Spring Cleaning #2: Birth, Life, and Writing

You may have noticed that around Cosy Notebook the content has been changing slightly along with the schedule of the posts. There is method to my madness, friends, and that is SPRING FEVER! Despite the frosty winds and snow that has just landed overnight in Ontario (bleh!) I have caught the Spring Cleaning bug, and with good reason. A week from tomorrow I start a REAL JOB where I have to be working FULL TIME, and as exciing as that sounds it means mostly everything about every aspect of my routine has to change. You may have noticed my post from earlier this weekend outlining my goals for this upcoming week, well, my routine is changing at the birth of a new chapter in my life.

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I’m hoping to be changing my posting schedule for this blog (among a plethora of other things, surprises, and other tidbits that you will notice over the next week!) but that is a small part of my routine that is changing with the seasons. My physical activity schedule is abuot to change drastically as I have goten into a lovely routine over the past five-seven months where I work out nearly every day. This is changing. What I eat and how long I sleep will be changing. Potentially where I live should be changing shortly as well, so what do I do to prepare myself for this magnum change?

Clean, organize, gradually induce change into my routine.

This method has helped me ever since I started going to school and would have to wake up way earlier on school days than the sleeping-in-lounge-y-ness of summer holidays. One week before school was to start I would get up at the given time and make myself busy like I would have to at school. My junk food consumption would go down, good breakfasts substituted rice krispie squares and mcdicks flapjacks of the holiday variety. This method is helping me now, which is why I am writing this so early in the morning (this isn’t even the earliest I will have to be getting up, this is a part of the “gradual” essence of the metho).

What does that mean for my writing?

Although the schedule of the posts are going to change, the content will not. I will be writing about the things that I love, interest me, frustrate me, etc. and I plan on finding more photos and finding more of a running thread of themes. I also want to continue working on various creative aspects of my life like my yoga practice and this new play I’ve got in my head; all of these things are important while moving forward. Writing, it seems, will always be on the horizon, on my radar, in and around my self no matter what my routine is, and for that I am grateful, because without it I am just a weird, loud shell with nothing to talk about (since writing is a main part of my being).

The theme for the rest of this week will be Spring Cleaning and some MASSIVE lifestyle posts like BAKING and RECIPES and TRAVEL and FASHION. All of these things are to come, and I hope in some way I can inspire you to make a small change with the seasons this year. I’d also love to hear what you’re doing for Spring Cleaning if you’re into that, I’m always looking for new things to try!

xx Jess

Last Week Goals

I almost called this post the “Bucket List” but I would rather make an achieveable list of goals as opposed to setting myself up for potential failure in not completeing the entire list, but it is essentially a Bucket List of the things I want to do with my last week without work!

1. Finish my Spring Cleaning and lists
2. Work Through two different recipes
3. Spend every night doing something relaxing and what I actually want to do
4. Write everyday (other than blogs)
5. Change Layout of Blog and Schedule (?!)
6. READ!
7. Find a place to live…
8. Get into Sleep and Workout Routine for work
9. Finish one or two of the shows I’m watching
10. RELAX AND ENJOY IT.

I hope that most of these things actually happen, I have a plan in my mind of how its going to go, but the last goal is probably the most important at this point. Stop stressing out, get things done as they come, and enjoy the last bit of freedom before full-time work. It’s been a long journey coming to this point of being busy again, and its had its ups and downs, so I am hoping that the last week will encompass all of the positive, comfortable parts with little stress.

xx Jess

Spring Cleaning #1: DeClutter Da Mind

I know that I wrote a lengthy post about how I hate when bloggers post topics about things like Easter or Christmas or any cultural/widely known theme DURING the actual occasion, but Spring Cleaning is something to me that I hardly ever do, so maybe next year I can have some pre-written ones, but today I start my journey, and this is more about sharing the journey instead of giving advice about how to improve your cleaning skills! I hope it inspires someone to go and get springy or at the very least is relatively entertaining!

IMG_20150324_133551_editToday I began my first day of a “Spring Cleaning” Yoga Series intended to declutter the mind and body for the new season.  Today’s class was a kundalini core class focusing on the Naval, and kicked my butt.  It was great to get on the mat, break a sweat, and feel refreshed afterwards.  The trick to this practice was that there was intense breathing excersizes (rapid breathing) which encourages the body to get rid of toxins in the blood and lungs, and ultimately reshens you up.

It also makes you light headed and euphoric, who knew.

Today is the first of a few posts regarding my Spring Cleaning.  Because of a few big changes in my life (potential update coming soon?  Is that even interesting?) I need to get my room, storage spaces, and life in general organized for the next month.  New lists, new purchases, and new bags for Goodwill need to be worked on.  I will be following through this Week-Long Yoga Practice Schedule over the next two weeks (that usually happens, I intend to do yoga daily and then end up doing a week’s worth of classes in two weeks, ah well, there is no late in yoga!) and also gearing up for Easter, the holiday of hot crossed buns and tooth decay.

