Tag Archives: lifestyle

In Anticipation…

Well, here we are again. I honestly never thought I would get to experience life on campus again before I graduated. To say that I am excited to be back would be an understatement. That said, after taking the summer off it’s definitely been a little bit tough to get back into the swing of things academically. I’m already a bit behind in my work as I’m still working 4 days a week and playing soccer. I’ve also fallen off my gym grind which doesn’t make me the happiest.

So, what is this semester going to look like? Honestly, I don’t know. Rumour has it we might have to go online again and that is very disappointing to say. Online learning is not my favourite and being back in person, going to all my favourite food spots, and even driving up the mountain playing my fall playlist through the fog and rain is something I have missed dearly.

My goals for this semester? Simply to get through it. I think that is a very realistic goal considering everything. I have also been considering the possibility of continuing my studies in grad school and working towards writing a thesis. I will definitely work hard this semester for good grades, but I just hope I get through it with some fragment of mental health. As for my goal financially, I hope to be able to continue to work my part time job (will be lowering my hours ASAP) and pay for my car, meals, other bills, etc. My goals physically are to score a goal in my soccer league! I just recently started playing soccer again after taking a few years off. I played for a huge chunk of my life and I’m excited to get back into it. Another goal I have is to continue to make time for the gym. It has been a struggle to find time to get in the gym between work and school, but it is still something that brings me an immense amount of joy. I want this semester to be a time that I fuel my body and get stronger every day. Mentally and physically.

Moral of the story, get vaccinated and do the things that make you happy!

Here’s to a great semester,

xx Savannah

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

*CUE MICHAEL SCOTT* Okay It’s Happening, Everyone Stay Calm

Ok so it’s nothing crazy, I just thought I should explain myself. I’ve grown a lot in the last year. I started this blog almost a year ago and it has come a very long way. I’ve realized that my interests have shifted and the things I am passionate about have changed slightly. Now my blog remains mostly the same, however there are certain topics that I talk about much more frequently than I used to.

In the last few months, fitness has come to the forefront of my passions. I spend the majority of my free time in the gym, and I love talking about it with my friends and family. I have chosen to split my focus from “Health & Wellness” to Wellness, where I will focus more on mental health, healthy eating, mindfulness, emotional intuition, and other tools like those. And Fitness, where I will talk all about the in’s and out’s of the fitness world that I’ve come across, any tips and tricks I might have learned, and just knowledge that I have gained and hope to share. Next off, being in the middle of a Panasonic, a Panago Pizza, a Pandemonium, a Pandemic, if you will, the topic of travel is kind of off the table. I am also a starving student, so I don’t think that travel is something that’s in the cards for me any time soon. Thus, travel was removed from my site. I still have the blog posts up on my site, but it’s not something I want to highlight. I’ve also dipped my toes into the world of fashion (uninvited might I add). But still, these are the things that I am passionate about, and I want this blog to be a genuine reflection of me. Who I am and what I love.

My goal with this blog is to inspire others the way I have been inspired, through authenticity and learning to appreciate the little things in life.

And the beautiful thing about life is that the things that inspire you might and probably will change and growing with them is so important.

I hope you stick around through these changes, and that I can continue to inspire you.

xx Savannah

Photo by Thirdman from Pexels

I’m Back In Business, Baby

As you may or may not recall, back in December I made the fateful decision to dye my hair brown. It turned out more ginger than I was anticipating and it cost me an arm and a leg. So now I’m broke and stuck with a hair colour that I hate. Not to mention my friends and family have been calling me Annie for the last 5 months. Recently, I had managed to save enough to return my hair to her original glory. Cue “Born to Be Blonde” by Jesse.

I was born a blonde and it remained that way until I hit puberty. Since I was about 15 I’ve been getting highlights to try to keep some sense of who I think I am. I MEAN LOOK AT THOSE BLONDE LOCKS. She was a real cutie.

Anyways, here is a snippet from a TikTok where I filmed the transformation. Moral of the story, blonde Savannah is back and honestly, she never should have left.

xx Savannah

Cover: screengrab from my pinterest photos are tagged

2020, a year of God’s sovereignty

2020 was a year of unexpected happenings. I had envisioned a comfortable year, but what transpired were events that could not be foreseen: a global pandemic hit, the dynamics of some of my friendships shifted, and studying to become a teacher challenged and stretched me in ways I did not anticipate. I struggled with an ocean of emotions and wrestled with a million questions throughout this period of time. However, looking back now, each of these events revealed to me a new thought that collectively pointed me towards God’s character.

