In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, often times I find that I am too focused on other things (i.e. school work, socializing, blogging) that I tend to forget to leave time for myself to just relax. Especially with finals just around the corner, having personal time is just as important as studying. Knowing when to take a break from life’s responsibilities and just focus on yourself is important for your mental health and will help boost your productivity. 

I try to have some down time every day, if possible. There obviously will be days when you “can’t afford to take a break” because you watched one too many episodes of your favourite TV show and now have to crank out a 10-page paper in like 2 hours. Those days are the exception to this rule. However on the days that I’m able to time manage properly, and not procrastinate my assignments for How to Get Away with Murder, I try to schedule about 30 minutes to an hour as official downtime. I stop everything I’m currently doing and just focus on myself. In order to really relax, you need to find tasks that allow your mind to wander, preferably onto a topic that is unrelated to the work you’re stepping away from. I find that afterwards, I have distressed enough in order to get back to my work with 100% focus and effort.

For me, I have a list of things I like to do for downtime, and usually, just pick a random one each time. However, for a Me Day, I like to come up with almost a whole different type of schedule for the day, that incorporates a multitude of different items on my list. Planning and scheduling my Me Day is fun for me, so I make sure to fill the day with fun tasks and activities to do. 

I’m planning to have my next Me Day, either this Thursday or Friday because I will be done my fourth year as of this Wednesday! 

Having a Me Day | Le Northern Belle


9:30 AM

Wake Up and Roll Around in Bed for like half an hour

For some of you, 9:30AM may be really early, but I usually wake up at 7:00AM, so 9:30AM for me is sleeping in

10:00 AM

Roll out of bed and Get Ready for the Day

I brush my teeth, take shower, and then put on lounging clothing

10:30 AM

Make Breakfast and Coffee

Now on days like these, I love to make a more complicated breakfast than just cereal. This is the perfect time to try out some of those breakfast recipes that you've found on Pinterest! Last time,  I made these Hidden Berry French Toast that are truly amazing. I learned how to make these after watching Caitlin Bea’s YouTube video on what she eats in a day. If you want the cooking instructions, I’ll leave the link to the video here.

Le Northern Belle | Having a Me Day


Le Northern Belle | Having a Me Day



11:00 AM

Eat Breakfast and Watch Some Videos

I love watching TV when I’m eating but since I live in student housing, and don’t really want to pay for cable, I substitute TV with YouTube or Netflix. I’ll just catch up on some of the new videos that my favourite YouTubers have posted, or I’ll pick a random topic and watch a bunch of videos on it. As of right now I love watching YouTube videos on the subject of Studying Abroad/Student Exchanges. I literally watch everything from vlogs to packing to advice videos.


12:00 PM

It’s Time to get Moving

By 12, I’m probably beginning to get bored with being at home, so I try to get out of the house to get some fresh air and a little bit of activity in my day. If the weather is decent, aka above zero degrees celsius and not super windy, I like to go for a walk. It’s usually for Starbucks or Tim Hortons but sometimes I’ll just walk around the area or find a random trail to explore

Le Northern Belle | Having a Me Day
With the right pair of boots, slush isn't too bad to walk in


1:00 PM

Have a Snack

Can you tell that I love food?  I like having snacks that are either quick grabs or require little assembly (i.e. Fruit, Clif Bars, Peanut Butter and Toast, Trail Mix, Cheese and Crackers) After the snack or during the snack, I’ll watch a TedTalk or three (also a new obsession of mine) or find a new podcast to listen to. Once I finish my snack, I’ll probably paint my nails or clean my room.

2:00 PM

It's Chill Time

Pretty much from 2:00 PM on, most of my roommates would be coming home from their classes, and realistically, the rest of my day will probably be filled with talking to roommates, watching movies/catching up on shows and, making/eating food! Time goes by really quick when you’re having fun. I don’t have me days often. If I did, I would feel too unproductive, but when I do, I like to do the most minimal amount of work! Happy Lazy Day!


Le Northern Belle | Having a Me Day



Just like any other relationship, friendships take work and time. With my friends at university, we've shared a lot of fun memories and experiences. From going out to the bars to having late night nachos and life chats at 1 AM, I believe my friends and I have put in really good time into building up this friendship.

