Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

 

Growing up, my favourite Disney film was easily Beauty and the Beast (1991). I didn’t really have many friends when I was younger, and so I often sought out characters – whether they be in books I read, or movies I watched – with whom I could relate. I tried to find characters who, like me, were outcasts; characters who were different from the people around them, and who were searching for their proper place in the world. More often than not, I found those characters in Disney films. I found comfort in characters like Hercules (Hercules, 1997), Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1996) and, most importantly, Belle (Beauty and the Beast, 1991).

Belle has always had a very special place in my heart. She has been my favourite Disney character for as long as I can remember. More than any other character in any other film or book, she was the one with which I’ve always felt the most connected. When I first watched Beauty and the Beast – when I was initially introduced to her – I felt like I was watching a version of myself dancing across my screen. For the first time in my life, I found a character who was exactly like me. For the first time, I didn’t feel like an outcast. I didn’t feel alone. I had a Disney Princess that was exactly like me.

When I heard that there was going to be a live action remake of my favourite film, it took everything in me not to start crying. I was so excited to have my favourite story come to life. I couldn’t hardly wait. When I found out that Emma Watson was going to be playing my beloved princess, my heart practically did cartwheels in my chest. The woman that brought one of my favourite book characters to life was going to be bringing my favourite princess to life on screen. What more could I want?

I have anxiously anticipated the release of this film. I’ve practically been counting down the days, waiting for it to come out. On Friday, the movie I’ve been waiting for was released, and my mom very kindly took me to see it that afternoon. I can say that I pretty much haven’t stopped smiling since we walked out of the theatre.

What I loved more than anything about this version of the film is that it remained rather true to the original that I fell in love with. They kept all of the music from the original film, and they created real life versions of many of the outfits Belle wore in the cartoon. Down to the most minuscule detail this film remained true to the original, and for that I am so very grateful. This rather subtle and often understated reference to the original allows older audiences familiar with its predecessor to pay homage to the classic, while not distracting them and newer/younger audiences from the story and all that this new version has to offer.

That’s another thing I loved about this new version – all the new elements that were included. I must start with the new songs, because I’ve had them playing almost non-stop since I left the movie theatre. My favourites have to be Days in the Sun and Evermore, though I also adore How Does a Moment Last Forever. These new songs, for me, add dimension to the story and to its characters; Days in the Sun, for example, adds more dimension to characters like Mrs. Potts and Chip and Lumiere and Cogsworth, etc. while Evermore cements the Beast’s feelings for Belle after he lets her go back to help her father. I personally love and appreciate the depth these songs provide to the characters and therefore to the overall story.

Aside from the new songs that have been included, I just loved seeing this story that has meant so much to me over the years come to life. I think they did an absolutely brilliant job transitioning from animation into live action/computer generation. I think the brilliance was cemented particularly in the Be Our Guest sequence. That was the scene that sold me on the whole thing. The whole film was just so beautiful and so well done in every way. There aren’t nearly enough words to accurately describe how much I enjoyed this updated version of my favourite Disney classic.

All in all, I give this modern adaptation of my beloved Disney film two thumbs up and a five star rating. If you have the chance, I do urge you to go and see this movie. It is delightful and beautiful and more than I could have possibly dreamed it would be.

I hope everyone has a lovely week. For those coming off of March Break, I hope your week off was relaxing and rejuvenating, and I wish you luck upon your return to regular life. I can’t wait to write to you all again next week. Until then, much love.

Brittany xo

Musings #3

Recently, I’ve found myself overcome with this uncontrollable, unstoppable wave of nostalgia. For whatever reason, I’ve been thinking almost nonstop about my childhood and all the things about it that made it what it was – the things that made it so great. I’ve been thinking about all the movies and tv shows, people and places, and most importantly, the music. Today, I’ve decided to share with you a handful of the songs from my childhood that I love and cherish.

When I think about my childhood, the first thing that comes to mind is, more of ten than not, music. I always recall the music that I listened to. For the most part, I remember listening to The Beatles since they were my dad’s favourite band. We listened to them all the time. They were the first band I really appreciated. But there were plenty of other things we listened to – other bands and artists – and there are a number of songs and artists that I remember and think of fondly.

