Monthly Archives: January 2019

Peer Review #1

This week I got the pleasure of reviewing Jades website. While looking through the website I found many things that I loved and that inspired me to make changes to my very own. Starting with the overall look of the website- the pictures of herself at the top of the home page made her website look very personal as if this was her own personal diary. Scrolling through the photos I realized they are links to her Instagram account which I thought was very neat and a great way to gain a larger audience. Looking down and noticing the handful of quotes swipe across the page is a fun and interactive touch for the viewers.

Now getting started on her posts- for starters Jade has a lot of content and everything she posts is very personable and makes her very relatable. She ties her life in which songs, as well as adding the link to the songs to let the viewers listen so maybe they could come up with something to relatable to the song as well. One of my favourite posts was the “If I were a boy”, she added some humour to a “serious” song talking about some of the things boys do that girls wish they wouldn’t. Another which I found great is the “To my future husband” she wrote a beautiful piece about all the things she hopes her future husband is accomplishing right now. This piece was vulnerable in a sense, some people may be nervous or hesitant to put it out there. However I think it makes Jades website very down to earth and like I said very relatable.

Although I wouldn’t change anything with the website the only thing I would add is an about me page, something that I can read so I can learn even more about the blogger like what her goal are, what message does she want to share…etc. Having said that, I think Jade is off to a wonderful start with her website and should defiantly keep doing what she’s doing. Thanks for reading, Sonia xo

Progress Report

The importance of visual- continuity.

Great brands often raise the bar and continue to change and evolve. As the brands change the audience change with them; for better or for the worse. Branding is all about communication, being able to put something out into the world and get a response from the audience that you’re able to reach out too. Even brands that don’t market a name out into the world are still a brand and reach out to specific crowds that will continue to support the brand because they enjoy what they are distributing into the world. As much as change is relevant, brands need to have a consistency to continue to keep their audience intrigued in what new content will be shared.

I would personally like to reach out to a younger crowd between the ages 19-26 who are intrigued in the up coming styles. I chose the colour red to represent courage and power, because I feel as if everyone should feel confident in what they wear everyday. My logo isn’t fully complete because I want my logo to mirror what I choose to put out in the world. Once I fully know who I want to reach out to, and what I want my website to say it will be much easier to decide one a face for my brand.


Latex, when thinking about latex minds may immediately picture the super hero known as Cat Women. However latex was a huge staple piece in fashion 40 years ago, but just like all other trends latex has done a full circle. Latex pants, dresses, skirt…etc was first introduced in the 80’s sported by well known celebrities such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Kiss, and Freddie Mercury the lead singer of queen.

Latex is back in style and is seen on today A list celebrities which include Beyonce, Selena Gomez, and Kim Kardashian. It is sold at stores as well as online companies ( Urban outfitters, I AM GIA, ZARA , Hollywood Boutique, and Meshki) and is a hot commodity to millennials.

I’ve recently purchased some items off of one of the brands listen above called Meshki. Meshki is an online store which is reasonably prices as well as high quality. Shipping only takes up to a week with no additional express shipping charges compared to other over seas websites. The items fit true to size and provide proper measurements on the website. Latex might seem like a fashion statement to many however I believe it can be a staple piece in peoples closets. It allows you to spice up any outfit without trying to hard.

Ammeter’s Founding Principles

Ammeter intends to bring careful reporting to Vancouver’s lightly represented electronic music community. We want to avoid forming an opinion-based music blog. Listening to music is a subjective experience that we have no interest in dictating. The Ammeter Bond will form the guidelines for these intentions.

Hopefully establishing these principles will help give Ammeter direction and establish a voice.

This will be Ammeter Bond I. As our practice develops, I imagine that it will be redrafted with new amendments and fresh intentions. For now, it is filled with the subtle errors of an amateur typist; the expressions of an author in training. Please hold my articles to its proposed standards, dear readers.


Reflecting on 2018 and Looking Ahead to 2019

It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by. 2018 was a very long and difficult year for me, but now that it’s over, I can look back on it with appreciation. It was filled with many ups and downs, but I learned a lot, and for that I am grateful.

Some things I learned this past year:

  • I need to stop pushing myself more than I can handle. I had some serious mental health issues this year because of pressure from school and pressure that I’ve put on myself, and it made me realize that I need to stop trying to be a perfect student and prioritize my mental health over everything, even school.
  • I need to be more open with my loved ones about the issues I’m facing. My mental health issues got so bad that I realized that I had to tell someone about them. I opened up to my parents, my boyfriend, and my doctor, and it helped a lot. Just being able to talk about what I was going through and have people supporting me made a massive difference, and I hope to continue to be open about these issues.
  • Not all friends last forever. I recently lost the last of my friends from my first year of university. Though I had slowly lost touch with most of them before this, it still sucked because it forced me to acknowledge that that part of my life is over, and that the people who I thought would be my friends for life actually weren’t. Though I still look back fondly on my memories with them, I know that those friendships wouldn’t have worked long-term and that I will find true, lasting friendships in the future.

