September Reading List

Hi all,

I’ve decided to try something new: share my reading list every month. I find that when I’m in school it becomes difficult to consistently read and next thing I know, I haven’t picked up a novel in months. Reading helps me de-stress and when I read right before bed, it helps me fall asleep faster. So to hold me accountable and purposely make time for myself, I wanted to share the books I plan to read this month. Feel free to join me in my readings, we could even discuss the books after we read them!

  1. Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brownwatch me disappear
  2. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriartytruly madly deeply

Do you have any other suggestions for me?

Have a great week!

Marilyn

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August Favourites

Hi all,

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a monthly favourites post! There were a few things this month that I really fell in love with that I thought would be worth sharing. Let’s get into it!

  1. EOS lip balm- I’ve used the ball for years, but I much prefer the stick version. It takes up less room and can fit into almost any bag.eos
  2. La Croix sparkling water- for the last two months, I have been obsessed with sparkling water (or more precisely Club Soda). I saw these at the store and loved that they have no artificial sweeteners so I wanted to try them. My favourite flavour is the Cran-Raspberry; I find that it’s the strongest flavour.la croix
  3. Coconut cream pie Lara bars- I feel like I’m late to jump on the Lara Bar bandwagon, but wow are they good! I’ve only ever tried this flavour so I can’t compare it to others, but it’s so tasty. It’s made mostly with dates though so you do have to really like dates. I also love that there are only 5 ingredients; I love having healthy alternatives for when I’m craving something like a granola bar.larabar
  4. Big Little Lies novel by Liane Moriarty: I have this thing with books and their movies or television shows. When I know a movie or show based on a book is coming out, I always like to read the book first, which is why I picked up this book. It is so good!! I literally could not put it down. She writes so incredibly well; it makes me jealous of her skills. And she also knows how to pack a punch! I won’t spoil the end, but towards the end, we find out something quite important, and I was not expecting it at all. I sat there for a solid three minutes, saying “what?!” over and over. Like most movies (or shows), the book is so much better. The series is still good, but I would highly suggest reading the book first. If you haven’t yet, go grab it!

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That’s all for this month, I hope you enjoyed it!

I’d love to know what some of your favourites were this month! Leave them down below πŸ™‚

Have a great week!

Marilyn

A Pastel Review: Paris For One by Jojo Moyes

Hi all,

After reading Me Before You and After You, I was hooked onto Jojo Moyes and wanted to start reading all of her books. I got this one for Christmas and finally got around to reading it last month.

Paris For One and Other Stories is exactly what the name suggests; it’s a collection of short stories. Paris For One is the longer one, taking about half the book, and there are 8 other ones. They explore love, marriages, relationships, and infidelity.

I had never read a collection of short stories before and I must say that I really did enjoy it. I tend to read mostly at night, and I always find it difficult to find a convenient place to stop reading. With this book, it wasn’t an issue. I read one or two short stories per night, never having to worry about where to stop for the night.

Moyes writes so well, and even though each story is only a few pages (with the exception of Paris For One), I got attached to the characters right from the start. The themes she explores in each story are relatable and you feel like she could be talking about you or someone you know. With the common, every day issues she brings up, I feel like I learned a couple of lessons/new things by reading these.

My favourite story was Paris For One. This particular one is about a young adult girl who finds herself in Paris alone for a weekend and learns to embrace the unexpected and just go with it. Without spoiling too much, she ends up meeting someone who makes her feel like she can do anything. It was a page turner and I was definitely hooked from the get go.

The only thing I would have to critique about this book is that I wish each story wasn’t a short one; I want to know what happens after!

I really recommend this book, especially if you want a light and non-committal read.


Have you ever read it? If so, what did you think of it?

Have a great week!

Marilyn

Why You Should Do Things That Scare You

Hi all,

Today I wanted to discuss something that has become important to me in the last few months: doing things that scare you. I’ve always been confused about what to do with my life but it hit me particularly hard at the beginning of this year.

I made the decision to withdraw from my classes midway through my semester and take a break. Although it was frightening, it was exactly what I needed: to re-charge and focus on what my next step would be, school wise. It ultimately led me to find another program that I think I will really enjoy.

A few months after making this change in school, I made the decision to quit my part time job. I was working in customer service and found it extremely stressful. Although everyone tells you to not take it personally, at some point, I just realized that I didn’t want to be stressed out over a part time job, I have the rest of my life & career to do that ;). So after a lot of thought, I decided to quit. For me, this was scary, as I had worked nonstop since I was sixteen. This was quite a higher paying job than my previous ones, so I was terrified of leaving and not having a steady income. But I did it, and it led me to discover so much and gave me the time to start a couple projects that I’m very, very excited about.

All this thinking led me to come up with reasons as to why we should do things that scare us.