Today, I’ve decided to share a small selection of some of those other bands and artists and the songs that shaped my childhood. These following songs are ones through which I find myself reliving memories or moments from the past that I cherish. They’re songs through which I find I’m four years old again and hanging out with my dad. They’re songs through which I find myself sitting in my car seat and watching the world pass by as we make our way to the beach or to my grandmas. They’re songs that define the years that shaped me. Today, I’ve very happy to share with all of you reading a selection of the songs from my playlist, Songs I Grew Up To. Without further ado, here they are…

Songs I Grew Up To

Bus Stop, The Hollies

Calendar Girl, Neil Sedaka

Venus And Mars / Rock Show, Paul McCartney

Sad Songs (Say So Much), Elton John

Kokomo, The Beach Boys

Suspicious Minds, Elvis Presley

My Sweet Lord, George Harrison

As per usual, this is not the complete playlist. This is merely a small sample of the playlist I’ve curated to represent my younger years. If you’re interested in hearing the other songs that helped to define my childhood and shape who I am, you can check it out on Spotify anytime. If you want to, you’re also free to lend an ear to the various other playlists that I’ve carefully curated / am in the process of mastering.

I hope you’ve all had a fantastic week, and that this new one treats you all well. I look forward to writing to you all once again, this time next week. Until then, be safe and much love 🙂

Brittany xo

International Women’s Day 2017

International women’s Day is one of my favourite days of the year. It’s one day a year where I really make a point of pausing and reflecting on all of the amazing women in this world, and all of the amazing things they are doing or that they will do. It’s a day where i look at my friends and I really think about all the things that this brilliant, talented, fierce girls are going to do with their futures. It’s a day where I make a point of stopping to look at and reflect upon myself, the woman I am becoming, and all of the things I hope to accomplish in my life.

I always like to take some time and celebrate and honour the women that have had some influence or impact on my life. That’s the whole reason I write my Inspiring Women series. I love talking about all the amazing women that I feel so blessed to be able to call my role models. I love getting to share my love and admiration for women like Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, sophia Bush, etc. At the same time, I really love celebrating the incredible women who have a direct impact on me and my life: my friends and my family. Today’s post is dedicated to them; the most important and incredible women I’ve ever known.

I am so unbelievably honoured to have the chance to surround myself with so many brilliant, talented, beautiful and kindhearted girls. I am so incredibly honoured that I get to call them all my friends. My “girl squad” is made up of so many amazing individuals whom inspire me more and more every single day to be the best possible version of myself. I can never thank them enough for all of the love and support and just genuine friendship they have shown me over the years. My life is genuinely better because of them, and I don’t know what I would do without them. To all of my gorgeous friends (the list is too long for me to possibly name you all), thank you is not nearly good enough. There are no words in the English language that adequately describe how grateful I am for you all. I hope someday I will be able to repay you for all of the love you have given me.

I’m so grateful for the woman that I call my mom. Without a doubt, she is the strongest, fiercest, most incredible woman I have ever met. My mom is fearless. She is Wonder Woman in every sense of the word. These past few years have been so challenging for her, and she has handled every challenge and every obstacle with ease and elegance. Every decision I have made these past few years, she has supported. She has continuously encouraged me to follow my heart and to do what is right for me. She has held me when I’ve cried. She has made me laugh harder than anyone. She is the Lorelei to my Rory and i have no idea what I’m going to do without her next year. To my amazing mother, once again, the English language fails me. There are no words that adequately express how grateful I am to have you in my life. I will never be able to repay you for all that you have taught me and all that you have given me.

I urge all of you reading this to take a moment – not just today but everyday – and reflect on the women in your life that have had an impact on the person you have become. I urge you to stop and reflect on all that they have given you, all you have learnt from them, all that you love about them. I then urge you to do everything in your power to thank them. I know that is what I will be doing everyday for the rest of my life.

Happy International Women’s Day, everyone. I hope it’s been a good one.

 

 

Oscar 2017 Hopes and Predictions

Tonight is the night! Tonight, Hollywood celebrates the best of the best in film, and I am very very excited to see who’s going to take home what awards tonight. As a lover of film, the Oscars are one of my favourite shows to watch because I love seeing good, deserving films receive the recognition the deserve. As a lover of fashion, I also really love seeing what all the stars will be wearing on the red carpet/on stage.