Similar to how couples go on dates, it's important to also have friend dates. Every semester, we try to come up with a list of activities that we want to try out throughout the semester (we rarely accomplish much on the list but, A for effort, right?)

Here are some activities to try out with your friends! Feel free to add on to the list through the comments section below!

Fun Activities to do with Friends - Le Northern Belle


|| Movie Night ||

I love watching movies! Recently, I watched Inside Out with Caitlyn, which is such a cute movie (I highly recommend it). I find that when having a movie night, try and put more effort than just picking a movie on Netflix. Make sure it's a movie that everyone is excited to watch (as hard as it may be to find one). Next, get into the movie watching mode! Put on some comfy clothes/pajamas and make some snacks. Personally, my favourite snacks to have are nachos with lots of cheese, chicken, salsa, guac and sour cream!


|| Hiking Trail/Walk ||

Fun Activities to do with Friends - Le Northern Belle

Fun Activities to do with Friends - Le Northern Belle

Sometimes you find the most random sights and things when you aren't looking for it. Take the time to aimlessly explore your city, regardless of how well you think you know your city or how long you've lived there, you can always find new things or even find places you forgot about!


|| Watch a Sports Game ||

Even if you aren't the biggest sports fan, the atmosphere in a sports arena or stadium is rowdy and exciting enough to get almost anyone pumped for a game. In my second/sophomore year of university, Lauren and I went to watch a Toronto Maple Leafs game. Now I enjoy watching hockey, it's fun, but I am nowhere near as big of a hockey fan as Lauren. Regardless, I was super excited to go and though I can't remember for the life of me who they played, I will always remember that awesome atmosphere of the Air Canada Centre that night.

Fun Activities to do with Friends - Le Northern Belle

Fun Activities to do with Friends - Le Northern Belle


|| Go for Dinner ||

Because who doesn't love food! However, if you don't want to go out for dinner or can't afford it, have a potluck style dinner party. On every big holiday or event (i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Super Bowl, Easter/End of the Year), we have a large dinner party at our house, where everyone brings a dinner item to share. There's always so much food, and you can pack up the leftovers to have for lunch the next day.



Fun Activities to do with Friends - Le Northern Belle


|| Have a Night Out ||


Pick a bar or a club or a night event and get ready all together! Whenever we go out, we pre-drink, while doing our makeup at the kitchen table.

Fun Activities to do with Friends - Le Northern Belle

Fun Activities to do with Friends - Le Northern Belle


|| Cards/Board Games ||

The classic games such as Cards Against Humanity, Heads Up, Settlers of Catan, Euchre or even President are fun to play but, try breaking out the games you played as a kid like MASH or Hangman!

Fun Activities to do with Friends - Le Northern Belle


|| Road Trip ||

For some odd reason, whenever I go on road trips, the driving part always happens to be one of the best parts. Blast some great tunes and just talk or play car games (21 questions?). You'd be surprised how much you can learn about another person when you're confined to a small moving vehicle. Try driving to meet up with a friend or to a new town/city and do some exploring together!

Fun Activities to do with Friends - Le Northern Belle


|| Beach Day ||

Spending a whole day at the beach can be super relaxing. Really take in the experience of being at the beach and the time you have with your friends! Don't forget to bring speakers and a playlist to play some music and possibly try making this into a potluck styled picnic as well. Beach days are super fun when planned properly! I will be making a Guide to the Perfect Beach Day (once the weather gets a little better) in the upcoming months.

Fun Activities to do with Friends - Le Northern Belle

Fun Activities to do with Friends - Le Northern Belle


|| Study Party ||


Only if you can ensure that actual studying will be done, instead of just talking about random things! 

Fun Activities to do with Friends - Le Northern Belle


Whatever you decide to do, make sure everyone is excited to participate, (it makes all the difference if one person isn't as excited -- it can really bring down everyone else's mood). Don't forget to take some pictures to document the day too! (And have food and snacks -- this makes any event or activity better!)

The end of the semester is close... really close, and with that brings a lot of assignments, tests, and presentation due dates.

Being in my fourth year of university, I've gotten to learn a lot about myself. I know that I often get stressed because I'm overwhelmed with the amount of things I have to do, but instead of tackling the list of things I need to get done, I often don't do anything. Thus leading to a vicious cycle of getting too stressed and then not wanting to do anything which also causes more stress!

Over the years, I've learned ways to make sure I stay productive but also keep that stress in check!