I would love to know what you do for your Spring Cleaning routine!  This is my first year really getting into the changing of Winter to Spring, and getting rid of the old and breathing fresh air into my routine for the new season!

 

xx Jess

 

History of Fashion: How Are we Affected by What We Wear?

Women have had to “look a certain way” in order to wear the clothes that are offered to them and available in a variety of ways, and it has come to my attention that fashion may have influenced a woman’s ability to be sane. I’m not trying to say that women are crazy, all women, at one point in their lives or another, has experienced moments of overwhelming stress and other emotions that contribute to a speculatively biased perspective on their sanity, and I would say that it may be influenced by the clothes that they wear.

MED CORSE

I don’t know about you, but that does not look comfortable.  That dress denies the wearer (Marie Antoinette here) the ability to breathe deeply, and in a lot of instances (and from my own experience) just the ability to have some deep breaths allows anyone to regain calm in any situation, or at least a very faint memory of calm.  This is why we don’t sleep in skinny jeans, because no one would be able to relax while trying to fall asleep in such a tight contraption, imagine trying to make sound decisions in tight “cincing” clothing that tightens your chest and ribs, literally where you breathe is being made to look smaller for the benefit of others, clearly not yourself.

Alternatively, here is a crop top (I dare say it is cute, but still)

BELLY

But I would argue (having worn crop tops in a few varieties myself) that I do not feel comfortable “belly breathing” as the yogis would say in a shirt of such.    Popular culture encourages women to imitate the “cinching-in” corset by having shirts that show off their tummies.  I spent most if not all of my adolescence and well into my teenage years obsessing over my lower belly and howmuch it would protrude over my jeans.  This caused me to not EVER breathe deeply in ANY situation, and when horomones are raging there is a small chance that I would be excused for my rash behaviour or “crazy,” emotional breakdowns.

I’m not saying that this behaviour is caused by the clothing we wear, people make rash decisions and have a hard time remaining calm any time regardless of what they wear, but I don’t think it helps.  Breathing deeply relieves stress, it calms you, and having clothing that encourages you (or physically restrains you) from doing that perpetuates the lack of calm in any wearing them.

What has come from this realisation?  That clothes are meant to be worn as an expression of who you are, not toforce you to look a certain way.  Boy do I love Vogue magazine, but I do not think for a sexond that if I put on a runway look like this

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that I am going to look that amazing or change my life (trust me, my body type is not meant for dresses boots or hair like that) but it sure is pretty to look at, no?

Its all about inspiration.  I love corsets, and the large skirt look, I love dinosaurs and sometimes crop tops with a high waisted skirt, andman do I love boots and colour, but integrating that into my own style my own way is the whole point.  It’s like Meryl’s iconic fashion monologue from The Devil Wears Prada (first name basis alert, to clarify, Meryl Streep, if you live under a rock and don’t know this reference) (also clearly paraphrased heavilly) as much as you want to think that you are outside of fashion, the colours, fabrics, and a ton of other things that are involved in the clothing you wear are picked by “the people in this very room,” meaning to say, that the people who depict what goes in fashion are the people who influence you no matter what you wear.

It is taking that knowledge, knowing that “Cultural Icons” like celebrity stylists, Vogue editors, people of the Media and ultimately the consumers (the audience, US) depict what is “fashionable,” and not feeling pressured to buythat Forever 21 crop top but finding soething that fits the style and you are comfortable with instead.  I hear that croshe a scarf, or invert the trend and find crochet accessories or hair bands, its embellishments, its where our style comes from, and it shouldn’t inhibit us from living life (and breathing).

 

I hear that crochet-knit crop tops are all the rage for the summer, but like…I’m not really into that.  It means that maybe I’ll invert the trend by buying hair bands and accessories like a backpack that is crochet, instead of going right for it.  It is whatever is good for you, that’s what its supposed to be anyway, not the ultimate desired way to look or be.

What’s my point/advice?  Wear clothes that let you breathe and stop worrying too much about the specifics of Vogue magazine, that’s why Anna Wintour is there, she can worry, you just pick it up, flip through, giggle at the hair and makeup, oo and aw over the colours and cool fashions, lust over the bodies, and then go about your day.  You’ll be influenced somewhat, interpolated by the advertisements and models, but it shouldn’t be a negative thing in your life, but enhance your already-vibrant style in you!

xx Jess

The Tipping Over Point

Sometimes we all get nervous about certain things and ultimately limit ourselves and back away from challenges due to those nerves. I would argue that it is just better to “jump off the cliff” as opposed to limiting yourself and not reaching goals due to a fear. I have recently xperienced “the tipping over point” that I’ve been waiting for. A few things settled into place, a few new things on the horizon, and I am having trouble coming to terms with a few things due to a fear that makes me want to run away and forget about plans altogether.

