Saturday, August 24, 2013

B2S 1: Back to School Food and Snacks

Hello again!

I meant to start posting these about a week ago, when school was a little further away, but at least here in Canada, school has still yet to start, so I think I have some more time. (I know from YouTube that it seems that in some places schools restart a bit earlier, but here in BC school starts again after Labour Day.) The posts are going to be going up on both this blog and my beauty blog—My Glittery Obsessions—since some of the content won’t make sense here, and vice versa. So make sure you check both blogs to get this whole series!


That said, I want to share with you some of my favourite lunch and snack foods/tips for school, especially some that may help keep you from reaching for the expensive, unhealthy alternatives that are readily available at many schools. It’s easy to find pre-packaged, portable snack food at the grocery store, but it might not be quite as easy to decide which ones are actually kinda good for you. And often it’s worth it to do a little more work yourself for a more nutritious, but still healthy, snack.

1. A water bottle is essential, and may keep you from heading to the overpriced pop machines when you get thirsty! In all technicality, any water bottle will do, but I suggest spending a little money to make sure that you’re getting a nice one that won’t hurt either you or the environment: you want to stay away from disposables and BPAs! My two suggestions are:

-A Water Bobble

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Not only are Bobbles cute, but they filter your water for you. This is great if you’re a little picky about drinking tap water like me, if your city’s water has lots of additives and doesn’t taste very good, or if you just like to make sure your water is clean.

As you can see in the picture, the cap is also the filter. Bobble suggests that you replace the filter after two months or 150 litres, but you probably aren’t going to drink a 150 litres in 2 months, so I would say you can probably change it every six months or so depending on your usage. If you’re worried about sanitation, or if your filter tastes a little funny, boiling it for a couple minutes fixes the issue, in my experience.

One con to this option is that the bottle itself is a fairly thin plastic, and if you’re rough on your waterbottles, it isn’t hard to dent or maybe break this one, so that’s something to keep in mind. They can also make a fair bit of noise letting air in through the filter after you take a sip, which can be embarrassing in class. If you want to see size and colour options, you can go to

Metal bottle

Considering how fragile the Bobble can be, my other suggestion is to get a metal water bottle. These can be a little more expensive, but the pricier ones keep your water from tasting metallic.

Though they won’t filter your water, the great thing about these bottles is that they are super durable. If you’re the type of person who can be a little clumsy, a metal waterbottle might get a little beat up looking, and it may dent if you’re throwing it on the concrete, but ultimately they’re pretty hard to damage.

They also last for ages. I’ve had mine for years, though it doesn’t look as good as it did at the beginning, and I don’t worry about it as much as I might worry about my Bobble. If you want to look for a metal water bottle, mine is from Sigg (, though there are other good brands that make similar products, such as KleanKanteen and One Green Bottle. (After a little research for this post, I’m now considering getting one of these bottles from Klean Kanteen, which also doubles as a Thermos or coffee mug!).

2. Single serve size yogurt:

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Yogurt can be an easy, healthy, and delicious on-the-go snack, and if you bring along a small baggie of granola or trail mix as well, then you have a DIY yogurt parfait! My favourite is honey or vanilla flavoured Greek yogurt, but obviously choose whichever you prefer, just try not to get one that has too much fat or sugar.

3. Starbucks Via:

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This product is a great option for coffee on the go, without paying cafe prices on or near campus or settling for crappy coffee. Also, though this is technically instant coffee, it certainly doesn’t taste like it. Instead it tastes almost exactly like a fresh cup of Starbucks coffee. There are also, at least during the summer months, flavoured iced Via and Refreshers options, though I don’t recommend the Refreshers, since they use fake sugar, while the In-store version is made with actual sugar! These are especially great if your school has a coffee shop or cafeteria that won’t mind you using their cream and sugar (or if you like your coffee black).

4. Fruits and veggies:

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These also make good healthy snacks for if you just need something to nibble on; cucumber, carrot sticks, celery, cherry or grape tomatoes, or whatever your favourite veggies are… toss them in a plastic bag or plastic container, and you’re good to go. Also fruit or fruit salad; fruit salad great because you can cut up a bunch of fruit, toss it together, and portion it so you have snacks for the whole week.