Here are some of the ways I like to de-stress (I hope they can help you too)


I would love to hear about how you de-stress! Let me know in the comments!

A couple of weeks ago, I received the email from my university stating that I had been accepted into the student exchange program and had been placed at a university in the Netherlands next winter! It still hasn't completely hit me yet, probably because I still have to wait till the summer to start receiving any paperwork. 

This, however, hasn't stopped me from scouring Pinterest and YouTube for any and all videos about student exchanges to Europe (and even other parts of the world). 

Since receiving the email, all the free time that I have had (and made through procrastination -- no shame) has gone to planning

From what I've researched, Netherlands is obviously different than Canada, but actually, really different. The weather is relatively average, it doesn't get too hot or too cold but it apparently rains... A LOT! 

I've already begun to start saving for this trip but I've also begun to prepare a list of items that I would like to bring with me and that I believe are important to have (especially if you're going on exchange in Europe).

10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad | Le Northern Belle


|| Rain Boots ||

Le Northern Belle | 10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad

Like I said, parts of Europe are known for raining a lot. Check up on the average precipitation for the months you'll be living there and decide whether rain boots are needed. Late September to Mid February tends to be prime time for rain in countries that don't get cold enough to snow.

|| Fleece Sweaters ||

Le Northern Belle | 10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad


Though the weather is relatively "warmer" than what I am used to, it is still cold none the less. I may not need my heavy duty winter coat but I still need to keep warm. I currently don't own many fleece sweaters, because my current winter coat is pretty great on its own, but since I am not planning on bringing this coat with me, I'm going to need to stock up on those sweaters.

|| Wool Coat ||

Le Northern Belle | 10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad


I've been wanting a long wool coat for a while! It's a classic piece that I know I will have for a long time. I've been bouncing between three different styles of wool coats but I'm still trying to figure out what is my perfect coat.

|| Pictures of Home ||

Whenever you go away from home, it's usually inevitable that you will become somewhat homesick. Some people have more intense symptoms of being homesick than others and hoping on a plane to move 5000 kilometres for a semester or more, probably won't help. I moved away from home to go to university and how I was able to get over being homesick was by printing off pictures of my family and friends to hang in my room. Most times if I'm feeling a little homesick, looking at these photos usually help, but in times it doesn't, we have Skype and I can still make phone calls  (be weary of time differences)

|| Calling Cards ||

I am certain your friends and family love and miss you, but the last thing they need are excessive charges on their phone bill because of collect calls. Especially if you get homesick easily. I've done this once when I went on exchange in high school, and my parents were presented with a $100 excess charge. I called a lot... Whoops! Do yourself and your family a huge financial favour, and buy a five or ten dollar calling card to make your phone calls on! 

|| A Small Wardrobe ||

Bring items that not only pair well with other items you are bringing but are also practical. When it comes to packing, forget about all of those, "but what if's." The odds of you needing 5 semi formal dresses "just in case" is a space wasting mentality! Bring the essentials of your wardrobe and on the off chance you do forget something, you can always buy it when you get to Europe. Depending on where you are living abroad, you can most likely pick up items on great deals. Plus, you don't want to over pack and have to end up paying for extra baggage or worse, having to leave some items behind. The best way to pack just the right amount of stuff is to figure out as early as possible, what you'll be doing while abroad. If you'll be traveling and exploring a lot, you may want to bring some comfortable running shoes.

|| Electronic Adapters ||

Le Northern Belle | 10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad

To my surprise, many people often forget that not only are voltages different across parts of the world but so are the outlets themselves. If you're coming from North America and are going to anywhere outside of North America, you're definitely going to need an adapter. However, only get adapters for items like your cell phone, laptop and/or tablet. If you have a Mac laptop or an iPad, the Apple Store sells plug adapters that fit into your charging brick. Most laptop chargers come in two pieces as well, so check with your manufacturer to see what options they offer for travelling with the device. For cell phones, it's as easy as replacing the plug part of the USB charger (if they can be separated, if not, you'll need a whole new charger). For other electrical items such as hairdryers, straighteners, curling irons, etc., leave them at home and just buy a cheap new one once you go abroad. Do not buy a converter because those devices are meant for very short term use (i.e. a few days). The last thing you want is to blow out the circuit and kill your appliance!