While I went through a lot of tough times last year, I also had some really positive experiences:

  • I finished my third year of university, making me more than halfway through my degree.
  • I went back to my old job and I’m really enjoying it. It’s fun and interesting, and I love my coworkers.
  • I moved into a one-bedroom apartment and got to experience the thrill of having my own place and not worrying about a roommate.
  • I made a lot of friends, and I’ve become very close to some of them. I haven’t had many close friends in Vancouver over the past few years, so it’s nice to finally have met some people with whom I have a great connection.
  • I started this blog, which has been super fun and has encouraged me to get back into writing.

2018 was a very mixed year, but I am looking forward to 2019. I’m much happier than I was a year ago, and I think this will be a good year for me. I don’t have any concrete resolutions, because I absolutely never follow through with them, but I do have a few small-ish goals that I would like to accomplish.

  1. I want to eat less red meat (sorry, Mom!). It’s partly because I am a huge animal lover and feel super guilty eating meat, particularly that of very smart and/or affectionate animals like cows, and partly because animal agriculture is a major cause of global warming, and I want to help reduce its impact. I’m not going vegetarian, as I am a very picky eater as it is, but I am hoping that I can eat less or even no red meat (and maybe less meat in general) to do my part to help save the planet.
  2. I’ve been saying this forever, but I want to exercise. It’s partly because I want to get in shape and be physically healthy, partly because I want to improve the look of my body so I can be less insecure about it, and partly because physical exercise helps improve mental health, which is something that I want to work on this year.
  3. This is kind of lame, but I’d like to be more social. I am very introverted and I have a busy schedule because of school, but I want to devote more time to maintaining the amazing friendships I’ve made in the past year, and I think spending more time with friends and less time worrying about school will be good for me.
  4. I want to read more. I’ve barely read anything for fun since I started university, but I have literal piles of unread books on my bookshelves, and I want to actually get around to reading some of them this year. It can be hard to motivate myself to do it, especially because I have to read so much for class that it can sometimes take the fun out of it, but I really want to make an effort this year. Over the winter break, I finally got around to reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and it reinvigorated my love of reading, so I’d like to continue pleasure reading, even if it’s just in the summer when I have more free time.
  5. Lastly, I’d like to write more. I’ve loved writing posts for this blog, and I’d like to continue it for as long as possible. I also want to do some creative writing, which is my true passion but which I have not done for years. I constantly write down potential novel or screenplay ideas, but I never manage to follow through and completely plan them out, let alone write them, so this year I’d like to do some creative writing.

I am looking forward to (hopefully) accomplishing most of my goals this year, as long as I stay motivated. What are some of your goals for 2019? Since I posted this so late (sorry!), have you had any success with those goals so far?

Latest trend: Blush is in this season

Trend alert! So, much to my surprise, and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet but… blush is on trend this season. For those who are blush lovers, and for those who are on the fence, like myself, you just have to take a look at some of the gorgeous pieces available in the Stella & Dot Spring collection.

So, let’s dive in.

First, we have the Chrissie Collar Necklace.

Next, the beautiful Pink Alexandria Chandeliers. While I’m not normally a statement earring kind of girl, I find myself really wanting to give them a shot. Anyone else not normally a statement earring girl?

Okay, the Double V Sweater is absolutely a major favourite this season. It can be paired with just about anything thanks to the neutral colour.

This Yves Wrap Bracelet is definitely on my list. I love a wrap bracelet and it looks really good when paired with these Montague Stretch Bracelets.

And last but certainly not least, the Waverly Petite (Neutral Braided) fold over clutch that doubles as a crossbody purse! What’s not to love there? Plus, bonus…. two looks in one!

Tell me your thoughts, comment below. Are you on the blush bandwagon?

The post Latest trend: Blush is in this season appeared first on Veronica Aarstad.

Portland, Oregon

It’s no secret that Portland is one of America’s most unique and interesting cities to visit, yet it is still often overlooked in favour of larger and more popular American cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Not only is this city visually stunning, it is also famous for its culture, outdoor activities, and incredible food and drink scene. If you’re interested in planning a trip and want to know what to do and what you must see while visiting this wonderful city, keep on reading to hear how we spent our 24 hours in Portland!