In honour of this evenings awards, I have decided to share my Oscar hopes (the films/people/songs I would like to see take home the awards) and my Oscar predictions (the ones I think will actually end up taking the awards home) with all of you. I spent a lot of time doing my research to make these hopes and predictions (because I unfortunately haven’t had enough time to go out and see all of the movies nominated) and I spent a lot of time picking out my absolute favourites (which was hard because some categories had me wanting to choose almost all the nominees). Unfortunately, there are some categories I just couldn’t include in my list, mainly because my understanding of and interest in those areas was a bit lacking, so for that I am sorry.

Without further ado, I would like to invite you to check out my Hopes and Predictions for the 2017 Academy Awards. Enjoy…

Best Picture

Hopes: I’d like to see Hidden Figures or Moonlight win

Predictions: La La Land will likely take this award home tonight

Directing

Hopes: I’d like to see Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) take this one home tonight

Predictions: I can see either Damien Chazelle (La La Land) or Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea) taking this one

Best Actor

Hopes: I’d like to see Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge) win

Predictions: I do see Ryan Gosling (La La Land) or Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) snagging this one

Best Supporting Actor

Hopes: I really want to see Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) or Dev Patel (Lion) take this award home tonight

Predictions: I do see Mehershala Ali taking this one, to be honest

Best Actress

Hopes: I really want to see either Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins), Natalie Portman (Jackie) or Ruth Negga (Loving) take this one

Predictions: I think Emma Stone (La La Land) will likely take this one

Best Supporting Actress

Hopes: I would like to see either Viola Davis (Fences) or Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) take this one home tonight

Predictions: I can see either Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea) or Naomie Harris (Moonlight) getting this award tonight

Best Adapted Screenplay

Hopes: I’m rooting for either Arrival or Hidden Figures for this one

Predictions: I can see either Hidden Figures or Lion taking it tonight

Best Original Screenplay

Hopes: I do want to see La La Land take this one tonight…

Predictions: …and I have a feeling we’ll either see La La Land or Manchester by the Sea take this one home

Best Cinematography

Hopes: Again, I would really like to see Linus Sandgren (La La Land) taking this one home tonight

Predictions: I have a feeling Linus Sandgren (La La Land) will end up taking this one

Best Original Score

Hopes: I would really like to see Justin Hurwitz (La La Land) take this one home tonight

Predictions: and I do see Justin Hurwitz taking it home with him

Best Original Song

Hopes: It should come as no surprise that I’d really like to see How Far I’ll Go (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Moana) take this one home tonight (I’m rooting for that EGOT)

Predictions: City of Stars (La La Land) or Audition (The Fools Who Dream) (La La Land) will probably be taking this one tonight

Best Animated Feature Film

Hopes: I’d really like to see Moana take this one

Predictions: I can see Kubo and the Two Strings getting this one

***

Who are you lovely lot rooting for tonight? What films are you guys hoping to see win which awards? Let me know either in the comments below, or on twitter (you can find a link to my twitter in the sidebar – I’ll likely be tweeting along with the show tonight, so feel free to reach out and share your thoughts) what you guys are looking forward to seeing tonight. I’d love to hear any and all your thoughts.

I hope you’ve all had a fabulous weekend, and I hope this week is a good one for each and every one of you. Have a great night, enjoy the show if you’re watching, and I will see you right back here in one week. Until then, much love.

Brittany xo

Someday Summary – Sunday, February 19

I am acutely aware of how fleeting time is. I am uncomfortably aware of how uncertain life happens to be. I am incredibly aware of the fact that tomorrow is never really guaranteed, and just how passive I tend to be in the face of that fact. Despite this level of awareness, I continue to find myself unable to comprehend the ways in which my life keep rapidly transforming – the ways in which I am continuously evolving.

Life and time are incredibly complex, confusing, almost incomprehensible concepts. They pass us by so quickly, we barely see it happening until it’s too late. Even when we find ourselves so aware of the speed at which everything passes by, we’re hardly equipped to handle it. We’re unable to slow things down. We live in a world where everything is full speed ahead, which leaves little time for taking everything in and properly living in the moment.