  1. You’ll discover new things about yourself: When thrown into a situation you’ve never been in before, you’ll have to adapt and make decisions that you’ve never thought you’d ever have to. You’ll most likely be surprised at the decisions that you make, giving you lots of insight as to the kind of person you are becoming.
  2. You’ll learn what you’re capable of: You never know until you try. Whether it be jumping off a cliff or quitting your much hated job, you will find out what your mind and body are capable of doing, when put to the test. For me, quitting my part time job and finding something I was passionate about lead me to see that I actually was capable of starting a business, something I had wanted to do (but was afraid of) for quite a while.
  3. You might find your passion and discover what you love/hate: You might end up loving or hating that thing you did, but at least you’ll know where you stand on that front. You will then be able to base your next move on this and tailor your life according to your new-found knowledge of yourself. Also, although this might not apply to every situation, you might end up finding your passion and at the very least, how you’ll be able to enrich your life through that passion.
  4. If you don’t do it, you might miss out on a great opportunity: Sure, you might do it and fail, but at least you will have tried. What if something great ends up coming of it? You wouldn’t have found that until you tried.

At the end of the day, (as cheesy as it sounds) we only have one life to live. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather step out of my comfort zone and try new things that might lead me to discover something great (or not), rather than do nothing and later have regrets.

What do you think?

Marilyn

Tips To Help You Save Money + Why It’s Important

Hi all,

I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this for a while and finally decided to go for it, as I think it’s really important to know how to manage your money, especially as a teenager/young adult. Michael and I were sitting on our balcony in Santorini last month, watching the sunset, and I just kept thinking that I’m so grateful we’ve been smart enough with our money, to be able to splurge on experiences like these. We have seen so many people around us blow their money on drinking and useless spending, ultimately leading them to live from pay check to pay check. While I know some people enjoy that lifestyle, it was never for us, we always thought it was important to be wise with our money.

I’ve been working since I was sixteen, and pretty much saved every penny from my first three years of work. Except for a few clothing items I bought at the store I worked at and a last-minute trip to Punta Cana with Michael, I saved all the money I made. I never made any big purchases, I was very careful with what I spent my money on and weighed each decision before swiping my card. I learned the value of money at a young age and it was only when I moved onto a significantly higher paying job that I allowed myself to splurge on a few items (like a car and a Kate Spade purse!)

It also helps that I’m not the type of person to go out and party every weekend. I understand how fast money can be gone. In the few times that I’ve gone out, I must have spent about $40 each time for a couple drinks… that adds up quickly!

For me, saving money for my future was always important. I wanted to make sure that I had enough if ever something happened and that I would have enough for a down payment on a house when I graduate school. This end goal definitely helped me remain on track, money-saving wise.

Here are some of my tips:

  • First decide what you want to save money for. Is it a long term goal- a house, for example, that would require you save for a long period of time? Or is it a short-term goal- a Europe trip for example, that would require you to save lots in a short amount of time? This will help you decide how much you should be putting into your savings every pay check (more on that below).
  • Make a list of your necessary monthly expenses. This will allow you to see exactly what needs to be spent and what will remain from your pay checks. It will give you a realistic idea of how much you can hope to save in one year, for example. Try to be as honest with yourself as possible. If buying clothes is a necessary expense for you, then write it down. Although I would recommend you write down things that you wouldn’t be able to live without; food, gas, etc.
  • Make a list of things you could cut out of your budget- make concessions. I really do think that to save money, you do need to tighten your belt a little bit and cut out some unnecessary spending. I love shopping as much as the next blogger, but I know this can quickly eat away at my savings. As a general rule, other than a few items of clothing here and there, I tend to limit my shopping sprees to twice a year. I always take a small trip with my mom and brother to the US at the end of summer, so this is when I get some clothes for back to school. The other time is either after Christmas so I can take advantage of after Christmas sales, or in the spring, so that I can get some summer clothes. If you spend $50 a month on manicures and you can live with doing it at home for a couple of years, scrap it. It doesn’t seem like much, but that’s $600 a year! You can do lots with $600!
  • Save, save, save and save some more!Β Financial professionals will give you various percentages that you should spend and save from your pay check, but I believe that this varies from person to person. When I first started working, my percentage was practically 100% save. As I moved onto the higher-paying job, I found myself spending more because I could justify it with the higher pay, and this was when I had to remind myself that I should be saving more. At one point, I was automatically putting 50% in my savings, and keeping the other 50% in my checking account. This however did not mean that I was automatically spending the other 50%, it was just there if I needed it. If you really want to be strict about saving, I would recommend a 75-25 saving-spending percentage. The saving percentage can be higher if you want it to, it’s not necessary to spend!
  • Have two accounts: a savings and a checking.Β This is especially great if you can have your savings account not linked to your debit card. This way, you won’t be able to access your savings when you’re shopping, restricting what you can spend even further. Also, having to do a few extra steps (transferring x amount from one account to the other, waiting for it to get processed, etc) might deter you from actually doing it.
  • Find a balance. Even though I can be strict with my money, I do think it’s important to find a balance. I don’t spend much on clothes or electronics, but I don’t necessarily budget when it comes to a trip. I love travelling and I don’t want to sacrifice certain things on a trip because it might be the only time I get to go there! I really do think you can take advantage of your young years without destroying your future.
  • Make a mood board with your goals (financial or otherwise). This one doesn’t only pertain to saving money, but if you have a picture of your goals right in front of you, it will be much easier to stick to your plan!