After a day of driving we arrived to Portland in the early evening, just in time to visit the world famous Powell’s City of Books and grab a bite to eat. Taking up an entire city block, Powell’s City of Books not only lived up to the expectations I had, but also significantly exceeded them. If you are a book lover, or even just enjoy reading a good book every now and again, you are sure to absolutely love this place. This store is made up of three floors, nine different rooms that are all dedicated to a different genre or type of reading and over 3500 sections. As it was starting to get late we only spent about an hour at this stop on our journey, but it would without a doubt be easy to get lost in the stacks of books for hours upon hours if time allowed it. If you time it right, they also offer live readings and author events that are open for the public to attend to. This is not a bookstore that is comprised not only of new and modern books, it contains both everything from new to used and modern to vintage novels, titles and authors making this the perfect spot for all kinds of book lovers.

After (sadly) leaving Powell’s City of Books, we walked across the street to Sizzle Pie West Portland, a punk rock era inspired pizza place that serves East Coast style slices combined with West Coast ingredients and flavours. Not only is this a great place to grab a slice or two of some really incredible and affordable pizza, but it’s also a great place to hang out with friends and enjoy the fun and unique culture of Portland. This location specifically has a jukebox that is full of great music options and is designed to be a place for everyone to come and enjoy some great food a great atmosphere at any time!

The following morning we got an early start and headed back to the same area that we left off the night before. Our first stop of the day was the world famous Voodoo Donuts which is located a few blocks East from Powell’s City of Books. Upon arriving there was a big line, but don’t be fooled or turned away when you see it, it moves quickly and the Donuts are completely worth the wait. Much like Sizzle Pie, this place is designed and decorated to represent the “weird” culture of Portland and allows visitors to experience an authentic and true feel for the city. In the world of donuts, these ones definitely stand out due to their outrageous, yet amazing colours, flavours and themes but don’t worry, if you’re a fan of classic donuts they do offer many timeless and simple donut options as well. After visiting Voodoo we definitely understood why they are as popular as they are and we both agreed we would definitely be visiting again next time we found ourselves in Portland.

After leaving Voodoo with full stomachs and box full of donuts for later, we walked south down the street for a few blocks to Stumptown Coffee, a very popular and well known cafe that has locations throughout the entire state as well as across the entire country. I consider myself to be somewhat of a coffee snob, so when trying a new roaster or cafe I can be slightly hesitant. Stumptown Coffee is without a doubt one of my favourite coffee shops & roasters that I have ever been to, so much so that I would consider driving down to Seattle (the nearest location to Vancouver) just for a cup of coffee. Equipped with a full espresso bar and a variety of different drip coffees, Stumptown is the perfect place to enjoy any kind of coffee that your heart desires. Along with serving some pretty incredible coffee, the location in Portland’s Old Town also hosts rotating art shows and serves as an amazing spot to catch up with friends, sit down with your laptop and get some work done or simply even do some people watching.

Our next and final stop as we were running out of time was walking thought the downtown core of Portland and enjoying the breathtaking views and unique buildings that make up the city of Portland. Before departing the city we found ourselves at the ACE Hotel where we came across a vintage photo booth that is definitely worth the five dollars for a strip of film inspired photos that serve as an amazing souvenir from the fun and very weird city! If you’re looking for a weekend getaway in a city that has a large variety of different things to offer, Portland is a great place to visit. In my opinion, what makes this city an even better place to visit is the fact that almost everything is within walking distance from one another and if it isn’t, they have a very simple and useful transit system that can be used to get around the city and its surrounding areas! Although we didn’t get to do everything that we wanted to due to time constraints, the road trip down to Portland was in our opinions very worth it! Living in Vancouver makes it easy for us to take a spontaneous and quick trip down south, so we will definitely be making our way back in the near future to check everything else Portland has to offer off of our list.

Talking to Strangers – Can – Make you Happy.

There are few things I find more frightening than being unlikable. That may sound insecure, yes, but I prefer not to skirt around the truth. Being ‘liked,
‘ whatever that might mean, reaps a bounty of benefits from good eye contact to free cigarettes to job promotions.

When it comes to meeting strangers, likability values a good first impression, so whether I’m at a club or on the bus, I do everything in my power to facilitate positive social experiences. This tends to happen passively when I’m relaxed, but when I’m stressed, I tend to waste time concerned about whether  or not I’ve agitated people.

Recently, I have been more stressed in public, so my interactions with strangers has been limited to stressing out about them in my imagination. However, over the last week, after reading a James Hamblin piece titled “How to Talk to Strangers,” I’ve been determined to have conversations with humans who I’ve never met. As of now (Sunday afternoon), I’ve had two.  