When COVID-19 hit in March, not only were social interactions suddenly prohibited due to lockdown, but it affected the way we knew life. Routines had to be adapted to adhere to safety guidelines and downtimes were either spent quietly at home or out in the natural world rather than in regular social spaces. It was as if the world took a pause. The standstill was suffocating at times, but it forced humanity to rest. As a result, these questions came to my mind: What is the purpose to life if busyness is removed from our lives? What are humans without productivity? Prior to the pandemic, I had always been “too busy” to spend time with God. Distractions or a feeling of hurriedness would usually deceive me to move onto the next thing on my to-do list, but the sudden abundance of time allowed me to ruminate. Finally, I was brought to the conclusion what the pandemic only emphasized: God is the purpose to life and humans are worthy not because of productivity, but simply because we are created and loved by Him.

While the state of the physical world was strange, my personal world had also turned upside down. What I thought would remain constant changed, and what I worried would change stayed the same. I read the book of Job to gain insight on how Job dealt with the turn of events in his life. I did not find the answer to my questions by the end of the book, but I did learn three things: nothing that happens goes unfiltered through God’s hands; it’s okay to not know the answers; and the process is the point, as most growth tends to happen during the process of our suffering. To this day, I still do not understand what purpose the shift in my friendships served. I can only hold onto the assurance that they did not occur by mistake.

The third way in which 2020 took me by surprise were the obstacles that I faced during my short and long practicums. I felt the most hopeless I had ever felt, questioned my future, saw how weak my faith is amid trouble, and learned more about who I am through my reactions to situations. I recognized how prideful, selfish, ignorant, and ugly my core self can be. It was an eye-opening and frightening experience. Had I never noticed? As being my own saviour was impossible, God came to be mine. In my disfigured and broken state, He came to my rescue by remolding me. I had to start by changing my ways of thinking, then my habits, which then led to my actions. The process was difficult, but my God had the ability to transform me with His strength.

2020 was undoubtedly one of the most difficult years; yet, it is one which I strongly believe displays God’s sovereignty. No one could have predicted or controlled the events in 2020 nor will anyone be able to do so for 2021. However, this only makes more evident the supreme power that God possesses. We were never in control of our lives anyways. He is the King who holds the scepter for now and for forever and we are to be brought low in humility.

Romans 5:3-5 and Isaiah 55:8-9 are verses that became a running theme for me this year. The former one reminds me that none of our sufferings go to waste, while the latter one reminds me of my place in relation to God’s:

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”– Romans 5:3-5

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”– Isaiah 55:8-9

Phil Wickham’s song, Battle Belongs, is also my song of the year. The battles I faced this year which had seemed impossible to overcome were only overcame because of the One who was fighting them for me. Instead of doing more in my own efforts, I learned to “fight on my knees.”

Despite the challenges of 2020, there were still many highlights that marked my year. I got to spend much time with my family, outdoors on my patio, writing, exploring the beauty of Vancouver, eating homecooked meals, and building both new and old friendships. I am grateful for the health and safety of my friends and family members and for the lessons I learned through God’s grace.

2020 marks the end of a chapter for me. I have completed my years as a student and am about to embark on a new career. In addition, hearing about my friends’ engagement plans, and seeing some of them get engaged and married has been been hitting me how fast the process of growing up is. I feel a mixture of curiosity, excitement, uncertainty, and nostalgia starting 2021 – curiosity for what is to come, excitement for the stories yet to unfold, uncertainty for the obstacles I will face, and nostalgia for the days I am leaving behind… Suddenly, life feels like it is moving very fast.

I hope that I will carry with me the reminders that direct me towards God’s sovereignty while I move into the unknowns of this year with courage, resilience, and discipline. May 2021 be a year of fresh beginnings, growth despite discomfort, truth in love, and gratitude.


It is so important to stay active and keep your heart healthy especially during such tough times living in a pandemic. Exercise boosts your mood and overall health! Here is a quick workout routine to get your body moving and feeling strong!

You’ll need:

  • Water (very important)
  • A towel (optional, I usually let the sweat just drip!)
  • Energy (make sure you are well fuelled)
  • Very little space (easy to do anywhere!)

