in the kitchen but that is only a small part of our healthy lifestyles. Baking brings us joy and so does maintaining a balanced lifestyle in general. We truly believe that exercise important to our studies and definitely worth our time. We’ll talk more about out specific goals soon too. And maybe a bit about what we are studying in school even because what we are studying largely shapes how we approach our lifestyle choices. We’re kind of nerds because we LOVE what we learn so much.

To end this kind of random post with something baked…

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Cupcakes that we made YEARS ago when we started to really enjoy baking together. It works, Denise knows how to actually bake things and Laura likes to take pictures and write about them. Tag teaming it all the way.

Anyway, until next time!

Denise and Laura