I’d be lying if I said I’m not afraid of all the things coming up. If I were to sit here and tell you i’m not anxious about graduation and university, and that I’m not heartbroken just thinking about saying goodbye to my friends, and that I’m completely ready to embark on this brand new chapter, I would by lying. That’s not to say I’m not excited – I really truly am – I’m just also very scared.

Change has never been an interest of mine. Growing up, I thought of change as this unnerving, uncomfortable, unpleasant process that appeared just as I found myself growing comfortable with the environment I’d been forced into. Change and I have never really gotten along. Over the past couple of years, I’ve found myself getting kind of used to it. That doesn’t necessarily make it easier, though.

Change is still scary. It’s still unsettling and mostly unpleasant. The thought of my whole world changing so drastically makes me sick to my stomach. Regardless of how excited I may be, I’m terrified for what’s to come. I may be only two weeks away from eighteen, but I feel all of ten years old. I don’t feel like I’m ready for a massive life change just yet.

If I had the chance to go back and give my past self one piece of advice, I would tell myself to breathe, and to appreciated each and every moment I have. Time is fleeting. Life is short. Change is inevitable. I will never have the moments I long for. They’re gone. I’m now faced with the future, and that is what I must accept. I must go on to cherish the moments I have left.

* * *

Happy Family Day to all those in Ontario. I hope you’ve all enjoyed your nice long weekend. I know I have.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post. It’s a bit unorganized, and a bit reflective – which is sort of the point of the “Someday Summary” series, I suppose. I enjoyed writing it. It allowed me the chance to gain some clarity on some things, I think.

I hope you’ve all had a fabulous weekend, and I look forward to writing to you all again next week. Until then, be safe and much love.

Brittany xo

Musings #2

I have to apologize for my absence these past couple of weeks. Final assignments and exams kind of took over my life, and I’m afraid I had to put the blog on the back burner and focus on the tasks ahead of me. It broke my heart, not writing to you lovely lot, but I did what I had to do to get through the task at hand, and I am now back and ready to pick up where I left off!

Today, I’m happy to share a second instalment to my ‘Musings’ series. For those who aren’t aware, or who may have forgotten, Musings is a series where I showcase playlists I’ve made to represent specific moods or activities (i.e my Mornings playlist for getting ready in the morning, or my Good Vibes Only playlist when I need a little pick-me-up). This week, I’m happy to be sharing a playlist I made recently that I’m a wee bit obsessed with for the moment…

My Earl Grey playlist is a new addition to my playlist library, but it’s easily one of my favourites. I named it Earl Grey because, although this isn’t true for me personally, tea is something many use to help them relax, or that they drink on a cold, yucky kind of day for comfort and warmth; to me, tea represents relaxation, which is what I wanted this particular playlist to represent as well.

This, for me, is the perfect relaxation mix; there’s a nice balance between melancholy and lively, all of which remains relatively mellow to promote optimum relaxation. This playlist is one I love to have playing in the background while I read, while I clean/reorganize, and even while I’m writing.

Today, I’m very happy to be sharing a handful of the songs specially selected for this playlist, with all of you. Without further ado, please enjoy my Earl Grey playlist…

JOY – Ellie Goulding

You Matter To Me – Sara Bareilles and Jason Mraz

Golden Casket – King Baby James

Love Is A Losing Game – Sam Smith

She Had The World – Panic! at the Disco

Sofa – Ed Sheeran

Friday I’m In Love – Janet Devlin

Lights On – Shawn Mendes

Always – Panic! at the Disco

Fast Car – Tracy Chapman

Much like last time, this is not the total playlist. This is just a small selection of the songs in this particular playlist – a handful of carefully selected songs to showcase the variety included in this playlist, and to highlight some songs that I think are pretty noteworthy.

If you’d like to check out the full playlist, you can find it on my Spotify here and give it a listen. Feel free to also lend your ear to some of my other carefully cultivated playlists – many of which will probably be discussed in later instalments of this little series.

I hope you’ve all had a good few weeks. To those of you reading that have just completed your exams, I’m sure you did a great job on each and every one you wrote, and I wish you luck in whatever these next few months have for you.