The Routine:

  • 30 Seconds Jump Squats
  • 30 Seconds High Knees
  • 30 Seconds Jumping Jacks
  • 30 Seconds Touch Drop Squats
  • 30 Seconds Squat Twists
  • 30 Seconds Squat pulse
  • 30 Second REST

Repeat 3 Times

Paris Outfit Guide

Some of you may know from my Instagram but I was just in Paris with some of my friends. I was super stressed out before I went because I wanted to make sure I had the perfect Paris outfits. I didn’t want to look like a slob while everyone else looked like they could walk in Paris Fashion Week if they needed to. I was there for 10 days but I didn’t get a picture in every outfit, so I will be showing you a few that I managed to capture!

Outfit 1: Versailles

Shirt: Aritzia

Blazer: Aritzia

Pants: Agolde

Belt: Gucci

Shoes: Dr Martens

Purse: Gucci

Outfit 2: Day at the gardens

Sweater: Autumn Cashmere

Coat: Aritzia

Pants: Aritzia

Purse: Gucci

Outfit 3: Shopping

Sweatshirt: Acne Studios

Pants: Aritzia

Shoes: Air Force 1

Purse: Givenchy

Outfit 4: Mirror pics

Top: Aritzia

Pants: Agolde

These were some of the outfits that I wore in Paris! Keep an eye out for a “What to do in Paris” post. I had so much fun on this trip and am so grateful to experience this with my friends!



Brunch places in Vancouver.

Brunch is a very popular weekend tradition and there are plenty of options in Vancouver. Many Vancouverites love having brunch right before they go hiking and enjoying outdoors.

1.Cafe Medina

This place is famous for its Belgian waffles. They also have many savory Mediterranean dishes. It’s always very lively and busy there. Anyone can find something they like!

2. Boulevard

A fancy, fine-dining style brunch that tastes as good as it looks. Stuffed Nutella French toast is a must-try!

3. Jam Cafe

Jam Cafe is famous for its pancakes. They also offer various bowls and gravy coops, that taste amazing. The lineup to get in might be crazy, but it’s worth it!

4. Earls Ambleside Beach

Earls Ambleside Beach, located in West Vancouver at Ambleside Beach. Designed in a ‘West Coast meets California Beach’ style-a perfect location to enjoy the brunch while enjoying an ocean view. They also offer a brunch happy hour!

5. Catch 122

It’s designed with brick interiors and located in Gastown. Has so many great brunch options. If you need a filling brunch but still want it to be classy, then this is a great place to brunch with your friends.

Spring/ Summer’19 accessory

In the warm season, accessories are the key part of any outfit. There are no girls who would not like accessories. They easily complement any look and make it more catchy and stylish. An accessory can be minimalistic and modest, and sometimes you can choose something that is bright and emphasizes attention. When selecting accessories, you need to rely only on your own taste and style.

Large and expressive earrings are the most practical accessory for the warm season. The most popular are earrings in geometric shapes and earrings with pearls, large beads, and other details.

Beads, chains, and necklaces are other essentials for summer and spring. They fit perfectly into any style- classic, office, ethnic, as well as everyday. Bright, contrasting beads in bold colors, of various sizes and materials, are most popular. Also, the warm range of colors such as red, coral or orange, and pastel colors are great for the warm season. And of course black and white colors remain in fashion.

Headbands and straw hats are also the perfect accessory for the warm season. There are so many different options of hats in a market that anyone can find the one the one that perfectly fits them. Headbands are the most elegant and sophisticated accessories. They can be richly decorated with stones and glass beads or more practical options for every day will be voluminous printed nylon rims.

My Top 3 Influencers For Style Inspo

Do you ever wake up feeling some type of way, wanting to look good but have no clue where to start?

Well, if that’s ever the case, I’ve got you covered! These are my top 3 influencers to turn to whenever I’m feeling fashionably uninspired.

#1. Kicki Yang Zhang



This Berlin-based Chinese girl is changing the game of fashion and style. She is fearless, fun, colourful, and doesn’t take herself too seriously. On top of that, her Instagram feed is so on point. Everything is so visually pleasing, and colour coordinated. So if you ever feel like you don’t have enough colour or art in your life, just check out Kicki’s Insta!