The first didn’t go well. It was with a new classmate, whose name I had forgotten during our round table introductions a half hour earlier. To summarize, we traded names, “how are you’s?”, and he walked away. I was bitter about his lack of tact, and re-entered our classroom, introverted and annoyed. This felt like a lesson on why one should not talk to strangers. I had tried and failed.

The second went perfectly. It was exemplary of my bright, optimistic social ability. While looking for a place to sit in a crowded bar, I greeted a stranger, we traded “how are you’s,” I gave an honest, witty answer, we introduced ourselves, and the rest of the conversation was silk. We were at a drag show, so at least 95% of the people at the venue shared a common cultural interest and, such similarities make for easy bonding. I formed a sense of accomplishment after that, but for no simple reason I think.

In his article, Hamblin asserts that “public-health research has shown improved moods among commuters who chat on the subway, and happiness and creativity among people who talk to strangers.” However, I believe it is an oversimplification to say that stranger chatting causes happiness. I have spent many happy hours engrossed in a book on transit, and being interrupted by a chatty commuter would probably have spoiled that mood. Chatting isn’t for everyone, or for every moment, so don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t strike up conversation with strangers. Occasionally, stranger chatting can be satisfying, sure, and I have a theory as to why.

As people grow and develop, I believe they reinforce certain behaviours and habits, physically and emotionally, that can be described as ‘needs’ when one grows older. I like to think that I have a need for intimacy, and there are many ways to satisfy that. Feeling intimately connected with a book is one way, and meeting a friendly new human is another. It would be selfish to assume that everyone has the same needs as I do, though, so I heed you, dear reader, to be careful with Hamblin’s article. Do not assume that socialization creates happiness, but be open to it having that influence.

Routes and Stems

With Law School being the penultimate goal, for which I am certain there are many sub goals en route, I had, and continue to establish somewhat of a plan and lifestyle that I feel is best suited to helping me get there, or here. Understanding the competitiveness of Law, I have had to examine my life and how my choices, both now and in the past, contribute to how I can achieve a worthy application, and in doing so I’ve thought about changing my degree, hobbies and priorities.

Business is intriguing. The world operates in economics, financial transactions and the movement of goods. I’m not necessarily saying that these capitalist activities are great, but regardless of philosophical grounds, it’s what moves the globe – not always in the ethical direction, but sometimes. Therefore, studying it holds value; why not seek greater understanding for how systems operate and what influences political, environmental, cultural and international decisions? Business is something that will be beneficial to my future, it will teach me the processes and practices that are a part of everyday life. However, business is not easy, as it’s highly competitive and representative of courses that are curved either in your favour or against. The content is engaging and I truly enjoy the material, but in seeking good grades, great grades, I’ve contemplated switching into a different program for the potential of earning a high GPA. At the same time however, I believe my grades will be a reflection of my interests, and as such, I have decided to remain in the Beedie School of Business, as it’s has been intriguing thus far and will hopefully provide numerous opportunities beyond a degree program that I lack interest in. I don’t come from a business background and really don’t even know what the term means to be honest, but it’s been fun and enjoyable thus far, which for me, equates to a greater ability to achieve and reach my ultimate goal of enrolling in a Law program. I also just really like the guilty pleasure of watching Shark Tank.

Since football has been shelved, it feels as though I have been afforded copious amounts of time. My days are no longer full of practices, physiotherapy, ice baths, stretching, team meetings and studying playbooks. School is demanding and the lists of readings and assignments are lengthy and often intimidating, but they don’t typically fill each and every awakened hour. I needed, and continue to desire hobbies. Let me remind you, football was life since an early age, with the majority of my time being spent playing or thinking about it, so now here I am, feeling rather naked, having to determine what to do with the life before my life begins. I understand that living in the moment is valuable and that focusing on the present and now is healthy, but it’s difficult when you have goals, and even more challenging when you don’t really know what to do with yourself in the meantime. The gym, Netflix, snowboarding, badminton, obscene amounts of caffeine, paddling, hiking, gaming, family and friends are now the norm, and while I appreciate each undoubtedly, they haven’t altogether filled the void. Why? In fairness, I don’t really know, and even more, I’m not sure I want or need to, but were I a gambling man (also a new hobby), I’d say that I’m in a period of buyers remorse; I’ve made the decision, and while I’m happy with the product and actually know I need it, I also need time to include it in my life and establish an identity wherein these hobbies and people fit. In business terms, I’m rebranding, I’m using what I have to make a change, take a different route and use interests to supplement what’s missing.