I wish you all a lovely week. For those of us embarking on our second (and maybe our last) semester of high school, good luck and enjoy it. I look forward to seeing you back here next week. Until then, be safe and much love, Brittany xo.

P.S: That fabulous image of honey in my featured image is not mine. It is the photo that came in a template I used on Canva, and so all credits/rights go to the original owner.

Inspiring Women Part V

It has been way too long since I last updated this series. Just to refresh what this particular series is all about because I know it’s been quite a while, ‘Inspiring Women‘ is a blog series I created to basically rave about the women of the world that I admire, and that inspire me to be the best woman I can possibly be. In the past, I’ve talked about women such as Emma Watson, Taylor Swift, Sophia Bush and Hazel Hayes to name just a few.

This week, I’m super excited to be honouring two women that, I think, represent unquestionable grace and elegance. These women speak with unrivalled eloquence. They carry themselves with dignity, they stand up passionately for what they know and believe is right, and they remind the world what it means to be a lady. They command respect because they deserve respect. This week, I’m very excited to be honouring Michelle Obama and Meryl Streep in the fifth instalment of Inspiring Women.

Michelle Obama

In his farewell address, I believe President Obama perfectly summed up everything I’ve always admired about his First Lady: “You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You’ve made me proud. You’ve made the country proud.” For the past eight years, I have watched this beautiful, intelligent and all around incredible woman work to make the world a little bit better in a lot of ways. I’ve watched her lead with kindness, with grace, and with dedication. I’ve watched her passionately advocate for healthy living, for higher education, for the education of girls across the world, and for service members and their families. For eight years, I have admired this amazing woman who prides herself first and foremost on being a mother. I have admired this woman who dedicates her time and her energy to helping those who help others. I have admired this woman who makes an effort to make this world a better place for everyone to live.

Michelle Obama has set the bar for future First Ladies. She has set the bar for future generations of change makers. I’m sad to see her leave the White House, but I look forward to seeing all the things she does in the days and years to come.

Meryl Streep

Last weekend, I watched Meryl Streep accept the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and I cried as I watched/listened to her beautiful and moving speech. Her speech that night reminded me of just why I love and admire this woman – it’s because she is fearless, because she cares about the the world and its people, and because she is passionate about speaking out against injustice. I’ve spent the last week replaying her speech in my head. I’ve spent the last week reminded of just how wonderful I think this woman is.

From the moment I first saw Meryl Streep appear on screen, I knew she was someone whom I would come to respect and wish to emulate. I find myself sort of envious of her spirit, her dedication, and her subtle elegance. I envy the way in which she carries herself, and the way in which she delivers every word she says – scripted or not. She is a woman whose talent and dedication to her craft inspires me on a regular basis to do my best, to push myself to be my best, and to create work I am proud of.

* * *

I hope you all enjoyed this latest instalment to the Inspiring Women series. I really love writing this series, and I’m really looking forward to writing more instalments of it over the course of this year.

As always, I would love to hear from any and all of you, so feel free to leave a comment on this post or reach out on twitter (link in the sidebar) and share your thoughts. Who are some women that inspire you? Why do they inspire you? How do they inspire you? I’d love to hear your responses.

I hope you all have a fantastic week. I can’t wait to see you back here next week. Until then, much love, Brittany xo.

My New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve always like the start of a new year. I always look at it like the blank canvas, just waiting for the artist to fill it with vibrant colours and new ideas. I like the start of a new year because it’s a chance to refresh, reflect, and restart. It’s a time of rebirth and renewal.

2017, as I’ll probably say a million times throughout this post, is going to be a pretty big year for me. My life is going to be changing in so many ways, and it’s a bit scary to try and wrap my head around just how big these changes are going to be. My whole life is going to be turned upside-down. That’s probably why I’ve decided to dedicate this year to looking after myself first, and everything/everyone else second.

This year, I’m making it my ultimate goal to be the best possible version of myself – and I mean in all areas of my life. I want 2017 to be my healthiest, happiest year so far. I want to improve my health – physically, mentally/emotionally and socially – and I want to focus on doing things I actually enjoy, again. I want to have fun again.