#2. Yourgirlneens

Yourgirlneens’ full name is Nina Huynh. She was raised in San Francisco, and now li
ves in Vancouver, BC. The first unforgettable thing about her is her beautiful pink hair. On top of that, her style is ON POINT! Puffy jacket, bucket hat, thrift items, she could pull of anything! Nina’s instagram includes mostly her styles and things that she is working on. But if you want to really get to know Nina, you got to check out her youtube channel. It has lots of different content, from lookbooks, to Q&As, to Vl
ogs, to challenges, and more! Her video editing skills is amazing, and so is her boyfriend!


#3. Song of Style


Aimee Song is one of the most elegant ladies out there. She is classy, flawless, and living her best life. Whether you are going on a date, or attending a gala, or even packing for Europe, whatever it is that you are planing on doing for the day, you could find some inspirations from scrolling through her Insta feed. Aimee was actually one of the first fashion influencers that I’ve ever followed. I remember how proud I was about her Asian heritage, and how I felt i finally had someone more relatable to myself to be inspired from. She also has a fashion lifestyle blog if you are looking for more of her and her style!




Who are your favourite fashion influencers? Comment below and share with me!!

The post My Top 3 Influencers For Style Inspo appeared first on Heyy, Jessie.

Dr Martens.

They say fashion comes full circle and it’s entirely correct about Dr. Martens boots. Dr. Martens shoes allow perfectly to adopt to every individual’s style. Their outstanding durability and comfort make them ideal for street fashion.

Dr. Martens began life in the 1960s originally as a modest work-wear boot that was even sold as a gardening shoe at one stage. Going from a workwear item to a fashion staple, the practical shoes have become a regular sight during fashion week. These iconic boots have been a wardrobe staple for decades, and I don’t think it will change anytime soon.

They are perfect for any weather- you can wear them when it’s snowing, raining, or sunny. They perfectly complete any outfit. There are so many different styles of Dr. Martens you can get- platforms, chelsea, oxfords, ankle boots, and many others. You can wear them with jeans, leather pants, skirts, dresses- they complete every outfit and make everything look so much more interesting and unique. I am sure that the popularity of Dr. Martens will never fade.

15 Things that I am grateful for

  1. I am grateful that I am breathing.
  2. I am grateful that I have a healthy and functional body that allows me to do whatever I’d like.
  3. I am grateful that I have a roof over my head.
  4. I am grateful for dance and everything that it has helped bring into my life.
  5. I am grateful for my mother and everything that she has done for me.
  6. I am grateful that I have enough money in my bank account to never starve.
  7. I am grateful that I have friends in my life that support and understand me no matter what. They make me feel belonged and loved. (If you know you know)
  8. I am grateful that I am living my dance dream at the moment. Being a part of the 247 fam has brought me nothing but joy.
  9. I am grateful for all the resources that I have access to for my learning in life.
  10. I am grateful for the city I live in, a place full of opportunities. I am exactly where I need to be at this moment.
  11. I am grateful for the sunshinewalking into the sunshine
  12. I am grateful for all the ‘mistakes’ ‘failures’ that I’ve ever encountered, and how they have led me to where and who I am today.
  13. I am grateful for every connection that I’ve made living this life, even the ones that I no longer hold onto. Every single person has contributed to my growth in some sharp or form.
  14. I am grateful that I am overwhelmed at the moment. That means I am being challenged, and I am powerful enough to push through. Because the universe only hands me what I can handle.
  15. I am grateful for this moment, right now.

The post 15 Things that I am grateful for appeared first on Heyy, Jessie.

Peer Review 3 – The Honest Skincare Guide

If you’re interested in skincare or new to skincare and wish to get honest product reviews and recommendations, tobi’s routine is the place for you.

Design and content

Tobi uses the Savona Theme which has a minimalistic and chic design. I like that she uses a simple design where there aren’t many distractions, my focus goes directly to her content when I clicked onto her website. There are plenty of white spaces to balance out the heavier focus. It’s comfortable to browse through her website, not only because her content is interesting, but there’s also a unity of design present on her website. The colours she used on her website is mainly black and white, even for the photos she picked, they are all in white backgrounds. This makes the whole blog looks harmonic and clean due to the consistency of colour. The only colours that appeared on the website are the photos of the beauty products. This allows the content to stand out and it’s the first thing that catches my attention when I read through her blog.