5. Leftovers/Soup/Pasta:

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If you have access to a microwave, get yourself a good airtight container and you can bring soup, pasta, or leftovers with you to school, instead of boring sandwiches every day, or expensive restaurant food at school, which can really add up both in money out of your wallet and calories into your body! Make sure the containers you get are BPA free and microwave safe!

6. Popcorn:

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If you are like me and like salty snacks, a great alternative to chips is popcorn, which is full of fibre, salty, but much lower in fat than chips, unless you drown it in butter! My favourite is smartfood, but you could pop your own and season it with whatever you like, such as salt, parmesan cheese, seasoning salt, basil and oregano, garlic... play around with it!

7. Plan and Pre-make:

If you’re anything like me, then maybe figuring out what to eat isn’t the problem so much as having the time to make sure you’re eating it. In my own case, I know that if I want to make sure to bring my own snacks and meals to school, then I need to make and package them the night before. If you’re rushing to get to class on time, you may not have time to put together some good food, and will opt to grab something unhealthy and/or expensive during your break on campus. Pre-packaging your food the night before will help you avoid this, since you’ll only have to grab it out of the fridge in the morning.


Obviously these are just very general suggestions. There are tons of other tips for eating healthy and cheap away from home, but I hope these ones give you some ideas for the upcoming semester/school year!

Let me know your tips for healthy, affordable eating in the comments! Thanks for reading!


Other posts in this series


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Read and To-Read

As promised, I’m back again with a book post! I think this is the first time I’ve posted about books here, which is a little odd, since it was supposed to be one of the main reasons I made this blog… Oh well, here it is now!

I want to let you know about some of the most important books in my very long To-Read list, but first, I thought it would be cool to show and tell you a little bit about the last few books I read (not for class). I was going to give you blurbs about the plot of each, but that would take up a lot of space. Instead, I’m going to link you to the Good Reads page, and if you’re interested you can find the blurbs there:

1. “Bleach” by Kubo Tite

I’m going to count these all under one, since I’ve read tons of them, there are tons more to go, and they are very quick to read through. Bleach is a Manga, which, for those who don’t know, is essentially a Japanese comic book. They have a very distinctive style, which, to be honest, I used to hate to death, and am still not all that thrilled with. However, if you can get past the style, or if you like it, the story to Bleach is pretty interesting.

Stereotypically, this is probably a “boy book”—there’s lots of action and fighting, and the majority of the main characters are male. But I love tons of stereotypically boy-things, so that wasn’t going to stop me, and it really shouldn’t stop anyone. It’s got action and fighting, as I said, as well as pretty good characterization, plot, drama, magic, and humor.

I’m not finished yet, and as I said, there’s a lot to this manga, so it’s difficult to review. It’s definitely interesting, though, and worth a try. If you don’t have access to manga in stores near you, you can read translations online. Bleach is massive, so it’s not hard to find. One good place to read it, though, is Manga Panda.

2. “A Study In Scarlet” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I read this one for free on my tablet, so it doesn’t technically have a cover, but it looks prettier this way =P

Anyways, I started reading this because of Sherlock, which is a show you must have heard of if you live on the internet, but if you haven’t its wonderful, look it up. (By Steven Moffat, starting Benedict Cumberbatch). It is actually surprisingly close to the show, so it was really easy to read and interesting. My only problem with this story in particular, which includes a narrative of how Sherlock and Watson meet, is that, in the second half, it deviates from the original story for a very long time, without any promise of returning to the original point, until it suddenly does very close to the end. Other than that though, this was a fun read!

3. “Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien

Without a doubt, one of my very favourite books and stories. I’ve read it a couple times before when I was a kid, but I hadn’t read it since middle school. After years of only experiencing the movies, which are also fantastic, it was really cool to re-read these books and be reminded of all the extra awesomeness that was never in the movies. Tolkien is just such a wonderful author. His descriptions are just insanely beautiful, his word choice is perfect. Maybe it’s because I did read them as a kid (with my mom. I’m cool, okay? Don’t judge), but for some reason, re-reading this book (and yes, technically it’s one novel, not a trilogy, but that’s a bit of a technicality) is just comforting. I literally forget everything else and feel so immersed in its world. If you’ve never read The Lord of the Rings, I definitely suggest you give them a go. Especially if you love fantasy and/or descriptive fiction. Tolkien is practically the father of modern fantasy novels!

