The year is coming to an end. In a few days, we'll be welcoming in the 2016 year (hopefully with glasses of champagne in hand!). This year has been a great year and to be honest, I'm kind of sad to see 2015 come and go so soon. I don't know about all of you, but this year went by SOOO quickly, am I right?

Writing this post, I'm going over all the things I got to do and all my achievements (in my head), and I'm not gonna lie, they kind of bring a tear or two to my eyes. I know, like, what?? The thing that makes me the most sad with 2015 slowly passing away is that it was such a good year for me, and I don't know how 2016 will compare.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of things that I had set out to do in 2015 that didn't end up happening. For example, going back to my Fall Semester Goal blog post, here's a mini list of things that didn't happen:

Le Northern Belle | Yearly Review 2015


1. Go to Office Hours 
(no matter how many blog posts or advice videos I read/watch that
emphasize the importance of going to office hours, I'll probably
never go to them, so this goal was completely unrealistic)

2. Make Lunches and Dinner ahead of time
(definitely broke the record for the most food purchased on 
campus than any UW student)

3. Go to the gym at least twice a week
(Life happens, and thats ok!)

4. Bump up blog post to twice a week
(still coming at you once a week...whoops!)

Even with all these failed goals, I still had an amazing, and what I see as a successful, year! We're all human and even though we strive for excellence, via our #goals, things come up and you might not reach them and thats A-OK! So since we're in the lively spirit of the holidays, and with fresh snow on the ground, I've decided to put aside my failed goals of 2015, and look and review on what went well in 2015.

 I like to be optimistic, and pretend that the failed goals
 didn't happen, and instead, just do a whole lot better the next time

Le Northern Belle | Year in Review
AOII proverb. In essence, do better than what you did yesterday and do better than you had originally hoped for. I love this saying!

All negativity aside, a few great things came out of 2015. I dropped my first album, just kidding!
I did however:

Visit Ghana (for the first time in 10 years)
Visit NYC and Orlando/Disneyworld for the first time ever!
Complete my first term as a leader's council member in AOII (without figuratively killing anyone)
I started lenorthernbelle.com (and kept up with it!!)
Make the Dean's List at uWaterloo (aka my best term average in uni, to date!)
Get elected in as the VP of Communication for next years council (Yay! One of my dream positions)
Road trip through part of the United States with friends (Storybook time!
I earned a spot on uWaterloo's KIN Games team (We are all best friends!)
I bought my very first MacBook (aka my baby!)

Alright, enough talk about accomplishments. Going forward into 2016, my only request of myself, is that I use my time more wisely. Doing more stuff with my time instead of aimlessly going on social media and Netflix. Those will always be there, but the opportunities that come up may not always be. 

Le Northern Belle | Year in Review


I've finally finished my exam period, well as of last Thursday, and I'm super excited to be getting a long Christmas Break. I'm really grateful to be having almost a month off of school, mostly because it's a rare occasion for me at the University of Waterloo, which will probably not happen again.

Taking advantage of this long break, I've decided to take a trip to Orlando, FL to visit DisneyWorld with my roommate Emily! I have never been there before, so I'm pretty stoked to see what all the hype is all about. By the time you're reading this, I would have already been in Orlando for a couple days.

Now for packing, I am really being limited to carry-on sized items because:

A) I really don't want to pay for a checked baggage
B) We'll be driving back with my other roommate, Caitlyn, who has
 been at DisneyWorld on exchange for the past 6 months and has a
 shit-ton of stuff to bring back 

To be honest, I am super surprised that I was able to fit everything I need in just two carry on bags, but I somehow made it happen. So to remind myself for next time that it is possible to travel without overpacking and to teach all you lovelies how it can be done, I've made this post!

Packing for Disney World - Le Northern Belle

The season that every student hates is here...Yesterday, I was walking home after studying on campus and I looked around the streets and realized, there was barely even a single soul walking around Campus, or the city of Waterloo as a matter of fact. It's a really eery feeling, but realistically, every study carrel, library seat and Starbucks location is packed with students because believe it or not, it's Finals Week (which is actually two weeks here at Waterloo). Don't panic! I have here for you everything you should know when studying for exams.

Surviving Finals Week | Le Northern Belle
It's officially December 1st and so begins the official countdown to Christmas! My housemates and I finally have a Christmas tree this year to put up and decorate. It happened to be on the day that Waterloo received its first snow fall that actually stuck to the ground. Everywhere you looked, there was a perfect blanket of snow covering the ground. 


My Christmas Wishlist | Le Northern Belle

My Christmas Wishlist | Le Northern Belle
It hasn't snowed since, and I am definitely not sad about that!