Tobi’s blog is user-friendly. She clearly listed out the categories in her main menu, which is very accessible for users. There are search, recent posts, recent comments, archives and categories on the sidebar. I could easily navigate and search for a particular post.


Tobi always includes an excerpt, so readers will know what the post is mainly about before clicking into it. Reading through her posts, she always includes some skincare tips and her experiences, it makes readers feel relatable. I like that there are three related posts on the bottom of each post which I think can make the website more engaging and attract readers to stay longer on the website.


Tobi’s blog is a place for people who are interested in skin care and are looking for honest reviews. She shares good recommendations for products that are suitable for young girls and don’t have specific skin concerns. There are plenty of beauty bloggers out there but I think what Tobi did to stand out from the crowd is that she includes her first-hand experiences and reviews for her audiences.

Many of the beauty reviews on YouTube are usually sponsored content, viewers thus don’t know whether the products are really that worthy or are that just for the sake of earning money, as many influences nowadays rely on ad revenue to keep their blogs/channels going. In one of the weekly readings – The Toast Is Toast: Literary Humor Site Shuts Down Over Ad Revenue Woes by Shelby Carpenter, she mentioned that online revenues have a huge impact on both big and small sites. Using ads is one of the common ways for websites to reach their target audiences. Reading the ad-free tobi’s routine, I know that all her content are truthful and reliable. When influencers nowadays rely on ad revenue for a living, they do not enjoy the autonomy that Tobi enjoys, where she can write about anything she likes.

Last week, we had Monique Sherrett from Boxcar Media TBC sharing about marketing, monetisation, audience and analytics. She talks about the SMART objectives and the customer journey.  I will share about my customer journey as a visitor to Tobi’s blog.

  1. Awareness – I know about this site because of PUB101. I think it would be great if Tobi can include her social links on the blog as well, such as Instagram and Facebook. I think it will increase the site traffic if she includes her website in any of her social networks. I’m sure people are interested in beauty product reviews!
  2. Engagement – There aren’t many comments on her blog posts but I can feel that Tobi is working hard to connect with her audiences. She uses “I” and “you” quite often in her blog post, like in the What’s exfoliating, she reminds audiences about the cautions of using scrubs. The way she writes make readers feel like we’re close to her, even if we don’t really know her in person. I think this is a good way to interact and bring her readers closer to her life and style.
  3. Retention – I definitely had a great first experience and I will definitely return to this website in the future. Keep it up! 🙂

Overall, it is a website worth visiting and I look forward to seeing more beauty tips from Tobi!

The post Peer Review 3 – The Honest Skincare Guide appeared first on lily in stripes.

Best app for editing photos.

VSCO is one of the best editing apps which also allows photo sharing like Instagram. There is no public criticism, you are still able to follow and be followed other users to see can’t see that. You can also share other people’s photos.

You can use so many different presets and standard editing tools to create perfect images. It has a huge range of editing tools which are very easy to use. Exposure, color, sharpening adjustments, and adjustable filter strength. It’s a free app but with an annual subscription, you can get more than 100 filters. VSCO also provides a built-in camera app with advanced manual controls. I recommend this app to everyone who doesn’t want to spend a long time editing photos but wants to achieve a perfect outcome!

Feel Good Playlist

Music is one of my favourite ways to past time. I feel like many people are in the same boat as me as well. I think people really connect with music because songs are very easy to relate to no matter what you are dealing with in life at the time. There is always a song to express the way you are feeling no matter what and that is why I love it. I have so many songs that I love so I have decided I am going to do a few posts that have to do with my favourite songs. Hence the title, this playlist is going to be my ‘feel good playlist.’

Here are all my feel-good songs that I love to jam out to in the car. All of these songs can be found on Apple music. There are so many more songs that I have on my playlist but I thought that my top 9 picks would be enough for now.


Girls need love (Remix) (ft. Drake) – Summer Walker

Lil bebe – DaniLeigh

Westworld – Evan Giia

Never be like you – Flume

Pretending – The Boogie Wit Da Hoodie

Baby Blue – Rence

From Time (ft. Jhene Aiko) – Drake

Lost In The Fire – The Weeknd & Gesaffelstien

Say something – Lucas & Steve

Hope you guys enjoyed reading!


