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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013: Hello My (sorta) Happiness Project

It's the time of year when everyone is making their resolutions.  It's a known fact that most people never actually follow through with their resolutions and to be honest, I never make any.

I've just always been a "go with the flow" type of girl and I figured that any changes I absolutely needed to make would happen naturally.  I never saw the purpose in writing anything down or setting it in stone.

Well after talking to my sister Vanessa and remembering a book I read a while ago, I realized that maybe it's not such a bad idea to write down some "resolutions".  She gave me the idea of writing a mission statement for the new year.   I decided to go along with that and created one to display in my apartment (since I still have a bunch of empty frames in my studio that need some lovin) but I will also do something a little closer to the book "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin.  Basically she had a goal for each month out of the new year.  They weren't necessarily big goals, but they were goals and they had a due date.  It worked for her and let's face it, as amazing as we are, we can all use a little tweaking. This is my happiness project for the year 2014:

  • January: Be more organized when it comes to finances.  Set aside money for bill payments, then a certain amount of money for savings.  Afterward, any money left for the month can be spent guilt free.  Maybe somehow .. by the grace of God .. You'll have enough money for a really cute designer purse (like Chanel or something) but don't hold your breath.
  • February: Adapt.  Be more flexible and open to change and criticism.  It's the only way to learn and get better.  Do not let setbacks get to your heart.  Learn from all mistakes and follow through. Especially LRW ... Do NOT let that class break you.
  • March: Secure a summer job/externship.  Either a judicial clerkship or an in-house position with a reputable corporation.  Work on your interview skills and really hone your professional appearance. 
  • April: Make time to work out at least twice a week.  Doesn't have to be anything strenuous.  Even a run around the track or some ab workouts at the beach will do.  Break out the yoga mat- you paid good money for it. 
  • May: Be a better friend.  Make an effort to help people out, without them having to ask for it.  Be supportive and positive.  Put others first.
  • June: Make an effort to eat healthier.  Make smoothies and try to incorporate some sort of vegetables into your diet.  Eat out less and cook more.  As a matter of fact, make your own breakfast; you're not incapable.
  • July: Pick out a new novel to read.  Take some time to yourself and enjoy the moment.  Don't get so caught up in life and work.
  • August: Get in touch with old friends you haven't seen in a while.  Socialize and do something fun. Go out and be young.  It's summer.  Live it up.  Find yourself a summer fling if you need to.
  • September: Try something new and different.  Break out of your shell a little bit.  Life is too short to be stuck in the same old same old.  Maybe join a different law school club or get more involved in one that you're already in. 
  • October: Find the time to pamper yourself this month.  Take one weekend and go get your nails done or your hair done.  Then when you're done treating yourself, go lie on the beach.  Appreciate the beauty around you; stop letting it pass you by.
  • November: School.  School.  School.  Crack down early and make sure all of your notes are organized and ready to go.  Make sure your outlines are good and short.  Start making your flash cards.  Just get ready for go-time!
  • December: Pay attention to what is going on around you and do not neglect the people you care about.  Be sure to appreciate the people that you have in your life and show them that they are appreciated.  "Love the people God gives you, because he will need them back one day".  This month is all about loving and showing appreciation for all of the great blessings this year has brought you. Then work on your list for next year!

Other than that, I'm going to be having a pretty chill New Years.  I've actually never gone out and done a huge New Year's celebration and to be honest, I have no desire to.  I love ringing in the new year at home with my people, so that's where I'll be this year.  So far, I commenced my celebrations with some good Thai food in the company of my sisters. Yum. 

However you're ringing in 2014, have fun and be safe/responsible.  Feel free to let me know what your resolutions are (or if you're even making any).  I wish everyone all the best and here's to another one under the belt! Adios 2013! It's been grand ... but I've got bigger and better things ahead!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Winter Walks

It's finally starting to warm up a little in the Toronto area (and by warm up I mean it's just above freezing). The icicles from the storm are finally falling off the trees and today was just the perfect day to actually go outside and enjoy the season. As cold as it is, winter is such a beautiful season and it sure made for some incredible photos. Here are just a few that were taken this afternoon in gorgeous Richmond Hill. 
Cardigan: Suzy Shier, Thermal Long Sleeve Shirt: Gap, Opaque Tights: Forever 21, Over the Knee Boots: Forever 21, Scarf: H&M, Lipstick: Sephora Rouge R23 'Crush'

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Twas' The Night Before Christmas ... and Then It Was Christmas

The past couple of days have been amazing and I'm so happy to be home and celebrating this time with family and friends. We jumped off the holiday on Christmas Eve with my brother in law's side of the family. We were over at his aunt's house in Toronto for a Christmas Eve dinner and it was so great to see everyone there. I haven't seen most of them since May, so this was long overdue. It was a great night with delicious food and so many jokes. I come from a big family so I am so happy that my sister also married into a big family. The more cousins the merrier and it always makes for an entertaining time.