It was like a perfect night (the snow lasted for a couple days and then melted away). We had Elf on the TV and Christmas music playing as we decorated our Christmas. All this holiday spirit had me thinking of what I would like for Christmas this year.


My Christmas Wishlist | Le Northern Belle



First and foremost I want to apologize to all my readers for not putting a post last Tuesday. I don't want to give you an excuse because for the most part, it won't change the fact that on November 16th, there was no post. I'm not going say that I will never ever ever miss a post again but I do want you all to know that I will try my hardest to get them out on time like always (but in the rare occasion I don't, please don't bring out the pitchforks)


Finally, fourth year has come around and I'm in the process of finding living with new roommates for my final year (No, there are no problems with my current roommates, we just all don't want to sign a full year lease because A) we don't want to deal with subletters once we've graduated and B) a few are only back for one semester, it's difficult to get a place all together where we can live for  4 and 8 months.)
Since I'll be living with another friend of mine, and therefore restarting the whole "roommate process" again, I thought I would put some of my past three years of student life in to a post to enlighten those about to embark in the world of living with roommates. 
Whether you're moving out of campus residence or about to graduate into the real world and are looking to find roommates, hopefully this guide will help you find some awesome roommates (I've been told I'm a great advice giver). 

The Roommate Situation | Le Northern BelleThe Roommate Situation | Le Northern Belle


// Where to Find Roommates //

Who do I live with?

Essentially, you have three options. You can either:

A. Live on your own, 
which I don't recommend because it can be really expensive,
especially in Waterloo, plus you do learn a lot by living
with roommates

B. Be randomly assigned,
some student housing managements can assign you into a unit
with others, which is often done to fill up a whole unit. This can
often be risky because you'll limited say on who you're living with

C. Find a group on your own to live with,
Places to find potential roommates include: your
residence, school clubs you are in, roommate wanted
ads, sports teams/intramurals you are on, classmates


The Roommate Situation | Le Northern Belle

The Roommate Situation | Le Northern Belle

The Roommate Situation | Le Northern Belle




// Are They the Right Fit //



Now it's time for some deep-thinking and honesty. Can you actually imagine living with this person?


This is the time to look at everything your potential roommate does and see if you can deal with it or are these possible deal breakers. Remember once you've signed a lease together, you're pretty much joined for the entirety of the contract, so ensuring they are a good fit is pretty darn important. Somethings to consider (about yourself and your roommate) are:


The Roommate Situation | Le Northern Belle

Is this person an uber slob (You'll never see your floors again) or meticulously neat (i.e. everything needs to be in its place, ALWAYS)? 

Is this person an early bird or a night owl?

What are their worst habits?

How many people can you, sanely, live with? 
(I currently live with six other people. For me, it's a hoot! )

Will they never be around on weekends? (it's not fun being home alone)


// The Big Talk //

Establishing House Rules

The Roommate Situation | Le Northern Belle

You most likely won't have this discussion until after you've moved in, but this is definitely something that needs to happen. Rules exist in every part of society, from no cheating on test and no speeding on the roads to no cell phones at the dinner table. House rules are important. And no I am not talking about these house rules, I am talking about these house rules. In my first off-campus apartment, my roommates and I all decided to have a house meeting where we discussed things like House Rules and Finances. It might be hard to be "that" friend who tries to establish rules, but trust me when I say you're roommates will thank you down the road when issues come up (You're Welcome!)

Things to consider in your house rules are:'
The Roommate Situation | Le Northern Belle

How will you split up chores?
Where to keep the thermostat at?
What is a reasonable time to have dishes done?
Eating other people’s foods/How to do Groceries?
Guests and Parties
Noise 
**What to do with dishes that have been sitting for over a week?

**I had a roommate once who used to leave dishes for days, and we knew it was hers because all she would cook for like weeks straight was tomato soup. So we left them there and just washed our own. Then she left for the Bahamas for a week, dishes still in the sink. So what we decided to do was to pile all her dishes in front of her door. She wasn't too happy about that when she came back. She put the dishes back in the sink and when we asked her to wash them, she denied that they were hers, went to her room, packed her bags and left for like another week. Let’s just say, rules like these would have been helpful if we had them.
Here's a link to a longer list of issues you'll definitely want to discuss when you have you're first house meeting!

The Roommate Situation | Le Northern Belle


// Roommate Activities //


Roommates are like any other relationship you'll have. They require work. With the hectic schedule of student or work life, don't forget to schedule time to hang out with your roommates. 