How to Get Things Done on Time When You’re A Procrastinator

Procrastinating is something I’m sure many people have a HUGE problem with. Me included as I’m typing these blog posts a few days before they’re due. Although it’s fun and all to look at the person next to you when you were both procrastinating on that assignment, it’s a seriously unhealthy habit that can hinder your life if you don’t cut it. So with this post, I’m hoping to share a few tips to help cut procrastination out of your life! Hopefully, they help.

Step one: keep track of what you have to do and more importantly when it’s due.

Realizing how many (or few) days you have left will give you a sense of urgency. Put the due dates in your planner if you have one, or a calendar (which is even better because you can visually see all the due dates placed in front of you that way). Don’t have a planner or calendar? Use your phone calendar instead!

Step two: plan things ahead of time.

You have two weeks until that projects due right? Don’t wait until those last two days to start it… it might feel like you have all the time in the world but two weeks pass quickly, and when the due date rolls around it won’t feel like you have all the time in the world when you’re pulling an all-nighter two nights in a row. A lot of assignments tend to be due around the same time period so try to set days in advance for each of them instead of sprinting to do four things in the span of two days.

Step three: prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!

Do your important assignments/tasks first! Especially if there’s a huge workload that comes with it. Don’t put it off because it seems like too much work – you’re setting yourself up for failure in the long run. At least start things with the biggest workload first.

Step four: just do it!

This is probably the most helpful thing to do. A lot of people are totally aware of their due dates and how much time they have left and so on – it’s just getting started that they have difficulty with. Procrastination isn’t always not knowing when something is due and putting it off, sometimes it is putting it off when you fully know when things are supposed to be due. So this is this most important step. Just get up and start doing whatever it is you needed to do. Don’t feel like doing it? Don’t wait until you ‘get in the right mood to do it’ because let’s be honest – you’ll never feel like doing it if you wait for that.

Failed all these steps? That’s ok! Me too, we can both try again next week.

Procrastination is a seriously hard habit to cut. If you can cut all these habits out of your life in less than a week, I’m not sure you’re human. Just keep practicing the last step and hopefully, it’ll stick and you can start to build healthy task-doing habits!

Love, Joy.


Innovative Budget University Meals

Being a broke university student with not a lot of money, eating out all the time is not an option. But if you’re at school and you didn’t bring food and you’re stranded – you’re inevitably going to be spending money on food. But spending a ton of money even if it’s only on a 10$ sandwich a day – that can add up.

But if you’re going to be spending 10$ on a sad sandwich, might as well spend it on something more substantial.

If you go to a school close to a supermarket, here’s what else you can do besides eating out at a restaurant or buying expensive fast food. The other day I saw my friend eating a complete meal with stuff she bought from T&T and I thought it was the smartest idea ever!

The campus I go to is right next to a T&T, Walmart and Maxim’s. When I saw my friend, she bought a cup of instant noodles from T&T and a bottle of tea, as well as three pastries from Maxim’s – all for under 10$! Like if you’re going to be eating a barely substantial unhealthy fast food meal for over 10$, might as well be eating a cheap, pretty substantial unhealthy meal for less than 10$, you know what I’m saying?

If you’re not into instant noodles and there’s a Walmart near you or a grocery store with a frozen meals section you can buy a cheap frozen meal there instead. Most schools will have a microwave somewhere you can use to heat up your meals.

A quote from the aforementioned genius friend: “Always eat your salty foods with sweet foods but not a super cold sweet food, not that there’s anything wrong with cold foods but if it’s a solid it’s nicer like a cake or a bun.”

– My 200 IQ friend.

Here is my genius friend with her genius meal! I love her!!!!

So yeah! Next time, if you want to save money on food at school and you didn’t bring food, you can just head over to the nearest supermarket and get something!

Thank you for reading. Love, Joy.

Lorde Melodrama 2018 – Vancouver

Last week, I went to one of my favourite concerts by far. What made it good was the fact that I really like Lorde/Ella and I got pretty good floor seats (never too late to call and change, even if you bought them more than 6 months ago!).

I know some may disagree, but I enjoy photographing and recording memories on my phone. I like to re-watch concert videos once in a while to remember my experience, and managing to capture a good pic during a concert is pretty satisfying. Buuuuuut, I also like dancing and jamming in the moment, so it’s a constant struggle.