This morning we opened gifts as soon as the kids woke up. I was actually up until about 2 am last night, doing all of my last minute wrapping. I am the queen of procrastination and I'm just proud that I managed to get all of the gifts under the tree in time. It was definitely worth it to see them get so excited for all their new toys. Christmas just isn't Christmas without over enthusiastic children around to brighten the mood.

Following gifts, I headed back to the kitchen to help my mom prepare our Christmas dinner. This dinner was one of my favorites because I absolutely loved everything on our menu. We experimented quite a bit with the food this year, but everything still turned out amazing. Our dinner consisted of: turkey roasted in coke and stuffed with cornbread dressing/ham, corn casserole, roasted potatoes, rice, mac and cheese and italian cake. Everything tasted sooo sooo good!

( We never did get a full family shot, but here's a nice one of my sisters, my dad and I)

I also tried out a new recipe for Glühwein (a hot German holiday wine), courtesy of SSJESS and We Took the Road Less Traveled, using this recipe. I altered it a bit by adding a few drops of vanilla extract since I LOVE vanilla and it turned out amazing. It was so delicious and it was a big hit with my dad, which is saying a lot because he doesn't even drink! Seriously, if you haven't tried it, try it out. It was super fun and easy to make. I definitely plan on endulging in this more often.

All in all, it was an amazing Christmas with amazing company. I love my family and I love this time of the year when I actually get to spend quality time with them. I am hoping everyone had an amazing holiday as well, especially all my Toronto neighbors, some of whom are still without power after the storm. This is a special time of year that should be embraced; it helps put in perspective the most important things in life! So with that said, Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

"Coming home is always one of the most beautiful things."

I said in my last post that "a little bit of wind and snow" wouldn't be enough to kill my vibe over the holidays- Well, I guess Mother Nature reads my blog and decided to test that out. We got hit with one of the biggest ice storms that Toronto has ever seen this past weekend.  Literally, the city was covered in a layer of ice- no mercy.  I honestly don't think I've ever been in an ice storm, so it was pretty outrageous.  The storm hit at night, so as I was lying in bed I kept hearing what sounded like waves crashing (but I wasn't in Malibu so in retrospect it was kind of odd) ... anyway, when I woke up I realized it was all of the beautiful trees outside ... snapping and falling to their death. It was so dramatic.  Trees were down all over the city and the surrounding area.  Of course, the trees couldn't just come down on their own ... they brought the power lines down with them. Over 230,000 people were left without power- we were some of those people.  Having no electricity in the summer is hard, but manageable.  Having no electricity in the winter is another story; it was such a cold night.  Thankfully, the power came back on for us today.  There are still sooo many people in and around the city without power though and some won't get theirs restored until after Christmas.  I'm so thankful to have light right now, and trust me, those individiduals will be in my prayers. 

Despite all of the hardships this storm brought, outside looks absolutely beautiful! It's literally a winter wonderland outside and it almost doesn't even look real. Who needs Christmas decorations when it's already taken care of for us? 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Home Sweet Home

I officially completed my first semester of law school Monday night and I am currently back in Toronto for the holidays.  It honestly felt like that day would never come.  Don't get me wrong, the semester itself flew by!  It seemed as if I'd just arrived in Malibu for orientation and all of a sudden it was finals time.  The three weeks of finals were never ending though.  We had a significant break in between each exam (4-6 days) and I won't complain because it did allow for more time to study ... but it also just prolonged the pain.  In either case, it's over now and I survived!  We don't actually get any of our grades back until the week after we return for school. This means that I'll actually get to enjoy my break and not worry about that.  So far I've already attended a couple of holiday parties, including one last night at The Rushton.

The Rushton is the cutest little french restaurant.  The venue itself is gorgeous and the food there is phenomenal. I ordered the steak frites and it was really good, but my favorite part of the meal was definitely dessert. The creme brûlée there is amazing- I seriously have been craving it since.  Eating out is one of my favorite holiday past times and I was so happy that this location was chosen for the holiday party. It was my first time there, but it definitely will not be my last. The staff was also super friendly and everyone really seemed to have a great time.

Other than that, I'm really looking forward to just spending time with my family and friends this break. It's been a draining semester and I'm excited to see everyone and shut my brain off from all things law related. Seriously, this is my favorite time of the year and I am just cherishing every moment.

Before I left, everyone at home in Toronto kept telling me about how cold it was here and how the weather in general was just miserable. Well, as much as I hate the cold, I don't think a little wind and snow will be enough to bring me down these coming weeks. What are you all looking forward to doing this break? Also, congrats to anyone else that has finished/will be finishing finals soon and to all the recent grads. Seriously, we all deserve a break, a round of applause, and a drink!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Touch of Personality :)

So I finished my second exam yesterday and it was such a great feeling. The exam itself was especially long and mentally draining- everyone just looked dead by the end of it. I basically took the night off with some of my closest friends in Cali and we went out for drinks and then went home .... to continue our wine night. It was so much fun and a much needed escape from reality! I have one final left on Monday and then I fly home. So that is my school update.