The following list is made up of miniature goals that i think will help me to eventually achieve my ultimate goal. Some are easier and smaller than others, and some are going to be a bit tougher to really incorporate into my regular routine. Regardless, I’m excited for the challenges. Without further ado, please enjoy my life of New Year’s Resolutions for 2017…

♥Be active♥

2017 is going to be a year where I am going to try and stress self-love and self-care. I’ve realized these past few months that I have really let my physical, mental and emotional health slip, and it’s something I really want to focus on and remedy in the new year. One of the things I really want to try and incorporate into my regular routine is exercise.

There are so many reasons that I want to incorporate exercise into my life on a regular basis. Part of it comes from wanting to get in shape and lose some weight. A larger part comes from wanting a healthy way to deal with stress and anxiety. I need to develop a healthy outlet to help me calm down, relax, and get out any negative energy that it stopping me from doing what I need to do.

I’m starting out pretty slow and simple, right now. I’m working on regularly incorporating a bit of yoga into my day to help me calm down and relax while working on stressful projects, or preparing for exams, etc. Over the course of the year, I’m hoping to gradually add more activities in, and over time improve my regular physical activity.

♥Actively keep a journal♥

There was a time, a few years ago, when I actively wrote in a journal on a regular basis. When my dad got sick, he told me to write down everything – every thought, feeling, fear. I wasn’t really sure why he stressed this so much at the time, but over the years I’ve come to understand, and I am forever grateful he did. Writing out everything that was happening, and everything I was thinking and feeling really helped me process what was going on around me, and helped me come to terms with a lot of things.

I want to try and get back into journal keeping because 2017 is going be a really big year for me, filled with some life altering changes, and I want to be able to not only process all the things happening, but I want to remember it all. I want to be able to look back on this moment in my life in a few years, and know how I was feeling, what I was thinking, what was happening. I want to have a physical and personal archive of everything I go through.

Journaling is a really great way to relieve stress/anxiety, and a way to work through tough emotions or personal problems. I want to et back into regular journaling so that I can work to relieve some of the stresses and anxieties I often let build up inside on a far too regular basis.

♥Take more pictures♥

Photography has always been a massive part of my life, and it’s something that I’ve always had a significant interest in. My dad was very much a photographer – he literally always had a camera with him – and he unintentionally passed his interest on to me growing up. I became fascinated with technique and with finding the perfect shot alongside him, and it’s a fascination that seems to only grow as time goes by.

In 2017, I want to take more pictures. I want to focus on capturing more moments. This is going to be a year of great change for me. I graduate high school this year. I head off to university this fall. I’m suddenly going to be separated from most of my friends, from my family, and from my home. I’m going to basically be restarting my life. Before that happens, I want to create a visual catalogue of all the people, places and things that are so important to me, and that I may not have the chance to see/visit as often as I do right now.

This is going to be year of great change, and I want to make sure I remember every moment of it. I want to make sure that I remember how every change feels. I want to remember everything, so that when I look back on this year, all the thoughts and feelings and fears and hopes will come flooding back to me each and every time.

♥Read 18 books by the end of the year♥

Every year, the site Goodreads allows its users to set a reading goal for the year. Each year, I look at what birthday I have coming up and I challenge myself to try and read that number of books before year’s end. At this point in my life, I have yet to actually achieve this goal. I have gotten close, though.

Last year, I read 10 out of 17 books. I’m pretty proud of myself for reaching a number that high…it’s a lot better than I thought it was going to be. This year, though, I’m going to push myself to a bit better (obviously). I want to get to my goal – hell, I want to SURPASS my goal. I am determined to clear out some of the books that have been sitting on that lovely shelf of mine for far too long. Plus, the more books I read this year, the more blog posts I can write…

♥Cook/Bake more♥

I love cooking and I love baking, but they’re interests that I often find myself shying away from. I’ve never really pushed myself to explore them because I’m terrified of a) contracting some sort of food-born illness that could kill me and b) I never really had any reason to try exploring them.

If you recall, I posted a piece last year about cutting meat out of my diet (you can find it right here if you don’t remember/are curious). This really hasn’t been all that difficult a change for me, overall. While there have been some days where I’ve made the odd exception to the rule, overall it’s been a really easy adjustment for me. I’m feeling a lot better, physically, and I’m way happier with what I’m putting in my body on a regular basis.