Prioritizing is self-inflicted pain. I’m under constant duress in determining what needs to be done, when it needs to be completed and of course, the real silent killer, how to avoid procrastination to do it. I understand I need balance, but it’s a classic chicken or the egg scenario; do you do something fun to feel good before studying, or study and reward yourself with something exciting thereafter? Within this, where do friends, family, school and self fall within the list of priorities, and to what extent does one trump the other in given situations or times that demand your attention. In meeting my goal of becoming a lawyer, how do these priorities interact to achieve this, and when does abandoning some in favour of others have some sort of cascading impact on this goal? Philosophy aside, shit happens, and perhaps it’s not the priorities or their arrangement that matter, but the ability to be flexible and appreciate their role in your life that actually equate to your eventual success. Perhaps I’m treading too much non-empirical theory, but things really do have a tendency to level and recalibrate to what you need; something of everything important to you. I need to prioritize, that’s no mystifying secret, but there are times where working towards law will demand certain actions and others where I can relax and even enjoy this, one of my favourite hobbies.

So, here I am. Figuring things out, like everyone else, and although I’d rather be at the end of the path to law, I should appreciate the ways in which I hope and superstitiously act to get there. For now, I think I need to know myself, the one I made these decisions for in the first place, because at the end of day, I’m left with me and only me to do what needs to be done.

I don’t really want to talk about football anymore.

This is what I said to myself when thinking about what I would be blogging about. What does this mean? What does it show, and how does it reflect the process of being rerouted? If this change were a 12-step process, would this be the final one where I moved past an addiction, or is this the stage where acceptance has enlightened a sense of awareness that now, I am not a football player, I’m just me. So, today I want to focus on the future, not the past, as well as shift from goals to well-being, something that I feel is necessary when having strong aspirations for myself. For me the ultimate in well-being is summer…

This Summer, I also plan to travel to the Balkan region of Europe with a friend for about 3 weeks, namely Hungary and Croatia. At this time in my life, I feel that I need an adventure, and for me, immersing into a new culture with relative independence is not only exciting, but also somewhat challenging. In seeking balance, which is something I have made a priority, I feel that backpacking in a foreign country will provide the penultimate growth. I want to avoid the cliche of ‘finding myself abroad,’ but in all reality, it is the surrealness and element of the unknown away from home that is alluring, which will hopefully enable a sense of looking within and learning more about myself, my fears and my strengths. I want to wander and get lost in an area I have never stepped foot and I wish to rely on myself; communicating, exploring, being resourceful, organization and of course, just not knowing anything at all. There are so many inspirational blogs available online about travel. For instance, check out my classmate Magali’s blog here!

I also plan to explore more of the Lower Mainland region, particularly the mountains and of course, some nearby beaches. I was always a winter person, but last summer, I took advantage of the weather and found myself paddleboarding, relaxing, hiking (see the regions best hikes here) and swimming in some nearby lakes I was yet to visit. Since this time, I have come to truly appreciate where we live and feel that the region has so much to offer.

My course enrollment date for the summer is next week and I want to enroll for a couple online courses so that I can still be lying on the beach and not in class. It’s frustrating that no courses that are required for my degree are offered during the summer through Distance Education, therefore, I’ll take electives outside of my degree to continue making strides towards accumulating the credits required to graduate. I understand that taking courses may not seem entirely relaxing, but for me, making progress does provide an element of stress relief and knowing that I am accomplishing tasks that are required for me to continue moving towards the future.

Study Habits

Back in September, when I first started at Simon Fraser University, I knew that I wanted to do well in school and had a growing passion to succeed. However, coming from Secondary School, with relatively average study habits and more-so an attitude of just getting by through attending class and remembering what I could for a test, I struggled with the transition (apparently I’m not alone…) Now, after learning more about how to increase my odds at being successful, I’ve found that knowing what to prioritize, taking a break and managing your time are fundamental to developing better study habits and subsequently, better grades. In turn, this truly makes one’s University experience more enjoyable and of course, rewarding. You can compare these ideas to a great blog post here by Daniel Wong.

Every month, week and day, I feel as if there is something I need to complete in one of my classes. Whether it’s a small business quiz or a research paper due a month from now, there is always something to be working on. My advice to someone who feels as if they struggle with this or is going to be entering University, is to prioritize what is most important. Inc. has a good article on this, which you can read here. Sure, it may sound simple, but a lot of time I hear my friends say how they started studying for a midterm a night before, or how they wrote a paper in a day to meet a deadline. I am not criticizing these people because I’m guilty of the same mistakes, but rather, I’m envious of their ability to accomplish so much in so little time, as for me, it just isn’t effective. So when I say prioritize what is most important, I weigh assignments by due date, their weight in overall grade of class, and ease of assignment. Although the idea of prioritizing may seem simple or obvious, prioritizing combined with managing your time has proven to be very important for managing stress and academics. Further, I’ve noticed that making time for school actually provides time for things outside of academics, as I know how much and how frequently I can allocate time to certain things or events.

