Going vegan was probably one of the hardest yet rewarding choices I have made in my life thus far. It's definitely up there with choosing a university, picking a career path, and deciding to add a second degree. They're rewarding in the sense that they are things that I believe is the best choice for me and my future self. I haven't been vegan for very long. I started on April 15, 2016. 

When I first decided to go vegan, after watching a bunch of documentaries on animal agriculture, you could say I knew what I was getting into. No Dairy. No Meat. No Animal Byproducts. I guess I didn't completely realize what that specifically entailed. Coming back home from university and hanging out with friends and family, I began to realize how many things contained non-vegan things. Most meals at fast food restaurants are either made around a dairy or a meat product. The majority of the food in my house was too. I slowly began to realize the extent to which our society is dependent on  the animal agriculture business. Though it seemed like a difficult lifestyle to pursue, I was confident in my ability to see it through. 
Going Vegan | Le Northern Belle
Growing up, my family was the typical meat eating kind. I even remember me and my sister Evelyn literally craving meat if we went a day without it. We loved meat! Bacon, Salmon. Chicken, Steak, Elk, Bison, you name it, I probably ate it! Thinking about it now, it's slightly disturbing, but that was the environment I grew up in. Don't even get me started on dairy. 

The first time I learned about veganism was from my sorority big, Jenn. She had been vegan for some time, and I had wanted to know why she decided to cut out animals and their byproducts. I took in the information but didn't change anything. It was back to the same old lifestyle for me. The next time veganism came up to my attention was after watching Caitlin Bea's video. She had suggested that everyone watch a Netflix documentary called Cowspiracy. The day I watched her video, I had taken a sick day from school. (I was actually hoping that the snowstorm that was planned for that week came in, however, it ended up coming in the next day. Thanks, Mother Nature!) Anyways, with the whole day to myself, I decide to watch the documentary, which goes into what really happens in animal agriculture and how that field is actually the leading cause for not only greenhouse gasses but for many of North America's biggest diseases as well. 

I honestly couldn't believe what the documentary was telling me but after watching a few more on the topic, it was hard to not believe what was being said. I knew that for me, and my new guilty conscience, I had to make a change. A lifestyle change.

Going vegan wasn't something that was easy to do, but I knew I had to do it, especially for my future health. The great thing about it was that I didn't have anyone forcing or lecturing or guilting me into the lifestyle. It was a choice that I came up to myself, but I definitely had a lot of help.

If  you have or are thinking of going vegan, here are some of the tips that helped me the most.


Get Educated

Watch Documentaries, read scholarly articles, and do research on animal agriculture and veganism. Even if you don't want to be vegan, having a better understanding of the animal agriculture business is definitely good to know! You blindly support it by purchasing the products that come from that business. The documentaries that I have seen and highly recommend are:

Cowspiracy
Forks over Knives
Vegucated
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

Get Some Inspo

If you're not inspired or have no one or nothing to serve as an inspiration, it can be very easy to fall back into your old ways. I like to follow vegan YouTubers and Bloggers, this way I can get new ideas for food and drinks, or learn more about veganism. My favourite YouTubers and Bloggers are:

YouTube Channels
Zhouer of Vegan Recipes
Kalyn Nicholson
Kalel
itsMandarin

Bloggers
oh she glows (she also has a cookbook that is amazing and full of great recipes)
Minimalist Baker 
VeguKate

Going Vegan | Le Northern Belle


Start Now

Whether you go straight into the Vegan lifestyle or slowly assimilate into it, I highly suggest making some kind of a change (even if that change is just incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet) It truly is the small steps that make the biggest differences. 

If you do decide to become vegan, make sure you talk to your doctor and/or dietician before changing your lifestyle completely. Also, make sure you're going vegan for the right reasons. Most people go vegan for health benefits, the environmental benefits and/or the rights of animals. Identify which reasons you side with the most. Knowing this will make it easier to stick with this lifestyle (especially when you're first starting out). The one advice I have for anyone trying veganism is:

It's not as difficult as you may think! Get yourself a vegan cookbook and get creative!

Going Vegan | Le Northern Belle


Keep Healthy Everyone!

I'm normally not a big concert goer. Besides the free concerts that my university holds during Welcome Week, the only paid concert that I have been to was Down With Webster in Toronto, back in 2011. It was a fun time, don't get me wrong, but unless I can get a group of friends together who are super pumped to go (with none-to-minimal persuasive efforts needed), I'd rather spend my money on other things (i.e. food, clothes, shoes, trips).

However when my amazing sorority big, Jenn, suggested I come to Beyoncé's Formation tour with a group of friends (again, minimal effort needed), I jumped at the opportunity!

Having been to only a small handful of concerts (therefore no inspiration to spring off of), I am now stumped on what on earth to wear for this pretty much once-in-my-lifetime opportunity.
I came up with a few collages of potential outfits to wear, that all channel different kinds of style. If you could help me out by picking your favourite combinations, that would be amazing! Keep in mind that I will be wearing this outfit to the concert and then out to the clubs afterwards.

Concert Outfits | Help Me Get Ready For Beyoncé


Concert Outfits | Help Me Get Ready For Beyoncé


These are pretty much all the options for shoes that I was planning to wear for the concert. I do have other options that could also work with a few of the outfits which are a pair of white converse and a pair timberland boots. The only thing with those shoes is that I'm pretty sure that the group of us going are either wearing some kind of heel or are already tall (I want to be seen in photos!)