4. “Silver Linings Playbook” by Matthew Quick

I meant to read this before seeing the movie, but, because of school, I ended up going to see the movie first. If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? It’s fantastic! And it would be fantastic even without Jennifer Lawrence, but of course it’s better for her being in it! =P

Anyways, when I finally did get around to reading this book, I was a little surprised to find out how differently the story is presented. The point of view in the movie is much more objective, whereas the book is narrated by Pat, the protagonist, himself. That’s Bradley Cooper’s character, if you were wondering. However, despite that and numerous other small differences between this book and the movie, I loved it. It was fantastic. I definitely suggest experiencing both the movie and the book for what they are, because they are both great individually.

5. “Divergent” and “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth

These are the first two books in a trilogy and I love them. The next book comes out in October, and I’ve already pre-ordered it so it will come straight to my door when it’s available!  This trilogy is a teen/young adult dystopian story, somewhat similar to the Hunger Games, but with very important differences. The biggest similarity, in my opinion, is that they are both dystopian novels aimed at teenagers, probably teenage girls, since the protagonists are female.

Either way, though, these books are emotional, intense, exciting, and a great read. Also, they were surprisingly quick reads for me, despite their page count. I’m super excited for the final instalment, as well as for the Divergent movie that is supposed to be coming out soon. Don’t be discouraged because these are teen books, I think there’s a lot in them for everyone to enjoy.



1. “The Selection” by Kiera Cass

Another young adult dystopian-style novel/series. I read the first three chapters of this from a sampler ebook from the Google Play store and fell in love. My friend bought me the book and I can’t wait to get back into it after my assignments are all handed in!

2. “A Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin

I’m sure you already know about these if you don’t live under a rock. These are the books that spawned the intense, heartbreaking, funny, dramatic, exciting, and bloody fantastic show by the same name. These books are huge, and often compared to the Lord of the Rings, which I told you my love of earlier, so I’m super excited to try reading them, especially since I love the show so much! I do suspect that this series will be much more character driven than LotR, though, which is more focused on plot, but I’m sure I’ll love it just the same!

3. “Delirium” by Lauren Oliver

You may notice a trend in some of my choices by now; this is another teen dystopian series. I found this one through the same sampler, I believe, as The Selection above. If you’re interested in either of these books but unsure of them, you could definitely get the same sampler and try out the first couple chapters.

4. "It's Kind of a Funny Story" by Ned Vizzini

This is a book I’ve wanted to read for a few years now. I think I first heard about it in a magazine, randomly. Its about this kid who has some mental issues, at least partly from school and social stress, but it sounds like its more than that. I’m looking forward to it, so I hope I finally get to it soon.

5. “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins

Sometimes I hate Richard Dawkins for being a little rude and arrogant, and sometimes he is hilarious and kinda my hero. Considering this is one of the biggest books about atheism, I thought it would be interesting to read, and I bought it from Value Village a while back, but haven’t had a chance to read it. However, it’s one of the textbooks for my one class this next semester, so that’s a great opportunity to finally read it!

6. “Troilus and Cressida” by Geoffrey Chaucer

I think I picked up this old book from my favourite used bookstore in Downtown Vancouver. If I remember correctly, its an Arthurian story, though that might be a guess. It is definitely, however, a story that Shakespeare later re-wrote in one of his lesser known plays. I know from the Canterbury Tales that I kinda like Chaucer’s style, so I wanted to read this story through him, not Shakespeare. Also, old books smell good…

7. “Warm Bodies” by Isaac Marion

I picked this book up when I first heard about the movie, because the concept interested me. The movie doesn’t really interest me, because it looks like a weird comedy, but what I’ve heard about the book is that it’s a bit more serious and drama/romancy, whereas the movie is funny. I think I’m much more likely to enjoy the more serious version, espeically because zombies aren’t usually my thing.