The Fight or Flight systems in my brain are screaming RUN! RUN AWAY! FLEE! But what I would be fleeing from isn’t dangerous–just different. So, I pledge to fight. I will stay, stand up to my fear, and jump off the cliff.

Too many analogies going on here.

Let’s just say that in the event that you are feeling stressed by a decision, or by your inability to make the RIGHT decision because of a fear–just do it. What do you have to lose? If nothing else you are going to learn a helluva lot about yourself, and you will be happy you did in the end.

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend, and I hope that you’ll stand up and fight with me.

xx Jess

Staycation: Get Away Without Going Anywhere

If there’s one thing I fully understand it is the idea of getting time off from your everyday routine. Most people around this time of the year jet off to somewhere luxurious, but considering I’ve been a student for the past…well, I’ve been a student, and haven’t had much money to devote to a willy-nilly warm vacation, I’ve had to really take those relaxing break, out-of-the-ordinary hours when I can get them. Yesterday I planned my first “real” staycation, it didn’t go as planned (as most plans don’t) but it was still relaxing. This wasn’t the first time I’ve spent the whole day off of work in my own home, but it was the first time I’ve made an effort in actively not doing, writing, emailing, anything at all. Here’s how I tried to make my at-home-Wednesday a paradise!

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1. I told people that I was taking a break from work. This is usually the first and best step for taking a Staycation, because it means that people won’t expect to get emails from you, but will expect to see instagrams of you snuggling up with a glass of wine and four hours of Netflix. Hey, you guys get your weekends off, being a student or a creative-mind we don’t get to just work 9-5 and turn our brains off afterwards. So taking a full 24 hours off of writing, off of professional itneraction it really helped get me out of my head and into that vacation-mode.

2. I planned certain things ahead which is a normal vacation-y tip, its hard to “plan to relax” all the time, so I just made a lunch date with my dad and planned on maybe going to the mall or to a museum. I would’ve liked to get those things done, but since I would’ve had to bus and it wasn’t as warm as I would’ve liked it to be I ended up just staying at home and milking the relaxation. But having the plans in place, lunch with dad, watching a certain tv show with my family at eight, it really made the day less of a “what do I want to do?” and more of a “here’s some time, find something good to help relax you!” I also had decided beforehand that I was going to watch House of Cards on Netflix, so there was a lot less “What should I watch?!” issues that usually come with down time (in my experience anyway!)

3. I was active and healthy to an extent. I feel good after a workout, so I did a short one in the morning and practiced meditation in the afternoon, I would’ve liked to get a yoga practice in but my period cramps were really doing a number on me yesterday (TMI? I don’t care. This blog’s about my life, and I’m not going to hide the fact that two weeks a month my body hates me.) Minus the french fries and burger and beers at lunch (hey, I was on vacation!) my snacks were pretty minimal. English muffin, apple, a cheeky rice krispie square, I didn’t want to just pig out on everything I could find, but I wanted to treat myself. There’s good in balance, and that’s true for any vacation but when I’m at home I’m more likely to buy a bag of chips and keep them in my room while I’m relaxing, which isn’t great for me. This time I just ate when I wanted to, and I don’t feel bad about it.

4. Leave the house once or twice. I always make jokes that I’ll be in such need for a getaway that I’ll hop on a train and book a hotel room in Toronto for a night and not leave the room but watch tv in my underwear and eat room service, and only leave in the morning to go home. I say this is a fantasy vacation, but I would get stir crazy. Even taking a walk with good music, the dog, or an audiobook on my part makes a big difference. Those are things that I don’t have time for in my regular routine of work and social plans, so it is nice to get out if the weather permits.

5. Don’t worry about the work you’re not doing. I struggled with this bit yesterday and its always been something I can’t get over. When I was in school my Staycations would consist of me spending two hours in Second Cup alone reading with a white hot chocolate, two hours laying in bed with a bottle of wine reading vogue, then dinner out, then either a movie with friends or netflix. That entire time I would have to actively stop myself from worrying about the readings I should’ve been doing or the paper I had pre-written to do this day off and needed editing still. Yesterday I got to about dinnertime before starting to really get bothered by the lack of work that was going on. I have a busy day the rest of the week so it is hard to not want to get up and just get that last bit of work done, I’d feel better afterwards and be able to relax. There comes a time during every cvacation where you think of what you’ll have to do when you get back to the real world, but unfortunately when your vacations are a day long they don’t seem to be as effective as needed/wanted/intended.

My advice? Find ways to make the stress less prominent and work through it. Relax, put on candles, have a glass of wine, call a good friend or your family, watch a confusing show who knows find something to make sure that although you are taking a break that it is well worth it. There is nothing like “taking a break,” and only feeling more stress than before. We are human, we need to take it easy sometimes.

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cuba 2013. my desired vacation state: cosy

 

I hope this has inspired you to take a break yourself, as for me, I’m off to catch up on some work that should’ve got done while I was on vacation but didn’t, because I was busy relaxing.

xx Jess