Taking a break is the easiest part of studying, yet so many people neglect the idea of relaxing or putting down the books once they’ve started. I have definitely had my moments of feeling like I’ve over procrastinated and am in too deep to take a break, however, it is still valuable to stop and relax. Much like building muscle at the gym, you need to rest for strength, and in looking for gains, you have to pamper yourself sometimes. This doesn’t mean to study for an hour then go out and hang with friends until later that night, but rather to have balance between studying and talking to a friend or watching a short TV show. Moderation is key, but to make this schedule work, periods of studying should be focused, void of distractions and lengthy enough to make them worthwhile.  

Finally, in order to be successful, one should work on managing their time. Time management is probably the first piece of advice any student would give to another. That feeling of procrastination does not come into effect if you can manage and make the most of your time. For me, I find the best way to manage my time is to visually see it. I use a whiteboard calendar from Staples to see my assignments. I find this helps because if I know that I have a midterm in two weeks, I am going to give myself the most days possible to study by efficiently and effectively completing the assignments within the time before a midterm. Here are 17 Time Management Strategies worth checking out. Once again, this may seem very simple, but there is no worse feeling than walking out of an exam and thinking that you could have studied better. It’s a horrible regret. Want some research on how horrible regret is? Read this (2016) article in Frontiers Psychology. You’ll regret it.

These are just some study habits and tips that I feel have modestly worked for me, but that said, I am certainly learning to improve in all aspects of what I suggest. I want to avoid preaching the correct way to study because by no means am I a perfect student, but what works for me could do the same for someone else. I’m not that guy who scores the highest on an exam, or who thinks they know it all, but maybe you can relate to someone like me, and if needing a reminder or simple suggestion to help achieve better grades, try what’s worked for me. With all that being said, I need to wrap this post up for the week because I need to begin studying for my Economics final because I did horrible on the midterm.

Journaling is my Cathartic Release

Without spoiling any details, or verbosely repeating myself in the essay we have due next week, this week’s blog post will focus on how journaling, writing, and being more involved in the blogosphere has helped throughout the transition I’ve been discussing this entire semester.

I’ve always enjoyed writing stories and developing creative pieces, however writing in an argumentative style or expressive logical reasoning would, if I can suggest, be my strong suit. Moreover, I would attest that talking face to face with someone is far easier and more enjoyable for me than having to write something- let alone share it online… Whether it’s an argument on an essay topic or telling someone how my day was, I would prefer to do so verbally. Yet, ever since the idea of leaving football behind and starting this new journey, I’ve found it hard to precisely express how I’ve felt and I’d get tired of people repeatedly asking me why I quit. ReRouted has given me an outlet to express myself in a way that I didn’t know was really possible. As such, this post explores the cathartic release made possible through blogging/journaling.

Being more involved in blogging has shown me that although my situation may feel unique to me as I experience it in a personal silo, many others have shared experiences of retiring from sports and leaving something that you have loved, known and been comfortable with for so long. In this, or this, and especially this, you can find articles and posts from others who also report on and/or share this feeling. Likewise, here is a small sampling of useful sources to cope with mental health issues that are both related and indirectly related to the experiences one may encounter through any change they face.

Mental Health Resource Mashable

HealthLink BC

Kelty Mental Health

National Institute of Mental Health

Simon Fraser University Counselling

University of British Columbia Counselling

Mental Health Canada

Mental health is not new, but in the short time I’ve been able to understand what it is exactly, there does seem to be a growing body of work, services and research directed at bringing awareness to it. While I attempt to be mindful of how I feel, I’m not always that introspective; however, throughout the process of blogging, I do feel as though I have brought forth my voice into writing. I know that I did enter this blog with the purpose of detailing my experience in facing change, and with that there would potentially be some emotional issues that required confrontation, but the extent to which I have utilized this space to vent has been entirely cathartic and has highlighted some important  aspects of my past, present and future that are uplifting, motivation and worthy of reflection. ReRouted has been a sacred space for me to develop, document and instill a sense of passion for myself, but also for anyone else who may have interest in doing the same. It has been a place to bleed my questions, concerns and dreams, while also providing countless opportunities to learn new skills, preoccupy myself with tasks and be enthralled with artistic elements that normally wouldn’t be so interesting to me.