Also, I've kind of been frozen as far as posts go because I have been busy with school and I just wasn't sure what to write about. I mean I mostly blog for myself anyway, but I do want to take into consideration what people actually enjoy reading from me. That being said, I'm always open to suggestions. In the mean time, I logged onto Tumblr recently (for the first time in a long time). I rarely use it anymore, but I realized I had questions in my inbox that have been neglected for far too long. They did get me thinking a little bit, so I figured I would answer those questions here.

1. Have you ever let a guy come in between you and a friend?

Never. I mean to be honest, I've only had one friendship where something like that could have happened, but it didn't. One thing that all of my friends have in common is their realness. My friends and I have always been able to be real with each other and tell each other exactly how we feel about every situation. So here's my short story: Once upon a time I dated a guy and then it stopped. Then I met a girl and became really good friends with her ... she and the guy started hanging out and really enjoyed each other's company. She came up to me one day and asked me how I would feel if something more happened. I told her very honestly that I probably wouldn't be okay with it (I had my reasons), the thought of it bothered me. We talked some more, she told me how she felt. I told her the same. In the end, they never ended up going out ... but I've always respected her for it. It wasn't her decision to not pursue anything that I respected (ultimately it was up to her), but the fact that she had enough respect for our friendship to tell me what was going on. She could have been shady and sneaky and not tell me anything. Our friendship wasn't like that though- she told me everything. This was years ago and she's still one of my closest friends because we both know we're on that level where we completely trust each other and have each other's back. I could never be friends with someone that I couldn't talk to about those situations. It's really not that difficult to be open and honest with friends (if the friendship is real).

2. What do you look for in a relationship?

To be honest, I'm attracted to different types of people. I don't really have a "type", just standards. I look for someone that is respectful. He can't just be respectful towards me, because that's a given; I wouldn't be anywhere near him if he wasn't. I mostly pay attention to see how he is with other people ... that's when you get a better glimpse into his actual character. I don't want someone that only knows how to treat me.  He need to be good to his family, his friends, random people on the street, homeless people ... EVERYBODY. This is probably one of the few things I won't compromise. I won't be with an individual that doesn't know how to treat people.

So that's that and hopefully it gave you guys a better glimpse into ... whatever it is this life of mine consists of. I said months ago that I would try to get more "personal" ... and this is me trying. I don't know how much further I'll go .. but we shall see ! Hope you all enjoyed and are having a wonderful week:)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Favorite Fragrances

Brief update: So I wrote my first final yesterday. It was a civ pro exam and I am so soo happy to have one class finally out of the way. I felt pretty good about the exam when I was finished, but then apparently everyone in my section felt good about it, so it's really no consolation. In either case, I have two more to study for and then I can finally head home for the holidays. Now for this post! I put together a little list of my favorite fragrances. These are my go-to fragrances, so I hope you enjoy. I'm thinking of putting together a post of perfumes that I've tried and love ... but haven't purchased yet. I'm not sure ... I'll think about it! Anyways, hope everyone is doing well :) 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Finals Finals Finals

I finished with classes last week and now all I have left to do is finals. I have three in total: torts, federal civil procedure and contracts. They're all worth 100% of the grade, so it's more than a little nerve wracking. Although most students would be happy to end classes, I was actually a little sad (and not just because it meant I would be studying for finals). I actually reallly loved all of my professors this semester and I don't like the thought of having new ones next semester. I have attachment issues clearly ... but it's all good. In under three weeks I will have completed 1/6 of this law school journey.

My life hasn't been all studying and no play though. If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that I've had the opportunity to attend several mixers and events this semester. I've been networking a lot and spending time with some really great and inspirational people. I also recently joined the Women's Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, which is pretty exciting. ALSO, most importantly, my neighbor (she's a 2L and soooo soooo sweet) told me about this beach that is right by our place that I never knew about it. We live off PCH which is the coast, but there isn't always coastal access along the highway because there are houses and business etc. Well, literally just two minutes away is a coastal access point and it's so serene and perfect. It's not ridiculously crowded and it made for the perfect studying nook. I put up my beach umbrella shortly after I took this photo and stayed there to go over Civ Pro for a few hours. It was honestly the best thing. Who knew studying could be so relaxing and gorgeous.

Also, I've included a lovely creeper shot of a local doing yoga on the beach. It's not that uncommon to see people working out on the beach in Malibu. I have to admit, I haven't been doing as much to take care of my body as I should be. I mean, I still "look" fit .. but apart from the occasional run, I really don't do anything physical anymore. I want to start working out in the mornings next semester. I'm always up around 6:30 whether I have a class or not, so I think it's doable. I'm just not sure what I want that workout to be. I've been wanting to try out yoga for a while now, but since I'm an amateur, I'm not sure if that can even be done on your own and I don't want an instructor. I'll have some time to figure all of that out over the break (in between re runs of all the trashy reality television I've been missing out on). If any of you have suggestions for me though on yoga and workouts for me next semester, I'm totally open to that.

In the mean time, I hope everyone is enjoying their day and having a lot of fun getting ready for the upcoming holiday season:) I'm looking forward to being on break from law school and having the time to put together some real updated blog posts for you guys!