She noted that the mountains here reminded her of the ones back in her homeland, New Zealand. Her comment reminded me of how lucky and beautiful it is to be surrounded my mountains. I never realize how fortunate it is until I am reminded that some places do not have such magnificent views.  Take Ohio for instance; the 3 times I’ve visited, it was all flatland! No mountains in the distance and that made me a bit homesick. I grew up surrounded by mountains and nature, and it’s something that will always remind me of home.

I totally forgot about the concert (I got tickets back in June/July 2017!) and only realized 4 days prior. I had a big paper due 2 days after the concert, and I had volunteering the day after, and that leaves me with a really tight schedule. However, I had to play catch up and work extra hard a few days prior to ensure that I won’t feel guilty going out.

Looking back, I’m glad I grinded those few days because I was able to fully enjoy the concert without worrying about anything (as I usually do if I ever go out and I have assignments to do), just for a night.

Overall, I think what sets this concert apart from pervious ones is that I really enjoy and resonate with her music, and I actually know most of the lyrics to her songs. To be honest, I enjoyed all the performances so it’s really hard to pick my favourite. But, if I had to choose, it was definitely between Tennis Court, MagnetsPerfect Places, and Green Light! I was also pleasantly surprised by her cover of Frank Ocean’s Solo.

Overall, I had an ethereal experience and would go again!

Dare to Dream Again

“Suddenly you’re 21 and you’re screaming along in the car to all the songs you listened to when you were sad in middle school and everything is different but everything is good.”

I’ve always thought there was something about the music you grow up to listening and for me, it was music in the 2000s. Tonight was one of those nights that I wanted something familiar. Plugging in my earphones, I played the High School Musical playlist on Spotify (admit it, you were once crazy about it too), my head in the clouds, while on my one hour bus ride home. And all these sentimental feelings suddenly washed over me in an overwhelming, nostalgic sensation, as memories scurried across my mind. Do you remember that song you used to listen to over and over in your teenage years? Or the one that you promised yourself would be your wedding song someday? How about the one you made your personal anthem? It wasn’t just the songs themselves that I loved, but the memories attached to them. Hilary Duff was the girl-next-door I wanted to be like. Crazily jumping and dancing on the bed for hours with my girlfriends until we were exhausted from screaming to her Wanted CD when it first came out was the highlight of my weekends in my elementary years. Then it was Gabriella Montez. I wanted to dress like her and have cheekbones like her. My sister and I would rehearse High School Musical songs during our long road trips with our parents as the audience, blasting the tunes and attempting to harmonize even when we didn’t know how to. How faithful my sister and I were in always trying to find the most up-to-date Disneymania CD in local libraries, memorizing the names of the hottest Disneychannel stars and spending days perfecting the “And you’re watching Disneychannel” line in between commercials so that I would be prepared if I make it on there someday. When the lights dimmed and couples began to slow dance to Mariah Carey’s Bye Bye during my middle school grad, I listened to the lyrics and felt the reality of eighth grade coming to an end. I yelled to Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend and The Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way for years with childhood friends, sang Jay Sean’s Down in the parking lot when my friends and I thought we were too cool for Chinese school, listened to Hillsong’s ‘Til I See You when I cried myself to sleep, repeatedly replayed Regina Spektor’s The Call when I couldn’t swallow my emotions after the Narnia movies, fangirled to David Archuleta’s self-titled CD while dreaming of someone singing those lyrics to me, and sang to all of Against the Current’s songs when I partied in the kitchen by myself with my personal anthem (still) being Outsiders because “outside, we’re lonely but we are free.” I could continue on and on… Somehow, I remember all these details.

There’s something about songs that spark inspiration, memories, and feelings that relate to the present or are brought back from long ago. They can remind you of who you were and how you first felt during that time. This depth of history and connection I felt as my HSM playlist kept playing was reminding me of who I was in the past – someone who dared to dream. Whether it was daydreaming about the the person I would grow up to be, the person I would marry, or the things I would accomplish, I have always been a dreamer. But somehow along the way, I gave up on those dreams. They seemed too good to be true and too long to get to… So wanting to catch up with everyone else, I set lower standards for myself to achieve so I can at least say I’ve checked something off the list. But what about those big dreams I once had? Why have I agreed to settle for less? Is it the pressure of society or the pressure of time? What is with the hurry in life that I give up my dreams and trade them in for complacency. I want to be daring in my dreams because I trust not in my own ability, but in God’s ability to accomplish them. When I dream small, I limit God. He has grand plans for me and His timing is made perfect according to His purpose, but I need more faith.