Have dinner at the same time -or- have a house dinner
Go see a movie together
Have a  coffee/study date
Watch TV (ahem... How to get away with Murder!) each week
Go grocery shopping at the same time
Coordinate Gym Time
Go to the Adventure Rooms
Just chill on the couch and have life chats

Whatever it is that you decide to do, just make sure you plan some kind of time together (and fill each other on how life's going)

All in all, if you're courteous and respectful of one another, you should have yourself an awesome year with your roommate(s)

   The Roommate Situation | Le Northern Belle   The Roommate Situation | Le Northern Belle

Hey Everyone!

             For this week's post,  I decided to take the plunge and try making a YouTube video post instead. This is my first official YouTube video, and I'm hoping to replace one Tuesday blog post a month with a video instead. What do you think?

              The video is a random question tag, that I had filming and even more fun editing it together,  even though it took pretty much all do to edit -- lot's of content to sift through






I hope you all enjoy it and I'll be back next Tuesday with a written blog post!

Don't worry, I'm not leaving social media for good, at least not in the immediate future, but I do want to try something new. 

In one of the classes  I'm taking this semester, Interpersonal Communication, we have an ongoing course dialogue online where we discuss the effects that social media has on our lives, and how it's affecting communication. Specifically in us Generation Y-ers, aka the Millennials

Realistically, we, myself included, are often too absorbed to what we're viewing on these 4"-screens that we sometimes forget to, I don't know... stop and smell the roses?



I'm not saying that social media is a horrible invention that needs to be put to bed. Far from that. What I am saying is that sometimes, we need to put away our phones, even if it's for a few hours and just be with yourself or with the people around you. You'll also probably be surprised to see that you have all this extra time to do things you never "have the time to do." Like reading a book, or exercising, studying, calling your parents, talk to real-life people. The list is endless!

When was the last time, other than when you're about to go to bed and when you're studying, where you had time to think about something...anything? What you did that day? Conversations you had? Things you saw? Life itself?

I came across an article on Buzzfeed called, A Teen Instagram Star is Quitting Social Media and Revealing the Truth Behind Her "Perfect Photos". The article is about 18-year-old Essena O'Neill of Australia, and how she believes that social media and the business of social media and advertising can be detrimental to those too absorbed in it, or how Essena puts it "addicted to it." I highly encourage everyone to read the article and watch the ex-YouTuber's last video post, where she further discusses what it really took to get all those so-called perfect Instagram photos. 


Essena has started a campaign. It's called Let's Be Game Changers. She's not only hoping to change people's minds on the effects of social media but on many topics including:

|| Environmental Awareness ||
|| Animal Rights & Veganism || 
|| Food & Nutrition ||
|| Gender Equality ||
|| Technology Addiction ||

This campaign challenges people to go without social media for a week. I've decided take on this challenge, but in baby steps. Though it would be ideal to go cold-turkey and just do a full week, but I know myself and I'll probably be going through some seriously nasty withdrawal symptoms by the six-hour mark. I am literally always on it. My goal is to eventually make it to a week but, for me at least, the most important thing is being aware of just how much you take in from social and how much time you dedicate. Moderation is key. Don't let your self-worth come from the number of likes, or followers or retweets. They're just numbers, don't let them overpower you. I've automated this post, my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to all be released on Tuesday. This way I have zero reasons to re-download and open the app. This just might be my most productive day ever.

On Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015, I will unplug from social media.


Get informed. Take the Challenge. Start the Conversation.

Leaves are changing, the weather is getting cooler and I have had my fifth PSL of the season. Autumn is by far my favourite season of the year. Yes -- it's cold most days but those few sunny days in the week definitely make up for the cold. Plus it's cold enough to wear sweaters but not so cold that I need a puffy down-filled parka. 

Now last week Monday was my twenty-first birthday, I also wrote a post about it, and luckily it was also one of those sunny Autumn days that just makes you want to rake up some leaves just to jump in it. 
Le Northern Belle | Autumn Is Really Here
Look at those leaves
The day was just too perfect to let pass by without documenting it with photos. 

This is the outfit I wore to classes for my birthday as well.

Le Northern Belle | Autumn Is Really Here

Le Northern Belle | Autumn Is Really Here

Le Northern Belle | Autumn Is Really Here

Let the throwing of leaves begin -- Quick! Get the camera!

Le Northern Belle | Autumn Is Really Here

Le Northern Belle | Autumn Is Really Here

Le Northern Belle | Autumn Is Really Here

Le Northern Belle | Autumn Is Really Here

Le Northern Belle | Autumn Is Really Here
Squirrel?!?!
Le Northern Belle | Autumn Is Really Here
Oh! Hey There?
Le Northern Belle | Autumn Is Really Here
I can be really goof sometimes...actually that's most times

If you take anything away from this post, it's that you need to get outside while autumn is still here and just throw some leaves around! (maybe even take some photos for the insta?)