My challenge for this year is to push myself to create some meals for myself that are a little more exciting. While it’s been an easy adjustment to cut meat from my diet, it’s also been a bit bland. This year, I want to spice up my culinary skills and push myself to be a bit more creative. I want to try and make new dishes using ingredients I’m already comfortable with, and maybe even explore some new ones that I haven’t gotten around to yet. I want to do this, not only for myself, but for my mom too.

For health reasons, my mom needs to cut down on certain types of foods, and so I want to try and create meals that don’t include a whole ton of those foods/any of those foods that are still exciting and tasty and easy to make, so that she’ll be able to make them for herself and start really paying attention to how and what she’s eating, and how it affects her health.

♥Start posting videos on YouTube♥

The idea of making videos on YouTube has been something I’ve been wanting to do for a couple of years, but I’ve never really pushed myself to actually go through with it properly. Despite it being something I’m interested in pursuing, I often find myself a bit afraid to actually go through with it. It’s a very different way of creating content, in comparison to writing a blog. It’s a bit unnerving.

There is so much content that I want to create, but not all of it works well in blog format. Some of the things I want to create are better done in a video format, or they’re easier to accomplish in a video format. This year, I want to challenge myself to pursue creating some of this content. I want to push myself to step out from behind my computer screen and actually experiment with visually and verbally sharing my thoughts and ideas.

♥Drink more water♥

I’m not gonna lie, in the grand scheme of things, this is a pretty mundane goal for this year, and it’s also a bit predictable. It’s one I find myself adding to the list every year, and that I find myself failing every year. This year, though, as I am determined to start taking better care of myself in all areas, I am determined to achieve this goal.

Surprisingly, I actually did get better with my water intake during 2016. I discovered these Starbucks Via Instant Refreshers, which are powdered drink mixes that you stir into your water. Adding these in made me drink a lot more water – I especially like the Valencia Orange flavour. It made it a lot easier for me to drink water, and it made it way more enjoyable.

This year, I’m going to push myself to drink plain water more, though. Just some water with some ice and nothing else. That is the big goal this year.

♥Start learning a second language♥

I’m absolutely terrible with languages, truth be told. I have a difficult speaking proper English, let alone forming a simply sentence in French (technically my second language). Regardless, I’m deeply passionate about learning various languages. There are so many that I’m so interested in learning: Italian, Spanish, Latin, Irish, etc.

This year, I want to take some time and start learning a language. I can guarantee, I probably won’t be that great at the language by the end of the year, but I want to at least give it a try – try something new, challenge myself to do something outside my comfort zone.

2017 is, in some ways, about pushing myself beyond the comfortable confines I’ve barricaded myself in these past few years. I don’t want to continue being the fearful person I’ve become.  I want to be brave and push my boundaries. I want to learn a new language because I want to challenge myself intellectually this year.

♥Be present♥

I’ve always had a really bad habit of focusing either entirely on the future, or solely on the past. I’ve never been the kind of person that focuses primarily on the present. I hate that. I hate that I’m always looking ahead, or behind, and never focusing on what is right in front of me. I miss out on so many amazing things – so many amazing moments – simply because I’m not present. I want to change that this year.

2017 is going to be a year of great change for me. I graduate this year. I’m leaving for university this year. I’ll be leaving my home, on my own, for the first time. I’ll be separated from all of my friends – some only an hour or two, some whole days away. I don’t want to waste a single moment with the people I love, because I’m not going to be able to see them as often as I have these past few years. I don’t want to take my time with them for granted when I don’t have much of it left.

I want to really challenge myself to be more engaged this year. To be more present and focused on what’s happening around me right now. I’m never going to get this time with my friends and family back, and it’s important that I cherish these last few months.

* * *

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season, and that you all got to spend plenty of time with the people you love. I know I did. I’m super excited to see what this year holds for not only me, but for this blog, and for all of you that read it. I hope you will stick with me and see how this year goes for all of us.

Have a great week. For those returning to school, try not to stress yourselves out too much. Just take everything a day at a time. I’ll see you back here next week. Until then, much love, Britt xo.

2016: The Best Bits

2016 was a rollercoaster of a year. Between the social upheaval that seemed to accompany the U.S presidential election, and personal dramas of my own, it seems easy to forget that good things happened this year. But they did. Some damn great things happened this year.