|| Travel Size Hand Sanitizer and Disinfecting Wipes ||

Le Northern Belle | 10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad


If you're going on exchange, chances are you'll be travelling to other parts of the country and/or continent during your weekends and school breaks. When you're travelling, often times you won't have quick access to a bathroom to wash your hands if needed. To maintain proper hygiene and to keep from getting sick, I'd pack a few of these with you in your personal bag. 

|| A Camera ||

Le Northern Belle | 10 Things You'll Need When Studying Abroad

Whether it be your iPhone or a Point-and-Shoot or a DSLR camera, make sure to bring something to document your trip. An exchange is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity! I've heard of so many people who have come back and had wished they had taken more photos. I'm planning to work extra hard this summer to save up for a DSLR camera, just so I can take great quality and high-resolution photos and videos while I am there. If you're not much of
 a photo person, I would highly suggest bringing a journal to document your days. Just bring something that will help you remember this awesome experience.

|| Bags That Completely Zip ||


Rumour or not, I've just heard one too many stories about incidences where people have had items stolen from their bags by pick-pocketers while in Europe. Help prevent this from happening to you be bringing bags that completely zip. When carrying tote bags, make sure the zipper tab is in front of you as opposed to behind you and bring cross body bags in front of your body as opposed to on your side or behind you. I'm planning to bring (in terms of bags) one black backpack, for school, my pink Longchamp tote, a small/medium sized satchel and a black Longchamp large travel bag, for weekend trips.

I want to know if any of you has been on a student exchange or have had a study abroad term! How was it and is there anything I'm forgetting on my list? Let me know in the comments!

I've been an active member of my sorority, AOΠ, for two years now, I know time flies by! During my time, I've attended countless meetings. If I did the math right and attended every single chapter meeting, that would be a grand total 48 meetings (not including committee meetings, Greek Council meetings and Leader's Council meetings). I've picked up on a few skills and tips that make attending meetings easier and that I wish I had been told when I joined. Just like anything in life, it's good to be prepared. With meetings, you want to be sure that you not only have everything you need but also know what's going on during a meeting.

How to Prepare for a Meeting | Le Northern Belle

Meeting Agenda


Before every sorority meeting, usually two days before the meeting, an agenda is sent out to all the members. READ IT! Agendas are like what syllabus are to classes. They let you know everything that will be happening in the meeting. This way you know what will be discussed on that day and can, therefore, prepare any questions ahead of time. 

Attire


This is dependant on whether the meeting has a dress code. For my sorority meetings, once a month, we'll have a business meeting, which has a business casual dress code in effect. Even though our other weekly meetings don't have an actual dress code, I still like to dress in pretty much business casual. For me, it allows me to focus on the meeting information (I take the same approach for when I go to classes). 

Tote Bag or Back Pack


You should always have a backpack or tote with you when attending a meeting because you should be bringing supplies with you. Any bag will be fine, as long as it fits everything you need to bring! 

How to Prepare for a Meeting | Le Northern Belle
Top to Bottom: Michael Kors Hamilton Large Tote, Aldo Hatchet Tote, Aldo Almemosa Tote
Longchamp Le Pliage Tote Large, Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM

What Should be in your Bag?

Notebook
(a physical notebook to write down things that are said and to write down any questions that you may think of during the meeting or to doodle -- doodling is fun!)
Pens
(To write in the Notebook)
Water Bottle
(You're going to get thirsty, especially if the meeting is longer that half an hour)
Snacks
(Same as above -- just replace thirsty with hungry!)
An Agenda/Planner/Calendar
(In the case that a new event is proposed or changed, you can have it accurately written down)
The Meeting Agenda
(This is kind of a bonus item to have, but just in case you want to follow along)
Any questions you have from the Agenda
A watch
(Not so much IN your bag, but on your wrist)

I would suggest against taking notes on your laptop to sorority meetings. It's just too easy to get distracted with social media and completely zone out of what is being said. However, I do use my laptop sometimes!

I hope these tips helped you out, let me know if I've forgotten anything, down in the comments!


I've been trying to find different places to study. Most times during the school year, I study in bed (which isn't the greatest because after an hour I'm ready for a nap) or in the student centre (also not great, because you're bound to run into people who you'd much rather have a convo with than study) or in a coffee shop (aka Starbucks, which can get expensive). 