Thank you to my lovely roommate, Emily, for being my cameraperson for this shoot!

Yesterday, October 19th, was my twenty first birthday. I am officially legal all over the world! I spent the whole weekend celebrating this monumental birthday.

With every passing year, I always get the question of "Do you feel any older?" I'm not sure if its the aging aspect or what, but I definitely feel a little je ne sais quoi...

For my own memory sake (and for anyone who wants to know), I have taken to recapping my 21st birthday weekend extravaganza! Let's go!

Friday

I went to the Phil's, Waterloo's version of a bar-club, and had a blast. With all the stress of assignments and presentations I had that week, I really needed a night out. I invited everyone I knew on Facebook who lived in Waterloo, and to my surprise, I had quite a turn out. 

This is the outfit I wore there. 
       Shirt || Guess 
(a borrowed item, Thanks Shaylyn!)
Leggings || Aritzia
     Shoes || Spring

Friday's at Phil's are Feel Good Fridays, so they play all Top 40s and well known songs (aka my kind of music!) The night was great, that is until my pitcher was tragically left behind...Thanks Shaylyn!

Saturday

Morning

My sorority chapter hosted our very first Founder's Day event. It was a brunch event spearheaded by Grace (Alumnae Relations Chair), Monica (Social Chair) and myself (Vice President of Chapter Development). The planning of this event wasn't easy and trust me, I had at times tried to get the event cancelled (Ok not really, but I did think it). But after long hours of planning and emails/phone calls and invitations, the event finally came, and it was a beautiful. Our President, Teghan, gave an awesome presentation on our sorority founders, sorority and chapter history. It really gave us the opportunity to think about how far AOII and our chapter, Lambda Epsilon, has grown to what it is now. Shameless plug, we have over 200 chapters across Canada and the USA, with over 150, 000 alumnae (not including collegiate members). We're a pretty big sorority -- actually we're the largest Panhellenic sorority, so it's great to have days like these where we can just reminisce about our past.

Le Northern Belle | My Birthday Time Line | AOII Founder's Day

Le Northern Belle | My Birthday Time Line | AOII Founder's Day

Le Northern Belle | My Birthday Time Line | AOII Founder's Day

Le Northern Belle | My Birthday Time Line | AOII Founder's Day

Le Northern Belle | My Birthday Time Line | AOII Founder's Day

Le Northern Belle | My Birthday Time Line | AOII Founder's Day

Le Northern Belle | My Birthday Time Line | AOII Founder's Day
Special Thank you to Proof Waterloo at the Delta Hotel for making this event possible! The food and service was amazing!
Le Northern Belle | My Birthday Time Line | AOII Founder's Day

Le Northern Belle | My Birthday Time Line | AOII Founder's Day

Le Northern Belle | My Birthday Time Line | AOII Founder's Day


Evening

I have been planning this dinner event since probably August. Every year my housemates and I celebrate major holidays with a potluck dinner. Well, since my birthday fell on the Monday after Thanksgiving (aka friendsgiving), I thought it be best to combine the two events together. I pitched the idea to my roommates, and they literally couldn't care less what we did, as long as we had the potluck. Against my pleas, my roommates decided to go casual with the outfits, instead of the dressier option I had wanted. Oh well, you win some you lose some. In the end, the casual outfits were probably the better choice.  

     Chiffon Shirt || A gift from a friend
Skinny Jeans || American Eagle

Sunday

I didn't do anything birthday related on this day. I spent most of the morning reviewing my notes and figuring out which assignments I had due for the week. Later in the afternoon, I had a sorority retreat meeting with all members of the Leader's Council and our advisors. It was a shortish meeting where we discussed our progress within our positions and our plans for the remaining of the term. Afterwards we had our chapter meeting. It was great to see everyone again since we haven't had a meeting in two weeks (because of thanksgiving)

Monday

It's B-Day! Since I had already been celebrating my birthday since Friday, I decided to make my actual birthday-day a lot more relaxed. I woke up at 7am to grab breakfast with my little, Carleen, at William's. I had tried to document and take pictures throughout the day, but it is a lot harder than I thought. You either forget to take the pictures or there's too many people nearby staring (which is super uncomfortable) I'm hoping to get better at that with time. I didn't have class until 11:30, so we spent the rest of the morning studying chatting up a storm. After class, I met up with a sorority sister at Starbucks for lunch. Afterwards, I took a nap (so blessed) and then headed off to volleyball practice (where I also watched the Blue Jays win Game 3!)

That's pretty much the gist of what happened this weekend! It was great to see so many friends all at once -- I may or may not have cried a couple times throughout the weekend.

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