All in all, I believe I have given a lot in terms of effort through weekly posts and assignments, but ReRouted has offered me just as much in serving as a mic for a voice that was once not ready to speak, particularly in the context to which I am writing about; me. Next week marks the final post for this course, so stay tuned for some further reflections, questions and insights, and regardless of it marking the end of a blog guided by a university course, the process will unfold published or not…

The End of Posiel…

As we come to an end in the semester, so do our process posts, mini-assignments and other Posiel content. ReRouted has given me much more than a letter grade or place to vent about what was once thought to be an identity crisis. In looking forward, there are several things I’ve learned from this process to wherever it is I end up.

  • Blogging is cathartic
  • Publishing is a big part of our current society
  • Guest speakers provide opportunities to learn practical information that is really interesting and engaging
  • Blogging is relatively easy to do… I wish I did it earlier
  • WordPress is simple, but when trying to design a particular aesthetic, it can be frustrating
  • The best way to learn about yourself is to put yourself out there
  • Ellen is a great TA
  • Publishing is literally everywhere
  • I actually enjoy seeing my writing in a public space and take some pride in it
  • The world has changed more rapidly than I had thought
  • Weekly tasks make learning easier
  • Journaling is incredibly productive and worthwhile
  • I am more passionate about democracy than I originally believed

This list is obviously not exhaustive; there are so many things that could be added, as well as gleaned from this course. In forging ahead, especially into the blogosphere, I would like to take some of what I’ve learned and apply it to pursuits, interests and passions.

Take a look at the new Spring line

It’s here! The newest collection from Stella & Dot was launched a few days ago and the response has been crazy which is super exciting! Today, I’ll show you some of the most popular items of the collection, surprisingly most of them are tops.

My samples are on their way but let me know if you’d like to see anything or have any questions.

Crush It Backpack

This black quilted backpack features a zipper pocket inside, a shoe compartment at the bottom, a cell phone zip pocket on the back side exterior and… get ready for this…. yoga mat straps! Perfect for going to work, the gym or yoga class.

While it’s on the more expensive side, if this is a piece you’re dying to have, why not host a style session and get the backpack for free! Contact me.

The Crush It Backpack
The Crush It Backpack – Black Quilted

Stone Rebel Pendent

This is a new take on one of my favourite necklaces. It’s versatile, there are two ways to wear it. Gold on one side, calcite stone on the other. Also comes in rose gold and larvikite stone.

If you’re not a fan of the stone look, the original Rebel Pendant is still available in gold, rose gold and silver.

Stone Rebel Pendant – Gold

Erika Long Sleeve Top

This beauty has a V-neck, faux-wrap look and is perfect for layering your favourite necklaces. It comes in black and white and looks great with jeans.

Erika Long Sleeve Shirt – Black
Pictured with the Rose Gold Stone Rebel Pendant
Erika Long Sleeve Shirt – White
Pictured with the Amour Disc Pendant

The Zip Pullover

The bright colour of this Zip Pullover is just in time for spring and it’s definitely a bold choice. Throw it on with some leggings and pair it with the 3-in-1 Francis Lariat Necklace.

If you’re not a fan of the bright colour, there are three others available: camo, black and burgundy.

The Zip Pullover – Cobalt

Ren Slouchy Knit Top

The ever popular Ren Slouchy Knit Top now comes in navy and tomato red! Choose to do the one-shoulder look or not and it looks great with a layered or pendant necklace.

Ren Slouchy Knit Top – Tomato Red
Ren Slouchy Knit Top – Navy

You can see more pieces, bags and accessories on my Stella & Dot website at any time. And feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

The post Take a look at the new Spring line appeared first on Veronica Aarstad.

Solo Trip to Byron Bay and Sydney

June 22-28, 2017

Students who went on exchange will tell you about the exciting, Instagram-worthy life they lived and as true as this is, there are also others who struggled with belonging among strangers in a foreign land. That was me.

During my first few weeks in Australia, being alone and lonely were often synonymous to me. Since I did not live in on-campus residence or was interested in parties, I often worried about making friends. My worries slowly faded as I developed newfound friendships and integrated into my new home, but this question continued to linger in my mind: what does it mean to be alone but not lonely? People often associate being alone with negative connotations, but does being alone have to equate to loneliness? I found the answer to my question when I spontaneously went on a solo trip to Byron Bay and Sydney after my semester at Monash University finished (all too quickly).