On the weekends, however, the last thing I want to do is leave my house and trek to campus but I know that staying in my room will most likely lead to a whole day of napping. This past Saturday, I tried out a different way of studying and to my surprise, I was actually a lot more productive than I thought I would be. First off, I woke up 8AM...

Le Northern Belle | How to Actually Study at Home

To Do List

Making a To-Do List is crucial in staying productive when studying. I find that when I don't have a specific list of tasks and assignments that I need to get done for the day, I'm much more overwhelmed (especially since I have a tendency to forget things). Making a to-do list helps me keep on track of everything that needs to get done and since it's a physical list, I can refer back to it and cross items off as the day goes on.  I usually make my To Do lists as soon as I wake up because that is usually when I have the most ideas and information running through my head. If I need to, I'll add on to the list throughout the day.

Le Northern Belle | How to Actually Study at Home

Have Breakfast

The most important meal of the day, right? I enjoy having breakfast but between 8:30 am classes and trying to get the most amount of sleep as possible, I rarely have time to make a great breakfast. However, on weekends, I don't have to be anywhere to be so early in the morning. For breakfast today, I tried to make a smoothie bowl, which ended up tasting amazing! If you want me to show how to make this bowl, leave a comment down below!

Le Northern Belle | How to Actually Study at Home

Get Ready

This may sound a little weird. Why would I get ready, If I'm just staying at home? For me (and many of my friends), it's very difficult to get serious about studying if you're still in your pajamas. Now if you're the kind of person who attends class or leaves the house always in pajamas, then you may not see any reason to change your clothes to study at home. You're the exception, but I personally dress up for class, so to distinguish between lazy/lounging/relax time, and study time, I change my outfit in order to suit the mentality. 

Le Northern Belle | How to Actually Study at Home

Le Northern Belle | How to Actually Study at Home
Who's excited for studying?!?!?!

Le Northern Belle | How to Actually Study at Home
My attempt at taking an OOTD selfie -- definitely working towards getting a large wall mirror!

Find a Place

When finding a place, I suggest picking a location that is slightly remote. A room in your house that most people don't usually stay in or use. Try to avoid bedrooms or kitchens, just because you'll most likely fall asleep or start over snacking. The house I live in has a second living room in the basement that for the most part isn't used or if it is being used, it's usually really quiet. All you need is a table and a chair and congrats, you have a new study set up! Try and avoid sofas and coffee tables because you can also fall asleep on them because they are super comfy. However depending on the homework, a sofa can be perfectly fine. For my creative writing classes or blogging post, I prefer working on a couch! It all depends on your preferred style!

Le Northern Belle | How to Actually Study at Home

Get Rid of Distractions

The best way to eliminate distraction on my computer is with the ColdTurkey app. You fill in the websites you want to be "temporarily banned" from and for how long. Once you've submitted it, you can't go on those sites for the time, even if you delete the app! For my phone, I turn on the "Do Not Disturb" feature. When you turn this on, you phone won't make a sound or vibrate when you get any notifications. The only thing that will make a noise are repeat phone calls from the same person.

The websites I block are:

|| Pinterest ||
|| Facebook ||
|| Blogger ||
|| Instagram ||
|| Twitter || 
|| YouTube ||
|| Bloglovin ||


Le Northern Belle | How to Actually Study at Home

Take a Break

To avoid burning out, you have to take a break! Something to re-energize you and to get your mind off your work for a brief amount of time. I found that I needed a change of scenery, and since my roommate Kelsey was meeting up with a friend at Starbucks, I decided to tag along and get some work done there. 

Le Northern Belle | How to Actually Study at Home


Know When to Call it a Day

On Saturday, I was planning on watching the Women's Varsity hockey game because we were in the playoffs, so I knew that I had to get my work done by 2:00 PM! Luckily, I got all the work that I needed to get done for the day finished by 1:00-ish, so I even had time to grab some lunch before the game with Kelsey! We went to Freshii, which is like a healthy restaurant where you can make your own burritos or bowls, etc. This is definitely my go-to place for burrito bowls in Waterloo!

Le Northern Belle | How to Actually Study at Home

Le Northern Belle | How to Actually Study at Home
The Chicken/Steak Bowl I made before I literally inhaled it!

Le Northern Belle | How to Actually Study at Home
Me and Kelsey at the Hockey Game
Happy Studying!


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