And now suddenly I’m 22. I miss singing to those 2000’s songs while dreaming bold dreams, and everything is so different but different can be good. I’m learning to dream big again like my younger version would have told myself to not give up doing, and this time, I want it to be with Him.

A playlist of my memories:

Wake Up by Hilary Duff (my jam while jumping on beds; I had wanted to grow up then)
I Could Get Used To This by Everlife (a song I couldn’t get over in grade 7)
Bye Bye by Mariah Carey (when the end of middle school hit me)
I Want It That Way by Backstreet Boys (my childhood friends and I would burst into this whenever we saw each other)
Take A Bow by Rihanna (me and my girlfriends’ song in grade 9)
Down by Jay Sean (anthem with the Chius)
Beautiful Soul by Jesse McCartney (a song my sister and I always scream to, wishing that all guys could be like Jesse)
You and I Tonight by Faber Drive (a song on the CD my best friend gifted me on my 16th birthday)
Two Is Better Than One by Boys Like Girls (one of the songs I’d listen to when Joy and Mustard Seed chilled together after fellowship)
Unashamed by Starfield (a constant reminder of my worth)
‘Til I See You by Hillsong (the song that calmed me down when I cried to sleep)
Just A Kiss by Lady Antebellum (one of the songs my friends and I sang for a charity concert (our band was called Over the Rooftop))
Don’t Want An Ending by Sam Tsui (when I didn’t want my grad year to be part of the past yet)
Good Time by Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen (anthem with Yours Truly)
Best Friend by Jason Chen (when I knew I wanted to fall in love with my best friend one day)
Starlit Nights by AJ Rafael (the first time I saw the magic in stars)
The World is Ours by Eleven Past One (my summers with YL)
I’m Only Me When I’m With You by Taylor Swift (when I realized that my sister is my best friend)
Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C (the first time I heard this was during my grade 5 grad; the second time was when my childhood friends were comforting me because they were all moving away to Toronto)
Gravity by Against The Current (my first concert with a best friend – a night of too much screaming for my favourite band ever)
Forces by Japanese Wallpaper ft. Airling (introduced to me by a friend who I met in AID during summer 2015; a sentiment that doesn’t let me forget my blissful time there and the amazing friends I made)
Her (Loving You) by Glades (every morning during AID, my friend would play songs to wake us up and this song was one of them)
Count On Me by Bruno Mars (the first and last song my teaching team sang together before we departed…)
Never Been Hurt by Demi Lovato (reminds me to love like I’ve never been hurt, even when I know it will)
Can I Have This Dance from High School Musical 3 (when I wished with all my heart that High School Musical wouldn’t end because it would signify the end of my childhood; when I knew nothing would be the same after people depart from places or diverge to pursue different paths)
Perfect Strangers by Jonas Blue ft. JP Cooper (getting hyped for my dream-come-true exchange trip to Australia; who would I meet?)
All My Love by Hollyn (dancing with my sister this summer)
Human Diary by Danielle Bradbery (when someone important leaves my life, they take a piece of me with them)

Songs that remind me to dream:

You’re the Reason by Victoria Justice
The Best Day by Taylor Swift (life is made up of small moments)
Let’s Just Pretend by Tyler Shaw (no memory repeats)
Right Place Right Time by Olly Murs (from “Love Rosie” – the timing of my life is not in my hands)
Outsiders by Against The Current (my personal anthem, reminding me that even if I’m lonely, I am free)
When Your Feet Don’t Touch the Ground from the Broadway Musical, “Finding Neverland” (the process of growing up stretches us to grow – “When your feet don’t touch the earth / You can’t feel the things that hurt / And you’re free / There’s no need to come down”)
Castle on The Hill by Ed Sheeran (reminds me of my own childhood memories, of being carefree)
We’re On Fire Tonight by Audio Network (I first heard it on Jayesslee’s vlog when Sonia gave birth to a child after experiencing miscarriage; when something terrible happens, it is not the end)
Something to Believe In by New Heights (when someone walks into my life, they can change my reality)
I Will Wait For You by Us the Duo (there can be contentment in waiting)
Endlessly by The Cab
Still Into You by Paramore (“I should be over all the butterflies, but I’m into you.”)
This Is Me from Camp Rock (I was reminded of how I used to dream)
You And Me by Ben Rector (from a wedding video about distance, time, and hope)