Now, it's time for what everyone has most likely been waiting for, let's see some outfits!
Concert Outfits | Help Me Get Ready For Beyoncé

The idea behind this posh-like outfit was that I would wear this with a long sleeved low plunging bodysuit underneath and then wear this jacket on top, either buttoned up or opened. Underneath the bodysuit, I would be wearing either skin coloured or fishnet tights (like Beyonceé wears her bodysuits). For shoes, I was thinking the over the knee boots. What do you think?

Concert Outfits | Help Me Get Ready For Beyoncé

Of course, there has to be an all-black outfit! I think any of the shoes would work well with this outfit but my top choices would be the heeled booties or the Nike Sky Hi Dunks.

Concert Outfits | Help Me Get Ready For Beyoncé
This is my take on a super edgy outfit. I'd also wear either the skin coloured or fishnet tights under the shorts and most likely pair it with the Nike Shoes.

Concert Outfits | Help Me Get Ready For Beyoncé
This my glitzy glam outfit, which I would likely pair with the heeled booties!

Concert Outfits | Help Me Get Ready For Beyoncé
Last but not least, this is my more casual outfit idea. Gotta have at least one! I'd also pair this with the Nikes. 


If you've been to a concert before I would love to hear your input and suggestions on my outfit options. If you have a different outfit or a different arrangement of the outfits I made, I want to know all about it in the comment section! Also, let me know what concerts/music festivals you'll be going to this year!

As you all may, or may not, know, I will be doing an exchange to The Netherlands next year for my last term of university. The excitement of going has kind of worn down, especially since I've now known for about two months. With my recent surge of free time (since I've finished all my exams and assignments for the semester) I've found myself going on Pinterest more and more! I know, what a huge shock! Now, even though I knew that The Netherlands was in Europe, it only recently crossed my mind that I could also take the opportunity to visit other countries in Europe. Once the light bulb finally went on, I started looking over the site and the internet to make a list of countries and cities I would love to see. 

The chances that I'll be able to see every single city on my list is most likely rare, but then again, I have no clue what my semester schedule will look like at the university. I will be in the Netherlands for about six months, so I have a good feeling that I'll be able to see a good chunk of these places during my time there. 

Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle

Spain 

Barcelona | Ibiza

Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona

Czech Republic

Prague

Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Prague

The United Kingdom & Ireland

London | Belfast | Dublin


Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
London

Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Dublin

Italy

Milan | Rome | Naples | Calabria

Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Milan


Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Rome

Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Naples

Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Calabria

Greece

Santorini

Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Oia, Santorini

Germany

Leipzig | Munich

Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Leipzig

Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Siegestor in Munich

Austria

Salzburg | Vienna

Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Salzburg

Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Belvedere Museum in Vienna

France

Marseille | Paris 


Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Marseille
Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Arc De Triomphe in Paris

The Netherlands

Amsterdam | Rotterdam | Lisse

Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Amsterdam
Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Rotterdam
Off to Europe | Le Northern Belle
Keukenhof in Lisse

If you want to see the Pinterest board that I've made for this Europe trip, feel free to check it out here! I have travel and packing tips on the board, along with cool sites and places to check out in each city!

The semester is finally over for me! Luckily, I don't have any exams during the final exam period, which means... An extra month off for summer break! However, it still doesn't feel like Summer, or even Spring, since Waterloo received another wonderful gift from Mother Nature on Sunday in the form of about 15 - 20cm of snow! Thanks, but no thanks.

Le Northern Belle | What Have I Been Up To?


Now, just because I don't have the typical final exams, I, by no means, can say that this semester was at all easy. Especially March, which was anything but a breeze. The thing is, when you don't have final exams, I should have read: prepare to have a bajillion and one things due during the last week of classes! I like to call this: Stress Overload

Le Northern Belle | What Have I Been Up To?

Even though I thought there was no way in hell that I would finish everything, I believe that every university student knows how to come clutch at the last minute. Alas, I am here, having finished all my assignments by the due date.

However in the midst of all the craziness that this semester brought, the one thing that I did that I 100% wish I could attend again is Kin Games! What is in Kin Games? One of the most amazing experience I've had so far as a university student. Well, it's a weekend long intercollegiate competition and conference that brings together Canada's Kinesiology departments. All weekend long, we scream cheers, play sports, party all night long, meet some amazing people and test how well you know our Kin. My team and I have been prepping since late September and after going, I can see why. 

I can definitely attest that by the end of the week, all you'll want is an unlimited supply of halls -- from all the nonstop cheering, a foam roller -- from all the late night dancing and sports you played...without stretching, and your own bed to sleep in -- possibly for 24 hours straight. Coming into university, I had always wanted to go on a Spring Break trip, and though it wasn't exactly 25 degrees and sunny in Montreal -- it was like 5 degrees...on a good day, this trip was a pretty great substitute! Later into April, I plan to make a blog post on What to Know if You're Going to KIN Games. I will link it here as well once it goes live.

So what am I up to now? As of right now, I am currently in the process of finding a full-time job for the summer. I've been applying to jobs left, right, and centre. I'm hoping to get a position or internship n the Public Relations or Communications field, so fingers crossed that I land one! Until then, I'll be working on improving my blog site. I'm excited to learn even more about HTML and hopefully get a better grasp of SEO. If you have any suggestions for how I can make my blog better, I would love to read about in the comments section below! 


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