Thank you so much for reading, I really hope you enjoyed these tips! Do you have a tip that I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear it!

Marilyn

Strawberries and Cream Chia Pudding Recipe

Hi all,

I’ve been loving this recipe lately! It’s great for breakfast and makes for a very filling snack. Plus it’s dairy-free!

What you’ll need:

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  • 2 cups of fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract

What to do:

  1. Place the strawberries, maple syrup, coconut milk and vanilla bean extract in a blender and blend until smooth.IMG_7228IMG_7230
  2. Place the chia seeds in a bowl and pour the strawberry mixture over it. Whisk very well. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then whisk it again.IMG_7232IMG_7234

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    Whisking it after 10 minutes.
  3. Cover and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours. I like to leave it in overnight so that it gets really thick.IMG_7239
  4. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading! What’s your favourite chia pudding recipe?

Marilyn

Summer Reading List

Hi all,

I know we’re already halfway into summer break, but I wanted to share my reading list for the rest of the break. I actually read a few of these while on vacation and will be reading the rest in the next couple of months. As you’ll see, I love to read a mix of teen and adult fiction. I love “beach” reads; books that don’t really require much concentration and that you can breeze through in one sitting. Here we go.

  1. Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
  2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy by Jenny Han
  3. The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer
  4. Paris For One by Jojo Moyes
  5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  6. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (I always like to read the book before I see the movie)
  7. Confessions Of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella- I’ve seen the movie multiple times and have the book, but have yet to read it, I think it’s time that I do!

What are some of the books on your summer reading list? I’d love some more suggestions!

Have a wonderful week!

Marilyn

Nail Polishes For Summer

Hi all,

If you know me at all, you know that I’m obsessed with nail polish and I’m always looking for new shades to try out. Since the official start of summer is in two days, I thought I’d share some of my favourite onesΒ that are absolutely perfect for summer!

  1. Essie Gel Couture- Labels Only (#200)IMG_5258
  2. Essie Gel Couture: Signature Smile (#230)IMG_5249
  3. Essie: Mint Candy AppleIMG_5273
  4. Essie: The It-Factor (#300)IMG_5274

Do you have a favourite polish colour?

Thanks for reading!

Marilyn

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Hi all,

With Father’s day in less than a week, I wanted to share some ideas for quick, yet meaningful gifts. Some of these can be made yourself at a very reasonable cost!

  1. Personalized mug- You can go to a ceramic cafe and paint your own (this does take longer though since they have to “cook” it) or you can buy a plain mug and decorate it yourself with some paint and paint pens.
  2. Picnic- By this time, we should be experiencing summer weather, which is perfect for a picnic. You can grab his favourite food and drinks and set up at a nice park, or even by the water. You can also try to find a spot that is near an ice cream parlour so you can grab a treat afterwards πŸ˜‰
  3. Personalized t-shirt: There are many places that will print whatever you want on a t-shirt for a reasonable price. You can kick it up a notch if your dad has a good sense of humour and have one of your inside jokes printed on it.
  4. Take him out to dinner: This one is a classic, but can allow you to spend some quality time over some good food.
  5. Do one of his favourite activities with him: Does he like to fish? Kayak? Run? Offer to accompany him when he does one of his activities; he will love that you’re interested in what he’s doing! You could also offer to take him out for a drink or a meal afterwards.

I hope that this was helpful! What are you planning on getting/doing for your dad for Father’s Day?

Marilyn

Travel Outfit Ideas

Hi all,

I love to travel and I love everything that has to do with travelling, including outfit planning! When I’m travelling by plane, I love to be comfortable but also look somewhat put together. Here are three outfit ideas that I would wear (and have worn!).

1. Total Comfort.

This outfit is perfect for long haul flights, especially those that are overnight. You’ll feel like you’re in your pyjamas and you’ll be able to fall right asleep. I always travel with a sweater on the plane because a) I get cold and b) it doesn’t take up room in my suitcase.

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Leggings: Champion.

T-shirt: GAP Factory.

Sweater: GAP Factory (this is a similar one).

Shoes: Nike Tanjun (bought at Famous Footwear).

 

2. Comfortable but work appropriate.

This one would be great if you’re going on a business trip and will be making an appearance at the office or at a client’s shortly after getting off the plane. The jeans are very comfortable (and affordable!) and the jean jacket makes for a put together look. Plus, it doesn’t take up unnecessary space in your suitcase.

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Jean jacket: Reitmans.

Jeans: Forever 21.

Flats: DSW (similar ones).

T-shirt: GAP Factory.

3. For vacation.

I love to travel in maxi dresses when I’m going on a beach vacation because it gets me in the vacation mode and it covers my legs so I don’t get cold on the plane. I always like to bring either a cardigan or little jacket with me even on beach vacations just in case, so I paired the dress with my jean jackets, so it once again doesn’t take up space in my suitcase (do you see a pattern here?).

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Dress: Shein.com

Jean jacket: Reitmans.

Sandals: Steve Madden bought at TJ Maxx. These are similar ones.


Thanks for checking it out! What’s your favourite travel outfit?

Marilyn