I had spent three days in Gold Coast with a friend prior to my solo trips. When my friend had to leave on the fourth morning, I had the decision of either returning to Melbourne with her or to continue traveling on my own. The idea of solo traveling has always intimidated me, but because I was keen to explore more of the Queensland I had fallen in love with, I stayed behind. I booked for a spot on the express shuttle bus to Byron Bay and took a one-way trip there, planning to hop on the Greyhound that evening to get to Sydney by morning.

When I arrived in Byron Bay, I was blown away by its beauty! The beach seemed to be an endless stretch of sand caressed by the ocean waves over and over again. Numerous surfers dotted the vast ocean, eagerly waiting for the next best wave. I hiked along the Cape Byron Walking Track, a gorgeous coastline with spectacular views every step of the way: the Julian Rocks, Wategos Beach, and the most easterly point of the Australia mainland with an incredible lookout point across an infinite of sparkling blue. Looking beyond the horizon, it felt as if I had reached the ends of the earth. Up on the hill stood the Cape Byron Lighthouse, a historical site with a maritime museum overlooking the Pacific Ocean on one side and the landscape of Byron Bay on the other. I paused to soak in the scenery around me. Throughout the whole day, I had been alone, but not for a moment had I felt lonely; instead, I had felt free – free to be conscious of my senses, the thoughts inside my head, and my emotions. Hiking back down, my heart was brimming with joy as I skipped across the beach, captivated by the hues of gold and orange that streaked the early evening sky. I was in paradise.

The night bus to Sydney was full of young backpackers and travelers. The ride was thirteen hours long and arrived at the silent hour of five in the morning. As I crossed the intersection to get to my hostel, the flaming orange and pink sky gradually dissolved and lighter blues replaced it. The city was waking up from its quiet slumber and transforming into a bustling hub. That afternoon, I visited Darling Harbour, the Harbour Bridge, and Sydney Opera House. My heart was fluttering in anticipation as photographs from travel brochures became a present reality in front of my eyes. I bumped into two classmates that night and we became friends through dinner at Chat Thai. The next morning, I took a two-hour train ride to Blue Mountains National Park in Katoomba, where I looked out from Echo Point Lookout to the grand view of the Three Sisters and hiked the Federal Pass via the Giant Stairway. Hiking alone in the hushed woods was both magical and terrifying. On the one hand, it was magical listening to the sweet calls of the Lyrebird accompany the rhythm of my breathing; on the other hand, my senses heightened due to my fear of the silence and I learned to trust them. I was lucky to be in Katoomba that day, for it was their Winter Magic Festival. Numerous street stalls selling food, trinkets, and other possessions crowded the roads. I stood in the middle of a vacant road eating a Souvlaki wrap, and as I watched fireworks illuminate the night sky, I suddenly felt a wave of contentment even amid the emptiness. On the third day, I walked the stunning Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk. For tourists and locals alike, the path is popular for its dramatic scenery, water activities, and eateries along the way. Being on my own, I was able to admire the views with awe and capture snapshots of them around every corner at my own pace. I had sushi doughnuts fresh from the Sydney Fish Market the next day with a girl also visiting from Melbourne I had come to befriend at my hostel. We later trekked the lengthy but worthwhile Spit Bridge to Manly Beach walk, a hidden gem among the locals with harbourside and Sydney skyline views. As we walked through beautiful bushland, we bonded through good conversation and laughter. We were no longer strangers by the end of the hike. I took the ferry back to Circular Quay after dinner and while gazing at the Sydney Opera House for the last time by the waters, I still could not believe that I was where I was in that moment. On the last day, I explored The Rocks, a neighbourhood of cafes in laneways, and signed up for a surf lesson with a group at Bondi Beach. Learning how to surf was exciting. I quickly learned the amount of strength it takes to surf and its demand for courage and determination became a lesson in itself. As I boarded the plane back to Melbourne that night, I whispered goodbye to Sydney as the plane took off. The orbs of street lights grew smaller and smaller until they became glistening specks.

My solo trips to Byron Bay and Sydney will always be a valuable memory. Traveling alone offered experiences that traveling with others may not have. It was exciting, freeing, and in exchange for stepping out of my comfort zone, I gained friendships with strangers, a renewed appreciation for the little things, a better understanding of who I am, and fresh perspectives on life and living. Most of all, I learned to be comfortable in my own skin and with my own thoughts. I became more conscious in how I was experiencing God too. For the times when I craved company, panicked to beat the clock, or was frightened of danger, God was my most loyal companion. So, to the ones traveling alone, preparing to travel alone, or scared to be alone, you are not lonely. There is a God up there who is always with You and you yourself who is faithfully waiting for you to love and understand them.