8. “An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green

I love John Green to death. If you haven’t read any of his books, or checked him and his brother out on YouTube (they are the vlogbrothers), you’re missing out on life. John’s books are hilarious, heart-warming, and heartbreaking. . . sometimes all at the same time. This is my best friend’s second favourite after The Fault In Our Stars (Also my favourite), and the only one that he didn’t collaborate with another author on that I haven’t read, so I’ve bought this one and it’s waiting on my shelves for me.

9. “Sacred Hearts” by Sarah Dunant

I read “The Birth of Venus” in highschool, by the same author, and I loved it. This is one of the few adult books on my list. It’s set in the Renaissance, which is one of the most fascinating periods of history in my opinion, and I know I love Dunant’s writing style, so I’m looking forward to this book.

10. “The Lucky One” by Nicholas Sparks

Finally, because I think 10 is probably more than enough, I have this one. I bought this ages ago to read as fluff during a semester break, but never got around to it. Since then, I’ve seen the movie, which was beautiful, so I’m looking forward to reading the book even more. I love Nicholas Spark’s books; they’re very romantic, fluffy, sometimes sad, and always well-written. Or at least, I’ve never had reason to complain about one. They may be predictable, but I see no problem with that.


If this interested you, and you want to stalk my reading more often and more efficiently, you can add me on GoodReads here:

Thanks for reading!

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

End of Semester-ish Update

Hello again. It’s been a while since I posted here, but I guess that’s alright.

I’m finally nearing the end of this semester, and my brain is so ready for a break! I have two assignments left, which are due on Wednesday (8 pages) and Thursday (2000 words). No, of course I haven’t started either one yet, but I really should.

Overall, this hasn’t been a bad semester, and I liked two of my classes (out of three) a lot, even if I hate writing the essays, I do like reading the books and going to the classes. And the learning stuff. That said, I would love some time for myself, with only books that I want to read, and none that I have to read by a deadline. I have a stack of books that I want to read, that I’ve either been slowly acquiring through the library or by actually buying them, though most that I haven’t bought aren’t physically with me at the moment, but they’re all written in a list somewhere. (Because I really like lists.) I was going to post that for you, but I actually think I’m going to do a separate post about books that I’ll put up a couple days after this one with a bunch I want to read, and mini-reviews on some of the books I’ve read/been reading recently.

Anyways, back to school stuff… I was looking over my class stuff, and it looks like I only have about 4 classes left to do before I can finish with a major in English and a minor in Humanities. Which, yes, I know, sounds like the most useless degree you’ve ever heard of, and what the hell am I going to do with it, right? Well, shut up, I enjoyed getting it, and I’ll figure it out, okay? (You might be able to tell that this has become a bit of a thing over the past couple years.)

I’m planning to take one class next semester, since I hate fall semester anyways, but one class will keep me my UPass (BC bus passes for students), and since I can’t take more than three classes in a semester without basically bombing them, that’ll leave only three classes for my last semester. HOWEVER, because I’ll only be in one class, I’ll have to make sure I get a job, and do it fast, since you have to have a minimum of three classes in order to get a student loan, and third-year classes cost more than a thousand dollars a pop, plus books.

I’m hoping to get a job at my local library, which is super close to my house, and I think would be a great job for me, since it’s usually fairly quiet, I love books, and it wouldn’t be too hard. And I wouldn’t have to work with food again, which would be a first in a job for me, since my last two jobs were a fast food place and a diner x_X! If that doesn’t work, though, I may also look into Sephora, Chapters, or other libraries a little farther from my house. Sephora would be pretty amazing, considering my interests, and since you don’t need to be a makeup artist to work the cash registers. Still, I think a library would be a much better job for me, since it wouldn’t be retail, and I wouldn’t have to push sales. Also, if I felt like wearing little-to-no makeup, a library wouldn’t look at me funny, whereas there’d be a lot more pressure to look great every day at Sephora! Still, both would be good ideas.

What else? I covered the end of this semester, needing a job, next semester, and that I’m almost done my degree (which is super-scary to me! I’ve never not been in school, so it will be weird not to have classes to go to!)

I think that’s everything. If you made it through that wall of text (close to 700 words), then congratulations! You deserve a treat, so go get one! =P Thanks so much for reading, and check back soon for my read and to-read lists!

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