2016 is the year that announced Harriet Tubman would be replacing Andrew Jackson on the American twenty-dollar bill. 2016 is the year that Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his oscar. 2016 is the year that coffee giant Starbucks found a way to donate perishable food in a safe way. 2016 is the year we learned that the ozone layer is repairing itself. So many incredible things happened in 2016. (If you’d like to see some more, you can check out this list, which is where I was reminded of all these amazing things)

2016 was a rollercoaster, not only socially/politically, but personally as well. It was very bittersweet. I lost a lot, but I gained a lot as well. While I prefer not to reflect on the not-so-great moments, I do want to take some time and think about all the really great things that happened this year. Without further ado, I’d like to share with all of you, the best bits of my 2016.

The Best Moments of the Year

Ringing in the New Year with one of my best friends

Seeing Heathers: The Musical

My birthday party

Hazel Hayes liking my photo on Instagram (I’m still not over this, to be honest)

Seeing Marianas Trench

Josh Ramsay being mere steps away from me

March Break in Montreal

Attending a fashion show with Hanna (and having a mini photoshoot)

Being retweeted by Law & Order: SVU twice (literally the coolest thing that will ever happen to me, I think)

Peter Gallagher (The O.C, Law & Order: SVU) liking two of my tweets

Seeing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in Stratford with Hanna

The post-year-end-recital dinner with Hanna, Keaghan and some family

Seeing PVRIS

Visiting the local Multicultural Festival with Jenna

Seeing Panic! at the Disco and Weezer with Hanna

Swimming and hiking with Keaghan

Going camping with Hanna

Hazel Hayes liking my tweet

Meeting Estée Lalonde and getting my copy of Bloom signed

Going to the Ontario Student Leadership Conference in Niagara Falls

Attending the Unity Conference at a local university

Getting accepted into York University

The student council secret Santa gift exchange (I just loved seeing how much everyone loved the presents they received – it was so lovely)

* * *

Someday Summary – Sunday, December 25

When surrounded by darkness, it is an innate human desire to seek out a source of light. In moments of great despair, we try to seek out a source of hope. In the face of great tragedy, we search out some sort of triumph. In moments of negativity, we all seek out some sort of source of strength to guide us through whatever is trying to drag us down, regardless of how hopeless it may seem.

For me, this source of light comes in the form of Christmas. In the midst of the gloom and cold that accompanies winter’s arrival, we are thrust into this season of warmth and joy. Right in the middle of the most miserable time of year, we come face to face with the happiest, most joyous season of the year. Christmas is a beacon of hope, calling out to us in the sea of despair.

This time of year is always my favourite because it’s time I get to spend with the people I love the most. It’s time for us to come together, to relax and to celebrate. While there a million things I love about Christmas – from the great classic films, to the classic Christmas tunes – nothing beats the time I get to spend with family and friends. Nothing compares the smiles I get to witness, the laughs I get to hear, or the memories I get to cherish.

To me, Christmas has always been about the people. While I enjoy all the gift exchanges, the delicious food, and the endless onslaught of Christmas films gracing my television, they are not the things I really care about at the end of the day. I could go without them. I couldn’t go without the people that matter to me. At the end of the day, they’re the most important pieces that make Christmas what it really is. They’re the most important ingredient in the perfect holiday recipe.

As another Christmas season quickly comes to a close, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to surround myself with so many amazing people. My heart is full of love and adoration for all my friends – new and old – and for my amazing family. Christmas would mean nothing if it weren’t for the love of these great individuals.

Christmas is more than just presents and decorations. Christmas is about love. Love that you give and that you receive. Love that you cherish, and love that you share. Christmas is the greatest holiday of all because it is rooted in love. It is rooted in kindness, and in hope, and in all the good things that we seek when we face the darkest, most miserable moments in our lives. Christmas is rooted in all the we call upon to guide us through our times of great need. Christmas is rooted in love, and it serves as a reminder of how important love really is.

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope this holiday season has treated you well. I hope your holiday season was full of love, joy, and great food.

I look forward to writing again real soon (I promise this time). Until then, much love, Brittany xo.